Monday, May 30, 2005

Not One Little Bit of Shame Left

David Corn features a quote from the Preznit that seems to be awfully revealing :

"See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda."

"catapult the propaganda"? First of all, what does that even mean ? Does this indicate that Bush is so stupid he mistakenly admits that his message is propaganda?It's not smart to say that. More likely, he is so shameless that it doesn't matter that he admits to propagandizing. A third guess: maybe he meant to say "cut through the propaganda", but was incapable of speaking correctly...

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Sushi for Compassionate Conservatives

Interrogation Rules

Joe Conason reprinted from Truthout :

"Pride and Ego Down" refers to methods used to intimidate and break the will of recalcitrant prisoners during interrogation. In a highly controversial September 2003 memorandum authorizing the use of coercive interrogation techniques, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, then the commander of US military forces in Iraq, specifically mentioned "Pride and Ego Down," which he described as "attacking or insulting the ego of a detainee, not beyond the limits that would apply to an EPW [enemy prisoner of war]." (The Sanchez memorandum also offers a pertinent note of caution: "Other nations that believe detainees are entitled to EPW protections may consider this technique inconsistent with the provisions of Geneva.")

These methods include not only the various mistreatments of the Qu'ran, but also the sleep deprivation and dog scare tactics. Is this really what we want our country to stand for ?

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Candidates for the Medal Posted by Hello

Medal of Freedom Time Again

The Washington Post informs us that two Army intelligence analysts who decided that those aluminum tubes possessed by Saddam indicated that he was moving forward with a nuclear weapons program have not been punished nor reprimanded for providing faulty intelligence. Instead, they have been given "performance awards" for the last three years. Their errors in judgment, their mistakes, helped convince the Congress that we should go to war pre-emptively. The Pentagon usually punishes the lower level offenders, but this time no one at all appears to be accountable. This time sense and reality are reversed. Of course, it all depends on what the current government was trying to accomplish. One might assume that "performance awards " are given when the performer has done something that you wanted them to do, so in this case it must have been to bolster a bogus plan to start a war. It's kind of like choosing the most famously contrary and negative asshole we can find to represent us diplomatically in the U.N. If what you really want to do is slow down all effective international cooperation to gridlock, then Bolton's your man. In the Bush Administration, this kind of performance usually earns the Medal of Freedom.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

A Better Quote for Today

"The truth has a power greater than a hundred lies."
Howard Zinn

Destruction of Human Life

Although he was referring to stem cells, this quote by the Preznit might mean something more to, say, a devout Catholic against the war." We should not use public money to support the further destruction of human life."

Monday, May 23, 2005

Great Analysis Posted by Hello

Must Read

I'm a little late on this one, but I've discovered a beautiful summary of the election and succeeding events by Thomas Franks in The New York Review of Books. As usual, Franks is right on in his understanding. This time it's "What's the Matter with Liberals ?"Franks points out:

And the values issues? They seemed to dissipate like so much smoke once the election was over and won. Republican Senator Arlen Specter, the chair-apparent of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, waited only a single day after his buddy Bush had been safely reelected before informing the nation that, no, his committee would not be approving judges who planned on overturning Roe v. Wade. The great crusade against gay marriage, which had worked such wonders for Republicans in so many states, was essentially abandoned by the President in January. After all, more important matters were beckoning: the war with the trial lawyers, for example, or the need to persuade people that our basically sound old-age insurance program was actually in crisis.

How could 51% of our voters be so hornswoggled ?

A Joke from Bartcop

Lost at 30 Feet
A woman in a hot air balloon realized she was lost. She lowered her altitude and spotted a man in a boat below. She shouted to him, "Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don't know where I am."
The man consulted his portable GPS and replied, "You're 30 feet above sea level. You are at 31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude and 100 degrees, 49.09 minutes west longitude." She rolled her eyes and said, "You must be a Democrat."
"I am," replied the man. "How did you know?"
"Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is technically correct, but I have no idea what to do with your information, and I'm still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help to me."
The man smiled and responded, "You must be a Republican."
"I am," replied the balloonist. "How did you know?"
"Well," said the man, "you don't know where you are or where you're going. You've risen to where you are, due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise that you have no idea how to keep, then you expect me to solve your problem. You're in exactly the same position you were in before we met but, somehow, now it's my fault."

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Incredible Hypocrisy Posted by Hello

Quote of the Week

Colin Powell was quoted as saying it was "shocking" that Newsweek "used facts that have not been substantiated."

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Attacks on Science

Posted by Hello Click to Enlarge


Number of times Democrats have compromised on Bush's Judges - 205.

Number of times Bush has compromised on judges - 0.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

I Feel Safer Already Posted by Hello

Who's In Charge Here ?

