September 29, 2007

If anyone even cares

A few items that caught my eye over the last few days. First, this Spanish report that suggests that Bush was determined to attack regardless of telling the American people that war was not inevitable:
"Bush purportedly said he planned to invade Iraq inf March 'if there was a United Nations Security Council resolution or not....We have to get rid of Saddam. We will be in Baghdad at the end of March.'"
Just confirmation of what we already knew--at least in my mind--that Bush was determined to attack Iraq no matter what. And he had/has no ability (or seems not to) to question himself:
Agence France Presse translates part of the chat with Bush stating: "I am optimistic because I believe I am right. I am at peace with myself."
Some accuse me of brooding over things, but I prefer that to someone who seems incapable of introspection.

The Spanish report also suggests that Bush believed that Saddam was willing to leave Iraq. Evidently, the former dictator was willing to take a billion dollars and leave the country. I think this is an interesting scenario and one that causes us all a lot of problems. On one hand, Bush has made us spend far more in both money and certainly American and Iraqi lives to reduce this country to rubble. Would that Billion dollar buy-out have stopped that? I don't know. Nor am I sure that would have been a good precedent either. But it is also clear--if this is true--that Bush and Cheney never allowed the American people to make the decision. They, instead, forced us to choose between a mushroom cloud and this war.

I think history will cement this as Bush's war, whether he likes it or not.


This Tuesday, we will finally hear the entire new Bruce Springsteen album. Since the Boss campaigned for John Kerry, it is no surprise that he is not a fan of this administration, but he made that clear on the Today show the other day. And this, I am afraid to say, is exactly what we have to talk about.
The Boss speaks out: "“This is a song called Livin’ In the Future. But it’s really about what’s happening now. Right now. It’s kind of about how the things we love about America, cheeseburgers, French fries, the Yankees battlin’ Boston… the Bill of Rights [holds up microphone, urging crowd to cheer] … v-twin motorcycles… Tim Russert’s haircut, trans-fats and the Jersey Shore… we love those things the way womenfolk love Matt Lauer.

But over the past six years we’ve had to add to the American picture: rendition, illegal wiretapping, voter suppression, no habeus corpus, the neglect of our great city New Orleans and its people, an attack on the Constitution. And the loss of our young best men and women in a tragic war.

This is a song about things that shouldn’t happen here—happening here.”

Wow, McCain has come a long way from his attack on Falwell

And that journey has been in the wrong direction. Not only did he cuddle up to the late Falwell and make kissy noises, he is now claiming to be Baptist, and now says this:
"A recent poll found that 55 percent of Americans believe the U.S. Constitution establishes a Christian nation. What do you think?
I would probably have to say yes, that the Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation. But I say that in the broadest sense. The lady that holds her lamp beside the golden door doesn't say, “I only welcome Christians.” We welcome the poor, the tired, the huddled masses. But when they come here they know that they are in a nation founded on Christian principles."
Um, could he perhaps point to the part of the Constitution that does this?


September 28, 2007

So we went to a concert at a casino

Had the tickets for a few months now. There is a new casino (well, a couple years old) just south of town and we had yet to go. So, when the Wreckers were scheduled, we decided to check it out. They are Michelle Branch and her backup singer in a country/pop band. Perfectly fun pop country--though nothing to write home about. Blogging is another matter.

I would have to say that the entire experience was completely contrary to what I expected. I know there are those here who frequent casinos, so maybe we just didn't get it, but I was not sold. Perhaps it was the smoking, I don't know. In fact, I don't know what I expected about the casino experience, but I think I was anticipating, well, anticipation or excitement. It seemed the opposite. Kind of a dull stare. Perhaps it was my own ignorance. The machines confused me. While all were flashing, some had recognizable games on them and others were completely confusing displays of fruit and trumpets. Or something. People sat in front of them and poked buttons repeatedly. And the people sitting there--often smoked cigarettes and stared at the machines--not with enjoyment, or excitement, but with a rather glassy-eyed stare. Then there was the constant drone of sound. Not bells or music, just a droning hum. HMMMMMMMMM It freaked us the hell out. When the concert ended, we had some free tokens (or something--that was part of the confusion, I couldn't figure out how to even bet--perhaps this PhD is useless?) but the droning sound made us both want to flee.

I am assuming we missed something. Perhaps someone can interpret for me.

But back to the music. That I understand. And the music snob in me was on full alert. Well, not going in. I kind of thought it was a smaller venue (perhaps because I hadn't thought it through) but it was a big concert hall. The sound was marginal--a little muddy, so lyrics were hard to pick up. The musicians were all good. In fact, the mando/fiddle/banjo player was quite good, and Michelle Branch herself plays several instruments. Both ladies sing very well and their harmonies were nice. That was what it was. It was nice. Perfectly nice harmonies and pop lyrics with some perfectly good musicianship added in. I have written about transcendent moments at music concerts--from some in our own public parks to others in bars and clubs. There was no transcendence here. Though many of the young women who flocked to the concert acted as if they heard the best concert of their lives. I wanted to talk to them and say, "hey, this is good stuff, but don't confuse it with great." But that was the snob in me. So, I listened and enjoyed and appreciated when the harmonies worked or when the mando player worked a great little line into a perfectly boring Judds cover.

And then we fled the drone.

MoveOn v. Limbaugh

Just a point of comparison between MoveOn's ad in the NYT and Limbaugh attacking anti-war troops as "fake soldiers" (and he should know given his own vast military experience).
Horses Mouth September 28, 2007 2:28 PM: "MoveOn's ad on Mighty Scholar-Warrior Petraeus questioned his credibility, not his service. Republicans successfully sprinkled their Deception Dust all over the story and turned it into an attack on the troops. And the media bit -- hard. As usual, the justification for covering and punditizing about the story was that Dems are vulnerable to charges that they are anti-military; therefore, the GOP's demand that they condemn MoveOn was scoring political points; and perversely, this is what made the GOP assault news.

By contrast, Rush Limbaugh actually did impugn the service of soldiers who favor withdrawal from Iraq. But because Republicans aren't vulnerable to charges that they're anti-military, this doesn't give Dems as clear an opportunity to score political points by demanding that Repubs condemn him. Therefore, it isn't as newsworthy. Yes, the Limbaugh story is getting some traction today. But it will get nowhere near the attention that the GOP attack on Dems over the MoveOn ad got.

Interesting take on Oklahoma State Coach's rant

Mike Gundy's tirade at a local columnist has caught the national attention. And not for the better, we should say. I am split here, in that he attacked the Daily Oklahoman--widely considered one of the worst papers in the nation, but then also think that a coach claiming to protect a 21 year old he calls a "kid" is missing just how paternalistic his actions are.

