Saturday, December 09, 2006

Real Men Don't Cry or eat Quiche

All the tears in the world are not going to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. Bush Sr. may have been talking about Jebbie, but make no mistake, he was weeping about Dubya. In his father's own words the measure of a man is in how he handles both victory and defeat. He handled a false "victory" by saying,
I've earned capital in this election -- and I'm going to spend it..."

He handled defeat by cheating, by stacking the deck, by stealing not just one but two elections by any and all means necessary.

Cry me a river, grampa, you should've drowned him when you had the chance.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

V-Day 2008

I got nothing. Go read Kos. They have the goods.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

We Live in F*****land*

When Limbaugh says something horrifying, it really isn't all that surprising. Limbaugh left the world of civil discourse so long ago there's no point calling him a fucker yet again.

So why is this latest fucker moment worth noting?

Because of all the other fuckers it brings out of the woodwork.

This "attack the suffering" mentality has been one of the most extraordinary things to emerge on the right over the last few years. On the one hand it's sort of part of the outrage that blames the poor for poverty, promiscuity for rape, etc. But I think that part of the post 9/11 whackoness also is this sense where the idea of somone else suffering more than you is simply unacceptable and rather than acknowledge that all suffering is not equal, you attack the sufferer.

There is a certain truth to all being fair game once it enters the political arena. But there is distinct difference between having an issue with Michael J. Fox politicizine his disease and calling him out for "faking." And more power to him for being political, especially now. The stakes are higher for him, as the are for the Iraq vets, and the 9/11 widows.

*Quote taken from roomie Spence.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Cheney Admits to Having NO BRAIN

Not that we had any doubt, but admitting that you have a problem is the first step toward recovery. Get well, Dick.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Audacity of Obama

Well, the inevitable save-the-date announcement of Barack Obama's true intentions has arrived. Yup. It's all about him. No matter that the invasion of Iraq is getting bleaker by the hour; we could be at the brink of a nuclear war; and Bush appears to be preparing to flee to South America when the shit hits the fan--the conversation must be brought back to the importance of what the country can do for Barack Obama. I mean, wouldn't someone who really served his constituents and country be calling for investigations into the corruption that has brought our democracy to its knees?

He sure has come a long way from young Barry Obama, who tried hard to fit in, rejecting his Kenyan heritage until he saw how useful it could be for him. It's interesting to me that in the only real political campaign he's run, he had his head handed to him by voters on the southside of Chicago who overwhelming re-elected Bobby Rush to Congress. And I have more than a few questions about how he treated his mentor, Alice Palmer, as he ran her over to get her seat in the state senate.

But now, his face and name are everywhere. He's out selling his books and himself. But the conversation shouldn't be about Obama, it should be about this nation and what needs to be done to coexist peacefully in this world and how to enrich the lives of all our citizens.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Just Because

Sigh, I still miss this segment. Comic gold.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Ann Richards, 1933-2006

From the NYT:
Former Gov. Ann Richards, the witty and flamboyant Democrat who went from homemaker to national political celebrity, died Wednesday night after a battle with cancer, a family spokeswoman said. She was 73.

Ann Richards, the former governor of Texas, in 2004.
She died at home surrounded by her family, the spokeswoman said. Richards was found to have esophageal cancer in March and underwent chemotherapy treatments.

My earliest memory of Ann Richards was of her infamous speech at the 1988 Democratic Convention. There are people who will no doubt eulogize her more thoroughly and elegantly than I can. But Ann represented a seldom seen aspect of Texas politics, namely the scrappy, populist, take-no-shit Democrats that make the Bush clan look like the limp hypocrites that they are.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Garrison Keillor's Apology to Republicans

A friend emailed this to me and I thought it was hilarious:
Having been called names, one looks back at one's own angry outbursts over the years, and I recall having at various times referred to Republicans as:

hairy-backed swamp developers,
fundamentalist bullies,
freelance racists,
hobby cops,
sweatshop tycoons,
line jumpers,
marsupial moms,
aluminum-siding salesmen,
misanthropic frat boys,
ninja ditto heads,
shrieking midgets,
tax cheats,
cheese merchants,
cat stranglers,
pill pushers,
nihilists in golf pants,
backed-up Baptists,
the grand pooh-bahs of Percodan,
mouth breathers,
testosterone junkies
and brown shirts in pinstripes

I look at those words now, and 'cat stranglers' seems excessive to me. The number of cat stranglers in the ranks of the Republican Party is surely low, and that reference was hurtful to Republicans and to cat owners. I feel sheepish about it.

My personal favorite? Backed-up Baptists, although Constipated Christians is more inclusive.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Bullshit Detectors at Alert Level RED

ABC looked back at the events of September 11, 2001, and yelled, "GET ME REWRITE!" And the new villain is...(drum roll)...Bill Clinton. These guys have no imagination.

Steve has a a good idea.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Bush, the Absurd

The Professor and I were discussing the recent White House claim that Bush has read 60 books so far this year, including an 800-pager, American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer.

random thoughts:

Ok...8 months divided by 60 books = a feat conceivable for anyone but Bush.

If you calculate his 2hour+ workouts each day, his inability to stay up past 9pm, and the "presidenting" he's supposed to be doing between the workouts and the sleeping... I mean, he'd have to be reading close to 3 hours a day, and, quite frankly, I don't think he's capable.

When it comes to the things that separate us from the apes, he's demonstrated he's got the attention span of a kumquat.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

More on New Orleans

Adolph Reed in The Progressive on New Orleans.

With each passing day, a crucially significant political distinction in New Orleans gets clearer and clearer: Property owners are able to assert their interests in the polity, while non-owners are nearly as invisible in civic life now as in the early eighteenth century.

Among other things, the travesty in New Orleans reminds us that capitalism enshrines the prerogatives of property owners—and the bigger the holdings, the more substantial the voice.

This underscores why a simplistically racial interpretation of the injustices perpetrated in New Orleans is inadequate, even when those injustices cluster heavily along racial lines. Substantial numbers of blacks as well as whites are in a position to benefit materially from this regime; blacks as well as whites support the de facto creation of a property owners’ republic. It is possible simultaneously to include black people as stakeholders in the equation for rebuilding the city and to exclude poor people. This is the truth beneath the 200 sociologists’ assurance that their proposal for dispersing the poor would not “depopulate the city of its historically black communities.” But this is a sleight of hand that seeks to sanitize class cleansing with a patter of racial respect.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

NOLA, still here, inspite of it all

I've read, here and there, different accounts of what happened a year ago, and what's happened since. But Kate is back, with the beautiful writing that gets past the debris to what was New Orleans.

random thoughts:

Why did CNN send their African correspondent to cover Katrina? A wierd echo of Bush when he said, “I know the people of this part of the world are suffering…”

I wonder, also, why so much reaction to the displaced New Orleanians is resentful and even'd think that when Hurricane Katrina uncovered a group of American citizens who have been living below what most would consider "the poverty line"--going without even basic housing and healthcare for generations--you'd think that the reaction would be more charitable for longer than a year. The logic of this reaction escapes me.'s to New Orleans...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Poopyhead Rationale

Lieberman:"I'm running as an independent because the winner was mean!"
The senator said last night he was staying in the race because Mr. Lamont had run a primary campaign of “insults” and “partisan polarizing” that relentlessly blamed Mr. Lieberman for President Bush’s wartime policies, which the senator has supported and defended but also criticized at various points.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Hey hey hey, Goodbye

Well it wasn't a blood bath, but Lieberman's gotta be hurting right about now. I doubt he'll truly understand why he lost this race. He'll blame the blogs, the "virulently anti-semitic far left," anything but his own tone-deafness. I hope that his lack of basic courage prevents him from seriously going for an independent run, but one cannot underestimate his narcissism.

Meanwhile, hurray for Lamont. Onwards to November.

It's Ned Day

Watchin' the polls from the city that employs 99.9% of CT.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Teach Your Children Well

Kids do the darndest things.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Friday Malamute Blogging

"What me spoiled?"

Kodi rarely has to be coaxed to eat in this fashion. He typically employs purely for the sake of attention. As a puppy he was at one point in danger of eating himself to death. A miscommunication on the part of his owners resulted in a week of overfeeding, during which time he became distinctly pearshaped and earned the nickname "Poop Machine." He also effectively wiped out the household supply of plastic bags. It took a while to clue in to this because he ate like he was starving to death. These days he's mellowed out some having been turned on to the wonderful world of people food. Avocado is a particular favorite.

