Saturday, February 18, 2006

Where is the NRA?

I wonder where the NRA has been in all this? They certainly have been strangely quiet. And I'd bet my last dollar that had it been Al Gore accidentally "shooting a 78 year old in the face", they'd be screaming to high heaven. I can hear it all now:

"What kind of incompetent boob is he? You never, ever shoot level, and you damned sure never fire until you're 100% sure that there's no one in your sight. And why was he allowed to avoid being interviewed by law enforcement officials until the morning after the shooting? Was alcohol involved? He claimed to have had "one beer". The NRA believes in gun safety and he broke every gun rule in the book."

But with their boy, Darth Cheney...nothing. Why am I not surprised?

Stream of unconsciousness

Unconnected thought #1
America will always stand firm for the non-negotiable demands of human dignity: the rule of law; limits on the power of the state; respect for women; private property; free speech; equal justice; and religious tolerance. [editor's note...yeah, right...]
Chimpy McTreason, 2002

Unconnected thought #2
Retard America:
1/2003--41% of Americans believe Iraq has nuclear weapons
2/2003--72% of Americans believe that Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11
44% of Americans believe the 9/11 hijackers were Iraqi

Unconnected thought #3:
If, however, too large a portion of the state's resources is diverted from wealth creation and allocated instead to military purposes, then that is likely to lead to a weakening of national power over the longer term. In the same way, if a state overextends itself strategically--by, say, the conquest of extensive territories or the waging of costly wars--it runs the risk that the potential benefits from external expansion may be outweighed by the great expense of it all--a dilemma which becomes acute if the nation concerned has entered a period of relative economic decline.
Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers (1989)

Unconnected thought #4

I have an annoying editorial word processor that always tells me if "Designated change cannot be made." Here's a hint to the conressional Democrats--take that approach! Tell them the designated change cannot be made! Grow a spine! I am tired of the Democrats being Eeyore and saying "thanks for noticing me." Don't be Eeyore on FISA and spying. Don't say you will "fix" the law because, you know, you can't constitutionally--FISA is very shaky itself, you know, with that whole pesky 4th Amendment thing... The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

You can't fix it or tweak it--just obey it!

Friday, February 17, 2006

What they really want...

So the torture isn't the problem, it is printing the pictures.

It isn't a problem to engage in illegal spying, it is a problem for the media to find out.

The veep shoots a guy? Control the story.

here is the news the right wing wants:

Welcome to bizarro world

Harry Whittington, upon his release from the hospital:

My family and I are deeply sorry for all that Vice President Cheney and his family have had to go through this week.

In a related story, Abraham Lincoln apologized for putting John Wilkes Booth through that whole broken leg and burning tobacco barn nightmare.

Welcome to bizarro world.


We're makin' progress....

BAGHDAD--At least 11 people were killed, including an Egyptian, and 30 others wounded yesterday in scores of attacks in Iraq, where three car bombs exploded in the capital, security officials said. The US military, meanwhile, said rebel strikes had increased 30 per cent over the past few weeks. An Iraqi civilian was killed and another 18 were wounded by the car bomb attacks in Baghdad, an interior ministry source said. Two of the bombings appeared to target passing police cars. An army lieutenant-colonel was shot dead in southern Baghdad, while three municipal employees, including an Egyptian, were gunned down while working in the west of the capital. Two of their colleagues were wounded.

But why don't they like us?

The foreign press can be very informative:

Turks swap sides as war film turns US into foe
From Suna Erdem in Istanbul

AN ANTI-AMERICAN film charting US abuses in Iraq has broken box-office records in Turkey, exploiting a wave of nationalism gripping Washington's only Muslim ally in Nato. Valley of the Wolves--Iraq has been watched by more than 2.5 million Turks in its first ten days. Such is the success of the most expensive Turkish film ever made (5.8 million pounds) that lawyers and police have been raiding the sellers of pirate copies.

"The film is absolutely magnificent," Bulent Arinc, the parliament Speaker and one of several politicians to attend the gala in Ankara, said. "It is completely true to life." Applause broke out when the American "bad guy," played by Billy Zane, was killed. The film begins with a real-life incident in which US troops arrested 11 Turkish special forces in Iraq and marched them off at gunpoint, an event for which the US has apologised but never fully explained. It deeply upset Turks, who are normally favourably disposed to all things American.

The story follows Polat Alemdar, an intelligence agent, as he travels to Iraq to avenge one of the Turkish soldiers, who was so tormented that he committed suicide. Polat joins a bride who survived a wedding massacre perpetrated by Zane's character. The abuse at Abu Ghraib is portrayed in full. The film amounts to a collective venting of anger................
More at,,11069-2044440,00.html

Torture time

CIA chief sacked for opposing torture
Sarah Baxter and Michael Smith, Washington

The CIA's top counter-terrorism official was fired last week because he opposed detaining Al-Qaeda suspects in secret prisons abroad, sending them to other countries for interrogation and using forms of torture such as water boarding, intelligence sources have claimed.

