Sunday, March 21, 2004
I'm typing this as I watch the 60 Minutes interview with Richard Clarke, which I taped earlier. You can see excerpts of it here.
My gut feeling is that Clarke is not lying. This is much more damning than I thought from reading the preview, and infinitely more sickening.
Taken along with statements by Paul O'Neill, Wesley Clark, and others; a pattern of deceit and misdirection is emerging.
"Shoulda" and "coulda" won't bring the 9/11 victims back, but nobody - repeat, nobody - has been held accountable for their neglect of the obvious warning signs.
The only way any heads will roll is by voting the bastards out of office in November.
The view from the Oval Office window -
"The liberation of Iraq was good for the Iraqi people, good for America, and good for the world The fall of the Iraqi dictator has removed a source of violence, aggression, and instability from the Middle East. The worst regime in the region was given way to what will soon be among the best. The demands of the United Nations were enforced, not ignored with impunity. Years of illicit weapons development by the dictator have come to an end. The Iraqi people are now receiving aid, instead of suffering under sanctions. And men and women across the Middle East, looking to Iraq, are getting a glimpse of what life in a free country can be like.I'm sure men and women across the Middle East, looking at Iraq, would probably embrace the nearest theocratic dictator.
So what does Riverbend see from her window in Baghdad?
A year later and our electricity is intermittent, at best, there constantly seems to be a fuel shortage and the streets aren't safe. When we walk down those streets, on rare occasions, the faces are haggard and creased with concern… concern over family members under detention, homes raided by Americans, hungry mouths to feed, and family members to keep safe from abduction, rape and death.Significantly, the man who claims such care for the innocent men, women, and children of Iraq has only seen fit to make a quick, photo-op stop surrounded by supporting American troops.
And where are we now, a year from the war? Sure- we own satellite dishes and the more prosperous own mobile phones… but where are we *really*? Where are the majority?
We're trying to fight against the extremism that seems to be upon us like a black wave; we're wondering, on an hourly basis, how long it will take for some semblance of normality to creep back into our lives; we're hoping and praying against civil war…
We're watching with disbelief as American troops roam the streets of our towns and cities and break violently into our homes... we're watching with anger as the completely useless Puppet Council sits giving out fat contracts to foreigners and getting richer by the day- the same people who cared so little for their country, that they begged Bush and his cronies to wage a war that cost thousands of lives and is certain to cost thousands more.
We're watching sardonically as an Iranian cleric in the south turns a once secular country into America's worst nightmare- a carbon copy of Iran. We're watching as the lies unravel slowly in front of the world- the WMD farce and the Al-Qaeda mockery.
And where are we now? Well, our governmental facilities have been burned to the ground by a combination of 'liberators' and 'Free Iraqi Fighters'; 50% of the working population is jobless and hungry; summer is looming close and our electrical situation is a joke; the streets are dirty and overflowing with sewage; our jails are fuller than ever with thousands of innocent people; we've seen more explosions, tanks, fighter planes and troops in the last year than almost a decade of war with Iran brought; our homes are being raided and our cars are stopped in the streets for inspections… journalists are being killed 'accidentally' and the seeds of a civil war are being sown by those who find it most useful; the hospitals overflow with patients but are short on just about everything else- medical supplies, medicine and doctors; and all the while, the oil is flowing.
But we've learned a lot. We've learned that terrorism isn't actually the act of creating terror. It isn't the act of killing innocent people and frightening others… no, you see, that's called a 'liberation'. It doesn't matter what you burn or who you kill- if you wear khaki, ride a tank or Apache or fighter plane and drop missiles and bombs, then you're not a terrorist- you're a liberator.
The war on terror is a joke… Madrid was proof of that last week… Iraq is proof of that everyday.
How can anyone be so disconnected from reality?
CBS has posted a preview of the Richard A. Clarke interview here. After reading it, I feel genuinely sick on my stomach.
We've seen this quote from the interview before -
After the president returned to the White House on Sept. 11, he and his top advisers, including Clarke, began holding meetings about how to respond and retaliate. As Clarke writes in his book, he expected the administration to focus its military response on Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda. He says he was surprised that the talk quickly turned to Iraq.Think about it....while people were dying in the ruins, thousands were evacuating, and a choking cloud of toxic dust was clogging the air - Donald Rusfeld was salivating over the chance to finally get revenge on Saddam Hussein.
"Rumsfeld was saying that we needed to bomb Iraq," Clarke said to Stahl. "And we all said ... no, no. Al-Qaeda is in Afghanistan. We need to bomb Afghanistan. And Rumsfeld said there aren't any good targets in Afghanistan. And there are lots of good targets in Iraq. I said, 'Well, there are lots of good targets in lots of places, but Iraq had nothing to do with it.
And while desperate people were searching the hospitals and clinics and tacking "have you seen this person?" posters all over New York City -
"The president dragged me into a room with a couple of other people, shut the door, and said, 'I want you to find whether Iraq did this.' Now he never said, 'Make it up.' But the entire conversation left me in absolutely no doubt that George Bush wanted me to come back with a report that said Iraq did this.It's possible the ruins of the World Trade Center were still burning at the time of that meeting.
"I said, 'Mr. President. We've done this before. We have been looking at this. We looked at it with an open mind. There's no connection.'
"He came back at me and said, "Iraq! Saddam! Find out if there's a connection.' And in a very intimidating way. I mean that we should come back with that answer."
But one small quote buried near the bottom of the article caught my eye -
"I blame the entire Bush leadership for continuing to work on Cold War issues when they back in power in 2001. It was as though they were preserved in amber from when they left office eight years earlier. They came back. They wanted to work on the same issues right away: Iraq, Star Wars. Not new issues, the new threats that had developed over the preceding eight years."Bingo.
Ancient organisms, trapped in amber (a form of tree resin), are frozen in time. The crowd whose aims were thwarted by Clinton's victory in 1992 was likewise frozen in time.
They planned so carefully for so many years to regain power, but never bothered to adjust their agenda to reflect current realities - focusing like a laser beam on how to take over the government of the United States and wrench the country to their will and vengeance
They found their puppet-president in the person of the son who made no secret that, "After all, this is the guy who tried to kill my dad."
Throw in the demand for tax cuts to please conservatives; some evangelical "good vs. evil" rhetoric to appease the religious right - and there you have it; a clear road for neo-con retribution.
They do not trust the democratic process - witness the savage treatment given the recent Spanish election - but are not above manipulating the process to their own ends.
Adding national insult to national injury and secure in the "righteousness" of their cause, they have blocked every attempt to peal back the layers of their deceptions.
John Edwards was right, in more ways than one. There are two Americas; the America that cooperates with it's neighbors and friends and values it's citizens; and the neo-con America that reins in civil liberties, deliberately antagonizes other countries, and craves world domination.
Another four years is unthinkable.
Saturday, March 20, 2004
Julia Baird, writing for the Sidney Morning Herald, commemorates the first year of the Iraq war -
On january 22, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd poked fun at US President George Bush's State of the Union address, claiming it was a "steroid-infused performance", delivered with an in-your-face smirk.
She wrote: "Can you believe President Bush is still pushing the cockamamie claim that we went to war in Iraq with a real coalition rather than a gaggle of poodles and lackeys? His State of the Union address took his swaggering sheriff routine to new heights."
Poodles and lackeys, eh? Might be news to Britain - and Spain - this week.
We are not just poodles. We are big, fat targets. But, as the outgoing Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar has discovered, a global dissonance between several "lackey" governments and their people has been made starkly evident by the war in Iraq. And it's payback time.
Remember the millions of people who clustered in 600 towns and cities across the world a year ago, waving placards, burning effigies? The cities that drew the fattest crowds were in Britain, Italy and Spain - where the governments were supporting the US attack on Iraq.
It was with a feeling of impotence that despite all the protests, uncertainty and questions, many watched their troops go to war. And with the failure of public protest, many shuttled into cyberspace for some fierce political debate.
This week, as 11 million Spaniards returned to the streets - this time to mourn - and voted in a socialist government, pundits started wrestling over whether, by voting out the politicians who had led them to war, the Spanish were kowtowing to terrorists.
