Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Yeah, yeah - happy Halloween.

A heck of a lot spookier to me than trick-or-treaters or all the ghoulish festivities is the prospect of the Dems not retaking at least the House.

I'm allowing myself some Halloween superstition and resolutely trying not to think of the worst.


Monday, October 30, 2006

Short stuff

On this day in the year 2000, one of my favorite human beings passed from this earth.

Stephen Valentine Patrick William Allen (December 26 1921 – October 30 2000) - musician, writer, producer, father of the TV talk show, intellectual, actor, comedian, producer, composer, and generally an all-around Renaissance Man.

Of his many works, one of my favorites was Emmy and Peabody award-winning Meeting of Minds:
Allen was also the producer of the award-winning PBS series Meeting of Minds, a "talk show" with actors playing notable historical figures, with Steve Allen as host. This series pitted Socrates, Marie Antoinette, Thomas Paine, Sir Thomas More, Attila the Hun, Karl Marx, Emily Dickinson, Charles Darwin, Galileo Galilei, and other historical figures in dialogue and argument. A proposed revival of this show was rejected as "too cerebral."
How I would love to see a Meeting of Minds episodes pitting Winston Churchill, Thomas Paine, and Dubya.

In other earth-shaking news, Pippin the Grandpuppy has been successfully neutered, and Blogger continues to give equal value for the money.


Friday, October 27, 2006

Friday Almost-Cat-Blogging

On dreary, rainy days my cats hide in their undisclosed secret locations out of camera range.

In lieu of grotesque cat pictures, we present for your enjoyment (?) -

The Kitty Litter Cake

I don't think I'll be making one in this lifetime, but it is edible and supposedly quite delicious.

Here's the recipe.

Be my guest.

Quote of the year

The "we're better for business" Republicans can rah-rah the wonderful economy all they want, but those who actually work for a living know better.

Incumbent Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow:
"We have a national policy that says if you work for less, lose your health care and lose your pension, then we can compete," Stabenow says of the status quo. "The No. 1 way we could help employers in this country is to change the way we fund health care."
...and we peons who work for less, lose our health care and pensions also know the gajillions of dollars flushed down the toilet daily in Iraq would go a long way to helping employers and the employed.


Monday, October 23, 2006

Still cautiously pessimistic

I'm an optimist by nature, and I'm lovin' all the wonderful, peachy-keen polls showing a Democratic tidal wave.

But I'm still cautiously pessimistic. As she so often does, Molly Ivins speaks for me -
So how come I'm not thrilled? Because I watched this happen two years ago -- same rejection of the Iraq war, same disgust with Bush and Co., same understanding Republicans are for the rich, period, same polls showing D's with the lead going right into Election Day. And the same geographic gerrymander and same wall of money in the last two weeks. I'm not close to calling this election, and I'm sure not into celebrating anything yet.
I know a few R's who say it's time for a change - but they still plan to vote for their own Republican congressclown. He/she is okay - it's the other districts that need to change.

I hope I'm wrong.

Bush, Generals Review Iraq Strategy

And the new plan is…..

(drum roll….)

Bush shifts his message to the economy



Saturday, October 21, 2006

Fox in the henhouse

Back in February 2005 I bitched at the state of North Carolina for giving Dell gazillions of dollars-worth of tax incentives and free acreage of prime land to build a factory in North Carolina and the corporate welfare system in general.
Last week, the North Carolina General Assembly cleared the way for a $242m incentive package for Dell. The deal gives Dell a tax credit for each computer or consumer device produced in the state. Dell will receive a $15 per unit credit in 2006 and just a $6.25 credit from 2007 to 2019.

Dell, however, is making serious sacrifices to earn this package. It must, for example, pay 50 per cent of the health care costs for its employees. Ouch! In addition, Dell can only lay off 40 per cent of the employees to still qualify for the tax incentives.

The average salary for a Dell worker at the new plant is expected to be about $28,000. That's about what Michael Dell makes while going to the bathroom in the morning. (link)
I suppose we should be all grateful-like and singing Dell's praises, as they haven't folded up shop (yet) and are still in business.