Timebomb Atop the Volcano

Warm fuzzy thoughts heading into the weekend.
Sending a bunch of white supremacists off to Iraq might not be such a good idea.

A decade after the Pentagon declared a zero-tolerance policy for racist hate groups, recruiting shortfalls caused by the war in Iraq have allowed "large numbers of neo-Nazis and skinhead extremists" to infiltrate the military, according to a watchdog organization.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Joe Biden's Dubya Moment

Memo to Joe Biden: The Simpsons is not an accurate reflection of reality (link via Atrios).

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Belated Malamute Blogging

This is one from the Kodi archives. In this picture he's behaving relatively well, but trying to get him to accept the leash was kind of interesting. At first he'd simply sit down and howl and refuse to move. Later, when he realized the the leash meant "park" and "playing with dogs," he accepted the leash but insisted on holding part of it in his mouth in an "I'm not being walked, I'm walking you" move.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


I was going to blog about Al Gore's appearance on The Daily Show last night simply because it was just a cool interview. But I saw this and all the warm fuzzies went away.
Wait! I'm not the one who said that. According to The Washington Post--yes, yes, MSM "douchebags," I know, I know--a new study by two researchers at East Carolina University found that Stewart's cynicism has the effect of making viewers so disgusted with politics on both sides of the aisle that they feel too discouraged to vote. Constant ridicule seems to have the effect of turning the political system into one gigantic self-parodying freak show, with no sign of imminent change or relief.

That could be why all the pre-election talk about Jon Stewart sending his young viewers--though the average age of a "Daily Show" viewer is actually 47--to the polls in great numbers to vote for Kerry was just that--talk. It simply never happened.

So maybe ridicule and invective, though entertaining, and a refreshing alternative to the mainstream media's passivity and reserve, isn't the boon to democracy it's cracked up to be? Anyway, don't despair, and don't get enraged because that's just the bad news about Stewart. The good news is that he's not a fascist.

Atrios points out the both Siegel and the Post mis-represent the study (big surprise there). I haven't really been tuned into the whole blogofascism debate over the last week or so. My dilletante approach to blogging kinds of disqualifies me from weighing in. But it seems to me that Siegel's approach to both blogging and Stewart are part of the same shorsightedness regarding what's happening in this country regarding politics, media and the like.

This insistence within the MSM upon locating the central nerve system of the leftwing blogosphere betrays a certain amount of anxiety over hierarchical structure. And never mind that the invective coming out of rightwing blogs makes us look downright sweet.

Juan Cole describes it thusly:
For all the talk about freedom of speech and individual freedom in the United States, ours is actually a hierarchical society in which most people cannot afford to speak out unless they are themselves independently wealthy. A lot of Americans work for corporations, which would just fire anyone who became so outspoken in public as to begin to affect their company's image. Look at how many bloggers are anonymous! Purveyors of opinion in the mass media, who use their real names, are employed by, or in some way backed by, media moguls. It is fairly easy to depart from the spectrum of acceptable opinion (i.e. acceptable to the three million or so people who have disproprotionate weight in how America is run), and if one does, after a while one is not heard from so much any more. Thus, those attacking Kos work for Martin Peretz and Arthur Shulzberger, Jr., and if they didn't they would not have their current influential perches.

The very wealthy are used to getting their way in US politics and to dominating public discourse, since so much can be controlled at choke points. Journalists can just be fired, editors and other movers and shakers bought or intimidated. Look what happened to MSNBC reporter Ashleigh Banfield, who dared complain about the propaganda in the US new media around the Iraq War. Phil Donohue, who presided over MSNBC's most popular talk show, was apparently fired before the war because General Electric and Microsoft knew he would be critical of it, and did not want to take the heat. Politicians who step out of line can just be unseated by giving their opponents funding (the Supreme Court just made it harder to restrict this sort of thing).

A grassroots communication system such as cyberspace poses a profound challenge to the forces of hierarchy and hegemony in American society. Now anyone with an internet connection and some interesting ideas can potentially get a hearing from the public.

Kos and his community, in short, are at the center of a discourse revolution. Now persons making a few tens of thousands of dollars a year can be read by hundreds of thousands of readers with no mediation from media moguls. The old joke had been that anyone can own a newspaper, it only takes a million dollars (a really old joke, since it would take much more).

The lack of choke points in cyberspace means that people like Kos can't just be fired. How then to shut them up? Why, you attempt to ruin their reputation, as a way of scaring off readers and supporters. This technique, as Billmon points out, does not usually work very well in cyberspace itself, though it can be effective if the blogger moves into a bricks and mortar institutional environment where big money and chokeholds work again. A political party is such an environment.

Cyberspace itself, though, is a distributed system, not a centralized one. That is why the charges against Kos are so silly. In essence, creatures of the old choke-point hegemonies are projecting their own hierarchical system inaccurately on Kos. Of course you wouldn't expect people like Peretz or David Brooks to understand what a distributed information system is, dinosaurs as they are, of both politics and media

Very well put although I doubt it is as simple as misunderstanding the nature of networking in cyberspace. There is also a lack of analytical know-how going on. Siegel looking at Kos and the Kossacks is trying to understand something without really trying to understand it. He makes baseless comparisons and rather than looking at Markos's evolution as a blogger, he chooses to play pscychologist and take a patronizing attitude. Blogs began as sites for discussion and the exchange for information. One of the main reasons I started reading blogs is that they quickly exposed how completely fractured the MSM is at the moment. When somebody with a day job and DSL can take a few moments to do a little research that contradicts something written in the Times or the Post, something has clearly gone wrong.

As for his slam on Stewart, give me a friggin' break. Again, Siegel writes like someone who maybe watched one or two episodes. It's true that part of the Stewart's schtick is the whole are-you-sure-you-want-to-know-what-the-goverment's-up-to-'cause-'it-will-make-you-cry thing. But it's not cynicism. If you watch the show regularly you can't miss the thread of true outrage that runs through many of the reports and interviews. But like I said, Siegel can't take the time.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Friday Malamute Blogging

I'm officially calling for a "Take a Malamute to Work Day" because it's just selfish to keep these bundles of energy and mischief all to ourselves.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Ann Coulter Needs to Be Kicked in the Neck

There is no way to get around it anymore. Ann Coulter is way overdue for a good old-fashioned ass-kicking. I'm actually pretty astounded it hasn't happened yet. Oh there was the failed pie incident. But I'm talking about one of those satisfying knock down drag outs. In fact if were Ann (before I gave the world a break and retired, taking a vow of silence for good measure), I wouldn't make a move without an army of bodyguards, a bulletproof car, and my own private arsenal.

Ann is impossible to humiliate because she doesn't understand the nature of humility. If she did she wouldn't have a career. One cannot humiliate her on an intellectual level because she's too stupid to know when she's been out-argued. Having failed in the realm of ideas, it is now time to move to the realm of fisticuffs. Those of us who have ever faced down a schoolyard bully and lived to tell about it, know what happens in a fight. There is no humility like doing your damndest to try and not go out like a punk. At that moment it doesn't matter how clever or pretty or right you may think you are. All that matters is that the other person is out to beat you up and you either have to put up a good fight or just get beat. And until Ann has to face down someone who seriosly wants to kick her bony ass, she will never understand humility.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

It's Just Another Day in the Life of Apes with Ego Trips*

"Ann Coulter Needs to be Kicked in the Neck" has been preeempted for some actual news.
According to Bart Gellman's review of Ron Suskind's new book the following things are true:

  • Al-Qaedist Abu Zubaydah was captured in March 2002.
  • Zubaydah's captors discovered he was mentally ill and charged with minor logistical matters, such as arranging travel for wives and children.
  • The President was informed of that judgment by the CIA.
  • Two weeks later, the President described Zubaydah as "one of the top operatives plotting and planning death and destruction on the United States."
  • Later, Bush told George Tenet, "I said he was important. You're not going to let me lose face on this, are you?" and asked Tenet if "some of these harsh methods really work?"
  • The methods -- torture -- were applied.
  • Then, according to Gellman, "Under that duress, he began to speak of plots of every variety -- against shopping malls, banks, supermarkets, water systems, nuclear plants, apartment buildings, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty."
  • At which point, according to Suskind, "thousands of uniformed men and women raced in a panic to each . . . target."
(link via Atrios)
Buy the book.