But NPR asks an interesting question:
"Did Columnist's Gender Play Role in Coach's Tirade?"

September 27, 2007

The Trouble with Trolls

What is it with this site and obnoxious troll commentators? In the last week, I have been called stupid, racist, stupid (again), biased, and dumb. Then someone at work suggested that I was sexist.

I think I need a vacation.

September 26, 2007

Our President

"President George W. Bush told a group of New York school kids on Wednesday: 'Childrens do learn.'"
Though, as the Orwellian White House website tells us, he said:
As yesterday's positive Report Card shows, children do learn when standards are high and results are measured.

He is an idiot, but his staff refuses to admit it.

I am beyond sighs with these people.

September 25, 2007

The SBC's Home Economics program revisited

H/t BDW forthis interesting take on Paige Patterson's new home ec program.
Southwestern President Paige Patterson was formerly president of the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the USA. Under his leadership, Southern Baptists in 1998 reaffirmed that wives should "graciously submit" to their husbands, and in 2000 issued a declaration that only men could be ministers in the denomination.
Right, because...Oh hell, I forget why.
According to the same logic, only men can teach other men to be ministers. When he took over as Southwestern's president in 2003, Patterson declared, "The New Testament is crystal clear that pastors are to be men." There was a problem, however, in that a woman named Sheri Klouda had been hired by the seminary in 2002, in a tenure-track position, to teach theology. Patterson fired her. In a still-pending federal lawsuit against the institution, Klouda's attorneys contend that she was terminated for being "a mistake that the trustees needed to fix."
Ah, good old gender discrimination. But as the column points out, if you have said that women belong in the home, what the hell are they doing in seminary learning how to be housewives? And who will teach them? Patterson feels quite strongly that the women belong in the home, and not teaching in the Seminary with big strong men like himself (and his bodyguards). So will Paige teach them how to cook and sew? Or will he hire women...oops, dammit, can't do that.

This is what happens when misogyny masquerades as theology, and when someone like Patterson can't tell the difference.

"When was the last time a New York Times ad ever killed somebody?"

Actually, I think that David Shuster's question to this horrible congressperson was a bit unfair. He asked her to name the last person killed in Iraq from her district. But the broader point of the amazing GOP hipocrisy surrounding either the "public trust" or even political dialogue is amazing. This is the same party that, as Ubub points out, chuckles when Ann Coulter calls all liberals traitors, or nods appreciatively when GOP strategists suggest that a triple amputee veteran was pro-Bin Laden, or that voting for any Democrat is voting for Al Qaeda. But now, they are outraged OUTRAGED over an ad.

The Ugly Side of the G.O.P.

Bob Herbert has a column about the GOP and African Americans. He notes that Tavis Smiley worked for a year to put on separate debates for the Democrats and Republicans addressing African American issues. While the Democratic debate went off without a hitch, the big Republican candidates simply opted out. I guess the "big tent" idea is now officially BS. But he also recounts the death of Andrew Goodman in Philadelphia, Mississippi in 1964, and the subsequent "Southern Strategy" employed by the Republican party to reach out--not to African American voters, but to the pro-segregationists:
In one of the vilest moves in modern presidential politics, Ronald Reagan, the ultimate hero of this latter-day Republican Party, went out of his way to kick off his general election campaign in 1980 in that very same Philadelphia, Miss. He was not there to send the message that he stood solidly for the values of Andrew Goodman. He was there to assure the bigots that he was with them.

“I believe in states’ rights,” said Mr. Reagan. The crowd roared.

In 1981, during the first year of Mr. Reagan’s presidency, the late Lee Atwater gave an interview to a political science professor at Case Western Reserve University, explaining the evolution of the Southern strategy:

“You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘Nigger, nigger, nigger,’ ” said Atwater. “By 1968, you can’t say ‘nigger’ — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things, and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.”
But the GOP is the party of moral values....


About Damn Time

Bush and government:
"The last two times the Pew Research Center asked people to describe President Bush in a single word, chief among the overwhelmingly negative responses was the word 'incompetent.'

What makes that particularly fascinating is that it's a realization that the public has reached pretty much on its own.

While there's certainly been spirited debate and extensive news coverage about the ideological merit (or lack thereof) of Bush's policies pretty much across the board, there's also a critical underlying issue: Whether those policies are being competently carried out by the people Bush has put in charge of the agencies, departments and branches of the armed forces responsible for their execution."
Not to blow my own horn, but that has been my question for years. What has this man successfully implemented? He has pushed through tax cuts (and I am still afraid that for many conservatives that is really all they wanted--a check) but has undermined our government's ability to function. You know, for the rest of us.


Blame America first

Just not from the people you expect. Well, unless you remember the late Falwell blaming America for 9-11. Here, in a clip I won't post, Values Voters sing about God and America.
Why should God bless America?
She’s forgotten he exists
And has turned her back
On everything that made her what she is

Why should God stand beside her
Through the night with the light from his hand?
God have mercy on America
Forgive her sin and heal our land

The courts ruled prayer out of our schools
In June of ‘62
Told the children “you are your own God now
So you can make the rules”
O say can you see what that choice
Has cost us to this day
America, one nation under God, has gone astray
I am still amazed that this mantra has so permeated our Christian conservative movement. Yeah, right. America denies the existence of God. Except that it requires everyone to talk about God and prayer simply to be elected.

And that last verse is ridiculous. Yes, the SC ruled that school-led prayer was unconstitutional, but for people who believe in a personal God to believe somehow that removes prayer from School is theologically suspect. What it did, was to remove the option for Christian Conservatives to force others to pray.

But that didn't rhyme.

September 22, 2007


Gov. Bill Richardson: Ads Don't Kill People, Wars Do - Politics on The Huffington Post: "But instead of continuing to push on the most important issue facing our country right now, yesterday Congress spent their time debating and condemning a newspaper ad by an anti-war group.

Let's get some perspective here -- ads don't kill people -- wars kill people. And it is long past time to end this war."

Sorry, I still think this is funny

Former Mexican president calls Bush:
"a 'windshield cowboy' afraid to ride a powerful horse."
Heehee. I just can't resist this story. Oh, and Fox calls bush the cockiest guy he ever met--though he means that as a compliment.

Perhaps Democrats should negotiate with Bush in a horse stable. At the very least, since Bush gets the softball questions every presser from Fox, someone should ask at every press conference and briefing if Bush is afraid of horses and also what the Crawford ranch produces except brush.

Seems reasonable to me.

