Sunday, December 25, 2005

Happy Holidays

Here is Kodiak standing, or rather lounging, on the front lines defending Christmas against secularists. In the first one he's on point. Look at that steely gaze.

I have to admit that it looks like he's wavering in the second shot. He's either thinking, "Gee it's lonely being a Christian in these Godless times," or, "Squeaky toy!"

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Boortz and the Boogie Man

You may remember that some of the pre-release reviews of Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing" in 1989 castigated Lee for having made a film that was surely going to provoke riots in the streets of major urban centers. Of course there were no "Do the Right Thing" riots, and to my knowledge, no mass purgings from Arts and Entertainment pages of the critics who were so quick to sound the false alarm, alas.

For a more recent, sleazier version of racist chicken little social/cultural commentary check out rightwing hack, Neal Boortz's dire predictions (thanks red rabbit) of race riots should Tookie Williams be executed. Accordingly, Boortz disdainfully predicted that the governator's fear of violent unrest would prompt a stay of Williams's execution.

The next morning, finding himself wrong on both counts, Boortz did the honorable rightwing thing these days--blame the weather. With no Category 4 hurricane to point to, Boortz decided it was just too damn cold in LA for the Negroes to get worked up. Someone tell me this isn't the 1880s.

This is of interest only because it gives you some idea of how willing the right is to use the specter of black urban unrest to explain/justify anything and everything--and their sense that democrats are still vulnerable to the soft-on-crime charge.

The punitive anti-crime/anti-terrorist police-state policies the Right has been pushing can't get enough of boogie men, domestic and international, for whom extreme measures are presumed to be the only possible measures.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Federally Funded Fairy Tales

I missed this in February, but just guess where $167 million of your taxes are going... c'mon, guess again. Alright, your money and mine is going to abstinence-only programs in high schools around the country. Here's a little snippet:
Deep inside every man is a knight in shining armor, ready to rescue a maiden and slay a dragon. When a man feels trusted, he is free to be the strong, protecting man he longs to be.

Imagine a knight traveling through the countryside. He hears a princess in distress and rushes gallantly to slay the dragon. The princess calls out, “I think this noose will work better!” and throws him a rope. As she tells him how to use the noose, the knight obliges her and kills the dragon. Everyone is happy, except the knight, who doesn’t feel like a hero. He is depressed and feels unsure of himself. He would have preferred to use his own sword.

The knight goes on another trip. The princess reminds him to take the noose. The knight hears another maiden in distress. He remembers how he used to feel before he met the princess; with a surge of confidence, he slays the dragon with his sword. All the townspeople rejoice, and the knight is a hero. He never returned to the princess. Instead, he lived happily ever after in the village, and eventually married the maiden—but only after making sure she knew nothing about nooses.

Moral of the story: Occasional assistance may be all right, but too much will lessen a man’s confidence or even turn him away from his princess.
Oh, and, if your subscription to Seventeen has expired, not to worry. The U.S. government has come up with a list of 5 things you need to know about your knight or your princess:
5 Major Needs of Women:
Affection, Conversation, Honesty and Openness, Financial Support, Family Commitment

5 Major Needs of Men:
Sexual Fulfillment, Recreational Companionship, Physical Attractiveness, Admiration, Domestic Support
I think they skipped the chapter on Brokeback Enchanted Forest, where Lance and Galahad have fun with swordplay, with nary a thought of princesses or dragons.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

And You Thought Waterboarding Was A Sport

Sidney Blumenthal's piece on Condoliar Rice's trip through Europe exemplifies what has become a familiar strategy for this administration: issue a categorical statement denying wrongdoing and then in subsequent encounters with the media, qualify, qualify, qualify, until you finally admit that you're doing exactly what you denied doing in the first place, but that you are justified in doing so.

On that note I thought I heard Charles Krauthammer on NPR's "The World" yesterday defending the practice of waterboarding ("it gives you the sensation that you're drowning," farted Charles (perhaps not an exact quote) before going on to claim that we have not had a terrorist attack in this country since 9/11 because of these sorts of interrogation practices.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Please Check Your Advisors at the Party Door

Is there any truth to the Washington Post's take on how the Democratic Party is NOT the well-oiled machine we've come to love and respect and count on? Maybe. And maybe Nancy Pelosi should've flipped before she flopped. I have to admit it was a pretty boneheaded move to balk for several days before agreeing with Murtha's call for a rapid withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. But maybe it's her advisors who are flailing. You know, the ones on the Republican payroll?
Marshall Wittmann, a former Republican political strategist now with the centrist Democratic Leadership Council, said Pelosi may have resurrected her party's most deadly liability -- voters' lack of trust in the party on national security.

A former Republican strategist??!!?? Is it any wonder they usually do such a good job gumming up the Democratic works, the Democrats come off sounding and acting like warmed-over Republicans? I can't help but wonder if someone's wising up and purging the ranks because, apparently, Nancy's not listening, Marshall, and the Democrats in general are looking downright LIBERAL these days. But is it too much to ask for a little cohesion? A statement we can all get behind? The professor offers a little jumpstart:
“By attacking Congressman Murtha, Congresswoman Pelosi, and the Democratic Party for criticizing Bush’s failed war strategy the Administration and the Republican Party once again display their arrogance and their alienation from the American people. An overwhelming majority of the American people knows this war has been mishandled. These same Americans know that the road to security and peace is an exit strategy from Iraq that the Administration doesn’t have. The Bush Administration’s response to criticism of its flawed "Plan for Victory" demonstrates its contempt for the very citizens who are paying the taxes that support this war. Scandalously, the Republican attack shows what they think of the citizens whose sons and daughters, husbands and wives, and whose fathers and mothers are paying for this mishandled war with their lives.”

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Digby Does Demographics

Dear Democratic Leadership, read this now!.
Democrats can look to the future and find a populist message that doesn't cater to white fear and tendencies to scapegoat minorities. And we can add the Hispanic community permanently into our coalition, denying Karl Rove his most coveted goal. Or we can take the easy way out and catch a few Bubbas until the economy turns around, at which point they'll go right back home to the party that really knows how to feed their worst instincts on regular basis --- the Republicans.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

A Warrior Evolves

“Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” Matthew 7:6

What do you call a man who first served his country for 37 years in the military, with two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star with a Combat "V," and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry; and then further served his country for 31 additional years in Congress?

If you're a Republican swine whose closest encounter with war is trying to prevent your local TV station from airing "Saving Private Ryan," then you call John Murtha a coward. But this may be John Murtha's bravest moment. The old soldier has come full circle. The idealism and arrogance of youth has given way to the wisdom and clarity of age and experience. The realization that the deaths of 2000 young American soldiers, and the deaths of tens of thousand of Iraqi civilians, are just so much collateral damage to the men in power, the real cowards, who roll relentessly over anyone and anything in their path, amassing wealth and power, not even bothering to wash the blood from their hands.

John Murtha looks into the eyes of wounded soldiers today and finally sees his dying buddies in Viet Nam. He's come full circle and cannot sit by quietly while another generation is damaged and discarded. I only hope that the swine who turned on Representative Murtha and tried to tear him and his pearls of wisdom to pieces will recognize the evil in themselves and jump headlong over a cliff, just like it says in the good book.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Senator Durbin was Right

Anyone who slammed the senior senator from Illinois for calling into question the Bush/Cheney torture policy owes him an apology. Not only is that dick, Cheney, trying to strongarm Congress into looking the other way while our designated torturers do his dirty work, the United States of America is shanghai-ing suspected terrorist types and smuggling them to countries where they can be secretly tortured. "Black sites" in countries that allow torture...countries like, oh...POLAND.
...the CIA is maintaining secret facilities outside the U.S. where it is holding suspected terrorists. The point of these extra-territorial holding pens... is "to hold and interrogate suspected terrorists for as long as necessary and without restrictions imposed by the U.S. legal system or even by the military tribunals established for prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay."
Wait a what the CIA is doing to these suspected terrorists is illegal in the U.S., and probably illegal in other western democracies like ROMANIA and POLAND. But somehow what Dick Durbin said was going way too far and he was forced to apologize on the floor of the Senate?

Don't even get me started on why a blowjob in the privacy of your oval office = impeachment, but stealing two elections; disenfranchising millions of voters; allowing a major terrorist attack to occur on U.S. soil; invading two countries, the second invasion occurring after cooking pre-war intelligence, lying mightily and often to Congress and the American people about said intelligence; detaining and torturing countless innocent people; revealing the identity of a covert CIA operative, and thus compromising national security in an attempt to destroy a whistleblower; failing tremendously and on worldwide television to respond to thousands of American citizens left stranded and without food or water in the wake of the worst hurricane disaster in our history (and that's just off the top of my head) = diddly-squat.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Give 'em Hell, Harry!

