Freedom of Speech is Dead

The British pop star known as Morrissey says that agents from the FBI and Britain's Special Branch picked him up recently for questioning after he labeled President Bush a "terrorist" in an interview.

"They were trying to determine if I was a threat to the government, and similarly in England," Morrissey told Sky News. "But it didn't take them very long to realize that I'm not."

Morrissey, who was the lead singer for the Smiths (the popular 1980s band whose albums include Meat is Murder and The Queen is Dead), said he was surprised to be interrogated by the authorities. He insists that he does not belong to any political group and doesn't "say anything unless I'm asked directly, and I don't even demonstrate in public."

Morrissey feels that his experience with the goon squads proves that freedom of speech is an illusion. "My view is that neither England or America are democratic societies," he said. "You can't really speak your mind, and if you do you're investigated."


When is enough enough?

British memos now prove that Bush not only planned to invade Iraq no matter what, but suggested putting up a US spy plane in UN colors, hoping to get it shot down, just to provoke the mess we got into anyway. I can't believe there are still sentient beings still making apologies for this man?

Seriously. Where's the line? Never mind Guantanamo, torture, NSA spying, yellowcake uranium lies, ignoring the briefing warning about Bin Laden, the misuse of classified info to attack opponents, the Katrina clusterfuck, deficits of unprecedented proportion, scribbling notes in the margins of laws so the king can decide which parts he will and will not obey -- never mind all that.

Clear and provable willingness to start a war on the basis of pure lies? That's not enough?

Bush Was Set on Path to War, British Memo Says


Investing in education another Neil Bush folly

It turns out that Barbara Bush's donation to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund is going straight to Ignite!, an educational software company owned by Neil Bush, the current administration's very own "Billy Carter/Roger Clinton" type character. (You may remember Neil as the fellow who headed Silverado Savings & Loan in the 80s. When the bank failed under his watch, he walked away with a mere sanction while taxpayers were forced to clean up his mess by forking over a $1 billion bailout.)

In his Talking Points Memo, Joshua Micah Marshall says Ignite! makes its money by jetting Neil to exotic locales, where he visits "international statesmen, bigwigs and criminals who want to 'invest' in Ignite! as a way to curry favor with the brother in the White House."
(Bush's international influence-peddling jaunts have also proven to be a great way for him to get laid, according to CNN:

[Bush] admitted in the deposition that he previously had sex with several other women while on trips to Thailand and Hong Kong at least five years ago.

The women, he said, simply knocked on the door of his hotel room, entered and had sex with him. He said he did not know if they were prostitutes because they never asked for money and he did not pay them.

"Mr. Bush, you have to admit it's a pretty remarkable thing for a man just to go to a hotel room door and open it and have a woman standing there and have sex with her," Brown said.

"It was very unusual," Bush said.)
It turns out that lots of people besides Barbara Bush believe in her energetic young man: the rich kids of China's rulers, the United Arab Emirates, and Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky (who has been accused of trying to overthrow Putin's government to help his company) are all eager investors in Ignite!. Now, who's to say that the individuals in this rogues' gallery are only interested in getting the president to think kindly of them? Perhaps they truly want to help children learn.



Things are just peachy in Iraq

There IS a pattern

This article makes so much sense. I wonder why I never saw it before.
Whiny children, claims a new study, tend to grow up rigid and traditional. Future liberals, on the other hand ...
How to spot a baby conservative


A Celebration of Faith and Heritage?

New York City celebrated another St. Patrick’s Day with a big parade this week, and once again the occasion highlighted just how stupid some people boasting Irish blood can be. Even though most of the participants have never set foot in Ireland they seem to think their Irish heritage is a mighty thing; untainted by any racial impurities, and certainly nothing “queer.”

But that, of course, is sheer nonsense. Homosexuality abounds in all cultures and races, and if the Irish think they are immune to such things, then they are a seriously misguided lot. But for the past 15 years, organizers of the famous St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York City have kept their heads buried in the sand, barring Irish Gay and Lesbian groups from participating in their public display or "Irishness."

The big issue in this year’s parade was whether or not to allow a City Council member - who also happens to be a lesbian - to wear some sort of “Gay Pride” button or sash when she marched with the other "normal" council members in the parade. Her request was refused by parade chairman John Dunleavy.