*Brandon Boyd

More Obama Stuff

Tbogg speaks.
I would buy Obama's deference to leaders in the Democratic party if I felt that were any leaders in the Democratic party (Anyone? Anyone?) but he doesn't seem to want to fill the void and so we end up with a bland parsing pol who spends all of his time trying to not leave anything distinctive on his permanent record...and we already have an Evan Bayh. Personally I'm tired of Democrats who are obsessed with process and talking about how they need to get their message out. There comes a time to decide what you stand for...and then stand for it.

I don't have a horse in the 2008 Presidential election and I'll vote for any Democrat short of the Joe's (Lieberman and Biden), I only have one requirement for my candidate: someone who can win. And for that, and because both parties bases are pretty much set in stone, you need someone who can excite the mushy middle (also known as the "independents") and I don't think that you can get them off the couch them with more mush.

If you want to lead the party, then lead. Otherwise stop wasting my time and sucking the air out of the room...

Word. Obama, contrary to what he seems to think, at this point probably has the least to lose by taking a bold stand on something. Being both near the bottom of the list in the Senate and one of the most popular Democrats out there puts him in a position to take a risk. I understtand wanting to build a record before making waves, but when he Republicans control everything and the casualty rate in Iraq is creeping up to 3,000, there is little time for process and caution. Obama should take a cue from the lukewarm response to Hillary's baby steps onto the campaign floor, another junior senator who could have set the pond and fire and did not.

Okay I'll stop picking on Barack for now. Next up, why hasn't someone punched Ann Coulter in the neck.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Monday Morning Coffee Reading

I would like to offer some advice to my fellow pundits: face reality. There are some commentators who long for the bipartisan days of yore, and flock eagerly to any politician who looks "centrist." But there isn't any center in modern American politics. And the center won't return until we have a new New Deal, and rebuild our middle class.

Republican methodology to divide and conquer the middle class, both against itself and against the lower classes, is something that seems to hamstring the Dems on two levels. On one level, they are compelled to counter arguments regarding Gay marriage, etc. thereby entering into an argument they cannot win largely because the problem doesn't really exist in the frist place. On another, some of them (cough Leiberman) are beholden to the same rich constiuency that the Republicans favor. When Democrats run "centrist" campaigns (and notice that it is usually Democrats and not Republicans that make a big show of centrism)they're falling into trap of trying to unite artificially divided constiuencies.

O'Reilly Vs, Stewart (via Atrios)
Responding to a segment on the June 13 broadcast of The Daily Show during which host Jon Stewart satirized O'Reilly's recent trip to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, O'Reilly suggested that Abu Bakar Bashir -- the extremist religious leader recently released from prison where he was serving time for his role in the 2002 Bali terrorist attacks -- could "bunk with" Stewart "when he comes to the USA." O'Reilly then characterized his own "program" as "serious" -- as opposed to Stewart's "comedy show" -- and asserted that while being "a smart guy," Stewart has taken to pandering to the "[d]opey college kids" who "are gonna watch him."

Bring it on Bee-oo--tch. Seriously, this little feud is already over. O'Reilly's got nothing. If you read the transcript of the show, it sounds like a criticism leveled at Pink Floyd when The Wall was first released. But, hey, if Bill wants to stir shit up with Jon, let him. I have a feeling Jon knew exactly what he was doing when he did that bit about O'Reilly at Gitmo.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Friday Malamute Blogging

Looking at the world sideways.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Is the Bloom off the Rose?

David Sirota has probably one of the best pieces I've read to date on Barack Obama in this week's The Nation. The other night, I found myself in political conversation with a group of well-meaning white liberal types in which the inevitable adjective "well-spoken" was used in reference to Obama. For all that we'd like to believe we are above the racial tokenism of the right, there is a certain similarity in the way both sides treat politicians, cabinet members, etc. of color i.e. extra points for charisma, articulateness, and the like. It's annoying because it smacks of a low-grade racial panic. Oh finally, a black person I don't have to grit my teeth to like.

Obama has managed to get a lot of mileage out of his 2004 Democratic Convention speech, but if Sirota's piece is any indication, the tank is low on gas. Sirota points out that Obama shows himself to be more cautious than not.

Then there is the Iraq War. Obama says that during his 2004 election campaign he "loudly and vigorously" opposed the war. As The New Yorker noted, "many had been drawn initially by Obama's early opposition to the invasion." But "when his speech at the antiwar rally in 2002 was quietly removed from his campaign Web site," the magazine reported, "activists found that to be an ominous sign"--one that foreshadowed Obama's first months in the Senate. Indeed, through much of 2005, Obama said little about Iraq, displaying a noticeable deference to Washington's bipartisan foreign policy elite, which had pushed the war. One of Obama's first votes as a senator was to confirm Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State despite her integral role in pushing the now-debunked propaganda about Iraq's WMD.

In November Obama's reticence on the war ended. Five days after hawkish Democratic Representative Jack Murtha famously called for a withdrawal, Obama gave a speech calling for a drawdown of troops in 2006. "Those of us in Washington have fallen behind the debate that is taking place across America on Iraq," he said. But then he retreated. On Meet the Press in January Obama regurgitated catchphrases often employed by neoconservatives to caricature those demanding a timetable for withdrawal. "It would not be responsible for us to unilaterally and precipitously draw troops down," he said. Then, as polls showed support for the war further eroding, Obama tacked again, giving a speech in May attacking the war and mocking the "idea that somehow if you say the words 'plan for victory' and 'stay the course' over and over and over and over again...that somehow people are not going to notice the 2,400 flag-draped coffins that have arrived at the Dover Air Force Base."

Sirota freely admits to being vulnerable to the Obama personality spell, referring to is "mesmerizing ability to connect with people." It is true that there is something to be said for personality, but I think that Democratic nostalgia for the cult of Clinton has been overall bad for business. Both Gore and Kerry suffered for not having that "zing" thereby exposing the chinks in the Democratic campaign machine. For Sirota to challenge Obama to be the progressive politician and not just look the part shows a degree of chutzpah.

Monday, June 12, 2006

On truths inconvenient

We saw Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth last night. It's a must see (red rabbit may be posting on this later). What I'll say for now is that it underscores my previous post about the immediate need to define a core progressive position upon the belief that government can and must be used to solve certain problems. To be sure, the film leaves us with a host of things we can do as individuals to reduce our personal greenhouse emissions to zero, but there’s no getting around the fact that our failure to act collectively to address global warming by establishing fuel efficiency standards, limiting greenhouse gas emissions, and ratifying the Kyoto treaty stems from having allowed corporate interests rather than the public good determine national priorities.

Democrats have colluded in bringing about this state of affairs, and Paul Krugman gives us insight into how this happens in his Monday column on the way Republicans rhetorically use the phrase “Some Americans believe” (or alternately “other Americans don’t believe”) to attribute to Democrats all sorts of opinions they do not hold. This is to be expected from the Right, but part of our problem is that we get the same treatment from the left side of the aisle. Among the offenders Krugman cites is our own Senator Obama. Krugman writes:

And when Senator Barack Obama told The New Yorker that Americans "don't believe that the main lesson of the past five years is that America is an evil hegemon," he seemed to be implying that influential members of his party believe just that.

Krugman goes on to note, wryly that some might observe “that the alleged influence of the Some is no more real than the problem of flag-burning, that right-wing propagandists are attacking straw men to divert attention from the Bush administration's failures. And they wonder why people like Mr. Obama are helping these propagandists in their work.”

But, hey, this has been Obama’s m.o. from the outset. His much-ballyhooed keynote address at the Democratic National Convention included the following, “Now, don’t get me wrong. The people I meet -- in small towns and big cities, in diners and office parks -- they don’t expect government to solve all their problems,” implying, of course, that Some members of his party do expect this very thing and that the first battle to be waged is against these wild-eyed “Tax and Spenders” about whom the Republicans have warned us. But the truth is, Democrats since the Reagan era have been so intent on proving themselves not to be the stereotypes of Republican propaganda who believe that government should do everything they have systematically compromised all of the things government can and should do by granting loopholes and concessions to the corporate sector. And all that this has gotten us is a government almost unable to do anything—Grover Norquist, for one, is thrilled . . ..