I guess a kick in the pants feels like a slap in the face if you're Bill Frist. But if you've become accustomed to Democrats rolling over at the slightest breeze it must come as a shock when all it takes are good old fashioned rules and the truth to call you to account. Harry Reid invoked little-used Rule 21 to force the Senate into closed session on Tuesday, but not before publicly blistering the Republicans with a laundry list of derelictions of duty:
Unfortunately the unwillingness of the Republican-controlled Congress to exercise its oversight responsibilities is not limited to just Iraq. We see it with respect to the prisoner abuse scandal. We see it with respect to Katrina. And we see it with respect to the cronyism and corruption that permeates this Administration.
Even Lou Dobbs can read the manual:
Ed, a couple of points if I may. One, you suggested the Senate melted down today. There are those who would argue that the Senate began doing its job today.
As that other Harry put it, "just give 'em the truth, and they'll think it's hell."

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Epistolary Fun

(Thanks to Mark and Spence)

Letters of support received by I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby:

Dear Scooter,

Dick tells me you were on his staff or something, and that you were having some kind of law thing. Jeez, I'm really sorry about that. Boy oh Boy - I cannot even begin to tell you what it's been like for me here lately - what with the tragedy in New Orleans (poor, poor Brownie), that whole 'war thing' and then that nice judge lady who up and quit on me, this place is in shambles! Anyway, listen, if you get through this thing, I may have something else lined up for you, so try to pay attention to all the legal stuff when you're in court, it'll make the confirmation hearings better.

- The Prez

Dear Scooter,

What a travesty of justice! You train someone from scratch in the black arts, share with them the ecstasy of the hunt and the glory of the kill, and then BAM! Some uppity prosecutor goes and unloads a round of buckshot in you! Truly a shame. That having been said, I need you to understand this - if you turn on me, I will gut you like a Wyoming trout! I will hunt you down like an elk and fire a crossbow into your heart. Otherwise - all the best!

- Dick Cheney

Dearest Loving Scooter,

In the wilds of Connecticut where you vacation, the poplars are just turning to the amber hues of autumn. They all turn as if on cue, because their roots are as deeply connected as you and I. We have shared wonderful moments together, and please know that I will wait for you - however long it takes.

Lovingly - Judith Miller

ps - Most of the guards are pleasant, but watch out for Johnson - he can be a real bear in the morning!

Hey Scoot -

I call top bunk!

- Tom Delay

Dear Scooter -

I saw you on TV - it's made me see you in a whole new light! Gosh - you're famous now! I think you're the best - the absolute best. I hope you know that I think you did a fantastic job and I am so so so proud of you. Please write me as much as possible, and I'll keep the autographed photo you gave me last Christmas right by my bed.

- Harriet Miers

Scooter -

Tom's crazy if he thinks he's getting the top bunk. I outrank him. Besides, he was like a bug killer before politics - I'm a Doctor! Plus, I don't snore.

- Bill Frist

Dear Mr.. Libby -

Thank you Thank You Thank you! This has been a great week for us. Now if we could only find a way to capitalize on all of this. Some kind of message or something.

- Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Powell: Bush & Cheney Briefed on Plame

AfterDowningStreet serves up red meat: the past several days, former secretary of state colin powell had a meeting with senator john mccain (R-AZ), primarily about the mccain-sponsored amendment on inserting a rider prohibiting torture onto the us defense budget (a bill which powell has himself been lobbying heavily for, against objections of president bush).

during the meeting, powell recounted to the senator that he had traveled on air force one with bush and cheney, and brought to their attention a classified memorandum about the issue of whether there was indeed a transaction inolving niger and yellow cake uranium. the document included ambassador joe wilson's involvement and identified his wife, valerie plame, as a covert agent. the memorandum further stated that this information was secret. powell told mccain that he showed that memo only to two people--president and vice president. according to powell, cheney fixated on the wilson/plame connection, and plame's status.

powell testified about this exchange in great length to the grand jury investigating the plame case. according to sources close to the case, powell appeared convinced that the vice president played a focal role in disclosing plame's undercover status.
Thanks to Bartcop for the link.

UPDATE: It was Jan Frel at AlterNet serving up the red meat. Apologies all around, but thanks to everyone for the delicious meal.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Out on a Ledge

Bush's Brain is in big trouble, mister. No word on Bush's Conscience.

Rory Carroll UPDATE: Whew!

This must be a great relief for, not only Carroll's loved ones, but to the other journalists working in Iraq. According to Reporters Without Borders 73 journalists have been killed in Iraq since March 2003.

Grannyinsanity reminds us that this isn't just a tragedy, it's policy, baby!
From March 20th, 2003.
Should war in the Gulf commence, the Pentagon proposes to take radical new steps in media relations - 'unauthorised' journalists will be shot at. Speaking on The Sunday Show on Ireland's RTE1 last Sunday veteran war reporter Kate Adie said she had been warned by a senior Pentagon official that uplinks, i.e. TV broadcasts or satellite phones, that are detected by US aircraft are likely to be fired on.
Oh, and granny pointed me to Project for the Old American Century. While I'm generally wary of any one who hankers for the "good ole days," this site has lots of neat lists and charts and links to documents released by the Freedom of Information Act, not to mention timely reporting. Thanks granny!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


I knew it was serious when grown men began crying on the radio

Despite our lead blogger's anti-sports proclivities, I just want to remind you all that this is a Chicago blog, and a historic moment (hopefully ending in a party on Oct 30th) in Chicago sports history. Go Sox!

Missing Irish Journalist Criticized "Out of Control" U.S. Military

The Guardian is confirming that journalist Rory Carroll is missing in Iraq.
Just a month ago Carroll wrote a scathing article linking the increased number of deaths and injuries of journalists covering the invasion of Iraq to "out of control" U.S. troops.
It was a routine assignment that, like too many in Iraq, went wrong. Tipped off that police had clashed with gunmen in western Baghdad, the Reuters news agency dispatched Haider Kadhem, a cameraman, and Waleed Khaled, a soundman, to the scene. As their car headed down Ghaziliya bridge American troops opened fire, hitting Khaled in the face and the chest, killing him instantly and spattering blood over the US military and Reuters press cards clipped to his shirt.

By the time relatives and colleagues arrived American armoured vehicles had sealed off the street and Kadhem, slightly wounded from fragments, was under arrest. Having found nothing suspicious the troops allowed the car to be towed away and handed relatives a body bag. One soldier told them not to look too closely at the corpse. "Don't bother. It's not worth it." Other soldiers standing a few feet away joked among themselves.

For Reuters and many other foreign media organisations in Baghdad the August 28 shooting was further evidence that American troops are out of control. Since the 2003 invasion US forces have killed at least 18 media workers in incidents for which no one has been charged or punished. "Whitewashes. There have been no satisfactory investigations that we know of," said Rodney Pinder, director of the International News Safety Institute (INSI), a Brussels-based advocacy group.

Read the whole article. It's quite an indictment of the military mindset when it comes to media coverage:
In addition to shooting them, US forces have a habit of detaining journalists without charge. Weeks can pass before a bureau is able to confirm that an employee has been arrested, possibly injured, and held incommunicado in Abu Ghraib or another prison. A driver for the Guardian, accredited with the US authorities, was held without explanation for five days.
It kind of makes you wonder...

Liar of the Free World

The New York Daily News drops the other shoe

An angry President Bush rebuked chief political guru Karl Rove two years ago for his role in the Valerie Plame affair, sources told the Daily News.
A second well-placed source said some recently published reports implying Rove had deceived Bush about his involvement in the Wilson counterattack were incorrect and were leaked by White House aides trying to protect the President.

"Bush did not feel misled so much by Karl and others as believing that they handled it in a ham-handed and bush-league way," the source said.

No pun intended.

Okay, did anyone else know this?
Patrick Fitzgerald interviewed President Bush (at least, he was interviewed by his team; I don't remember whether it was Fitzgerald specifically who conducted it, though I would assume it was). The president's lawyers succeeded in getting Fitzgerald to agree that the interview not be under oath. Still, though, an interview took place and at the top of the list of questions must have been just what happened and what the president knew.

I know they pulled that bullshit with the 9/11 Commission, but I guess I must have missed the massive media coverage and general outrage when they pulled the same old shit with Fitzgerald.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Truthiness = Goodiness

The Colbert Report

Laughed my ass off. The couple of times I saw Steve Colbert host TDS when Jon couldn't be there he was really good. He never tried to BE Jon and he doesn't try on the new show. We'll see how it holds up. It's greatest strength may be that it channels the same creative strength as the TDS.

Meanwhile O'Reilly is on with Jon tonight. Yikes!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Oh It's On


Pretty please?

How About a Human Being for President

Screenwriter, Shermen Yellen asks Can a Man Become President? I found myself reading this and mentally replacing "human being" for real man because it made more sense that way.

