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Monday, December 22, 2003

Alright, you two - TIME OUT

What's with Howard Dean and Wesley Clark squabbling over whether or not Dean offered the vice presidential slot to Clark?

Wesley, go to your room.

Howard - you, too.

What you BOTH should be saying is -
"I'd be honored to be the running mate of Clark/Dean. Either of us would be a better president than George Bush. It doesn't matter who is at the top of the ticket - any two of the Democratic candidates would make a great team."
Now.....you can come out of your rooms. Shake hands, and keep your eyes on the prize.
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Homeland Security "Hits One Out Of The Park"

Shortly after issuing an "Orange" security alert, Mother Nature unleashed a 6.5 earthquake on California.

"Thank God our citizens were vigilant", said a spokesman. "It is now safe to take the plastic sheeting and duct tape off the nuclear reactors."
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The earth moves under their feet

Early reports - 6.5 on the Richter, somewhere north of L.A.

Be safe, friends.
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More on educational sadism

Continuing along the Exercising Educational Sadism lines (see earlier post), frequent commenter, guest, and all-around-good guy Tarheel_Scott takes the wheel -

"We may all be created equal under the law (in this country anyway, and with mixed success), but we are not created equal under God. We are each bestowed with different talents, with which we may contribute to the greater good of all.

Nothing innovative ever comes from a formulaic approach to any problem, and education devoid of the conditions which foster innovation is merely training. Teachers must be given the resources to help students discover and realize their unique potential, which may not be in vocations sought after by business.

Time and time again business assumes that it knows what's best for America's future, and anyone who takes a dispassionate look at our history quickly learns how miserably mistaken their predictions have been.

So called "business-education partnerships" are hardly the bi-directional dialogs they are touted to be. Instead they are business dictating the rules of the game to education, with "scared straight" tactics for the kids: if you don't prepare for a lifetime of employment, you will be a failure."
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Woo-hoo! Shock & Awe Fired Across The DeLay Bow!

And I can't think of a scummier bow to shoot. At. Whatever.

DeLay was at his usual, smarmy worst on "Meet The Press", claiming questions about the Administration's failure to find Osama bin Laden came from the "fringe" of the Democratic Party and said, "unfortunately, Wesley Clark must live in a different world."

You'd think an exterminator would be chomping at the bit to exercise all his skills and expertise on vermin like Bin Laden, but DeLay has left that world far behind. He prefers attempting to exterminate pests like Democratic candidates, non-Republicans, non-Republican donors, legislators that don't toe his hard-right-wing line, non-Christians, non-whites, citizens of Texas, the environment, and the world in general.

With a rap sheet like that, he deserves every word of the Clark campaign's response:
"The closest to real combat that Tom 'Chicken-Hawk' DeLay has ever come was when he got himself a student deferment from Vietnam and instead suited up in his exterminator outfit and defended the people of Texas against invading cockroaches, marauding red ants and hostile moths."
Whoever ends up as the Democratic nominee can only benefit from bare-knuckled chickenhawk-smackdowns. Bring it on!


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The Liberal Coaltion of bloggers, on the warpath

I'm honored to have been asked to join the Liberal Coalition, and will soon get up all the appropriate links on my own site. Great folks, great thoughts, great company, and I encourage you to check them (us!) out.

And I guess it means I have to post some meaningful, liberal thoughts. So, meaningful or not, here they are, starting with "Exercising Educational Sadism". More to follow when least expected.
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Exercising Educational Sadism

Required reading of the day - WaPo's "School Choice, Limited Options - Local Realities Confront No Child Left Behind Law"

To paraphrase Shakespeare -

Two school systems, both alike in dignity,
In fair North Carolina, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where "failing" schools make "performing" schools unclean.

The school systems are Weldon - poor and predominantly black, and Roanoke Rapids, which is more prosperous and predominately white. The resulting chaos is a perfect argument against the "No Child Left Behind" nonsense.

There are certainly some racial overtones, but lack of common sense, lack of clear vision, lack of funding, and the despicable conservative desire to punish "failing" schools all come into play.

"A few months ago, Weldon school officials attempted to negotiate a school-choice agreement with their counterparts in Roanoke Rapids, a predominantly white, middle-class school district on the other side of Interstate 95. They were turned down flat.

Weldon's request would "create an administrative nightmare," said Roanoke Rapids school Superintendent John Parker, who employs two investigators to ensure that children living in Weldon and surrounding Halifax County do not try to sneak into his schools. "There is no way we could accommodate all the students who want to come here, if we opened our doors."
I'm going to give Parker and the people of Roanoke Rapids some credit here - not everyone in The South is a raging segregationist, and the same demographics can be found all over the nation. Roanoke Rapids is hardly Beverly Hills, and has it's fair share of poor folks; black, white, and everything else.

Decreeing that students from "failing" schools can whisk themselves into "performing" schools doesn't take into account that good school systems are often already overcrowded, nor does it address the sometimes insurmountable transportation problems.

So, what's a "performing" school to do? Slam the doors on applicants, and risk the "racist" label? Admit all the students who qualify, become hopelessly overcrowded and start down the slippery slope to a becoming a "failing" school?

But let's talk about those "failing" schools. Ask any teacher, or any student, at ANY school.
"To meet state and federal standards, Weldon's school board has embraced a strategy of relentless testing and practicing for tests. Every week, students are required to take practice tests for as long as three hours, leading up to the mandatory state tests in the spring. Some teachers say the emphasis on testing is compounding an already serious problem of high teacher turnover.

"It was all drill, drill, drill for the test," said Lana Curtis, a sixth-grade teacher at a Roanoke Rapids middle school, who transferred from Weldon a couple of years ago. "I did not feel that I was being treated as a professional. Pretty much everything we taught was related to the test."
Weldon has certainly been given no choice by the "No Child Left Behind" mandates. And thus, students and teachers at the failing schools are punished.

Punishing our children and school systems is hardly "compassionate conservatism", or anything resembling compassionate. Clearly, the puny funding for "No Child Left Behind" would be better spent on strengthening the "failing" school systems and the children they serve.

The "Head Start" program comes to mind....however, the "compassionate conservatives" have put Head Start in the bullseye, apparently longing for the day they can put our four-year-olds through the testing mill.

To paraphrase Old Will again -

See, what a scourge is laid upon your hate,
That heaven finds means to kill your joys with "compassion".
And we, for winking at your discords too
Are losing a generation of children: all are punish'd.

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"Albright: 'Rings' Sequel Timed to Benefit Bush"
(Satire alert)
"Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright suggested today that the Bush administration influenced the timing of the release of the blockbuster movie 'The Return of the King' to boost the economy before the 2004 elections."


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Sunday, December 21, 2003

Look and Weep
Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the flowers gone?
Bush flipped a finger to everyone.
When will he ever learn?
When will he ever learn?
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"Axis of Evil" Mourns Libya's Loss
(republished here for the benefit of "Opinions You Should Have" visitors)

Members of the "Axis of Evil" expressed sorrow and anger at losing Libya as a charter member of the club.

Syria was particularly irate. "The job of supporting Islamic terrorists and the Palestinians now falls on Syria and Iran alone", a spokesman said. "We plan to look into extending an invitation to Saudi Arabia or perhaps Pakistan."

North Korea also expressed disappointment, as they would now need to find another customer for their major export product.

From an undisclosed location, it was reported that Vice President Dick Cheney was speaking to oil company executives via teleconference. Libya has proven reserves of 29.5 billion barrels of oil and a production capacity of 1.4 million barrels per day.

There were unconfirmed rumors that shouts of "Hot DAMN!" could be heard from that undisclosed location, and a catering truck was reported to have arrived with cases of champagne and caviar.

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The Man On The Moon

James Carville (via South Knox Bubba)

"this administration would put a man on the moon and then leave the poor son of a bitch stranded up there because they wouldn't have a plan to bring him home."

Dream ticket - Carville/Ivins in '04
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Saturday, December 20, 2003

Good reads from the New Blogger Showcase
Spam of the Week contemplates the dimensional warp generator offer.

And having gone through the financial aid obstacle course just a year ago, I definitly sympathize with Belief Seeking Understanding.

(Major brag alert - my firstborn-and-only child received her first semester grades today - straight A's! Time to hit up the financial aid office for more scholarship money.)