Conservative American blogger Andrew Sullivan interpreted it as a victory for al-Qaeda, writing "the trend in Europe is now either appeasement of terror or active alliance with it". The New York Times' David Brooks also implied it was a gutless act of appeasement.
On National Review Online, former Bush speechwriter David Frum wrote: "Sometimes [people] convince themselves that if only they give the Cyclops what he wants, they will be eaten last. And this is what seems to have happened in Spain."
But wasn't democracy one of the things we were fighting for? And wasn't it what we wanted for Iraq?
As the Guardian's Jonathan Freedland argued, it is wrong to conflate the war on Iraq with al-Qaeda. It is possible to oppose both bombing Iraq, and terrorism.
As the more measured newspaper columnists have volleyed arguments and insults about the war across continents, bloggers have increasingly become the Statlers and Waldorfs of political debate - Jim Henson's Muppets who heckle from the balcony - unedited, uninhibited and often unbalanced. But usually entertaining.
The internet has played a vital role as a site of dissent and anti-spin during a year when it seemed protests counted for little.
Bloggers are anarchic. In their mad jumble of jarring opinions, they symbolise the growing cynicism towards journalists, politicians, one another and any symbols of authority known to warp the truth. In Dowd's case it was a lazy insult. In others, it has been a more corrupt distortion of intelligence.
Going to Iraq was clearly a calculated risk.
Today, a year on, as we face the consequences of war, Australians will be on the streets again (in Sydney, it is in Hyde Park at noon). We have a right to be angry. Iraq is a mess, the use of intelligence was dishonest (at best inept), many of the justifications for war have proved thin, and we need accountability. As Owen Harries has argued, it's time to take a less "compliant and ingratiating posture within the alliance" and focus on how to protect Australians from terrorism.
What changes things now, of course, for Bush, Blair, Howard and leaders of other countries dismissed as poodles is the threat of repercussions at the polls, where protests can't be sniffed at as a terrorist tea party, and the power of democracy comes back to bite those who foolishly dismiss people as gullible and compliant.
Just ask Statler and Waldorf, whose most famous quote was: "Get off the stage, you bum!"
Cocaine found hidden in 96-year-old's wheelchair
Here in North Carolina, we're on the cutting edge of elder care, particularly those programs that allow the elderly to be cared for in their own homes.
Some, however, take it just a little too far -
Kings Mountain, North Carolina: A 96-year-old woman has said she does not know how crack cocaine got into her wheelchair.Begging your pardon, ma'am - but maybe the stuff got in your wheelchair when you ran out of room in your prosthetic leg?
Julia Roberts was charged with possessing crack with intent to sell and deliver, and with possessing a crack pipe. She was freed pending a hearing on March 30.
"I've never seen [the drugs] in my life," she told The Charlotte Observer. "I don't know how they could get there [into her wheelchair]."
A search warrant for the arrest said it was the third time Cleveland County deputies had seized crack at the mobile home Roberts shared with her son at Kings Mountain.
Harold Roberts, 61, was charged with possessing stolen goods. His brother, James Roberts, 58, who lived nearby, was charged with possessing moonshine. A neighbour, Donald Eugene Bridges, 56, was charged with possessing stolen property.
A Cleveland County sheriff's officer, Bobby Steen, said Roberts and the three men traded crack for stolen goods, mostly jewellery and guns.
The affidavit said an informant told deputies that Julia Roberts hid crack in her prosthetic leg during a previous search.
Thinking ahead to November, I foresee either 1) a landslide victory for John Kerry, making it impossible for Republicans to swipe this election, or 2) a close victory for Kerry, which Republicans try to steal but are thwarted by enraged, wiser Democrats and a Supreme Court that wouldn't dare try that sh*t again.
Therefore, it's pleasant to contemplate the creation of the George W. Bush Presidential Library.
Googling "George W. Bush Presidential Library" doesn't come up with any plans to build one; presumably, Those Who Do Such Things are feeling pretty confident they don't need to start construction until about 2007.
The closest a brief google got me was the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, which held an exhibit from March 11- July 31, 2002 called "Fathers and Sons: Two Families, Four Presidents".
And, of course, the obligatory "Remembering September 11th" exhibit, consisting of artwork given to former President Bush-the-Elder, including this fine specimen -
After observing that 1) the artist forgot the halo, and 2) once again, Dubya is coasting on his father's coattails, we'll move right along to Jesus' General, and his fine proposal for the George W. Bush Presidential Library.
The library will be at least five stories high, one floor for each of Our Leader's terms of office. More stories will be added if Our Leader's steady hand is still needed after the War on Terror enters its third decade.Because, as we all know, you shouldn't trade horses midstream, and this stream just happens to be a never-ending "Lazy River" ride.
I'm also particularly impressed by the soaring, central Rotunda of Blame.
We all know how tough Our Leader's first term has been. We also know that it wasn't his fault. He's told us so many times. Every problem we've faced can be blamed on someone else....which would include a nice "colorfully sectioned circle and spinable arrow on the floor". Sections are labelled "Clinton", "Democrats", "French", etc., allowing the player to point the blame at the usual assortment of scoundrels.
It's much like the old "Twister" game; spin the arrow, then try to figure out how to re-position yourself to prevent a humiliating crash onto the floor, bringing down anyone else in the vicinity.
The General promises to provide more insight into his plans on the American Street, and hopefully will let us know where and how we can donate to this very worthwhile project.
(Faithful reader Greg sends along this link - thanks!)
(message about StopFCC.Com from Scott)
I started StopFCC.com because I'm tired of politicians standing up and talking about "Protecting our Freedom" one day, and then the next day they are pushing the FCC to fine a broadcaster millions of dollars over words that offend a few campaign contributors. A few large media companies and politicians get to decide what I can watch, read and listen to? I guess in this election year "Freedom" only means "Fighting Terrorism" and does not include the First Amendment.
Now the FCC is talking about trying to regulate cable and satellite? When did this country turn Communist? We need to tell the Government that this is NOT acceptable, and the only thing they seem to want to listen to is votes and money- especially in an election year.
The whole idea here is to collect a LOT of legitimate names, not like some of these other petitions that you see on the net that are more about advertising than making a difference. This is for real, we verify email addresses, and we ask for an "e-signature" (Made possible by legislation passed by President Clinton). When you sign this petition it's like signing a legal document. This is the real deal.
Once we get a lot of names, we plan on sending letters to politicians that say things like "Dear Senator ABC, based on the statistics from the petition at StopFCC.com, there are 12,345 people in your district that have pledged support for free speech and against further censorship. We urge you to reconsider the recent actions of the FCC and pledge your support for free speech. Show the voters you are serious about their first amendment rights." --- We have already had people from different government servers looking at the petition- the more people that sign the petition the more attention we will get.
Help support the campaign. Sign the Petition and then tell as many people as you can about what we are trying to do.
Thank you for your support!
Senior Clinton administration officials called to testify next week before the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks say they are prepared to detail how they repeatedly warned their Bush administration counterparts in late 2000 that Al Qaeda posed the worst security threat facing the nation — and how the new administration was slow to act.Testimony is scheduled to take place on Tuesday and Wednesday, and will involve Richard Clarke (who will also appear on 60 Minutes Sunday), former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, former Defense Secretary William S. Cohen and Samuel R. Berger, Mr. Clinton's national security adviser.
Better fasten your seat belts. Though much of their testimony - confirming the incoming Bush administration was throroughly briefed on the al Queda threat - is already part of the public record - this is an election year. Bush/Cheney has only begun to fight, and will be spinning the testimony for all they're worth.
While Clinton officials have offered similar accounts in the past, a new public review of how they warned Mr. Bush's aides about the need to deal quickly with the Qaeda threat could prove awkward to the White House, especially in the midst of a presidential campaign. But given the witnesses' prominence in the Clinton administration, supporters of Mr. Bush may see political motives in the testimony of some of them.Do ya think?
A White House that would deliberately "out" a CIA agent to mask their incompetence won't hesitate to annihilate Clarke, Albright, Cohen, and Berger.
I have no problem believing the White House pooh-poohed warnings given them. After all, this is the "anti-Clinton" administration, and multiple sources have confirmed the Bush obsession with getting Saddam to the point of neglecting Osama.
