Saturday's Poignant Lyrics

"Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see"

These lyrics from The Beatles' "Strawberry Fields Forever" perfectly describe your average Bush supporter. How ANYONE can still support this maniac after all that has transpired recently is beyond me. After the passing of the detainee bill it is even more obvious that we are living in a fascist dictatorship.


Cool way to copy and paste

Snippy is a cool way to selectively copy anything from your desktop and paste it into applications like Word, Photoshop, etc. It creates an image that you can email, paste into documents or just about anything you can imagine.

The image above was copied from AMERICAblog moments after our country turned into a fascist state. Goodbye America. It was nice knowing you.

Download Snippy


Putt's Law

Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage, and those who manage what they do not understand.


Gotta have it!

And I Feel Fine: Best of the I.R.S. Years 1982-1987 [COLLECTOR'S EDITION]

Dorothy Ann Richards

(September 1, 1933–September 13, 2006)

"Poor George, he can't help it...He was born with a silver foot in his mouth"


The U.S. vs. John Lennon

More Americans have now died in Iraq than died on 9/11

While President Bush and other Republican politicians spent the day exploiting the memory of those we lost five years ago, the nation overlooked a grim milestone: More Americans have now died in Iraq than died on 9/11. Iraq didn't attack us on that day, and our misguided policy there has now taken more American lives than Al Qaeda.

Here are the numbers: 3,015 Americans have died in Iraq as of September 9.

2,666 of these were military deaths and 349 were civilians.

Read on


Top 25 stories ignored by media in past year

Each year, Project Censored compiles an annual list of 25 socially significant news stories of social significance said to have been missed, underreported or self-censored by mainstream press in the US. Here are some of this year's picks:

#1 Future of Internet Debate Ignored by Media

#2 Halliburton Charged with Selling Nuclear Technologies to Iran

#3 Oceans of the World in Extreme Danger

#4 Hunger and Homelessness Increasing in the US

#5 High-Tech Genocide in Congo

#6 Federal Whistleblower Protection in Jeopardy

# 7 US Operatives Torture Detainees to Death in Afghanistan and Iraq

#8 Pentagon Exempt from Freedom of Information Act

#9 The World Bank Funds Israel-Palestine Wall

#10 Expanded Air War in Iraq Kills More Civilians

(Click the link above for more)


Chickenhawks killing Doves

What beter way for the GOP to spend the 5th anniversary of 9/11?


Do you get the feeling that they're leading up to something...

...and we're supposed to crap our pants on cue?

CNN's Henry: Bush speech quoting bin Laden "may help shake Americans out of any complacency they may feel"

Excellent piece by Garrison Keillor

It’s hard for Americans to visualize the collapse of our country. It’s as unthinkable as one’s own demise. Europeans are different: They’ve seen disaster, even the British. They know it was a near thing back in 1940. My old Danish mother-in-law remembered the occupation clearly 40 years later and was teary-eyed when she talked about it. Francis Scott Key certainly could envision the demise of the United States in 1814 when he watched the bombardment of Fort McHenry. Lincoln was haunted by the thought. We are not, apparently, though five years ago we saw a shadow.

You might think from the latest broadsides that the republic is teetering, that it’s Munich again, the Nazis are on the loose, and the Current Occupant is Winston Churchill, and that to question him is treachery. The fury of the right wing is quite remarkable — to maintain a sense of persecution after years of being in power is like Donald Trump feeling overlooked — but life goes on.

We really are one people at heart. We all believe that when thousands of people are trapped in the Superdome without food or water, it is the duty of government, the federal government if necessary, to come to their rescue and to restore them to the civil mean and not abandon them to fate. Right there is the basis of liberalism. Conservatives tried to introduce a new idea — it’s your fault if you get caught in a storm — and this idea was rejected by nine out of 10 people once they saw the pictures. The issue is whether we care about people who don’t get on television.

Last week I sat and listened to a roomful of parents talk about their battles with public schools in behalf of their children who suffer from dyslexia, or apraxia, or ADD, or some other disability — sagas of ferocious parental love vs. stonewall bureaucracy in the quest for basic needful things — and how some of them had uprooted their families and moved to Minnesota so their children could attend better schools. You couldn’t tell if those parents were Republicans or Democrats. They simply were prepared to move mountains so their kids could have a chance. So are we all.

And that’s the mission of politics: to give our kids as good a chance as we had. They say that liberals have run out of new ideas — it’s like saying that Christians have run out of new ideas. Maybe the old doctrine of grace is good enough.

I don’t get much hope from Democrats these days, a timid and skittish bunch, slow to learn, unable to sing the hymns and express the steady optimism that is at the heart of the heart of the country. I get no hope at all from Republicans, whose policies seem predicated on the Second Coming occurring in the very near future. If Jesus does not descend through the clouds to take them directly to paradise, and do it now, they are going to have to answer to the rest of us.

Dubya sez...

"I said I was looking for a book to read, Laura said you ought to cry Camus. I also read three Shakespeares. ... I've got a eck-a-lec-tic reading list." --George W. Bush, interview with NBC's Brian Williams, New Orleans, La., Aug. 29, 2006 (Watch video clip)

"And I suspect that what you'll see, Toby, is there will be a momentum, momentum will be gathered. Houses will begat jobs, jobs will begat houses." --George W. Bush, talking to reporters along the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast, Gulfport, Miss., Aug. 28, 2006

"I would guess, I would surmise that some of the more spectacular bombings are done by al Qaeda suiciders." --George W. Bush, on violence in Iraq, Washington, D.C., Aug. 21, 2006

"The United States of America is engaged in a war against an extremist group of folks." --George W. Bush, McLean, Va., Aug. 15, 2006

"See, the irony is that what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this s**t, and it's over." --George W. Bush, chomping on a dinner roll while talking about the Middle East crisis with British Prime Minister Tony Blair at the G8 summit, St. Petersburg, Russia, July 17, 2006 (Watch video clip)

"One thing is clear, is relations between America and Russia are good, and they're important that they be good." --George W. Bush, Strelna, Russia, July 15, 2006

"I've reminded the prime minister-the American people, Mr. Prime Minister, over the past months that it was not always a given that the United States and America would have a close relationship." --George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., June 29, 2006

"We shouldn't fear a world that is more interacted." --George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., June 27, 2006

"I think -- tide turning -- see, as I remember -- I was raised in the desert, but tides kind of -- it's easy to see a tide turn -- did I say those words?" --George W. Bush, asked if the tide was turning in Iraq, Washington, D.C., June 14, 2006


Penetration Well Done

A new brand of condoms may never make it to store shelves in Thailand because of its "inappropriate and ambiguous" name. "Tom Dundee" condoms are named after a popular Thai country singer, but "Tom Dundee" also has another meaning in Thai: Good Penetration.

According to an article in the Bangkok Post, the Thai Food and Drug Administration has asked the Culture Ministry to "investigate the name and decide whether it conforms to national norms and values." Ladda Tangsupachai, an official with the Culture Ministry said, "Although the name is not vulgar or rude, it is ambiguous, boastful and provocative. It could entice excessive consumption and lure children and youths with little maturity to start having sexual activities before their appropriate age."

Ah yes, the old "appropriate age" debate. Talk about a gray area; that will never get resolved to anyone's satisfaction. For certain, if the decision was left to most conservative religious fanatics (whatever their affiliation), the "age of consent" would be about 25 - and even that would come with stipulations.

Meanwhile, Puntiva Poomiprates, the singer who uses Tom Dundee as his stage name, says that the name has nothing to do with sex whatsoever. He chose the name, he says, after watching the movie Crocodile Dundee. On the subject of the condoms, he had this wise advice: "You can't stop human desire, no matter how old they are, so it is better to protect them."


American Troublemakers

A reader, R. Richards, had this to say in the Bangkok Post's "Letter to the Editor" section on Monday:

"One really has to wonder at what lengths the US will go to stir up unrest in other countries. Whilst the world is in turmoil with Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Sri Lanka on the brink of civil war, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice tries to cash in on the deteriorating health of ailing Cuban president Fidel Castro by talking of "democracy" and making veiled references to regime change - as though the US didn't have enough trouble on its hands already!

A more diplomatic approach would have been a get-well message - this would have had more of an effect on the Cuban population. Since Rice holds a doctorate, I would have expected that she would add some intellectual strength to this US government's credibility, but alas she seems only able to parrot the well-worn and discredited script of her warring president George W. Bush.

My guess is that Rice is keeping in close proximity with her boss in order to make a run for the presidency in 2008. God help us all."

I'm not so sure about Rice making a run for the presidency in 2008, but I agree with what Mr. Richards says about the US and their eagerness to "help" the people of Cuba. Let the Cubans take care of their own matters without interference from the creepy American government.