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Check it out -

Lord of the Right Wing
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Via Matt Singer at Not Geniuses -
"In order to better inform the public, from now on every reference on this page to George W. Bush, George Bush, Reelect Bush, Bush in '04, Bush/Cheney '04, BC04 or any other reference to our sitting President will refer people to BushTax.com."
Thanks, Matt, for helping inform the masses.
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Mercury X23's Fantabulous Blog has a great take on BushCo vs. Nature. Check it out.
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Blogging good preparation for viewing ROTK

Yes, my life is now complete - I have seen "Return of the King". Saw it on Thursday, and we are tentatively planning to see it again today. And probably at least once more during Christmas holiday-time.

The countless hours I've wasted spent lately, surfin' the net and ranting through this blog were great preparation for the movie. Apparently, my hindquarters are now conditioned for long sitting-hours, as I never once shifted around uncomfortably in my theater seat.

Or maybe I just never had a chance to think about a sore butt.

I am in awe of the way Peter Jackson takes brief moments, focuses on them, and makes you think about the costs of victory and horrors of war. The 1/2 second shot of that ugly hunk of metal on the tip of an arrow aimed at the Gondorian army. The looks on the faces of the old men & little boys, arming themselves for the Battle of Helms Deep (The Two Towers). The crowd laying flowers in the street before Faramir and his soldiers as they ride off to the suicide mission - much like laying flowers on a grave.

There are no spots suitable for bathroom breaks. Dehydrate yourself beforehand. No popcorn or soft drinks allowed....take a box of Tic-Tacs or something to quench your thirst.

Top one hundred memoriable moments -

1. Lighting the beacons of war
2. The charge of the Rohhirim
3. Eowyn kicks major butt
4. The Army of the Dead
5. Billy Boyd as "Pippin"
6 - 100 The rest of the movie
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What's so funny about peace, love, and higher taxes?

Chris "Lefty" Brown reminds us that healthy communities benefit everyone - Democrats, Republicans, and everything in-between and on the edges. Infrastructure, education, police, fire, sewage treatment - someone has to pay.

So, who's it going to be? Federal? State? County? City/Local? And HOW should the money be raised? Sales tax? VAT? Income? Property?

Most Republican rhetoric is carefully designed to make "taxes" a dirty word; that word wouldn't hold a candle to the dirty words I'd have to say if the local fire department didn't have the equipment and manpower to respond to a fire at my house.

A responsible, equitable tax code is the duty of our elected officials, but Republican's have warped it beyond all recognition. Instead of appealing to community spirit and true patriotism, the "anti-tax" crowd appeals to the greed in the greediest.
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Friday, December 19, 2003

Not In My Backyard

There's lots of things I wouldn't want in my neighborhood - a crack house, a nuclear reactor, a hazardous waste dump, a maximum-security prison, just to name a few. Here's another -

Church abandons plans for Ashcroft Street

"The Assemblies of God headquarters withdrew its proposal to rename a street for Springfield native and church member Attorney General John Ashcroft after some residents criticized the request."
That's an "honor" that should be reserved for the maximum-security prison. Or the hazardous waste dump.
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"Axis of Evil" Mourns Libya's Loss

Members of the "Axis of Evil" expressed sorrow and anger at losing Libya as a charter member of the club.

Syria was particularly irate. "The job of supporting Islamic terrorists and the Palestinians now falls on Syria and Iran alone", a spokesman said. "We plan to look into extending an invitation to Saudi Arabia or perhaps Pakistan."

North Korea also expressed disappointment, as they would now need to find another customer for their major export product.

From an undisclosed location, it was reported that Vice President Dick Cheney was speaking to oil company executives via teleconference. Libya has proven reserves of 29.5 billion barrels of oil and a production capacity of 1.4 million barrels per day.

There were unconfirmed rumors that shouts of "Hot DAMN!" could be heard from that undisclosed location, and a catering truck was reported to have arrived with cases of champagne and caviar.

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Libya 'Fesses Up...When Will We?

Libya admitted today that it has tried in the past to obtain and develop weapons of mass destruction. In a move toward rejoining the international community, they now publicly admit and renounce the efforts. Inspectors will now be welcomed into Libya to oversee the dismantling of the program and destruction of the weapons.

Good show. Here's hoping the United States will someday follow suit.

Watch for the neo-cons to claim that "preventative war" scared Libya into behaving.
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Anybody But Bush!

I admire anyone who votes their conscience and usually do that myself - but folks - in 2004 it DOES matter which whore wins.
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Something Creepy This Way Comes!

Palace 'ghost' caught on camera

And here I thought Prince Charles' sex life or the Queen's hat collection was the creepiest thing in Britain!
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Thursday, December 18, 2003

Saddam Watch

As a public service, Collective Sigh continues to collect & post pictures of possible Saddam doubles. Feel free to send in your suggestions.
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9/11 Chair: Attack Was Preventable

"For the first time, the chairman of the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks is saying publicly that 9/11 could have and should have been prevented, reports CBS News Correspondent Randall Pinkston.
"This is a very, very important part of history and we've got to tell it right," said Thomas Kean.

"As you read the report, you're going to have a pretty clear idea what wasn't done and what should have been done," he said. "This was not something that had to happen."

Appointed by the Bush administration, Kean, a former Republican governor of New Jersey, is now pointing fingers inside the administration and laying blame.

(snip)

Kean promises major revelations in public testimony beginning next month from top officials in the FBI, CIA, Defense Department, National Security Agency and, maybe, President Bush and former President Clinton."
Obviously, former Republican governor Thomas Kean didn't get the memo. There's a lot of buzz about how the administration will react to this report.

No need for Karl Rove to sweat the defence on this one. It's all contained in the last three words of the report - "former President Clinton".
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Daily gems from the Toronto Star

Political fight crosses border
"Canadians care about the upcoming U.S. elections — because when the presidency is returned to an intelligent, honest, and honourable man who is fit for the challenge of running the world's most powerful nation, Canadians will once again respect the country that we once trusted and respected to an immensely greater degree."
Live from the new Iraq: Happy talk
"Every December, media organizations comb their archives for the iconic images of the past 12 months. They're used for the "year-enders'' that obsess us in the slow news period during the holidays."

As if anybody wants to relive 2003 and its almost relentlessly depressing headlines. Not that good news is ever real news, no matter how much the White House wishes it were so."

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Ignoring The Lessons Of History

Too often, I take Liberal Oasis for granted. The site is a "regular" on my morning-read list, and I just assume everyone does the same. Today's installment is typically excellent.
"Hussein could try to dredge up some of this history during his trial, in an argument that the West was somehow complicit in his actions…
Former CIA Director R. James Woolsey, a practiced litigator, said such a tactic by Hussein would be "a real reach for relevancy" and doubted that it would seriously embarrass the U.S. government.

"Was it inconsistent to have worked with Stalin during World War II and then to oppose him during the Cold War? So what? That's statecraft," he said."
Liberal Oasis points out that the "so what" approach to statecraft, coming from an administration member, gives Democrats an opening to make the case that "the Bushies haven’t learned any lessons for the future."
"Why not, when the time is right, throw Woolsey’s remark back in his face?

That World War II could have been averted if Hitler was not appeased.

That both Gulf Wars could have been averted if Saddam wasn’t coddled and enabled.

And that a Democratic presidency will seek to preclude such bloody conflicts, by recognizing that you can’t successfully defeat terrorism without using American’s superpower influence to champion human rights and oppose tyranny."
Shorter version? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
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Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Brilliance Lost

I had a brilliant, life-changing essay all written in my mind, when Blogger decided to crash. Until I recover my memory, the following will have to do.

Three quick thoughts -

1) Our "baby" comes home from college today; the blogosphere will have to do without me for a bit - which I'm sure it will do quite well - as I scurry around to make sure we're stocked up on all her favorite foods and her Christmas presents are well hidden.

2) If it weren't for reason number one, I'd probably be camped out in the cold rain, waiting for my turn to savor "Return of the King". I've worn my "Tolkien freak" badge proudly for too many years to let crappy weather stop me.

3) One of my favorite sources for news and comment is The Toronto Star. If it weren't for those pesky words "snow" and "cold" in their weather forecast (virtually every day of the year, it seems), I'd probably be well-suited to living there.