Expect the Clinton administration's record on fighting terrorism to be thoroughly shredded, history to be revised, and continued celebration of Iraqi Freedom "successes".
Archaeologists have rediscovered a huge rock art site in southern India where ancient people used boulders to make musical sounds in rituals.Just can't help myself; another news item reminds me of a movie.....
What's Up, Doc?
Best car chase scene. Ever.
Barbra Streisand, Ryan O'Neal, and the incomparable Madeline Kahn.
Friday, March 19, 2004
After revealing himself to the world as a bigoted jackass -
Commissioner J.C. Fugate, who initiated the Tuesday motion, also made the motion to rescind it Thursday. In a discussion about gays and same-sex marriage at the earlier meeting, Fugate had asked the county attorney to find a way to "keep them out of here."Because, like - the decision would have been illegal.
(County attorney Gary) Fritts said he advised the commissioners that they could not ban homosexuals or make them subject to criminal charges. The U.S. Supreme Court (news - web sites) last year struck down laws on homosexual sodomy as a violation of adults' privacy.Damned activist judges.
Anyway, what does that do to the GAYDAR contract? Anonymous sources tell me that the good commissioner Fugate is in secret negotiations with Saudi Arabia.
In the meantime, you might want to try driving the Religious Heritage Trail, which goes through Rhea County and includes the Dayton Courthouse, scene of the infamous Scopes Monkey Trial.
The region also has "beautiful little country churches that speak to the faith of a lot of different generations," said Carolyn Brackett, a researcher for the National Trust for Historic Preservation Heritage Tourism Program.The Religious Heritage Trail includes:
"As far as we know, this is going to be the only religious history trail of its kind," said Melissa Alley, vice president for the Convention and Visitors Bureau at the Cleveland-Bradley Chamber of Commerce.
RHEA COUNTY COURTHOUSE: 1475 Market St., downtown Dayton. A national historic landmark. The Scopes monkey trial was held on the second floor; it contains the original judge's bench, four tables, railing, jury chairs and spectator seats.Very nice. But while you're driving through, just don't do or say anything that might indicate gayness.
WHITWELL HOLOCAUST EXHIBIT: German railcar used by the Nazis to transport Jews. Located at Whitwell Middle School, 1130 Main St., Whitwell, 45 minutes northwest of Chattanooga.
OUR LADY OF THE POOR SHRINE: Catholic shrine in New Hope, west of Chattanooga.
BETH SALEM: Historic African American church and cemetery. From Interstate 75, take exit 49 at Athens, Tenn.; follow Tenn. 30 East through Athens toward Etowah. About 5 miles out of Athens, turn right onto County Road 602. Church is a quarter-mile on the left.
BRAINERD MISSION: Site where Cherokee Indians were converted to Christianity. Marker located at 5600 Brainerd Road, Chattanooga.
CHURCH OF GOD EXHIBIT: The Beauty of Holiness Exhibit tells the story of the Holiness movement, back to John Wesley, and the early history of the Church of God. Pentecostal Research Center.
Something tells me all those "beautiful little country churches that speak to the faith of a lot of different generations" had better speak louder.....some folks aren't listening.
President Bush in Washington and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell in Baghdad marked Friday's one-year anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq by praising the coalition's progress.How are "celebrations" going throughout the world?
Bush told a White House audience that included diplomats of countries that participated in the war that the United States and its allies "have pledged before the world: We will never bow to the danger of the few."
In Baghdad on Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said the United States was committed to giving the Iraqis a country of which they can be proud.
Explosions from what coalition sources said may have been three mortar shells were heard in Baghdad Friday night at about 8:30 p.m. (12:30 p.m. ET). Sirens could be heard in the Green Zone, where the coalition is headquartered. There was no initial word on injuries or damage.Me? I think Charles2 has it right -
Britain's top envoy in Iraq, former U.N. Ambassador Sir Jeremy Greenstock, said Iraqis will have "unbelievably bad days" as the violence continues in the months ahead.
South Korea has canceled plans to send troops to the northern Iraq city of Kirkuk, citing U.S. pressure to participate in "offensive operations" that are contrary to Seoul's mission of peaceful reconstruction, the Defense Ministry said Friday.
Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski said Thursday that although he does not think Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, it would be a mistake to withdraw Poland's troops from Iraq now, a Polish government spokeswoman said.
Some Iraqis marked the occasion by protesting about poor security and unemployment.
To call this an anniversary while, on average, more than a soldier a day is being killed by insurgents, is obscene. When these same insurgents are making sure, by killing civilians - Iraqi and foreign - to put the lie to the statement that the Iraqis are better off now than while Hussein was still in power; that is no time to celebrate. We have a long way to go to clean up the mess that our stuffed flightsuit has made in the Middle East.
Perhaps it's best to call today The One Year Memorial.
Interesting how all the conservative talking heads consider the Spanish government-switch "appeasement". Shame on those Spanish voters, participating in a democratic election, letting the terrorists influence their vote!
Clearly, it's not the case - given the poll results taken just the day before the election which showed the Socialist party ahead by a slight margin.
Obviously, GOPers are hoping for a November 2002 redux -
President George Bush wrapped himself in the American flag and won a major victory last week as U.S. voters gave control of both houses of Congress to the Republican party. In mid-term elections, the party in power almost always fares badly, but this year an electorate, gripped by fear of terrorism, and whipped into war fever by high-voltage propaganda, voted Republican. Thank you Osama and Saddam.
(Published on Sunday, November 10, 2002 by the Toronto Sun
After Iraq, Bush Will Attack His Real Target by Eric Margolis)
This main rapid response team comes in at 6:30 AM and can stay past midnight on any given day, but at night they get a bit of relief from Chris Jackson and Peter Dauo, two young staffers who make the Kerry campaign a 24-hour operation. Jackson, aided by a group of volunteers round the country who watch local news programs in key swing states like Ohio, puts together a 30-page memo to top aides of both what's in the morning papers and what people are seeing on television about the campaign. Dauo reads the blogs, tracking what people are saying about Kerry on the Web. (emphasis mine)One word - ammunition.
Scour the news, scour the archives, and blog, blog, blog. Who knows - whatever little bit of ammo you turn up may be helpful.
Dauo may not read it on your blog or comments, but someone will pick up on it, then someone else, and someone else - and soon it becomes known 'net-wide.
Ford layoffs, plant closings won't affect Claycomo (January 11, 2002)
Ford Motor Co's announcement of "significant" layoffs at 11 North American plants will not affect Kansas City's Claycomo plant, a company spokesman said.
By the middle of the decade, Ford (NYSE: F) also will close five other plants and discontinue four low-margin vehicles, company officials said. They gave no timetable for the layoffs.
Ford said in a prepared statement that about 35,000 employees have been or will be affected by worldwide restructuring since January 2001, including 21,500 in North America.
Thousands more US layoffs in wake of Ford job-slashing 17 January 2002
Last week’s announcement by Ford Motor Company that it would eliminate 35,000 jobs, including 22,000 in North America, was the sharpest expression of a job-cutting trend that has continued unabated in the US in the new year. Two million jobs were shed by US corporations in 2001, and the first two weeks of 2002 have seen further layoffs carried out in all segments of the economy—from retail to manufacturing to finance.
Task Force Looks To Soften Effect of Ford Layoffs (January 26, 2004)
The Ford Hazelwood Task Force is working on plans to diversify the region's job base and soften the effect of the loss of a production shift this year at Ford Motor Co.'s plant in Hazelwood.
Ford layoffs will hit area businesses (01/29/2004)
Nickie Murphy, bartender at Hazelwood Bowl, has a sick feeling as she ponders the impact of 1,000 lost jobs at the nearby Ford Motor Co. plant.
"If they're not making money, they're not coming in," Murphy said. "I'm going to lose all my business."
Indeed, a similar refrain could be heard Thursday from small retailers along Lindbergh Boulevard in Hazelwood, following Ford's announcement that it will cut one shift at the assembly plant.
Those shop owners and their employees are the hidden losers in a massive job loss for the St. Louis region, said Patrick McKeehan, project director of the Ford Hazelwood Task Force.