"Today is St. Patrick's Day. We celebrate our faith and heritage. Everything else is secondary," said Dunleavy. "If an Israeli group wants to march in New York, do you allow Neo-Nazis into their parade? If African Americans are marching in Harlem, do they have to let the Ku Klux Klan into their parade? “

If that warped “logic” wasn’t enough to display his cro-mag credentials, Dunleavy had more to say: “If we let the ILGO (Irish Lesbian & Gay Organization) in, is it the Irish Prostitute Association next?”

What is it with this tactic of besmirching someone’s reputation by associating them with prostitutes? Prostitution is an old and noble profession. The world would be a far better place if there were more prostitutes and less soldiers and politicians. Not to mention, less bigoted Irish fellows.


Steve Earle on Bush

Singer-songwriter Steve Earle, besides being a consistently excellent recording artist, is one of the more outspoken members in the music industry. His political views are decidedly liberal and he pulls no punches in detailing his disgust with the policies and actions of George W. Bush. In one recent interview he had this to say:

"There’s not a single move that this administration has made that’s done anything but make it more dangerous to be an American anywhere in the world. "


The Sex Police are Watching !

"I always wanted to make people see that sexual freedom is actually one of the ultimate tests of a real democracy: Do you have the nerve, the courage, to let people educate themselves, make their own decisions about their sex lives? Or are you going to take the mommy-and-daddy-know-best position, where [the government] gets to look at everything, prescreen and then decide what everybody else is going to do?"

Author and "Sex Advice" Columnist Susie Bright


Friday funny

President George W. Bush was scheduled to visit a United Methodist Church outside of Washington D.C. where the Bishop was scheduled to preach. Bush's campaign manager made a visit to the Bishop, and said to him "We've been getting a lot of bad publicity among Methodists because of Bush's position on Social Security and other issues. We'd gladly make a contribution to the church of $100,000 if during your sermon you'd say the President is a saint."

The Bishop thought it over for a few moments and finally says, "The Church is in desperate need of funds so I will agree to do it."

Bush pompously shows up looking especially smug As the sermon progresses the Bishop continues: "George W. Bush is a petty, self-absorbed hypocrite and a nitwit. He is a liar, a cheat, and a low-intelligence weasel. He steals elections. He politicizes science. He lies about his military record; and has the gall to put himself in a jet plane landing on a carrier posing before a banner stating 'Mission Accomplished' after an unlawful and immoral war on Iraq.

He invaded a country for oil and profits, and continues to lie to the American people about why we are there and 'must stay the course'. He continues to blur the line between church and state. Cronyism and corruption are rampant in his administration. All in all, he is the worst example of a Methodist I've ever personally known. But compared to Dick Cheney and the rest of his cabinet, George W. Bush is a saint."

Thanks to Brenda!


Council for National Policy - The new Taliban

Some very scary shit via Daily Kos

Who would have thought?

Remember when Dubya was running for re-selection and promised they wouldn’t do this? Well, he lied. I know - I was as shocked as you are.
About 13,000 packages of prescription drugs — most ordered by U.S. seniors from licensed Canadian pharmacies — have been held up by U.S. Customs and Border Protection since November, according to figures released Wednesday by a Florida senator.

The largest number of packages, more than 4,000, have been stopped at the international mail center near Los Angeles International Airport, according to statistics that the office of Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) said it had obtained from a customs administrator. Drugs also were seized at centers in Chicago, Miami and New York.

The customs crackdown in effect reverses a long-standing policy of the Food and Drug Administration to allow individuals to receive medications for personal use from reputable Canadian pharmacies, even though it is illegal to order drugs from abroad.

Thursday funny

This one made me laugh out loud when I read it last night. skippy the bush kangaroo has a new name for Dubya. It's Smirky McHitlerburton. It's quite a tongue twister.

Faith Hill, Tim McGraw Blast 'Humiliating' Katrina Cleanup

I wonder if they'll face the same ridicule that was heaped on the Dixie Chicks when they dared to express their embarrassment at hailing from the same state as our Dumbass in Chief.

Read all about it here.

Republicans are revolting

in every sense of the word

I can't help but think that congressional Republicans are standing up to Bush on the Dubai ports deal in hopes that they'll have something - anything to run on this year. If they really want to get my attention they should stand up to him on the FISA/illegal wiretapping issue. But no. They chose to sit that one out. In my mind that issue is much bigger than the Dubai ports deal.