Robert Grenier, head of the CIA counter-terrorism centre, was relieved of his post after a year in the job. One intelligence official said he was "not quite as aggressive as he might have been" in pursuing Al-Qaeda leaders and networks. Vincent Cannistraro, a former head of counter-terrorism at the agency, said: "It is not that Grenier wasn't aggressive enough, it is that he wasn't "with the programme." He expressed misgivings about the secret prisons in Europe and the rendition of terrorists."

Geez, talk about someone who's not a team player. C'mon, Robert, everyone else is torturing, get with the program! Screw that thumb, c'mon Bob!,,2089-2036182,00.html

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Just too damn funny....

PLEASE go see Josh Marshall over at Talking Points Memo who tipped me to this one, as David Brooks, testy and annoying conservative NYT columnist (and former Chicagoan), gave us this gem last year:

Theories about the tightly knit neocon cabal came in waves. One day you read that neocons were pushing plans to finish off Iraq and move into Syria. Web sites appeared detailing neocon conspiracies; my favorite described a neocon outing organized by Dick Cheney to hunt for humans.


The press is reporting that "President Bush is 'satisfied' with Vice President Dick Cheney’s account of his Texas hunting accident."

In a related story, they are also reporting that Charlie McCarthy is 'satisfied' with Edgar Bergen.

Conspiracy corner

Justice Dept. is probing OK for Bush's spying
Associated Press
Washington - The Justice Department has begun an internal inquiry into the conduct of its lawyers who examined the Bush administration's domestic eavesdropping program, the department disclosed Wednesday. The investigation is being conducted by the Office of Professional Responsibility, or OPR, which reviews allegations of misconduct within the law enforcement agency.

Why would they do such a thing? Investigate themselves? Really?

Hmm, just a (conspiracy) theory on my part, but would you be surprised if the Justice Department ended up busting out a handful of low-level Assistant AGs to provide cover for a certain president who ORDERED the illegal activity?

It looks like just another chapter of Operation The Buck Stops Over There. Iraq? Blame the CIA. Torture? Blame some inbred misfit private. Illegal impeachable spying? Blame some Gen X lawyer down in the basement of the Justice Department.

Don't be surprised.......

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

This can't be good....

"[Secretary of State] Rice tried to take the offensive by announcing an administration request for $75 million this year to build democracy in Iran, saying the U.S. must support Iranians who are seeking freedoms under what she called a radical regime."

75 million to BUILD DEMOCRACY????????????????

Heaven help us.

I wonder what it will sound like

when our collective intellect vanishes entirely and the space inside our skulls becomes a vacuum, and then our skulls collapse from the pressure. Will it be a popping sound? A thwump? I'm just curious.

Parents don't see a crisis over science and math

Wednesday, February 15, 2006; Posted: 10:35 a.m. EST (15:35 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Science and math have zoomed to the top of the nation's education agenda. Yet Amanda Cook, a parent of two school-age girls, can't quite see the urgency.

"In Maine, there aren't many jobs that scream out 'math and science,"' said Cook, who lives in Etna, in the central part of the state. Yes, both topics are important, but "most parents are saying you're better off going to school for something there's a big need for."

Separated at birth?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Schmidlap: This needs a new caption and text.

Please edit and comment as appropriate:

The Texas Two-Step

For criminality under Texas law, you look to the aspects of 1) the conduct and 2) mental state. It gets a bit tricky because the terms are in separate parts of the statute.

Texas defines two lesser criminal homicides, manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. Manslaughter is defined as recklessly causing the death of an individual, while criminally negligent homicide, surprise, surprise, involves criminal negligence. Recklessness is the higher standard, as described below.

[NOTE: The homicide provisions are different from the assault laws. For criminal assault, a MINIMUM of recklessness is required. Assault is not a crime if only negligence, even criminal negligence, is shown (of course, the victim could still recover civil assault damages.) So in other words, if you kill someone, rather than just hurting them, the burden of proof concerning the defendant's mental state is lowered.]

Here are the defined mental states:

"A person acts recklessly, or is reckless, with respect to circumstances surrounding his conduct or the result of his conduct when he is aware of but consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the circumstances exist or the result will occur. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that its disregard constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise under all the circumstances as viewed from the actor's standpoint."

"A person acts with criminal negligence, or is criminally negligent, with respect to circumstances surrounding his conduct or the result of his conduct when he ought to be aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the circumstances exist or the result will occur. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that the failure to perceive it constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise under all the circumstances as viewed from the actor's standpoint."

The key difference is the "OUGHT TO BE AWARE" language. For criminal negligence you just have to prove that he SHOULD have known, not that he DID KNOW and CONSCIOUSLY DISREGARDED it.

From moron to ... murderer?