Russian subsidiary of Ford works three shifts a day
Ford Motor Company plant in Russia was opened in July 2002, $150 million was invested in this project. The plant produces three modifications of Ford Focus: sedan, hatchback and universal. This is the first plant in Russia which is owned and operated by foreign company. The sales of the vehicles started in October 2002. After seeing the vehicles success in Russian market, Ford CEOs introduced the second shift at the plant in May 2003.
Russian motorists appreciated the advantages of Ford Focus, 15,876 of vehicles were sold in 2003.
Thursday, March 18, 2004
Movie about Christ starts violent domestic fight
The Associated Press - Statesboro, Ga.
A couple got in such a heated argument after seeing "The Passion of the Christ" that they were arrested for fighting.So much for that "peace on earth, good will toward men" stuff.
The two left the theater debating whether God the Father in the Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit was in human form or spiritual.
When police arrived at their home, the wife had ripped her husband's shirt, and he had punched a hole in the sheet rock near the stairs.
"It was the dumbest thing we've ever done," said 34-year-old Melissa Davidson.
She and her husband, 33-year-old Sean Davidson, were charged with simple battery March 11.
A police report said Melissa Davidson suffered injuries on her left arm and face, while Sean Davidson had a scissor stab on his hand and his shirt was ripped off.
Melissa Davidson acknowledged she had a scratch but said there was no scissor injury.
"We both called the law on each other," she said. "It was one of those stupid things. We were arguing over a point of religion."
The couple has been married for 10 years and had never been in an argument like that before, she said.
"We're each other's best friends. Sometimes people get stupid," she said.
DAYTON, Tenn. - J.C. Fugate, Rhea County Commissioner, announced today that negotiations have been initiated with the Department of Defense for a GAYDAR (Gay Alert; Ya'll Are Rejected) from Acme Technology, Inc. for the Space, Missile, and Gay Defense Initiative and Support (SMGDIS) Contract.
This is a 5-year contract with Acme Technology including options and valued at approximately $20.7 Million. Commissioner Fugate announced that the contract would be subsidized by confiscation of property from known gays, tax cuts for heterosexual Christians, and eliminating educational pork such as lunches, library book purchases, and hot water.
Wiley Chiote of Acme states, "This contract further enhances our capabilities in the space, missile, and gay defense area and we are proud to be a part of the GAYDAR team.
/satire, I think
Compare and contrast:
Tenn. County Wants to Charge Homosexuals
DAYTON, Tenn. - The county that was the site of the Scopes "Monkey Trial" over the teaching of evolution is asking lawmakers to amend state law so the county can charge homosexuals with crimes against nature.AND....
The Rhea County commissioners approved the request 8-0 Tuesday
Commissioner J.C. Fugate, who introduced the measure, also asked the county attorney to find a way to enact an ordinance banning homosexuals from living in the county.
"We need to keep them out of here," Fugate said.
Overview of the Salem Witch Trials
The Salem witchcraft events began in late February 1692 and lasted through April, 1693. All told, at least twenty-five people died: nineteen were executed by hanging, one was tortured to death, and at least five died in jail due to harsh conditions. Over 160 people were accused of witchcraft, most were jailed, and many deprived of property and legal rights.
Wednesday, March 17, 2004
Thanks to Houston, we now have confirmation.
You're the United Nations!
Most people think you're ineffective, but you are trying to
completely save the world from itself, so there's always going to be a long way to go. You're always the one trying to get friends to talk to each other, enemies to talk to each other, anyone who can to just talk instead of beating each other about the head and torso. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, and you get very schizophrenic as a result. But your heart is in the right place, and sometimes also in New York.
Take the Country Quiz at the Blue Pyramid
St. Patrick's Day parade crash injures 8
SAVANNAH, Georgia (AP) -- A convertible sped through an intersection during the city's St. Patrick's Day parade Wednesday, slamming into three members of a marching band and spectators who lined the parade route. Eight people were injured.Was the guy driving the convertible dressed like a pirate? Or did he have french fries up his nose?
Actually, I think it was a conspiracy -
The parade watchers included two members of a G8 Summit planning team who were monitoring security measures at the event. Nearby Sea Island is the site of this year's meeting of leaders from the G8 member nations, which will be held in June.Seriously, I'm glad nobody was killed.
The defense plans to use the "Gay Marriages Drove Me To It Defense".
...which sounds vaguely alarming, but really isn't.
If you know what I'm talking about, look to the side bar on the right; you'll see a modest little "Site Feed" entry. Click on that, and subscribe to my site feed for up-to-date, moment-by-moment reports on whatever nonsense I write.
And if you know what I'm talking about, you probably don't want to read the following:
If you don't know what I'm talking about, don't feel bad; you're not by yourself. Most of us are just now catching on to this great little goodie.
First, you need the ominous-sounding aggregator. There are many; I use Bloglines. It's free and super-easy to download to your hard drive and install.
Now you need to subscribe to some blogs. Look for "Site Feed" (like you see on my sidebar), or "XML" or "RSS Feed".
Click on that link, and a new window will pop up with a lot of very utilitarian-looking text. Copy the URL.
Now go to your aggregator program, and paste that URL in the "subscription" area.
If you have Bloglines, you can also download their Notifier. The Notifier puts a little "B" icon in your taskbar.
Here's what happens.....every hour on the hour, Bloglines searches the blogs to which you have subscribed. If any have updated, a little red dot will appear on that "B" icon in your taskbar.
Believe me, if I can do it, anyone can. It's free, simple, and a great way to keep in touch with all your favorite blogs.
Bush administration officials are seriously pissed after the release of a CIA surveillance aircraft video that is thought to show Osama bin Laden in 2000.
Releasing the video might even remind voters that President Clinton ordered cruise missile strikes on suspected terrorist training camps in eastern in Afghanistan where intelligence suggested bin Laden might be in 1998.
Never mind the technology; every man, woman, and child on the face of the earth thinks the United States can read your driver's license or I.D. papers (in your wallet, in your pants pocket) from a zillion miles in space.
The pissing-off part is that the video confirms - gulp - the Clinton administration - was on bin Laden's tail years before George Bush even figured out how to pronounce the al Queda leader's name.
I think we can depend on the Department of Justice to jump on this one immediately, with no advance warning and no mercy.
For an enjoyable morning of leisurely reading, may I recommend the Law of Administration for the State of Iraq for the Transitional Period?
I've always hoped Iraq would become a strong, free democratic country. After briefly perusing the constitution for the transitional period, I almost wish they would one day become strong enough to liberate the citizens of the United States.
Because, dang - I want some of that stuff.
A brief sampling, with some items from my wish-list in bold -
Chapter One - Fundamental Principles
Article 3 ......Likewise, no amendment may be made that could abridge in any way the rights of the Iraqi people cited in Chapter Two
Article 6 The Iraqi Transitional Government shall take effective steps to end the vestiges of the oppressive acts of the previous regime arising from forced displacement, deprivation of citizenship, expropriation of financial assets and property, and dismissal from government employment for political, racial, or sectarian reasons.
Chapter Two - Fundamental Rights
Article 12. All Iraqis are equal in their rights without regard to gender, sect, opinion, belief, nationality, religion, or origin, and they are equal before the law. Discrimination against an Iraqi citizen on the basis of his gender, nationality, religion, or origin is prohibited. Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and the security of his person. No one may be deprived of his life or liberty, except in accordance with legal procedures. All are equal before the courts.
Article 14. The individual has the right to security, education, health care, and social security. The Iraqi State and its governmental units, including the federal government, the regions, governorates, municipalities, and local administrations, within the limits of their resources and with due regard to other vital needs, shall strive to provide prosperity and employment opportunities to the people.
(B) Police, investigators, or other governmental authorities may not violate the sanctity of private residences, whether these authorities belong to the federal or regional governments, governorates, municipalities, or local administrations, unless a judge or investigating magistrate has issued a search warrant in accordance with applicable law on the basis of information provided by a sworn individual who knew that bearing false witness would render him liable to punishment.
(C) No one may be unlawfully arrested or detained, and no one may be detained by reason of political or religious beliefs.
(E) The accused is innocent until proven guilty pursuant to law, and he likewise has the right to engage independent and competent counsel, to remain silent in response to questions addressed to him with no compulsion to testify for any reason, to participate in preparing his defense, and to summon and examine witnesses or to ask the judge to do so. At the time a person is arrested, he must be notified of these rights.
