May 31, 2007


Leaving yoga this morning, I saw a group of very young kids from the next door daycare going on a walk with the daycare workers. They had them all tied together and it reminded me of some bizarre chain gang. Two year olds frog marching through the parking lot. :)

Two or three of them spotted me walking to my car and helled out "hello." I waved back and one of them told me he was going on a walk. One of the other little boys just kept talking as if he was carrying on a conversation--perhaps with me. Or perhaps he was trying to start some kind of daycare chain gang escape.

But they all looked like they were having a great time shuffling through the parking lot. Even the one who seemed to be making a break for it.

All we need to know about Fred Thompson

Besides, of course, his response to terrorism, is that we are hearing that his campaign is in talks to hire Timothy Griffin. Who is Griffin? Not only one of the most controversial hires in the US Attorney scandal, but someone most famous for his work for Karl Rove as an opposition researcher on Democrats.

May 30, 2007

Garrison Keillor on our President and Memorial Day

Telling lies over good soldiers' graves | : "Dishonesty makes for poor rhetoric and that's what has gutted this beautiful holiday."
(H/T Upper Left

Holy Cow

Watching Tucker Carlson tonight, I hear Pat Buchanan absolutely dismissing the recent neo-con call to bomb Iran.

What is the world coming to when I agree with Pat Buchanan?

e. coli conservatism

What a great name for the Bush administration's "conservatism."

E. coli conservatism (19): the ne plus ultra | Campaign for America's Future
WASHINGTON - The Bush administration said Tuesday it will fight to keep meatpackers from testing all their animals for mad cow disease.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture tests less than 1 percent of slaughtered cows for the disease, which can be fatal to humans who eat tainted beef. But Arkansas City-based Creekstone Farms Premium Beef wants to test all of its cows.

Larger meat companies feared that move because, if Creekstone tested its meat and advertised it as safe, they might have to perform the expensive test, too.

Bushco resists this because if everyone has to test, there could be a false-positive that could cause great harm. Not worried about a real case. And the best way for these idiots to say that our meat is safer is to not test it! This blogger nails just how contradictory this is:
First, observe the contempt for liberty. When E. coli conservatives say self-regulation is preferable to government, they're even lying about that. Second, observe the contempt for small business. When a small company want to - voluntarily! - hold its product to a higher standard, the government blocks it, in part because bigger companies have to be protected from the competition, in part because a theoretical threat to the bottom line (false positives) trumps protection against a deadly disease.

There's your conservatism, America: not extremism in defense of liberty. State socialism in defense of Mad Cow.

Just another reason that votes matter

The two Bush additions to the Supreme Court proved the the difference in
"yesterday's Supreme Court ruling in Ledbetter v. Goodyear. The court ruled that employees must make their discrimination complaints within 180 days “after the alleged unlawful employment practice occurred.” In other words, the discrimination occurs at the time a woman is given a salary that is significantly lower than her male counterparts. If she doesn't catch on to the pay disparity within 180 days, she's screwed. Which is why Ledbetter's attorneys had argued that she was discriminated against every time she was handed a paycheck for less money than her male equivalent on the job -- not simply when her salary was determined. "

Isn't that wonderful. Because she didn't find out what her coworkers were paid immediately (do you know if you are over-paid--under-paid?) she is out of luck. The Republican world is amazing isn't it. The Court overturned a jury trial that ruled for this woman. So much for the will of the people, right?

I am constantly amazed at how many conservatives celebrate democracy (after all, we are fighting a war to spread it) yet work consistently to undermine democratic institutions. Our judicial process is now a political machine, our courts work to undermine the rights of individuals, and Republicans are hard at work trying to disenfranchise people. Glad we are fighting for democracy.

Oh, isn't this lovely

Item one in the list of lovely Wednesday morning news that makes you want to relocate to Canada: Sully notes that:
"the Bush administration's term "enhanced interrogation" was coined in 1937 to describe exactly the same techniques authorized by Bush, Cheney, Tenet, and Rumsfeld. The term was coined by the Gestapo."
We have to wake people up to what is being done in their name. There is a better way to get intelligence, and before the goons and thugs of the Bush administration, the U.S. used to practise it. We still can return to honor and excellence in interrogation - instead of shame and failure.
God I hope so. I hope that we can find our way back from this. When the VP tells West Point that the Geneva Conventions are a weakness for us, I wonder.


Item two is in the same vein. I still recall being chided for my liberal leanings because conservatives were more moral. Liberals, I was told, were all relativists and had no core morality, so their sense of right and wrong was dependent on the situation. Yeah.

Remember good old Scooter Libby? This morning, I read The Anonymous Liberal where he discusses Fitzgerald's sentencing brief. The prosecutor not only concludes that Valerie Plame was, in fact, a covert agent, but that Libby:
"lied repeatedly and blatantly about matters at the heart of a criminal investigation concerning the disclosure of a covert intelligence officer's identity. He has shown no regret for his actions, which significantly impeded an investigation.

Yet, the Scooter is a hero among right wingers. I read yesterday that even good old Fred Thompson was doing a fundraiser for his legal defense fund. Wow, remember when Conservatives brandished Clinton's lie and boasted of "the rule of law?" I do. I remember it well.

That, evidently is in the past. Newsweek reports that:
"In mid-May, Libby was a featured guest at a New York dinner honoring Norman Podhoretz, one of the neo-Conservative movement's intellectual godfathers. According to reports from the scene, the dinner, organized by Commentary Magazine, opened with cheers and a 'standing ovation' for Libby."
Standing O. For a man convicted of perjury and the underlying offense was outing a CIA agent (ONE OF OURS) for political gain.

Hmm. Torture. An unending war with a President who defies the American people. A rogue Vice President who not only thinks that torture is acceptable and moral, but thinks that he can out a CIA agent--even one working on WMD proliferation. Oh, and a conservative base awash in Bible verses who thinks all of this is moral.


May 29, 2007

Bush creates own reality

For those keeping score, this is exactly why I fear the thinking that goes into the Creation museum. When you ignore evidence that contradicts what you want to be true, you get people like this in office:
"Also in that session, Bush said: "I recognize there are a handful there, or some, who just say, 'Get out, you know, it's just not worth it. Let's just leave.' I strongly disagree with that attitude. Most Americans do as well.''

However, in a poll released Friday by CBS and The New York Times, 63 percent supported a troop withdrawal timetable of sometime next year. Another poll earlier this month from USA Today and Gallup found 59 percent backing a withdrawal deadline that the U.S. should stick to no matter what's happening in Iraq."

In Bush's world, everyone agrees with him because he is so damn right.

Is this taking God's name in vain?

