Tuesday, February 28, 2006

1-in-10 US Iraq veterans have stress disorder: study
Nearly one in 10 American soldiers who served in Iraq were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, most after witnessing death or participating in combat, a study said on Tuesday.

Mental health screening of veterans showed 21,620 out of 222,620 returning from Iraq and assessed over the year ending April 30, 2004, suffered from post-traumatic stress -- a disorder that can lead to nightmares, flashbacks and delusional thinking.
Wow, it's a good thing we have the world's finest, most efficient, greatest, most fantabulous health care system in place, huh?

Actually, vets have a better shot at getting treatment than many civilians. But as Bring Them Home Now advises, it isn't easy getting help:
When the service member is diagnosed, she/he should immediately call 1-800-827-1000, and ask to be connected to the Veterans Administration Regional Office. Once connected, ask for instructions on how to apply for services related to PTSD. Do not take no for an answer. Depending on the VA facility, or even a given individual VA employee, you may be discouraged from filing a claim. Even if they tell you that you are not entitled, demand the application paperwork and file it.
and from the Washington Post, December 2005 -
The spiraling cost of post-traumatic stress disorder among war veterans has triggered a politically charged debate and ignited fears that the government is trying to limit expensive benefits for emotionally scarred troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

In the past five years, the number of veterans receiving compensation for the disorder commonly called PTSD has grown nearly seven times as fast as the number receiving benefits for disabilities in general, according to a report this year by the inspector general of the Department of Veterans Affairs. A total of 215,871 veterans received PTSD benefit payments last year at a cost of $4.3 billion, up from $1.7 billion in 1999 -- a jump of more than 150 percent.
Our for-profit, employment-based health care system was cracking before the Bush administration's little adventure in Iraq; with the added burdens of caring for the wounded - physically and mentally - it will completely disintegrate.

The numbers

The latest CBS poll reveals some interesting numbers:
...the latest poll shows that perceptions of Bush's performance are deteriorating again.

On Iraq, 30 percent said they approved of his management of the situation there - down from 37 percent in January - and 65 percent disapproved. In addition, 36 percent said things were going well in Iraq, down from 45 percent in January.
According to Zogby, the military isn't all that happy either.

U.S. Troops in Iraq: 72% Say End War in 2006

An overwhelming majority of 72% of American troops serving in Iraq think the U.S. should exit the country within the next year, and nearly one in four say the troops should leave immediately, a new Le Moyne College/Zogby International survey shows.

The poll, conducted in conjunction with Le Moyne College’s Center for Peace and Global Studies, showed that 29% of the respondents, serving in various branches of the armed forces, said the U.S. should leave Iraq “immediately,” while another 22% said they should leave in the next six months. Another 21% said troops should be out between six and 12 months, while 23% said they should stay “as long as they are needed.”

The 'nays' have it?

Very nice round-up of conservative priciples trashed on the altar of Bush by Glenn Greenwald, including the following from Jeff Goldstein who never learned when to cash in the chips:
One of the important points made in this excerpt (the entire piece is available to subscribers only) is that a goodly portion of our success or failure in Iraq has ultimately to do with how we react in terms of either lending our support or leveling our criticisms against the campaign.

And this is (and has been) a crucial component of the war—one that many on the anti-war side are loathe to admit: that their constant naysaying, though it is well within their right to voice, has objectively hurt the war effort, particularly when the criticism incorporates carefully-crafted falsehoods many of the war’s critics know for a fact to be objectively untrue.
Let's leave aside those "carefully-crafted falsehoods" for a minute as we scratch our heads and wonder - who has been in control of all three branches of government since the start of George's Iraq Misadventure?

Who crafts our so-called foreign policy? Who runs the Department of Defense? From whom do the Joint Chiefs take their orders? How many 'naysayers' bills has Dubya vetoed?

I proudly count myself as a 'naysayer', but I never knew I had so much influence.


Friday, February 24, 2006

Wild weekend ahead

If I'm not screaming and curled up in a fetal position this weekend, I'll be busy trying to recover data from Andantette's crashed laptop.

I know it's a pretty tricky business and all sorts of marvels and horrors can happen but I'm going to give it a shot.

The first horror was going to CompUSA (not a place I hang out at often) and getting The Business from a condescending clerk.