(I) Civilians may not be tried before a military tribunal. Special or exceptional courts may not be established.
Article 17. It shall not be permitted to possess, bear, buy, or sell arms except on licensure issued in accordance with the law.
(A) Every Iraqi who fulfills the conditions stipulated in the electoral law has the right to stand for election and cast his ballot secretly in free, open, fair, competitive, and periodic elections.
(B) No Iraqi may be discriminated against for purposes of voting in elections on the basis of gender, religion, sect, race, belief, ethnic origin, language, wealth, or literacy.
(C) No official or employee of the Iraqi Transitional Government shall enjoy immunity for criminal acts committed while in office.
(E) The Iraqi Transitional Government shall respect and implement IraqÕs international obligations regarding the non-proliferation, non-development, non-production, and non-use of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, and associated equipment, materiel, technologies, and delivery systems for use in the development, manufacture, production, and use of such weapons.
(E) The Iraqi Armed Forces may not be dispatched outside Iraq even for the purpose of defending against foreign aggression except with the approval of the National Assembly and upon the request of the Presidency Council.
Tuesday, March 16, 2004
Bush promotes health-care plan, saying it will `empower consumers'
"The debate is whether or not the marketplace ought to have a function in determining the cost of health care, or whether or not the federal government ought to make all the decisions," Bush said during a conversation on health care hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "I've made my stand. I believe that the best health-care policy is one that empowers consumers, and one that understands the market.""Empower consumers", my butt.
I believe my big donors who run the health care system and pharmaceutical companies should be able to charge whatever they want.So, how does our "consumer empowered" system deliver?
#27 in hospital beds (3.6 per thousand people)
#52 in infant mortality (6.69 deaths per 1000 live births)
#42 in life expectancy (77.4 years, total population)
#22 in maternal mortality (8 per 100,000)
#69 in measles immunization (92% children, one year old)
But hey - WE'RE NUMBER ONE !! - In spending ($4,271 per person, 1999)
Isn't there something wrong with this picture?
John Kerry said -
"I've met more leaders who can't go out and say this publicly, but boy, they look at you and say, 'You got to win this. You got to beat this guy."George Bush said -
"I think if you're gonna make an accusation in the course of a presidential campaign, you ought to back it up with facts,"John Kerry should say -
"Willingly. As soon as George Bush names the world leaders who support his re-election."
Very few issues are black and white, the way Bush & Friends characterize them. The Toronto Star puts it in words simple enough that even the most committed good/evil, black/white, night/day pundit can understand -
Spanish voters were not bowing to terrorists when they threw out the ruling conservative Popular Party on Sunday. Instead, they were punishing a government they believed was trying to mislead them. They also were rejecting a government that joined the United States in backing the Iraq war, against the wishes of the vast majority of Spaniards.Our precious human resources have been wasted, and our treasure squandered, the naked emperor struts the world stage and calls himself a warrior - and the world laughs at him.
For too long, the world has been sidetracked from the war on terror. The blame for that lies squarely with Bush and his obsession with Iraq. Instead of spending vast resources fighting Saddam Hussein and hunting in vain for non-existent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Bush forgot that the real war should have been on terror.
As beastofsound remarked in comments to an earlier post -
"What I find interesting about the drugs developed to treat follicle and erectile dysfunction is that no man I know will admit they use them. Yet someone's buying them."At least now we know who uses Grecian Formula.
(from New Yorkish)
Desperate Afghan Makes an Ass Out of Himself
I am far too genteel, tasteful, and damned ladylike to comment.
Calliing Rick Santorum......
Monday, March 15, 2004
From Time, via Pandagon -
Administration sources tell TIME that employees at the Department of Homeland Security have been asked to keep their eyes open for opportunities to pose the President in settings that might highlight the Administration's efforts to make the nation safer. The goal, they are being told, is to provide Bush with one homeland-security photo-op a month.Got a blog? Post it.
No blog? Leave comments everywhere about it.
Got a newspaper? Write a letter to the editor.
Got friends? Tell them about it.
This really, really stinks. Not only is it a stupic, crass political exploitation of the War on Terra, but it draws first responders from their busy schedule.
My suggestion for ways to "pose the President in settings that might highlight the Administration's efforts to make the nation safer"?
How about posing him on the front porch at the ranch, holding a "will work for food" sign?
And didn't Aznar just get his party's ass kicked out of office for this kind of thing?
Hmmm....maybe Bush should try it.......
(corrections, 10:57 p.m., 3/15/2004)
....put down any sharp objects, strap yourself into your chair, and remove any containers of liquid away from your computer.
Now, go here.....
It's the fifteenth of the month, which means payday in this household.
And payday means another donation to the Kerry campaign!
Woo-hoo! State champs!
Trinity High School Bulldogs (my daughter's "alma mater") - North Carolina 3A Boys Basketball Champs!
The Gadflyer begins it's series today on "Getting Tough".
Monday - "Getting Tough With the Right"
Laying the foundation for future victories will require money, energy, thought and patience. But if they want to help make our nation a truer reflection of the noble ideals on which it was founded, progressives will have to strap on the chain mail, jump on their horses, and ride into battle. If they do it right, the first years of the 21st century may be remembered as the end of the age of the wimpy liberal – and the beginning of the age of the progressive warrior.Tuesday - "Getting Tough with the Media"
Wednesday - "Getting Tough with Progressive Constituencies"
Thursday - "Getting Tough on the Campaign Trail"
It's bad enough the Bush administration is using our tax money to trumpet it's ghastly new Medicare law, but seniors who fall for the propaganda will find themselves in a virtual landmine of rising prices and red tape.
Today's Seniors details the pitfalls -
Nasty Surprise #1 ... "inflation increases"Obviously, it will take a leap of faith for seniors to sign on; faith that you will remain healthy, faith that your retirement income will increase along with inflation, and great faith that you (or some bureaucrat) won't screw up the paperwork.
The $250 deductible, $35 monthly premium and other coverage amounts described above apply only to 2006. Those amounts will be adjusted for inflation in 2007 and later years. However, the copayment amounts for people eligible for low-income assistance will not be adjusted for inflation.
Nasty Surprise #2 ... "separate enrollment"
You must enroll separately for the new Plan D prescription drug benefit if you wish to participate, even if you are already enrolled in Medicare Part A and B (the government loves paperwork!).
Nasty Surprise #3 ... "freedom of choice"
Medicare's new Part D prescription drug plan is voluntary ... you don't have to enroll. For many seniors, it might cost more than you could expect to receive in benefits, especially if you are healthy. Or, you might put off enrolling because you simply can't afford it.
But, if you delay enrolling for more than 2 months after first becoming eligible, you will be penalized for the rest of your life! The penalty will permanently increase your premium 1% for every month you delay. For example, if you delay 10 months, you will pay 10% more than almost everyone else. If you delay 2 years, your premium will be about 25% more than other people pay.
Nasty Surprise #4 ... "no supplemental insurance allowed"
When you enroll in Part D, you will not be allowed to keep a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) policy that includes a benefit for prescription drugs. As a result, if you now have a Medicare Supplement insurance policy that does include a prescription drugs benefit (Plan H, I or J), you must make a choice no later than March 4, 2006 (or 63 days after you enroll in Part D, if that is a later date).
That's a pretty big leap of faith for anyone, and almost certainly a leap off the health care cliff for most seniors.
Many opinions have been expressed regarding the terrorist attacks in Spain and their effect on the election.
Most seem to feel that the attacks were a direct slap to the right-of-center Aznar government. Depending on which side of the fence they're sitting, the Socialist Party victory is seen as a repudiation of conservative handling of terrorism or evidence that al-Queda is winning.
I'm not so sure about either idea. Ninety-four percent of Spain's citizenry oppose the war in Iraq and providing Spanish troops to the effort. One of the Socialist Party's promises is to disentangle from Spain's alliance with the Bush administration's war policy and bring Spanish troops home.
Had the Socialist Party been in power the last several years, formed an unconditional alliance with the United States, and sent troops into Iraq - would they have been re-elected?
It's apparently not the party label voters rejected, but an anti-war protest in it's most potent form.