I think it makes more sense than an idle swear. Here we have a scumbag politician telling people that God talks to him about Republican politics. Conservative Christians should be disgusted, but they won't be.
Letter from Washington: Party Unfaithful: Reporting & Essays: The New Yorker: "DeLay says that when, in the coming years, he is not fighting the indictment in Texas (he insists that he is not guilty) he will be building a conservative grass-roots equivalent of “God has spoken to me,” he said. “I listen to God, and what I’ve heard is that I’m supposed to devote myself to rebuilding the conservative base of the Republican Party, and I think we shouldn’t be underestimated.” "

A memorial day op-ed worth reading

I saw this cited everywhere but only read a small portion until this morning. Read Andrew Bacevich's I Lost My Son to a War I Oppose. We Were Both Doing Our Duty. in its entirety. But I like his comments about how the war machine continues and how the politicians seem disconnected from the American people. How do people like Bush hold up the soldier as a prop, but then ignore the democratic process AND undermine the soldiers themselves?
"The people have spoken, and nothing of substance has changed. The November 2006 midterm elections signified an unambiguous repudiation of the policies that landed us in our present predicament. But half a year later, the war continues, with no end in sight. Indeed, by sending more troops to Iraq (and by extending the tours of those, like my son, who were already there), Bush has signaled his complete disregard for what was once quaintly referred to as 'the will of the people.'"

The people, the soldiers, our democracy, etc. The list continues of items that Bush and Cheney reference as meaningful institutions or individuals, yet act in ways to undermine. Shaun grabs this from the NYT:
"But now on his third deployment in Iraq, he is no longer a believer in the mission. The pivotal moment came, he says, this past February when soldiers killed a man setting a roadside bomb. When they searched the bomber’s body, they found identification showing him to be a sergeant in the Iraqi Army.

“I thought, ‘What are we doing here? Why are we still here?’ ” said Sergeant Safstrom, a member of Delta Company of the First Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry, 82nd Airborne Division. “We’re helping guys that are trying to kill us. We help them in the day. They turn around at night and try to kill us.”"
Yet, we are supposed to be fighting for democracy--a democracy that our Vice President doesn't even support. Cheney presented both the Geneva Conventions and our Constitution as weaknesses in our fight against terrorism. He did this, I would add, in an address to West Point where instructors are finding it harder and harder to convinced cadets that torture is wrong. But that he preaches to our military the essential message that the Geneva Conventions and Constitutional protections are niceties and not imperitives just shows how disconnected this man is. As I recall, he took an oath to protect the Constitution. Sigh.

Sully sums up the President--one that he voted for initially and supported into this war:
"What can one say? Well: we can say this at least. The president is right that al Qaeda remains a terrible threat to Americans. He is right to insist on this. But one core reason he is right is because he has been in the White House for the last six years. Al Qaeda surely never had a more helpful man in such a powerful place. After over six years of this presidency, Bin Laden is still at large. Five and a half years after Bin Laden's religious tools murdered 3,000 innocents, this president still cannot find or capture or kill him. Five and a half years after that dreadful day, al Qaeda's reach in the Middle East is more extensive than ever, centered in Iraq, where it was barely existent before the war. Over four years after invading Iraq, the security situation there is as grave as it has ever been. Tens of thousands of innocents have been added to the three thousand murdered on 9/11 - many of them unspeakably tortured and murdered by death squads or Islamist cells empowered by Bush's jaw-dropping negligence. Over three thousand young Americans have died in order to give al Qaeda this victory and this new platform."

May 28, 2007

Creation science?

Over the weekend, I enjoyed a very civil and interesting conversation with Tony and his friends about the new Creation museum opening in Kentucky. Everyone knows where I come down on this. I think the museum is dangerous because, among many problems, it presents creationists beliefs as if they are factual.

Tonight coming home from the garden store, SOF and I heard this NPR story on the opening. SOF noted that this kind of story does not help Christian's anti-intellectual image. Especially when you hear a young mother saying that this museum is Biblical truth AND science. You don't get to dismiss evolutionary science, the expertise of thousands and thousands of trained scientists and then claim that this museum is "science."

The rest of the story was equally disheartening when you hear of the room devoted to connecting evolutionary thought to abortion and pornography. This is not good for our educational system, our approach to problem solving, or the incorporation of meaningful religious faith into our cultural conversations.

May 25, 2007

Sky Blue Sky

I haven't blogged about music much lately. And there is some to blog about. I have recently been listening to The Hold Steady a lot (thanks again, Zalm) and really enjoying them. I downloaded live concerts (legally, mind you) of both Scott Miller and Centro-Matic--both of which are great shows. (We were actually at the Centro-Matic set, so was doubly nice).

But perhaps the most anticipated album of this year (at least for me) has been the new Wilco release:
Sky Blue Sky, which came out last week. SOF and I have been listening to it off and on over the time and both agree that it is really a solid album. Like most Wilco albums (after AM, that is), it requires a few listens to like it. Hell, I hated A Ghost is Born the first couple of times through--and that now makes me wince. How could I hate such an amazing album?

This one did not turn me off, but repeated listens have really brought the subtleties to the fore. Nels Cline's guitar work is really great and the entire band is in tune (no pun). Watching the DVD (I recommend buying the version with the dvd) you find out that they recorded the songs together (as Brandi Carlile did her recent album) with little or no over dubbing. It gives the album a real fresh and organic sound. Songs like "On and On and On" have a simplicity and beauty that their earlier work lacked. Or this opening from "Either Way."
Maybe the sun will shine today
The clouds will blow away
Maybe I won’t feel so afraid
I will try to understand
Either way
Or perhaps I am just biased because I think Wilco is the best band of our generation.

May 24, 2007

Fred Thompson on terrorism

spoof ad. I like it, but I am probably biased.

This President--Idiot or just speech impaired?

During the President's news conference today, David Gregory asked a perfectly reasonable question. I say that because if you watch the cable heads, there are some saying that he was out of line, and I believe Rush is running with that line. Unbelievable. Take a look:
GREGORY: Mr. President, after the -- mistakes that have been made in this war, when you do as you did yesterday, when you raised two-year-old intelligence talking about the threat posed by Al-Qaeda, it's met with increasing skepticism. The majority in the public, growing number of Republicans appear not to trust you any longer to be able to carry out this policy successfully. Can you explain why you believe you're still a credible messenger on the war?

THE PRESIDENT: I'm credible because I read the intelligence, David, and make it abundantly clear, in plain terms that if we let up, we'll be attacked. And I firmly believe that . You know, look, this has been a long, difficult experience for the American people. I can assure you, Al-Qaeda, who would like to attack us again, have got plenty of patience and persistence. And the question is, will we? Yeah, I talked about intelligence yesterday. I wanted to make sure the intelligence I laid out was credible, so we took our time. Somebody said, "Well, he's trying to politicize the thing." If I was trying to politicize it, I'd have dropped it out before the 2006 elections. I believe I have an obligation to tell the truth to the American people as to the nature of the enemy. And it's unpleasant for some. I fully recognize that after 9/11, the calm here at home, relatively speaking, you know, caused some to say, "Well, maybe we're not at war." I know that's a comfortable position to be in. But that's not the truth.

I am voting for idiot. He mischaracterized Gregory's question, then asserted that because he reads the intelligence, we have to believe him, even though the question really goes to that question. After all, he cited intelligence to take us into this quagmire. Oh well, I am sure he is right now.

BTW, let's not forget that even moderate Republicans think he is lacking credibility. Only Bush thinks he still has it.

May 23, 2007

More on Religious education

Sorry, Tony. I just can't resist. Today in her testimony on the hill, Monica Goodling admitted to political hirings, which is against the law in those positions.
"Both in her opening statement and in further testimony, Goodling admitted to weeding out candidates for assistant U.S. attorney positions because they were not Republicans.