More Tales of Bombs and Buildings

Kim Fay is a travel writer and photographer. She is the editor of the guidebook To Asia With Love, dubbed "the ultimate insider's guide to Southeast Asia." The following is an excerpt from "The Kindness of Strangers," an article she wrote (the entire piece can be found on her website: www.kimfay.com) in which she describes being in Luang Prabang, Laos when she first heard the news about the 9-11 terrorist attacks:

"Disoriented, we find our way to a TV in a new café. Surrounded by Australians, New Zealanders and Europeans hunkered down on a rough timber floor, we watch the small fuzzy image of our President as he addresses the nation. It's nearing midnight, and we're exhausted. And then, whispered under the breath: 'What did they expect?'

Not once this night do we hear how terrible or how sad or how tragic. Instead, we learn that somehow we might have deserved this assault, and that our president is a "wanker." I have never felt lonelier in my life than I do now in this room, but although we want to leave, we also need to know what's happening back home.

Finally, around one a.m., CNN cuts out and everyone drifts away. No one expresses a word of sympathy, and we return to the hotel, wounded. We lie in the dark silence of our hotel room, so tired we find it impossible to sleep. Another storm will come and go before the night is over, and when we wake it will be to a world irreversibly changed."

I find it quite ironic that she was in Laos on 9-11. The tiny landlocked country once held the distinction of being the "most bombed country on earth." Courtesy of - you guessed it - the American military during the Vietnam War.


Terminal Compassion

Death, however cruel and unfair, sometimes brings out the best in people. I was just sent a link to an online article about Beth Goldring - a New York native who quit her university teaching job to become a Buddhist nun - and the AIDS hospice that she runs in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

What Beth and her dedicated staff at Brahma Vihara are doing to help those who are suffering is nothing short of incredible. Beth is an amazing woman, and I can’t begin to fathom how she summons up the energy and strength to do what she does each and every day.

Please take some time to click on the link and read the article by Bennett Stevens, starkly illustrated by his superb photographs. This story makes my cry - but it also inspires me.



Towel Flicking Diplomacy

"I don't think he wants to hear anything outside the box of his prejudices. He's one of nature's towel flickers and he has turned American international policy into towel flicking. Polarism and neo-conservatism has seriously weakened the United States."

British diplomat Chris Patten, the last Governor of Hong Kong (1992-1997), commenting on George W. Bush and his lack of foreign policy expertise. The outspoken Patten is also the author of two political memoirs: East and West and Not Quite the Diplomat.


Twenty signs that you might be a Bush Supporter

1. You think that liberals are to blame for the deaths of U.S. soldiers, and not the people actually killing them or sending them to be killed.

2. You find the death of unborn children abhorrent only when it is the result of a woman's choice and not when it is the result of environmental contamination, malnutrition, lack of prenatal healthcare, or the bombing of civilians.

3. You draw no conclusion whatsoever from the fact that prescription drug prices have risen for senior citizens since President Bush enacted the Medicare prescription drug plan.

4. You think liberals hate U.S. soldiers and want them to die.

5. You support the philosophy of checks and balances in government, but cannot think of any instance in which the Bush administration should be subject to checks or balances in this "time of war."

6. You think President Bush is fighting to protect your freedoms from terrorists, but are willing to give up your freedoms in order to fight terrorists.

7. You think that knowledge of Valerie Plame's status as Joseph Wilson's wife is the same as knowledge of her status as a CIA agent.

8. You believe that as a Christian in the United States, you are a persecuted minority.

9. The death of Israeli civilians at the hands of Palestinian militants or terrorists causes you to rage against the attackers, while the death of Palestinian civilians at the hands of the Israeli military causes you to rage against the liberal media for its anti-Semitic news coverage.

10. You believe that corporate executives care more about the condition of the working class than labor unions.

11. You don't understand the difference between being accused of terrorism and being guilty of terrorism, and therefore do not understand the need for due process in terrorism cases or the outcry against the torture of people who have never been convicted or charged of a crime.

12. You don't think the subjects discussed and the conclusions drawn at Dick Cheney's secret meetings with Enron and other energy industry representatives to form our nation's energy policy are any of your business.

13. You've never heard of the Office of Special Plans or the Project for the New American Century.

14. The name "Hillary Clinton" sends you into a vitriolic diatribe against the senator, yet you cannot identify any of her policy positions.

15. You despise Bill Clinton for not catching or killing Osama Bin Laden prior to the attacks of 9/11, but excuse George W. Bush for not catching or killing Osama Bin Laden prior to or after the attacks of 9/11.

16. In the Bible, you find no exception to the proclamation in the Book of Leviticus that it is an abomination for a man to lie with a man, but find a vast number of exceptions to the commandment "Thou shalt not kill."

17. You find yourself willing to devote yourself to protecting the well-being of unborn children, but uninterested in the well-being of children after they're born or their mothers at any stage.

18. You do not believe that falling middle class income and rising corporate executive compensation is class warfare against the working class, but do believe that mentioning this fact is class warfare against the rich.

19. You despise the liberal media for its constant lies and distortions, but believe any and all reports from the media that sets President Bush in a positive light.

20. You proudly display a bumper sticker to "support the troops," but consider discussions of inadequate body armour, strategy, veteran's benefits and soldier pay to be nothing more than liberal whining.



"No doubt exercise helps clear his brain, but if it were any clearer, it'd be a patch of blue sky. He needs to unclear his brain, and let a little reality intrude, and wipe that barbecue grin off his face."

James Wolcott, writing about President Bush's "passive-aggressive approach" to the Israeli-Lebanon crisis in a column titled "Exercise Nut" on his website (www.jameswolcott.com) .


Iran Awakening

Shirin Ebadi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003. Her "efforts for democracy and human rights" in her native Iran, particularly those directed towards women and children, were cited by the Nobel committe. Ebadi was the first ever female judge in Iran and became the first Iranian and the first Muslim woman to win the Nobel.

Her memoir, Iran Awakening, was recently published. In a review of the book, James Eckardt of The Nation newspaper had this to say:

In writing her book, Shirin has gone a long way towards dispelling the popular image of Iranians as angry bearded fanatics chanting and shaking their fists. She is representative of a 2,500-year-old civilization with a rich literature, art, music and cuisine. In her epilogue she points out that 65 percent of Iranian university students are women, and 43 percent are salaried workers. And, in contrast to US President George W. Bush's overheated rhetoric about an Axis of Evil, they vote.

"I wanted to write a book that would help correct Western stereotypes of Islam, especially the image of Muslim women as docile, forlorn creatures," she concludes.

She has succeeded brilliantly.


Fox News Kills

"When I was covering the war in Iraq, we reporters would sometimes tune to Fox News and watch, mystified, as it purported to describe how Iraqis loved Americans. Such coverage (backed by delusional Journal editorials baffling to anyone who was actually in Iraq) misled conservatives about Iraq from the beginning. In retrospect, the real victims of Fox News weren't the liberals it attacked but the conservatives who believed it."

Nicholas D. Kristof, writing in a New York Times column this week.


Inside the real Iraq

"At 5:34 am, on Thursday, March 20, 2003, the United States began a war of its own choosing, buoyed by grand ambition and perhaps folly. At that moment, its power unparalleled, the American military began its long march toward Saddam Hussein's citadel of Baghdad, across the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers and past the cities of Ur and Babylon. Its aim was to conquer and then remake an ancient land in its own brash, confident image. Its expressed intention was to spread democracy throughout the Middle East. It offered the catchwords it used reflexively - liberation and freedom - to a country whose own values it did not understand."

That's the first paragraph in Chapter 3, of Anthony Shadid's book Night Draws Near: Iraq's People in the Shadow of America's War. Shadid was one of many western journalists that covered the war in Iraq, but he was the only one to win a Pulitzer Prize (in 2004) for his reporting. Of Lebanese descent, Shadid was born and raised in Oklahoma and speaks fluent Arabic. That language ability, plus many years of work experience in the Middle East, enabled Shadid to gain access to the opinions and feelings of many Iraqi people. Shadid's articles, and this book, give readers valuable insight into the complexities of Iraq and what is happening to the people in that country.


Wednesday funny

While suturing a cut on the hand of a 75-year old Texas rancher, whose hand was caugh in a gate while working cattle, the doctor struck up a conversation with the old man. Eventually the topic got around to former Texas Governor George W. Bush and his elevation to the White House.

The old Texan said, "Well, ya know, Bush is a 'post turtle'." Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a 'post turtle' was. The old rancher said, "When you're driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that's a post turtle."

The old man saw a puzzled look on the doctor's face, so he continued to explain. "You know he didn't get there by himself, he doesn't belong there, he doesn't know what to do while he's up there, and you just want to help the dumb shit get down."


Hip-Hop Hoopla

Prior to this week I had never heard of Cristal champagne. Call me sheltered, or out of touch with current trends, but I know one thing: my income is not high enough to splurge on outrageously expensive alcoholic beverages. I also acknowledge that I am not a fan of hip-hop music. But does that make me a racist? In the eyes of rap star Jay Z it apparently does.