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Go Tell it in Las Vegas, the Yearly Kos, or What's a Progressive Anyway?

Las Vegas sounds like it was an important political milepost. Let's hope it produces a pithy formulation of what makes someone a progressive, namely, the commitment to

(1) use public resources and power to make life better for those who live and work in this country, and (2) reduce dramatically the economic inequality between the few who control most of the nation's wealth and the many who actually create it.

All other issues, including, ending the War, protecting abortion, supporting gay marriage, etc., should orbit around these core committments.

If they don't, then we may as well be moderate Republicans, who famously declare themselves conservative on economic issues but liberal when it comes to social issues--and if you haven't noticed, moderate Republicans are an endangered species these days . . .

Friday, June 09, 2006

Friday Malamute Blogging

Freedom's just another word for trampled flowers and holes in the lawn.

Congratulations, Graduates!

Word of advice: be careful who's got your back.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

R.I.P. Bill Bennett

I think Jon Stewart just buried you.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Friday Malamute Blogging

Yes, sometimes Kodi's awake.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Idiocy in Black and White

If Shelby Steele were anyone other than Shelby Steele, he would bitch-slap George Will for deeming him “America’s most discerning black writer.” Given Steele's belief that only small men--“bargainers, bluffers and haranguers”--populate today's black intellectual cohort, getting hailed as the nation’s most discerning black writer must feel a bit like being lauded as the highest point of natural elevation in the state of Illinois. Surely Will could have been a bit more generous in light of Steele’s eagerness to help the cause by donning once again the hair shirt of turgid prose and psychobabble he first wore in The Content of Our Character. But to give credit where credit is due, Steele is right in saying that race and racism don’t adequately explain persistent inequality in our society. Ironically, though, this half-wit has then gone on (again and again, I might add) to explain the nation’s problems exclusively in terms of race: white guilt, black dependency, the soft bigotry of low expectations. “We blacks,” Steele writes, “always experience white guilt as an incentive, almost a command, to somehow exhibit racial woundedness and animus." We do, do we?

The real issue here, though, is neither Steele’s mental defectiveness nor Wills’ colossal arrogance but the way both of these men collude in a more sinister project. By laying the blame for current ills at the doorstep of Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” they seek to deflect attention from the way the policies of “neoliberalism” create and exacerbate inequality in the present. (On Neoliberalism everyone should read David Harvey’s A Brief History of Neoliberalism.) These policies confer "rights and freedoms on those 'whose income, leisure and security need no enhancing', leaving a pittance for the rest of us." The victims of these policies include and extend well beyond those Americans who happen to be black, and we need a politics that starts from an acknowledgement of that fact.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Remembering II

My dad never conveyed to me that he felt he deserved any special consideration for his 23 years of military service. Certainly he had sacrificed: three extended tours of duty away from us. But perhaps because he had never been under fire during the Korean, War, or in Thailand, during the Viet Nam War, he didn’t feel he had any unique claim on the nation’s gratitude, or on whatever platitudinous phrase politicians generally trot out for these sorts of holidays.

As I recall, when he spoke of the military what he talked about most readily was the social dimension of his service. He had joined the military at age 17, not long after President Harry Truman, under pressure from Civil Rights organizations, had issued executive order 9981 establishing equality of treatment and opportunity in the US Armed Forces. And although in some respects the promised equality of treatment was never fully realized for my dad (he never received the radio training that the recruiter assured him he’d get) the service was a ticket away from the hard life of a sharecropper’s son in a small segregated Arkansas town and into a world that was multiracial and—to the extent that the children of officers and enlisted men and women attended the same schools—corrosive of class differences. We—my brother, sisters and I—never felt inferior to anyone else: a sense of self we owed both to my mom and dad.

Nonetheless it is one of life’s ironies that the Cold War military from the 1950s through the 1970s provided a concrete sense of what life in a more egalitarian society might look like. I’m not sure, but this may be one of the reasons he continued to serve for as long as he did. I do know that he embraced an egalitarian vision that we should not only memorialize but also strive to realize.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Remember the Veterans

This is for my father, who served in WWII. He came home from the war 100% disabled and deeply troubled. He died when I was 10, never to know his grandchildren. I can still hear his beautiful voice singing "Would You Like to Swing on a Star?"

This is for my Uncle Quirino who was killed in WWII. His remains were shipped home more than five years after his death. This is for his brothers, my uncles: Ernesto, Marcos, Lalo, Abelicio, Quilo, and Benito. All veterans of WWII.

This is for my brothers Philip, Jr., Joseph, Valentino, and Glen. All veterans of the Vietnam war. Philip served two tours of duty in Vietnam.

Remember those who gave their lives.
Respect and value those who survived.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

A War Criminal AND a Traitor

Henry Kissinger sent tens of thousands of young American GIs to die for a cause he knew wasn't necessary.
During secret talks with Zhou Enlai in June 1972, Kissinger explained U.S. Vietnam strategy. Following his "decent interval" approach, Kissinger argued that the White House could not accept Hanoi's proposals to eject South Vietnamese leaders from power, but would accept the political changes that could occur after the United States withdrew forces from Vietnam: "if, as a result of historical evolution it should happen over a period of time, if we can live with a Communist government in China, we ought to be able to accept it in Indochina."

Basically all these guys gave their lives, NOT because we had to win the war, but because we couldn't afford to look as if we'd lost.

Kissinger should be hung.

(with thanks to the professor)

Friday, May 26, 2006

Friday Malamute Blogging

A Kodiak moment

Sunday, May 21, 2006


Barry Lamar Bonds ties the Babe's homerun record.

If Barry's taking something to help him keep his eye on the ball, then I can think of a few people who ought to be on that drug.

I'm just sayin'...

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Hee Hee

Friday, May 19, 2006

Friday Malomar Blogging

Bagel bed schmagel bed...this is more like it...

Friday, May 12, 2006

Friday Malamute Blogging Etc.

Here's Kodi in what used to be his latest most expensive bed. As with all previous beds the relationship soured when Kodi discovered the fun of the bed isn't in the sleeping but the unstuffing.

In other news:


President Bush’s job-approval rating has fallen to its lowest mark of his presidency, according to a new Harris Interactive poll. Of 1,003 U.S. adults surveyed in a telephone poll, 29% think Mr. Bush is doing an “excellent or pretty good” job as president, down from 35% in April and significantly lower than 43% in January. Approval ratings for Congress overall also sank, and now stand at 18%.

Champagne and ponies.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Flanagan Shenanigans

Cry me a friggin' river.

Ezra sez.
Barbara Eherenreich isn't a Democrat. Nor is Salon a Democratic organ, nor the Upper West Side the official Democratic headquarters. Flanagan isn't being attacked by the "Democratic Party," she's just pissy because the "Democratic Party" hasn't mounted a frontal assault against those who disagree with her lifestyle choices. Indeed, this is just an extension of Flanagan's normal romantic arguments to politics: she is a weak, vulnerable women in need of protection. Whether the answer is a strong man or an attentive party, the common problem is always her protested helplessness, which she insists all women share. The Democratic Party did nothing to Flanagan save not take sufficient notice of her assailants. And for that they get lambasted in the pages of Time. Flanagan also writes:

I have made a lifestyle choice that they can't stand, and I'm not cowering in the closet because of it. I'm out, and I'm proud. I am a happy member of an exceedingly "traditional" family. I'm in charge of the house and the kids, my husband is in charge of the finances and the car maintenance, and we all go to church every Sunday.

Her husband is a topflight television executive. She is a writer for The New Yorker. They have a nanny. They are exceedingly rich, and she has to make no tough economic choices between time with the kids and money for the rent. There ain't nothing "traditional" about that.

So sez I. Work-at-home-mom does not equal stay-at-home-mom. It's a fine distinction she can't seem to grasp. Her blindness to that distinction, willful or no, is also in a sense what makes her argument about "choosing" the life of a housewife problematic. Regardless of whether she's at the TIME magazine office, or sitting at home in front of the computer in her bathrobe, Flanagan is still acting as a public person. She is mistaking the domestic sphere as merely her physical space not the intellectual space she inhabits. Because her workspace allows her to pass to and fro between that intellectual public space and that domestic private space she has the luxury of choosing--or rather appearing to choose--the life of a housewife.