I just can't even comprehend this - today, snow, high 2; tomorrow, flurries, high 0. Friday, flurries, high -1. Saturday, snow, high 0.

WTF??!! - I've been known to get out the thermal underwear when the temperature dips into the 50's.

So if Canada ever decides to annex Aruba, I hope they'll give me a call. But I take my hat off to the Canadians who, despite a frozen environment, are able to think clearly, write & report responsibly, and provide their citizens with universal health care.

(Note: As commentor Tarheel Scott correctly points out, those temperatures are in Celsius, not Fahrenheit. The difference between the two - in my opinion - is "too cold" and "damn cold")

Today's issue offers a plethora of thoughtful comment and all the usual good stuff. In addition to the irresistable glowing review of "Return of the King" :)

Baffling week for Bush watchers
""It simply looks like the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing," says Doug Bandow, a senior analyst at the libertarian Cato Institute.

"This is the most bizarre juxtaposition of events I've ever seen. It frankly makes the administration look stupid."
Amen, brother.

Nine tales of a society scared into stupidity

Yep, that's the Bush Nation. Scared stupid.

Arrest of celebrity villain just a sideshow to the more important matter of American ambitions in the Middle East
"For Iraqis, the capture of Saddam Hussein is a big deal. For the world media, it is even bigger. But in the grand scheme of things, Saddam's arrest, trial and inevitable conviction are not that important."
Somewhere between O.J. Simpson, Kobe Bryant, and Michael Jackson on the "global scheme of things" scale.

Unless U.S. builds on Saddam's capture by embracing global co-operation, the job of rebuilding Iraq will fail
"Saddam may loom larger in captivity, as a symbol of defiance for Arab nationalists who are still resolved to defeat what they perceive as Western empire-building, than he did when he was on the run."
And last, but certainly not least -

Jackson epic a crowning glory
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Bush: Good Riddance

That was the big headline on the front page of our daly newspaper here in right-wing heaven.

Of course, they were referring to Miserable Failure's words regarding the capture of Saddam.

But here's hoping they'll get to pull out that headline again in November 2004.
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Bin Laden will be caught, White House vows

Who?

Ohhhh, yeah - the mastermind behind 9/11, a bunch of embassy bombings and other assorted atrocities, active seeker (possesser?) of WMD, mastermind of Al Qaeda who despised Saddam and refused to hook up with him.

Too bad all our troops and intellegence assets are tied up in Iraq - and will be for some time to come.

Osama - and the Taliban - will no doubt be glad to sit idly by, twiddling their thumbs, while BushCo solves all of Iraq's problems. Wouldn't be very sporting of them to wreak any more havoc while our attention is focused elsewhere, now would it?
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Tuesday, December 16, 2003

I think I'll throw my support to Scooter for president. Great platform - I can't wait to see what he does to the White House at Halloween. It would be refreshing to have "fun scary" instead of the real thing, aka Miserable Failure.
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Saddam - Drugged? Prisoner?
Saddam's daughter, Raghad Hussein, claims her father was drugged after he surrendered

Um, okay. He actually looks more like he was drugged before he surrendered, but what do I know? I suspect neither of us are in a position to know the truth.

Debka File argues Saddam Hussein was not in hiding; he was a prisoner - stuck in a hole until he could be turned over to coalition authorities.
"After his last audiotaped message was delivered and aired over al Arabiya TV on Sunday November 16, on the occasion of Ramadan, Saddam was seized, possibly with the connivance of his own men, and held in that hole in Adwar for three weeks or more, which would have accounted for his appearance and condition. Meanwhile, his captors bargained for the $25 m prize the Americans promised for information leading to his capture alive or dead. The negotiations were mediated by Jalal Talabani’s Kurdish PUK militia.

These circumstances would explain the ex-ruler’s docility – described by Lt.Gen. Ricardo Sanchez as “resignation” – in the face of his capture by US forces. He must have regarded them as his rescuers and would have greeted them with relief. "
Maybe there's a bit of truth in both stories. The middle east is a hotbed of conspiracy theories, and it will be interesting to see if any reliable reports will be forthcoming.
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Monday, December 15, 2003

Saddam Double Sitings

With excellent suggestions from guests - here it is.
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Reality Bites

From Reuters -
"If anyone imagined Saddam's capture would bring swift peace, the words of U.S.-trained Iraqi policeman Ahmed Ali may cause them to think again.

"We want this to lead to more attacks on the Americans. There will be a holy war against them. It will be much worse. We all love Saddam," he said, standing near U.S. soldiers he works with in Falluja, confident they would not understand his Arabic."

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Atrios Declares "WRITE LIKE NEDRA PICKLER DAY!

A welcome relief from the crappy economy, War on Terra, and all that. Read the comments, too.
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The Bush Family "Enforcer" Strikes Again?

The Miserable Failure has said -
"I was the enforcer when I thought things were going wrong," he told Washington writer Ann Grimes in an interview for her 1990 book on political spouses. "I had the ability to go and lay down some behavioral modification."
It looks very much like Junior's thirst for vengeance and "behavior modification", coinciding with the neo-con thirst for war, got us into one hell of a quagmire.

From the Toronto Star -
"Ever since his father, George H.W. Bush, unsuccessfully tried to contract out the job of ousting the Iraqi leader to his own people in 1991, the younger Bush has had Saddam Hussein fixed in his sights. It was an obsession that was fuelled by personal reasons, after it was revealed that Saddam had planned the assassination of the elder Bush, an attack that if successful, would have also certainly killed George W. Bush's mother and wife.

It was an obsession further fuelled by the neo-con cabal which Bush assembled, many of them holdovers from the first Persian Gulf War who still rued the day the United States pulled back in 1991 after a successful war effort, leaving the root of the problem still firmly ensconced in Baghdad.

And finally, it was the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks which created the laboratory where determinations both personal and policy-driven could come together, all pointing to the day when Bush would get his man. Bush rarely speaks about the foiled assassination attempt in 1993 in Kuwait because he has been careful not to encourage criticism that he has sent American soldiers to die in Iraq to settle a personal vendetta.

But he did let it slip when speaking to a Republican fundraiser in September, 2002.

"After all, this is the guy who tried to kill my dad," he told an audience in Texas, speaking of Saddam."
There's much more, and it's good reading.

The Bush family has made it clear that they think they were born to lead. Apparently their feudal fantasies include looting the treasury to reward their friends and using the military to settle their personal scores.

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Sunday, December 14, 2003

We interrupt the all-Saddam-all-the-time reporting to give you yet another stellar review of the can't-get-here-too-soon "Return of the King"
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Operation Red Dawn
Sure glad it worked better than the movie of the same name (sorry, I couldn't resist)
About 600 U.S. troops took part in the raid that resulted in Saddam's capture, Operation Red Dawn, said Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the top American general in Iraq. Two other unidentified Iraqis were captured along with Saddam and authorities confiscated two Kalashnikov rifles, a pistol, a taxi and $750,000 in U.S. currency at the site.
(For the literal-minded - snark alert)
Anonymous sources reported other items in Saddam's possession - a pair of Dixie Cups connected by string for directing the resistance, a box of Betty Crocker yellow cake mix, a can of mace, and a bottle of black hair dye purchased through an import-export firm that once occupied the World Trade Center south tower.

Thus proving everything, of course.
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Don't Let The Door Hit You On The Way Out...

In 2000, Ralph Nader told us we should vote for him, as there was no difference between Republicans and Democrats.

Let him know what you think here.
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"We Got Him"

Good news - we've finally uncovered some WMD in Iraq, the bogeyman himself, Saddam Hussein.

But good for whom? It's possible, had we captured him at the beginning of the war, that Iraq could have recovered much more quickly.

But the electric supply is still erratic, the oil (and it's profits) isn't exactly gushing, the infrastructure is still in shambles, red tape abounds, war-profiteering is rampant, and the Iraqis aren't exactly happy campers. And Saddam has become a hero to a large part of the Arab world.

Miserable Failure is surely breathing a sigh of relief, as are many around the world. And the U.S. media is now trumpeting that the capture of Saddam takes the war on terror "off the table" for Democratic candidates, noting smugly that the capture will take the wind out of Dean and Clark's sails.