Under questioning from Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA), Goodling admitted that she did block the hiring of an assistant U.S. attorney in the D.C. U.S. attorney's office because she judged him too liberal. "I made a snap judgment and I regret it," she said. When Sanchez pressed as to how many times Goodling had done this, Goodling said she couldn't come up with a number, and that she didn't "feel like there were that many cases."

Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) later pressed her on whether she had committed a crime. “I don’t believe that I intended to commit a crime," she said at first. Then, when he pressed, “I know I crossed the line of civil service rules."
Did that mean she crossed the line of breaking the law, he asked? "I believe I crossed the line, but I didn’t mean to," she said."

Evidently at Regent University Law school, you only break the law when you intend to break the law.

Now how is this supposed to make me feel better about religious education in this country?

See, the problem is secular education...

From the can't make this up category, one of Falwell's students made a bunch of bombs to use on people protesting that late reverend. But I thought that schools like Liberty were superior because they teach the Bible.
"And Campbell County authorities arrested a Liberty University student for having several homemade bombs in his car.

The student, 19-year-old Mark D. Uhl of Amissville, Va., reportedly told authorities that he was making the bombs to stop protesters from disrupting the funeral service. The devices were made of a combination of gasoline and detergent, a law enforcement official told ABC News' Pierre Thomas. They were 'slow burn,' according to the official, and would not have been very destructive."
Yeah, they really teach the basics at Liberty U. And we also see another example of the bias here. Good Christian guy makes incendiary devices, but he isn't called a "terrorist" and the officials note that they weren't that dangerous. If he had been Muslim, I can't help but imagine a different response.

But that may be the lasting memory of Falwell--religious extremism.

May 22, 2007


And this man was our Ambassador to the UN? Not only does he not know the meaning of diplomacy, he, like many misunderstands American history and the meaning of American democracy.

On democracy

Couple of stories this morning on the nature of democracy. One dealt with the problems of 911 service, especially in the age of cell phones. We voted not that long ago to fix our own system to allow the system to catch up to the technology. Listening to this story, however, we heard that Missouri is way behind on this issue, and some 23 counties don't even have 911 service for land lines. They interviewed one of the state senators who said that his constituents hated taxes so much that they preferred no new taxes over an improved 911 service. Are you kidding me?

This is Republican talking points gone nuts. This is what you get when you say that "all taxes are bad."


Item 2. Interesting op-ed connects the US Attorney scandal to Iraq:
"One benchmark the Bush team has been urging the Iraqi government to meet is to rescind its broad 'de-Baathification' program - the wholesale purging of Baathists after the fall of Saddam - which has alienated many Sunnis and hampered national reconciliation.
But while the Bush team has been lecturing the Iraqi Shiites to limit de-Baathification in Baghdad, it was carrying out its own de-Democratization in the Justice Department in Washington, D.C. We would feel that we had failed in Iraq if we read that Sunnis were being purged from Iraq's Ministry of Justice by Shiite hard-liners loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr - but the moral equivalent of that is exactly what the Bush administration was doing here. What kind of example does that set for Iraqis?"
That doesn't appear the only contradiction. Bush pushing for less religion in government in Iraq while stocking our own with religious fundamentalists, or criticizing just about any other country for their civil rights policies. (Take note, there N15, the next time we criticize Iran or anyone for jailing someone or mistreating them in jail. We used to have a certain legitimacy doing that, but now, everyone laughs at us.)


The last story was also on NPR this morning about the conservative war critic--Andrew Bacevich--who lost his son in Iraq on Mothers day. He asked what kind of a democracy we have when the people have spoken so loudly and nothing happens?

I wished I had an answer. I want so badly to believe that our system still works.

May 21, 2007

Huckabee panders to base

Or that is my interpretation. From Melissa Rogers:
"The Florida Baptist Witness, a Southern Baptist publication, reports that Mike Huckabee has withdrawn as a speaker at the Celebration of the New Baptist Covenant. Huckabee cited what he called an “unprecedented personal attack” by former President Jimmy Carter on President George W. Bush and his administration’s foreign policy. --snip--

Hucakbee said: “While I continue to have great respect for President Carter as a fellow Christian believer and Baptist, I’m deeply disappointed by the unusually harsh comments made in my state this past weekend regarding President Bush, and feel that it represents an unprecedented personal attack on a sitting president by a former president which is unbecoming the office as well as unbecoming to one whose conference is supposed to be about civility and bringing people together.”"
It always amazes me how Bush is held to a different standard. He can start a horrible war, undermine our constitutional system, back torture, but Carter says what everyone knows to be the truth and Carter is the bad guy.


May 20, 2007

Torture and the Ticking Time Bomb Scenario (TTBS)

As people know, I am not a John McCain fan. I found his kissing up to Falwell disgusting, his willingness to endorse Bush unsettling, and his romp through Baghdad ridiculous.

But during the GOP debate the other night, he was exactly right about torture. While the other seemed to be in a one-upsmanship battle to show who was more willing to torture (I think Romney won that--evidently Mormons don't sweat torture. But then again, neither do Baptists--er, the SBC leadership) McCain categorically said that we don't torture. As AL noted, that alone is no small point:
" I would point out that discussing torture in an appropriately somber tone--as opposed to pandering to people's worst instincts in order to win applause--is no small difference. Even if tone were the only difference between McCain and his opponents on this issue, it would still be a significant difference. Watching Giuliani, Romney, and the second-tier wannabes trip over each other to endorse extreme interrogation techniques the other night was more than a little unsettling."

McCain also rejected the Fox News scenario mongers. Britt Hume practically salivated as he described the theoretical bombing of American shopping malls and the scum bags that the Americans now held in custody who knew where the next bomb was going off. What do you do? What do you do? McCain knew that this is not a movie where you can jump a speeding bus over a 100 foot chasm. He said, just as straightforward that this scenario was a one in a million scenario (and subtext--shame on Fox for trotting it out). AL agrees:
If you construct the right scenario (nuclear bomb about to go off, suspect knows the target, etc.) just about anyone will answer yes to this question. But that's not at all surprising or informative. After all, it's possible to construct a hypothetical scenario where you'd be morally justified in shooting a little girl in the head (you're in a cave running out of air, there are four other younger children, they'll all die unless you off yourself and the oldest kid, etc.). The bottomline is that all of us are capable of simple utilitarian moral reasoning. If you are presented with a choice between something very bad and something even worse, the moral logic is pretty clear.
As AL notes, just because you can construct a scenario where you do that worse thing, you don't make that worse choice legal--which is what Bush and company want to do.

As I have noted before, I worry about this kind of thinking in many areas of our society. In this case, they judge the morality or efficacy of the TTBS and then refuse to really look at the real use of torture and the real victims of it. Our commenter did the same thing. The people he claimed we were not technically torturing were, in his mind, all guilty terrorists. It is a vastly different moral scenario when you consider that we don't have a clue if we are even "interrogating" the right people. Or have we completely forgotten
"Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen who was abducted by the Bush administration during a layover at JFK Airport on his way home to Canada, and then brought to Syria to be 'interrogated.' He was kept in a tiny cell for the next 10 months in Syria and was repeatedly tortured. All along, he was guilty of nothing and had no ties of any kind to terrorism."

Yet the same thinking justifies abstinence only programs that don't work, and defends a death penalty that is biased and flawed to a shocking degree.