Wikipedia defines a human being as having "a highly developed brain and consequent capacity for abstract reasoning, speech, language, and introspection."

Ok, this would disqualify George "Bootsie" Bush from being a human being much less President of the United States--or as he pronounces it U-ny-ed States.

Raping the Corpse

Hey, I calls 'em likes I sees 'em.

Conservatives have already used the storm for causes of their own, like suspending requirements that federal contractors have affirmative action plans and pay locally prevailing wages. And with federal costs for rebuilding the Gulf Coast estimated at up to $200 billion, Congressional Republican leaders are pushing for spending cuts, with programs like Medicaid and food stamps especially vulnerable.

"We've had a stunning reversal in just a few weeks," said Robert Greenstein, director of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal advocacy group in Washington. "We've gone from a situation in which we might have a long-overdue debate on deep poverty to the possibility, perhaps even the likelihood, that low-income people will be asked to bear the costs. I would find it unimaginable if it wasn't actually happening."

Mr. Greenstein's comments were echoed by Representative Rosa DeLauro, Democrat of Connecticut: "Poor people are going to get the short end of the stick, despite all the public sympathy. That's a great irony."

But many conservatives see logic, not irony, at work. If the storm exposed great poverty, they say, it also exposed the problems of the very policies that liberals have supported.

"This is not the time to expand the programs that were failing anyway," said Stuart M. Butler, a vice president of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative research and advocacy group influential on Capitol Hill.

While the right has proposed alternatives including tax-free zones for businesses and school vouchers for students, Mr. Butler said, "the left has just talked up the old paradigm: 'let's expand what's failed before.' "

Doubt about the effectiveness of some programs is only one factor shaping the current antipoverty debate. Another is political muscle: poor people do not make campaign contributions. Many do not even vote.

A third factor is the federal deficit, which leaves little money for new initiatives. And a fourth is the continuing support for tax cuts, including those aimed at the wealthiest Americans, which further limits spending on social programs.
Indeed, even as he was calling for deep spending cuts last week, Representative Mike Pence, Republican of Indiana, who leads the conservative caucus, called tax reductions for the prosperous a key to fighting poverty.

"Raising taxes in the wake of a national catastrophe would imperil the very economic growth we need to bring the Gulf Coast back," Mr. Pence said. "I'm mindful of what a pipe fitter once said to President Reagan: 'I've never been hired by a poor man.' A growing economy is in the interest of every working American, regardless of their income."

Ah yes. The Reagan years, a period of great economic prosperity. No, sorry, those were the Clinton years. These were the Reagan years.

Friday, October 07, 2005

The Grunts Know

Read ksuwildkat's diary at Daily Kos.
...As a soldier I have been involved in this war in one way or another since 1990. I was in Baghdad early on when we actually thought we could rebuild the country. It was a tough decision then to cut down the trees on the airport road then but when you are getting shot at, you have to do something. Now we are blowing up bridges. For the first time I believe we have lost. For the first time as a military professional I think we have no way of winning this. We are willing to destroy the basic structures of the country to deny the enemy their use. This means we have no other way to deny them the use of these assets. We can't stop them, the Iraqi Army can't stop them, the Iraqi police can't stop them and we can't collect enough intelligence to make the enemy pay for using what should be choke points.

There is no way to sugar coat this. This is a MAJOR development. That we have made it public is also a big deal because every other military professional in the world knows we are done. This war may go on for a long time but the conclusion is decided as far as I can see. I never imagined I would see this day.
If the boots on the ground think we're
Pretty Much
A big chunk of the national media establishment do live and work in New York. As such, they understand that the subway is massive, it's how people get to and from their jobs, that most people are going to pay little attention to these warnings (or even be aware of them). The hysterical reporting is ridiculous.

How my roommate and I found out about the subway threat: We called our moms. They live in Chicago and Dallas. When we did get on the subway I saw all of two cops which is pretty standard and NOBODY was conducting searches. In fact it was the fastest commute we've had all summer. How seriously can we take things if there is no real attempt to protect us?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

"Plenty Bright" II

Molly Ivins recalls the "moderate" Harriet Miers' 1989 campaign for city council in Dallas.
When pressed, she said she did believe one should be able to legally discriminate against gays, and it is the recollection of two of the organization's officers that the response involved her religious beliefs.

Miers' church states on its website that it believes in biblical inerrancy, full immersion baptism, original sin and salvation dependent entirely upon accepting Jesus Christ. Everyone else is going to hell.

I'm still baffled that President Bootsie's nomination of his personal lawyer for the Supreme Court is something that we have to take seriously. This man has no shame.

And, by the way, has any WH Staff secretary ever had this kind of career path?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

"Plenty Bright"

She once told me that the president was the most brilliant man she had ever met.

Not fit to judge a hogcalling contest, AND insulting to female impersonators everywhere.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Bootsie, Bushie, and Brownie

"Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." To paraphrase Santayana, if you put an idiot in charge you're doomed.

My favorite history professor, Richard Berthold of "Anyone who can bomb the Pentagon gets my vote" fame, taught my favorite history class on Rome at the University of New Mexico several years ago. Gaius Caesar Augustus Germanicus was the grandson of Augustus and as a small boy he was dressed in a tiny soldier's outfit and paraded in front of the Roman troops. They nicknamed him Caligula, because of the miniature version of soldier's sandal-boots he wore. Roughly translated, Caligula means Bootsie.

I've been reminded of Caligula several times over the last five years. There are lots of parallels between Bootsie and our own Little Lord Candy-ass. Both were born into powerful families; both played dress-up and paraded in front of real military troops; both came to power through questionable means. But my personal favorite: Caligula appointed a horse to the Roman senate, Bush appointed a horse's ass to head the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and so...

Thursday, September 22, 2005

When Missing Class = Missing the Boat

Or when the lipstick of race is put on the class pig... Oh just go read the October 3, 2005 issue of The Nation. Adolph Reed Jr. cuts through the bullshit of Bush/FEMA/Katrina vs. NOLA like only Mr. Reed can.
What happened in New Orleans is the culmination of twenty-five years of disparagement of any idea of public responsibility; of a concerted effort--led by the right but as part of a bipartisan consensus--to reduce government's functions to enhancing plunder by corporations and the wealthy and punishing everyone else, undermining any notion of social solidarity.

The abstract, moralizing patter about how and whether "race matters" or "the role of race" is appealing partly because it doesn't confront the roots of the bipartisan neoliberal policy regime. It's certainly true that George W. Bush and his minions are indifferent to, or contemptuous of, black Americans in general. They're contemptuous of anyone who is not part of the ruling class. Although Bush and his pals are no doubt small-minded bigots in many ways, the racial dimension stands out so strikingly in part because race is now the most familiar--and apparently for many progressives the most powerful--language of social justice. For roughly a generation it seemed reasonable to expect that defining inequalities in racial terms would provoke some remedial response from the federal government. But for quite some time race's force in national politics has been as a vehicle for reassuring whites that "public" equals some combination of "black," "poor" and "loser"; that cutting public spending is aimed at weaning a lazy black underclass off the dole or--in the supposedly benign, liberal Democratic version--teaching blacks "personal responsibility."
Class will almost certainly turn out to be a better predictor than race of who was able to evacuate, who drowned, who was left to fester in the Superdome or on overpasses, who is stuck in shelters in Houston or Baton Rouge, or who is randomly dispersed to the four winds. I'm certain that class is also a better predictor than race of whose emotional attachments to place will be factored into plans for reconstructing the city.

Race is too blunt an analytical tool even when inequality is expressed in glaring racial disparities. Its meanings are too vague. We can see already that the charges of racial insensitivity and neglect threaten to divert the focus of the Katrina outrage to a secondary debate about how Bush feels about blacks and whether the sources of the travesty visited upon poor New Orleanians were "color blind" or racist. Beyond that, a racial critique can lead nowhere except to demands for black participation in decision-making around reconstruction. But which black people? What plans? Reconstruction on what terms? I've seen too many black- and Latino-led municipal governments and housing authorities fuel real estate speculation with tax giveaways and zoning variances, rationalizing massive displacement of poor and other working-class people with sleight-of-hand about mixed-income occupancy and appeals to the sanctity of market forces.