Billo on race

He is shocked to discover that blacks can be civil. Seriously.
You know, I was up in Harlem a few weeks ago, and I actually had dinner with Al Sharpton, who is a very, very interesting guy. And he comes on The Factor a lot, and then I treated him to dinner, because he's made himself available to us, and I felt that I wanted to take him up there. And we went to Sylvia's, a very famous restaurant in Harlem. I had a great time, and all the people up there are tremendously respectful. They all watch The Factor. You know, when Sharpton and I walked in, it was like a big commotion and everything, but everybody was very nice.

And I couldn't get over the fact that there was no difference between Sylvia's restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City. I mean, it was exactly the same, even though it's run by blacks, primarily black patronship.

September 21, 2007

Cowboy Bush

This is just TOO funny!
Here's another fun detail from Vicente Fox's upcoming autobiography: He says that despite President Bush's cowboy image, the man is actually scared of horses.

Fox tells the story of the two men meeting in Mexico in early 2001, in which he invited Bush to ride a large horse. Bush nervously backed away. "A horse lover can always tell when others don't share our passion," Fox wrote.

Fun fact: Bush's Crawford ranch, purchased in 1999 in order to help create a down-home image for his presidential campaign, does not have any horses.
Can you be a cowboy who is afraid of horses? Sounds like the beginnings of some kind of joke. What do you call a Cowboy who is afraid of horses? A preppy frat-boy dude. Heh.

Bush and language

Perhaps this is too mean of me, but watching the man speak really does give me the heebies. But yesterday's presser (besides the idiot question from Bill Sammons of Fox News allowing the President to be very "disappointed in the Democrat leaders" for not being more offended by the MoveOn ad) was just another example. Really funny, btw, was his attempt to use his "return on success" line and bungle it. Perhaps even he doesn't believe it.

He likes to drop in these little stories as if HE thought of them:
Part of the reason why there is not this instant democracy in Iraq is because people are still recovering from Saddam Hussein’s brutal rule. I thought an interesting comment was made when somebody said to me, I heard somebody say, where’s Mandela? Well, Mandela is dead, because Saddam Hussein killed all the Mandelas. He was a brutal tyrant that divided people up and split families, and people are recovering from this. So there’s a psychological recovery that is taking place. And it’s hard work for them. And I understand it’s hard work for them. Having said that, I’m not going the give them a pass when it comes to the central government’s reconciliation efforts.
I suspect that interesting "comment" came from a speech writer or political hack. And to watch him mangle this effort is really amazing. When John Kerry mangled a joke, it was offensive, when Bush mangles a sentence it is called "Tuesday."

September 20, 2007

Oh, and this is just lovely

In yet another example of how the Republicans in charge really don't understand our history, take a look at this story on the mercenary company called Blackwater and convince me that the Founders would not freak the hell out about a standing mercenary army that functions without oversight and with the direct support of the government? Convince me of that, given the Founders concerns about a standing army of any kind.
" The State Department allowed Blackwater's heavily armed teams to operate without an Interior Ministry license, even after the requirement became standard language in Defense Department security contracts. The company was not subject to the military's restrictions on the use of offensive weapons, its procedures for reporting shooting incidents or a central tracking system that allows commanders to monitor the movements of security companies on the battlefield.

'The Iraqis despised them, because they were untouchable,' said Matthew Degn, who recently returned from Baghdad after serving as senior American adviser to the Interior Ministry. 'They were above the law.' Degn said Blackwater's armed Little Bird helicopters often buzzed the Interior Ministry's roof, 'almost like they were saying, 'Look, we can fly anywhere we want.' '"

GOP and our constitution and our troops

In our conversation yesterday, our commentator raised the issue of values. At the same time, the GOP blocked a vote that would have returned habeas review to terror suspects. Why? I have no idea. But evidently, Republicans don't think that Habeas Corpus is a value worth fighting for. With all due respect, I would suggest that our enemies also disdain such legal protections. How nice that we are following them, rather than our own principles.

But that isn't the only bill the GOP blocked. Let me say here, that I fully respect the right of the minority to play obstructionist. It is the only thing that allowed Democrats to stop Bush and Cheney from paving over the Grand Canyon or invading Canada. We should note that the Republicans complained incessantly when Democrats used this feature (fillibuster) but that is the nature of politics. They aren't complaining about that now. But they are using it in ways that I don't understand. I think our system is strong enough to allow habeas review to ensure that terror subjects actually are terror subjects. And likewise, when the GOP killed a bill that would extend leave for our soldiers, well, I just throw up my hands.

Republicans say they support the troops and accuse anyone like me of not, yet they cut their pay, extend their tours, and then kill a bill that might have at least given them as much time at home as it did in country. RNC Chair Martinez proved my point, accusing those of us who might want such legislation as actually demeaning the troops:
" I think we would demean their service if we were to say to them that there had to be a parity between the time in service out of the country and the time at home. "
I think I see the trend. Anything the Republicans do--even if it is to allow war vets to be treated in sqalor or using the back-door draft to keep our struggling Army together--well, that is "supporting the troops." Anything Democrats do--even pushing for more training, or research into brain injuries, or daring to suggest that they have more time at home--we are anti-troops. Got it.

September 19, 2007

Bush/Cheney Conservatism--lie even when you know it is a lie

This whole MoveOn fracus is ridiculous. According to Crooks and Liars, our good friend John McCain not only suggested that MoveOn be kicked out of the country, but now uses them as a prop wherever he goes. They asked a damn question about the key political issue of the day. That is what we should all be doing. But the conservatives don't give a shit about that. They have seized on this as a wedge issue and now are lying about the NY Times giving them a reduced rate. And look who is leading the lie-fest? Dick Cheney.

I am so very tired of all of these people. The right wing has done so much to ruin our country. From demonizing government to politicizing every possible policy, they have undermined our very ability to live among each other. What is worse, they have demonstrated a completely disregard for the truth and lie whenever they want. John Kerry told us in the 04 race that Bush wanted to privatize SS and that the war was going to cost us way more than Bush said. The Bush people called Kerry names for both things. The right wing spin machine was in full throat about it. Right after the election, we find out that the cost of this war is well above what Bush promised, and also that his big initiative (failed, of course, because he has no real policies) was to privatize Social Security. They knew that in the fall, but honesty is, evidently, not a Christian virtue when it is practiced by the President.

I am so tired of them.

September 18, 2007

Haven't read Jon Swift in a while

And he has three beauts up now. Today, a post entitled "are we tasering people enough?" referring to Florida police tasering a kid who asked John Kerry a tough question. Kerry didn't mind the question, but the police dragged him out and tasered him anyway.