Wal-Mart, activist fight over T-shirts

Stephen King - CELL

King rings up a whole new kind of horror

Cell, King's latest tale of a world gone wrong, is for anyone who has ever enjoyed his work or the work of George Romero. It is a gratifying tribute to Romero, the crown prince of zombie movies, to whom King, in part, dedicates the book.

On a seemingly typical afternoon, anyone who is talking on a cellphone becomes a victim of "The Pulse." This worldwide act of terrorism turns cellphone users into zombie-like, bloodthirsty "phone-crazies." Crazies kill other crazies as well as normal folk (i.e.: people who don't use cellphones or at least weren't on their phones when The Pulse struck). Children kill their parents. Husbands kill their wives. Man bites dog, etc. There seems to be no rhyme or reason — or is there?

The story is told mostly from the perspective of a small "cell" of unaffected people who happen to meet during the insanity that unfolds. Near the beginning of Cell, a Boston police officer compares the phone crazies to Night of the Living Dead "except these people aren't dead." In another scene, Alice, the teenage heroine says, "To me it looks like a special effect in some big summer movie."

I've always been a King fan as well as a fan of Romero's zombie flicks. I find this to be one of King's best efforts yet. The "fun" begins within the first few pages and then you'd better just hang on for the ride. It's a page turner that has kept me up well past my bedtime for the last couple of nights.

I have no doubt that it will be a movie one day and will probably be done by Romero. I'll be one of the first in line at the theater.

The Spirit of Kirby Puckett

Kirby Puckett died yesterday. If you weren’t a baseball fan, or someone that followed American sports, that news may not mean much to you. But Kirby Puckett was special; one of the most beloved baseball players of his generation.

Truly, it’s hard to imagine a player that was more liked than Kirby was during a playing career that spanned from 1984 until 1995. He played that entire time for the Minnesota Twins, becoming without a doubt their most popular player ever. If Kirby had played in a larger media market such as New York or Los Angeles, he would have been king of that city as well. No matter where he played, everybody liked and respected the man.

Kirby Puckett was a top-notch player that made the all-star team ten consecutive times. It’s likely that he would have kept playing at that high caliber for several more years had glaucoma not forced him into early retirement at the age of 35. Only five-foot eight-inches tall, and shaped more like a bowling ball with the legs than a typically svelte athlete, Kirby defied all sorts of odds to become a Hall of Fame player. Growing up in a desperately poor south Chicago ghetto certainly gave him incentive to find a way out. And for him, professional baseball was that ticket. As great a player as Kirby Puckett became, his massive popularity stemmed more from how he played the game and communicated with his fans. The man always had a smile on his face and a playful way of conversing with people. And when he was on the field he played each game with a zeal and intensity that made most other players look like wax dummies. Win or lose, Kirby radiated a positive vibe and had an effervescent nature that baseball fans embraced.

Perhaps Kirby Puckett is best remembered for his outstanding performance in Game 6 of the 1991 World Series against Atlanta. Kirby made an awesome catch, leaping high against the center field fence in the third inning to rob Ron Gant of a home run. After that Kirby drove in a few runs of his own and then later popped the game-ending home run in the eleventh inning. That win forced a seventh game, the famous ten-inning 1-0 duel in which Jack Morris outlasted Atlanta’s John Smoltz to give Minnesota the World Series championship. I was at those two amazing games, sitting in the right field seats of the Metrodome in Minneapolis with my friends Jay and Sam. That building was rocking and reeling those two nights; reverberating with the ecstatic whoops of Twins fans. And when Kirby hit that home run to win game six, the triumphant noise from the crowd was absolutely deafening. Without a doubt, that was my most memorable moment as a sports fan.

Like his playing career, the life of Kirby Puckett was much too short. He died at the age of 45. As I was reading the many online tributes and remembrances to Kirby yesterday, I couldn’t help shedding a few tears. The man truly was an inspiration to millions of people, athletes and non-athletes alike.

There will be a memorial service for Kirby Puckett this Sunday at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. Admission is free. There will be lots of tears and lots of smiles, and you can be sure of one more thing: the joint will be jumping again, fueled by the spirit of the one and only Kirby Puckett.


Who said it?

All of these quotes are attributed to the same person. Without cheating can you guess who?

"I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so."

"Secular schools can never be tolerated because such a school has no religious instruction and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith . . . We need believing people."