It was not a general anti-war, pacifist protest; it was a repudiation of the Iraq war. Spain has provided invaluable expertise in the war in Afghanistan - from engineers to bomb disposal to helicopter support and beyond. Whether or not Zapatero will pull Spanish troops from Afghanistan remains to be seen; far fewer Spaniards oppose the war in Afghanistan than the war in Iraq.
Is al Queda "winning" by influencing elections? I suppose it could be spun that way, but al Queda wasn't on the ballot, nor were their demands for the United States to pull troops from Saudi Arabia or for Israel to disappear.
Spain has a long history of vigorously fighting terrorism, both domestic and foreign, and cooperation with other countries in the effort. Like every other nation in the world, their record is a mixed story of successes and failures. There is no reason to think a change in government will suddenly imperil their intelligence gathering apparatus, police work, or military. Nor is it reasonable to believe the voters desired less vigilance.
The voters certainly did not embrace al Queda or cave to it's demands - they rejected Aznar's alliance with George Bush and the war in Iraq and Aznar's apparently politically motivated attempts to pin the blame for the latest terrorist attack on ETA.
Perhaps the message of the Spanish election is not a win for al Queda or a repudiation of the right-center policies, but a rejection of politicians who don the triumphalist armor, and attempt to manipulate events in their own favor.
(cross-posted on ETalkinghead)
Sunday, March 14, 2004
The Tehran Times isn't exactly known for "fair and balanced" news, nevertheless the headline certainly catches the eye.
Over the past few days, in the wake of the bombings in Karbala and the ideological disputes that delayed the signing of Iraq’s interim constitution, there have been reports that U.S. forces have unloaded a large cargo of parts for constructing long-range missiles and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the southern ports of Iraq.Who knows? But it's a measure of the world's distrust that such a report would be printed - and believed.
Heck, I'd believe it. In fact, I'd be quite willing to believe this cache would be discovered sometime near election day.
In a stunning turn of events, the Bush administration announced it's full support for stem cell research. (/satire)
Too bad there aren't more bald GOP'er legislators; researchers would be working overtime with full federal funding.
Sometimes, I feel physically sick with grief and shame when I read Riverbend -
One example of an arbitrary detention we heard about the other day was of a man who was arrested in Tikrit. They raided his home and gathered the 25-year-old man, two brothers and an elderly uncle. They got the usual treatment: a bag on the head, and hands behind their backs. They were taken to a place outside of Tikrit and thrown into a barn-like area with bags on their heads- still tied up. For 3 days, they were kicked and cursed by the troops. In between the kicking and cursing, a hefty soldier would scream questions at them and an interpreter would translate, "Are you part of Al-Qaeda?! Do you know Osama bin Laden?!" On the third day, one of the young men struck up a deal with who he gathered was their 'head'- the man who gave all the orders. They agreed that one of the soldiers would accompany the man back to the city and wait while he came up with $300/detainee. The rest of the men would be freed a couple of days later.Civil war, by June 30th. If not before.
And it worked. Two days later, his three relatives came walking home after being dropped off on the side of the road. Basically, they paid a ransom for their freedom. Just one of the many stories about life in the 'New Iraq'- no wonder Chalabi was so jubilant while signing the Transitional Law document. The country is currently like an unguarded bank- especially for those who bear arms.
These last few days have brought back memories of the same dates, last year. What were we doing in early March? We were preparing for the war… digging wells, taping up windows, stocking up on candles, matches, kerosene, rice, flour, bandages, and medicine… and what are we doing now? Using them.
Saturday, March 13, 2004
As early as July, silos in Alaska could be filled with three-stage interceptors meant to destroy incoming ballistic missiles with the help of ground- and space-based sensors. It would be the first time the nation has had a system for destroying warheads aimed at American soil since the short-lived Safeguard program in the 1970's.Congress has it's own set of questions, but just in case they need some more, I suggest utilizing the University of Florida's May 2003 edition of Consumer Highlights, with it's feature titled "Five Questions To Ask Before Buying Anything Over $20" (PDF warning):
1) Do I really have a need or compelling use for this?I'll go out on a limb and say the proposed missile defense system doesn't pass our purchase test - especially since it doesn't work.
2) Could I just as well borrow or rent it, for less?
3) If I really do need it and borrowing it is not feasible, can I afford to pay for it with cash?
4) If I can, do I already own something that would serve just as well?
5) If I don't have anything that will do the job, do I know for a fact that I have found the best value? Have I really checked around enough to know?
If your prospective purchase passes each of the above checkpoints, still WAIT 24 HOURS before making the purchase (unless it's an emergency, of course). With this system, you will save money on many items that you would buy largely on impulse, without sufficient thought.
In an interview Thursday, Mr. Christie's predecessor at the Pentagon, Philip E. Coyle, expressed far more doubt about the tests.One of these days, I will take my final breath, pass over to the other side, and all will be revealed.
"Ever since the president made his decision, the priority of the program has been on deployment, not on understanding whether the system works," said Mr. Coyle, now a senior adviser at the Center for Defense Information, a private research group. "Most people don't appreciate how complicated this system is, nor how much all of the tests so far have been artificially scripted to be successful."
Presumably, one of the questions that will be answered is - "Will these bozos ever give up their 'Star Wars' dreams?"
Medicare Nominee Agrees to Senator's Demand
Remember Scottie McClellan's brother Mark? Dubya's choice as Weapon of Medicare Destruction?
The amiable Dr. Mark said Monday -
he won't answer senators' questions about his opposition to importing prescription drugs from Canada before he takes over the government health program.Which strikes me as very much like refusing to share intelligence with allies, but bullying them into supporting a war.
But bless him, Mark has had a change of heart.
The U.S. nominee to run Medicare, with his confirmation stuck on hold, bowed on Wednesday to demands he testify about his opposition to the importation of lower-priced medicines.The spin?
Mark McClellan, currently commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (news - web sites), will appear before the Senate Commerce Committee on Thursday.
"Mark believes he needs to be the bigger man and step forward and reverse the trend that puts politics in front of public health," said Peter Pitts, the FDA's associate commissioner for external relations.How about reversing the trend that puts pharmaceutical profits in front of public health? Or reversing the trend to put politics before the public good?
(ed. note - /sarcasm)
Never trust me for movie reviews or recommendations.
I've been known to enjoy wonderful, critically-acclaimed movies as well as the critically-panned. In fact, I've probably enjoyed more "thumbs-down" flicks than otherwise.
For what it's worth, I enjoyed Independence Day (1996). The pairing of Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum tickled my weird sense of humor, and the "primary weapon" destruction scenes were pretty awesome. It was fun; I enjoyed it, it got a lot of publicity and made a lot of money.
So I'm kind of looking forward to The Day After Tomorrow, from the same director (Roland Emmerich), which will be released on May 28th.
Especially considering the Pentagon's concern about the sudden effects of global warming -
The threat that has riveted their attention is this: Global warming, rather than causing gradual, centuries-spanning change, may be pushing the climate to a tipping point. Growing evidence suggests the ocean-atmosphere system that controls the world's climate can lurch from one state to another in less than a decade—like a canoe that's gradually tilted until suddenly it flips over. Scientists don't know how close the system is to a critical threshold. But abrupt climate change may well occur in the not-too-distant future. If it does, the need to rapidly adapt may overwhelm many societies—thereby upsetting the geopolitical balance of power.Now check out the synopsis of The Day After Tomorrow -
Though triggered by warming, such change would probably cause cooling in the Northern Hemisphere, leading to longer, harsher winters in much of the U.S. and Europe. Worse, it would cause massive droughts, turning farmland to dust bowls and forests to ashes. Picture last fall's California wildfires as a regular thing. Or imagine similar disasters destabilizing nuclear powers such as Pakistan or Russia—it's easy to see why the Pentagon has become interested in abrupt climate change.
In Independence Day Roland Emmerich brought you the near destruction of earth by aliens, Now, in Day After Tomorrow the enemy is an even more devastating force: nature itself. Tornadoes rip Los Angeles; a massive snow storm pounds New Delhi; hail the size of grapefruit batters Tokyo; and in New York City, the temperature swings from sweltering to freezing in one day. In this special-effects packed, highly anticipated event motion picture, an abrupt climate change has cataclysmic consequences for the entire planet.It's pretty safe to assume Bush never bothered to read the Pentagon report.