I told him exactly what I needed in the way of cables, etc. He looked me up and down, no doubt thinking "Why is this middle-aged, fluffy, incompetent-looking woman wasting my time?"

He then proceeded to tell me how I need specialized knowledge and expert services to do it.

Okay, okay...I know it can be a doozy, and I was starting to waver a bit.

Then he told me I should NEVER try to remove a hard drive.

I gave him my best Steel-Magnolia Withering Look and informed him I was the one who installed it in the first place and it's worked fine for a year.

He pointed out the supplies I requested and left rather hastily to prey on some other customer.

I also have a pretty good idea of handling my own reproductive organs, so I guess I won't be taking that luxury vacation to lovely downtown Pierre, South Dakota any time soon.

It's the same attitude; Father knows best, and all good little girls should keep their mouths shut and get supper on the table.

I later heard the same clerk telling a geeky-looking fellow he needed specialized knowledge and expert services to install a desktop printer, so I figure he's shilling for CompUSA's technical services. Some of my confidence returned.

So, if anyone can offer advice on file recovery - I'd love to hear it. I'll be connecting the laptop hard drive to my own desktop and hoping to salvage about 17GB worth of files. Not system stuff, mainly graphics files.

But if anyone wants to offer advice to me on my sex life...well, shut your mouth and get supper on your own table.


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The port deal

Personally, I don't feel any less safe with the United Arab Emirates-based company running six of our major sea ports than I do wearing clothing made in Pakistan or using oil from Saudi Arabia.

What I can appreciate is this:
President Bush on Tuesday strongly defended a deal that would let a United Arab Emirates-based company run six major U.S. seaports, telling reporters that he would veto any bill to hold up the agreement. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has threatened to introduce a bill aimed at holding up the deal. Critics cite a potential security threat arguing the UAE was a finance center for the 9/11 terror attacks, but the State Department said the deal has nothing to do "with the responsibility for security in American ports."
If Republicans support Bush on this issue, they risk appearing "soft on terrorism".

If they oppose Bush on the issue, they risk the Wrath of Rove and the Fear-the-Brown-Skinned Base.

Heh.....is this what they call being hoisted in your own petard?

With any luck, the debate will turn to the lamentable lack of port security and some beefed-up measures to protect them.

In the meantime, bring on the popcorn.

Spreading democracy flypaper all over the world
Larry Johnson: There were a total of 3204 terrorist incidents in 2004. Instead of 1907 fatalities there were 6110. And, instead of 6704 people wounded in terrorist attacks there were 16,257. So far, no one in the mainstream media has asked the Bush Administration to explain why more people died from terrorist attacks in 2004 than in any previous year, including 2001.

Bill Frist gets it

Yeah, you heard me.

From his USA Today Op-Ed:
Tax cuts make money

By Bill Frist

Many people in Washington have long known a dirty little secret about tax-cut measures: When done right, they actually result in more money for the government.

Ever since the Senate approved the last major tax relief bill, in 2003, revenues have increased every year. In 2004, they went up 5.5%. Last year, they rose 14.5%, the largest increase in nearly 25 years.
...and I'm living proof.

Just finished my 2005 taxes (yippee, hurray...pat on the back).

I am proud to report the results of my Bush tax cut - we made a little over $5000 less last year than in 2004, yet paid over $500 more in taxes.

I'm thinkin' what we have here is a problem with semantics.

When Republicans say "tax cut", the 'cut' actually refers to income, while the taxes go up.

Man, I can't wait until those tax-and-spend Democrats take control.


Saturday, February 18, 2006

Corporate welfare, again

I am certainly not anti-capitalism, but I'm definitely tired of Big Bidness jerking us all around in the name of economic development and faux-patriotism.

So I think I’ll appear before the next county commissioner’s meeting with this spiel:
“I have been a law-abiding, tax-paying resident of this county for over twenty years. I have supported, with both time and money, the local schools, fire department, sheriff’s office, hospital. I make it a point to trade at local businesses.

I have poured millions thousands hundreds tens of dollars into the area in 2006 alone.

If the county doesn’t pay to pave my driveway and landscape my yard, I’m pulling up stakes and moving elsewhere.”
Yeah, that’ll work

I can see it now….the sheriff – who, despite being a Republican, is a very good man – will assume his best “humor the crazy old lady” demeanor and gently lead me off to the psycho ward at the local hospital. I'm lucky he IS a good man, or I might be charged with attempted extortion.