Second item (you can page down) is a post entitled, "At the Emmys Fox Guards the Hollywood Henhouse of Obscenity" referring to Fox censoring Emmy winner Sally Field who, according to observers started to make an anti-war statement. That statement, was something along the lines of "If mothers ruled the world, there would be no Goddamned wars in the first place." Fox went to black the moment she started the "no" part of her sentence. Seriously, are we that sensitive that we can't even hear something like that? I say, go for it, Sally. We are all sick of this war. Well, except those at Fox. Unless their years of running sleazy programming has made them suddenly concerned about offensive language?

Third, Mr. Swift brilliantly references the ad last week asking General Petraeus not to "Betray us." Personally, I thought it was a decent question and was set up completely by the White House talking about their political people writing his "report." I think reasonable people can question the authenticity of this voice, especially since there are so many reports suggesting that the Pentagon has cooked the numbers and the surge really isn't working the way they want. Anyway, Jon's post was entitled, " and Other Traitors Are Welcome To Advertise Here."

Brilliant site, just brilliant.

Oh, my former state, what happened?

Oh right, Grover Norquist happened. Yeah, the man who wants to shrink government to the point of disuse, has nearly done that in the state of Colorado, where despite relative wealth, they have fallen in some key issues of taking care of people and educating their future.
One of the chapters in The Conservatives Have No Clothes: Why Right-Wing Ideas Keep Failing tells the story of what happened in Colorado under TABOR. The bottom line is pretty straightforward. By virtually every ranking imaginable related to government performance, the state with the tenth highest median household income plummeted to the very bottom of the pack, competing with Mississippi and other poor southern states for last place. With respect to health care, TABOR caused Colorado drop below at least 45 other states in the share of low-income residents covered by Medicaid, the portion of low-income children lacking health care coverage, and the percentage of low-income adults under 65 without health insurance. Colorado’s national ranking in access to prenatal care declined from twenty-third in 1990 to forty-eighth in 2004.

How about education? Classroom sizes in Colorado escalated primarily because of TABOR so that student-teacher ratios in Colorado – one of the most prosperous states in the country – were worse than in all but eight states. The ratio of teacher salaries to average private sector earnings is lower in Colorado than in any other state. As for higher education, total state support to colleges and universities grew at the second lowest rate in the nation, so that now Colorado ranks forty-eighth for state higher education funding as a share of personal income.
Damn Norquist and his entire bunch of anti-government freaks. Government isn't magical, but it is one of the ways we live to gether as a people.

This is pretty cool

I don't know when this occurred, but before an NBA game last year, a young girl forgot the words to the National Anthem. A potentially hugely embarrassing moment is rescued by class act Maurice Cheeks. Watch the video. It will make you feel a little better about humankind.

Republicans and capitalism

Michael Kinsley has a great essay on the student loan industry and its lack of connection to actual sound business or capitalism principles. Yet, it is supported by the very Republicans who constantly lecture me on the merits of free-market capitalism.
It's Republicans, who adopted the student loan "industry" in its infancy, like a stray cat, and have nurtured and protected it ever since. There actually is a parallel student loan program that uses government funds. It was started in the early days of the Clinton administration. It costs less to operate, and it has not been tainted by scandal. But when the Republicans regained control of Congress in 1994, they pushed through a law forbidding the Education Department to encourage use of this program. As a result, direct federal loans account for only 25 percent of all student loans.
Because that would be socialism? Or maybe just because it isn't as profitable. Kinsley notes the prevalence of kickbacks where prestigious universities accept payments to push this more expensive loan program.

But this is best when he dissects the supposed capitalism here.
But why do Republicans love student loans? Oh, there are the usual reasons: lobbyist and campaign contributions. There is almost sure to be at least one of these firms -- the local bank, if no one else -- in their district. But there is more. Student loans are the clearest example of the common Republican confusion between free-market capitalism and business. Capitalism is an economic system that is held, with some justification, to be the best guarantor of prosperity. Business can be capitalism in action, or it can be something entirely different. There is very little about the student loan program that has anything to do with free-market capitalism. Yet whenever the student loan system comes under criticism, lobbyists, "industry" leaders and supportive politicians haul out the same old cliches, as if they were defending Adam Smith's famous pin factory itself.
When you add that to the Bush people quashing mad cow testing by private companies wanting to set themselves apart, or the role that Haliburton plays in our Iraq disaster, or the sheer unwillingness to allow for the cost of environmental cleanups to be included in operating costs, you realize that they don't understand free-market capitalism at all. Nor, it seems, do they care to. And here, in the one thing that can help people alter their lives in a fundamental way--through education--Republicans either cut loan programs or make sure they are more exploitative.

Seriously, does Bush actually think this?

Dan Froomkin - Bush's Battlefield Envy - "President Bush wishes that he could be alongside the troops in Iraq -- except that he's too old.

At least that's what he reportedly told a blogger embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq. In the first session of its kind, Bush spent almost an hour on Friday talking with 10 so-called "milbloggers," including two who participated by video conference from a military base outside Baghdad.

" N.Z. Bear," one of the eight guests sitting around a table with Bush at the White House, reported: "Responding to one of the bloggers in Iraq he expressed envy that they could be there, and said he'd like to be there but 'One, I'm too old to be out there, and two, they would notice me.'"
Umm. For some reason I remember this one war, yeah the same war that Bush says we should have kept fighting. I remember that this same man could have fought alongside the troops then. But he preferred drinking and womanizing. But now he is a "war president."


September 17, 2007

Strange bedfellows? Or simply that Republicans out of touch?

Looks like Republicans are losing some of their iron grip on Western Colorado over, oddly enough, some environmental issues. Perhaps people recognize that some limits are good.
In Colorado, Drilling Some Holes in the Republican Base - "'I can only speak for myself and I'm a registered Republican, but last year I voted a straight Democratic ticket. First time in my life,' said Bob Elderkin, 68, who heads the town of Rifle's chapter of the Colorado Mule Deer Association, a hunting group that has made common cause with environmentalists against drilling. 'The Republicans have kind of lost touch with reality.'"

September 16, 2007

Sunday morning musings

First, some good news for a chance, and in that horrible `Jena Six' case in Louisiania where whites hung nooses from a tree in school colors, yet black youths found themselves facing serious time.
"A state appeals court Friday tossed out the aggravated battery conviction that could have sent a black teenager to prison for 15 years in last year's beating of a white classmate in the racially tense north Louisiana town of Jena."
As one blogger noted, clearly a victory, but one we shouldn't have to fight for so hard in 2007.