The only hope we have for turning back the tide of this thuggish Administration's commitment to destroy every bit of social protection that's been won in the past century lies in finding ways to build a broad movement of the vast majority of us who are not part of the investor class. We have to be clear that what happened in New Orleans is an extreme and criminally tragic coming home to roost of the con that cutting public spending makes for a better society. It is a shocking foretaste of a future that many more of us will experience less dramatically, often quietly as individuals, as we lose pensions, union protection, access to healthcare and public education, Social Security, bankruptcy and tort protection, and as we are called upon to feed an endless war machine.
Leaving Houston

UPDATE: Ceds made it to Austin at 5am CST. It took 12 hours to travel approximately 150 miles. That's 12.5 miles per hour. For the poor souls who are just now getting on the road, because now evacuation is mandatory, traffic is literally not moving.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Sister Ceds is being evacuated to Austin. Houston most likely won't be hit hard but they're worried about power outtages. At any rate she's fine.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Maintenance Stuff

We are now whoring for Barnes & Noble. Please click on the link and buy something. Also I've broken down and started a second blog about life in the Big Apple, the bits and pieces of it that I don't spend hunched over my laptop. It's called Turtle Tales and it's still growing legs. So go read and shake your head over how cool I'm not. Who knows? I may be inspired to go out and get cool.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

W's Plans

Bush's insistence that his plans for reconstructing the U.S. gulf coast won't entail rolling back any past or proposed tax cuts shows that nothing really has changed and that the real power in Washington remains Grover Norquist and his Americans For Tax Reform. Norquist group reports that in addition to W himself, 221 US Representatives and 46 Senators have signed the so-called "Taxpayer Protection Pledge," which "solemnly bind[s]" them "to oppos[ing] any and all tax increases." If you want to get an idea of how these sleazeballs operate check out Elizabeth Drew's Selling Washington. Drew observes:

Not only is legislation increasingly skewed to benefit the richest interests, but Congress itself has been changed. The head of a public policy strategy group told me, "It's not about governing anymore. The Congress is now a transactional institution. They don't take risks. So when a great moral issue comes up— like war—they can't deal with it." The theory that ours is a system of one-person-one-vote, or even that it's a representative democracy, is challenged by the reality of power and who really wields it. Barney Frank argues that "the political system was supposed to overcome the financial advantage of the capitalists, but as money becomes more and more influential, it doesn't work that way."

It's time for the Dem's to get out front and make it clear that responsible reconstruction of the gulf region cannot be achieved under this regime.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Of Course

From Brian Williams via Daily Kos:
I am duty-bound to report the talk of the New Orleans warehouse district last night: there was rejoicing (well, there would have been without the curfew, but the few people I saw on the streets were excited) when the power came back on for blocks on end. Kevin Tibbles was positively jubilant on the live update edition of Nightly News that we fed to the West Coast. The mini-mart, long ago cleaned out by looters, was nonetheless bathed in light, including the empty, roped-off gas pumps. The motorcade route through the district was partially lit no more than 30 minutes before POTUS drove through. And yet last night, no more than an hour after the President departed, the lights went out. The entire area was plunged into total darkness again, to audible groans. It's enough to make some of the folks here who witnessed it... jump to certain conclusions.
Incompetence or Complicity?

The Guardian is reporting that former members of the Sept. 11 commission are denying that the Pentagon knew that Mohamed Atta was a terrorist for two years before 9/11/01 and destroyed loads of documentation that would have been mighty difficult to explain after 9/11/01.
A Pentagon employee was ordered to destroy documents that identified Mohamed Atta as a terrorist two years before the 2001 attacks, a congressman said Thursday.

The employee is prepared to testify next week before the Senate Judiciary Committee and was expected to identify the person who ordered him to destroy the large volume of documents, said Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa.
Pentagon officials said this month they had found three more people who recall an intelligence chart identifying Atta as a terrorist prior to the Sept. 11 attacks.

Two military officers, Army Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer and Navy Capt. Scott Phillpott, have come forward to support Weldon's claims.

I think I'm going to need a bathroom break to throw up.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Sweet Home Chicago
After a wrenching debate that reopened 37-year-old wounds, Chicago on Wednesday became the nation's largest city to demand an "orderly and rapid withdrawal" of U.S. troops from Iraq.
Impeachable Offense #1899

How Michael Brown Helped Bush Win Florida

Michael Brown, the embattled head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, approved payments in excess of $31 million in taxpayer money to thousands of Florida residents who were unaffected by Hurricane Frances and three other hurricanes last year in an effort to help President Bush win a majority of votes in that state during his reelection campaign, according to published reports.
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel uncovered emails from Florida Gov. Jeb Bush that confirmed those allegations and directly implicated Brown as playing politics at the expense of hurricane victims.
But the most interesting charge against Brown is that he helped speed up payments in Florida and purposely bypassed FEMA's lengthy reviews process for distributing funds in order to help Bush secure votes in the state during last year's presidential election.

Read it and weep.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


The Roberts Hearings continue. It ain't lookin' good.
The Blame Game (cont.)

With Brownie gone, it's time to move on up the ladder of responsibility. The Wall Street Journal reports that "internal documents and emails from FEMA and other government agencies dating back to Aug. 31 and reviewed by The Wall Street Journal show the extent to which the federal government bungled its response to the hurricane. The documents highlight serious deficiencies in the Department of Homeland Security's National Response Plan, a post-Sept. 11 playbook on how to deal with catastrophic events. Mr. Chertoff activated the National Response Plan last Tuesday by declaring the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina an 'Incident of National Significance'" AND . . .

"Some Homeland Security officials are already starting to acknowledge significant weaknesses in the national response plan, which was completely disregarded at times during the crisis.

'We at the department are not well prepared, and unfortunately, recent history has shown that that's the case,' Lee Holcomb, the department chief technology officer told a breakfast meeting of Information Technology executives on Wednesday in Washington."

Specific failures cited by WSJ include delays in activating health and safety workers, delays in coordinating with the NIH, ordering the wrong number of buses . . . Chertoff, Chertoff, bo bertoff . . .

Sunday, September 11, 2005

It's For You

When the federal government can overlook entire cities, don't count on them to worry about the smallest citizens. Who is overseeing the childcare in the emergency shelters set up around the country to aide NOLA evacuees? I certainly hope it's not FEMA. Monica reminds us that someone needs to make sure the kids are alright.

Welcome to the blogosphere!

Friday, September 09, 2005

The Blame Game

The Administration doesn't want us to play "the blame game," but with such a catchy tune at the ready it's impossible to resist. So when they ask who's responsible for the Katrina Catastrophe be sure to sing out loudly:

Brownie, Brownie bo brownie
Bush’s crony, fo frownie
FEMA phony mo mownie

Let’s do Chertoff:

Chertoff, Chertoff, bo berthoff
Banana fana fo fertoff
Bush appointed this Jerk-off

Let’s do Bush:

Bush, Bush bo bush
He’s to blame! fo fush
Let’s impeach him! mo mush

The Blame Game . . .

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Yet More Houston

Kate's down in Houston and working hard.
Lot's to read over at Broken Windows. I was going to excerpt some but I think you should go ahead and read everything. It sounds like the nitty gritty stuff is being done by volunteers and there are a ton of those.

Meanwhile one interesting side effect of the belated dispatch of troops in New Orleans is that journalists are now being denied entry into the area.
At that same fire scene, a police officer from out of town raised the muzzle of her weapon and aimed it at members of the media... obvious members of the media... armed only with notepads. Her actions (apparently because she thought reporters were encroaching on the scene) were over the top and she was told. There are automatic weapons and shotguns everywhere you look. It's a stance that perhaps would have been appropriate during the open lawlessness that has long since ended on most of these streets. Someone else points out on television as I post this: the fact that the National Guard now bars entry (by journalists) to the very places where people last week were barred from LEAVING (The Convention Center and Superdome) is a kind of perverse and perfectly backward postscript to this awful chapter in American history.

It's a shocking scene to contemplate and very emblematic of how the administration sees this crisis. The media is their pet gone rabid and they must put it down somehow. Which isn't to say that media coverage has been flawless, but it has been postively breathtaking to watch Paula Zahn, Ted Koppel, hell even Joe Scarbourough call out Bush, Cheney, Brown, and Chertoff for gross incompetence. One would think that if the prospect of tens of thousands of people dying couldn't stir Bush to action, the prospect of those tens of thousands of people dying on television could. The fact that Rove could not anticipate this kind of thing happening is illustrative of how dangerously superficial the business of governance is to these people. Some of us knew that already.
Above all, spend no money

It strikes me that one possible explanation for the feeble FEMA response is that the directive from within Homeland Security was for FEMA to sit on the sidelines showing itself ever at the ready (so many mre's shipped, blah, blah, blah) until local and state resources were exhausted. The FEMA guys would come in only for targeted events when the cameras were rolling. That's one way to understand "Brownie's" injunction in his memo to his staff before Katrina hit to ``convey a positive image of disaster operations to government officials, community organizations and the general public.''