But that’s exactly the way business is done in North Carolina these days; not just North Carolina, but many other localities all over the country.

RF Micro, based in nearby Greensboro, manufactures integrated circuits and various other high tech-ish devices. They are a fairly decent corporate citizen, paying good wages and supporting some community charitable endeavors.

Their top executives make about $6 million dollars per year, including a whopping $1,500,757 (2004) for the president & CEO.

So, why do they - and other companies - get away with this sh$t?
The News & Record of Greensboro reported that the company “threatened that it might take the jobs to China without local tax breaks.” RF Micro opened a “test, tape, and reel” facility in Beijing in September. The plant, where components made in Greensboro reach their final stage of assembly, is the only manufacturing facility the company has in China. The company was invited by wireless phone maker Nokia to become one of its suppliers in China.

RF Micro manufactures its products at two plants in Greensboro. Vice President and Corporate Treasurer Suzanne Rudy said incentives were one of several important considerations that factored into the company's decision. “We had other options,” she said. “We could have easily done this in China and we considered outsourcing.”
That was in 2003. North Carolina gave RF Micro $1.2 million dollars to stop considering outsourcing.

(This is a stick-up...put the money in our pockets and we'll do the decent, patriotic thing for the American people.)

Dell pulled the same trick last year, extorted a cool $242 million dollars from the state for the privilege of building a plant with easy access to an airport, major highways, and an educated workforce. The county ponied up free land for the contruction and an additional $30 million.

In return, some hard bargaining convinced Dell to pay 50 cents on the dollar for their (low-paid) employee's health insurance premiums.

Just a few days ago, the county commissioner's in Greensboro's Guilford County voted to give RF Micro an additional $830,000.

From the 2/27/2006 High Point Enterprise (subscription required):
The company wants $1.4 million in government incentives over three years from the county and Greensboro. The city's portion is $590,000.


Commissioners split over the value of the incentive.

"I don't want to risk losing this company," Democratic Commissioner Bruce Davis of High Point said during a Greensboro hearing.

The new grant increases the county's incentive contribution to more than $4 million since 1999 and brings the total to more than $7 million from Greensboro and the county.

"This is not equal justice under the law," said Republican Commissioner Steve Arnold of High Point. "You can't give money to a corporation and call it equal for everybody".
RF Micro has accomplished a small miracle - I actually agree here with the usually disagreeable Steve Arnold.

I've really had it with the big shots and their blackmail. And I'll add that I know for a fact that at least two of those high-paid top executives "considering outsourcing" are big Bush supporters and have given thousands of dollars to the Amurika-first GOP.

If they want to produce their product in China - fine. Strip the executives of their United States citizenship and let them move there.

Just like Commissioner Davis, I know we'd miss the jobs they provide and the property taxes they pay.

But giving away tax money to irresponsible, unpatriotic corporations is just bad stewardship of our money and only encourages more companies to do the same.


Friday, February 17, 2006

Health care insurance - no problem (if you're wealthy)

If I had to pick an issue - just one issue - that illustrates completely how out-of-touch Republicans are with the average American, it would have to be health care.

Quoth Fearless Leader:
"When somebody else pays the bills, rarely do you ask price or ask the cost of something," the president said during a panel discussion on his health care initiatives at the Department of Health and Human Services. "The problem with that is that there's no kind of market force, there's no consumer advocacy for reasonable price when somebody else pays the bills. One of the reasons why we're having inflation in health care is because there is no sense of market."
What Mr. Bush and his fellow trust-fund kiddies can't seem to grasp is that someone else is not paying ALL the bills, and the someone who IS paying an increasing portion would be the Average American.

And in order to get "someone else" to pay a portion of the bills, the Average American - and increasingly rare, the Average American Employer - has to pay a huge chunk of money in premiums.
"When you go buy a car you're able to shop and compare," he said. "And yet in health care that's just not happening in America today."
George is actually right about something, but I would really love to know the last time George W. Bush has had to "shop and compare" health insurance plans.

If you're lucky, you don't have a choice. Your employer offers group health insurance, and you grab the deal without a second thought.

If you're stupid, you forgo the group health insurance and purchase a private policy that will quite likely cost you four to ten times the amount you would have paid for the group policy.