Jay-Z, who gained fame as a rap singer and is now president and CEO of Def Jam Records, has announced a boycott of Cristal champagne after reading what he perceived as “racist comments” by Frederic Rouzaud, managing director of Louis Roederer, the company that makes Cristal.

In a recent issue of The Economist magazine, Rouzaud said his company viewed Cristal’s popularity in the hip-hop world with “curiosity and serenity.” The gist of the article seemed to be that the company wasn’t overly enthusiastic about Cristal being associated with hip-hop music and its fans. The writer of the article, Gideon Rachman, was also asked by Rachman if the association between Cristal and the “bling” lifestyle could eventually be detrimental to sales of the expensive drink. “That's a good question,” Rouzaud replied. “But what can we do? We can't forbid people from buying it.” The writer - but not Rouzaud himself - later used the phrase “unwelcome attention” when summarizing the general feeling that high-end champagne makers had with having their product touted by hip-hop stars.

Those comments were apparently enough to anger Jay Z. “It has come to my attention that the managing director of Cristal, Frederic Rouzaud views the hip-hop culture as ‘unwelcome attention,’” Jay-Z said in a statement. “I view his comments as racist and will no longer support any of his products through any of my various brands nor in my personal life.”

From my perspective the comments in the article certainly don’t paint the Cristal folks as racists. You can call them out of touch, over the hill, or old fashioned, but to accuse them of being racist simply because they aren’t giddy about their product being associated with a style of music that frequently glorifies violence, stupidity, and misogyny, is not fair. I love music, especially jazz, funk, and soul made by Black - or African-American - musicians in the 1960s and 1970s. But what passes for popular black music nowadays leaves me cold. Just because someone isn’t a fan of current rap or hip-hop music, that by no means makes them racist. Jay Z and his ilk need to grow up.


Something is Cooking

Anthony Bourdain has become quite the celebrity in the past couple of years. After his memoir Kitchen Confidential was published and zoomed to best-seller status, his previous career as a restaurant chef morphed into that of a celebrity author and TV cooking show host.

Bourdain, in case you haven't read his books (he has now penned three food-themed titles), is not a reserved individual. A native New Yorker, he's the sort of loud-mouthed "sex & drugs & rock 'n' roll" character that your mother warned you about. A bad influence, for sure. But oh what a wonderfully entertaining writer he is. Bourdain combines humor and outrageous antecdotes with skillfull prose. His latest book, The Nasty Bits, is a collection of essays and magazine articles that he has thrown together; a literary stew, if you will. In one essay Bourdain writes about the continual problem of finding good help to work in restaurant kitchens. But he raves about workers from "south of the border" (Mexicans, Ecuadorans, Salvadorans) as being the best and most dependable of all the ones he has worked with during his three decades in the restaurant business. He suggests, somewhat glibly, that the US should offer unrestricted immigration to those from Central and South American countries.

"It was once said that this is the land of the free. There is, I believe, a statue out there in the harbor with something written on it about 'Give me your hungry...your oppressed...pretty much everybody' - that's the way I remember it, anyway. The idea of America is a mutt-culture, isn't it? We are - and should be - a big, messy, anarchistic polygot of dialects and accents and different skin tones. Like our kitchens. We need MORE Latinos to come here. And they should, whenever possible, impregnate our women."



Beautiful Russian photography, some dating back to the 50s. Click the link under the last photo for even more.


Theocrazie spotted in Brooklyn

Via Really not worth archiving... Really.

American Torture

My America, at least the America of my birth, does not resort to the use of torture. We were taught that fact in public schools, American public schools, schools in which we learned old fashioned American values about family and fairness, values like the presumption of innocence, due process, respect for the law and the rights of man.

Others might resort to using torture, Hitler and his evil Nazi worshipers, Stalin, with his Gulags and purges, Mao and the People’s reeducation camps. Torture, in those days, was for others, the Pinochets, the Batistas, the Perons, the Idi Amins of the world, torture was not an American thing.

Torture was a tool used by our primitive and unenlightened forbears, to extract information, or to punish their enemies, information, which more often than not, was useless, as the information extracted was contrived in the desperate mind of someone whose only thought was to stop the pain, to say anything, confess to any crime, implicate any person, even those he loved to make the pain stop.

We were taught of the Nuremberg Tribunals at the close of World War Two and of the unbelievably bestial behavior of the Nazis in their death camps, of the brutalization of an entire generation of human beings, of wholesale torture and the wanton slaughter of millions that followed.

We were taught that “following orders” was no excuse for participating in, or ignoring the use of methods like torture or reprisal killings, as some orders were unlawful and it was our responsibility to know the difference. We executed many in Germany and Japan who were found to have violated conventions that we and other like thinking nations had established as fundamental rules of human conduct. We imprisoned many more than we executed.

I reached adulthood believing that America had evolved to a point of ethical leadership in a world that had been horribly scarred by those who used torture and terror, who used fear and death as instruments of State policy. I took pride in my belief that we, America, as a nation had risen above such inhuman behavior and had learned to operate on an elevated plateau of conduct. In short I grew to believe that my country could claim to be among the most civilized of nations.

At the age of twenty my youthful naiveté was tested by an all expenses paid trip to Vietnam. I discovered in the process of that experience that much of the negativity being reported about my country was true, the reports of Phoenix programs and other secret and not so secret efforts of my government turned my youthful naiveté into full blown distrust of the American government and it’s intelligence and military apparatus.

After Vietnam we went from one fiasco to another for the same fraudulent reasons, in Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and on through Grenada and Panama misspending the flower of our youth, aiding in the brutalization of the poor and politically disenfranchised of other nations and trashing American integrity on remote and largely secret battlefields, in an effort to prop up corrupt dictatorships supported by even more corrupt American corporations.

By the time that George Bush the younger was appointed to serve as regent by the judicial minions of corporate America our government was fully in the control of the plutocrats and oiligarchs, for whom conscience, compassion and national honor had become nothing more than pathetically sad, liberal, loser jokes.


America is not about torture.

Not my America. Not this land of my birth. Not the country that I volunteered to serve when called to service by an idealistic young President.

I have friends who have said to me recently and a government that has told me repeatedly that we can no longer follow the rules because our enemies do not follow the rules, and I say to them all: Bullshit!

I have friends who have said to me recently and a government that has told me repeatedly that everything changed after 9/11, and I say to them all: Bullshit!

One terrorist act or a thousand does not change fifty thousand years of human development, of philosophy and religion, of right and wrong of love and beauty and art.

There is only one America and it is the one that was held up to me by my Parents and Grandparents, by my teachers and my government as a beacon of freedom and justice, honor and integrity, honesty, compassion and justice.

I will permit no other America to exist on this Earth, nor should you.

Repeat after me:

America does not torture.

Bob Higgins
Worldwide Sawdust


Why is it so hard for the neocons to grasp the concept that two wrongs don’t make a right; that someone else violating a legal or ethical standard doesn’t mean that suddenly there are no rules and we can act on any impulse?

There’s a nice little story about two friends, one a Quaker, who went for an evening walk and stopped at a newsstand. The Quaker bought a paper. The vendor was surly and nasty, but the Quaker smiled and thanked him politely. As they walked on, his friend commented that the vendor had been in an ugly mood; the Quaker said, “Oh, he’s always like that.” The friend asked, “So why were you so nice to him?” The Quaker answered, “Why should I let him decide how I behave?” It’s on a different level from torture and murder, but it’s the same principle. We have an obligation to decide what kind of behavior we believe in, then act that way, no matter what.

This is an ugly strain that’s been rising in American culture for a long time; one symptom has been the rise in the popularity of vengeance as a theme in popular entertainment. Seems to me that it coincided with the growth of “me-ism” and greed as an accepted value system in the Reagan 80s, but who knows... it’s obvious that we need to get back to a more civilized set of values.

Save the Internets

Now that an open Internet has become an essential part of our lives, the big telcos naturally want to screw with it, creating a system where bigshots can buy a wider pipe than start-ups, and therefore you, the end user, don't get the choices you're used to. Naturally, their hired tools in Congress are now threatening to screw the Internet up good and proper.

If they get their way, the telcos make money, and everybody else gets a shitty Internet. Which, in turn, might even mean the telcos make less money in the long run.

The fight has currently reached the Senate. Josh Marshall and the fine folks at Talking Points Memo are compiling a list of the public positions of each member. So far, twelve senators (all Democrats, by the way) support net neutrality. Three (all Republicans) are on the record as against it.

Thirty-one senators are listed as "undecided," with no public position, and the remaining fifty-four have yet to be contacted.

Want to keep the Internet the way it is? Here's what you can do:

Visit SaveTheInternet.com. Read the FAQ.

Then write to your senator (find their contact info in the link above) and bug the crap out of them not to screw with the 'Net. I just emailed two of my reps and will mail a letter to the third (since, for some reason, he has no email contact that I can find).