As usual, the SCLM is shooting from the hip. Unless all the insurgents lay down their arms and Iraqis come together in a group hug....the war goes on. Only the die-hard Baathists will have any wind removed from their sails. The multiple ethnic groups in Iraq have only begun to fight for power in post-Saddam Iraq.

How will BushCo deal with post-Saddam Iraq? If the past is any indicator, things will be no different. The neo-cons will be no more willing to cede power anywhere. Halliburton will continue to rake in profits. The Arab "street" now has another reason to hate us.

Sen. Joe Biden says "this is a time for us to get more mature about this". Will the capture of Saddam result in a sudden maturing, a "road to Damascus" event in the administration? I'll believe it when I see it.

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Saturday, December 13, 2003

Condi - Que Sera, Sera

"There's nothing I am worse at than long-term planning," Rice admits in the upcoming issue of Reader's Digest. "I have never run my life that way. I believe that serendipity or fate or divine intervention has led me to a series of wholly implausible steps in my life. And I've been open to those twists and turns because I didn't have a long-term plan."
Remember that old saying about a cluttered desk, cluttered mind? It's okay by me if she wants to run her personal life that way, but one would hope she'd put a bit more long-term planning into that national security thing. Explains a lot, though.
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The party of big spenders

"Demand less from government, not more!


I love it when they eat their own.


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(chuckle, chuckle)

Woman Claims Thurmond As Father

Any comment, Trent Lott?
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The weather gurus are calling for another ice storm to hit this area in the evening, so I have a civic duty to join the hordes of people who will storm the grocery stores for a month's supply of milk and bread.

Ice storms stink. We had a monster last year that left millions of people without power, some for weeks. There was no sleeping the night of THAT storm; the sound of trees falling made for an uneasy night. No sleep the next day, either, when the sound of chain saws filled the air.

Our street was in the "blessed circle" - we never lost electric power; not for one second. The street behind us was dark for ten days. The only explanation we could ever figure out was, yes, the presence of this Democratic household in a raging sea of right-wingery.

I'm off to the milk-and-bread line, but I offer this from the Asia Times -

The Bush Post-War Iraq Plan Explained
(short version - there isn't one).

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Friday, December 12, 2003

Patrick Smith of Salon's "Ask A Pilot" has some interesting things to say about Air Force One and the Bush Turkey Trot to Baghdad, and more links to some very cool pictures of various aircraft.

After analyzing various aspects of the story, Smith takes a great parting shot -
"Of course, we've already forgotten that Tony Blair made it to Iraq last May, fresh on the heels of the invasion by British and U.S. forces. Even without the nourishment of a turkey dinner, Blair managed to tour a school, a police station and a military compound."

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Truth Laid Bear says -
"The latest prank making the rounds in the weblog world is an effort to ensure that a Google search on "miserable failure" turns up pages on George Bush. So far, it seems to be working rather well.
I think I can credibly claim to have functional sense of humor, but I just don't see much funny about this particular joke. All too often, people delude themselves into thinking that if they keep repeating a falsehood over and over again, it will come true: and here we see that philosophy taken to its logical conclusion. Nevermind argument and reason: let's just say it's true, and that's sufficient. "
Ummm....Isn't that what the unelectable miserable failure and the vast right wing conspiracy have been doing for years?

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The Bush Way Or The Highway

Ron Hutcheson takes a look at Bush the Enforcer, The Bush Family "Velvet Hammer".
"I was the enforcer when I thought things were going wrong," he told Washington writer Ann Grimes in an interview for her 1990 book on political spouses. "I had the ability to go and lay down some behavioral modification."
Isn't it cute that Miserable Failure knows big words, like "behavior modification". What's not so cute is the clubs he's using on our (former)allies.

Methinks Dubya will find that grownups aren't as easy to push around as Republican lackeys, whose behavior he has been "modifying" over the years. I'd be looking forward to it if it didn't mean a loss of global respect for the United States.

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It's been a long, hard day, and I'm really tired. But I couldn't let the day go by without mentioning this -

Regardless of what the vast right wing conspiracy says, the squatter in the White House is a miserable failure and unelectable, to boot.

I'd also like to mention an article I found here, which explains the global economy in terms even I can understand.
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Thursday, December 11, 2003

Atrios Sets Off Google-Bomb

We all know what "unelectable" means.....

And via Blah3 - Vast Right Wing Conspiracy
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U.S. faces backlash over contracts

D'ya think?

So, what happens? - Bush Seeks Help of Allies Barred From Iraq Deals

It's like the story of the fellow who killed his parents, then asked the court for mercy because he was an orphan.

There are two possibilities here. Either Miserable Failure is incredibly arrogant, or nobody gives him any news (we know he doesn't bother to read it himself). Or both.
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Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Crapping On Canada Again, Eh?

The Republican's latest practical joke on senior citizens - the "Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003" - saved American citizens from the treacheries of cheaper Canadian drugs. Even though there is no proof Canadian drugs are harmful. .

But just in case the Canadians decided to get uppity about it, Paul Wolfowitz issued an edict declaring countries that opposed war will be ineligible to take part in the reconstruction effort and share the loot. And that means you, too, Canada.

Paul Martin, who becomes prime minister of Canada on Friday, has expressed puzzlement over this -
'Martin noted that Canada has committed nearly $300 million for reconstruction in Iraq and that Canadian troops in Afghanistan "are carrying a very, very heavy load" in the war on terrorism.'
White House spokesman Scott McClellan dismissed criticism, saying the policy is "appropriate and reasonable."

One Canadian company president remarked -
"Until that whole thing settles down, I'm not about to send people in there anyways. How could you . . . do that when they're still shooting at you."
"Other countries slammed the snub. Germany called it "unacceptable," France questioned its legality, and Russia issued an implicit threat that it might take a harder line on restructuring Iraqi debt as Washington has been seeking." (more)

Sources in Germany, France, and Russian privately expressed relief that they would no longer be expected to put their own citizens in harm's way, just to make George W. Bush look good.
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The Great Debate

(idea and some shameless plagiarism from blog hero NTodd (Dohiyi Mir)

In the autumn of 2004, there will most likely be a Great Debate (maybe two) between the Democratic presidential nominee and - assuming they can drag him out from under his desk - pResident George W. Bush, the Miserable Failure.

A panel of media whores - let's call them Ted Koppel, Judy Woodruff, and Tim Russert - will ask penetrating questions of each candidate in an effort to help the electorate make an informed choice and portray the Democratic candidate as a total goofball.

Just for the heck of it, let's assume the Democratic nominee is Howard Dean.

Ted Koppel: Mr. President, why do you think you're so invincible and the firebrand liberal, Howard Dean, has no chance?

Bush: Well, Ted, I think it's because I have learned the lessons of September the 11th, 2001, and am protecting America from terror. And my tax cuts for the rich have created 147 jobs today.

Judy Woodruff: Governor Dean, why do you hate America?

****

Tim Russert: Mr. President, some have criticized you for continuing to read to children while the attacks were taking place on 9/11. Would you care to respond?

Bush: Thank you for asking that, and I appreciate the opportunity to deal with any misunderestimations. I think children is our most important resource, and reading are fundamental. That's the main idea behind the "No Child Left Behind" legislation. We can't expect our children to learn without first learning them how to read. Ya know - terrorists can't read. They hate readers, because they hate freedom. And the best way our children can fight terrorism is by learning to read.

Ted Koppel: Governor Dean, why do you hate the South?

*****

Judy Woodruff: Mr. President, the Democrats have repeatedly criticized the slow economy and sluggish job creation. Would you like to respond?

Bush: Thank you for asking that. The economy is looking good these days, thanks to the tax cuts we have been able to pass in the last several years. Job creation is something I am totally focused on. People need jobs. Jobs put food on families, and help fund the War on Terror. The terrorist hate jobs and they hate freedom. The best way Americans can fight the terrorists is by finding jobs and working hard and being vigilant and fighting terrorism with me.

Tim Russert: Governor Dean, why are you against the War on Terror?

****

You see how it will go. Feel free to contribute your own Q & A. The possibilities are endless.

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Tuesday, December 09, 2003

And The Winner Is....

Don't know about a winner, but the definite LOSER is Ted Koppel. What a jerk - using the first 15-20 precious minutes of the debate with a stupid question about poll numbers and money collected by the campaigns.