While all the rest of us were thinking that Homeland Security was funded to direct and coordinate first responders in the case of an attack or catastrophe, Chertoff and Brownie saw themselves as backups whose first job was to keep federal expenditures as low as possible (how else are you going to justify further tax cuts?) even as FEMA patches and t-shirts were prominently displayed. Now the people in the Mississippi & Louisiana gulf have paid dearly--and so will we all.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Update from Houston

Ceds called back. Some medical staff were attacked a convenience store near the Astrodome. Baylor has requested that the first-years not return to volunteer until there's a bit more oversight. At least the volunteers can leave. There's still not enough security for the refugees.
Are You Fucking Kidding Me?!

The Navy has hired Houston-based Halliburton Co. to restore electric power, repair roofs and remove debris at three naval facilities in Mississippi damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

Amidst anarchy, negligence, and carnage Halliburton manages to pull a profit. I can't believe these people. By now I should know better but I can't believe it.

Friday, September 02, 2005

The View from Houston

Sometime blogger, full-time sister, and first-year med student Ceds is in Houston and spent the day volunteering at the Astrodome. She says that it's pretty grim. A lot of people are going to get sick from wading in raw sewage with open wounds. It's crowded and dirty. Security is scarce. There are reports of theft. People are restless and fights are breaking out. She says she's never seen anything like it. Today she washed out the cuts of a four-year-old boy who was trapped in an attic for two days. He doesn't know where his parents are. Another man had a broken collarbone, and received painkillers but nothing else. He also has no idea where his family is. That's what she heard over and over again. Everybody there is searching for family. The one thing they have is medical attention due to the promixity of Baylor Medical Center. But the sense of disorder is pervasive. Nobody know's who's in charge. People wander around aimlessly.

Things that they need ASAP are:

Tampons and pads
Hand sanitizer and baby wipes
Batteries (AA and AAA)
Underwear (kids and adults)

Here's a link for where to drop stuff off in Houston. Meanwhile Ceds is going back tomorrow. She's tired, she's shocked, she's a little frightened, but she's going back. Everybody hope that she stays safe.

Can we for a moment stop talking about the looting and talk about something truly criminal?
Hundreds of Katrina evacuees who fled to Tallahassee seeking refuge from the storm have been politely told by their hotels and motels to leave this weekend to make room for a football game: FSU vs. Miami.

Hotel space is traditionally scarce any time the Florida State Seminoles take on the University of Miami Hurricanes, one of the choicest tickets on the college football schedule.

But with hotels packed with families from Louisiana and Mississippi, and room space booked for Monday's game for months, hotel operators say they are trying to accommodate the evacuees but have no choice but to nudge them out.

''We have to let them know what's going on in town and they're going to have to leave,'' said Angie Rayman, manager at the Howard Johnson. ``Many of them are trying to get closer to home anyway.''

Thursday, September 01, 2005

While this is happening...
The evacuation of patients from Charity Hospital was halted Thursday after the facility came under sniper fire twice.

A physician at the hospital said that despite the incidents staff members and patients were eager to get out after three days with no water and electricity and sparse food rations.

...and this...
That official told me they were able to take a couple of people out. One woman so desperate that she actually handed up her 2 month old baby and said take my child. I can't get on this bus, but you've got to try to save this child. She didn't even know the woman's name.

..Condi was doing WHAT?
Just moments ago at the Ferragamo on 5th Avenue, Condoleeza Rice was seen spending several thousands of dollars on some nice, new shoes (we’ve confirmed this, so her new heels will surely get coverage from the WaPo’s Robin Givhan). A fellow shopper, unable to fathom the absurdity of Rice’s timing, went up to the Secretary and reportedly shouted, “How dare you shop for shoes while thousands are dying and homeless!” Never one to have her fashion choices questioned, Rice had security PHYSICALLY REMOVE the woman.

There's got to be a special corner in hell where this kind of callousness is punished. I hope when Condi gets there, she's wearing those shoes so Satan can shove them down her throat.


Tuesday, August 30, 2005

It's nice to know that something has finally gotten Junior to cut short his vacation.
President Bush will cut short his vacation to return to Washington on Wednesday, two days earlier than planned, to help monitor federal efforts to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina, the White House said Tuesday.

"We have got a lot of work to do," Bush said, referring to the damage wrought by the hurricane along Gulf Coast areas.

The president had been scheduled to return to the nation's capital on Friday, after spending more than four weeks operating from his ranch in Central Texas. But after receiving a briefing early Tuesday on the devastation Katrina unleashed, the president decided that he needed to be in Washington to personally oversee the federal effort, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.

Yup a natural disaster. Because it's not enough to have a mounting body count in Iraq. I'm guessing it's hard for a man who believe's he has the Almighty at his beck and call to ignore evidence of His wrath. I wonder if there's anyway we could use this to our advantage and convince him to end the war or face locusts next.
One Foot in the Grave

Sergeant Thomas J. Strickland was killed in Iraq on Aug. 15. He posted the following two days before he was killed:
The insurgency is on the rise in our area, with a most impressive coordinated assault on one of my sister FOBs (St. Joe) under their belt. ...

What the fuck has my chain of command been doing? We were winning somewhat when I left. And now we're being pinned down in our own fucking homes? Insurgents are pushing locals out of their homes and taking over my area at will? What kind of fucktarded plan have we been half-assedly executing? Obviously the kind that neglects sound contact with locals. Obviously the kind that gives further distance to unbridged gaps between soldiers and locals. Obviously the kind that has shown enough weakness when confronted by the insurgency that it has been encouraged to grow.

Back home (the USA kind) I have no home, no job, and my commander in chief is on vacation (he's about 20 days behind Ronald Reagan right now in the race to become the most vacationing president ever. Hey W! we all got our fingers crossed! Here's to you and two more years of vacationing!). Luckily pretty much everything that is important to me can fit into the back of a truck. Luckily I just paid off one of those.

In their fear to build relationships and get out of their hiding holes the FOBbits above me have fucked my friends and I.
We've just completed the first 1/4 of our tour. we've sent 4 of 24 members of this platoon home with injuries.

Thankfully we're not like another who has sent 8 home in body bags...but we got 9 months to go.

Stay true lambs,

This breaks my heart.
Thanks to Tim for the link.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Homeward Bound

It has very much been A Long Hot Summer, without the benifit of a shirtless Paul Newman on my balcony. Moving twice in three months takes a lot out of a person. Mix in trying to apartment hunt and job hunt together, add a dollop of financial aid panic, and voila. Mini nervous breakdown ensues. So in the interest of not blowing a gasket right at the start of my second year of grad school I am taking a mental health break and heading back to Chicago for a few days. The good news is that life seems to be finally winding down a bit and as of yesterday I am fully internet active thanks to a couple of maverick installation guys.

So I hope to be blogging more. Thanks to red rabbit and the professor for keeping up the place.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Insidious Design

Back in the 1990s when the Culture Wars appeared to be centered in English Departments on college campuses, Gerald Graff, a professor of English, urged his colleagues to “teach to the conflicts.” Graff reasoned that an undergraduate population increasingly unable to see any point in studying, say, Romantic poetry, might be energized if their professors introduced them to the competing ideologies that were roiling the pages of academic journals. By clarifying the disagreements among literature teachers we just might be able to teach our uncomprehending and uninterested undergraduates why reading and interpreting poetry was a matter that should concern them.

Now, as the front in these wars seems to have migrated to high school science classes, proponents of “intelligent design” are urging public schools to “teach the controversy” between intelligent design and evolution. But while they’ve stolen a page from Professor Graff’s playbook the differences between the two slogans are more instructive than the similarities.

By changing the key term from conflict to controversy, intelligent design proponents are doing more than hiding their debt to Professor Graff. They are, inadvertently, revealing their intent to mystify rather than clarify. A controversy involving science does not always indicate the existence of two credible scientific positions. To take one example, recall from this past spring the issue of removing Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube that preoccupied the nation. The case was certainly controversial. Yet from the standpoint of the medical science involved, there was no conflict. None of the physicians who examined Schiavo disagreed about her level of brain activity or about the likelihood of her recovering any significant level of brain function. Nonetheless it was difficult for many of the people who followed the public discussion in the media to find out this basic truth. Part of the intended outcome of making the issue a national controversy was to create the impression that the argument against removing Ms. Schiavo’s feeding tube rested on as solid ground, medically, as the argument for its removal.

To be sure there were real ethical, social, and political matters hanging in the balance, and these were indeed matters where discussion would have proved quite useful. Unfortunately the lion’s share of the public debate centered on people’s responses to video images of an apparently responsive, smiling Terri Schiavo.

Something similar has happened with intelligent design. Plenty of controversy, but again, from the standpoint of mainstream science, no real conflict. Sure, some scientists are pushing intelligent design, but the overwhelming majority of scientists working on the origins and development of life are not spending any time whatsoever trying to repudiate the findings of intelligent design—largely because there aren’t any.