It'll only take a few minutes, and it'll do some good.

Unless, of course, you really like your phone company, and you consider them noble and selfless humanitarians who have your best inteests at heart. In which case, you're not with BellSouth. I can tell you that.


Telnaes 06/12/2006

Quote of the day

"It is difficult for the ordinary voter to come to grips with the notion that a truly evil man, a truthless monster with the brains of a king rat and the soul of a cockroach, is about to be sworn in as president of the United States for the next four years… And he will bring his gang in with him, a mean network of lawyers and salesmen and pimps who will loot the national treasury, warp the laws, mock the rules and stay awake 22 hours a day looking for at least one reason to declare war, officially, on some hapless tribe in the Sahara or heathen fanatic like the Ayatollah Khomeni."
-Hunter S. Thompson on September 14, 1987 describing Bush I


Friday funny

Click here to see a photo of the average Bush supporter

Quote of the day

“Politics is the only field where the more experience you have, the worse you get. It’s time to clean house. How much worse does it have to get?”
—Kinky Friedman

Theocrazie spotted at the mall

I went to the mall yesterday with my wife and daughter. We parked next to someone's company car. I couldn't believe what they chose as the name for their heating and air business. This is absolutely nuts. I was immediately inspired to coin the term Theocrazie.

The graphics were on both sides and on the back. Notice the logo - praying hands with two little stone tablets on either side. The slogan really cracked me up. "Prices and Service from Above". Sorry for the low res photo. All I had was my camera phone.

I'll be on the lookout for more Theocrazies and post what I find. If any of you see something interesting or disturbing, email a photo and I'll post it.


Gay sex on my doorstep

The other day the Senate wasn't able to eke out enough votes to "defend" the sanctity of marriage.

Apparently, heterosexual marriage needs to be defended, and now that the effort has failed, heterosexual relationships are in a lot of trouble. I've been straight my whole life but now we straights are helpless to preserve our own relationships and sexual orientation.

Any time now I will expect the gay sex to arrive at my doorstep and for all of my family and personal relationships to begin changing.

I just wish I knew what to wear.

Maybe FEMA will start handing out some kind of kit.

Photographer Arnold Newman dies

One of my all time favorite photographers has died. Arnold Newman, one of the master photographers of the 20th century who pioneered the environmental portrait, died of a heart attack Tuesday at the age of 88.

He became one of the 20th Century's foremost photographers not only because of who he shot, but how he shot them. His subjects included the powerful and the powerfully talented. He photographed politicians, scientists, and artists, among them John F. Kennedy, Dwight D. Eisenhower, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Pablo Picasso, Igor Stravinsky, and Alfred Stieglitz. His work influenced a generation of American photographers and was the subject of many exhibitions, including a riveting show in 2000 at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. that featured 160 of his images made between 1938 and 1998.

This photograph of Igor Stravinsky remains one of my all time favorites because of its unique composition

PDN Legends Online

The GOP Forced Me to Have an Abortion

The conservative politics of the Bush administration forced me to have an abortion I didn't want. Well, not literally, but let me explain.

I am a 42-year-old happily married mother of two elementary-schoolers. My husband and I both work, and like many couples, we're starved for time together. One Thursday evening this past March, we managed to snag some rare couple time and, in a sudden rush of passion, I failed to insert my diaphragm.



Dubya sez...

The "Decider" talkin' about "Suiciders"

"Trying to stop suiciders — which we're doing a pretty good job of on occasion — is difficult to do. And what the Iraqis are going to have to eventually do is convince those who are conducting suiciders who are not inspired by Al Qaeda, for example, to realize there's a peaceful tomorrow."
—Dubya, Washington, D.C., May 24, 2006

Must be an election year - I smell a smokescreen

Dubya insists that a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage is necessary to protect our children and the sanctity of marriage. I'm a happily married heterosexual father of two children and I find Dubya's argument not only ridiculous but also dangerous in that it diverts attention from the real and imminent threats that face my children. Not to mention the fact that, for the life of me, I can't see how same-sex marriage will affect my 20 year old marriage.

Every day, the global warming crisis becomes worse as our government fails to take any real action against it. Every day, HIV infects more of our young people as the government adheres to its failed abstinence-only approach. Every day, al-Qaida recruits more terrorists as our government pursues its imperialist, neocon agenda. If Dubya really cared about the safety of my children, he would address these issues.

Far from being any kind of effort to protect children, Dubya's support of the amendment is a transparent and cynical attempt to improve his percentages in the approval polls.

If you want an idea of what Dubya was ignoring while spreading his hate, go here.

Luckovich 06/06/2006


Asshat Quote of the day

“Facts are stupid things”.
-Ronald Reagan

Another Florida injustice

Wheelchair-confined Richard Paey committed almost exactly the same violations of Florida prescription drug laws that windbag Rush Limbaugh did, with a different result: Limbaugh's sentence, in May, was addiction treatment, and Paey's, in 2004, was 25 years in prison.
Both illegally possessed large quantities of painkillers for personal use, which Paey defiantly argued was (and will be) necessary to relieve nearly constant pain from unsuccessful spinal surgeries after an auto accident, but which Limbaugh admitted was simply the result of addiction. (In fact, if Limbaugh complies with his plea bargain, his conviction will be erased.) Paey's sentence now rests with a state Court of Appeal. [Tampa Tribune, 2-8-06]

Republicans steal 2004 elections

This is a MUST READ!

Bobby Kennedy Jr, writing for Rolling Stone Magazine details the lengths to which the GOP went to steal votes and disenfrachise Ohio voters in 2004. The web version features additional documents and sources.

...and the Halliburton beat goes on

The United States government has always been quite vocal when it comes to telling other countries how to act and what to do. Their reputation at the World's Policeman - if not the Big Bully - has only increased this decade. But, as most observers note, those Freedom-Loving Patriots aren't always consistent in picking their fights. Writing a Letter to the Editor in Bangkok's The Nation newspaper, Shlomo Katzenstein had this observation:
"Interesting to note that the US, an outspoken proponent of democracy in Third World countries, is home of the two big business players in Burma (Myanmar) currently: Unocal and Halliburton."
Hmm, that is certainly most interesting. But not surprising. Apparently making big profits for big business should take precedent over ensuring human rights and safe working conditions for poor Asians.


Truth in photography

"In over his head"

Quote of the day

“For those who wave the flag and support the troops but also consider their own family exempt from service because of the wealth of better options available to them — we suggest they take the magnetic yellow ribbon off their SUV and rethink their position.”
-from an American Legion Magazine article about a book entitled AWOL: The Unexcused Absence of America’s Upper Classes from Military Service — and How It Hurts Our Country



No Naughty Phones for Cambodians

And over in Cambodia, the always unpredictable Prime Minister-for-Life Hun Sen is at it again. This time, spurred by a petition that his wife signed, Hun Sen has decided to ban the new 3G mobile phones from being sold in Cambodia, fearing that they will further corrupt the morals of the kingdom’s youngsters.

Besides their usual telecommunications functions, the state-of-the-art devices are capable of sending high-quality images (photos and videos) between phone users. Puritans – and wives of politicians - fear that this new technology will – in the words of the petition – “allow young women to send images that may tempt men into nefarious relationships and therefore damage the society and culture.”

Whew, who came up with that wording? If nothing else I give them bonus points for using “nefarious” in a sentence. Well done. And let’s also give kudos to Information Minister Khieu Kanharith, who seems to be one of the rare yonks in the Cambodian government who isn’t a Hun Sen yes-man; he thinks a ban on the phones is ridiculous. If the phones are banned, reasons Kanharith, “Then we should also ban using a car, because they can also use that to transport a girl.”


I really hate it when...

...things are mislabeled.

Quote of the day

"And for me the big giveaway was at the end of that answer, I don't know if you can see it on camera, but the President flashed a big grin to those of us sitting in the front rows. It didn't seem that he was quite as contrite as his performance."
-Richard Wolffe from Newsweek

Dean sticks to it

Chris Matthews tried his best to get Howard Dean to turn gossip into something of importance. Dean didn't let him get away with it. He stayed on task.
MATTHEWS: Well I now want to bring up to you a topic that I thought would be something that might come up six months from now or a year from now, it‘s come up as you know, yesterday. “The New York Times,” at the top of the page, of the front page, ran a big story on Bill and Hillary Clinton and it led with the question of this: “When the subject of Bill and Hillary Clinton comes up for many prominent Democrats these days, topic A is the state of their marriage.” Is that a true statement?

DEAN: No. I think that‘s ridiculous. That‘s just gossip and I would expect that to be in the “New York Post,” not “The New York Times.”

MATTHEWS: What‘s the gossip in saying that party leaders are worried about the marriage?