It's not so much the cost of health insurance plans, but the availability and affordability. The "choice" is between "ruinously expensive" and "completely unaffordable".

And now the Bush administration is begining another of their public relation bamboozle tours touting Health Savings Accounts.

Give me a break.

I happen to think Health Savings Accounts are a marvelous idea....if you can afford them.

For folks who already can afford basic health care insurance, their HSA is a mighty handy way to pay for that liposuction or facelift or boob job and get a break in their taxes to boot.

For the rest of us...where, pray tell me, do we get the money to put INTO a Health Savings Account?


Thursday, February 16, 2006

Iran Renames Danish Pastries
Iranians love Danish pastries, but when they look for the flaky dessert at the bakery they now have to ask for "Roses of the Prophet Muhammad."

Bakeries across the capital were covering up their ads for Danish pastries Thursday after the confectioners' union ordered the name change in retaliation for caricatures of the Muslim prophet published in a Danish newspaper.
Word has it 'Roses of the Prophet Muhammad' go quite well with 'Freedom Fries'.

Mullahs, Republican House members - what's the difference?

Cheney Says He Can Declassify Secrets

For a ton of fun at your next family gathering, church social, office party, or wherever the participants are politically mixed, why not ask loudly if a Vice-President (insert name of boogeyman here; Hillary Clinton is always good) should be the administration's designated declassifier.

Guaranteed to make things lively.


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Chertoff Says He'd Do Things Differently
A chastised Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff sparred with senators of both parties on Wednesday as he acknowledged "many lapses" in his agency's response to Hurricane Katrina.

Chertoff told the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs that he would do things differently if he had the chance. One thing he would not do: give overall responsibility for the relief effort to Michael Brown, who was director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency at the time.
One hopes whatever he'd do differently would include preventing the needless deaths of over 1,300 people.

Another thing we hope he'd do differently - vigorously protest the appointment of any more political appointee, Heckuva-Job-Brownie-types.

And while he's about doing things differently, perhaps he can look into why the good people of the Czech Republic are donating $100,000.00 to the Mississippi Coast to help with post-Katrina pharmaceutical needs.
Czech Ambassador Dr. Petr Kolar will be in Biloxi 11:30 a.m. on Thursday to present the donation to St. Vincent de Paul Community Pharmacy, known for helping the Coast's poor, uninsured and elderly with medicine needs.

"All was lost in Katrina and we have to restock," said executive director Theresa Pavlov, whose office is in the new pharmacy location, 735 Division St., at the corner of Lameuse.

"We've had tremendously generous people to help us rebuild our facility and the Czech donation will mean that we can purchase medicine and operate for the next six months. In the past our Coast physicians supplied about two-thirds of our medicines for the pharmacy and now many of them have lost their offices or are displaced. This money will be a godsend."
I can't believe this is happening in my country.


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Whatever Day

Personally, I'm not a big Valentine's Day fan.

If Mr. Andante comes home from work and doesn't drink away his paycheck, I'm a happy gal for the whole year.

Although he does have some making up to do.

We went out to eat (that much is good)....
Me: I will enjoy this slice of pie today, since I'm going back on my diet tomorrow.

Mr. Andante: Good!

Me: I beg your pardon???!!!
He did go on to explain that with me on a diet, I'll be cooking without the Southern-y fatback & such, and maybe he'd lose weight, too. He's got a point, but he's not completely out of the woods.

But hold....TBogg reminds us we'd best wish each other a Happy SAINT Valentine's Day, else we upset Bill O'Reilly and he sets off another war on Non-Religious Observance Of Religious Holidays.

Since Mr. Andante is home snoozing in his recliner, his paycheck is safely spent on paying bills, and my religion doesn't celebrate St. Valentine...

Y'all have a Happy Tuesday.

Defining moment

Thanks to Dick Cheney, we now have the defining moment of the Bush administration.

As Rob Corddry of The Daily Show so eloquently put it -
"Jon, tonight the Vice President is standing by his decision to shoot Harry Whittington. Now according to the best intelligence available, there were quail hidden in the brush. Everyone believed at the time-there-were-quail in the brush. And while the quail turned out to be the 78 year old man. Even knowing that today, Mr. Cheney insists-he still would have shot Mr. Whittington in the face.
1) They do senseless, stupid things.