But as with the Schiavo case, focus on a largely nonexistent controversy among scientists has obscured the real conflict, which exists among those Americans who declare themselves people of faith and who have to contend with the ever-increasing power of scientific explanation. We’ve seen among these Americans a range of responses to scientific discovery, including attempts to repudiate it, to coexist with it, and, now, to reconcile it with religious belief. These are interesting conflicts and perhaps worthy of discussion, but they are debates among people of faith, and have no place in science classrooms.

In fact, the logic of the issue goes in a direction exactly opposite that assumed by intelligent design proponents: If people of faith are to understand the implications that scientific findings and methods have for their beliefs, they have to be taught science in the first place. And while our current understanding of the wall between church and state may prevent us from insisting that religious schools teach their students evolution, we can at the very least insist the public schools don’t shirk their responsibilities in this area.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Physically Fit or Just Plain Vain?
In the film "Welcome to Mooseport," a former president played by Gene Hackman erroneously believes himself to be a pretty good golfer because, unknown to him, Secret Service agents have always hidden themselves around the course and tossed his errant drives back onto the fairway. From everything I've heard, the current resident is a much better cyclist than Hackman's character was a golfer, but the recent attention devoted to W's cycling exploits has drawn out at least one similarity--both men are allowed to believe that carefully controlled situations are the same as reality. Bush can declare himself the leader of the pack even as the Secret Service instructs his fellow riders that under no circumstances are they to pass the self-deluded little chimp. Likewise, he pats himself on the back for his optimal blood pressure and low cholesterol level even as he enjoys the kind of publicly funded health care that his policies deny to a nation suffering from an epidemic of obesity and Type II diabetes.
By contrast back in 1961, a physically limited, but nonetheless quite active, President Kennedy created the President's Council on Physical Fitness, which urged schools to adopt fitness guidelines. (I can still remember receiving my certificate in the second grade.) One does not need to romanticize the Kennedy presidency to see how successful the Right has been at choking off the government's commitment to providing for public health and welfare.
Although Hackman's character, as is generally the case in films, is brought around to seeing himself and the world around him without the protective lenses of his administration's handlers, there's no chance that Bush is ever going to see the light. The real issue is whether or not those of us among the Administration's opposition can build an effective movement that produces real alternatives for our domestic and foreign policies.

Monday, August 08, 2005

The Madness of King George
Roads were shut down Wednesday and residents living in nearby apartments between Dooley and Ruth Wall Roads were warned not to look out of their windows Wednesday. School busses from Grapevine-Colleyville ISD formed a perimeter around the site where President George W. Bush was scheduled to land. No one was going to get a glance of the president on his way to the Galylord Texan Resort and Convention Center.

Is he traveling naked these days? What the . . .? Residents were warned not to look out of their windows??? With a warning comes a threat. What were residents of Grapevine, TX risking by looking out of their own windows? Would they be arrested? Turned into a pillar of salt?

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Ohio election fraud story making a comeback?

Ok, this makes me crazy. Here is a journalist who, by his own admission, ignored the Ohio voter fraud story of 2004, dismissed those of us who were spitting blood angry as psycho liberal conspiracy theorists. The cognitive dissonance of wanting to slap him with one hand and welcome him back to the angry leftist fold with the other is making my head hurt. I suppose his piece may reach other scoffers like himself with the added weight of his late conversion. I will add it to my long list of proof that there really is a great rightwing conspiracy hellbent on taking over the world.

Here's the thing about Ohio. Until you really look at it, you won't understand its significance, which is this: the techniques used in this particular theft have the capacity to alter elections not by dozens or hundreds or even thousands of votes, but by tens of thousands.

Obviously people who have followed this story before know the basic facts already, but for those who ignored Ohio until now, here's a very brief greatest hits of Ohio irregularities:

* As was the case in Florida, the secretary of state (Kenneth Blackwell, in Ohio), who is in charge of elections, was also the co-chair of the state's Bush-Cheney campaign.

* In a technique reminiscent of the semantic gymnastics of pre-Civil Rights Act election officials, Blackwell replaced the word "jurisdiction" with "precinct" in an electoral directive that would ultimately result in perhaps tens of thousands of provisional ballots--votes cast mainly by low-income residents--being disallowed.

* Blackwell initially rejected thousands of voter registrations because they were printed on paper that was, according to him, the wrong weight.

* In conservative, Bush-friendly Miami County, voter turnout was an Uzbekistan-esque 98.55 percent.

* In Warren county, election officials locked down the administration building and prevented reporters from observing the ballot counting, citing a "terrorist threat" (described as being a "10" on a scale of 1 to 10) that had been reported to them by the FBI. The FBI made no such report. Recounts conducted during this lockdown resulted in increased votes for Bush.

* In Franklin County, 4,258 votes were cast for Bush in a precinct where there were only 800 registered voters.

Better late than never, I suppose.
Harold and Kumar Go to Gitmo

Do you ever feel like you don't recognize your country anymore? Maybe the moment came for you when five Republican justices on the U.S. Supreme Court handed a presidential election to one of their own. Maybe it came when the president took America to war based on pretenses that turned out to be false. Maybe it came when you saw those photographs from Abu Ghraib, or when you learned that the man who helped orchestrate America's torture policies would become its attorney general. Maybe all of those things built up in your mind until your idea of America started to seem a long way off from the reality around you.

I used to work with Tim Grieve at the Stanford Daily a lifetime ago. You can read him in the War Room over at Salon. He will introduce you to Abu Bakker Qassim and A'del Abdu al-Hakim whose story could be the screenplay for Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle as written by Franz Kafka. Two friends fleeing religious persecution in China, arrested in Turkey on suspicion of terrorist activity, turned over to the U.S. and delivered to Guantánamo Bay three years ago.
Although Qassim and al-Hakim were cleared in March, the United States didn't bother to share that fact with anyone outside Guantánamo. And having been denied contact with their lawyers or their family members, the men had no way to spread the word themselves. So for four more months, they sat in Guantánamo, cleared but not freed.

The U.S. says it can't send the men back to China because it fears they'll be persecuted there, and it hasn't found any other country that is willing to take them. Why not release them into the civilian population at Guantánamo until something better can be arranged? Can't do that, either, the government says. "They have been detained in here with some very bad people, under some very bad influences," Guantánamo spokesman and Army Maj. Jeff Weir tells the Globe.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

TWAT by any other name

It's hard to understand why the White House and the Pentagon would waste time and money to come up with a new slogan for our invasion of Iraq. Until you see that the acronym for "a global struggle against violent extremism," or GSAVE replaces TWAT, or "the war against terror."

You just know that a memo came down the pike at some point entitled "Talking Points to strengthen support for TWAT" and some WH staffer thought it was referring to Bush.

Saturday, July 30, 2005


Loyal readers may have noticed the spareseness of posts around here this summer. This is mainly due to the fact that being poor in New York and potentially homeless has a way of putting blogging on the back burner. The good news is that both poverty and homelessness* have been averted. The bad news is that said new home is also a in new building that hasn't been configured for internet access. So ultralite posting will unfortunately continue throughout August. Red Rabbit has been granted administrator status since she has done such an admirable job of keeping things from going to seed around here (also she was very much instrumental in averting my potential homelessness so the least I could do was give her a lil more clout). So things will continue as they have. And don't worry I'm still here.

*Yes I am exaggerating but only slightly.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Democrats and the Supremes

Nothing better illustrates the differences between Republicans and Democrats than Bush's nomination of John G. Roberts for the Supreme Court. Before the announcement Conservatives made it clear that even Alberto "torture is good" Gonzales was not far enough to the right for their tastes. They reminded Bush of his promise to appoint justices in the mold of Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas, and in Roberts they got a Rehnquist without the bad fashion sense, a Scalia without the visible fangs, and a Thomas with a brain.

The Democrats, for their part, characteristically charged into battle by retreating to their fall-back position: "GIVE US," they demanded with fists clenched "a moderate in the mold of O'Connor." That'll really rally the troops. And of course they got much less than that. To be sure there was no chance in hell that this president was going to nominate anyone truly palatable, so why not use the opportunity to mention the names of the kind of justices we'd really like to see on the court? The goal wouldn't be to get them nominated, but to illustrate dramatically how partisan Bush's short list is/was.

Better, why not discuss how undemocratic the Supreme Court is as an institution? The idea that nine men and women should be able to wield so much power in a representative democracy is really kind of crazy when you think about it. Why not open the debate on how to fix that? Propose that we amend the Constitution so that justices serve for twelve-year, staggered, non-renewable terms. Each elected president would get three Supreme Court appointees. Certainly presidents might be tempted to nominate partisan judges, but the knowledge that court majorities could change dramatically every four years would tend to force the justices themselves, if they do not wish to see their opinions overturned, to strive for broadly consensual rulings. Just a thought.