Horses Mouth has an interesting story of different gaffes. Remember John Kerry's failed joke about if you are dumb and don't apply yourself in school, you end up in Iraq? He clearly meant Bush, but Republicans and the media ran with it to the point that it dominated just about everything. I saw numerous Republican operatives, and even heard from some people personally, how Kerry hated the troops and had fully intended to insult them. Yeah, right.

Well, the other day, Republican Minority Leader John Boehner was asked how much longer Americans should be expected to lose blood and treasure in Iraq. Boehner responded that the costs are "a small price" to pay for the overall mission. Can you imagine the response had John Kerry said that? Outrage. But here, very little. Republicans still benefit from some bizarre "pro-military assumption" despite gutting the military, cutting funding, treatment, etc.


Thanks to Ubub, I am reading Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial And America's Continuing Debate over Science And Religion. I have been working on it off and on for a while, but am constantly impressed with this book. I will report more on it later, but was struck again by a couple of aspects of the anti-evolution talk from the 19teens and 20s. One was the concern that WJ Bryan had that belief in a "brutish past" would encourage more war and mistreatment of people, in which he referenced the survival of the fittest, and was responding to very real intellectual movements such as Social Darwinism which tried to blame poverty and slums on those who lived there.

Reading this book, I am still reminded that the debate has so little to do with science, in that if the arguments were just about plants and animals evolving--or the flu virus--we would not have an argument. Because it touches on the origins of man, I am afraid that a majority of Americans would throw evolution out. And with it, all the scientific and medical advances that we have discovered because of it.


Ok, enough. I drained the pond yesterday and am attempting to fix a leak in the concrete sides. So, I better get on that. Hope you all have a good Sunday.

September 14, 2007


After attending ACL for the first 5 years (yes, we were there at the very beginning), we decided to skip this year's fest and today it started without us for the first time. We will go back, but needed a little break from the heat and the crowds--of course that means the crowds will be lower this year and they will enjoy cool weather!

Anyway. Any of you who are going, drop us a note and tell us about the great bands.

Yosemite Sam

Scanning the blogs I don't see many of my usual reads very impressed with the President's speech last night. Watching last night, I was reminded of the comedian Kathleen Madigan's take on which Bush we get in press conferences or speeches. In one, there is the smug Bush, she compares this one to Yosemite Sam. But last night was the "contrite" Bush and didn't even seem to need an instruction to "be serious." As Sully noted:

He seemed almost broken to me. His voice raspy, his eyes watery, his affect exhausted, his facial expression almost bewildered. I thought I would feel angry; but I found myself verging toward pity. The case was so weak, the argument so thin, the evidence for optimism so obviously strained that one wondered whom he thought he was persuading.


The low-point was his almost desperate recitation of a poignant email that posited that this war is one between "good" and "evil". I don't doubt the sincerity of the sentiment; I don't doubt either that the murderous extremes of sectarian hatred or religious fanaticism are, at some level, evil. I know that the motives of many people who supported this war - and many who still support it - are honorable. And I know that America is ultimately a force for good in this world. But that doesn't mean that America is incapable or error or immorality. And to reduce the immense complexity of Iraq to such a binary moralism is a sign of a president reaching for comfortable, Manichean abstractions as a replacement for strategic judgment and knowledge. The American people deserve better from a war-president: more honesty, more candor, more realism.

Well said. When the President read that email, I thought of all the other emails or letters he could have read--or blogs or op eds from people who have lost relatives in this war of choice. And that is what I would like him to acknowledge. This is his war of his choosing and his management. He can talk about the "generals on the ground" all he wants. But we all know he has ignored any advice counter from what he already believes. That isn't leadership.

September 13, 2007


I watched the President speak tonight. I won't tell you the words I used because they are not polite. And this from an award-nominated, and "fun" blog.

But our President was not honest. When he talks about chaos in Iraq, or emboldening Iran, or allowing Al Qaeda to take hold, he omits that it was his decision to invade, and then his decision to allow Rummy to dictate troop strenght that allowed all of that to occur.

He is not honest and he is not good. That is all I will say about this President.

September 12, 2007

The church and the war

Christian ethics prof, David Gushee writes in the Associated Baptist Press what many of us have been saying for a long time--that Bush (and the country) over reacted to 9-11 and attacked the wrong country. He further notes that this disastrous war has made us less safe, our military less strong and respected, and has undermined our moral standing throughout the world.
"And the church? In general, the American churches have lacked the political independence, the discernment, and the courage even to understand and name what has gone wrong, let alone to resist it. A domesticated church has been employable as a servant of the state, even to the point of defending torture.

It seems to me that 9/11 in a way unhinged our nation and sent us hurtling down the wrong path. But the American church bears considerable responsibility for its inability to stand fast on the solid rock of Jesus Christ in the midst of this unhinging -- yet one more reason to bow our heads in sorrow on 9/11."

September 11, 2007

Blog Awards

And I do mean that. The 2007 Okie Blog Award nominations are out and Streak's Blog was nominated for Best Commentary. I believe this is our first nomination, and it made our day. Thanks to anyone who nominated us. We are in good company and against some brisk competition with Dwight and Sarah's Two-Headed Blog, Life and Deatherage, and Bruce Prescott's well-respected Mainstream Baptist. Not to be trite, but to be nominated in such good company is reward enough. I would like to thank the academy, the viewers.....

Also nominated in other categories were people we know or blog-know. The McCarty's McCarty Musings was nominated for Best Writing, and Tim Sean, Mainstream Baptist (again) and Greg's the parish for Best Inspirational Blog. Nice to see such good blogging from Oklahoma Bloggers.

September 10, 2007

Who we are 6 years after 9-11

I am not sure who we are any longer. The Bush/Cheney response, as far as I can tell, has exploited the legitimate fear and horror of 9-11 to build their own power. In the face of a real and credible threat of Al Qaeda, we have subverteed our own justice system and undermined our basic constitutional protections.

This morning on NPR, I listened to a story on the Lackawanna Six--or the supposed success story at stopping a home-grown terrorist attack. The author of a new book discussed her contention that these men were not the threats that the government suggested. In an op-ed, she talks about the role that our President and VP played in their arrest:
"And that might well have happened had someone in the Lackawanna Muslim community not sent an anonymous letter to the FBI’s Buffalo field office. The Lackawanna Six were arrested within days of the first anniversary of 9/11. Both President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney personally told FBI Director Robert Mueller to bring them in. Absent any special reason to arrest them or any action that indicated that they were particularly threatening, it’s difficult not to see the timing as political. A year after the attacks, the Bush administration needed a win, and the Lackawanna Six’s story seemed to give them one. "
In her NPR story, she said that Cheney pressed Mueller to give a "100% guarantee that these men would not do anything" to which, of course, Mueller could not. Bush and Cheney said, "then arrest them." Steve Inskeep and the author (Dina Temple-Raston) suggest this is the first of many examples of "pre-emptive justice."