Karl Rove is dialing Koppel's number right now, lining him up for the Dubya versus Whomever debate. Obviously, Ted will give Miserable Failure an easier time than any honest-to-goodness journalist.


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Last DNC-Sponsored Debate Tonight

Tonight is the last DNC-sponsored debate and sound-bite contest among the nine Democratic candidates for president. Live at 7:00 p.m. ET via C-SPAN, which will be streaming the video via its website.

If you're in New Hampshire, you can also watch it on WMUR, and ABC will be broadcasting highlights during Nightline at 11:35 ET.

"Highlights" will undoubtedly include Sharpton jokes, any barbed remarks directed at anyone else on stage, and probably nothing of any substance.


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""Government is not the enemy. Government is simply a tool that can be used wisely or unwisely. We can do better, my friends."
- Senator Paul Simon (1928-2003)
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Gropeinator Drops Plan for Groping Inquiry

""The governor, in talking with counsel and advisors, concluded that there was very little point to the investigation."

Gropers everywhere should still beware - OJ is still looking for the person or persons who groped his ex-wive and her friend with a knife, and Dubya is still groping for anything to prop up his miserable failure of a presidency.

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Family Values Police - Asleep At The Wheel (Again)

Cynthia Tucker wonders where the defenders of marriage are when it comes to "Who Wants To Marry a Millionaire?", "The Bachelor", "The Bachelorette", and so on.

Apparently, it's okay to marry for money or 15 minutes-worth of "fame" - as long as the marriage is between a man and a woman.

"Meanwhile, the conservative lobby has launched an all-out crusade to keep gay men and women from marrying partners to whom they are deeply committed - with whom they share cooking and cleaning, child-rearing and discipline, and the other routine stuff of real life. It is a very odd view of family values that is more troubled by gay marriage than the Trista-Ryan travesty. "

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"Increased Productivity"

Many economists seem baffled by the recently reported "rise in productivity".

To these clueless analysts, I have three words - GET A JOB. Preferably in a factory - if you can find one that is hiring. "Increased productivity" is just another way of saying "same workload, fewer employees".

It's so simple, guys .... companies lay off half the work force, and lose a goodly handful of reservists and National Guard to Miserable Failure's "War On Terra".

Tell the remaining employees that they'd better take up the slack or lose THEIR jobs. Hey, presto - the payroll is decreased, production continues at a normal or almost-normal level, and like magic - increased "productivity"! And if they can restrain themselves from giving fat bonuses to the CEO's - MORE "productivity".

My worse-half has been working 12-16 hour days since early spring. I should make it clear that as part of "management", he doesn't get overtime pay. If he did, I'd be blogging from a beach chair in Aruba.

The good news is that a reservist comes back to work today, so we are celebrating the double-pleasure of a soldier returning safely and a co-worker to share the load.

That is, assuming the company decides to keep him on the payroll. These companies DO get a bit addicted to that "increased productivity".

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Taiwan Joins The "Coalition Of The Deceived"

THEN
Thursday, April 26, 2001 - Bush's Taiwan Remarks Surprise Pentagon
"The White House warned the Pentagon to expect a minor bombshell Tuesday night: President Bush had just told ABC News the United States would do "whatever it takes" to defend Taiwan from an attack by China, and spokesman Air Fleischer was concerned his comments would get blown out of proportion.

NOW
December 9, 2003 - Taiwan Warned By U.S.; Island Asked Not To Provoke China
"On the eve of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit, the Bush administration signaled a tougher stance on Taiwan's moves toward independence yesterday, warning the island not to take any unilateral steps that might provoke the government on the Chinese mainland."

Thereby clearing the way to dump more fine "Made In China" products in the U.S.A.

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Time Warner to Use Cable Lines to Add Phone to Internet Service

Can I get a pop-up blocker to go with that?
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O'Reilly - Shame On Liberal Entertainers!

Mr. Fair And Balanced Personified, Bill O'Reilly is shocked - SHOCKED - that entertainers aren't as fair and balanced as he is. Adding insult to injury, they are giving money to anti-Bush efforts.

"The danger for Republicans is that only the anti-Bush side will be heard as many entertainment venues do not actively seek political balance."

Sort of like all those Republican "rallies", "town hall meetings", and fund raisers being held on private property so they have total control over security and can keep the frowning faces out of camera range.

Shorter version....liberal entertainers should keep their mouths and checkbooks shut and let decent Republican celebrities run for elective office.

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In today's WaPo, William Kristol sounds the warning that Dean could win if Miserable Failure and the Forces of Evil are too overconfident

"Underdogs do sometimes win. Howard Dean could beat President Bush. Saying you're not overconfident (as the OU players repeatedly did) is no substitute for really not being overconfident. And if Bush loses next November, it's over. There's no BCS computer to give him another shot at the national championship in the Sugar Bowl. "

No BCS, thank God, but there IS a Supreme Court, potentially rigged voting machines, and RNC voter intimidation drives. No Democratic candidate will take the White House without a clear-cut, undeniable majority of popular and electoral votes.
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Monday, December 08, 2003

Al Gore Narrows The Field?

I am imagining an entire string of F* words coming from the field of Democratic candidates - minus, of course, Howard Dean, who must be grinning like the Cheshire cat.

Al Gore's (presumed) endorsement of Howard Dean will encourage some of the fringe folk to drop their candidacy, which may be the whole idea.

Face it, the debates have been generally fair-to-good, but the field is too crowded for anyone to really emerge. At the least, Moseley-Braun, Sharpton, and Kucinich need to bow out gracefully and throw their considerable talents behind a nominee.

I've always liked Howard Dean, but am still leery of the "angry man" and how it will affect swing voters. I've heard too many disgruntled Republican mill workers and military express their interest in Wes Clark to write him off.

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Sign of Southern Hope?

I live in a part of the south that is so right-wingnut that we rarely have Democratic candidates on the county ballot. But I had an experience today that gave me a glimmer - just a glimmer - of hope.

I was standing in line at the grocery checkout counter, reading all the news tabloid headlines. One of the headlines said something about Santa laying off elves.

The man in front of me - wearing a Dale Earnhardt jacket and a confederate-flag tee shirt that barely covered his big belly - motioned to the headline and said, "You know things are getting bad when Santa has to lay off elves, huh?!"

Not knowing how to take this....and not wanting to get in a knock-down, scream-out in the middle of Food Lion, I just laughed and said something non-committal.

But he kept going.....massive job layoffs, older workers probably never again finding steady employment, losing health benefits, etc. And it was all Bush's fault.

I have never heard those opinions expressed out loud around here; not outside my immediate family. Certainly never by a stranger. And certainly not by a man who was quite obviously a "good old boy".

He went on to discuss the repairs needed on his pickup truck, and the price of tires. Obviously a chatty sort, and I enjoyed the encounter.

Here's hoping he's just as vocal amongst his friends, family, and co-workers. And here's a plea to the Democratic candidates.....don't write off the south just yet.

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Non-LOTR Fans Can Skip This

I'm beginning to freak out a bit ..... okay, a lot .... with the approach of "Return of the King".

If you never got beyond page 5 of "The Lord of the Rings", that's okay. Either you "get" Tolkien or you don't.

I "got" it before most bloggers were born - I was introduced to "The Hobbit" in 1974, and spent the next several days of my life immersed in "The Lord of the Rings" and Middle Earth. The year 1977 brought the pleasures of "The Silmarillion". I make an annual ritual of re-reading the whole thing, and discover something new and delightful every year.

The images created by the mind can never quite be equaled on the movie screen, and I've been disappointed over and over by Hollywood's attempts to convert great books onto the screen. There are exceptions, of course, but I never thought LOTR would be one of them. The few abortive attempts to bring "Lord of the Rings" to the screen had been dreadful.....how could anyone presume to try again?

Director Peter Jackson not only presumed, but triumphed. Sure, there are beloved sequences that have been omitted or altered, but the parts that are retained are so perfect, and so totally in the Tolkien spirit, that the alterations and omissions just don't matter.

So, without further ado, here is a list of links to some ROTK reviews and other necessities. Most have "spoilers". If you're a raving-maniac-fan of the books, as I am, you'll appreciate knowing what's coming up and what isn't. For example, I was very distracted by the "interesting" treatment of Faramir's character in TTT, but by the second (third, fourth, etc.) viewing, it didn't bother me. If I know something different is coming, I think I'll be better prepared to appreciate ROTK.