"The National Government will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation has been built. It regards Christianity as the foundation of our national morality, and the family as the basis of national life."

"I am convinced that I am acting as the agent of our Almighty Creator. By fighting the (removed), I am doing the Lord's work."


Snip from an email sent by an anonymous US Marine to Wonkette:

Unfortunately anonomizers don't work out here (never have). Anyway, I had a few minutes today and thought I'd look and see what else was banned on the Marine web here. I think the results speak for themselves:
* Wonkette – “Forbidden, this page (http://www.wonkette.com/) is categorized as: Forum/Bulletin Boards, Politics/Opinion.”
* Bill O’Reilly (www.billoreilly.com) – OK
* Air America (www.airamericaradio.com) – “Forbidden, this page (http://www.airamericaradio.com/) is categorized as: Internet Radio/TV, Politics/Opinion.”
* Rush Limbaugh (www.rushlimbaugh.com) – OK
* ABC News “The Note” – OK
* Website of the Al Franken Show (www.alfrankenshow.com) – “Forbidden, this page (http://www.airamericaradio.com/) is categorized as: Internet Radio/TV, Politics/Opinion.”
* G. Gordon Liddy Show (www.liddyshow.us) – OK
* Don & Mike Show (www.donandmikewebsite.com) – “Forbidden, this page (http://www.donandmikewebsite.com/) is categorized as: Profanity, Entertainment/Recreation/Hobbies.”


Ted Rall almost ready to sue Ann Coulter for libel

Cartoonist, radio host and columnist, Ted Rall, and his lawyers will determine later this week whether they have received sufficient pledges to pursue a libel and slander case against Ann Coulter for her statement, first issued verbally at the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) meeting in Washington on February 10, where she falsely said that Rall had submitted cartoons to Iran's anti-Holocaust cartoon contest, a claim that she repeated in her nationally syndicated column on February 15.

Rall has not entered, nor does he intend to enter, this contest.

Coulter and her fellow conservatives frequently use this tactic. Rather than express an opinion ("The Iran cartoon contest is just the sort of thing you'd expect Ted Rall to enter!") they up the ante to actual libel and slander by saying that it's actually true. It's a vile, illegal tactic--but unless someone challenges it in court, it will continue to be deployed against patriotic liberals, Democrats and political progressives of all stripes. After all, these are the same people who smeared war hero Max Cleland as a coward. And it works--mainly because Democrats don't fight back.

Ted is willing to wage this fight. At this point he is very optimistic that it will happen. Current pledges total over $21,000. I pledged a modest sum but every bit helps.

Please send Ted an email at chet@rall.com with your pledge amount. If we don't fight the fight Coulter will get off the hook--again.

Monday Funny

I was over at Harry's Farmer's Market (owned by Whole Foods) buying my lunch of vegetable samosas and a Green Machine drink when I spotted a magazine at the checkout. It was an issue of BARk. It's obviously about dogs as there was a beautiful border collie on the cover. That and the fact that the magazine is called BARk. Then I saw the magazine's official slogan.


I'm glad I wasn't drinking my Green Machine yet. There would have been a cleanup at register 10.

True to form - if the GOP can't win they'll cheat

Bill Frist has decided if the GOP can't win on the merits, then they'll cheat. Frist threatened Harry Reid, in a letter delivered late on Friday, that he would change the composition of the Intelligence Committee unless they rubber stamped the Bush Administration's repeated illegal activity.

I suppose Frist was hoping reporters would miss his smarmy threat of cheating if he dumped it in the late Friday news cycle...too bad for him.
Frist specifically threatened that if the Committee holds NSA hearings, he will fundamentally change the 30-year-old structure and operation of the Senate Intelligence Committee so as to make it like every other Committee, i.e., controlled and dominated by Republicans to advance and rubber-stamp the White House’s agenda rather than exercise meaningful and nonpartisan oversight.

Yet again, Republicans are threatening to radically change long-standing rules for how our government operates all because they cannot manipulate the result they want. From redistricting games to changing the filibuster rules, when Republicans are incapable (even with their majorities) of manipulating the political result they want, they use their majority status to change how our government works in order to ensure the desired political outcome.