In her op-ed, she suggests rethinking this:
Perhaps we are far enough away from 9/11 now to see that the United States is best served when we hold ourselves to the highest standards of fairness and inclusiveness. Selectively abandoning civil liberties and due process to wage the war on terrorism only plays into bin Laden’s hands. Al-Qaida succeeds at changing America simply by threatening it.
We can't control them very well, but we do have great control over who we are. And taking away our own civil rights and subverting our very constitutional protections is playing right into their hands.

Bush's war

H/t to Shaun at Upper Left for this NYTimes oped: Hiding Behind the General. It is rather amazing that we have heard Bush talk about General Petraus for the last year, and sometimes we forget that he pushed out Generals who disagreed with his surge all the while talking about listening to the "Generals on the ground." But this week, we are supposed to hear a report--one that we already know is politicized and controversial, and the Times suggests is just a smokescreen.
"Mr. Bush, deeply unpopular with the American people, is counting on the general to restore credibility to his discredited Iraq policy. He frequently refers to the escalation of American forces last January as General Petraeus’s strategy — as if it were not his own creation. The situation echoes the way Mr. Bush made Colin Powell — another military man with an overly honed sense of a soldier’s duty — play frontman at the United Nations in 2003 to make the case that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Mr. Bush cannot once again subcontract his responsibility. This is his war.


Nothing has changed about Mr. Bush’s intentions. Waving off the independent reports, he plans to stay the course and make his successor fix his Iraq fiasco. Military progress without political progress is meaningless, and Mr. Bush no more has a plan for unifying Iraq now than when he started the war. The United States needs a prudent exit strategy that will withdraw American forces and try to stop Iraq’s chaos from spreading."

September 9, 2007


I remember a Robert Fulghum story about dancing at a bar. As I recall, he noted that sometimes there was nothing there but people drinking and music--but occasionally, just occasionally, the magic happened and people experience something better.

I remember my cousin's outdoor wedding in Colorado. There was much about the wedding that was a bit hokey. No offense to my cousin, but when the grooms all rode in horseback, I have to admit I rolled my eyes just a bit. But they are ranchers and rodeo people and that is what they wanted. We then had barbecue and the live band played for people to dance. But no one really danced and we all looked at each other. Then an afternoon storm came through in typical Colorado high country fashion. It was brief and not even that severe, but we had to take cover for a bit. And when the rain lifted, something magical had happened. People danced and truly smiled at each other. Magic.

Tonght we went down to the local park to hear a trio of fine musicians--Kevin Welch, Kieran Kane, and Fats Kaplan. They started on stage and then the rain started coming down. Not hard, but enough to irritate. Kaplan had to put his fiddle away and we were losing the evening. They decided to move into the gazebo and play an accoustic set with limited sound.

So we crowded in and they were so good. All three of them played with such talent. Welch plays the accoustic guitar the way I dream of doing--flatpicking and turning the guitar into a percussion instrument (almost). Kane and Kaplan played several instruments--and all of them well. And the harmonies were the kind that make you smile. As SOF and I listened, she looked at me and said, "if this doesn't perk someone up, they are made of stone." I agree.

Live music has its own challenges. You know, like the jackass behind you talking on his cell phone. Or the giant black lab that joined the group in the gazebo. Or the woman who tripped over the microphone.

Or the little kids peering through the rails of the gazebo. My cell isn't the best camera, but I think you can see what I am talking about.

As Old Lodgeskins said, "sometimes the magic works, and sometimes it doesn't." Tonight it did. Pure magic.

Hmm, nice to have friends

In high places. Why, I remember in the olden days, whenever one of Clinton's friends got a contract or cushy job, they were referred to as a FOB (Friend of Bill) and that wasn't meant as a compliment. One of the more amazing aspects of the Bush administration has been their ability to disparage aspects of the Clinton admin and then do that same thing, only worse without consequence. Clinton was accused of being in campaign mode constantly--Bush and Rove made them look like amateurs. Republicans liked to accuse Clinton of politicizing everything (even though on many key policy issues, Clinton actually hired and listened to experts)--Bush and Rove and Cheney indeed have politicized everything from climate studies to reproductive health. Or the actual Department of Justice, which even the sleazy Bradley Schlozman admitted hired only partisan hacks:
Bradley Schlozman, the former Justice Department official and U.S. attorney who's been at the center of the firings controversy, admitted that he'd once urged hiring certain prosecutors for his office based on their political affiliation. It's against civil service laws to do so.

So how has Bush dealt with the pesky "Lincoln Bedroom" scandal? I have no idea if he sold it to the highest bidder, but he has done much, much worse. As Rajiv Chandrasekaran demonstrated in Imperial life in the Emerald City, Iraqi Reconstruction jobs went to Bush loyalists even if they were idiots. Applicants were asked about their stance on Roe v. Wade, and others undertook an anti-smoking campaign rather than trying to just stop the killing.

Oh, and the corruption and fraud? Yeah, Bush has responded to that, hasn't he? Yes, by punishing whistleblowers. Nothing makes corruption and fraud disappear when you punish those who point it out.

So, with that background, you can understand why I am a bit skeptical when I read on TalkingPointsMemo that an Oil company from Texas (Hunt Oil) has secured a contract to extract Kurdish Oil supplies. Hell, it might be a good deal for everyone, I don't know. Might help the Kurds, and might add to regional stability. I have no idea. But Josh looked at Mr. Hunt's bio:
'In October 2001 and again in January 2006, Mr. Hunt was appointed by President George W. Bush to the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board in Washington, D.C.'"
I am not naive. I know this occurs on both sides of the aisle. But what puzzles me is that from the very beginning with Haliburton and Brown and Root, or through the outsourcing of Walter Reed, these people have actually made no pretense of anything other than helping their rich friends.

September 6, 2007

Oh, come on!

I have always liked Southwest Airlines, but trying to kick a woman off the plane for wearing a short skirt seems ridiculous. The woman is clearly attractive (nothing wrong with that), but also fully clothed. Not sure what she did wrong.
Yet even wearing the clothes that scandalized Southwest, she did not attract attention beyond some lingering glances.

My fashion advisers were baffled, saying they saw nothing you don't see on a college campus or in Pacific Beach.

“I was expecting to be shocked, and I was shocked the other way,” Pascual told me.