But if the movie is even halfway decent, gets a big box office, and lots of publicity - maybe it will catch Dubya's attention?
The U.K. Guardian has it's own take - Hollywood disaster film set to turn heat on Bush .
I'm not sure I'd go that far, but movies have had a big effect on politics in the recent past.
With a gazillion dollars to spend and an ample supply of eager-beaver investigators, you'd think the Bush administration could get a few things right.
But as we all know, in the Bush universe black is white, up is down, and apparently male is female.
Bush praises man in speech on women's rights
"Earlier today, the Libyan government released Fathi Jahmi. She's a local government official who was imprisoned in 2002 for advocating free speech and democracy," the president said in a speech at the White House on Friday.The Libyan government did release Fathi Jahmi. Jahmi was imprisoned in 2002 for advocating free speech and democracy. Hurray for accuracy!
But, um.....Jahmi is a man
All told, the president made references to more than a dozen other women ranging from his wife, first lady Laura Bush, to last year's Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi of Iran. He also mentioned four men including Secretary of State Colin Powell and Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, who were both present.In Bush-Speak, I guess that means -
"The advance of women's rights and the advance of liberty are ultimately inseparable," the president said. "We stand with courageous reformers."
"Curtailing women's rights and stomping democratic principles goes hand-in-hand. We stand with theocratic, totalitarian dictators worldwide.
Missteps on Economy Worry Bush Supporters
In recent weeks, the White House has had to endure its chief economist's positive comments about job "outsourcing," or sending work overseas; controversial passages in the annual Economic Report of the President; questions over the legitimacy of Bush's 2005 budget; a California swing in which Bush bragged about the possible addition of two or three jobs to a 14-person business in Bakersfield and a flap over a job-creation forecast that not even the president could stand by.Those aren't "missteps"; just "failures to frame the issue in a positive manner". In this administration, governing by "misstep" is just Standard Operating Procedure.
"Clearly, the machinery's not working very well," said Bruce Bartlett, an economist with the conservative National Center for Policy Analysis, who noted that this White House has been known for its discipline on message.Clearly, the propaganda machinery needs a major overhaul, and any vestiges of "truth", "honesty" and "responsibility" must be vigorously nipped at the bud. Preferably, well before the election.
It's March Madness time here in Basketball Heaven, otherwise known as North Carolina.
N.C. State beat Florida State, Duke beat Virginia, and Georgia Tech swiped a victory from my beloved UNC Tarheels,
Now that the Tarheels have been beat, the most interesting event of the evening for me was when a plainclothes security man, seated just behind the scorer's table, had a slight accident when his sidearm apparently decided to fire itself.
Shot himself in the butt.
Let the Madness continue!
Friday, March 12, 2004
No, not the city, though it's a mighty fine place, but R. Houston Bridges.
Not only does he provide great pictures and commentary from the pro-gay marriage demonstrations in San Francisco, but he has given me the best present I could wish for on Weblog Appreciation Day.
Read everything, of course - it's all good - but scroll down to Thursday, March 11th ("The March") and the first picture.
Thanks, darlin' !! I am very honored, very proud, and very touched.
No wonder Bush would like to give amnesty to illegal immigrants - "He nice."
From Newsday (via Atrios) we learn a bit about one of Bush's latest photo ops -
It is the not-so-secret secret of every presidential campaign that most crowds at most campaign stops are so much stage prop. They are there to make a certain amount of noise, to look like a constituency the candidate hopes to win the votes of -- in the Bay Shore factory, Hispanic voters -- and to be as unsurprising and well-behaved as security arrangements can make them.So he speaks at a factory where the work force is made up largely of low-paid, non-English speaking immigrants. People who 1) can't understand what he's saying, and 2) aren't likely to create a disturbance.
From Bush's point-of-view, that's a photo op "perfect storm".
Security people kept reporters from interviewing the workers at U.S.A. until the president was on the way to his next stop.No, Nubia - he not nice.
But when workers were finally interviewed -- these people who made up the bulk of the president's cheering audience in New York -- Bush's performance turned out to be, if anything, even more impressive.
"No speak English," said the first worker, smiling apologetically.
"No speak English," said the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth workers way-laid in the crowd.
But you think the tax cuts should be made permanent, as he says?
"Sorry, no English," said another.
I understand him a little bit English," said Nubia Guzman, a packer who said she earns $7.50 an hour after four years on a job that Bush had described in his speech as evidence of the success of his tax cutting economic policies. She has no health coverage.
What did you like about him? she was asked.
"He nice," she said.
He just want smile and clap.
He no care sh*t about you.
When he's got his photo op, he'll move on, leaving you with a lousy salary, no benefits, and no possibility of improving your life.
Then he'll make a campaign commercial with a dark-skinned person as the villain, and rail against you when the audience wants to hear it.
It's just another plastic turkey moment from the all hat, no cattle preznit.
Él no es agradable
The best comment of the day, as usual, comes from that priceless news source - The Daily show.
As anchorman Jon Stewart observes, it's what Dubya says when he KNOWS the microphones are on that should concern us. Such as -
The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.And in answer to the great issue of the day - Should 14 year olds be allowed to vote?
Instead of giving the vote to more savvy kids, why don't we give it to fewer stupid grownups?Now, there's an interesting concept.
As Dubya and the GOP continue to trumpet "steady leadership", "wartime president" and "blah-blah-blah", it might be useful to revisit the set of questions the Family Steering Committee would like the 9/11 Commission to ask our preznit.
Keeping in mind, of course, that he has yet to answer them and has been too busy raising campaign funds to do so.
We begin with their statement -
The Family Steering Committee believes that President Bush should provide sworn public testimony to the full ten-member panel of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States . Collectively, the Commissioners are responsible for fulfilling the Congressional mandate. Therefore, each Commissioner must have full access to the testimony of all individuals and the critical information that will enable informed decisions and recommendations.Before an audience of the American people, the Commission must ask President Bush in sworn testimony, the following questions:
1. As Commander-in-Chief on the morning of 9/11, why didn’t you return immediately to Washington, D.C. or the National Military Command Center once you became aware that America was under attack? At specifically what time did you become aware that America was under attack? Who informed you of this fact?
2. On the morning of 9/11, who was in charge of our country while you were away from the National Military Command Center? Were you informed or consulted about all decisions made in your absence?
3. What defensive action did you personally order to protect our nation during the crisis on September 11th? What time were these orders given, and to whom? What orders were carried out? What was the result of such orders? Were any such orders not carried out?
4. In your opinion, why was our nation so utterly unprepared for an attack on our own soil?
5. U.S. Navy Captain Deborah Loewer, the Director of the White House Situation Room, informed you of the first airliner hitting Tower One of the World Trade Center before you entered the Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida. Please explain the reason why you decided to continue with the scheduled classroom visit, fifteen minutes after learning the first hijacked airliner had hit the World Trade Center.
6. Is it normal procedure for the Director of the White House Situation Room to travel with you? If so, please cite any prior examples of when this occurred. If not normal procedure, please explain the circumstances that led to the Director of the White House Situation Room being asked to accompany you to Florida during the week of September 11th.
7. What plan of action caused you to remain seated after Andrew Card informed you that a second airliner had hit the second tower of the World Trade Center and America was clearly under attack? Approximately how long did you remain in the classroom after Card’s message?
8. At what time were you made aware that other planes were hijacked in addition to Flight 11 and Flight 175? Who notified you? What was your course of action as Commander-in-Chief of the United States?
9. Beginning with the transition period between the Clinton administration and your own, and ending on 9/11/01, specifically what information (either verbal or written) about terrorists, possible attacks and targets, did you receive from any source?
Sounds perfectly reasonable to me. As our Attorney General would no doubt claim, if a person is innocent, they have nothing to fear.
From the Guardian -
Most Pakistanis claim to despise Mr Bush for what they consider America's unjustified attack on Iraq. But regime change in the White House is probably the last thing President Pervez Musharraf would really want. "The government would like Bush to win," said Tahir Mirza, editor of the Dawn, a leading daily paper. "We've always been pro-Republican - we think the Republicans are much more sympathetic to Pakistan. And, in the present case, they've given us a lot of money."Do you get the feeling this is the way Dubya has always acquired "friends".