May 18, 2007

Oh, Tom Delay--Moron of the Week

Maybe I have discovered a new blog thing--Moron of the Week.

Watch Tom Delay on Colbert and tell me he isn't a moron. Compares liberals to Hitler, counts Terri Schiavo as one of his successes, and seriously combines a desire to ruin Democrats with the prayer that people would "see Jesus through his mug shot."

Why evangelicals didn't run from this snake, I will never understand. Hell, as far as I know, they still haven't.

Torture and our enemies

Since we had a visitor who claimed that we were not torturing our enemies unless we dismembered them or crushed them with rocks, I thought this op ed from two actual military leaders--former Marine Commander and former commander of Central Command--might be worth reading.

The American people are understandably fearful about another attack like the one we sustained on Sept. 11, 2001. But it is the duty of the commander in chief to lead the country away from the grip of fear, not into its grasp. Regrettably, at Tuesday night's presidential debate in South Carolina, several Republican candidates revealed a stunning failure to understand this most basic obligation. Indeed, among the candidates, only John McCain demonstrated that he understands the close connection between our security and our values as a nation.
Exactly. Republicans have led with fear and that needs to stop.
As has happened with every other nation that has tried to engage in a little bit of torture -- only for the toughest cases, only when nothing else works -- the abuse spread like wildfire, and every captured prisoner became the key to defusing a potential ticking time bomb. Our soldiers in Iraq confront real "ticking time bomb" situations every day, in the form of improvised explosive devices, and any degree of "flexibility" about torture at the top drops down the chain of command like a stone -- the rare exception fast becoming the rule.
And that is the other fear that has become all too real under this administration. The "just trust me" approach (never tolerated under Clinton or other Presidents) has proven as ridiculous as it sounds.

But this torture policy isn't just bad on those people who get caught up in neighborhood sweeps or ratted on by neighbors.
To understand the impact this has had on the ground, look at the military's mental health assessment report released earlier this month. The study shows a disturbing level of tolerance for abuse of prisoners in some situations. This underscores what we know as military professionals: Complex situational ethics cannot be applied during the stress of combat. The rules must be firm and absolute; if torture is broached as a possibility, it will become a reality.

This has had disastrous consequences. Revelations of abuse feed what the Army's new counterinsurgency manual, which was drafted under the command of Gen. David Petraeus, calls the "recuperative power" of the terrorist enemy.

Former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld once wondered aloud whether we were creating more terrorists than we were killing. In counterinsurgency doctrine, that is precisely the right question. Victory in this kind of war comes when the enemy loses legitimacy in the society from which it seeks recruits and thus loses its "recuperative power."

The torture methods that Tenet defends have nurtured the recuperative power of the enemy. This war will be won or lost not on the battlefield but in the minds of potential supporters who have not yet thrown in their lot with the enemy. If we forfeit our values by signaling that they are negotiable in situations of grave or imminent danger, we drive those undecideds into the arms of the enemy. This way lies defeat, and we are well down the road to it.

This is not just a lesson for history. Right now, White House lawyers are working up new rules that will govern what CIA interrogators can do to prisoners in secret. Those rules will set the standard not only for the CIA but also for what kind of treatment captured American soldiers can expect from their captors, now and in future wars. Before the president once again approves a policy of official cruelty, he should reflect on that.

It is time for us to remember who we are and approach this enemy with energy, judgment and confidence that we will prevail. That is the path to security, and back to ourselves.

Time to remember who we are. Good words indeed.

May 17, 2007

Bush in trouble? GOP for Torture?--a birthday rant

I was going to be nice today, but then I remembered that it is my birthday--not Paige Patterson's or George Bush or the religious right's (when is their birthday, anyway--the realization that Bob Jones University might be forced to integrate?). Anyway, it is my birthday and I will rant if I want. :)


The Republican party scares the crap out of me. Did anyone see the debate last night? According to the clips I saw, Romney scored big applause points by calling for "enhanced interrogation techniques" and wanting to "double Gitmo."

The Republican Party--the Party of Torture?


I might have been harsh on Paige Patterson's pronouncement the other day. I know that Tony has some closer knowledge of the man. My knowledge is from the SBC purge (as I have noted before) and so my take on him is from a pretty cynical place. And it seems that whenever I hear these people speak on the important issues of the day, they are almost always wrong. They have been wrong on feminism, wrong on the environment, the war, torture, science, etc. James Dobson bad mouths Giuliani for many things, including his divorces, but forgives Newt Gingrich?

Unfortunately, these are all the legacy of Jerry Falwell.


President Bush was asked today to comment on the James Comey testimony that includes the President himself sending his "hired goons" (Gonzales and Card) to John Ashcroft's sickbed to get him to approve a program that all the seasoned lawyers had already said was illegal. Ashcroft, it should be noted, had signed off on this before, but according to one source I read, did so because his own advisors were barred from reviewing the program. Comey forced the issue and therefore convinced Ashcroft to stop it.

Bush is asked about that visit. He goes into this entire thing about it being a "sensitive and classified" program that he isn't going to talk about but assures us that it is necessary because there is an "enemy that lurks."

The question wasn't about the classified program. The question was about the President sending his goons to override the acting AG. But I think his response is telling. He knows that there is a iceberg looming here. If enough Republicans find this appalling, then we could see impeachment proceedings against Gonzales, and who knows what could follow after that.

It is stunning. The President knew that this was illegal and still approved it. He would have kept doing that except Ashcroft and several others threatened to resign. The PR would have been devastating and Bush changed the program to make it legal.

Pretty amazing, eh? Bush is not impeached for breaking the law (a felony under FISA), but Clinton is for his dalliance with Monica (not a felony).


As in my age today. At some point, I must start acting like someone in my 40s.

Maybe tomorrow....

May 16, 2007

SBC Pres warns that women getting too smart

When he isn't telling the men in his seminary classes to get ready to charge a gunman, Paige Patterson is suggesting that women are getting too educated and undermining the family. Sigh.
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary president Paige Patterson says families need to be concerned that in America, 60% of college students are female. He predicts that in a few years, men will be increasingly underrepresented among "the intelligentsia" and will gradually cede leadership in many areas to women.
And this is bad. Evidently. Though, and I am not trying to be TOO mean here, but "Dr." Patterson, what do you know about the "intelligentsia?"
"Instead of encouraging adolescents to cut the apron strings of mother and venture out into society, we are begging mothers not to cut the apron strings [to] their babies and catapult them prematurely into a menacing world," said the two-time president of the Southern Baptist Convention. "Mom and hot apple pie have been replaced by institutional daycare centers and cold apple turnovers at McDonald's."
Right, because the idealized family of the 1950s is the way it always was until the feminists and the liberals and the gays started speaking out. Oh, and none of this is the fault of, wait for it, capitalism? Nope. Women.
Patterson warned the more than 3,000 people attending World Congress of Families IV that the traditional family unit is now under attack worldwide. He said this assault was initially focused in Western Europe and North America, but has now spread to other societies that seemed immune to family disintegration.

A biblical model of the family is key to restoring social order in the world, stated the Southern Baptist leader. Although innocents continue to be executed in the womb by their mothers and divorce is "eviscerating family life on every hand," said Patterson, there is still hope for the world.


Double Sigh.

What a moron.

