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


Stephen Colbert ROCKS!

Stephen Colbert kicks ass at White House press corps dinner

I'm a long time fan of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart so I thought I would love The Colbert Report as a spinoff. It took me a while to warm up to it but now it's one of my "can't miss" television shows. Colbert's portrayal of a self-righteous conservative is spot on and very funny. His routine at Saturday night's White House Press Corps dinner sounds like one of those perfect moments of comedy and commentary.

Colbert, who spoke in the guise of his talk show character, who ostensibly supports the president strongly, urged the Bush to ignore his low approval ratings, saying they were based on reality, "and reality has a well-known liberal bias."

He attacked those in the press who claim that the shake-up at the White House was merely re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. "This administration is soaring, not sinking," he said. "They are re-arranging the deck chairs--on the Hindenburg."

Colbert told Bush he could end the problem of protests by retired generals by refusing to let them retire. He compared Bush to Rocky Balboa in the "Rocky" movies, always getting punched in the face--"and Apollo Creed is everything else in the world."
Colbert Lampoons Bush at White House Correspondents Dinner -- President Not Amused?

Full transcript here.