2) Despite the ample lessons of history, they repeat the same mistakes.

3) They confuse "best intelligence available" with the voices in their heads.

3) They refuse to admit mistakes.

4) Assign blame elsewhere.

5) Wash, rinse, and repeat.


Monday, February 13, 2006

NRA and gun safety

I see our Vice Preznit's little 'mishap' while quail hunting as a golden opportunity for the NRA to push their (very good) gun safety & education program.

How's about this for the cover of an educational booklet or brochure?

Don't be a jerk - learn how guns werk work!

Or something.

Let's try again, with just a caption...

"Gee, Wayne - thanks! Which end is which?"

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Oh, so THIS is what Bush means about 'job creation'

The Land of 10,770 Empty FEMA Trailers
Far from the victims of Katrina for whom they are meant, the furnished shelters crowd an airport, benefiting only the town of Hope, Ark.

After the Aug. 29 storm left thousands homeless on the Gulf Coast, officials in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama began calling for trailers to provide temporary shelter. More than 100,000 were requested, and somebody decided to create holding areas for the trailers outside the hurricane zone.

Today, legions of wide-bodied mobile homes sit empty at Hope's Municipal Airport, a sprawling former military base. After all these months, storm victims can't seem to get the trailers, which are proving a mixed blessing to Hope and Arkansas.

"It just boggles the mind in this day and time," said Mark Keith, director of the Hope-Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce. "There are 10,770 trailers at Hope Airport. That's one for every man, woman and child in Hope, with a few left over to send to Emmet, down the road."

On the plus side, new jobs have been created for security guards, maintenance workers and others for trailers that cover all but one of the airport's runways and spill onto adjacent land. At Uncle Henry's, owner Bobby Redman says business is up by as much as 20%. The small army of truckers who deliver the trailers pump money into many parts of the local economy.

"It's been good for the whole town," said Mayor Dennis Ramsey. The Federal Emergency Management Agency picked Hope after searching the Internet for World War II-era military airports, he said.
I imagine these folks might be happy to get one of those trailers -
Motion Filed to Stop Katrina Evictions
Lawyers asked for a temporary restraining order Sunday to stop the evictions of 12,000 families left homeless by hurricanes Katrina and Rita from hotels across the nation on Monday.

"We have provided the court with statements from people showing they have not been treated fairly by FEMA," said Bill Quigley, an assistant dean of the Loyola University Law School, who with civil rights attorney Tracie Washington filed the motion.

The 12,000 families made homeless by last year's storms are scheduled to be forced out of their federally funded hotel rooms Monday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced Saturday.

That amounts to about 40,000 people, Quigley said, many of whom have not received trailers as promised and some who did not find out about the eviction until the beginning of the month.
Wouldn't it be a better use of our tax dollars to pay a driver to haul a trailer to a homeless family than to pay weeks or months of hotel bills?

Of course there are problems obtaining land for setting up the trailers.

But for Pete's sake, guys, the storm hit on AUGUST 29. It doesn't take nearly six months to lease a spot to set up a trailer.

There are campgrounds and trailer parks all over the south. If the property owner is giving FEMA grief, all FEMA needs to do is have DHS lean on them.

The administration doesn't have a problem leaning on anyone remotely suspected of terrorism or writing anti-Dubya letters to the editor or sporting unfavorable bumper stickers or wearing anti-war tee shirts or seniors buying prescription drugs from Canada.


Saturday, February 11, 2006

Drop the Lipitor and put your hands up

We may have trouble intercepting illegal aliens or tracking down terrorists, but the United States is having no trouble intercepting cheaper medications from Canada -
More Medicines From Abroad Seized

The U.S. government apparently is stepping up seizures of cheap drugs ordered by Americans — mainly seniors — from abroad, Canadian pharmacies say.

The pharmacies, which sell drugs by mail and over the Internet, say their shipments are being intercepted by U.S. Customs officials around the country where foreign mail is handled.

"It's huge — we've had over 800 seizures in January," up from 15 in a typical month, said Barney Britton, president of Calgary-based MinitDrugs.

Other pharmacies reported four- to five-fold increases. An informal survey of 30 Canadian pharmacies that cater to American customers, conducted by a senior-citizen advocacy website, showed that the rise began in November, doubled in December and doubled again in January.