This Gonzales/Card visit to Ashcroft is beyond unbelievable

Yet, I wonder if Americans are once again yawning and wondering what else is on the tube. The President of the United States was pushing a wiretapping program that the Justice department under Ashcroft thought was illegal. They send Al Gonzales and Andy Card to Ashcroft's hospital bed the day after surgery to get him to over-ride the acting AG.

Just look at how scummy this is. Card and Gonzales show up with papers and try to get Ashcroft to sign. Ashcroft, to his credit, told them not only that the program was illegal but that he wasn't AG right now. He told them to go stuff it. Card and Gonzales don't even recognize Comey (acting AG) and leave the room. Card calls and demands a meeting late at the White House with the acting AG--a meeting that Comey agreed to only if he could bring a witness--after "the conduct" he had just witnessed. But this is the part that gets me. Andy Card says "What conduct? We were just there to wish him well."

See that? Card claims that he and Gonzales were just there to wish Ashcroft well, even though they were clearly trying to a) take advantage of a heavily medicated man and b) circumvent the acting, and therefore legal, AG. And after, he is so angry that he demands a late night meeting. But he was just there to wish Ashcroft well.

These people are as bad as we thought. And the fact that Gonzales was rewarded for amazingly bad behavior reflects incredibly badly on this President.

Updated: More from The Anonymous Liberal: Takeaways from the Ashcroft Hospital Bed Story

Updated again: More from Glenn Greenwald:
"Knowing about these events in Aschcroft's hospital room (because he was a key participant in them), Gonzales, with a straight face, insisted in February, 2006 that he would not allow Ashcroft or Comey to testify because 'you have to wonder what could Messrs. Comey and Ashcroft add to the discussion.' It is impossible to express how free they are of even the most minimal constraints to tell the truth."

May 15, 2007

Yeah, Gonzales throws another under the bus

Now that his deputy is resigning, what a shock that he is to blame for those attorney firings:
"``You have to remember, at the end of the day, the recommendations reflected the views of the deputy attorney general. He signed off on the names,'' Gonzales told reporters at a National Press Club forum in Washington. ``And he would know better than anyone else, anyone in this room, anyone - again, the deputy attorney general would know best about the qualifications and the experiences of the United States attorneys community, and he signed off on the names.''"

What a coward.

Falwell redux--updated

Brandon noted the classless way that many in the progressive liberal blogosphere have responded to the death of Jerry Falwell. I agree. We don't cheer the death of people.

That said, I also struggle with the right's deification of the man. This evening I brewed a batch of beer for the first time in a year. During the process, you have a lot of time to watch tv, so I flipped through the channels only to find James Dobson talking about how brave Falwell was--how he refused to be cowed by political correctness--yet, according to Dobson he did it with no malice or hatred.

Yeah. When he blamed liberals, feminists, gays, etc., for allowing 9-11, he meant it in a good way.

I won't cheer his death. His family is grieving right now and I respect that. But neither should we lie about what he did.

Update: Greg at the parish has the best take, I think:
"If there is an epitaph for Falwell it would be, 'He left the state of the debate far worse than he found it.' Still, the man accomplished much, and it would be dishonest to fail to mention the many shelters, crisis centers and homes for single mothers his ministry provided. Enigmatic, bombastic, and hateful to his core, he still occasionally caught a vision of what Christianity could be. Alas, it was tied up in the whole Protestant fundangelical bloody Jesus God will send 'em to hell kind of Christianity. With his death, we can hope that a kinder voice emerges, but I won't be holding my breath."

Ashcroft looking better and better

David Iglesias has said many times that John Ashcroft sat him down after he was appointed US Attorney and told him to now set politics aside. Is it possible that Ashcroft was one of the more principled members of this administration?

AL points us to a story where Andrew Card and Albert Gonzalestried to override the acting AG to authorize their wiretapping scheme:

Comey testified that Ashcroft's wife called him and warned him that Card and Gonzales were coming to the hospital. Comey, suspecting what was happening, immediately headed over to the hospital and called a number of other officials at the DOJ to act as witnesses. Apparently Comey, Goldsmith, and a few others managed to get to the hospital before Card and Gonzales and were waiting in the room when they arrived.

Gonzales had papers in his hand for Ashcroft to sign, but Ashcroft wouldn't have any of it. He said that he agreed with Comey and Goldsmith and that his opinion was irrelevant anyway because Comey was the acting Attorney General. Gonzales and Card then stormed out, and apparently Card placed a very angry call to Comey demanding that he come to the White House at 11 p.m. that night. Comey said he would only show up if he could bring a witness. He showed up with Ted Olson, the Solicitor General. Though Comey is somewhat cryptic about what happened next, he seemed to indicate that a number of high level DOJ officials, including himself, Ashcroft, and FBI Director Robert Mueller, made it clear that they were all prepared to resign if the White House went ahead and authorized a program that the DOJ had determined was illegal.

Comey met with Card alone briefly and later with Gonzales and Olson as well. Though the meeting was "civil" according to Comey, he prepared a letter of resignation afterward. The next day the President called Comey in and talked to him one-on-one. Comey told him to talk to Mueller. Apparently he did and later Comey heard, via Mueller, that the President wanted the DOJ to make whatever changes were necessary to make the program legal.

Rev. Jerry Falwell dead at 73

Rev. Jerry Falwell dead at 73 -

This is a weird one. I won't celebrate his death, but neither will I celebrate his life. The list of harmful things this man said in the last 40 years is really unbelievable. I hope that he did some good things in his church and local community.

May 14, 2007

AG without Honor

Scott Horton unloads on this administration:

And now, in America of 2007, in the age of Bush, the notion that a tarnished official tenders his resignation as a simple act of decency seems in the minds of the new ruling class as “quaint” and “obsolete” as the Geneva Conventions.

Alberto Gonzales, the New York Times tells us is telling friends and acquaintances that he has “weathered the storm,” and indeed, the Republican echo chamber is now sounding this message very broadly – even as more evidence of his misconduct is uncovered almost every hour. The calculus of the Bush administration is transparent: as long as the focus is on Gonzales, Karl Rove – the real mastermind of Purgegate – is safe. So let Gonzales dig in and fight it out. In other words, the safety of Karl Rove is more important than the integrity of the Department of Justice. Indeed, more important than justice itself.

Truly unbelievable. Bush willing to sacrifice the Justice Department rather than puruse competence. Of course, a competent AG might prosecute Rove, and that can't happen. Horton points to those out there talking about the investigation who think we should consider impeaching Gonzales.

I don't even know what to think any more. Those who still like Bush should understand that I want to believe they are at least close to basic competence. I don't want to believe they are all idiots. But this kind of stuff certainly suggests that they have no interest in pursuing what is best for the country.

Religion as a political weapon

Sully takes on Rove's strategy (oh, by the by, did everyone see that Hitch claims that Rove is an atheist?) of using religion as a political weapon. He suggests that this strategy will not work in the long term:

What the Republicans are discovering is that the short-term gains of using religion as a political weapon may be outweighed by the medium-term costs. Their two best candidates have been crippled by religious controversy. The third, John McCain, despite being pro-life, has had run-ins with the religious right in the past and cannot regain lost trust with the evangelical base.