Before the last election, polls showed most respondents favoring the way that Dubya had handled terrorism i.e., he was the one who would be tough, not Kerry. Evidently, Pilot George W. Bush had proved himself flying plants from Texas to Florida during the Viet Nam years. Most people polled must have thought it was OK for Bush to continue his reading of My Pet Goat after we were attacked. Now, recent events show reality rearing its ugly head again. It seems that every time the Preznit is closely, immediately involved with a terrorist situation, something strange happens. We learned today that, yes, it was a live grenade at Bush's speech in Georgia. Our protector didn't know about it until after he'd left the country. When an unknown plane drove everyone running briskly from our seat of government in the middle of an afternoon last week, the Preznit was out riding his bicycle and reading I Am Charlotte Simmons, a book he's been working on for the last few months (you decide if it's a step up from the Goat book). He'd better be careful about reading while riding; he might skin his nose again. Once more, tough-on-terror George wasn't even informed that something unusual was going on until it was all over. Perhaps it's about time to give our Secret Service the Medal of Freedom...

Misplaced Blame

My take on the Qu'ran in the toilet story is that the blame is obviously misplaced by Scott McClellan and the Bush Administration on Newsweek. Just like the attacks on Dan Rather, the truth or credibilty of the issue is forgotten. No more questions were asked whether Dubya missed a couple months of his military commitment, but incensed right wing bloggers analyzed those memos down to the history of Selectric typewriters. A search for previous mentions of the Qu'ran story shows ample instances before Newsweek and Isikoff offhandedly included their mention. A simple search shows that this Qu'ran business had already been bruited about for more than a year especially by Aljazeera. The truth is, we don't know if the toilet story is true or not , but Newsweek repeating it has little stigma attached. General Myers, speaking for the Pentagon, nixed the idea last week, saying that these riots were already underway and that the Qu'ran element was a "pretext". We should probably be a little more concerned that the Taliban influence in Afghanistan has not been eradicated, rather than reasons that rioters are upset with us. In any case, it was our guys, the Afghan police, that shot the rioters. The right wingnuts are once again misdirecting the blame to the messenger, hoping that the substance of torture, real or retracted, is diminished somehow, while taking no responsibility whatsoever for their own actions or the truth of the matter.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Thanks a lot, Curveball ! Posted by Hello

A Reliable Source

Regarding the flap over Newsweek's mention of flushing the Qu'ran down the toilet at Guantanamo : I truly believe it must have been Curveball that told the magazine this info. He's been such a help previously to our reputation all over the world. This new crisis reminds us of all the damage we did to the Preznit's war effort (actually Democracy, capital D, on the March) by investigating Abu Ghraib, especially those awful photos starring all those lower level GIs and intelligence people humiliating helpless prisoners.

Kinda Sleazy Posted by Hello

Quote of the Day

In Iraq this week, Condi Rice said, "This war came to us, not the other way around."

Friday, May 13, 2005

Today's Outrage, Part II

A Good Man Posted by Hello
Thank You, Senator Obama. When he confirmed that many of our wounded soldiers were paying for meals at Walter Reed Hospital,he was rightfully upset. Obama managed to add a rider to the latest Iraq spending request which ends this most insulting practice. It's to take place retroactively back to January, so our injured heroes (some of whom were paying $250 a month for food) will get some cash back.

Today's Outrage

Paul Krugman points out the fact that the chief officer of WalMart earned 17.5 mil last year,which means that every two weeks he earns what the average worker earns in a lifetime. The real outrage is that this not all that unusual for a CEO.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Patriot Plates

Blessings on State Representative Ryan Keisel for legislating Patriot Plates in Oklahoma. For each $35 dollar license plate the state will donate $20 to buy body armor for our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Isn't it truly amazing that this is still necessary in a war that we have committed 300 billion to ? It seems Keisel is not satisfied with fighting with the Army we have been given like Donald Rumsfeld is.

An Extremely Disturbing Development

From Atrios, we learn the paranoid wingnut tack on to the war funding bill called "Real ID" is a law exempt from any kind of judicial review, an extremely unusual step. More of the party in power's attempts to have everything just the way they like it, at the expense of hundreds of years of jurisprudence. Not to mention that it's another unfunded mandate from the Feds, that will cost the states millions to check everyone's driver's license against several IDs. As Dick Durbin pointed out, "If you think it took a long time at Motor Vehicles before...."