DEAN: -- most people are worried, Chris, about gas prices, how we‘re going to get out of Iraq—

MATTHEWS: No, they‘re worried about who‘s going to get elected. Governor, you know the questions: who‘s going to get elected president and what things along the way are going to affect who gets elected. It‘s not gossip; it‘s trying to figure out the lay of the land, politically.

Let me read you something from a man I know you respect, David Broder of the “Washington Post.” Quote—in today‘s column: “The very fact that “The New York Times” has sent a reporter out to interview 50 people about the state of the Clinton‘s marriage and placed the story on the top of page one was a clear signal, if any was needed, that the drama of the Clinton‘s personal life would be a hot topic if she runs for president.” Is that a fair statement?

DEAN: I think that‘s also gossip. Listen, I‘m going to be tough on this stuff. I think gossip and silliness like that, in the long run, do not overcome the fact that somebody‘s got to do something about gas prices, that we‘ve sent a ton of jobs to China, that we have a budget that‘s so far out of balance that our kids are in debt—those are the issues that matter, not salacious gossip. And I don‘t care who writes it—I have a lot of respect for David Broder and "The New York Times"-it‘s still gossip.

Friday bush monkey blogging

Shit-tossing baboon

the rude pundit on Al Gore:
Last night, Gore was as you've heard, loose, funny, and smart. Goddamn, so fuckin' smart. Every time he opened his mouth to discuss some aspect of melting ice caps or fuel efficiency, you just wanted to weep, thinking, "Jesus Christ, he won. Motherfucker won. He should be our president right now, not that inarticulate, shit-tossing baboon hunched in the ditch next to Tony Blair right now." What Gore does better than anyone in the Democratic Party right now, from Hillary Clinton to Russ Feingold, is articulate liberal issues as moral callings. Not squishy, feel-good sentiments, but deep in the soul, religious, even, moral purposes. Like, you know, Christians are supposed to do.


Chew on this for a minute

There's a lot of rejoicing going on today since Ken (Kenny Boy) Lay and Jeffrey Skilling were found guilty of fraud and conspiracy. That coupled with the fact that DeLay and possibly Rove may be be fitted for striped suits soon has me wondering. Even if these scumbags end up seeing the inside of a jail cell it could very possibly be short lived. I have a sneaking suspicion that Dubya will perform a broad and sweeping pardon of his buddies before leaving office in January '09. Would it surprise you in the least?

Thursday funny

Thanks to Bren

Dixie Chicks slam Bush again

The Dixie Chicks are criticizing Dubya again, not to mention your average country music fan.

Natalie Maines, who once said she was ashamed to be from the same state as Bush, slammed him in this week's Time magazine.

"I don't feel he is owed any respect whatsoever," she said.

Martie Maguire, meanwhile, took a not-so-subtle shot at Top 40 country fans.

"I'd rather have a small following of really cool people who get it, who will grow with us as we grow and are fans for life, than people that have us in their five-disc changer with Reba McEntire and Toby Keith," Maguire said. "We don't want those kinds of fans. They limit what you can do."

Now I've never been much of a country fan other than having a soft spot in my heart for Willie Nelson. I do, however, plan to buy the new Chicks CD when it is released tomorrow. I feel a need to support artists who have the guts to stand up to this administration. I love Neil Young's new CD "Living With War" but it isn't too surprising that he would be critical of Dubya. When a country act goes againt the God, guns and beer crowd, that takes courage.

UPDATE: I purchased "Taking The Long Way" on Tuesday and I think it's excellent. The harmonies are simply beautiful and I get a kick out of "Not Ready To make Nice".


"Call connected through the NSA"

They Might Be Giants is offering up a few ringtones for purchase. One is entitled "Call connected thru the NSA", with lyrics as follows:
"Call connected through the NSA/Complete transmission through the NSA/Suspending your rights through the duration of the permanent war"
It is sung rather pleasantly and has some nice piano accompaniment with the lyrics. You might need to edit it because of the long silence at the end. I prefer my ringtones to make a more sustained sound.

Right click and choose Save Link As...

Excellent Jay Bookman column - AJC

U.S. loses grip on Iran
Jay Bookman - Staff
Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Bush administration is pursuing two primary goals in its policy toward Iran. It wants to stop Iran from building a nuclear weapon, and it also hopes to oust Iran's anti-American and repressive Islamic theocracy, replacing it with a government that is both more democratic and more friendly to American interests.

Both goals are worthy. Both are possible, at least in the longer term.

Sometimes, though, those two goals conflict. And when they do, the goal of stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons ought to be the absolute and unquestioned priority.

But it is not. Too often, in fact, the opposite seems true. Too often, the Bush administration has acted as if regime change in Iran were more important than preventing its acquisition of nuclear weapons, and those misplaced priorities have had serious consequences.

Like repressive regimes anywhere, the Iranian government is concerned first and foremost with its survival. That's in part why it is apparently so intent on acquiring nuclear weapons --- it sees nukes as the best possible security against U.S. efforts to remove it from power. There's unfortunate wisdom in that policy.

The Iranians look at Pakistan, which prior to Sept. 11 played a major role in supporting al-Qaida and the Taliban government in Afghanistan, and they note that Pakistan's government suffered no consequences for that behavior.

Then they look at Iraq, which played no role whatsoever in the attacks of Sept. 11, and they note that Saddam Hussein has been deposed by American force and will soon face execution.

Why the two different fates? Why the two very different approaches by the Bush administration?

Pakistan has the bomb. Iraq didn't.

So, in return for ending their nuclear programs, both Iran and North Korea have sought public assurances from the Bush administration that it will not attack those countries or seek to undermine their governments. It's hard to know whether they are sincere in those offers, because in both cases, the administration has refused to even discuss such a possibility.

In fact, the administration has refused to negotiate one on one with either Iran or North Korea, fearing that such discussions would confer legitimacy upon governments that it would prefer to erase altogether.

Over the weekend, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reiterated that position, calling Iran "a troublemaker in the international system, a central banker of terrorism."

"Security assurances are not on the table," she said.

It is true, as Rice noted, that Iran has a history of supporting terrorism. It is also true that North Korea's regime is unmitigated evil, easily the most inhumane and repressive government on the face of the Earth.

It is also true, however, that even Ronald Reagan negotiated arms reductions with "The Evil Empire" itself, the Soviet Union, as well as with Communist China. Reagan understood the wisdom of trying to avoid disaster in the short term, so that in the long term the historic expansion of democracy has time enough to play itself out.

But that lesson has been lost on his successors.

--- Jay Bookman, for the editorial board (jbookman@ajc.com)


Thanks to Brenda

Threats and Sanctions

A letter to the editor in the Bangkok Post yesterday raised some interesting points about the US and its often misguided attempts at foreign policy. Here's what a guy named William had to say about the US and its sanctions on Myanmar (Burma):

"So the United States of America, the lone remaining "superpower" and indisputably the most powerful nation in the history of the world, has renewed economic sanctions on Burma, including a total ban on exports from that small, impoverished, undeveloped, backward country with its many militant and divisive ethnic groups, because, (are you ready for this?) "it poses a threat to US national security and foreign policy".

Good grief. Soon they will be telling us that they (Burma) have WMDs hidden away in the jungle. It's about time that America carried out a thorough review of its foreign policies and concentrated more on helping the less fortunate in the world, instead of orientating their primary policies towards regime change every time they encounter a government not to their liking. Surely, making some effort to improve the lot of the common people before endeavouring to get rid of their government makes more sense, and in the end would be more effective than these sanctions, which primarily impact the already impoverished. "

And another thing. The US should get on board with the rest of the world (including the United Nations) and call the country by its proper name, the one it has used for the past two decades: Myanmar.


"Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy."

Former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen dies at 85

Dubya sez...

Dubya explaining why he doesn’t feel the need to watch Al Gore’s new film “An Inconvenient Truth“

“New technologies will change how we live and how we drive our cars, which all will have the beneficial effect of improving the environment, and in my judgment we need to set aside whether or not greenhouse gases have been caused by mankind or because of natural effects and focus on the technologies that will enable us to live better lives and at the same time protect the environment.”


Tell me again. Why did we go to Iraq?

Peter Daou catches Condi Rice not being candid with us on Meet the Press. I thought we went because Saddam's mushroom clouds would be painting our skies:

Condi then:
Citing Bush administration officials, The New York Times reported Sunday that Iraq tried to buy thousands of high-strength aluminum tubes.

The tubes, Rice said, "are only really suited for nuclear weapons programs, centrifuge programs. We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."

Condi now:
I understand that Americans see on their screens violence. They continue to see Americans killed, and we mourn every death. These are very hard things to do. But I would ask that people remember why we are there. We are there because we are trying to--having overthrown a brutal dictator who was a destabilizing force in the Middle East, we're trying to help the Iraqis create a stable foundation for democracy and a stable foundation for peace."

Which was it you nasty, lying bitch? Did we go to Iraq to stop Saddam from dropping a bomb on us or to spread democracy? You said "But I would ask that people remember why we are there." It's hard to remember when the story keeps changing.