Heck, they're even recruiting North Carolina workers for high-paying engineering jobs.

Trouble is, the jobs aren't in North Carolina.

They're in Texas.
Dell - the same company the state is giving millions in incentives to - is now trying to convince 500 computer engineers to leave North Carolina.

The company has hired a couple of rolling billboards to advertise the jobs by driving around Research Triangle Park.


Bob Orr and his group, North Carolina Institute for Constitutional Law, are suing the state over the Dell deal. "It certainly proves that Dell, in particular, has no particular loyalty to the State of North Carolina," Orr said.

He says hundreds of millions of dollars in state and local tax incentives were given to the corporation. And what do we get in return? "Now we see that they're, they're using that very money to lure jobs from North Carolina. And, frankly, that's unconscionable," Orr said.

Orr also points out that the 500 jobs being offered by the rolling billboard are high paying engineering jobs paying $60,000 to more than $100,000 a year.

He says the 1000 jobs Dell is bring to the Winston-Salem area are much lower paying jobs and may not generate as much tax revenue as the Texas jobs.
I suppose we should just be thankful they are recruiting in North Carolina for jobs in Texas, rather than recruiting in India for jobs in Mexico?


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Once upon a time, the whole state swooned over a Bush visit

These days, not so much.

Our Dear Leader made a visit to North Carolina this week, the second in three months.

Normally, every Republican elected official in the state rushes for their photo op with the Bogus POTUS, plus as many Republican challengers as can wrangle an invitation - but this time things were a bit different.

Last time I checked, North Carolina had thirteen representatives, all up for re-election, and two senators (neither up for re-election).

Only one representative showed up for the party, and only one senator made a brief appearance before rushing off before the press could catch up with him.

As WCNC blogger Mark Boone notes -
1:41 p.m.- The President has been lunching with some handpicked VIP’s, and they are sneaking in the side door. The late arrivals include Senator Richard Burr and Congresswoman Virginia Foxx. They are the only two members of N.C.’s Congressional delegation in the audience.
2:38 p.m- The President concludes his remarks. I’m hoping to talk with Senator Richard Burr, but he makes a bee line for the side door and is gone before the President has stepped down from the podium. We do talk with Rep. Virginia Foxx who offers an interesting quote when we ask why so few members of Congress were in attendance. “I certainly did not want any doubts about my running away from the President because I don’t feel that way about it, but it’s possible that some members of Congress couldn’t rearrange their schedule,” Foxx tells us. Interesting scenario with mid-term elections less than a month away.
Interesting indeed.
Noticeably missing on Bush's North Carolina itinerary were campaign stops with Reps. Charles Taylor and Robin Hayes, a pair of veteran Republicans facing spirited Democratic challenges that could help tip the balance of power in the House. He didn't go near their districts. Bush was to attend a fundraising dinner for the Republican National Committee at a private residence where no media coverage was allowed. (link)

My own congressclown, firmly entrenched Howard Coble whose district includes a children's camp visited by Bush, didn't exactly give a glowing review either -
Rep. Howard Coble, who represents the district that includes the children's camp, told the News & Record of Greensboro this week that he wasn't sure what the political value of the visit would be.

'I'm not uncomfortable having him here,' Coble told the News-Record of Greensboro. 'I don't know that it helps. But it doesn't hurt and it might help. There are a lot of his supporters who are simply not happy with Iraq. I'm not happy about it. But that doesn't mean I dislike my president.'
(Just don't want to be exposed to his cooties, I guess)

Early voting begins today in North Carolina

Happy National Character Counts Week!

I thought I'd step back from all the Republican characters dropping like flies to wish a very happy birthday to one of my favorite, non-political characters - Commander Dick Solomon of the now-defunct quirky comedy Third Rock From the Sun, multiple Emmy and Tony winner John Lithgow.

"What's the point of having a democracy, if everybody's going to vote wrong?"

Happy birthday, Commander!