One the attractions of a career in writing is the hope of achieving the freedom to work at home and hopefully balance life between career and family. I freely admit that it was on my mind when I decided to go into academia. The reality I’m beginning to find (and this is as a single person ) is that sometimes that clear delineation between workspace and home is necessary both for productivity and for peace of mind. Flanagan would probably do better exploring the pitfalls of this particular problem instead of taking one kind of life choice and calling it another.

As far as claiming to be the “beaten wife of the Democratic Party,” oh please shut the hell up. In the first place--hello--bad metaphor. If it’s meant to be ironic it fails miserably, coming off as both overdramatic and morbid given the context. In the second, as far as people the Democratic Party have left behind, you honey are at the rear of the pack.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Friday Malamute Blogging

I'm a million years late to the Friday pet blogging party. Call it laziness or whatever. But here's the pride and joy of the house, Kodiak, seen here in his infancy. In future posts I hope to, with the help of red rabbit, look back fondly over the many mishaps of puppy rearing, and of course keep you updated on current escapades. Suffice to say, that our darling pup has a destructive streak that rivals a certain lil' bastard we all know and love. His kill list includes: two crates (one labeled "gorilla proof"), two giant dog beds, uncountable stuffed toys, at least five pairs of shoes, three milk crates, a lovely expensive Picasso book, at least one paycheck, and several pieces of mail. He hasn't moved to electronics yet, but we have our fingers crossed for this year.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Talk About Missing the Point

I'm going to go ahead and jump in with my two cents about Steven Colbert's performance at the White House Correspondent's dinner. You can see the video here, and Atrios has hightlights here.

First of all Colbert is balsiness personified for entering the vipers' den and refusing to pull punches.

That being said, what the hell were they expecting when they invited him to speak? Methinks the geniuses in DC don't get the joke that is The Colbert Report. It's easy to get lost in the jocularity and over the top bloviating, but if you missed the way in which he eviscerated both Michael Brown and Caitlan Flanagan earlier this month, then you clearly have no idea of how lethal Colbert can be when let loose among the stupid, the cowardly, and the hypocritical. Or rather, you didn't, until now.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The View from Paris

Ah, so much to blog little time. First things first: the Mona Lisa. I've not seen a reproduction that does her justice. And, yes, I shot this pic clandestinely because now no photos are allowed on the first floors of the Louvre.

As we've walked around Paris the last few weeks it's quite clear that our French cousins don't share our fear of, and distate for seeing, the naked female form. That is, if by "we" I meant John Ashcroft--which I did.

I mean, that whole episode of Ashcroft covering up the statue of Blind Justice at the Justice Department must've given the French, and probably all of Europe, a huge cramp from the belly laugh they experienced for days on end. I would love to have seen Bernard Henri-Levy immediately disavow even thinking "We're all Americans."

If I was bringing back a souvenir for John Ashcroft this would be it.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Passion of the Peeps

adopt your own virtual pet!

Here's something for your Easter basket.
After waiting outside overnight to be among the first to enter this year's White House Easter Egg Roll, families in line were surprised to learn that the White House had changed the ticketing policy for the annual event, PageOneQ has learned.

The unannounced change means that the families who waited in line the longest, in one case for twenty-four hours, will not be among the visitors at the event's opening ceremonies. The first families in line, who were not part of the LGBT family group, received tickets with an 11:00am entrance time, two hours later than the opening time listed in the White House press release.

Yeah, I don't put too much stock into the idea that this is the beginning of something new for President Bunnypants. Still, it's interesting to note that they're scrambling for all the good press they can get right now.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

So Very Wrong

I'm almost afraid to post this, but I can't resist.
A nude Britney Spears on a bearskin rug while giving birth to her firstborn marks a ‘first’ for Pro-Life. Pop-star Britney Spears is the “ideal” model for Pro-Life and the subject of a dedication at Capla Kesting Fine Art in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg gallery district, in what is proclaimed the first Pro-Life monument to birth, in April.

Dedication of the life-sized statue celebrates the recent birth of Spears’ baby boy, Sean, and applauds her decision of placing family before career. “A superstar at Britney’s young age having a child is rare in today’s celebrity culture. This dedication honors Britney for the rarity of her choice and bravery of her decision,” said gallery co-director, Lincoln Capla. The dedication includes materials provided by Manhattan Right To Life Committee.

“Monument to Pro-Life: The Birth of Sean Preston,” believed Pro-Life’s first monument to the ‘act of giving birth,’ is purportedly an idealized depiction of Britney in delivery. Natural aspects of Spears’ pregnancy, like lactiferous breasts and protruding naval, compliment a posterior view that depicts widened hips for birthing and reveals the crowning of baby Sean’s head.

Oh. My. God.

Leaving aside the sheer tastelessness of this statue for the moment (and whoa Nelly, it is tasteless), one has to admire the ballsiness of the pro-lifers for taking the poster girl bad trailer park moms and setting her up as an icon for motherhood. Now I have to go rinse my eyes out and forget that I ever saw those pictures.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Short Takes

On the Oscars: Responding to Three 6 Mafia’s winning the Academy Award for best song, Steven Levitt, University of Chicago Economics Professor and author of Freakonomics, announces he’s going to find out if it really is hard out there for a pimp. Responding to critics, Levitt said, “I think we’ve got the right data sets, so back up off me!”

On higher education: John Tierney and David Brooks of the New York Times launch a petition campaign to reinstate Harvard President Larry Summers. The petition also calls for replacing the Harvard Arts and Sciences faculty with Times columnists and for abolishing nationwide all forms of job security for anyone earning less than $500,000 annually.

On Katrina: The Wall Street Journal, after insisting that pre-storm briefings provided to President Bush warned only that the levees would be overtopped and not breached, observed that everyone knows that for Bush “it’s all a matter of details and semantics. He’s always looking for the fine print and nuance.” To prove its point the Journal recalled Bush’s response to the pre-9/11 daily intelligence briefing titled “Bin Laden Determined to Attack inside US.” Reportedly Bush told those around him, “This only tells us about Bin Laden’s state of mind. He’s a determined guy. Hell, I’m a determined guy, and I’m not about to do anything. Get back to me when you’ve got something concrete.” Returning to the highlights of Bush’s Katrina response, the Journal wrote, “And finally, it takes a truly unique individual to make Michael Brown look like a capable public servant.”

On books: C-Span books will discuss Michael Eric Dyson’s latest release, Is Mrs. Wimberly Right? Dyson explains that Wimberly was the seventh-grade teacher who told him he’d never amount to anything if he didn’t learn to think before he talked.” The subtitle of Dyson’s book is: “Or is knowledge overrated?”

On the polls: After looking at his 34% approval rating in the wake of his efforts to sell authority for US ports to the highest bidder, to sell high-level government posts to campaign contributors, to sell Social Security up the river, and to sell an illegal and increasingly unpopular war to the American public, President Bush is heard to mutter, “It is hard out here for a pimp.”

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Some Vietnam Vets NOT "truly deserving" of benefits?

My brother, Philip, was brilliant. He wrote and created pencil drawings so true to life, you'd weep. And in his paintings he captured an other-wordly quality of light. A sublime glow. He read everything. He told us stories. He was the first and the best storyteller in my life. He was recruited by the Marines, right out of high school. Those recruiters took a lot of boys from our neighborhood in the south valley of Albuquerque. He was sent to Vietnam twice. We didn't see him for three straight years. He came back violent and moody, went to college on the G.I. Bill, briefly coached high school football and taught Biology. He drifted around the country, met a paraplegic woman almost twice his age and married her because she "saved his life." They lived for awhile in her native Alabama and later Hawaii, but finally settled down on a little farm in New Mexico. He worked odd jobs for years, some he kept longer than others, usually manual labor type jobs. He usually broke a rule or two, threatened a co-worker, or just walked off a job if he felt like it. He began collecting animals. Not with any rhyme or reason in mind. He had dogs, cats and goats, in the double digits. When his wife passed away he became more and more reclusive. He didn't have time to read or paint anymore because he was too busy with his animals. He spent hours taking care of them. He lost a good job on a military base because he crossed a military roadblock to drive home to nurse a sick goat. He had periods of deep depression and suicidal thoughts. His health deteriorated. He began feeding the rats on his farm. Over the years we, his sisters and brothers, have pleaded with him to go to the VA Hospital, get a checkup, get some counseling, join a support group. He was stubborn and proud and wouldn't make time to jump through the hoops the VA required.