Pearl Jam uses CC license for new video

Pearl Jam, who previously released free MP3s of their concerts, have shipped their latest video as a Creative Commons download. You have to hurry though because they plan to stop officially distributing the video on May 24 and move it behind a paywall - though the CC license would allow others to go on distributing the video for free.


Bad Democrat, go to your room!

Unlike wingnuts, I do not give crooked politicians a pass. The latest alleged scoundrel is Democratic Rep. William J. Jefferson of Louisiana. He is accused of accepting $100,000 in $100 bills from a Northern Virginia investor who was wearing an FBI wire. If he is proven to be guilty he should join his Republican bretheren in Federal Prison. Assuming that the ethics-challenged Republicans are actually convicted.

FBI Says Jefferson Was Filmed Taking Cash

Letter to the Editor - The Orlando Sentinel

With all the dialogue surrounding The Da Vinci Code, I'm dismayed that everyone is not just missing but ignoring the point. The real problem is that once you allow yourself to believe one story devoid of factual and historical evidence, you leave yourself open to believe just about anything. Religious leaders and the devout must know this, thus their outrage over Dan Brown's novel.

Despite continual attempts to place Jesus in history, Christian apologists always fail. There is no evidence Jesus even existed, much less that the stories of his life are true; and there is good evidence that Jesus is modeled on earlier dying/rising savior god myths.

Once you've accepted a story as true, and based your life, wealth and power on it, you'll do anything to hold onto it. This is what drives the outrage and fear of this new take on the Christian myth, and results in workshops and sermons to help the faithful convince themselves and others that their fiction is true while Brown's is not. The Gospel writers had just as much evidence for their story as Brown has for his -- none.

Dianna Narciso

Palm Bay

Quote of the day

"It's one thing to express your views. It's another thing for those views to be different from mine."
-Stephen Colbert

The Vent from the AJC

Bush is listening. Use big words!

Judicial activist: A pejorative term used to describe a judge who fails to rule the way the conservative right wants her to.

I’m wondering if all the alligator attacks in Florida signal some sort of a reptile dysfunction?

Could someone please send me the list of “activist judges”? I lost mine.

Mexico and other nations are condemning the United States for planning to put a fence on the border. That’s like condemning Wachovia for locking its doors to keep me from entering illegally and taking money that isn’t mine.

Can we just fast-forward to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s version of “The Da Vinci Code on Ice”?

I’ll take Bob Barr over Zell Miller any day. Barr didn’t sell out the people who elected him.

The CNN news reader asked her expert commentator, “Doesn’t the law of supply and demand say that if we demand more oil, then they have to supply it?” At least she was pretty.

It’s not about what we might want to hide; it’s about our right to privacy. This is just one more thing that the government is trying to do to us. I’m sure our forefathers would be shocked.

Next time the government is listening in on my phone line, I wish they would tell my teenagers to hang up because they’re using too many minutes.

When I asked my brother if he would quit his job if he won the lottery, he said, “No, but it wouldn’t take ‘em long to fire me!”

Is it ironic or unfortunate when a Jesus freak says “A lot of people are gullible?” Dontcha think?

Don’t you think if God really spoke to Pat Robertson he would have been more definite than “MAYBE a Tsunami will hit the coast of the United States”?

Wow, Bush looked like a real Dukakis in that border patrol dune buggy!

This is it until January '07

Bless Me, Brahma

Deluded religious zealots are not confined to Christians or Muslims. A story in today’s Bangkok Post newspaper confirms that many Buddhists are also off their rockers. Two months ago, a beloved Brahma statue at Bangkok’s famous Erawan Shrine was smashed to pieces by a man - said to be “mentally ill” – with a hammer. In retaliation, outraged observers took it upon themselves to beat the man to death. Yeah, who cares about the death of some poor crazy guy: don’t mess with our sacred shrine! The Ministry of Culture’s Fine Arts Department swiftly jumped into action to restore the statue. On Sunday a ceremony was held - at the “auspicious” time of 11:39 am – to unveil the refurbished icon.

According to newspaper reports:

Worshippers, many dressed in white to symbolize purity for the sacred rite, tried to touch the statue with banknotes and belongings such as wallets and handbags, in the hope of receiving the god's blessings. Other followers also expected the god to bring them luck, setting their hopes on the number 9331, the registration number of the leading vehicle which carried the statue to the shrine. They hope the number will bring them lottery prizes.

Lottery numbers and lucky blessings? It figures. Most of the local residents appear to be more into superstition than spirituality. Never mind that this Brahma statue is a Hindu deity, the Buddhist faithful worked themselves into an absolute frenzy trying to get a glimpse of the statue and fondle it. Such wacky behavior almost makes the Christians that immerse themselves in water and drive nails through their palms look sane. Almost.

The position of the shrine itself, located in front of the five-star Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel, has a rather curious history. The original shrine was built about fifty years ago to protect the hotel after a series of unfortunate incidents during its construction. According to prevailing superstition, the building’s foundation stone was laid on an inauspicious day, thus that situation needed to be corrected. Acting upon an astrologer’s suggestion, a four-headed Braham figure was erected. It is believed to offer protection to the hotel and bestow blessings upon believers. Hey, some people will believe anything.


Luckovich 05/19/2006

(with commentary)

Trust a man that denigrated nation building prior to being elected and then has led the country in to a futile nation building exercise in Iraq??

Trust a man that characterized the military as ‘Not ready to respond’ in 2000 because of the way the Clinton/Gore administration had wrecklessly stretched our armed services around the globe??

Trust a man that said ‘even with these tax cuts, we would still have trillions in surpluses??’

Trust a man that said anyone in his administration involved in the leaking of a covert CIA agant’s identity would be fired??

Trust a man that ‘sold’ the nation a war in Iraq on the notion that Iraq had operational ties to Al Qaeda, had aluminum tubes for enriching uranium, had mobile chemical weapons facilities, had remote-controlled drones for dispersing chemical weapons, etc., etc., etc??

Trust a man that said he was a ‘uniter, not a divider’ and subsequently alienated himself from his country;s citizens and the world??

Trust a man who promised to restore ‘honor and integrity’ to the office of the President but now trails behind his predecessor in every measure, including, who is more trustworthy??

Trust a man that promised transparency and proceeded to roll back/obstruct every attempt at oversight and even the FOIA??

Trust a man that promised that ‘humility’ would be a corenerstone of his foreign policy??

Trust ME, I could keep going.

This President has earned the world’s scorn, not their trust.


Friday funny


According to Dennis Hastert, You Don’t Pay Taxes

James E. Clyburn, Chairman of the Democratic Caucus today responded to asinine remarks delivered by Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert. Summing up Republican budget and tax priorities around midnight on May 18, 2006, Hastert made clear just how out of touch he is with working Americans by stating that people who earn $40,000 a year don’t pay taxes. His statement, "Well, folks, if you earn $40,000 a year and have a family of two, you don't pay any taxes. So you probably, if you don't pay any taxes, you are not going to get a big tax cut." Following is Clyburn’s statement:

"To this point, I have been baffled by Republican budget and tax priorities that value millionaires and billionaires above working families, and sink this nation’s budget deeper in debt every year. But Speaker Hastert crystallized GOP budget philosophy—working families don’t pay taxes and don’t deserve a tax cut.

"No statement has been more telling, arrogant and out of touch. Today’s narrow passage signals the need for change, because the Republican majority will stop at nothing to advance a fiscally reckless and immoral budget. Democrats offer an alternative that values working families, by balancing the budget by 2012; increases funding for homeland security and enacts all the 9/11 Commission's recommendations; values our first responders and invests in port and mass transit security; and fully supports veterans' health care and honors those who have bravely and selflessly served our nation."

Collateral damage

I often notice the “culture of life” hypocrisy because wingnuts are OK with collateral damage in warfare, and hell even warfare itself. Then they turn around and want to protect every fertilized egg as sacred. Jon Stewart of The Daily Show recently took the editor of the National Review, Ramesh Ponnuru, to task asking (and I paraphrase), "if collateral damage is OK to spread Democracy, then why isn’t collateral damage OK to cure Parkinson’s disease?" An EXCELLENT point INDEED! Please wingnuts, answer this, because your guru on The Daily Show kind of had a deer in the headlights look about him on that one.

Friday Bush Monkey Neanderthal blogging

It's been very busy week at work and at home. Sorry for not keeping up. The kids will be out of school after next week so there are lots of loose ends to tie up.

Many thanks to Bangkok Bertha for posting and to Tom for responding to our newest wingnut, koalabear.

Da Vinci Code does Bangkok

The big news this week in Bangkok was local Christian groups that wanted the Thai government to ban screenings of “The Da Vinci Code” film. It looked as if the government censors were going to either hack off the final 10 minutes of the film or succumb to the demands of the Christian crazies and ban it altogether. But a compromise was worked out and now the film will be shown in its entirety, although with a disclaimer and “warning message” to viewers stressing that the film is purely fiction.