While Frist’s threat here is, in one sense, of a piece with those tactics, it is actually quite extraordinary and motivated by a particularly corrupt objective. The whole purpose of the Senate Intelligence Committee – the only reason why it exists – is to exercise oversight over controversial intelligence activities. Whatever else one might want to say about the NSA warrantless eavesdropping program, it is controversial on every front. There is no conceivable rationale for the Intelligence Committee not to hold hearings.
This truly is an unprecedented move: the Senate Majority Leader is threatening to make the Intelligence Committee a political rubber stamp because the White House and the Republican leadership are so terrified that the Dubya's actions won't withstand scrutiny and will be found illegal by the Committee.

Dubya sez...

"I believe that a prosperous, democratic Pakistan will be a steadfast
partner for America, a peaceful neighbor for India, and a force for freedom and moderation in the Arab world."
—George W. Bush, mistakenly identifying Pakistan as an Arab country, Islamabad, Pakistan, March 3, 2006

Doonesbury skewers creationism/intelligent design

Today's Doonesbury strip totally nails the fallacy of the creationists whose "intelligent design" mantra is "teach the controversy."

See the whole strip via Slate

Chew, Don't Speak

Ma Thenegi is a native of Myanmar who has led an interesting life. She has worked as a painter and a journalist, and now edits a travel magazine called Enchanting Myanmar. She was also a former assistant to Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, who is currently under house arreest in Myanmar. Ma Thenegi herself spent three years in prison for her involvement in that country's 1988 political protests. She now lives in Yangon.

Her travel book, The Native Tourist: a Holiday Pilgrimage in Myanmar, was recently published by Silkworm Books. The book is an informative and humorous account of an 18-day group bus tour of 60 famous pagodas in Myanmar that she took in 1996. In one chapter the author describes a local family's methodical manner of dining:

"As is the custom of Myanmar people at meals, they were eating seriously, silently, quickly, scooping up the rice tidily with four fingers of their right hand, eyes on their plates. To converse during meals is a horrifying insult to food."


Dazed and Blundering

Juan Cole, responding to a question about the US media's coverage of the Middle East, in a recent interview with the Detroit Metro Times:

"I think there’s something very wrong in the way the Americans report the world and the way the Americans make decisions about the world. They are often isolated and kind of in a bubble when they do these things, and it’s dangerous. We’re a great power, we’re a hyper-power now, and to have us blundering around not understanding the world in which we live is very dangerous.

Cole is a Pofessor of Hstory at the Univerity of Michigan and the author of several books, the most recent being Sacred Space and Holy War. His writings can also be found on his Informed Comment blog at: www.juancole.com


Quote of the week

"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag, carrying a cross."
— Sinclair Lewis, "It Can't Happen Here" 1935

L.A. South Central Farm Receives 3-Day Eviction Notice

For thirteen years, in the depressed inner city of south central LA, 250 families have been feeding themselves on with organic fruits and vegetables grown on a farm that was once completely paved and considered completely useless for growing anything on.

The farm has almost zero fossil fuel imput and zero transport cost. It's a model the whole world should be copying, but instead the city has decided to give them an eviction notice. The sheriff's office delivered the notice on March 1st. This farm does great things, and its in everybody's best interest that it survive.

The city wants to replace it with a Wal-Mart.

Click here for links to the farm's website, the eviction notice, and the mayor's email address. Send him an email - I did.

Just a thought

Instead of standing for any principles, most of the still loyal Republicans have chosen blind allegiance to a flawed leader. The bigger picture is evident to anyone who takes a step back and looks.

The administration has managed to go from having the support of the whole world in the "war on terrorism" when we attacked Afghanistan to its present position in an incredibly short time. Instead of an international war on terrorism, we have a United States war on Iraq. Terrorism is flourishing around the world, Bin Laden is still at large, Iraq is heading into civil war and we have become more and more dependent on countries such as China and Saudi Arabia for our economy to survive.

On the domestic front, fewer and fewer of us can afford decent health care, we have the largest deficits in history, government has grown at a faster pace than anytime in recent memory, wages in terms of real dollars have steadily declined, we no longer manufacture much of anything in this country, funding for basic scientific research has been cut, as has funding for most higher education.

From the perspective of whether we are better protected against terrorism, our most vulnerable areas are inadequately protected against even the feeblest of attacks. Sure it has become more difficult to hijack an airliner, but our ports, nuclear facilities, and population centers are as vulnerable as they were on September 11th.

People can argue all they want about trivial semantics, but the bigger picture is clear to anyone with an ounce of common sense. Ignore the spin and look at the facts.