Well now he's reached the end of his rope. At 60 years of age, broken down and sick, living out of his car, he had to give in and admit he needed help. And now that he's willing to jump through the hoops to get what his country owes him for risking his life, and ultimately deferring whatever dreams a 17-year old had in 1963, idiots like Sally Satel, with the whole weight of the American Enterprise Institute behind her evil ass, are saying how can these guys make any claims after all these years? How the hell can she say that any of these guys are seeking a free ride?

Sally Satel, a psychiatrist and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, wrote this piece of crap for the NYTimes' op-ed page earlier this week.
ACCORDING to a report from its inspector general, the Department of Veterans Affairs is now paying compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder to nearly twice as many veterans as it did just six years ago, at an annual cost of $4.3 billion. What's more surprising is that the flood of recent applicants does not, for the most part, consist of young soldiers just returned from Iraq and Afghanistan. Rather they are Vietnam veterans in their 50's and 60's who claim to be psychologically crippled now by their service of decades ago.

This leads to an obvious question: Can it really take up to 40 years after a trauma before someone realizes he can no longer cope with the demands of civilian life? The answer: possibly, but it is often hard to know which applicants can be helped with short-term psychiatric care, which are seeking a free ride and which are truly deserving of the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder and thus long-term care and payments of up to $2,300 a month for life.
But it's also very likely that some of the veteran baby boomers who have filed claims in recent years did so not out of medical need but out of a desire for financial security in their retirement years.
Having worked as a psychiatrist at a Veterans Affairs hospital, I can attest to the good intentions with which the department created its post-traumatic stress disorder programs. But as the bureaucracy has become entrenched — and politicians and veterans' groups have applied pressure — a culture of trauma has blossomed.
Most important, more rigor in diagnosing will conserve resources for veterans who are truly deserving. With a new generation of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, the Veterans Affairs Department needs to look at post-traumatic stress disorder in a new way: the department must regard it as an acute but treatable condition. Only in rare instances should veterans be eligible for lifetime disability; and perhaps there should be a deadline of years after service by which claims must be submitted.
This is horseshit. I thought I was deeply traumatized when we had to put our 13-year old Husky down after a brief illness. I can't even imagine what horrors my brother Philip experienced in his two tours of duty in Vietnam.

Excuse me if I foam at the mouth. These veterans put their lives on the line. They were willing to go into harm's way when so many ran and hid (how many deferments did Big Dick Cheney get?). The least we can do for them is make sure they finish well. The very least we can do for them is to make sure their next meal isn't coming out of a trash can.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Something else to bring you down...

"I can't imagine anything worse, your loved one is killed in Iraq and you've got to deal with Fred Phelps."

Dick Cheney: A haunted combat vet

Who in their right mind would equate Dick Cheney shooting a 78-year old acquaintance in the face and chest, mistaking him for a quail, with Viet Nam veterans haunted by the devastating experience of battlefield combat? Joe "Primary Colors" Klein that's who.
But then, there he was, with that haunted look in his Fox News interview, saying, "[T]he image of him falling is something I'll never be able to get out of my mind. I fired, and there's Harry falling ..." Hunting had given him "great pleasure" in the past, but he wasn't so sure now. In fact, he sounded a lot like the combat veterans I've spoken with over the years, for whom the living nightmare of firing a weapon under questionable circumstances is a constant theme.
Does anyone seriously entertain the notion that Blind Dick Cheney has an empathetic bone in his squishy body? What passes for hunting prowess to some is really much closer to animal slaughter and all the sociopathology behind it. Think about it. What kind of person takes pleasure from destroying 70 small pen-raised animals in a few hours time? That's just sick.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Watch the Birdies

I admit it’s been hard to get out of my mind the image of Cheney slaughtering 70 pheasants for a single day’s amusement, but then again there are so many other things to keep an eye on, including whether or not Congress is going to let the Bush Administration slither out of its violation of the law against eavesdropping without a warrant. On February 17 Scott McClellan was quoted as saying, “What we have talked about with some Congressional leaders is codifying into law what his authority already is"—in other words, they want Congress to write into law the very authority they claim already exists under the law. This is a load of shit. Even if our weak-kneed legislators ultimately believe that Bush should be given the power to wiretap without a warrant, they should first force Bush to acknowledge that he acted outside of the law. After that they can try to persuade their colleagues to change the law. Taking this course, though, would (should) open the door to impeachment. The Dems have called for a full inquiry before the Senate Intelligence Panel but have put their proposal on hold until March 7 to give the administration time to negotiate. What’s to negotiate? It’s Congress’s job to determine whether the President violated the law. Call your Congressman and demand hearings now.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Cheney Fell to Pieces

Cue Patsy Cline. The Daily Telegraph offers a little peek at Vice President Pantywaist, who according to another guest at the Armstrong Ranch last weekend was "a pitiful sight." Cheney is the worst kind of coward.
"This is a man who has been instrumental in sending thousands of troops to Iraq, but who fell to bits when faced with the reality of shooting someone and seeing them bleeding on the ground."
Five deferments to avoid fighting in Viet Nam, but no deferring the invasion of Iraq, and probably no hesitation or even any thought about sending thousands of young men and women to kill and be killed. The last section of this Newsweek article strongly implies that Dick alone gave the order on September 11, 2001, to shoot down United Flight 93. The entire article is kind of odd in that it also implies history will be kinder to Cheney than the current media view of him. I doubt it. And the fact that Bush didn't offer any kind of consolation to Dick, not even a phone call, doesn't surprise me in the least. I think he enjoyed the whole situation more than David Letterman or Jon Stewart.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Drunks and Skunks

Cheney taking responsibility at this point is cheap. He's let it sit out there for several days that Whittington was at fault for not announcing himself when he approached the hunting party from behind. Every Cheney apologist has blamed Whittington. For Dick to come out now and say, "I pulled the trigger" still suggests that he doesn't truly believe that he was at fault, but that he knows thats the "right" thing to do. But like everything else over the last five years, it smacks of the way this administration has "taken responsibility" for all the damage it has done, from the invasion of Iraq, to it's nonresponse to Hurrican Katrina, to leaking classified information and outing a CIA operative. It amounts to: I'll take responsibility, if you insist, but only other people will feel the consequences.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Elmer Fudd Goes Hunting

Shhhh...wew hunting wabbits! I'm gonna bwast that scwewy wabbit!
"If Cheney was shooting at a bird and he loses sight of it because a hunter was standing between him and the bird, you have to have your head up your ass to pull the trigger."
Thanks to Taylor Marsh for the great insight into where Dick's head was!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Letters to the Editor = Treason

If you had any doubt that our country was hurtling toward fascism ask Laura Berg what she thinks.
The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico wants the government to apologize to a nurse for seizing her computer and investigating her for "sedition" after she criticized the Bush administration.
Berg, a clinical nurse specialist, wrote a letter in September to a weekly Albuquerque newspaper criticizing how the administration handled Hurricane Katrina and the Iraq War. She urged people to "act forcefully" to remove an administration she said played games of "vicious deceit."
"From all appearances, the seizure of her work computer was an act of retaliation and a hardball attempt to scare Laura into silence," the ACLU said.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

How Did These American Soldiers Die?

Did Katherine P. Singleton and Debra A. Banaszak die from dehydration?
Last week, Col. Janis Karpinski told a panel of judges at the Commission of Inquiry for Crimes against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration in New York that several women had died of dehydration because they refused to drink liquids late in the day. They were afraid of being assaulted or even raped by male soldiers if they had to use the women's latrine after dark.

Karpinski testified that a surgeon for the coalition's joint task force said in a briefing that "women in fear of getting up in the hours of darkness to go out to the port-a-lets or the latrines were not drinking liquids after 3 or 4 in the afternoon, and in 120 degree heat or warmer, because there was no air-conditioning at most of the facilities, they were dying from dehydration in their sleep."