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Red alert - the Prancing Prince terrorized
A US girl of 14 was dragged out of class by Secret Service agents for calling President Bush an idiot on her MySpace page.

Julia Wilson's Internet page, called "So Bush is an idiot but hey what else is new?", infuriated security experts, reports the Mirror.

She also posted the words "Kill Bush" and ran a cartoon of a knife stabbing the hand of the president.

Two federal agents went searching for Julia at her home before finding the teenager at school in Sacramento, California.

After pulling her out of class, they subjected her to a 20-minute interview.

Julia said: "I told them I just really don't agree with Bush's politics. I do not have any plans of harming Bush in any way. I am very peaceful. I just don't like Bush."

She said the agents warned her she could be locked up for making the threat.
I hope they also warned her that she has no habeas corpus rights, that she could be declared an enemy combatant, and The Idiot can decide if and how she would be tortured.

A Good Shot, Says Cheney

Via Hotline -
VP Cheney told Rush Limbaugh: "I think we'll hold the Senate, and I also think we got a good shot at holding the House."
You'd think Dick Cheney would be a little more careful with his metaphors.



Tuesday, October 17, 2006

N-Day looming

Pippin the Grandpuppy, sporting a fine pair of Chihuahua ears and contemplating the upcoming N-Day (Neutering Day).


Monday, October 16, 2006

This day in history

I kid you not....
On this day in 1793 Marie-Antoinette, wife of King Louis XVI of France (who lost his head nine months previous), lost her head. As is the result of about 100% of all beheadings, she subsequently died as a result.
Brought to you by the fine folks at the Family Research Council (no link; find it yourself), whose main worry about public schools is exposing God-fearing Christian kids to gay teens and getting religion back into schools.

In a nutshell

White House spokesclown Peter Watkins neatly sums up the Bush administration -
The White House dismissed the premise of a question regarding how Bush might work with a Speaker Pelosi.

"The president fully intends to maintain control of the House and the Senate and looks forward to working with (Republican) Speaker (Dennis) Hastert,'' White House spokesman Peter Watkins said.
Quite a good description.

No cooperation, no consultation, no compromise.

Just "control".


Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday Cat Blogging

Silly woman; you thought this was your chair?


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

One pretzel and one heart flip from the presidency

Hastert duped into letting stranger inside
House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, with his job on the line because of the spiraling Mark Foley cyberspace page sex scandal, was duped Tuesday into letting a stranger into his Plano home -- a serious security breach.

Hastert literally let his guard down and allowed in his house a hustling, self-promoting evangelist little known in this country, the Houston-based K.A. Paul, who at 7:30 a.m. arrived at the speaker's home with a camera-wielding associate.


One can't help but admire the irony of two recent TBogg posts.

The first notes that lower standards help Army recruit more -
Of those accepted under waivers, more than half were for "moral" reasons, mostly misdemeanor arrests. Thirty-eight percent were for medical reasons and 7 percent were drug and alcohol problems, including those who may have failed a drug test or acknowledged they had used drugs.

The Army said the waiver process recognizes that people can overcome past mistakes and become law abiding citizens.
...and the second post links to the sad tale of a Minnesota congressional candidate (Republican, did you have to ask?) who has somehow managed to have his record of repeated domestic violence expunged.

And then there's the Miserable Failure himself with his record of childish 40-year-old excesses.

So, cheer up all ye 'more than half' with moral problems....in this country, anyone can grow up to be a Republican.

(* remission of part or all of the temporal and especially purgatorial punishment that according to Roman Catholicism is due for sins whose eternal punishment has been remitted and whose guilt has been pardoned (as through the sacrament of reconciliation)


Reagan, Gingrich, Lott, DeLay, Hastert....

Anyone care to Photoshop a cockroach after Hastert?


Among the many puzzlements, bamboozlements, and outright crimes of the Bush administration I always come back to one question - why is Donald Rumsfeld still allowed command over human beings and any sort of weapon?