Meanwhile, independents and swing voters are turned off by some of the rhetoric. In the first nationally televised Republican debate, three candidates said they did not accept the theory of evolution. If they don’t even buy natural selection, how are they going to grapple with climate change? And then there are small stories from the heart-land that just strike many Americans as bizarre. My favourite one was a resolution proposed by Utah Republicans at a local convention a couple of weeks ago. It was a statement of opposition to illegal immigration, but it had an eye-catching title: “Resolution opposing Satan’s plan to destroy the US by stealth invasion.”

The real stealth invasion, of course, is the incursion of blatant sectarianism into secular American political discourse. Sectarian politics doesn’t work in Baghdad, and it can’t work in Washington either. When it doesn’t end all civil conversation, it diminishes the ability of good men – like Romney and Giuliani – to run for office regardless of their own religious convictions.

The Founding Fathers knew this, which is why they separated church and state and kept their own public demonstrations of religion to a perfunctory minimum. Americans are learning it again. But for the Republicans, it may be coming a little too late. At the rate they’re going, they’re not going to have a prayer. Mitt Romney, a Mormon, is among Republicans discovering there is a downside to using religion as a political weapon.
I am not as convinced that Romney and Giuliani are "good men" who can't run in this climate. Giuliani was a failed and unpopular mayor until that one awful day in NY, and Romney appears as much borg as human. Not only that, but Sully misses the problem that Rove created himself. Putting forward the "Pastor in Chief" in the form of George W. Bush. No one has done more to undermine the credibility of evangelicals than the man who swore he read the Bible daily and then allowed the torture of other human beings under his watch.

May 13, 2007

this is funny

Sam Brownback was speaking to a group of Republicans the other day and tried to make a football analogy to make his point about rebuilding the family:
"'This is fundamental blocking and tackling,' he said. 'This is your line in football. If you don't have a line, how many passes can Peyton Manning complete? Greatest quarterback, maybe, in NFL history.'"
Nothing wrong with that analogy, right? Except Brownback was speaking to Republicans in Wisconsin. Probably only worse place to make this analogy would have been in the city of Chicago.
Realizing what he had said, the Kansas Republican slumped at the podium and put his head in his hands.

"That's really bad," he said. "That will go down in history. I apologize."

His apology brought a smattering of applause and laughter. He tried to recover, saying former Packer Bart Starr may be the greatest of all time, but the crowd was still restless.

"Let's take Favre then," Brownback said. "The Packers are great. I'm sorry. How many passes does he complete without a line?"

"All of them!" more than one person yelled from the back.

May 12, 2007

Perhaps Bush has his own "Monica problem"

Because his lapdog AG put another idiot in charge of hiring and firing and did so based on
purely partisan reasons:
“You have a Monica problem,” Ms. Ashton was told, according to several Justice Department officials. Referring to Monica M. Goodling, a 31-year-old, relatively inexperienced lawyer who had only recently arrived in the office, the boss added, “She believes you’re a Democrat and doesn’t feel you can be trusted.”
Yet, I am sure I will be told by some conservative that this is just "business as usual," or that "Clinton did it too."
Mr. Comey said that if the accusations about Ms. Goodling’s partisan actions were true, the damage was deep and real.

“I don’t know how you would put that genie back in the bottle, if people started to believe we were hiring our A.U.S.A.s (Assistant United States Attorneys) for political reasons,” he said at a House hearing this month. “I don’t know that there’s any window you can go to to get the department’s reputation back if that kind of stuff is going on.”
And not just the Justice Department. The entire government will need to retrieve its reputation.

Heckuva job, Bushie.

May 9, 2007

Couple of interesting stories from Crooks and Liars

1) Republican congressmen tell the President that he is losing credibility:
"Russert: The Republican Congressmen then went on to say: "The word about the war and its progress cannot come from the White House or even you, Mr. President. There's no longer any credibility. It has to come from General Petraeus."

2) I guess that we have a few more Generals who hate America (as the Bushies believe):
Major General John Batiste takes the President on, directly, when he says that he's just 'listening to commanders on the ground' in Iraq. Batiste should know if the President is listening or not, since he was one of those commanders!

May 8, 2007

Abortion profits and Glenn Beck

I got into a discussion over at Tony's blog about family planning. In this case, Tony took offense at a British group suggesting that British families should keep their families small--that additional kids meant additional stress on the environment. I wasn't as sure as Tony that the stance was anti-family, but see his point. It certainly appears that there are a good many other things we can do to fight climate change besides chastizing large families.

But during the discussion abortion came up and someone suggested that it was a big business. I have heard this elsewhere, but really don't know if it is truly profitable. Is there big money in abortions? I really want to know.

Searching the web, btw, it is very difficult to find a good answer. Each side has its claims. But during my search, I came across a gem with our friend Glenn Beck. For those of you who think he is benign, read this where he attacks South Dakota Indians for their support (last year) for abortion rights. And ignore the abortion controversy. Just check out how racist this man is about Indians.
BECK: Whatever happened to the Indians? You know, they were celebrating Mother Earth and Father Sky or whatever it is, and that was beautiful and special. Now, it's about gaming, alcohol, fireworks, and abortions. I mean, what happened to the proud Indian?


What fork in the road did Native Americans take? When did they decide, "Ah, crap, it's just not worth it any more. Why don't we turn our precious land into a place where we can build some slot machines?"


I mean, you know, I'm bringing this up not because I have, you know, huge opposition to keno -- casinos and Indian trinket shops; don't get me wrong here. I bring it up because, you know, the Indians are using the whole "You took our land [sobbing]." I think they're taking that a little too far, don't you? I mean, South Dakota about to pass the no-abortion thing, so the women in the tribe -- in fact, let me get this straight, the -- it's Fire Thunder, that's her -- I don't know whether that's her last name or her middle and last name. It's Cecilia Fire Thunder. So -- anyway, she says she wants to open up the abortion clinics on the Indians' land, and I mean -- how good do you feel about giving away the sovereignty now? I mean, when I say we gave them sovereignty, I mean it's, you know, more in a way like, you know, we took their sovereignty and then loaned them a little bit of it back, but you know what I mean. I hope that contract isn't iron-clad -- when are we gonna get out of that contract with the Indians?


US Attorney scandal--a horrifying possibility

The US Attorney scandal is bad enough on its own. The first inkling we had of the scandal was that Rove was firing people so he could put his skank assistants in those jobs--people like Tim Griffin, who made his bones doing opposition research on Democrats--you know, the perfect person for a US Attorney position. Then the rest started coming out. Republicans calling David Iglesias before the election wanting an indictment against Democrats to use in their campaigns. Or when they sent out Bradley Schlozman to the Kansas City office where he filed indictments on the eve of the election.

But as James Fallows suggests, we haven't hit bottom yet. He recounts the case of a guy named Tom Wales, a federal prosecutor in Seattle, who, among other things, was working on gun violence cases. He was shot as he sat at his computer one evening just a month after 9-11. One of the suspects was a pilot who was known to be violently pro-gun. I understand that he is just a suspect and there is much about this case that remains unknown. But, from what Fallows suggests, local officials often complained that Washington was not devoting many resources to the case--a case of one of their own possibly killed "in the line of duty."
Until now, the heartbreak of the Tom Wales case, and the Washington-vs-Washington disagreement over how intensively the search for his killer was being pursued, had seemed entirely separate from Seattle’s involvement in the eight-fired-attorneys matter. John McKay, the U.S. attorney in Seattle who was among the eight dismissed, appeared to have earned the Bush Administration’s hostility in the old-fashioned way: by not filing charges of voter fraud after an extremely close election that went the Democrats’ way. But this weekend’s story in the Washington Post, based on testimony by Alberto Gonzales’s former deputy Kyle Sampson, suggests that McKay’s problems may have begun with his determination to keep on pushing to find Tom Wales’s killer.