CNN has a breaking news headline:

Man shot and wounded by Vice President Cheney suffers "minor heart attack" after birdshot becomes lodged in his heart, hospital spokesman says.

Heh indeedy!!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Another thing to keep in mind

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration on Monday pushed back hard against Katrina-response criticism leveled by ex-disaster agency chief Michael Brown and congressional investigators.
"I reject outright the suggestion that President Bush was anything less than fully involved," said White House homeland security adviser Frances Fragos Townsend.

This guy?

Thanks to BartCop. Spread the word.

I'm sure glad there aren't any serious issues facing our country

So Dr. Bill "I'm sure she's alive" Frist can waste our time with this crap

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Monday he plans a vote in early June on a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, a move likely to fail but sure to spark a fiery election-year debate.

Frist, a Tennessee Republican, told CNN he's planning the vote for the week of June 5 because he wants to deal with the issue "as early as possible" before the Senate calendar fills up in a busy election year.

Frist said he doesn't know how many votes the ban will receive, but Republican and Democratic aides privately acknowledged the vote will probably fall far short of the 67-vote supermajority needed to advance a constitutional amendment.

When the Senate last voted on the issue in July 2004, a procedural motion to consider the ban received 48 votes -- well short of the number needed to send it on to the House of Representatives and then to all 50 states for ratification.

Cheney's got a gun

Stolen from a friend, stolen once removed from Aerosmith.

Cheney's got a gun
lyrics changed without permission

Cheney's got a gun
Cheney's got a gun
The whole world's come undone
From lookin' straight at the sun
What did that hunter do?
What did he put you through?
They said when Cheney was arrested
they found Scooter underneath a train
But man, he had it comin' Now that Cheney's got a gun
he ain't never gonna be the same.

Cheney's got a gun
Cheney's got a gun
Our dog day's just begun
Now everybody is on the run
Tell me now it's untrue.
What did that hunter do?
He jacked a poor old hunter
The man has got to be insane
They say the spell that he was under the lightning and the
thunder knew that someone had to stop the rain

Run away, run away from the pain yeah, yeah yeah yeah
Run away run away from the pain yeah yeah
yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
Run away, run away, run, run away

Cheney's got a gun
Cheney's got a gun
Our dog day's just begun
Now everybody is on the run
What did that hunter do?
It's Cheney's last I.O.U.
We have to take him down easy and put a bullet in his brain
We said 'cause nobody believes him. The man is such a sleeze.
He ain't never gonna be the same.

Run away, run away from the pain yeah, yeah
yeah yeah yeah
Run away run away from the pain yeah yeah
yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
Run away, run away, run, run away

Cheney's got a gun
Cheney's got a gun
Cheney's got a gun
Everybody is on the run

Cheney's got a gun
Our dog day's just begun
Now everybody is on the run
Because Cheney's got a gun
Cheney's got a gun
Our dog day's just begun
Now everybody is on the run
Cheney's got a gun

Duck, it's Dick!

Spin, shmin.

Cheney Violates Cardinal Rule of Hunting

By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer 24 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - Vice President
Dick Cheney apparently broke the No. 1 rule of hunting: be sure of what you're shooting at. Cheney wounded fellow hunter Harry Whittington in the face, neck and chest Saturday, apparently because he didn't see Whittington approaching as he fired on a covey of quail in Texas.

Hunting safety experts interviewed Monday agreed it would have been a good idea for Whittington to announce himself — something he apparently didn't do, according to a witness. But they stressed that the shooter is responsible for knowing his surroundings and avoiding hitting other people.

Darn that pesky constitution!

I would suggest that the president, the attorney general and the right-wing talking heads read beyond Article II. There is some nifty stuff to be found in Article I on the enumerated powers of Congress:

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water; To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years; To provide and maintain a Navy; To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces.

Rules, you know--things to be obeyed....

Funerals and politics

Never, ever have I heard of a funeral mixing with politics, how shocking...oh wait...

Our constitution does not copy the laws of neighbouring states; we are rather a pattern to others than imitators ourselves. Its administration favours the many instead of the few; this is why it is called a democracy. If we look to the laws, they afford equal justice to all in their private differences; if no social standing, advancement in public life falls to reputation for capacity, class considerations not being allowed to interfere with merit; nor again does poverty bar the way, if a man is able to serve the state, he is not hindered by the obscurity of his condition.

The freedom which we enjoy in our government extends also to our ordinary life. There, far from exercising a jealous surveillance over each other, we do not feel called upon to be angry with our neighbour for doing what he likes, or even to indulge in those injurious looks which cannot fail to be offensive, although they inflict no positive penalty. But all this ease in our private relations does not make us lawless as citizens. Against this fear is our chief safeguard, teaching us to obey the magistrates and the laws, particularly such as regard the protection of the injured, whether they are actually on the statute book, or belong to that code which, although unwritten, yet cannot be broken without acknowledged disgrace.

from the Funeral Oration of Pericles