“It wasn't a big deal,” Garin said. “Her skirt was a bit short, which was only accented by her heels. If she had been wearing flip-flops it wouldn't have mattered.”
Good to know in these scary days that flight attendants are on the lookout for such behavior.

I am sorry, but

Baptist Press - D. James Kennedy dead at 76:
"Known for his distinctive baritone preaching voice and methodical delivery, Kennedy was a leading conservative in America's cultural battles and often used his broadcasts to touch on such issues as abortion, 'gay marriage' and evolution. In addition, he was well-known among evangelicals for his books and sermons about the nation's Christian founding fathers. "
I am sorry for his family, but Kennedy did an awful lot of harm to our separation of church and state as well as the politicization of our faith. Oh, and his statements on history have been particularly harmful, and he was an advocate for Christian dominionism. Again, I am sorry for his family, but I will not miss him.

the SBC and moral issues

Interesting post (H/t Jesus Politics) from Wade Burleson:
I have said publicly that I would not personally lead my church to hire a female pastor, would not be a member of a church where the senior pastor was female, and I have no problem personally with the BFM 2000* on this issue. However, I am honest enough to say that my discomfort is personal and cultural — and not Biblical.

The post then turns to how people used the Bible to justify slavery. Very interesting.

Bush on God?

I really don't know quite how to read anything about this man and not just bang my head against the wall that someone like this became our president. New book on him coming out and evidently, the Prez cries on the job.
"Draper says President Bush also admits that he cries. “I've got God's shoulder to cry on. And I cry a lot. I do a lot of crying in this job. I'll bet I've shed more tears than you can count, as president," Bush told Draper.
God's shoulder to cry on? Oh, and the same book suggests that Bush, in private, still contends that Iraq had WMD. He says one thing in public, but in private something else. He isn't honest, and he is completely deluded.

Oh, and he is one greedy bastard. His goal after being President? Make a contribution? Well, kind of. He wants to build an institute--and only this President could come up with this stupid name.
After he leaves office, President Bush is quoted as telling Draper that he wants to build what he calls a "Fantastic Freedom Institute" in Dallas. He describes it as being a place where young leaders can come, write and lecture.
But first, of course, Bush has to cash in on the job.
But first, Bush tells Draper, he wants to make some money to "replenish the ol' coffers,” noting he can make "ridiculous” money on the lecture circuit.

“I don't know what my dad gets. But it's more than 50, 75 [thousand] … Clinton's making a lot of money," the president is quoted as saying."
I have always felt sorry for Bush coming from poverty like he did. Seriously, how do any of you who voted for this guy in 2004 look at him and not just feel a little ill?

September 5, 2007

Racial America

I have been busy with school and reading a little on the side about Southern defenses for secession and the Civil War. I knew about them before, but had not really investigated the arguments behind it. Turns out there is a mini library of books with titles like "The South Was Right" or "The Real Lincoln." That last one is by an economist who has written other books, including one that there is a "war against capitalism." Damn straight, Comrade. We are out to rid the world of capitalism.


But back to the Southern apologia. The essence of the argument is two-fold, that secession was legal (and ergo Lincoln illegally forced the south back with the war) and that slavery was not the cause of the Civil War. Slavery, they contend, was started by the North (nice justification), and the North (including Abraham Lincoln) were more racist than the South. Yes, that is right, the clearly racist North was more racist than those in the South who actually bought and sold human beings at cattle markets, or bought the most attractive slave women for their nightly pursuits. Or rewarded their wives with the gift of not working by, you know, buying them a slave. Which anniversary is slave again?


What bothers me the most about this apologia is the constant contention that the South was morally superior and deeply religious. One even argued that the South was deeply committed to orthodox Christianity. That worked out so very well, didn't it? Sure, they might have defended slavery, or owned slaves, or threatened abolitionists, but they did so with the spirit of the Lord.


And after the Civil War, even if it was illegal for Lincoln to bring the South back, good Southern Christians might have turned to the freedmen (after all, the apologia says that most didn't own slaves) and extended grace and acceptance, right? Nope. They turned first to the Black Codes restricting black employment options and even occupations, and often forcing them into contracts with their old owners. Then, after Reconstruction forced them to recognize the civil rights of the freedmen, they turned to the Klan and other "social clubs" for a good old Christian "reign of terror."

We think we have come so very far. And we have in so many ways. I am reminded of the conservative efforts to gut the Voting Rights act, because those were issues of the past. (Hell, after Bushco and Diebold, I think we need to expand the Voting Rights act to include, well, all of us who aren't Republican operatives). But then there is this story of the Jena 6. You can read more there, but the gist is that the high school at this heavily segregated community in Louisiana had a tree where only white students congregated. A black student requested (last fall) to sit under that tree and the administration told him to sit whereever he wanted. But when he and other black students did, they found three nooses--all in school colors--dangling from the tree. Those white students were suspended, but the superintendent intervened and called the nooses "a prank."

Racial tensions flared with white students beating a black student. A white man held a shotgun on black kids. The man was never charged. A white student racially taunts the black kid who was beaten, and is beaten in return himself. His wounds are superficial and he attends a party that night. But the six kids are charged with attempted second-degree murder.
Six Black Jena students (Mychal Bell, Robert Bailey Jr., Carwin Jones, Bryant Purvis, Theo Shaw and Jesse Beard) were subsequently arrested and charged with attempted second degree murder. All six were expelled from school. On the morning of the trial, the District Attorney reduced the charges from attempted second degree murder to second degree aggravated battery and conspiracy.

The all-white jury deliberated for less than three hours and found Mychal Bell, the only one charged as an adult, guilty on the maximum possible charges of aggravated second degree battery and conspiracy. He awaits a Sept. 20 sentencing hearing. Mychal Bell faces up to a maximum of 22 years in prison. The cases against the other five Black students are pending.

This is the Southern culture that I am supposed to applaud? Or can we simply blame this on the North as well?

September 2, 2007

The sub-prime issue

An interesting take on sub-prime loans and the Bush administration push for homeownership. He suggests that the entire mortgage industry has shifted from a long-term relationship of 15 or 30 years to an immediate profit at the point of sale. The problem comes when people who want to borrow enough for a 250k house, but get talked into a 350k loan because the lender makes more money immediately. The lender then sells the loan to someone else--removing the long term market force that would make them only loan what a person could actually pay back. It is really unconscionable when you think about it. People go into buy a house--after Bush has made a huge point of getting people into homes as owners--end up with far more loan than they can afford and with an adjustable rate that explodes on them. We are hearing about mortgage payments that triple and quadruple--all perfectly legally. But imagine your own situation and see how you would respond. People with good jobs and a steady income find themselves unable to make the payments.
Suddenly, after two years of thinking that you had it made by paying only the interest payments on a loan you could never afford in the first place, the interest-only term of your loan expired and your $500/month payment suddenly kicked up to $1,500. Things get tight for a few months, there is additional stress in the family as you can no longer afford vacations or dining out. After a few months of that, the floodgates open. With the Fed threatening to raise rates, your lender decides to adjust your mortgage rate up by 3.5%--completely within their right to do. Unfortunately, this means your payments skyrocket up to $2,800 per month. Unprepared for this change and in disbelief, you cover some short term expenses by maxing out two credit cards. You make the first mortgage payment and the second, but now you are short cash and start to miss one credit card payment, then another. Life at home becomes unbearably stressful and you start talking about a second job.