If this is so, it is obscene. Tom Wales represented everything the American public can hope for from its public servants. He made less money than he might have, in order to enforce the rules that made Americans’ lives in general safer, more predictable, and more honorable. He showed that people with many options in life could choose a career in public service. He was a wonderful man. For his commitment, he was murdered, which was in a deep sense a crime against the entire public. The public in general has no way to punish or avenge that crime, but the law enforcement system does. If an administration has chosen to neglect that effort because – as has now been suggested – it didn’t want to ruffle feathers in the pro-gun camp, that is as low an act as any we have heard of in modern politics. It would take us back to, say, the murders in Philadelphia, Mississippi more than 40 years ago — but with the local officials trying their best to find the truth and the federal government covering up a crime.

I hope this is not the case. I don't want to believe that these people in George Bush's Justice Department would be so callous about power and loyalty. I don't want to believe that at all. But look again at the case of Brad Schlozman:
Schlozman previously spent three years as a political appointee in the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, where he supervised the voting rights section.
There, he came into conflict with veteran staff over his decisions to approve a Texas redistricting plan and a Georgia photo-ID voting law, both of which benefited Republicans. He also hired many new career lawyers with strong conservative credentials, in what critics say was an attempt to reduce enforcement of laws designed to eliminate obstacles to voting by minorities.
"Schlozman was reshaping the Civil Rights Division," said Joe Rich , who was chief of the voting rights section until taking a buyout in 2005, in an interview. "Schlozman didn't know anything about voting law. . . . All he knew is he wanted to be sure that the Republicans were going to win."

This is not "business as usual." It will take us years to repair the damage Bush has done to our system.

May 7, 2007

So, is it hard to raise your head as a Repub?

Worst. President. Ever. Just a partial list:
While families work harder, their wages continue to decline. Middle-class families are working harder and earning less today than they were at the start of the Bush Administration. [..]

Earnings for workers with college degrees declining. [..]

Worst job creation record since Hoover Administration.[..]

Unemployment has increased 7.1 percent and long-term joblessness has nearly doubled. [..]

Bush's deficit-financed tax cuts have widened the income gap between millionaires and middle-class workers.[..]

More American families and children face severe financial problems.

Then Olbermann points to the Kansas tornados. Wouldn't it be nice to have the National Guard to help out? Yes it would. But they are compromised by Bush.

Yeah, and the Dems are the threat to national security. Right.

Oh Hell. Disney again?

Disney re-veils its wedding gown collection for fairy tale nuptials - Lifestyle - NY Daily News

May 5, 2007

Propaganda techniques

Indiana University studied Billo's television program and the results are not really news to those of us who have watched it.
The IU researchers found that O'Reilly called a person or a group a derogatory name once every 6.8 seconds, on average, or nearly nine times every minute during the editorials that open his program each night.

"It's obvious he's very big into calling people names, and he's very big into glittering generalities," said Mike Conway, assistant professor in the IU School of Journalism. "He's not very subtle. He's going to call people names, or he's going to paint something in a positive way, often without any real evidence to support that viewpoint."

And not just that Bill likes to disparage people, but he uses (perhaps unintentionally) propaganda techniques perfected by such luminaries as Father Charles Coughlin in the 1930s.

What the IU researchers found in their study, "Villains, Victims and Virtuous in Bill O'Reilly's 'No Spin Zone': Revisiting World War Propaganda Techniques," was that he was prone to inject fear into his commentaries and quick to resort to name-calling. He also frequently assigned roles or attributes -- such as "villians" or downright "evil" -- to people and groups.

Using analysis techniques first developed in the 1930s by the Institute for Propaganda Analysis, Conway, Grabe and Grieves found that O'Reilly employed six of the seven propaganda devices nearly 13 times each minute in his editorials. His editorials also are presented on his Web site and in his newspaper columns.

The seven propaganda devices include:

Name calling -- giving something a bad label to make the audience reject it without examining the evidence;

Glittering generalities -- the opposite of name calling;

Card stacking -- the selective use of facts and half-truths;

Bandwagon -- appeals to the desire, common to most of us, to follow the crowd;

Plain folks -- an attempt to convince an audience that they, and their ideas, are "of the people";

Transfer -- carries over the authority, sanction and prestige of something we respect or dispute to something the speaker would want us to accept; and

Testimonials -- involving a respected (or disrespected) person endorsing or rejecting an idea or person.

Holy crap!

Dana Milbank writes about the National Day of Prayer and hopes that next year there is a better turn out for the "Bible Reading Marathon" on the West Front of the Capitol. But there is more. This event is sponsored by the International Bible Reading Association, started in part by the late Bill Bright of Campus Crusade.

But wait, there is more.

Guess who worked as the spokesman for the IBRA?

Wait for it.

Jeff Gannon.

As Milbank said:
Let us pray for the power to understand how Gannon made his way from to the International Bible Reading Association.

You really can't make this stuff up.

May 4, 2007


To our friend Anglican. Today he successfully defended his dissertation.

"Dr. Anglican" has a nice ring.


Driving through north OKC yesterday afternoon and saw this school sign:
Cinco de Mayo
May 4th

Our corporate media

Greg Palast writes of a couple of examples of what is wrong with American media. It isn't, as we have discussed many times, a "liberal bias" that Bernie Goldberg and Fox News complains about. It is rather the corporate nature of news--where investigative reporting is not profitable. Sad, really.

Anyway. Palast recounts how he reported on a Bush/Rove scheme to challenge the votes of African Americans during the 2004 election. That story was never really picked up in the American media, and Palast thinks he understands why.

The truth is, I knew that a story like this one would never be reported in my own country. Because investigative reporting — the kind Jack Anderson used to do regularly and which was carried in hundreds of papers across the country, the kind of muckraking, data-intensive work that takes time and money and ruffles feathers — is dying.

I've been through this before, too many times. Take this investigative report, also buried in the U.S.: Back in December 2000, I received two computer disks from the office of Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris. Analysis of the data, plus documents that fell my way, indicated that Harris' office had purged thousands of African Americans from Florida's voter rolls as "felons." Florida now admits that many of these voters were not in fact felons. Nevertheless, the blacklisting helped cost Al Gore the White House.

I reported on the phony felon purge in Britain's Guardian and Observer and on the BBC while Gore was still in the race, while the count was still on.

Yet the story of the Florida purge never appeared in the U.S. daily papers or on television. Until months later, that is, after the Supreme Court had decided the election, when it was picked up by the Washington Post and others.

U.S. papers delayed the story until the U.S. Civil Rights Commission issued a report saying our Guardian/BBC story was correct: Innocents lost their vote. At that point, protected by the official imprimatur, American editors felt it safe enough to venture out with the story. But by then, George W. Bush could read it from his chair in the Oval Office.