I think Joe Klein has as good an answer as any:
And then there's the strange case of Donald Rumsfeld. Here was a flaming exception to the Bush family code of honor. Rumsfeld was an ancient rival of Bush the Elder who became Secretary of Defense, Woodward implies, because of a mild Oedipal spasm: the Younger wanted to prove the Elder was wrong about the guy. How to explain the current President's continuing, suicidal loyalty to the architect of the Iraq debacle, even after Laura Bush and then chief of staff Andrew Card lobbied Bush to replace Rumsfeld in 2004? It's a perfect Freudian boggle: if he dumps Rumsfeld, isn't George W. Bush tacitly admitting that his dad was right about a lot of other things too, like choosing not to overthrow Saddam Hussein in 1991?


Friday, October 06, 2006

Friday Critter Blogging

Bandit suffers the rainy day blues.

Torture is as torture does

Every once in a while, a local police force debates using Tasers to control the unruly. They hold a little demonstration, occasionally filmed by local media.

You've probably seen it - a big husky guy gets zapped, and falls to the ground with much writhing and yelping.

Sometimes it backfires, like when a North Carolina sheriff's deputy accidentally zapped the fire department captain.
A Cabarrus County sheriff’s deputy accidentally used his Taser on a captain from the Harrisburg Fire Department, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

The incident happened last Monday. Capt. Brad Christopher received 50,000 volts of electricity after being hit in the back of the head by a two-pronged Taser. He suffered some blurred vision right after the shooting, but he is doing OK now.
No word yet on whether Capt. Brad Christopher approves of Taser usage, either against suspects or innocent bystanders.

But these demonstrations, unintentional or othewise, provide the Bush administration with a unique opportunity to dispense with the "what is torture?" question, since they seem so reluctant to define 'cruel and unusual'.

If waterboarding isn't so bad, I'm sure Fearless Leader wouldn't mind giving a personal Rose Garden demonstration, preferably live with cameras from all over the world rolling. Cheney and Abu Gonzales would no doubt be happy to do the honors, and Pickles could even stand by to hold The Decider's hand.

I'd pay good money to see that.

I seem to have lost my scorecard

The Foley scandal has been breaking fast & furious, and I seem to have lost track of who is responsible or who knew what when or which of our gay-bashing representatives was suddenly and inexplicably afraid to appear as a gay-basher.

Last I heard, Foley accepted responsibility and checked himself into alcoholic rehab.

Bad move.

Well, good move if he's really an alcoholic. And good move if he's scared to face the media.

But if he really wanted to score political points, become a hero with the evangelical base, and continue his political career he should have checked himself into a 'pray yourself straight' program and emerged with all sorts of righteous, anti-gay straightness.

He'd probably be the odds-on favorite as Republican presidential candidate.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Congratulations to Faux News

....for figuring out the most novel spin on the Foley problem.

Via BradBlog and Raw Story -
Three Different Video Cutaways, 15 Seconds or More Each, Credit Disgraced REPUBLICAN Congressman as Being a Florida DEMOCRAT!

The way we were

Poor Denny Hastert.

I can sympathize with those little slips of the memory...where did I put my keys? Why am I walking into this room? What am I looking for in the refrigerator? What day is it? How old am I?

It happens to the best of us.

But Denny's memory loss has been pretty fast. In his book, Speaker, published in August 2004, he boasts of his incredible memory and recall -
"Reading is not my strong point... I'm not comfortable with computers... I need to be focused on what's going on in the room and who's saying what to whom. I base most of my knowledge on listening to people. I get a lot of briefings and have good people working for me. Some say I have an incredible memory or recall for exactly what happened when and who said what to whom. I do listen pretty diligently, more than a lot of people listen, and I do pick up on facts that way."
If he's basing a most of his knowledge on listening, maybe he's losing his hearing, too?


Monday, October 02, 2006

Chutzpah, Part 5,738

GOP Staff Warned Pages About Foley in 2001

Maybe an isolated incident in 2001 brought about this warning.

Or maybe Foley's creepiness had been going on for years?

Like during the Clinton impeachment proceedings?

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