    "And rather than make everybody aware of that - because that's shocking, and as a leader if that's not shocking to you then you're not much of a leader - what they told the surgeon to do is don't brief those details anymore. And don't say specifically that they're women. You can provide that in a written report but don't brief it in the open anymore."

    For example, Maj. Gen. Walter Wojdakowski, Sanchez's top deputy in Iraq, saw "dehydration" listed as the cause of death on the death certificate of a female master sergeant in September 2003. Under orders from Sanchez, he directed that the cause of death no longer be listed, Karpinski stated. The official explanation for this was to protect the women's privacy rights.

    Sanchez's attitude was: "The women asked to be here, so now let them take what comes with the territory," Karpinski quoted him as saying. Karpinski told me that Sanchez, who was her boss, was very sensitive to the political ramifications of everything he did. She thinks it likely that when the information about the cause of these women's deaths was passed to the Pentagon, Donald Rumsfeld ordered that the details not be released. "That's how Rumsfeld works," she said.

    "It was out of control," Karpinski told a group of students at Thomas Jefferson School of Law last October. There was an 800 number women could use to report sexual assaults. But no one had a phone, she added. And no one answered that number, which was based in the United States. Any woman who successfully connected to it would get a recording. Even after more than 83 incidents were reported during a six-month period in Iraq and Kuwait, the 24-hour rape hot line was still answered by a machine that told callers to leave a message.

    "There were countless such situations all over the theater of operations - Iraq and Kuwait - because female soldiers didn't have a voice, individually or collectively," Karpinski told Hackworth. "Even as a general I didn't have a voice with Sanchez, so I know what the soldiers were facing. Sanchez did not want to hear about female soldier requirements and/or issues."
According to Singleton and Banaszak are the only female fatalities without an official cause of death. Karpinski mentions several women dying from dehydration. Who are the others? Karpinski also says more than 83 incidents [of rape by male soldiers] were reported during a six-month period in Iraq and Kuwait. My head is spinning. I'm guessing no one has been brought up on rape charges. Are they at least discharging these sociopaths?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

"2245 Dead -- How many more?"

That was the "slogan" on Cindy Sheehan's T-shirt. If that's a slogan then the Democrats should adopt it.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Honor The Troops: Throw the Mothers of the Deceased in Jail

Yup they did it.
Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a fallen soldier in Iraq who reinvigorated the anti-war movement, was arrested and removed from the House gallery Tuesday night just before President Bush's State of the Union address, a police spokeswoman said.

Sheehan, who was invited to attend the speech by Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., was charged with demonstrating in the Capitol building, said Capitol Police Sgt. Kimberly Schneider. The charge was later changed to unlawful conduct, Schneider said. Both charges are misdemeanors.

Sheehan was taken in handcuffs from the Capitol to police headquarters a few blocks away. Her case was processed as Bush spoke.

Schneider said Sheehan had worn a T-shirt with an anti-war slogan to the speech and covered it up until she took her seat. Police warned her that such displays were not allowed, but she did not respond, the spokeswoman said.

SOTU: He just won't say it

And it's over.

And you know that's not water he's drinking.

SOTU: Don't Say "Katrina"

Will he say it? He said "natural disasters."

Yeah Dems! Celebrate rebellion.

Here we go, health savings accounts. He can never say OBGYN ever again. I think my uterus just screamed.

Clean safe NUKULAR energy. Drink again.

There is nothing more ironic than hearing this man talk about rigorous math and science education. Look kiddies, you can be a drug-addled C- student and still be the leader of the free world.

Abstinence my ass. Condoms, birth control, and emergency contraception.

"Natural Disaster," NOT Katrina.

SOTU: The Wanking Continues

Freedom, liberty, democracy, repeat.

He's looking kind of cakey. Bad foundation.

Iran, oh brother, drinking more.

Roomie: "Who are these isolationists you keep talking about?"

I hope these standing ovations are hard on arthritic knees.


Hillary's look of utter disdain just about killed me.

Oh no, here come the tears

Shameless creep. Using some dead soldier and his family to boost his approval rating.

Let's All Clap for Freedom!

Sit down, goddamit. Do Not Stand uP! Let's all clap for Evil!! Hey, I thought we weren't continuing reconstruction? Looks like Arlen Specter just got it--"my legacy will be...WHA!!!"


Is he about to have a stroke or what? Danger, danger, Will Robinson! 8:15 the first September the Eleventh mention

Does he Dye?

Looks a little less gray this evening. Only his hairdresser knows for sure.

SOTU Live Blogging

And we're off!

Here he comes President 39%.

Roomie's remarks: "You almost wish it was like Japanese Emperors who when they shamed themselves they would kill themselves."

They arrested Cindy Sheehan? Bastards!

If your playing the drinking game you just got a round of Sept. 11-Iraq War. Bottoms up.

Lots of empty seats. Hmmm.

Interesting the use of pre-World War II rhetoric. Interesting and wrong, because I don't think anybody is arguing for a return to an isolationism world view. It's about smart diplomacy dumbass.

Fuckin' Lieberman.

SOTU Preshow

Can we say panic mode?
As presidents before him have, Mr. Bush is addressing the United States' reliance on foreign oil. "America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world," Mr. Bush plans to say. "The best way to break this addiction is through technology."

The excerpts do not elaborate on the allusion to technology, which seems to confirm predictions that Mr. Bush's speech will propose more use of alternative fuels for automobiles, like corn-based ethanol, and will suggest a revival of nuclear-powered projects.

Nor do the excerpts suggest that Mr. Bush will again call for drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve in Alaska, a politically explosive proposal that has thus far failed to make it through Congress.

Till Death Do They Depart

As red rabbit noted a few days ago, had anyone on the left been quoted, as was Ann Coulter, as saying, even in jest, that a conservative Supreme Court Justice should be poisoned, the outcry would have been swift and unrelenting. And yet if there’s one kernel of truth in Coulter’s puerile drivel worth considering it’s that there’s something deeply wrong with a system where justices serve for life, which means if you want to remove someone from the bench it makes a lot of sense to imagine him/her dying. (How about a contest for the best scenarios in which Thomas and Scalia breathe their last? I've got one involving Thomas and a Coke can--just a joke, ya'll.) As I argued last year it’s time to amend the Constitution so that Supreme Court Justices serve 12-year terms on a staggered basis. Every four years the President gets three court appointees. Sure, there’s a lot to debate on this matter, but the key point is we ought to have the debate. (I suspect the idea of W’s having six appointees over his two terms is absolutely horrifying, but had this kind of system been in place I’m willing to bet there’s no way the frat boy would have been elected in the first place—it simply wouldn’t have been close enough to steal.)
The Senate is an obvious venue for this discussion, if only because the sole justification for having such an anti-democratic body as the Senate (how can it be fair that five million folks in, say, Arizona, get as much say as twice their number in Illinois?) is that its putative role is to provide a place for deliberation about matters of governance, shielded from the storms of daily politics—a place for statesmanship. Of course, the last time that the Senate played that role was, well, never. Which is to say, isn’t it time that the 42 Senators who voted “nay” to confirming Alito pointed out that they represent at least as many, if not more, Americans than the 58 who voted “yea,” and that there’s something deeply wrong about a non-democratic body having the power to assist the executive branch in giving a lifetime appointment to someone unacceptable to half the nation's citizenry?
To be sure, there’s no substitute for building a progressive majority, but along the way we need to look at those existing structures that thwart the progressive elements already at work in the polity.

Monday, January 30, 2006


When you start getting mail and phone calls and even email asking for campaign contributions, for your hard-earned cash, remember this sorryass group.
Akaka (HI), Baucus (MT), Bingaman (NM), Byrd (WV), Cantwell (WA), Carper (DE), Dorgan (ND), Inouye (HI), Johnson (SD), Kohl (WI), Landrieu (LA), Lieberman (CT), Lincoln (AR), Nelson (FL), Nelson (NE), Pryor (AR), Rockefeller (WV), Salazar (CO)
They don't deserve another dime.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

The best thing I've read today

From Firedoglake.
If your name is accompanied by the words "Democratic lobbyist who advised Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign," then you deserve a warm glass of shut-the-hell-up.