"It's despicable," said Samuel Robert Greenberg, a Laguna Niguel retiree who lost a package of anti-cholesterol pills and glaucoma eyedrops late last month. "They are playing with people's lives."

Greenberg, 73, said he and his wife had bought drugs from Canadian pharmacies for years without incident.

But if replacements for his Lipitor pills don't arrive by next week, Greenberg said, he will have to buy from a local pharmacy at a cost of about $3 a pill — a third more than he pays through the mail.

Greenberg said such seizures were a waste of government resources. "Forget about the heroin," Greenberg said. "They are going to stop the Lipitor."
We really need to get these folks onto the hunt for Osama.

More culture of corruption, state-level-style
"I went to a football game," said Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs), adding sarcastically: "Oh my God, my soul has been purchased."

It wasn't just a football game, as any Georgia Bulldogs fan will tell you.

The Bulldogs faced the West Virginia Mountaineers. And it was in Atlanta, having been moved from New Orleans because of Hurricane Katrina.

The game was a sellout, and many UGA season ticket holders ended up watching their team lose a nail-biter on the tube.

But 17 Georgia lawmakers used their connections with lobbyists to get some of the best seats in the Dome, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis of reports detailing lobbyist spending in January.

The tickets, refreshments and parking passes were valued at more than $4,500, the analysis shows. They cost the 14 Republicans and three Democrats nothing.

Lobbyist largesse is part of life under Georgia's Gold Dome. In 2005, lobbyists spent $1.1 million on meals, tickets to sporting events, and other gifts for lawmakers.

"They say it doesn't influence them — I just don't buy it," said Jim Kulstad, a lobbyist with the watchdog group Common Cause Georgia. "Exclusive tickets to the Sugar Bowl — that's special, and it's remembered."
The only difference between this incident and the Abramoff business appears to be more Democrats are involved.


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Bush signs bill cutting student loans, Medicare
After returning to the White House from New Hampshire, the president signed the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, which makes $39 billion in cuts to student loan subsidies, Medicare, Medicaid, farm subsidies and other programs.

"Spending restraints means making difficult choices, yet making those choices is what the American people sent us to Washington to do," the president said before signing the legislation.
I'm sure the Bushies would have preferred a different headline. But from their point of view, I guess they're glad it didn't include the social security privatization scheme slipped in on page 321:
Last year, even though Bush talked endlessly about the supposed joys of private accounts, he never proposed a specific plan to Congress and never put privatization costs in the budget. But this year, with no fanfare whatsoever, Bush stuck a big Social Security privatization plan in the federal budget proposal, which he sent to Congress on Monday.

His plan would let people set up private accounts starting in 2010 and would divert more than $700 billion of Social Security tax revenues to pay for them over the first seven years.

Signed, sealed, delivered.

(Thanks to Jeff for the link)

Just what I wanted!

Today is my birthday, and I got a present that thrills me from top to bottom:

The Fighting Dems Rally on the Mall, Washington, D.C.

(Thanks to puckish at Daily Kos for the picture and for being there in person)

Fifty-six...count 'em, FIFTY-SIX vets are fed up with this administration and running for Congress.
Fawcett is part of a large and possibly unprecedented number of former soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines running for Congress this year.

About 40 of the candidates are Republicans, while at least 55 are Democrats. By one count, at least 11 veterans of the Iraq war or Afghanistan are hoping to get elected to the House or Senate, all but one of them Democrats.

The fighting Democrats, as some call themselves, say their military experience could give them the credibility to criticize the war without being dismissed out of hand by the GOP as naive and weak on defense, as the Bush administration has often done.

"One of the things I think is behind this movement is, we're not stupid in the military. We know when we've been used and misused," said Navy veteran Bill Winter, a Democrat who hopes to challenge GOP Rep. Tom Tancredo in the Republican suburbs of Denver, Colorado. (link)
Here, here and amen. Just because you have sworn to follow orders doesn't mean you've sworn off rational thought.

Check 'em out, and while you're there - make a contribution in honor of my birthday!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Never say irony is dead

Oil industry disputes proposed budget trim
Oil drilling companies are upset that the Bush administration has proposed killing funding for oil and natural gas exploration research and development programs at the Department of Energy, an industry lobbyist said Monday.