Luckovich 03/04/2006

The Vent from the AJC


I’m so old, I can remember a time when we actually had three branches of federal government.

If President Bush doesn’t stop shooting himself in the foot, he’ll be walking on stumps by the time he leaves office.

The state bird should be the hummingbird. It flaps its wings a lot and goes backwards..

We would be better off if we paid the Georgia legislators to stay home.

The new “Win for Life” lottery is not going over real big here in the nursing home.

When life hands you lemons, throw them back with great force.

The majority of Bush’s 34 percent approval rating must’ve come from Georgia. Look at our state Legislature.

GOP stacks stem cell votes

I'm sick of hearing wingnuts and Bush apologists say "Dems can't win" when we all know that the GOP can't win shit without cheating. Now the GA legislature is using dirty tricks they've learned from their federal counterparts.

GOP accused of stacking stem cell votes
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 03/04/06

The Senate's Republican leadership stacked the votes in their favor on a controversial stem cell proposal this week, according to several critics of the bill.

Senate President Pro Tem Eric Johnson (R-Savannah) this week named several lawmakers to temporarily participate and vote on committees they are not assigned to, including a Science and Technology Committee hearing on a bill that would encourage the use of stem cell research with umbilical cord blood. The measure also would prohibit some aspects of stem cell research that involve human embryos.


Friday funny

Ohio Senator to introduce bill banning Republican adoptions

State Senator Robert Hagan (D-Ohio) says he will introduce legislation to ban Republican couples from adopting children. According to Hagan, “credible research'’ shows that adopted children raised in GOP households are more at risk for developing “emotional problems, social stigmas, inflated egos, and alarming lack of tolerance for others they deem different than themselves and an air of overconfidence to mask their insecurities.” Hagan agrees there is no scientific evidence backing his claims about Republican parents — just, as Hagan notes, there is none backing State Representative Ron Hood’s (R) bill banning gay parents from adopting. Hood claims children purportedly suffer from emotional “harm” when they are adopted by gay couples. Hagen admits he created his proposal to mock Hood’s proposed ban on gay adoption in a way that people would see the “blatantly discriminatory and extremely divisive” nature of the bill. The GOP House leadership does not support Hood’s proposal.

Quote of the day

“He’s an incompetent, ignorant man who looks for simple answers to complex issues. He shouldn’t even be allowed to run a small Texas town.”
-Beverly Greenwald, an Atlanta psychotherapist, expressing the intensity registered by many Bush critics in a survey

Dubya sez...

"People don't need to worry about security. This deal wouldn't go forward if we were concerned about the security for the United States of America."
—George W. Bush, on the deal to hand over U.S. port security to a company operated by the United Arab Emirates, Washington, D.C., Feb. 23, 2006

Congress approves $9 billion alternative fuel scam for Bush's buddies

A magic way to make billions

The wording is so bland and buried so deep within a 324-page budget document that almost no one would notice that a multibillion-dollar scam is going on. Not the members of Congress voting for it and certainly not the taxpayers who will get fleeced by it. And that is exactly the idea.


Yet another Republican scandal...

CD From Minnesota GOP Also Gathers Data
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A computer disk that the Minnesota Republican Party prepared to support a ban on gay marriage has another purpose: gathering data on the politics of the people who view it.

And that's stirred up a technological tempest on the Internet and among Democrats who say the disk will improperly gather data from people who run it on their computers. Privacy experts say they're concerned that the GOP won't adequately warn users that it's collecting the data, and they worry where the information will end up.


Blowback Revisited

"The attacks on Afghanistan may satisfy a popular American demand for revenge and triumph, but in the long run they will only worsen the threats to American security at home and abroad."
Chalmers Johnson, author of Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire, writing in the preface to his book, dated December 2001.


Dear Mainstream Media

I'm a big fan but I really think I need to point something out to you.

Shortly after Katrina, Bush said that he had no idea the levees were going to fail and drown thousands of people and destroy millions of dollars worth of property and infrastructure. In fact, his exact words were "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees."

You are now running a story, complete with video, about how Bush had a meeting with several people where, among other things, they anticipated the breach of the levees.

I realize that it is your duty to maintain unbiased status in your reporting, in a continuing effort to pretend the Right won't accuse you of all being leftists anyway. But I still find it very odd you aren't using a very specific word in any of your stories.

I will help you here. When someone says something, and you prove later that what they said was completely and knowingly untrue, it is commonly referred to as a lie.