A somewhat "negative" review from a purist

About 10 minutes of clips

Time magazine review

The great "non-review"

New Zealand Herald review

Another NZ review

The Australian News review

Newsweek "Top Ten"

Fan review from Palm Springs

From Director's Guild showing (Great quote - "use the restroom RIGHT BEFOREHAND, or have a big, big bladder!")

Certifiable Tolkien-istas can't miss "Sound and Spirit". Set aside an hour, and enjoy. (Thanks to NTodd for the link!)

Let the battle of good versus evil begin! And may they have better luck on Middle Earth than we have had in the United States.

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Saturday, December 06, 2003

Imitating "Success"?

In the immortal words of Princess Leia (to the delightfully evil Tarken) - "The more you tighten your grip, the more systems will slip through your fingers."

Or something like that.

From the NY Times - Tough New Tactics by U.S. Tighten Grip on Iraq Towns

Basically, the tough new tactics break down like this -

**demolishing buildings thought to be used by Iraqi attackers
**imprisoning the relatives of suspected guerrillas, in hopes of pressing the insurgents to turn themselves in
**wrapping entire villages in barbed wire

"American officials say they are not purposefully mimicking Israeli tactics, but they acknowledge that they have studied closely the Israeli experience in urban fighting."

We now have proof positive that NOBODY in the administration, not just Dubya, reads the news. And hasn't in decades.

Instead of worrying "is our children learning?", we should start worrying about adults.

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Rolling All Those Bright Ideas Into One....

I've gotta admit the last two posts were written a couple of days ago - I just now discovered they were still marked "drafts", and had never been posted. So I'm getting senile - sue me.

But looking through earlier posts did start me thinking. BushCo has been coming up with some "interesting" ideas lately, all coming under the heading "How Can We Distract The Electorate From Our Crappy Record And Win Another Term?"

Unless the neocons have figured out a way to create Miserable Failure "President For Life" (no, no, la-la-la, not thinking) - all those ideas are going to take way, way too long to have any effect in November 2004. They need something a little bolder.

So, here's the plan.....

Forget sending all that money to Iraq. Give it to NASA. Maybe a good shot of dough will get a manned moon mission ready by, oh - October 2004.

In the meantime, go ahead and create that Iraqi militia.

Before they kill each other, stuff them in the space capsule and shoot them off to the moon. Throw in James Baker the Ethically Afflicted for good measure, and let them slug it out on some other part of the solar system.

Back at the ranch, the Democrats could agree to the above, provided all candidates for elective office are compelled to take the proposed standardized tests for "Head Start" readiness. Highest scores get the White House and Congress.

Republicans, embarrassed by their abysmally low test scores and mad as hornets, can have Iraq to run as the Great Conservative Experiment and hunt for WMD unhindered by the liberal media. When not hunting for WMD's and snipes, they could turn all those Saddam busts into Reagan, and stamp the Gipper's likeness on all Iraqi money.

When the Iraqis revolt, the chickenhawks will run like scared wiener dogs, and the (Democratic) U.S.A., along with a Coalition of the More-Than-Willing, can help the Iraqis establish REAL democracy and justice. Thus earning the eternal love of the Iraqi people.

Now, let me start thinking about the rest of the Mideast.....

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Miserable Failure Shoots For The Moon?

From Faux News - "President Bush wants to send Americans back to the moon — and may leave a permanent presence there — in a bold new vision for space exploration, administration officials said yesterday.

My first thoughts were, like - maybe we should fix our own crumbling infrastructure and heal our own chunk of the universe before we stink up another one?

And my second thoughts were about the last time Dubya had a "bold new vision" - probably a line of dancing pink elephants after his latest drinking binge.

And then I remembered that I wouldn't be using a computer without the technology developed in the space program. And my shoes would come off without their velcro fasteners. And lots of other stuff.

But Faux News continues -

"The return to the moon would be for the purpose of technological advancements in technology, including energy exploration and testing a military rocket engine."

So, there you go. Looking for oil or something equally profitable, and enhancing our military prowess.

I should have known.

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A "Non-Review" of ROTK

The countdown begins....
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Bringing It On To The Four-Year-Olds

Bohemian Mama rants most eloquently over another in the latest string of BushCo utter nonsense -

"Education leaders in the Bush administration believe that many Head Start programs -- part of the 38-year-old national program that tries to prepare preschool children from poor families for kindergarten -- don't do their jobs well enough. So, this fall, they are mandating standardized tests of the 450,000 4-year-olds in the nation's more than 2,500 Head Start programs." (more)

Yeah-huh, you read it right.

I've been blessed with a plethora of nieces, nephews, and offspring. At four years of age, they ranged anywhere from a rudimentary reading ability to sticking their finger up their nose and barely speaking in complete sentences. Most were in between. It's all NORMAL at that age & development level.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again - I know perfectly intelligent people who voted for the Miserable Failure, even though they weren't overly impressed with his intellect & capabilities (who could be?). They deluded themselves by saying, "Well, he'll have experienced advisors".

The people a president picks to advise him ARE important - no one man can be expected to be an expert in every area....though there are some Democratic presidential candidates that come very close.

Folks, Dubya's education advisors don't know crap about education.

His military advisors don't know crap about what to do after you've won a war.

His health care advisors don't know crap about being sick and trying to get medical care.

His energy advisors are only interested in lining their own pockets.

Miserable Failure may have an MBA from Harvard, and brag about being a good manager (?), but this presidency is just the latest in a string of "businesses" he's run into the ground.

Has anyone thought about suing the Harvard Business School?

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“The military makes a great hammer, but not every problem is a nail.” - General Hugh Shelton, former Joint Chiefs chairman

"No U.S. commander in Iraq has done a smarter job than Maj. Gen. David Petraeus. Practically every military observer agrees: in the seven months since his troops took charge in the northern city of Mosul, the 101st Airborne Division commander has put in a flawless performance. That’s what’s most troublesome. " (more)

Despite the vagaries of Miserable Failure and the clueless neo-cons, one U.S. commander tries to get it right. Look for the green-eyed monster to relieve him of command any day now.

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Friday, December 05, 2003

Bust Bob Novak

"Today, Progressive Majority is launching a campaign to find out who in the White House revealed the name of a CIA operative in the name of political hardball.

Check out Bust Bob Novak.

George W. Bush and John Ashcroft's Justice Department have had five months to investigate this matter. But they say they still don't know who leaked. We are not surprised - and we don't think they're going to get to the bottom of this.

We don't need to wait for Ashcroft and Bush to find the leaker on the loose. One man knows. Robert Novak is the conservative who published the name in his July 14, 2003 column. He should come clean. He is not a journalist. He is an ideologue.

Last summer, Novak received classified information from White House officials and on July 14th he published the name of an undercover CIA agent. The agent is the wife of former U.S. Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, who had publicly questioned Bush on Iraq - yet another public challenge to this Administration's rationale for going to war. Ambassador Wilson believes that the White House leaked his wife's name because he was publicly questioning Bush.

Not only did the release of this information threaten the agent's life and the lives of others she worked with, but it was a threat to national security. And, it is a federal crime for a government official to knowingly release the name of a covert CIA operative. "

(from Progressive Majority)

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Future World

What a hoot!!! Takes a while to load (on dial-up) but worth the wait. If any children or bosses are around, use earphones. :)

Here
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Collective Sigh Forgets To Mention Miserable Failure Yesterday

Our apologies to miserable failures everywhere. Corrections have been made.

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Salon Double Whammy

Salon (well worth a subscription) is doubly-delicious today.

Letter from an Army vet
Grumblings in the VA waiting room show dwindling support for BushCo among vets

Joe Conason's Journal
"In a gross abuse of authority for political gain, the State Department has insisted that Wesley Clark's scheduled testimony against Milosevic be closed to the press."

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El Rushbo "Doctor-Shopping"?

"Roy Black, attorney for Rush Limbaugh, released the following statement today:

"We have been informed that this afternoon the Palm Beach State Attorney's Office will announce that it has seized the medical records of four doctors who treated Rush Limbaugh for serious medical conditions and the pain resulting from them.