Sunday, February 05, 2006

AWOL again

Remember Dr. Justin A. Frank, psychoanalyst and author of Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President? His long-distance analysis of what passes for Bush's personality raised a minor stir a while back.

He's done an interesting interview with The Village Voice, giving his impressions of the SOTU.

I don't place too much importance on the long-distance psycholanalzing, but found this interesting:
Q. And what about bringing the troops home from Iraq?

A. He made an amazing statement saying he is not going to withdraw troops until the generals tell him to. He is saying he is not the commander in chief. "I've decided to send you to war and you can tell me when it's over." I was struck by that being an abdication of power.
I think the good doctor is wrong here; it's not an abdication of power, but an abdication of responsibility.



Saturday, February 04, 2006

Meme of Fours

Greg come back from blog hiatus (yay!) and tags me with The Dreaded Meme of Fours.

Four Jobs You've Had:

Well, none as cool as Greg's. I've been a sexually-harassed waitress for about ten minutes, worked in a jewelry store and acquired tastes well beyond my pocketbook, sat between a rock (production) and a hard place (sales) in customer service, and chucked all that glory to work just eight hours a day away from phones in a cotton mill. Other stuff, too, but that's four.

Four Movies You Can Watch Over and Over

There are currently three movies on the old DVR that I can flip on and watch again and again.

1) The Lord of the Rings, especially The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers. I was a bit disappointed with #3.

2) The Longest Day. In addition to a fascination with D-Day, I've always had a thing for the late Robert Mitchum.

3) Pirates of the Caribbean, The Curse of the Black Pearl. Rollicking fun, and Johnny Depp is a delightfully quirky pirate. And hot.

4) I can also pull out the DVD El Dorado and recite every line. It's funny, and the guy mentioned in #2 gives a great performance as the drunk sheriff.

Four Places You've Lived:

1. Falls Church, Virginia
2. Greenville, North Carolina
3. High Point, North Caroina
4. Current wide-spot-in-the-road, North Carolina

Four TV Shows You Like to Watch:

This is a toughie, since my Lord and Master (Mr. Andante) controls the remote. When the TV is on, it's either baseball, football, basketball, or a western.

But I'll record & later watch -

1. Third Rock From the Sun
2. The Daily Show
3. Law and Order
4. Historical documentaries of various stripes that probably don't interest anyone but me.

Four Websites I Visit Daily:

I try to visit many, even if I don't leave comments at all my favorite blogs.

1. Bryan at Why Now?
2. The Raw Story
3. Salon
4. Talking Points Memo

...and many, many more.

Four Places I'd Rather Be:

Even though I'm surrounded by rabid mouth-breathers, I actually kind of like the place where I am. Things are rather lacking in the cosmopolitanish department, but you can see the stars, hear the cows (and smell them if the wind's right, unfortunately), and people say 'hi'.

Four People to Tag:

I'd tag Bryan, but he doesn't watch TV. Feel free to leave your answers in comments.


Thursday, February 02, 2006

The mighty chest of Cindy Sheehan

Initial reports indicated Cindy Sheehan had "unfurled a banner" as she sat in the House of Representatives spectators gallery, and was summarily hauled off and arrested by Capitol Police.

The police have admitted they goofed, but there's a bigger problem here.

Which Capitol police-person could have possibly looked at Cindy Sheehan's chest and thought she was unfurling a banner?

No disrespect meant to the estimable Mrs. Sheehan, but if you want to wear a tee-shirt that looks like you've unfurled a banner, you need to look like this:

There are some Capitol police-persons somewhere with strange ideas about women's chests.

And yes - I looked all over for a photo of Dolly wearing a "message" tee shirt, but apparently Dolly is more discriminating than the Capitol police.

(Full disclosure: Dolly and I are distantly related. But the only set of anything we share is a set of many-times-great-grandparents.


Wednesday, February 01, 2006

How many differences can you spot?

Harry will go to danger zone
Prince Harry is to be sent to Iraq next year as a troop commander and is likely to patrol the hazardous border with Iran, defence sources have disclosed.

The third in line to the throne will join the Army's 1st Mechanised Brigade, which will be deployed to Basra in May 2007.

The prince has told colleagues that he is determined to go on operations and be treated as normally as possible - not kept out of the line of fire.


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