It amazes me when religious groups - of any stripe - get up in arms about what they perceive as attacks on their faith. I thought I had left the land of religious nuts when I moved to Thailand from the United States. Like me, many of the westerners living in Bangkok moved here to escape the myopic mentality of the “In God We Trust” lemmings in their native country. And yet we find that even here in mostly Buddhist Thailand there is a small group of Christian fanatics - and native Thais at that – who want to impose their religious beliefs on the rest of us. Crawl away and go pray somewhere, why don’t you?

Besides Thailand, several other countries in Southeast Asia have experienced a “Da Vinci Code” backlash. But in the midst of all this hysteria about a silly Hollywood movie, an official with the Malaysian Council of Churches seems to have the proper perspective. In a news report this week Bishop Lim Cheng Ean said:

“If Christians know their faith, they will be strong enough. We can leave it to their discretion as to whether they would rather watch the movie or not. That is their free choice.”

Exactly. It’s nice to see a sane opinion from a Christian after so much over-reaction to the film’s showing.


Friday Bush Monkey blogging


Electronic voting machines aren't secure!
CHICAGO, May 11 — With primary election dates fast approaching in many states, officials in Pennsylvania and California issued urgent directives in recent days about a potential security risk in their Diebold Election Systems touch-screen voting machines, while other states with similar equipment hurried to assess the seriousness of the problem.

“It’s the most severe security flaw ever discovered in a voting system,” said Michael I. Shamos, a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University who is an examiner of electronic voting systems for Pennsylvania, where the primary is to take place on Tuesday.

Officials from Diebold and from elections’ offices in numerous states minimized the significance of the risk and emphasized that there were no signs that any touch-screen machines had been tampered with. But computer scientists said the problem might allow someone to tamper with a machine’s software, some saying they preferred not to discuss the flaw at all for fear of offering a roadmap to a hacker.

Just so you know

I tried to see things from a conservative's point of view but I couldn't get my head that far up my ass.


This is just lovely


SOME 200,000 guns the US sent to Iraqi security forces may have been smuggled to terrorists, it was feared yesterday.

The 99-tonne cache of AK47s was to have been secretly flown out from a US base in Bosnia. But the four planeloads of arms have vanished.

Orders for the deal to go ahead were given by the US Department of Defense. But the work was contracted out via a complex web of private arms traders.


Uncomfortable in his constitutional skin

Well, first of all this President's theory of his power I think is now so extreme that it's unprecedented. He believes that he has the inherent authority to violate federal law. He has said that. Not just the signing statements and the infamous torture memo-that Alberto Gonzales signed. It was stated that he could in some circumstances order federal officials to violate federal law and this is consistent across the board with this President. Frankly, I'm not too sure what he thought he was swearing to when he took the oath of office to uphold the Constitution and our laws. I've never seen a President who is so uncomfortable in his constitutional skin.
-Jonathan Turley - an expert in Constitutional law

Turley regularly appears on FOX News, where they treat him with respect so for all the wingnuts that will certainly call him a moonbat-please think again.

Angry liberal guy rant

A couple of years ago, C.B. Shapiro wrote a terrific proposal to allow the red states to secede from the blue states. He's back again with a new piece, titled "Hark, the Angry Liberal Sings."
There’s been some ink spilled lately denigrating so called ‘angry liberals,’ that is, people who have allegedly lost their right to be taken seriously because they are ‘angry.’ And they are ‘liberal.’

Well, I hereby declare myself a charter member in the ALC (Angry Liberal Club).

Sure, at first I felt guilty -- what right do I have as a patriotic American to be angry? Or liberal? Oh, I tried to repress the ‘angry thing,’ I tried -- if I was asked, I claimed I was a ‘peeved moderate.’ Or a ‘mildly upset centrist.’ But after much work through ‘BIT’ (Blog Immersion Therapy), I stopped feeling the shame. I’m coming out of the closet to announce I am an Angry Liberal Guy. And I am pissed.

You might be saying “Man, what are you so angry about, Angry Liberal Guy?”

I’ve compiled a short (and by no means complete) list just so I could see it all in one place:

I’m angry about the shredding of the constitution…illegal wiretaps…falsified intelligence…secret prisons… use of torture as an accepted means of interrogation…Terry Schiavo…the war on science…denial of Global Warming…the fascistic secrecy of our elected officials… presidential signings that declare the President above the law…the breakdown of the wall between church and state…the outing of a clandestine CIA agent for purely partisan political gain…the corrupting influence of K Street… the total sell-out of the legislative process to corporate interests… appointments of unqualified cronies at every level of government…Harriet Miers…Brownie…Abu Ghraib… Scooter …the complete mismanagement of the war in Iraq…the lies about the complete mismanagement of the war in Iraq…the grotesque budget deficits… the pathetic response to Katrina… a civil rights division dedicated to undermining civil rights…an environmental protection agency that refuses to protect the environment… (Take a breath, Angry Liberal Guy.)

And I’m angry about a smug, simple-minded, incompetent, unqualified President, and a press that denies the obvious fact that we have a smug, simple-minded, incompetent unqualified President.

If these things don’t make you angry, I have to ask -- what the hell is the matter with you?

And what would it take to make you angry? -- C.B. Shapiro

Alice Cooper - Generation Landslide

Another ingenious video from YouTube. This time it's Alice Cooper's Generation Landslide dubbed over old war toy commercials among other things.

(Click image)


How to Be a Lobbyist Without Trying

This hilariously frightening article tells the tale of a journalist posing to be a lobbyist for a fake foreign conglomerate, only to be welcomed into the fold:
The schmoozefest was on. There were about fifty people present, all in suits and all with name tags representing everyone from the NRA to Motorola to the White House; they all started furiously shaking one another's hands and gaping at one another's name tags, like dogs sniffing each other in a Central Park run.
Via Rolling Stone

Dear Mr. President by Pink

I've never paid too much attention to Pink but this song is excellent. I just may have to take another look at her stuff.

Watch Dear Mr. President via YouTube

Interesting column by James Lileks

Republicans, Democrats trade places
James Lileks - Newhouse News Service
Wednesday, May 10, 2006

If the economy continues to percolate nicely, it will be due to increased drywall sales: Experts predict a continued increase in the number of Republican voters banging their heads into walls, trying to wake from this nightmare.

It's not the president's poll numbers --- that could be fixed by impeachment. (Worked for Clinton.) It's not the staff shake-up --- new blood's fine, but nobody in Peoria is switching parties because Scott McClellan got the gentle boot. It's not even the Iraq war, the prospect of war with Iran or the prospect of no war with Iran. It's Congress.

In short, the Republican base wants to know: Where's all this partisan extremism we were promised?


Quote of the day

“People seldom do what they believe in. They do what is convenient, then repent.”
-Bob Dylan

Yeah! We're number 10!

United Press International

The United States has one of the highest rates of infant mortality in the industrialized world…

Of the 125 countries listed, Sweden ranked first, or safest, followed by Denmark, Finland, Austria, Germany, Norway, Australia, Netherlands, Canada, United States and Britain.

10th?? The US ranks TENTH?? The US health care system gets a double star. It’s the most expensive in the world, by far… and in the developed world, it sucks the most.

What do Richard Nixon and Hillary Clinton have in common? They both backed nationalized, single pay health care systems. And they both were right.

Extended tax cuts in spite of dismal poll numbers

The Washington Post leads with House and Senate Republican leaders settling on a $70 billion package to extend tax cuts, primarily adding another two years to the tax cut on capital gains.

The New York Times leads with a poll showing Dubya's approval rating down to 31 percent, the same number USA Today had a few days ago (though the Times doesn't deign to mention outside polls). Seventy percent of respondents in the NYT's poll said the country is heading in the wrong direction, the worst numbers on that question since the Times began asking 23 years ago.

It's truly amazing to me that no matter how much water fills the ship Dubya still thinks it's smooth sailing and is more determined than ever to "stay the course".


Caption this

That's Our Dubya!

Jon Stewart just showed clips of Bush endorsing a new CIA Director:

"He's the right man to lead this important agency during this critical time in our nation's history"
-Dubya's ringing endorsement of Porter Goss for CIA Director

"He's the right man to lead this important agency during this critical time in our nation's history"
-Dubya's ringing endorsement of Michael Hayden for CIA Director

I swear the man has no brain!

NIN to Mars

Very cool computer animated video of the Mars Pathfinder probe set to Nine Inch Nails music

(click image to view video)

Download Sunspots

Ann Telnaes 05/08/2006

Don't throw stones

Have you heard the big news? Patrick Kennedy, a member of one of America's most powerful political dynasties, was allegedly caught drinking and driving! Even worse, it looks like he might have received special treatment from the authorities because of his family connections!