May 3, 2007

Good DAY indeed

Evidently, I didn't realize that Paul Harvey is nuts. Yeah, Bush gave him the Medal of Freedom, saying "And over the decades we have come to recognize in that voice some of the finest qualities of our country: the patriotism, the good humor, the kindness and common sense of Americans." God, I hope not. Here is what he had to say about Afganistan casualties:
"And hear this please. In Western Afghanistan, where NATO forces are involved in some of the deadliest fighting since January, among the 136 dead this morning suspect Taliban. But there are others, 51 villagers, mostly women and children. Might not the news media put a stop to such pulled punches wars as this, if we would just desist from categorizing civilians. It was civilians, for goodness sake, who decapitated New York City. Since the invention of the aerial bomb five wars ago, there have been no civilians."

As several other bloggers have noted, this means that if you are killed by a bomb, then that defines you as a legitimate target. Certainly makes it easier for us. Bomb away.

Oh, well, Paul the Bloody didn't just start there.
We didn’t come this far because we’re made of sugar candy. Once upon a time, we elbowed our way onto and across this continent by giving smallpox-infected blankets to Native Americans. That was biological warfare. And we used every other weapon we could get our hands on to grab this land from whomever.
Heh. "Whomever."
And we grew prosperous. And yes, we greased the skids with the sweat of slaves. So it goes with most great nation-states, which — feeling guilty about their savage pasts — eventually civilize themselves out of business and wind up invaded and ultimately dominated by the lean, hungry up-and-coming who are not made of sugar candy."

Sure glad he represents "the patriotism, the good humor, the kindness and common sense of Americans." Sigh.

May 2, 2007

Ah, Baptists, what the hell?

Talk To Action | Reclaiming Citizenship, History, and Faith: "And now there is the vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention who publicly endorsed the assasination of a doctor by a member of an underground terrorist organization who had been on the FBIs Ten Most Wanted List."


Josh Marshall says that Bush can't fire Gonzales. It is such an obvious point that I can't believe I didn't think of it. Marshall points out that Gonzales essentially never quit being the White House Counsel--he just switched offices. So he functioned as AG to protect the Bush people. That means keeping Rove out of hot water, protecting the big guy himself against any future investigations. If he fires Gonzales, he will have to appoint a new AG and will run into serious problems. Marshall says that he could not get away with another Gonzales--especially after all this, so couldn't trust that the AG wouldn't become more of a liability.

More than he already is. So Bush is more than willing to allow Gonzales to look like a complete doofus (and that is being kind) because if he fires him, he might be letting a real prosecutor into the government.

Just another example of the depths of incompetence of this man. Heck of a job, there, Bushy!

May 1, 2007

Hmm, mission unaccomplished

4 years. 4 YEARS. And disaster after disaster.

Watching that horrible display today really reminded me of how awful this administration has been. Historians will continue to rate Bush as one of the very worst. As I joked the other day, he makes Grant look sober. He did accomplish one thing for the Bush family, however. He transformed his father into a great president.


4 years. 3,000 dead Americans and who knows how many dead Iraqis. As many Americans dead as in the oft-quoted 9-11, or as Bushy always calls it, "September THE eleventh" as if he is showing off his grasp of numbers. Right, he uses 3,000 dead Americans to justify sending another 3,000 and counting to fight in a cluster fu$k war. Evidence continues to mount that his Veep orchestrated everything from the intelligence to the push for war, to the outing of a CIA agent who got in the way. But Bush oversaw the entire disaster. With a smirk and a strut. Boy, did he see too many John Wayne movies growing up. Barbara and George did a number on that boy. And by extension, us.

So here is how this is going to work. And, keep in mind, we didn't make the rules. Republicans impeached the last decent president over a blow job and politicized sex. I suspect that many of them today are looking ruefully at this disaster of a president and thinking, "we will get to mock the next one, whoever they may be."

Yeah, not going to happen. I will ignore any Republican who voted for this man in 2004 unless (UNLESS) the next President does something along the lines of 1) endorsing torture; 2) invading Canada to stop Mexican immigration; 3) suspending Habeas review to incarcerate Republicans (might be a case for that, actually); 4) hiring some idiots from a left wing religious nutjob "law school" (oh, wait, those don't actually exist) to politicize who gets pinched for political corruption and who doesn't; 5) hiring a moron to be Attorney General. And then replacing him with Alberto Gonzales.

That list can continue. But everytime I hear one Republican complain about Hilary, or Barak, I will just smile. Oh, don't get me wrong. I joked about suspending habeas for Republicans, but that was just a joke. I believe in our system. Freedom means more than dressing up in a flight suit and invoking 9-11 in every damn speech. All of you who were silly enough to vote for Bush in 2004 will still have the right to complain about whoever is in charge. But I won't listen to you. Because your credibility will be in the GWB Library next to the Mission Accomplished banner.

"Mission Accomplished"

Just a reminder that this is the 4 year anniversary.

More: This on how the media reported this "event" 4 years ago:
Back in the Days of 'Mission Accomplished': How One Paper Covered Bush Declaration Four Years Ago
"At the time, it was heralded by the mainstream media as a fitting moment of triumph. 'He won the war,' boomed MSNBC's Chris Matthews. 'He was an effective commander. Everybody recognizes that, I believe, except a few critics.'"

I love that part. I watch Matthews sometimes when I am bored and waiting for Olbermann. He likes to paint himself now as one of those who was never convinced by the Bushies. Bush was not an effective commander of anything, and we know that now.

WWJD? Shoot back, evidently. From his ride.

the parish: We Do Things Different Down H'yere: "On an SUV at Outback Steakhouse, three bumper stickers on the back window:

God Bless America

Jesus is Alive!

Fight Crime: Shoot Back"

The older I get, the more contradictions I see in American Christianity. Perhaps seeing Christians tolerate/deny/openly defend torture threw me over the edge.


Gonzo and his recall

The Anonymous Liberal points us to this item:
"Murray Waas has a fascinating article in the National Review [linked below] describing a secret order by Alberto Gonzales that delegated unprecedented control over the hiring and firing of senior Justice Department officials--including those who oversee the DOJ criminal division--to Kyle Sampson and Monica Goodling. This order bypassed the traditional authority given to the deputy attorney general, the associate attorney general, and other senior Justice Department officials to control their own staffs and placed this important authority in the hands of two inexperienced and highly partisan individuals who, by all accounts, worked very closely with the White House. It is truly alarming the lengths to which this White House has gone to politicize our criminal justice system. I wonder how long it will take to undo the institutional damage wrought by this administration. "

AL said it better than I could, but holy cow! Monica Goodling in charge of our justice department? If you read the NJ story, you will see that the original draft of this actually had these two clowns (Regent University, indeed!) completely in charge of hiring and firing--without even the AG's approval. Though this hardly seems necessary given how complicit Gonzales is in whatever the White House wants done or who they want fired, they had to amend the secret (is this the most secret administration in history?) order to make sure it was constitutional. Like they care about that.
NATIONAL JOURNAL: Secret Order By Gonzales Delegated Extraordinary Powers To Aides (04/30/07): "'It would be an act of insanity and, frankly, implausible that the attorney general would grant authority to Kyle [Sampson] and Monica Goodling to make these decisions,' the official said, 'But it would be frightening if they were serving as proxies for the White House. You do not want to allow for the possible politicization of your Criminal Division like that.'"