Yeah, I know, caveat emptor. No one actually forced these millions of people to sign these loans. But that doesn't mean we should encourage this kind of destructive loan practices. As we are seeing and will continue to see--these kinds of mortgage practices are not only unethical, but will harm everyone in the economy.

But while Bush's terrorism fetish filled the country with fear, his 'homeownership' mantra had the opposite effect: duping vast sections of the country into the thinking they owned homes, when in reality all they had done is sign themselves up for mortgages so rigged in the banks favor that they make credit card contracts look like birthday cards. Any honest financial planner would have looked at 99% of these 'sub-prime' and adjustable mortgages against the financial realities of the new home buyers and given vastly different advice about loan amounts. Somehow the simple questions never got asked--questions like, 'Are you sure you can handle this much debt over the next five years?' or 'Are you aware that these radical increases in your payments will likely happen in the next three years?' or 'Is it clear to you that housing prices at these levels cannot sustain themselves for more than 24 months, after which it is likely that prices will drop?'

Nobody asked the right questions that would have resulted in a slow expanse of responsible home buying boom and lessened the number of wildly foolish mortgages that Americans took. And nobody asked those questions because the President of the United States was busy giving mortgage sellers plenty of cover by convincing the American public that they were becoming 'homeowners' rather than 'debt buyers.'
I don't think this is what conservatism stands for. But then again, after 7 years of this disaster and listening to Republicans undermine our very system, I am not sure what conservatives stand for any more.


Going to get coffee this morning, we heard the sounds of the last week--Bush fawning over Al Gonzales, Larry Craig claiming he is not and has never been gay, etc. One of the sound clips was Bush, I think, speaking to some veterans association (one of the few places he gets a positive hearing--as ridiculous as that sounds given the treatment of veterans) and doing his whole, "Imagine an Iraq dominated by Shia militias backed by Iran, and where Al Qaeda has established sanctuaries to train for attacks against the rest of the world, including the US."

Good god. Does this guy even know how to communicate in a different way? SOF just shook her head and said, "be afraid, be very afraid." That is all he has. He is a one-note band--and off key at that. Rove asserts that Bush will be positively viewed as a man of vision, but he also said that he was proud to work with a President who tried to bring the country together. I don't know how anyone can assert that. What Rove may want to believe in what is left of his soul is irrelevant. What Rove brought to the table was a scorched-earth tactic of destroy your political adversaries no matter what the cost--and scare the living shit out of the American people.

Now Bush is left with only that. He has lost the ability to force the destruction of his political opponents. But he can still scare the American people, or at least try.

But he should be ashamed of himself. Assuming the man is capable of shame or self-reflection. I have seen proof of neither.


SOF called the war a complete cluster, and just shook her head at what it has become. Behind the scenes generals are admitting that this current surge is unsustainable without some future action. Either they institute a draft, or they extend the tours from the already extended 15 months to 18 months or longer. They used to be 12. The draft is the political third rail right now. If Bush were to institute the draft, then all my Republican friends who don't like this war, but who are not effected would all of a sudden pay attention. If their kids were available to be drafted, they might actually take some action. Of course, if Bush were to institute the draft, he might be impeaced by his own party at that point. Their political fortunes would be dead, and they know that.

But it just makes you weep for what this country has become in 7 years. Less than 7 years, actually. We went from having a strong military and some ability to threaten bad countries to one caught in a morass of Iraq. We went from a country where the social safety net to one where a hurricane can completely destroy a city and conservatives can say, "hey, stop your bitchin." We went from a country that had some level of moral authority to one that tortures. Tortures! We went from a country where conservatives like John Yoo could complain about the very existence of secret court warrants as a threat to democracy, to one where John Yoo could argue that Bush shouldn't even get warrants at all. We went from a country where the Justice Department was the crown jewel of Federal service to one where you got a job by pledging your allegiance to the worst President in the world and assuring your interviewer that you were neither gay or had ever propositioned another man in a men's room, AND had the proper stance on Roe.



We all fear now that Gen Petraus' report will be so spun by the White House that we will not get an honest reading on what is going on. Remember, everything is political for this White House. Well, we might get other takes--I guess it just depends on how effective Bush and Fox News are at disseminating that spin.

But there are other voices like this one where a retired British General blasts the American approach
Sir Mike, who took command of the British Army one month before US-led forces invaded Iraq, said Mr Rumsfeld was “one of those most responsible for the current situation in Iraq”.

Crucially, the general writes, he refused to deploy enough troops to maintain law and order after the collapse of Saddam’s regime, and discarded detailed plans for the post-conflict administration of Iraq that had been drawn up by the US State Department.

In the book, Sir Mike says he believes the entire US approach to tackling global terrorism is “inadequate” because it relies too heavily on military power at the expense of nation-building and diplomacy
Yeah, relies on military power and then doesn't send enough troops. Sometimes I wonder if the entire Bush administration grew up eating Chinese toys or something.


September 1, 2007

More Politicized Justice

TPMmuckraker has the story of how the Bush Justice Department interviewed candidates:
"Do you believe in God? Are you gay? Have you cheated on your spouse? What's your position on abortion? Should gays be allowed to marry? Have you contributed to Republican candidates? What kind of conservative are you?

Welcome to Bush's Department of Justice. Those are just some of the questions that investigators think may have been asked during interviews for both career and political positions at the Department over the past three years."
Amazing how these people pushed--not for competence--but for loyalty at every possible place in our government. Not loyalty to America, but loyalty to a particular brand of conservatism and this administration.


Speaking of actual loyalty, I love this story about how the recent GAO report was leaked to stop Bush's people from watering it down:
"The person who provided the draft report to The Post said it was being conveyed from a government official who feared that its pessimistic conclusions would be watered down in the final version -- as some officials have said happened with security judgments in this month's National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq."


Finally, Karl Rove has written an oped for a conservative rag (not going to link) saying that History will see Bush as a great man and wise leader.