My point, though, is that Conservatives of late have tended to be more politically radical than Liberals--threatening to do away with the filibuster or, before the bloom faded from the Schwarzenegger rose, calling for a Constitutional amendment to allow naturalized citizens to run for President--while Liberals, mired in their red state/blue state funk, are behaving as if they'll never again represent the will of the majority. We've got to believe that more democratization favors our side because . . . well, because it does.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

The Brass Ring = Impeachment

The sweet smell of bacon frying in the smells like victory! The headlines calling for Karl Rove's head warm the cockles of my heart.

But let's not forget that we're going for the whole enchilada. Remember when President Backed Into a Corner met with a criminal lawyer last year at the time that federal prosecutors were initially questioning White House staff about the Plame case? I hope he has that number handy, because Karl Rove is this administration's Monica Lewinsky. Oh yes. And I mean that on several different levels.

Let's not forget that the whistleblower here, Joseph Wilson, was outing the administration's reasons for invading Iraq as lies and damn lies. Rove's calls to Cooper and others were meant to plant false allegations to try to discredit Wilson because Wilson was standing up and talking about the IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE of taking the nation to war under false pretenses.

I'm suddenly very pissed and very hungry.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Conduct Unbecoming

If you missed this opinion piece by Burton J. Lee III, former physician to George H.W. Bush, in the Washington Post last week it might have been because you were scratching your head wondering what the hell Attorney General Alberto "The Enforcer" Gonzales was doing in Iraq.

Chris Floyd connects the dots rather nicely, and every U.S. senator should read this before they even consider this little evil man for the Supreme Court. He had the nerve to blame the abuses at Abu Ghraib on the NIGHT SHIFT of one cell block. This administration has no shame in using cliches to lie about, excuse and rationalize criminal conduct performed at its command.

Next thing you know he'll be saying his dog ate the Constitution.

Thanks to Smirking Chimp for the link.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Bush Falls off Bike...AGAIN

Jeez, what is it with this guy? Was he chewing gum AND pedaling?

Say...maybe that's why his secret service detail didn't interrupt his bike ride in May when a Cessna violated restricted airspace near the White House and Capitol Hill had to be evacuated. Maybe he loses his balance at the slightest distraction. Maybe he drinks and bikes at the same time.

He clearly needs training wheels.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Sarah Vowell is who I'd like to be when I grow up and she's a guest columnist for the New York Times this week. She has a pithy take on the Live 8 concert today.
Seeing Robertson in that commercial with Bono - and Bono's hair - is a little like listening to Paul Anka's new recording of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit." At first, it's jarring to hear the guy who wrote "Puppy Love" for Donny Osmond sing Kurt Cobain's lyrics: "a mosquito, my libido." But listen hard and you can hear what Anka hears. He doesn't hear the ranting of weirdos. He hears the poetry, the architecture of a justifiably standard song like "Autumn in New York," like "Fly Me to the Moon."

My soft spot for strange bedfellows aside, I am a capital-D Democrat who still believes in the value of partisan politics. And I hold onto that belief despite the fact that I belong to a party whose only true talent is writing exceedingly eloquent concession speeches.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Our dear Professor made The Smirking Chimp. Now we could get him to blog.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

The Beauty of Innuendoes

Durbin's remarks were not aimed, not even implicitly, at Holocaust victims or at your average soldier on patrol in Baghdad. He did want to say both directly and indirectly that all people under U.S. detention, no matter what we happen to think about their guilt or innocence, should not be subjected to certain kinds of treatment. But by construing his remarks as innuendo, Durbin's opponents were able to sidestep that discussion.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Impeachment's just another word...

...unless Dean, Biden, Reid, et al, grab this opportunity to keep the idea alive and in the news.

The latest Zogby poll included a question about impeachment and a healthy 42% agreed that Congress should impeach George Bush if he misled the country into going to war in Iraq. And that included 25% of Republicans responding to the survey. (IF he misled the country? Were his lips moving?)

These numbers will grow alongside our ballooning deficit and, unfortunately, the number of casualties in the "war on terra."
We have nothing left to lose.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Dear Democratic Leadership

Please stop apologizing for telling the truth. We must focus on the midterm elections. We must capitalize on Bush & Co. falling poll numbers. They have made a mess in Afghanistan and Iraq, and made a sham of our democracy.

I understand we do not have the votes to impeach right now. But if Republicans and Democrats who face midterm re-election can be made to feel the growing disillusionment of Americans, they may see their way clear to stand up against this administration. We cannot let them get away with the criminal incompetence and corruption of the last four and a half years.

Please get tough and stop criticizing each other. You all should have closed ranks around Senator Durbin and focused on the abuse and torture he was condemning, not on a metaphor blown out of proportion to distract attention from the abuse and torture.

Keep your eye on the ball!

a true-blue Democrat.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Drunk on Freedom

That's exactly what you are if tonight between 7pm and 8pm CST, you watched any of the big three networks, cable news, or CSPAN; played a drinking game; AND picked the correct word: FREEDOM as your cue. According to Think Progress, that is.

The latest propaganda event brought to you by Karl Rove and his Flying Feces Productions, gave the chimp another chance to listen to the sound of his own voice bring tears to his beady eyes in front of another captive military audience.

When that little bastard tears up you just know that he's touched, not by real courage and bravery of true heroes and patriots, but by the momentary illusion of his own fake humanity. When he thinks of you he touches himself.

I may vomit.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Strategery = Abduction & Torture

Last week when Karl Rove criticized liberal responses to 9/11 for presumably wanting "to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers," he specifically singled out as one of the targets of his criticism. Eli Pariser was said by the New York Times to have responded by asserting that MoveOn had not opposed military action in Afghanistan. Pariser then rightly criticized the administration for trying to deflect attention from its own failures and problems.

What's wrong with the first part of Pariser's response is that it plays the administration's game inadvertently. In deriding a desire to prepare indictments Rove is attempting to discredit a more effective response to terrorism than the dubious war strategy Bush & Co. have embraced. If you doubt me, follow the details of the arrest orders against 13 CIA officials issued by an Italian Judge for their role in kidnapping an Egyptian cleric in Milan who was taken to Egypt and allegedly tortured.

Although there's alot to be said here, my key point is that the rendition of this terror suspect reportedly "disrupted Italian efforts to identify his connection to a terror network believed to have active operations throughout Europe," and that in other countries the effort to capture and convict terrorists has been stymied and undone by the Bush regime's lack of cooperation. Bush & Co. are not merely deriding effective legal responses to terrorism, they are actively subverting them.

We should not forget that the rush to unity after 9/11 was an attempt to make war, first in Afghanistan and then in Iraq apear to be the only justifiable alternative.

Thanks to the Professor.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Learn the Truth

If you have friends or loved ones serving in the U.S. Military, of if you give a damn about the two wars we are waging in the Middle East, you might want to check out this web site.

Operation Truth is an organization made up of non-partisan veterans. This web site has a lot of information about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that you won't see on the evening news, or read in your local newspapers.

Thanks to Kate over at Broken Windows for the info and link.

Go read Kate for first and second-hand news from the front.

Sunday, May 01, 2005


Last week Tbogg had this photo posted. "My God," I said, "she looks like a Sith!"

Today's Boondocks.

The transformation is complete.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

TIME Magazine Dabbles in Freeper Porn

I’ve just finished my first paper of the semester (a charming bon mot about the relationship between Jeffersonian Anglo-Saxon nationalism and racial ethnology) and given that I already have a headache, I figured a look-see around the net couldn’t possibly hurt.

Christ was I wrong!

If you haven’t already seen it, Here’s TIME magazine’s latest cover girl. Ms. Right indeed. Gross.

I’m not going to read the piece. My brain is not so fried as to not feel the pain of Ms. Coulter’s non-logic. One of the depressing things I’ve realized, particularly after spending the weekend on this paper, is that Coulter is part of along WASP-y tradition beginning before the revolution that declares Anglo-Americans as the true heirs to ancient Anglo-Saxon democratic values. Coulter’s rhetoric of “invading their countries and converting them to Christianity,” abhorrent as it may be, is quite as American as apple pie.

Discouraging n’est-ce pas?