Thursday, March 11, 2004
Via beastofsound and blogosfear, we hear that tomorrow is Weblog Appreciation Day!
In anticipation of all those
(Well, maybe my mother will see it)
In no particular order -
John Kerry for President
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
Eyes on the prize, no apologies, no mercy!!
I think I've finally cracked the secret code of "how to be a wingnut". It's really very simple - "Never learn a lesson from past mistakes".
Just a small, random sample -
***Don't burgle the opposition.
***Don't depend on freep-able, online polls
***Don't mess with the CIA
***Don't try to fool widows and orphans
***Never get involved in a land war in Asia.
***When you're a pot , don't call the kettle black.
**Don't do phoney photo-ops (no giv plastick turkee!)
(feel free to add to the list)
Via Calpundit and TNR -
From a Bush campaign press release:I've used the same technique to cut to the point myself; who hasn't?
"In My First Hundred Days In The White House, I Will Roll Back George Bush's Tax Cut..." (Sen. John Kerry, Remarks In Manchester, N.H., 12/27/03)
From Kerry's actual remarks:
"In my first hundred days in the White House, I will roll back George Bush's tax cut for the wealthiest so that we can invest in education and health care."
Had the quote read "In my first hundred days in the White House," said Kerry, the husband of wealthy heiress Teresa Heinz Kerry. "blah-blah-blah" - I would have cut out the "husband of wealthy heiress" part as being irrelevent.
But I don't cut out critical parts of a passage to suit my particular set of beliefs. It doesn't take an ethics or journalism or whatever degree to know the difference between distortion and fact.
John Kerry is right - the GOP consists of some of the most lying, crooked political operatives on the face of the earh, and there is no need for him to apologize for speaking the truth.
No apology, no mercy, no quarter.
Wednesday, March 10, 2004
Senators grill baseball commissioner, union head over steroid problems
Now...have some fun imagining how this would have turned out if our preznit had become baseball commisioner.
Scientists find a way to beat the menopause
Their research raises the prospect of extending childbearing years and offers a more natural alternative to HRT to offset ageing and maintain youthful vigour.I wish severe hot flashes on every scientist who wants to make women fertile and vigorous long past the time for genteel little-old-ladyness.
Pregnancy is tough enough on the young and strong, which leads me to believe the researchers had to be either male or non-childbearing females.
We can't afford the child we have, and I earned every one of these gray hairs and wrinkles, thank you.
However, the study was done on mice and a leading figure in the field, Prof Roger Gosden, was cautious.I'll skip the obvious "man on mouse" Santorum analogies, and just offer my deepest sympathies to all those elderly, pregnant mice. At least they won't have to worry about "No Child Left Behind" and other assorted BushCo atrocities.
He welcomed the research, but said: "Reproductive biology is very variable between species and, as yet, there is no evidence in humans contrary to the old dogma that egg production ceases before birth.
But I'm sure Ashcroft will find some way to worm his way into mice childbearing issues.
Yeah, yeah, yeah - the United States economy is in the tank, but the big economic news that caught my eye (and stomach) is -
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc. (KKD) on Wednesday posted higher quarterly earnings on new store openings, but its stock fell 4.7 percent with an analyst citing an unexpected drop in profit margin.For the sake of doughnut gourmands everywhere, I am down on my knees, begging the Krispy Kreme management to rein in their expansionist instincts and greed.
J.P. Morgan analyst John Ivankoe wrote in a research note that Krispy Kreme's company-store gross margin declined for the first time in three years and called it a "major surprise."Concentrate on making those yummy doughnuts in the stores you already have, and keeping your biggest fans overweight!
He said that lower average weekly sales in Krispy's company stores was discouraging as the company has aggressive store expansion plan for fiscal 2005. Ivankoe rates the company's shares "underweight."
(But opening a new store on my street would be welcome)
President Bush opened the White House and Camp David to dozens of overnight guests last year, including foreign dignitaries, family friends and at least nine of his biggest campaign fund-raisers, documents show. (emphasis mine)I'm going to agree with George W. Bush about something, so pay attention....it doesn't happen often.
In a debate with Vice President Al Gore in October 2000, Bush said: "I believe they've moved that sign, `The buck stops here,' from the Oval Office desk to `The buck stops here' on the Lincoln Bedroom. And that's not good for the country."Of course, with Bush that "Buck Stops Here" sign isn't anywhere in his field of vision or life experience.
Could we please hold the general election today?
NTodd , via AP alerts us to the latest BushCo attempt at dismantling the social safety net.
Mark McClellan, President Bush's choice to run Medicare, said Monday he won't answer senators' questions about his opposition to importing prescription drugs from Canada before he takes over the government health program.Actually, McClellan has good reason to avoid answering questions. He'd have to admit he's a liar and a tool of big pharmaceutical companies.
From Knight-Ridder, Nov. 26, 2003 -
FDA Commissioner Mark McClellan, in a speech last week in Canada before a group of drug information experts, said the agency had found "thousands of examples of unapproved and potentially unsafe medicines" coming into the United States from "many countries, including from Canada.I'm still shaking my head over this one; the man had the nerve to stand up and say this in front of a group of drug information experts....in Canada. Every one of his audience must have known McClellan was nuts.
But maybe they realized he came by it honestly - he and his brother, Scottie of White House press conference infamy - share the "gall" gene.
Although they've been warning Americans about the dangers of prescription drugs from Canada for nearly a year, U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials can't name a single American who's been injured or killed by drugs bought from licensed Canadian pharmacies.I find myself wondering if Tom McGinnis still has a job.
"We don't have that," said Tom McGinnis, the FDA's director of pharmacy affairs. "I can't think of one thing off the top of my head where somebody died or somebody got put in the hospital because of these medications. I just don't know if there's anything like that."
Neither does Canada.
Health Canada, which regulates Canada's prescription industry, "does not have any information that would indicate that any Americans have become ill or have died as a result of taking prescription medications purchased from Canada," said Jirina Vlk, a spokeswoman for Health Canada.
Concern that the FDA may be misleading consumers has hurt its credibility among some Capitol Hill lawmakers, who say the agency is carrying water for the powerful drug industry.When Dan Burton sees through you, you might as well check into the nearest sanitorium.
"There's no question in my mind that the (FDA) is too dependent on the pharmaceutical industry for their attitudes and decision-making," said Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., who chairs a House subcommittee that's studied the Canadian drug issue. "I had four hearings and I asked (FDA Associate Commissioner William Hubbard) to give me examples where people have been damaged by Canadian pharmaceuticals and re-importation, and he couldn't even give me one, not one."
In response to Burton, Hubbard cited examples of people who got the wrong drugs from Canadian pharmacies. While that's a danger, U.S. pharmacists make similar errors. Hubbard also told Burton that the FDA thinks many people don't report adverse incidents that result from Canadian drugs.
Mark McClelland's biography sounds impressive - Associate Professor of Economics at Stanford University, Associate Professor of Medicine at Stanford Medical School, a practicing internist, and Director of the Program on Health Outcomes Research at Stanford University. He was also a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research and a ....
Uh, oh - here's where the boy went wrong - a visiting Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
Predictably, the Biotechnology Industry Association is lamenting the (presumed) loss of McClellan from the FDA -
Industry lamented the loss of McClellan, a longtime Bush ally, a former White House economist, and a medical doctor.And coincidentally fill Big Pharma's pocket's with gold.
“Commissioner McClellan wasted no time in setting a new course for the FDA, one that is committed to new drug innovation by removing unnecessary regulatory barriers,” said Biotechnology Industry Association president Carl Feldbaum, in a statement. “The result has been a substantial number of approvals for a host of new medicines that will benefit millions of patients across the country.”
With friends like these, seniors might as well start lobbying for elective euthanasia.
According to Sitemeter, NTodd, of Dohiyi Mir - YOU were visitor number #6000 at Collective Sigh.
But you're not half as clever as you think.....I had 1,140 visits before installing Sitemeter. No soup for you, NTodd!
Nevertheless, it's a landmark of sorts, and I'm glad it was my Liberal Coaltion Fearless Leader who did it.