Monday, May 09, 2005

Sonny Boy (Rice Miller)

In my search for great blues, I've found a true gem - "Sonny Boy Williamson: His Best." Part of Chess Records' 50th Anniversary Series, this CD contains 20 of Williamson's singles cut 1955-1964. (I should mention that I bought this new CD for 3 dollars + shipping from a seller on, one of the great bargain sites on the Internets).
Sonny Boy is generally considered the greatest blues harpist ever to have lived. His real name was Rice Miller, but when he borrowed the name Sonny Boy, he so overpowered and dominated with his blues that the original Sonny Boy was put into his shade. His solos and fills are always memorable, and though understated, always seem excitingly right. Several cuts on this one are classic tunes copied by just about every harmonica player who came after - like "Don't Start Me Talkin' ", "Help Me", and "Checkin' Up on My Baby". The liner notes paint a rather grim picture of Sonny Boy as a rough musician who dealt with his oppressive, racist upbringing only to end up a tough, contentious drinker. Apparently, he always felt that he was "Fattening Frogs for Snakes". He is described as a giant man with such a glare in his look that no one would think to mess with him, unless they wanted it to be "Your Funeral My Trial". Recommended without reservation.

King Biscuit Boy Posted by Hello

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Le Monde Selon Crumb

It's Only Lines on Paper, Folks !

Throughout the 60s Robert Crumb seemed a distant figure, who drew himself as "a loser schmuck" who couldn't possibly have been the one drawing those bizarrely creative Zap Comix. Now MQ Publications of London has produced a beautiful piece of publishing, The R. Crumb Handbook, that somewhat demystifies this artist. He tells us all about himself and his influences - everything we might want to know and more. He contends he took LSD as "a sort of substitute for committing suicide." The drug enabled him to directly tap into his most insane fantasies - a combination of darkside, pure id, and Jungian archetypes. Crumb explains how he always felt like an outsider "disgusted by reality" who was born into the wrong age. This volume contains the cream of Crumb, nicely structured in four sections labeled with the Toltec Indians' enemies of man: fear, clarity, power, and old age. Once again , we see Fritz the Cat, Flakey Foont, Mr. Natural, and Angelfood McSpade.

il GattoPosted by Hello
The artist modestly informs us, "I just combine my personal experience with classic cartoon stereotypes." As a bonus, The Handbook also contains a CD of Crumb's recreations of various vintage pop music. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The Ultimate Check and Balance

In order to approach the nuclear option, the Democrats are allowed, by Senate rules, to filibuster such changes in procedure. So if the Democrats chose to, they could prevent the vote on the "nuclear" rules from happening by filibustering that vote.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Parliamentary Rules Posted by Hello

Hydrogen from Oil

When Dubya proposed incentives for producing hydrogen powered cars, I thought this sounded strangely out of character for an oil man. I naturally assumed that we had ways of getting hydrogen fuel from water, something which we still have in rather large, accessible quantities. But no, Bush actually expects to crack petroleum to get the hydrogen ! It seems to me that Bush hydrogen cars would place greater demands, greater needs for oil than we have now.

More Dependency Posted by Hello

Does He Ever Mean What He Says?

During the debates, Preznit Bush insisted that the way to boost employment was to provide further education for Americans. If so, why does his new budget cut 75% of the money for adult education, including such basics as GED ? Only on the subject of tax cuts for the wealthy can we count on what the Preznit says. As usual, he was speaking out of both sides of his mouth- in a smirk,too.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Million Dollar Bonuses

Exxon Oil has put away 25 billion in cash this year. They will not invest in such enterprises as new refineries(the last U.S. refinery was built in 1976). Free market types can't blame the oil companies for belittling the profits earned by these kinds of investments. Perhaps Exxon might make their employees' Christmas a bit nicer by giving million dollar bonuses. There would be enough to make millionaires of 25,000 Exxon staff.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Controlling the Public Discourse

Saw Dr. Eric Alterman, one of my peeps, speaking on C-Span from the LA Times Book Fair. His first and most immediate point was that of course the majority party, the Red One, controls the public discourse, the kinds of subjects we speak of, and the things that the Media singles out to highlight. Since the Republicans dominate so much media with their Right Wing Noise Machine and the agenda of both houses of Congress, how can they still manage to whine about the Librul Media ? This is a one-way street - the only traffic possible is routed by Messrs. Rove, Delay, Hastert, and Murdoch. Amazingly, back when Jim Jeffords left the Repugs, we had a whole new set of topics in Congress. Of course, choosing the focus of interest doesn't always work smoothly. Can you say Shiavo? or is it Shee ah vo ?

Day One- May Day

Welcome. May Day is an auspicious day to start up something new. When I think of May Day though, I think of the Communist parades past the Kremlin. I picture all those clunky Russian missiles parading by, followed by goose-stepping Red soldiers. I really hope my new effort will turn out better than World Communism has.