"In fact, what these records show is that Mr. Limbaugh suffered extreme pain and had legitimate reasons for taking pain medication. Unfortunately, because of Mr. Limbaugh's prominence and well-known political opinions, he is being subjected to an invasion of privacy no citizen of this republic should endure."


(Yada-yada-yada, blah-blah-blah)

Shorter version - "Limbaugh Channels Elvis"
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Thursday, December 04, 2003

Shhh...Don't Upset the Republicans

Susan Estrich (gonzo Campaign Manager for Dukakis) is worried about the bogus "Hate Bush" fundraiser in Hollywood (see earlier post).

Estrich, apparently longing for the good old Dukakis days, sez -

The people whose votes Democrats will need to defeat Bush don't hate him. On a personal level, they like him. They need to be convinced not to vote for him, for reasons that have to do with the war, or special interests or the economy. "Hate Bush" headlines do just the opposite.

Ummm......Susan, dear - Drudge apparently made up that headline. Of course it offended Republicans.... every penny raised to defeat The Miserable Failure offends Republicans, as will every vote against him in November. They are offended by the very idea that he has to stand for election again.

Of all people, Estrich should understand the importance of fighting back, and fighting back HARD. The morons who like Bush "on a personal level" will vote for him again, convinced he "just needs another chance".

On the other hand, Democrats could just twiddle their thumbs, let Bush wrap himself in the flag, have our candidate pose in a ridiculous situations, and let attacks go unanswered.

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Wednesday, December 03, 2003

What Should Reaganites Do Now?

So asks Donald Devine, director of the U.S. office of Personnel Management under Ronald Reagan, columnist, consultant, director of the Center for American Vision and Values at Bellevue University and vice chairman of the American Conservative Union.

BushCo has brought bigger government, huge deficits, increased entitlement spending - and this from just Part 1 of Devine's complaint list.

"An ABC News poll recently found disapproval of Bush's job performance among self-described conservatives has increased from 14 to 23 percent. By contrast, Ronald Reagan wanted to cut the welfare state and was generally successful, being rewarded with committed conservative support in good times and bad. Conservatives may have no option in 2004 (other than staying home) but, if they want to recover the Reagan philosophy, they will get no assistance from anyone in party or government today, so they had better start devising a course of action by themselves."

That "staying home"option is a good one. Or voting a Democratic straight ticket.
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Plan A (nope), Plan B (nowhere), Plan C (NO!) - Okay, Here's PLAN Z

The neo-cons latest brainstorm will bring together the fun-loving folks at Alawi's Iraqi National Accord, Ahmed Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress, the Shiite Muslim Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq and two large Kurdish parties, the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.

The bright idea is to arm them all to the teeth, give them U.S. Special Force training, and sic them on the Baathists - which totally ignores the fact that the hatred & bloodshed between Iraqi ethnic groups goes back centuries.

And given that the U.S. hasn't had a whole lot of luck arming factions and giving them training (see "Afghanistan", "Vietnam", etc.), I don't hold out a lot of hope for Plan Z either.
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Drudge Drives Himself Nuts

The headline screamed "HOLLYWOOD DEMS GATHER FOR 'HATE BUSH' MEETING AT HILTON

"Laurie David [wife of SEINFELD creator Larry David] has sent out invites to the planned Tuesday evening meeting at the Hilton with the bold heading: 'Hate Bush 12/2 - Event'

A list of Hollywood librul guests follows, then an RSVP with Mrs. David's personal telephone number.

The result -

Hollywood liberal Laurie David, wife of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "Seinfeld" creator Larry David, found herself fielding abusive faxes and other messages yesterday after cybergossip Matt Drudge scorched her for holding a high-level strategy session in Beverly Hills tonight on how Democrats might defeat President Bush.

Drudge claimed on his Web site - erroneously, I've concluded - that Laurie David titled an E-mail about the event at the Beverly Hilton, to be co-hosted by the likes of superagent Ari Emanuel and "Seinfeld" star Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "with the bold heading: 'Hate Bush 12/2 - Event.'"

(snip)

Drudge was unapologetic. "Welcome to the wonderful world of the Internet," he told me.


Today -

Smaller, less-screeching headline on the Drudge site today - "BUSH BASHING BOOM IN BEVERLY; TURNOUT FOR HILTON MEETING PASSES 'WILDEST EXPECTATIONS'

Welcome to the wonderful world of the internet, Matt, and thanks for the publicity. I sincerely hope Laurie David suffered not in vain. These days, folks are clamoring for "hate Bush" affairs.

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Shorter Michael Elliott - Europeans Hate Miserable Failure, But Should Listen To Him Anyway

According to Michael Elliott (TIMES), Bush is despised by Europeans for a multitude of pretty good reasons - his administrations dismissive attitude to "Old Europe", crapping all over the global warming issue and the International Criminal Court being just a few.

They are understandably leery of demagogues, particularly religious ones. They've had their bellies full of war - especially war on their own soil.

But Elliott takes Europeans to task -

"Fair-minded Europeans who read Bush's speech in London last week will surely adjust their image of him. I was particularly struck by this passage: "Because European countries now resolve differences through negotiation and consensus, there's sometimes an assumption that the entire world functions in the same way. But let us never forget ... beyond Europe's borders, in a world where oppression and violence are very real, liberation is still a moral goal, and freedom and security still need defenders." Every word of that is true. If Europeans continue to hate the man who said them, they diminish not him, but themselves."

A local rightwingnut writes long, Ann Coulter-ish letters to the editor of our local paper. I've read his stuff before, and know it's not worth my time; when I see his name, I turn the page. If he ever had anything useful to say, I might read a paragraph or two. Same with a host of right wing pundits that have nothing useful to add to any debate.

Why should the Europeans be any different? They've seen Miserable Failure's act one too many times, and have tuned out.

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Tuesday, December 02, 2003

The Bush Job Recovery Plan

The Onion, "America's Finest News Source", has the details...

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There's No Telling Where Miserable Failure Will Show Up Next

Al Martinez of the LA Times speculates on Miserable Failure's new campaign strategy - showing up uninvited.

"No telling where he'll show up next. The pop-in visit is a masterful tool, like a game show in which one must guess where he's going to be next Tuesday or Thursday. Should he suddenly appear in your area, stay cool. If you're at war or out of a job or unable to afford medical prescriptions that keep you alive and he asks how you're doing, just say, "Fine, fine, everything is just hunky-dory." No sense upsetting him."



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Conflicting accounts of Iraq firefights emerging

SAMARRA, Iraq — "Residents of this central Iraqi city yesterday disputed the U.S. military's claim that 54 Iraqi guerrillas were killed in hourlong firefights that ensued Sunday as U.S. forces fought their way out of two coordinated ambushes."

Does someone smell another little exaggeration?

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McCain: Congress "spending money like a drunken sailor"

Thus insulting drunken sailors the world over.

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Monday, December 01, 2003

Gummint By the Arrogant, For the Gullible

"Bush's Thanksgiving trip to Baghdad captivated people in Crawford and tourists, who came to its tiny downtown to buy up mementos of the trip.

Large pins featuring the president's plane and the BA pilot's words -- "Did I just see Air Force One?" -- were sold out by mid-day Saturday.

In response to press inquiries, British Airways checked with its crews. But so far, no one has come forward.

"It is normal practice for our crews to report anything out of the ordinary," the airline spokeswoman said. "Despite the amount of media coverage, we can't confirm this."
(more)

Maybe those momentos - that went on sale at a store in Crawford within hours of Bush's return to his Texas ranch - should have read "Did They Just Lie To Me Again?"

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Shorter Version of Why We Invaded Iraq

"While serving chow, Bush spilled the beans about a new reason for our being in Iraq in the first place, since the search is still going on for a good one. It’s not because of WMDs. It’s not to fight terrorism. It’s not to take out Saddam Hussein. It’s not to show the U.N. what a spine looks like. It’s not to turn all those camel herders into ward bosses. No. It’s because we slogged our way there, and now that we are there, we might as well stay." more

So, let's all add "Because It Was There" to the reason-list.

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Close Encounter of the Delusional Kind

Another lie, ho-hum.....