Friday, January 27, 2006

That's a Felony, Honey

"We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens' creme brulee," Coulter said.
What the hell? Who invited this moron to speak at Philander Smith? The alma mater of many distinguished people, including the professor's mother, who departed this plane less than a year ago, and was at least spared this nonsense.

Oh, and by the way, the joke's on Ann the Man Coulter. I will await the reports of her arrest and conviction for threatening a Federal official.

CALL OBAMA NOW! 202-224-2854

I just called Senator Obama's Washington DC office and asked if he was supporting the filibuster. The aide who answered the phone said he had not made a decision yet. I asked what was he waiting for. She said he wanted to hear all the opinions on it. I told her there were six voting Democrats in this household and if Senator Obama did not support John Kerry's call for a filibuster, these six votes would not be supporting Mr. Obama in the future.

What the hell is he waiting for? Testing the waters of his political future? Call him and urge him to support the filibuster if he wants a political future.

CALL OBAMA NOW! 202-224-2854 in DC or his Chicago office: 312-886-3506

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

46 Reasons Why Democrats Need to Clean House

I nearly choked on my cheerios when I read Sec. 605 of the USA PATRIOT IMPROVEMENT AND REAUTHORIZATION ACT OF 2005, just my usual morning reading.
There is hereby created and established a permanent police force, to be known as the `United States Secret Service Uniformed Division'.
(b)(1) Under the direction of the Director of the Secret Service, members of the United States Secret Service Uniformed Division are authorized to--

(A) carry firearms;

(B) make arrests without warrant for any offense against the United States committed in their presence, or for any felony cognizable under the laws of the United States if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the person to be arrested has committed or is committing such felony...
And you can bet your sweet patootie that I had to know who, if any, of my political persuasion would support such fascist crap. So I looked and looked and I found their names, every one, and if this were a Wall of Shame it would look like this.

In the Senate:
Johnson, S.D.; Nelson, Neb.
And in the House:
Andrews (NJ); Barrow (GA); Bean (IL); Bishop (GA), Boren (OK); Boswell (IA); Boyd (FL); Cardin (MD); Carnahan (MO); Case (HI); Chandler (KY); Cooper (TN); Costa (CA); Cramer (AL); Cuellar (TX); Davis (AL); Davis (FL); Davis (TN); Edwards (TX); Emanuel (IL); Etheridge (NC); Harman (CA); Herseth (SD); Higgins (NY); Holden (PA); Hoyer (MD); Lipinski (IL); Marshall (GA); McCarthy (NY); McIntyre (NC); Melancon (LA); Miller (NC); Moore (KS); Pomeroy (ND); Reyes (TX); Ross (AR); Rothman (NJ); Ruppersberger (MD); Schiff (CA); Schwartz (PA); Scott (GA); Skelton (MO); Spratt (SC); Taylor (MS)
Are we paying attention yet?

Thanks to Paul Craig Roberts and Smirking Chimp.

Flustered, Flummoxed, and Fumbling

This is hilarious. Poor Georgie, embarrassed by a Brokeback Mountain question, loses any grip he had on grammar, sentence structure or linear thought. Interesting that the questioner, a Kansas rancher, got past the Secret Service screeners to ask his question, enthusiastically adding:
You'd love it! You should check it out!
Even more interesting is that he thought our boy George would love Brokeback Mountain.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

A Soldier Loses His Personal War

On January 16th, three days ago, Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran Spc. Douglas Barber took his own life. Read the message that Doug was trying to get out to help soldiers dealing with post traumatc stress disorder.
Spc Douglas Barber: PTSD- Every Soldier's Personal WAR!

In the last month I have been working with Jay Shaft, the editor of Coalition For Free Thought in media regarding my experiances in Iraq and since coming home from the war. We have only touched on some of the struggles of being a soldier, however we have not dug deeply into the personal war that Operation Iraqi Freedom has caused for returning soldiers.

Donald Rumsfeld and President Bush do not want to reveal to the American people that this war is a personal war. They want to run the war like a business, and thus they refuse to show the personal sacrifices the soldiers and their families have made for this country.

My thought today is to help you the reader understand what happens to a soldier when they come home and the sacrifice we continue to make. This may be lengthy, it may be short; but no matter how long it is, just close your eyes and imagine a flag drapped coffin.

Inside that coffin is the body of a man or woman who will never get to live their life to the fullest, yet they bore the total cost so that we could live free. Their soul is somewhere else and all we have is their memory which over time will be forgotten by other everts of greater importance. The families of these soldiers have a hole in their hearts that will never be replaced, even though they have pictures and happy memories.

Some families will refuse to believe they are gone, but still their sons and daughters are the heros of a country that sent them to war. This war on terror has become a personal war for so many, yet the Bush Administration does not want journalists or families to photograph the only thing that is left of our soldiers who have died. They do not want the people to remember that image of a flag draped coffin as the last memory this country will ever have of our fallen men and women.

They say that America will raise their voices and demand a stop to the war, but my question is why should we not show the results of war? For us as a country, we send these soldiers to war and we see their faces while they are alive. I say let their memories live on in every photo, even when they do come home in a flag drapped coffin. Let their sacrifice be forever etched in the memory of America. We owe their families this at the very least.

All is not okay or right for those of us who return home alive and supposedly well. What looks like normalcy and readjustment is only an illusion to be revealed by time and torment. Some soldiers come home missing limbs and other parts of their bodies. Still others will live with permanent scars from horrific events that no one other than those who served will ever understand.

We come home from war trying to put our lives back togather but some cannot stand the memories and decide that death is better. They kill themselves because they are so haunted by seeing children killed and whole families wiped out.

They ask themselves how you put a price tag on someone elses life? The question goes unanswered as they become another casualty of the war. Heros become another statistic to America and they are another little article relegated to the back of a newspaper.

Still others come home to nothing, families have abandoned them: husbands and wives have left these soldiers, and so have parents as well. Post Tramatic Stress Disorder has become the norm amongst these soldiers because they don't know how to cope with returning to a society that will never understand what they have had to endure to liberate another country.

PTSD comes in many forms not understood by many: but yet if a soldier has it, America thinks the soldiers are crazy. PTSD comes in the form of depression, anger, regret, being confrontational, anxiety, chronic pain, compulsion, delusions, grief, guilt,dependance,loneliness, sleep disorders, suspiciousness/paranoia, low self-esteem and so many other things.

We are easily startled with a loud bang or noise and can be found ducking for cover when we get panicked. This is a result of artillery rounds going off in a combat zone, or an IED blowing up.

I myself have trouble coping with an everyday routine that deals with other people that often causes me to have a short fuse. A lot of soldiers lose multiple jobs just because they are trained to be killers and they have lived in an enviroment that is condusive to that. We are always on guard for our safety and that of our commrades. When you go to bed at night you wonder will you be sent home in a flag draped coffin because a motar round went off on your sleeping area.

Soldiers live in deplorable conditions where burning your own feces is the order of the day. Where going days on end with no shower and the uniform you wear gets so crusty it sometimes sticks to your body becomes a common occurence. We also deal with rationing water or even food for that matter. So when a soldier comes home to what they left they are unsure of what to do being in a civilized world again.

This is what PTSD comes in the shape of--soldiers can not often handle coming back to the same world they left behind. It is something that drives soldiers over the edge and causes them to withdraw from society. As Americans we turn our nose down at them wondering why they act the way they do. Who cares about them, why should we help them?

Talk show hosts like Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and so many others act like they know all about war; then they refuse to give any creadence to soldiers like me who have been to war and seen the brutality of war. These guys are nothing but WEAK SPINELESS COWARDS hiding behind microphones while soldiers come home and are losing everything they have.
I ask every American who reads this e-mail to stand up for the soldier who has given their everything for this country to stand up to these guys in the media; ask them why they don't pick up a weapon and follow in the steps of a soldier. Send this e-mail to as many people on your e-mail lists and ask them to do the same.

There needs to be a National awareness for every Veteran who has ever served in any war. Send e-mails to the Big Mouths on TV and ask them to have soldiers like me on their programs. I am asking you as Americans to BOYCOTT every TV show or host/journalist that refuses to tell the real truth.


Spc Douglas Barber

RIP, Doug.