However, just because Coulter isn’t technically un-American, that doesn’t mean we have to stop treating her like the lunatic throwback she is. This means NOT reading TIME, canceling your subscription , and telling them that you’re offended at their foray into the obscene. For fuck’s sake, there is a war going on! Coulter’s shtick is over 200 years old. It’s not going anywhere. Bring on the news already.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

293,027,571 pairs of rose-colored glasses, please

Ironically, one reason why Washington can persuade the outside world that its venture in Iraq is finally coming right is that it is too dangerous for reporters to travel outside Baghdad or stray far from their hotels in the capital.
OK, note to American reporters: if it's too dangerous to leave your hotel, then the situation is getting worse not better.
Most violent incidents in Iraq go unreported...Last year US soldiers told the IoS that they do not tell their superiors about attacks on them unless they suffer casualties. This avoids bureaucratic hassle and "our generals want to hear about the number of attacks going down not up". This makes the official Pentagon claim that the number of insurgent attacks is down from 140 a day in January to 40 a day this month dubious.
Boy, does that tactic sound familiar.
The White House finds its military commitment in Iraq politically damaging at home. The easiest way to bring the troops home is, as in Vietnam, to declare a victory and full confidence in US-trained Iraqi forces to win the war. These soldiers and police supposedly number 152,000, but it is not clear who. The figure may include the 14,000 blue-uniformed Iraqi police in Nineveh province, the capital of which is Mosul, with a population of 2.7 million. But Khasro Goran, the deputy governor and Kurdistan Democratic Party leader in Mosul, told the IoS that the police had helped insurgents assassinate the previous governor.

Mr Goran said that when guerrillas captured almost all of Mosul on 11 November last year, the police had collaborated, abandoning 30 police stations without a fight. "They didn't fire on terrorists because they were terrorists themselves," he said. Some $40m-worth of arms and equipment was captured by the insurgents.

It is a measure of how far the reality of the war in Iraq now differs from the rosy picture presented by the media that the fall of Mosul to the insurgents went almost unreported abroad because most journalists were covering the assault by the US marines on Fallujah.

So we lost Mosul in November; we're training terrorists and counting them among the forces we are confident can "win" the war that we declared victory in over a year ago; our guys are hamstrung by leaders who don't want to hear bad news or properly arm them; and our biggest stories have been Terri Schiavo, Michael Jackson and the pope, with Tom Delay's shenanigans thrown in for balance. Terri and the pope are dead. Toss Michael Jackson and Tom Delay in jail, and be done with it.

We are at war and people are dying needlessly every single day. Can't that be taken seriously by the goddamn news?

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

At least 16 people were killed when an American military helicopter crashed in bad weather near the town of Ghazni, south of the capital Kabul, an American military spokeswoman said.

The American spokeswoman, Cindy Moore, said that 18 people were listed as having been aboard the helicopter. It was not known, however, whether the two people unaccounted for had actually boarded the aircraft.

Nor had the nationalities of all the victims been determined, she said.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

I missed the death of the Pope because I was off watching Sin City and studying. And after reading this, I'm really not sorry that I did.
...the conversation has been conducted almost exclusively among men. It's like that recent God panel on Meet the Press that consisted of five men theologizing, with Jon Meacham of Newsweek mewing the most awful pious twaddle, at one point using Bush and Dante in the same sentence with a straight face.


As a laspsed Catholic I can't quite bring myself to completely disregard the Pope's death. But c'mon people. This has been coming for ages. Stop mourning and rejoice that the man no longer has to suffer the indiginity of the mortal coil.

Now I'm off to an early bedtime because I'm getting sick. I think that God is punishing me for the whole Sin City thing.
What Do We Do with a Drunken Liar?

If we're the CIA and it's 2001, we codename him Curveball, invade a country and kill thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people, based on his wacky stories of biological weapons programs.

If the headline on thisGuardian special report isn't enough to make you choke on your oatmeal, the very first line will.

An alcoholic cousin of an aide to Ahmed Chalabi has emerged as the key source in the US rationale for going to war in Iraq.

"An alchoholic cousin of an aide..."??!!??
According to a US presidential commission looking into pre-war intelligence failures, the basis for pivotal intelligence on Iraq's alleged biological weapons programmes and fleet of mobile labs was a spy described as 'crazy' by his intelligence handlers and a 'congenital liar' by his friends.

The defector, given the code-name Curveball by the CIA, has emerged as the central figure in the corruption of US intelligence estimates on Iraq.
Despite considerable doubts over Curveball's credibility, his claims were included in the administration's case for war without caveat.

I say let's put him in a boat and row him over or at the very least hoist him up to the topsail yardarm. Nope, this kind of incompetent lunacy deserves a Congressional Medal of Honor.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Sweet Home Chicago
Gov. Rod Blagojevich filed an emergency rule Friday requiring pharmacies that sell contraceptives to fill prescriptions for birth control quickly, following recent incidents in which a Chicago pharmacist refused to fill orders for contraceptives because of moral opposition.

"Our regulation says that if a woman goes to a pharmacy with a prescription for birth control, the pharmacy or the pharmacist is not allowed to discriminate or to choose who he sells it to or who he doesn't sell it to," Blagojevich said. "The pharmacy will be expected to accept that prescription and fill it ... No delays. No hassles. No lectures."

Yet one more reason why I love the great state of Illinois. Democrats, take note. This is the way to do things.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The Contraceptive Nazis

Ok, this could be the start of something bad.
''There are pharmacists who will only give birth control pills to a woman if she's married. There are pharmacists who mistakenly believe contraception is a form of abortion and refuse to prescribe it to anyone," said Adam Sonfield of the Alan Guttmacher Institute in New York, which tracks reproductive issues. ''There are even cases of pharmacists holding prescriptions hostage, where they won't even transfer it to another pharmacy when time is of the essence."

Supporters see this as "...a welcome expression of personal belief"? Did anyone else just hear a toilet flush? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.

TBogg points out the hypocrisy quite nicely.
After reading the article you will notice that no mention is made of pharmacists declining to sell condoms, which are disposable gulags for the pre-Fetus-Americans. And ribbed condoms? Forget it, Sparky. Sex is for babies, not for pleasure. Well, her pleasure anyway.

If female pharmacists suddenly started refusing to dispense Viagra or Cialis to men, Congress would reconvene in the middle of the night and George Bush would make another midnight run from Crawford to sign the Tentpole Act of 2005 (also known as Bob Dole's Law).

What's next? Will the almighty pharmacist decide, in all his wisdom and selfrighteous willfulness, that the pesky rash you've been trying to get rid of is the punishment of a just God? No cortisone for you!

Friday, March 25, 2005

Ten Little Indians UPDATE

Ok, so it wasn't ten Indian kids who were killed at the high school on the Red Lake Indian reservation in Minnesota on Monday. It was six students (including the shooter), a security guard and a teacher, and the grandfather of the shooter as well as the grandfather's girlfriend. What can I say? I depend on the constant yammering of nattering nabobs to pound the details into my brain.

President Raised In A Barn finally offered his condolences today, five days after the fact. A White House spokesperson actually claimed Bush tried to get a hold of someone earlier in the week and got their voicemail.

I shit you not.

ADDED: Amanda over at Pandagon links to a Washington Post article detailing the dissatisfaction many Native Americans feel about Bush's lackluster response to the shootings.
"From all over the world we are getting letters of condolence, the Red Cross has come, but the so-called Great White Father in Washington hasn't said or done a thing," said Clyde Bellecourt, a Chippewa Indian who is the founder and national director of the American Indian Movement here. "When people's children are murdered and others are in the hospital hanging on to life, he should be the first one to offer his condolences. . . . If this was a white community, I don't think he'd have any problem doing that."
Ten Little Indians

Is it just me or did 10 high school kids just meet their maker in the worst schoolyard murder/suicide since Columbine and it barely rated a blip on the collective radar of our Dear Leader and his poodle press? Where the hell is the wall-to-wall coverage we've come to know and love in our 24/7 news all day/every day?
...maybe if they were ten brain-dead white women on life support for 15 years and Michael Schiavo factored into each case somehow, instead of ten indian kids in an economically depressed community that the powers that be try very hard never to think about under any circumstances.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Republican Logic Condensed

Artificially terminating a pregnancy in its earliest stages: UNNATURAL AND AGAINST GOD'S WILL.

Artificially keeping a brain dead adult alive for over a decade: THE WILL OF GOD.

Culture of life my ass.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Um, Freud? A little help over here.
Via A Tiny Revolution, a look at the Rockwellian childhood of Jerry Falwell, from his autobiography:
There were times that Dad’s pranks bordered on cruelty. One of his oil-company workers, a one-legged man he nicknamed “Crip” Smith, complained about everything. Dad and Crip’s co-workers got tired of the old man’s bellyaching and decided to take revenge. One morning Crip called in sick and Dad volunteered to send by lunch to his grateful but suspicious employee. Dad and his chums caught Crip’s old black tomcat, killed it, skinned it, and cooked it in the kitchen of one of Dad’s little restaurants. They called it squirrel meat and delivered it to Crip on a linen-covered tray. When Crip returned to work the next morning, Dad and his co-conspirators asked him how he liked his meal. They knew he would complain even about a free home-cooked lunch, and when Crip called it “the toughest squirrel meat” he had ever eaten, they were glad to tell him why.

Interesting how that prank merely borders on cruelty. What would be downright cruel in this sick sad world?