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - British Airways said on Monday that none of its pilots made contact with President Bush's plane during its secret flight to Baghdad, contradicting White House reports of a mid-air exchange that nearly prompted Bush to call off his trip. (more)

Having gotten away scot-free with so many whoppers, I guess they figured one more wouldn't hurt.
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The Miserable Failure Project

From this day forth, I will refer to George W. Bush as a Miserable Failure at least once a day. Why, you ask? Well, someone came up with this great idea to link George W. Bush and Miserable Failure in popular search engines. If you have a blog or web site, help raise the link between George W. Bush and the phrase 'miserable failure' by copying this link and placing somewhere on your site or blog.

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Sunday, November 30, 2003

Victoria Plame Leaker Unmasked, Sort Of

Despite the modest headline, "We may never learn the truth about the Plame Affair", General J.C. Christian, Patriot, settles the matter quite satisfactorily.
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Major Shock In My Snail-Mail Box

For the first time in my adult life, I've received something in my snail-mail box that sent real shivers up and down my spine.

I consider the Democratic Party my main charity of choice, and have given a dab of money to most of the candidates. Yesterday, I received a very nice "thank you" letter from the Clark campaign. But they forgot one little item.

They forgot to ask me for MORE money. They forgot to enclose a self-addressed envelope for me to send them more money.

Either the person in charge of such things at Clark headquarters is a total yo-yo - or, just maybe....they have some class?

I think I'll send them another couple of bucks. Just my way of saying "thank you".
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Saturday, November 29, 2003

An Iraqi perspective on the Dubya Turkey Trot

Check out Riverbend.
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Faith-Based Initiative

Who says fairy tales are just for children?

If you haven't read this article in The New Yorker, get right over there.

In the Pentagon’s scenario, the responsibility of managing Iraq would quickly be handed off to exiles, led by Chalabi—allowing the U.S. to retain control without having to commit more troops and invest a lot of money. “There was a desire by some in the Vice-President’s office and the Pentagon to cut and run from Iraq and leave it up to Chalabi to run it,” a senior Administration official told me. “The idea was to put our guy in there and he was going to be so compliant that he’d recognize Israel and all the problems in the Middle East would be solved. He would be our man in Baghdad. Everything would be hunky-dory.” The planning was so wishful that it bordered on self-deception. “It isn’t pragmatism, it isn’t Realpolitik, it isn’t conservatism, it isn’t liberalism,” the official said. “It’s theology.”

Would someone please put some grown-ups in charge?

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Friday, November 28, 2003

If It's Thursday, It Must Be Baghdad

During my daily nose-holding slog through the Faux News website, I came across a real side-slapper from Frank Gaffney, Jr.

In nice, BOLD font, Frank proclaims - "President Bush's visit to Baghdad came as a surprise to practically everybody. But not to me."

Scaling heights of giddiness, Frank trips through "compelling", "surpassingly important", "unalterably committed", "powerfully accomplished", "inspirational" .... you get the picture. The man is a hard-core Bush groupie, and no doubt longs for the day Bush will parachute into Baghdad with weapons blazing

With that vision in mind, he loftily proclaims -

"The president also made a point of addressing himself to the Iraqis: "Every day [we] see firsthand the commitment to sacrifice that the Iraqi people are making to secure their own freedom. I have a message for the Iraqi people: You have an opportunity to seize the moment and rebuild your great country, based on human dignity and freedom. The regime of Saddam Hussein is gone forever."

I can think of better ways to address Iraqi citizens than a 2-1/2 hour Baghdad touch 'n' go landing and photo-op with selected occupation troops, surrounded by a steel curtain of heavy security.

Even assuming the speech was available on Iraqi TV and radio, the electricity is still hit-and-miss, nor do most Iraqis appear eager to listen to Bush anyway. And judging by the way police, judges, and non-Baathist political leaders are being knocked off, Iraqis may be getting a slightly different impression about Saddam being "gone forever".

Frank finishes up with a couple of priceless punchlines -

"A further reason for going to Iraq was to afford the president a chance to see for himself, albeit briefly, the facts on the ground. He is now in a position to speak with first-hand authority about the conditions that exist there, and the improvements that are being brought about--painfully, slowly, but day-by-day-- thanks to ever-more-effective collaboration between the U.S., coalition personnel and the Iraqis. "

And....

"George W. Bush's willingness to take real personal risks to raise the morale of the men and women in uniform should have come as no surprise to anyone. After all, he has done so in the past, notably with his arrival by Navy jet aboard the U.S.S. Lincoln earlier this year."

Holy cow. I want some of the stuff this guy is smoking.

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Baghdad Visit Poll ....Publicity Stunt or Bravery?

Go here...... scroll down a bit, and to the right
(Thanks to Greg for the tip!)

And....
Should President Bush have met with ordinary Iraqis too? Poll here
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Feith-Based Delusions

As he so often does, Juan Cole lifts the magician's curtain and blasts through the spin.

"W. must have envisaged his triumphal first trip to Baghdad very differently. Last spring, before the war, he was told by Ahmad Chalabi via Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Doug Feith, that the Iraqi people would welcome him this November with garlands and dancing in the street. They would regard him as the great liberator, a second Roosevelt or Truman. The US military, having easily defeated the Baath army and wiped up its remnants, would have departed. Only a US division, about 20,000 men, would remain, at a former Baath army base and out of sight of most Iraqis. Engineers and decontamination units, Feith told him, would be busy destroying chemical and biological stockpiles, and dismantling the advanced nuclear weapons program, carefully securing the stockpiles of Niger yellowcake uranium. "
(more)

The only thing the above article leaves out is the word "Clinton" - another president who was hailed as a liberator and savior by a grateful population. We could also add the words "General Clark".

Oh, how the "best-laid" plans - or in this case, delusions - go astray. I have no doubt whatsoever a triumphant photo-op in Baghdad has been the Rove plan all along, but a few "adjustments" had to be made along the way - such as flying in and out in the dead of night, no contact with locals, super-duper heavy security, and total secrecy.

Notable quotes:

Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, said he found out about the visit 72 hours previous to the event, and arranged for the extra security by telling airport workers, "Because we're expecting some kind of threat."

Truer words were never spoken.

When asked if there was any precedent for the visit, Communications Director Dan Bartlett said, "We were talking about it. We don't have any recollection. But we haven't done any research to verify that."

Doesn't take much research to discover that a sitting president of the United States has never made a top-secret, middle of the night visit to an illegally occupied country with a native population that would take great joy in taking shots at him.

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Thursday, November 27, 2003

Weekly Standard Gets Something Right

Yeah-huh. Once in a while.

Matt Labash shows us how to play the overused-terrorism-cliche-of-the-month game.

"Now, the most fashionable pre-fab rationalization to use when the news isn't going as swimmingly as we want it to, is to select a place in Iraq, then a corresponding place in America. If the two places start with the same letter, all the better. Next, state baldly that no matter how lousy things are going, you'd rather fight the terrorists / Baathists / whoever-it-is-we're-fighting in the first location, rather than the second. Lastly, sit back with a self-satisfied smile, as if that settles the matter. "


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Dubya Finally Visits a War Zone, Sort Of

The media is wetting it's pants over Dubya's quickie trip to Baghdad, calling it "unprecedented", "extraordinary", "surprising", and so forth.

The startling, unprecedented, and surprising part is that Dubya has now actually visited a war zone, something he spent a part of his life avoiding.

The Left Coaster has it right -

"But while the media slavishly covers this for maximum White House benefit, they conveniently forget that Clinton visited another war zone on Thanksgiving only four years ago, and he was able to travel into a war zone only five months after the US-arranged coalition secured the liberation of Kosovo. My how quickly they forget. The big difference was that Clinton was warmly received by a large contingent of troops in Kosovo, but more importantly was also warmly received by the natives prior to the event, who thanked him for their liberation."

Dubya, of course, didn't hang around to see if Iraqis would throw flowers at him, or thank him for liberating them.

In turn, soldiers spoke enthusiastically about the president. "After 13 months in theater, my morale had kind of sputtered," said Capt. Mark St. Laurent, 36, of Leesburg, Va. "Now I'm good for another two months."

Sounds like the guy has a serious case of battle fatigue.

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Bush Slips In and Out of Iraq

Bush was to spend only two hours on the ground, limiting his visit to a dinner at the airport with U.S. forces.

The British wish they'd been so lucky.
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