I agree that driving under the influence of mind altering substances is a terrible thing but it seems that wingnuts live in glass houses on this one.

Statistical ammo...

..to use against the next wingnut you hear saying that unemployment is down.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics payroll jobs report released May 5 says the economy created 131,000 private sector jobs in April. Construction added 10,000 jobs, natural resources, mining and logging added 8,000 jobs, and manufacturing added 19,000. Despite this unusual gain, the economy has 10,000 fewer manufacturing jobs than a year ago.

Most of the April job gain –72%–is in domestic services, with education and health services (primarily health care and social assistance) and waitresses and bartenders accounting for 55,000 jobs or 42% of the total job gain. Financial activities added 26,000 jobs and professional and business services added 28,000. Retail trade lost 36,000 jobs.

Kiss der fuhrer's boots if you want that contract

The Dallas Business Journal has a helluva story today about how Dubya’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Alphonso Jackson, is now openly denying government contracts to anyone who does not like his boss.

Here is the excerpt:
“Once the color barrier has been broken, minority contractors seeking government work may need to overcome the Bush barrier. That’s the message U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson seemed to send during an April 28 talk in Dallas. Jackson, a former president and CEO of the Dallas Housing Authority, was among the featured speakers at a forum sponsored by the Real Estate Executive Council, a national minority real estate consortium. After discussing the huge strides the agency has made in doing business with minority-owned companies, Jackson closed with a cautionary tale, relaying a conversation he had with a prospective advertising contractor. ‘He had made every effort to get a contract with HUD for 10 years,’ Jackson said of the prospective contractor. ‘He made a heck of a proposal and was on the (General Services Administration) list, so we selected him. He came to see me and thank me for selecting him. Then he said something … he said, ‘I have a problem with your president.’ ‘I said, ‘What do you mean?’ He said, ‘I don’t like President Bush.’ I thought to myself, ‘Brother, you have a disconnect — the president is elected, I was selected. You wouldn’t be getting the contract unless I was sitting here. If you have a problem with the president, don’t tell the secretary. He didn’t get the contract,’ Jackson continued. ‘Why should I reward someone who doesn’t like the president?’”
This is unbelievable. If memory serves, this country has a First Amendment, no matter how hard Dubya and his minions have tried to crush it. It seems to me that federal contracts were never supposed to be denied to people based on their political beliefs. But, then, this is the Bush era - an era where obeying laws is selective and ethics are but a memory.


"What was your best moment as president?"

"I think the best time was probably dealing with the Middle East issue at Camp David and even better I think was the peace treaty that came along six months later. I made a very difficult decision over the almost unanimous opposition of my cabinet and my staff to take the initiative and to go to Egypt and to go to Israel to try to get Begin and Sadat to agree on a peace treaty. And when they did sign, both of them signed the agreement, I guess that was probably my best moment."
-Jimmy Carter


"So many things have happened here at home that have been important to me; passing economic plan, passing the Brady Bill and assault weapons ban, so many things have happened internationally, the role that I was fortunate to be able to play in the peace process in the Middle East and in Northern Ireland, but this could have the biggest long-term positive consequences if we do it right. But frankly, I hadn't, you know -- Sometimes people say "do you feel vindicated?" The answer is no. I think America has been vindicated. I think what we stand for has been vindicated. But keep in mind that there have been times in the past where people win a conflict and then squander the peace. So a lot of our work is still ahead of us. We've gotta get the people home, get the land mines up, work out the details of who is involved in the peacekeeping mission. We have to get this -- We've got to organize police forces and civil government for the Kosovars. And then the really big thing over the long-run, our European friends want to take the lead in this but we ought to help them, we've got to get the World Bank and all these other people involved in a development plan for the Balkans that involves not just Kosovo, but Macedonia, Albania, Bulgaria, Romania, and I hope someday Serbia if they have a government that respects freedom and democracy and human rights. So that these people have something pulling them together instead of these ancient ethnic troubles pulling them apart.

Now if we get all that done, it might be perhaps the most satisfying thing because it might prove that people can lay down their hatreds of people who are different. You know, I basically think free people will figure out a way to make the most of their lives and work out their problems if they can get the rules of engagement right. That's why I gave somewhat of an extended answer to what you said about the Republicans. Because, I think, you know, differences are good. Nobody's got the whole truth. But you gotta get the rules of engagement right. And I think what we did in Kosovo was profoundly important."
-Bill Clinton


"You know, I've experienced many great moments and it's hard to name the best. I would say the best moment of all was when I caught a 7.5 pound perch in my lake."


Friday funny

If you ever testify in court, you might wish you could have been as sharp as this police officer. He was being cross-examined by a defense attorney during a felony trial. The lawyer was trying to undermine the policeman's credibility...

Q: "Officer -- did you see my client fleeing the scene?"

A: "No sir. But I subsequently observed a person matching the description of the offender, running several blocks away."

Q: "Officer -- who provided this description?"

A: "The officer who responded to the scene."

Q: "A fellow officer provided the description of this so-called offender. Do you trust your fellow officers?"

A: "Yes, sir. With my life."

Q: "With your life? Let me ask you this then officer. Do you have a room where you change your clothes in preparation for your daily duties?"

A: "Yes sir, we do!"

Q: "And do you have a locker in the room?"

A: "Yes sir, I do."

Q: "And do you have a lock on your locker?"

A: "Yes sir."

Q: "Now why is it, officer, if you trust your fellow officers with your life, you find it necessary to lock your locker in a room you share with these same officers?"

A: "You see, sir -- we share the building with the court complex, and sometimes lawyers have been known to walk through that room."

The courtroom erupted in laughter, and a prompt recess was called. The officer on the stand has been nominated for this year's "Best Comeback" line -- and we think he'll win.

Thanks to Brenda!

Policy and health

So Brits are healthier than Americans? Who knew that living in a semi-socialist society with universal health care, solid social security and liberating freedom-from-religion could actually lower stress, disease and death rates?


May 4, 1970

Mary Ann Vecchio gestures and screams as she kneels by the body of fellow student Jeffrey Miller, lying face down on the campus of Kent State University in Kent, Ohio on May 4, 1970. Photo by John Filo for the Associated Press.


Quote of the day

Republicans and Democrats alike fail to see the real issue that causes and perpetuates illegal aliens entering our country. The hispanic Mayor of Denver gets it.
"So today let us ask of our leaders in Washington to listen carefully: we want an effective immigration system. We want Congress to penalize the employer whose addiction to low-cost labor draws immigrants to come and work in our country. We want CEOs to verify that they hire employees legally and if they fail, they should receive harsh penalties. We want Congress to recognize the obvious: it is the demand for immigrant labor that is the issue, not the supply."

-Denver Mayor Federico Peña


The picture speaks for itself...

I think that with good old "Ameican know-how" we can figure out how to wrap meat, cheese and vegetables into a tortilla.

We are a lazy nation

By now most of you know my feelings concerning illegal aliens in our country. If you filled out the paperwork and came here legally, we welcome you with open arms. If you snuck across our border and we have no idea what crimes you've commited, the state of your health, etc. then stay the hell away.

That said, I must admit that the shear number of protesters on Monday coupled by their passion for something they believe in made me proud of them and sad that Americans can't do the same. We didn't get that worked up over much more important issues such as invading Iraq and the numerous missteps and outright illegal acts perpeptrated by the Bush administration on a seemingly daily basis.

I envy the Mexican spirit and wish the American spirit was nearly as passionate about issues that we claim are important to us.

Truer words were never spoken

"The greatest thing about this man is he's steady. You know where he stands. He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday."
-Stephen Colbert speaking about Dubya at the White House Correspondents dinner

How to exercise an open mind

Via WikiHow

Looney Republican at it again

Sen Stevens tries to sneak the Broadcast Flag into law

Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), of "The Bridge to Nowhere" fame, has snuck the Broadcast Flag into a bill on Net Neutrality. The stealth clause authorizes "the FCC to establish a broadcast flag to allow TV stations to protect digital content from Internet piracy."

What this means is that Stevens is trying to pass a law that will allow broadcasters - who enjoy free use of billions of dollars' worth of public airwaves - to veto any features of digital televisions and downstream devices. Ultimately, that means that the FCC would, on behalf of broadcasters, get control over the design of video recorders, optical drives, network interfaces, hard disks, computers and operating systems. A brief far more sweeping than the FCC has ever had before, making them into America's "device czars," charged with ensuring that the business models of the broadcasters and Hollywood studios won't be disrupted by technology.

One element of the broadcast flag proposal is that is prohibits the use of free and open source software in digital TV applications (including PC operating systems, video drivers, etc). That's because the Broadcast Flag requires that devices be built to be "robust" -- that is, to resist the attempts of their owners to modify or improve on them. This is like Senator Stevens trying to pass a law requiring the hood of every car to be welded shut when it leaves the factory, to make sure that no driver ever gets to change his own oil.

via IPAC

Luckovich 05/02/2006