For example, President Bush lied. This makes him a liar.

Now you use it in a sentence. Thanks.

Jon Stewart on Larry King Live

KING: You don't want Medicare to fail?

STEWART: Are you insane?


STEWART: You're literally asking me if I would prefer -- yes, Larry, what I'm saying to you as a comedian I want old people to suffer, old and poor people to suffer. That is -- that is -- what we want is -- what seems absurd to me is the length that Washington just seems out of touch with the desires of Americans to be spoken to as though they are adults.

I mean when you listen to Bush's speeches, and I'm leaving the Democrats out because I honestly don't feel that they make an impact. They have 49 percent of the vote and three percent of the power. At a certain point you go "Guys, pick up your game."

But Bush, you know the other day when he had the speech about us being addicted to oil, he says those things as though, you know, he just thought of it and we're disagreeing with him, like everybody's been saying that. Jimmy Carter said it I think in 1978.

And he comes out, "What people don't realize is we're addicted to foreign oil" and he's saying it like you're going "Get out of here." We're addicted. You don't get it people. You know he was the guy on the stump a few years ago making fun of hybrid cars because it wasn't manly. And -- and his vice president did shoot a 78-year-old man in the face. Aaron Burr was the last vice president to shoot a guy in the face, Alexander Hamilton.

KING: And that was a duel.

STEWART: That was a duel based on personal integrity. This vice president thought a 78-year-old man was a bird. It happens. What are you going to do?

KING: We've declined as a society right?

STEWART: I cannot tell you how many times I'll turn around and go, "Grandpa," oh no it's a pigeon.

Jay Bookman - AJC

Iraq plan spells doom; so does civil war

I don't know what makes me madder --- looking back at the utter incompetence that got us into this disaster in Iraq, or looking ahead at the nightmare that shows every sign of getting worse.

If you choose to look back, a new study from the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction confirms yet again that the Bush administration made little preparation for rebuilding Iraq, even though it had known for at least a year that the invasion was coming.


The March 14th Mystery Revealed

Jules Shear
Dreams Don't Count

The wait is almost over. The new Jules Shear CD, Dreams Don't Count, finally has a release date. It will be available on March 14th on Mad Dragon Records.

I've had the pleasure of listening to Dreams Don't Count so much over the last couple of weeks that every song is like a familiar friend to me. Much like every other album Jules has released since his days with The Polar Bears.

This CD will never make Billboard's top 10 but when was the last time you honestly enjoyed anything that earned that distinction? Jules no longer writes songs that can be pegged with any particular point in time. He writes timeless songs that make you think or make you long for that lost love you thought you had gotten over.

Jules himself said that he no longer concerns himself with ending up on the cover of Rolling Stone but is content in making music that matters. With Dreams Don't Count it is apparent to me that he has succeeded.

Jules decided to give this CD more of a classic sound. Rather than the same old guitar, bass, drums and keyboard formula he utilizes such romantic instruments as the cello and the viola. The accordian adds an almost European flavor to several of the songs escpecially You Anymore and Sinners Who Believed. Jules of course still plays his guitar with a passion that lets you connect with the songs on a deeper level. This isn't a "driving" album. It's a "grab a bottle of wine and share it with your love" album. Wherever has become a song that reminds me of my wife every time I hear it.

In earlier posts I shared Bad Connection and Accustomed to the Clearness. Now I want to share another one of my favorite songs from the CD called Do What They Want. It recalls some of Jules' more whimsical compositions. After only a couple of times hearing it I found myself either humming it or singing it to myself in weird places like the grocery store or at work.

If you are a Jules fan on any level you won't be disappointed in this CD. It's classic Jules in the sense that the music will take you to the edge and the wonderful lyrics will sweep you over it. I get lost in it every time I listen to it. In a little more than two weeks you'll be able to get lost in it too.

More on Jules Shear:
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Freedom of Speech?

"Insulting the beliefs and customs of people and religions is not freedom of speech. This is not only related to Islam. We must respect the beliefs of other nations and religions whether we believe in them or not. If we don't believe or approve of them, we must challenge them through discussion and intellectual undertakings."
Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami

"Look at the Ku Klux Klan, who use a cross as their symbol and propagate hatred against others and encourage lynching. And yet we never hear someone say, 'There's an example of how Christianity encourages violence'"
Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu