Saturday, March 27, 2004

Daschle finds his balls 

In the last few days, he's been blasting Bush for every single thing I've been complaining about for the last three years-plus. FINALLY.

But today he did more than blast. He made a promise.

Senate Democrats Take Stand on Judges

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Senate Democrats on Friday threatened to stop all of President Bush's judicial nominees until the White House agrees not to appoint any more judges while Congress is out of town.

Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota said Democrats had decided to block all judicial nominees on the Senate floor until ``the White House gives us the assurance that they will no longer abuse the process.''

[You'd believe Bush's assurances at this point?

How much money you got?]

Democrats have been upset that Bush gave temporary federal appellate judgeships to Mississippi judge Charles Pickering and Alabama Attorney General William Pryor while the Senate was out of town. Democratic senators had been blocking the two from getting confirmation votes for lifetime judgeships.


The White House is unlikely to comply with Democrats' demand. ``No administration is going to rule out'' recess appointments, said Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn.


Democrats also say the White House is refusing to appoint Democratic nominees to fill their vacancies on federal boards and commissions. Many of the boards and commissions require both Democrats and Republicans to serve, but the Democrats are being held up by the White House, Daschle said.

["I'm a uniter, not a divider."]


Republicans and Democrats have been fighting over judicial nominations since Bush took office.

The Senate has approved 173 of Bush's judicial nominations, but Democrats have used the threat of filibusters to block Bush's appeals court nominations of Pickering, Pryor, Judge Priscilla Owen, Hispanic lawyer Miguel Estrada and judges Carolyn Kuhl and Janice Rogers Brown. Estrada withdrew his nomination in September.

Let's do the math. Six divided by one hundred seventy-three equals...point zero zero three four six. That means ninety-six and one half percent of Bush's nominees have become Federal judges. I wonder if a President has EVER had a better record than that; sure beats Clinton's.

But they're not happy with that winning percentage. And they're willing to recess appoint to achieve total domination of the judiciary. And to browbeat Democrats into submission.

Tell me again why George W. Bush is NOT a fascist Stalinist. Tell me again, please.


Kerry's Plan Targets 'Benedict Arnolds' 

Kerry's Plan Targets 'Benedict Arnolds'

When I first saw that headline, I thought, "Damn, this guy is REALLY fighting back." I thought he was talking about Bush administration liars and con artists like Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz and the ultimate liar these days--Condi Rice.

Upon further review, it seems that Kerry is talking about CORPORATE Benedict Arnolds who ship jobs overseas and dodge corporate taxes with offshore havens.

Good enough for me.

So, George...you said Kerry has no plan for the economy. Here it is. Time for you to rebut. And if your answers have anything to do with more tax cuts...we'll all know you can't help but lie whenever your lips are moving.


St. Ralph dirtying his hands with the DEVIL'S money 

First it was that scumbucket Democrat-in-name-only backstabbing political fool Al Sharpton. He took BIG money from a well-known Republican operative and became history's latest Oreo cookie Presidential candidate. He gives good quotes, though, and was essential in the Democratic debates at keeping discussion honest. And best of all, the ploy failed to divide Democrats. To paraphrase the best quote of Dick Gephardt's career: Failed MISERABLY.

But now we have Ralph Nader getting money from big-name Republicans, too. Nasty business, American politics.

I don't say this too often...but they oughta take him out and have him SHOT.

From the Dallas Morning News, via the Daily Kos:

GOP donors double dipping with Nader

Contributors deny that financial support is designed to hurt Kerry

ha ha

That's why Reagan, Nixon and Bush supporter "Win Ben Stein's Money" has ALWAYS supported St. Ralph in his mission to take down corporate cronyism and the capitalist overlords. For fuck's sake--that's RICH!

Best laugh of the day!


Friday, March 26, 2004

Bush appoints a Communist 

As my source for this post pointed out, this must be a first in Presidential history. It is, I'm sure. And the irony is so complete, so breathtaking once you stop to think about it, it's funny that no one noticed this before. It's been common knowledge for almost a year now.

From the BBC story, via makesmeralph:

Iraqi Governing Council members

The Iraqi Governing Council, chosen by the US administration in Iraq, is made up of 25 people representing the country's diverse religious and ethnic groupings in broadly proportionate terms.


17. Hamid Majid Mousa, Communist Party (Shia)

Mr Mousa has been the secretary of the Iraqi Communist Party since 1993. An economist by training, he lived for several years in northern Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War.


Thursday, March 25, 2004

Hesiod nails it 

Excellent post by Hesiod at Counterspin Central. Terrific writing.

I, too, believe there's a sea change happening today, and finally, too. I don't think Bush has anywhere to run. Just one thing bothers me, their ace-in-the-hole, no matter how bad the polls look...


Looks like they'll be depending on them to come through. Depending HEAVILY.


Bush's Watergate moment yesterday 

Yesterday was possibly the worst day of George W. Bush's presidency. I say that with full knowledge of how horrible 9-11 was, the invasion of Iraq, etc. But I can't remember a more damaging day to Bush's presidency, and that's what I'm talking about.

Clarke pretty much ANNIHILATED any doubt that he is telling the truth. Even when Jim Thompson cornered him and said he was on the "record" as having said the opposite of what he says now--Clarke reminds us all that he was WORKING FOR BUSH when he said that, and it was his JOB to present the best spin for his boss AT THAT TIME. He still held his views, and could and can today prove why he believes what he says now.

Why didn't he say that back then? He would have been fired. Well, folks, he DID quit in disgust, and so did his good friend Ed Beers--although Beers only lasted A MONTH. Clarke stuck it out for years. Working for Bush that long, knowing what he knew...that makes Clarke a HERO, not a hypocrite.

Anyway, the point is this: We had a Watergate moment yesterday in the 9-11 Commission hearings. But it involved NOT Clarke, but, ironically enough, the CIA chief--George Tenet. I think he just let it slip out, but this guy is supposed to be able to keep a SECRET!

Courtesy of Hesiod's Counterspin Central, who caught it first, here it is:

ROEMER: You were running around saying something spectacular is going to happen. You were worried about this. You were on record from 1998 on saying you're at war with Al Qaida.

But why wasn't the United States government more concerned about those attacks on the United States?

TENET: Congressman Roemer, I'd ask you this afternoon when you get Mr. Clarke here, who was the chairman of the CSG, to go through the process of what they were looking at, actions they were tasking, how they thought about this problem. I wasn't sitting in that room.

I'd ask you to think about asking him how we dealt with this in this time period and find out what that response is.

ROEMER: So you're saying that it is the responsibility of the National Security Council...

TENET: Well, the CSG...

ROEMER: ... to develop the policy to go after the terrorists...

TENET: Sir, the CSG is a mechanism where all of these issues come into play every time it meets. What is the threat? What actions do we take?

It's a focal point for the way this government has organized itself around terrorism for years.

ROEMER: So you're saying it's them, not the CIA, that should have been attentive to this?

TENET: Well, the CIA is in the CSG meeting as well. I mean, everybody's at the table. The FBI is there, the NCS is there, CIA is there, domestic agencies are there.

Throughout this time period -- I don't have access to the minutes and recordings of what happened -- what actions were they tasking, how were they thinking about this?

ROEMER: They're going through a bottom-up review...

KEAN: Congressman, we've got to move on. We have run out of time. We've got one more commissioner.



This is like the moment during the Watergate hearings when Alexander Butterfield admitted that Nixon taped all of his White House meetings!

This is HUGE NEWS!


UPDATE: Note, also, how right when Tenet let the cat out of the bag, Chairman Kean cut off the line of questioning?


Our Joker-in-Chief 

If you haven't heard it by now, you should have.

Bush's favorite joke in his post-9-11 stump speech at fundraisers, well-documented on videotape but, to my knowledge, NEVER disseminated into the mass media, went something like this:

"You know, during the [2000] campaign, I promised not to go into budget deficit unless in times of war, recession or national emergency. (Pause)

"Lucky me. I hit the trifecta." (Laughter)

Can you think of a more disgusting way to get a laugh? On the backs of those that jumped from the top of the Towers? Laughing as they wrote the checks to his campaign?

I know it's hard to believe, but get this. He actually topped it.

Bush put on a slide show, calling it the "White House Election-Year Album" at the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association 60th annual dinner, showing himself and his staff in some decidedly unflattering poses.

There was Bush looking under furniture in a fruitless, frustrating search. "Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere," he said.

As atrios pointed out, I'm sure that joke just cracked up THESE folks.

Some things are not a laughing matter. But try telling that to a Republican who wants to tell an anti-gay, anti-black, anti-feminist joke. You'll get "PC!" screeched in your face...


Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Bush lied, soldiers died 

I'm in daily contact with a lot of conservatives in a pretty unique website setting. Nobody kicks anybody else out, and nobody censors anybody, either. They say what they want to say, and I say what I have to say--always supported by links, reports and facts. Not them.

They don't believe any of the bad stories about Bush. They don't believe Bush lied. They, like so many middle Americans, are too tired of hearing all the stories. They have Bush fatigue, but the other way around. They don't read the reports or click on the links. They just deny, deny, deny.

But this post by Hesiod proves one thing, and nobody can either deny it or disprove it. Bush lied, at the very least, during his campaign when he swore on a stack of Bibles that he would ALWAYS level with the American people. At the time, he was capitalizing on Monica Lewinski (anybody remember that name?).

Now, he hasn't a single excuse left besides the ones they invent for him out of thin air.


Best laugh of the day 

Saw it on TBogg:

The Corner seeks the "best Conservative fiction".

For some explanation for political newbies, The Corner is a blog-within-a-magazine, that mag being the National Review online edition. Very conservative, very pro-Bush, that says it all.

If they're seeking conservative fictions, they certainly have a PLETHORA to choose from...!

ha ha


Everybody's talkin' 

The 9-11 Commission is turning into real entertainment. Especially the FIREWORKS. Whoda thunkit? Not Karl Rove...

Here is the New York Times' link to the 85 pages of testimony in the transcripts so far. That's a LOTTA bandwidth. I've got it bookmarked, right above my link to the U.S. Constitution.

You should do the same! After all, this is living history in the making, folks. Last time this happened was 1973-4. The unravelling of yet another crooked and vile Republican Presidency.


Weird, telling celebrity sighting 

I was on my way in to work today--late as usual. I cut through Saks Fifth Avenue in the mall where I work.

I almost stopped in my tracks as I saw, in the Men's Casual department, shopping for himself with his wife, none other than Kurt Warner--QB of the St. Louis Rams.

Mighty long way from checking groceries in Iowa, that's all I can say. Strange and wondrous are the workings of the Lord...


Busy media day today 

On this morning's Diane Rehm show on NPR, in the first hour, she hosted a crowd of folks talkin' e-voting. Why is this news? Well, I listen to her show a LOT, and I've never heard anything near to a donnybrook erupt on the well-mannered, easy-to-comprehend style of her show. She's the ANTI-Jerry Springer, for cryin' out loud.

Until today. There were more interruptions and corrections flying than I've ever heard before on her show--and most of the noise came from the guests skewering Diebold shills, and even a too-contrite Democratic party representative. This guy claimed that some umbrella organization okayed electronic voting, one that included the NAACP and a lot of other civil rights groups. Bogus.

The umbrella group okayed it, but not the NAACP or any other single group in the umbrella. I would expect this bullshit from the Bush administration--but from a Democrat, I'm TWICE as pissed.

Bev Harris scored the best, even though she left the program without saying goodbye. This was a clear message that she was probably booted because Diane didn't like her interrupting the other guests--even after Diane asked her to cool it. And even though Bev hit bulls-eyes every time she corrected somebody on a myth, misconception or outright lie.


More fun with "I'm givin' 'er all I got, Cap'n!" Scotty McClellan 

This is from Eric Alterman's blog on MSNBC.com, Altercation. For all of you out of the loop, Eric is rumored to be the model for Tom Tomorrow's caricature of a Clueless Liberal...what a dubious honor.

I'd take that honor, in a New York minute. But, like Shemp Howard, I'm too young and good-looking...

David Sirota of the Progress Report picked up on the fact that Scott McClellan yesterday went in front of the cameras and tried to deliberately mislead the entire White House press corps. In this interchange, McClellan categorically denied that the President signed a directive in October of 2001 ordering the Pentagon to prepare plans for an Iraq invasion immediately after 9/11. What he did not say was that:

According to the 1/12/03 Washington Post (which quotes senior Administration officials) "six days after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush signed a 2½-page document marked 'TOP SECRET'" that "directed the Pentagon to begin planning military options for an invasion of Iraq." This is corroborated by 9/4/02 CBS News report that five hours after the 9/11 attacks, "Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was telling his aides to come up with plans for striking Iraq."

Sirota directs us to articles here and here as well as the McClellan transcript from yesterday.

We note once again for the record, the incoherent use of the term “revisionist history.”

Q He's right that in October -- in October of 2001, when the President signed this directive, the President was directing the Pentagon to prepare plans for the invasion of Iraq?

MR. McCLELLAN: That's why I said, that's part -- that's part of his revisionist history.

Q That's not true?

MR. McCLELLAN: That's part of his revisionist history, that's what I'm saying --

Q Are you saying it's not true?

MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, that's right. I am.

Q You are saying that it's not true?

MR. McCLELLAN: That's part of -- that's just his revisionist history to make suggestions like that. He knows that at that point that our focus was on going -- was on Afghanistan and removing the Taliban and taking away the safe haven for al Qaeda.


Carter blasts Bush and Blair 

Favorite excerpt:

"It is extremely rare for a former US president to criticise an incumbent, or a British prime minister. Mr Carter's comments will add to the mounting pressure on Mr Bush and Mr Blair."

"...extremely rare..."

never seen it...!

From the UK's Independent, because, as bartcop reminds us, we can't allow criticism of the President to make the news in America.


Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Edition of the Onion considered for the Pulitzer Prize 

No. I am not making this up. It's true.

From Hesiod's Counterspin Central:

APPEALING THE ONION: The Onion's post 9/11 issue (they affectionately called it the "Holy fucking shit!" issue) was seriously considered for a Pulitzer Prize.

And no, this is not a joke.

By the way, guys, isn't it time you had a Pulitzer Prize for blogging?

Well...to be fair, not many people considered it that seriously. But the issue DID make its way into the board sessions that vote on the Prize, and it made its way around the table. Apparently it impressed them, but it would have been too much to even give a finalist's berth to a PARODY of a newspaper.

I disagree.

I'll never forget that issue. Each and every article was just as side-splitting and hilarious as any other Onion issue, only more poignant and direct and spot on with the criticism and sacred cow goring. My favorite two pages were "Hijackers Surprised to Find Selves in Hell" and "God Angrily Clarifies 'Don't Kill' Rule."

Excerpt in the Comments. Go read it!


I'd hate to be a Wedding Singer in Oregon right now 

Unless I'd gotten a HEFTY deposit.

This is unbelievable. It looks like the religio-crazies were right. It really IS destroying marriage. Or at least making it take a long-needed vacation...

Oregon county bans all marriage


In a new twist in the battle over same-sex marriage roiling the United States, a county in Oregon has banned all marriages -- gay and heterosexual -- until the state decides who can and who cannot wed.

The last marriage licenses were handed out in Benton County at 4 p.m. local time (7:00 p.m. EST) Tuesday. As of Wednesday, officials in the county of 79,000 people will begin telling couples applying for licenses to go elsewhere until the gay marriage debate is settled.

"It may seem odd," Benton County Commissioner Linda Modrell told Reuters in a telephone interview, but "we need to treat everyone in our county equally."

Yes, it does seem odd, in these modern times.


Voting against tax cuts = voting for tax increases 

Kerry voted for 350 tax increases? What a sack of shit THAT lie is.

August's post and the link to Michael Kinsley's article pretty much shows why.

It should be painfully obvious to all but the most dedicated Bush supporter that you can't balance the budget and cut taxes to the bone. You just can't. And until we ABOLISH the budget, and, as Grover Norquist has said, "Push government into the bathtub and drown it", returning us all to the grand days of Feudalism, we might as well be honest about what it's going to take to return this country to surpluses rather than deficits.

Remember that time? Three short years ago? Right before You-Know-Who moved into the White House?


I'll bet Martha's relieved 

Two-Year-Old Enron Grand Jury Still on the Job


The main reasons Richard Clarke is telling the truth 

This is a GREAT article. It is informative; it is revealing; and it is true.

Read it.

I have no doubt that Richard Clarke, the former National Security Council official who has launched a broadside against President Bush's counterterrorism policies, is telling the truth about every single charge. There are three reasons for this confidence.

First, his basic accusations are consistent with tales told by other officials, including some who had no significant dealings with Clarke.

Second, the White House's attempts at rebuttal have been extremely weak and contradictory. If Clarke were wrong, one would expect the comebacks—especially from Bush's aides, who excel at the counterstrike—to be stronger and more substantive.

Third, I went to graduate school with Clarke in the late 1970s, at MIT's political science department, and called him as an occasional source in the mid-'80s when he was in the State Department and I was a newspaper reporter. There were good things and dubious things about Clarke, traits that inspired both admiration and leeriness. The former: He was very smart, a highly skilled (and utterly nonpartisan) analyst, and he knew how to get things done in a calcified bureaucracy. The latter: He was arrogant, made no effort to disguise his contempt for those who disagreed with him, and blatantly maneuvered around all obstacles to make sure his views got through.

The key thing, though, is this: Both sets of traits tell me he's too shrewd to write or say anything in public that might be decisively refuted. As Daniel Benjamin, another terrorism specialist who worked alongside Clarke in the Clinton White House, put it in a phone conversation today, "Dick did not survive and flourish in the bureaucracy all those years by leaving himself open to attack."

Go read the REST of this. If you want to be intelligently informed, that is.


Monday, March 22, 2004

Respect for life 

Why is it that Michael Powell wants to punish obscenity offenders on TV and radio as much as $500,000...but the Republicans want to restrict any lawsuits involving even death and permanent injury to $250,000?

Could it be...that they're more "afraid" of a little word than they respect life?

I don't want to go back to the Hammurabi Code or anything. Taking a life for a life, something barbaric like that. But the courts are there for a reason--very good reasons. "Frivolous" lawsuits may make conservatives angry when they hear about them on Limbaugh, but they're incredibly rare and have yet to actually make a real splash of an impact on our economy.

Just another thing for them to get pissed about.


August...what HE said 

Good post about the Clarke-bashing going on currently, from the White House to the Limbaugh show to the blogosphere.

Most important point: You hear them bashing...but do you hear them disproving a damn thing? No. Just a whole lotta denials. Lame-sounding denials. Condi never SOUNDED so lame and scared.

And they caught Hadley in an out-and-out lie. His response? "I stand by what I said."

Like the uranium from Africa. Stand by your man. Er, lies.


Sunday, March 21, 2004

FBI Budget Squeezed After 9/11 

Now THAT didn't take long...one little post about my pond, and five minutes later, I'm baaaaaack...

That said, this is another jaw-dropper, folks. These people not only lie their asses off to our faces, they are completely incompetent. Voila:

FBI Budget Squeezed After 9/11

Request for New Counterterror Funds Cut by Two-Thirds


The document, dated Oct. 12, 2001, shows that the FBI requested $1.5 billion in additional funds to enhance its counterterrorism efforts with the creation of 2,024 positions. But the White House Office of Management and Budget cut that request to $531 million. Attorney General John D. Ashcroft, working within the White House limits, cut the FBI's request for items such as computer networking and foreign language intercepts by half, cut a cyber-security request by three quarters and ELIMINATED ENTIRELY A REQUEST FOR "COLLABORATIVE CAPABILITIES."

["Collaborative capabilities" must have sounded too much like a Homeland Security Department, which they fought tooth and nail not long after that]


The papers show that Ashcroft ranked counterterrorism efforts as a lower priority than his predecessor did, and that he resisted FBI requests for more counterterrorism funding before and immediately after the attacks.

That sinks it. It also sinks the Bush administration, if Americans finally start using what brains they have. What's it gonna take, people?

I guess Republicans are going to say they're glad Bush was trying to do something about spending. Damn FBI, trying to bust the budget! Don't they know there's a war on?


My pond 

It's been sleeping all winter, under ice, now melted, but still cold. The fish are fine. I spent three and a half hours of bliss today tuning it up.

I pulled some old ugly plants out of the little garden on the side of the pond. I arranged some beautiful stones, granite and smooth sandstone mostly, to take the place of the plants I pulled, so's to lower the maintenance there. I straightened out the limestone border, which had sagged in the last two years in the soft soil. Since it rained, and the ground was soggy, it was a pleasure to work.

Then I pounded out the ground beneath some of the larger stones on the perimeter of the pond. They, too, had sagged and looked as if they were about to fall into the water. I rearranged some stone, took one out, put a few more in, and it looks better than ever. Especially when I'm sitting on the bench...resting.

Then I took apart my leaky waterfall. This I'd been dreading for the last two years. The waterfall wasn't functioning all of last year; the water was cycling into the pond with the ugliest big white hose you ever saw. I was even too lazy to cover the hose with rock, or cut it shorter so it wouldn't show. That would have counted as "work on the waterfall", and I didn't want to have to "finish" it.

I just let it be. Until today.

I put in the pump and the filter; the water is flowing with that mesmerizing sound. The waterfall doesn't leak, but it has no rock in it, just the black liner marked sort of nicely with dead algae and lichen. It makes it look sort of real, like a waterfall should. I'll fill in the rest of the rock later--it's just running now so I could make sure it doesn't leak. It's not.

When it's done, my pond is a refuge from the world in my back yard. The carp, goldfish and the sarasa all compete for the food I toss them. Lily pads, water hyacinth and other fauna bloom and help keep the water clear. The palm grass behind the pond is a beautiful screen and a perfect backdrop for the entire tableau. A sitting angel cherub, three iron ants, each a foot long, and an upright-bass-playing frog round out the cute stuff.

But nothing compares with the pond at NIGHT. When the accent lights and the spots are on. And it's a cool late spring evening, with a bottle of port and a couple of good cigars, with the baseball game on the boombox.


You are being watched 

If you're a hypocrite Republican...if you use church money to pay for underage teen prostitutes...if you support other "Christian" politicians with your money and reputation...

We are watching you. We. The left-wing blogosphere.

Despite the crime and victims involved, this is the funniest thing I've read all day--but I just got started. I'm going to write asides as funny as these someday.


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