Saturday, July 15, 2006

Couldn't happen to a nicer guy Part II

DENVER - Beer baron Peter Coors’ driver’s license has been revoked after his arrest for drunken driving following a wedding celebration

Of course we have the irony, but what is most enjoyable here is that he is a COORS, heading up ne of America's most hardline right-wing anti-labor, anti-civil rights, anti-environmental and anti-union families and companies. Sometimes it is just fun.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Belated congrats

Belated yet hearty congratulations to our merry band of misfits on our 1st anniversary and reaching 1000 posts. It's been fun!

Followup on the pig

From The Daily Show:

Bush: I understand I may have the honor of slicing the pig.

Stewart: He may have the honor of slicing the pig. I'm just going to assume that's some sort of euphemism for solving the middle east crisis.

Pork, of course, being forbidden for both Islam and Judiasm. I can't think of a better analogy.

I hope she wins

I hope Valerie Plame wins her lawsuit because a civil court victory would validate an important point of law--and to this humble correspondent, SHE'S HOT (hey, I'm old...and she's a SPY!).

Watching the world go to hell

Israeli ships, planes renew Beirut airport attacks

Israeli warships and aircraft were clamping down on Lebanon's air, sea and land infrastructure on Friday, three days after Hezbollah guerrillas kidnapped two Israeli soldiers.

Israeli rescue services report a large barrage of rockets hitting northern Israel late Friday. Also, three explosions have been heard in Beirut.

The rocket attacks on Israel have prompted Israel's Cabinet to approve continued military operations in Lebanon, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said.

In the past two days, about 200 rockets have been fired from Lebanon at Israeli targets, according to The Associated Press.

Two missiles fired from Lebanon toward the northern Israeli city of Haifa were "made in Iran," Israeli military sources said.

In other news...

Dow's 3-day loss: 400 points

Oil tops $78, backs off
Crude tops $78 a barrel on tensions in Middle East and Nigeria, Korea talks.

Blasts hit Nigerian oil pipeline

That'll do, pig

One of the objectives of the Project for the New American Century-inspired neocon vision was to "re-engineer" the Middle East to make it more "Israel friendly." This reflected an extreme case of politics making strange bedfellows (scroll down in that archived page to find the post on millenialist eschatology) as supporters of Israel have joined hands with good ol' boy southern anti-Semites yearning for the rapture. Now this perverse mix that gave us the war in Iraq is threatening to expand into a global conflagration if Iran and Syria get involved.

SO--what is the leader of the free world doing? Why, he's talking about the wild boar slated for dinner that evening:

Q: Does it concern you that the Beirut airport has been bombed? And do you see a risk of triggering a wider war? And on Iran, they've, so far, refused to respond. Is it now past the deadline, or do they still have more time to respond?

PRESIDENT BUSH: I thought you were going to ask me about the pig.

Q I'm curious about that, too. (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT BUSH: The pig? I'll tell you tomorrow after I eat it.

So long world, it's been nice knowing you.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

That's enough, already

Anyone who's out there who's fighting, pissing someone off, or acting like a twit in general, just fucking stop it already. I've had enough of your stupidity. Israel, Iran, Iraq, W, North Korea, Sudan, friends, family, people I don't know and will never meet - just stop it! You're giving me a stomachache. Grow the hell up, find a way to get a long. All solutions involve compromise anyway, so skip the fighting, war, death, and general acting like twits and move on. Pretend you've got even the vestiges of a brain stem. I don't care if you think you're right or not. Stop it. I don't care what "they" did. Stop it. I don't care what your "holy book" says. Stop it. I don't care if they told you that they're killing your children and serving them to the dogs. Stop it.

The next time I have to come in here I'm cracking skulls.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Ken Lay, the second coming

I know funerals are not generally a time for people to gather to insult the dead, and people who attend someone's funeral are often friends or family. That being said, these quotes from people at Ken Lay's service today are among the most delusional and laughable I've ever heard:

David Herrold, Lay's stepson: "I am angry because of the way that he was treated in the last five years of his life ... and I'm feeling a lot of joy ... He had a lot of loving friends ... He did have a strong faith in God, and I know he's in heaven. And I'm glad he's not in a position any more to be whipped by his enemy."

Heaven's that place with the fire and the torture and the beatings, right? Oh, wait, that's Abu Ghraib.

Reverend Dr. William Lawson: "He reached out to touch many people from many backgrounds ... many economic levels ... that included minorities like me."

"Ken Lay was neither black nor poor, but I'm angry because Ken Lay was a victim of a lynching."

Yep, Ken Lay was lynched for screwing lots and lots of middle class folks out of their retirement and millions more through charging higher prices for energy. I'm sure those people who were lynched for trying to vote or go to church would buddy right up to him.

"The folks who don't like him have had their say. I'd like to have mine ... (Like Jesus Christ) he was crucified by a government that mistreated him."

If Ken Lay had really been crucified, then this would be a different story. He was convicted, in a system where the rich and powerful often find ways of buying themselves out.

Mick Seidl, longtime friend: "Overzealous federal prosecutors have vilified an exceedingly good man ... They did so without visible efforts to seek the truth, and the media piled on. It was total character assassination ... I do know Ken would never intentionally do anything illegal."

Mick, Mick, Mick. When you oversee one of the greatest examples of fraud, mismanagement, and theft that's ever been perpetrated, you pay a price. If he didn't know what was going on, then he was the worst manager in business history and deserved to go to jail just for that.

From the mouths of babes

Published on Wednesday, April 3, 2002 by Common Dreams
What the American Flag Stands For
by Charlotte Aldebron (who was 12 when she wrote this)

The American flag stands for the fact that cloth can be very important. It is against the law to let the flag touch the ground or to leave the flag flying when the weather is bad. The flag has to be treated with respect. You can tell just how important this cloth is because when you compare it to people, it gets much better treatment. Nobody cares if a homeless person touches the ground. A homeless person can lie all over the ground all night long without anyone picking him up, folding him neatly and sheltering him from the rain.

School children have to pledge loyalty to this piece of cloth every morning. No one has to pledge loyalty to justice and equality and human decency. No one has to promise that people will get a fair wage, or enough food to eat, or affordable medicine, or clean water, or air free of harmful chemicals. But we all have to promise to love a rectangle of red, white, and blue cloth.

Betsy Ross would be quite surprised to see how successful her creation has become. But Thomas Jefferson would be disappointed to see how little of the flag's real meaning remains.

Charlotte Aldebron wrote this essay for a competition in her 6th grade English class. She attends Cunningham Middle School in Presque Isle, Maine. Comments may be sent to her mom, Jillian Aldebron:

Following Up

A few weeks ago, Barack Obama gave a speech which incensed a number of left-wing bloggers. He was talking about religion and politics, and he was accused of mouthing GOP talking points when he discussed how some liberal folk get very turned off by religion, and that the Democratic party should reach out to more religious voters. I'm a little urpy with his stance on separation of church and state, but that's probably because I'm an absolutist about it, and he's a much more religious person than I am. However, when I read the text of the speech, I didn't get the sense that he was hammering the Democrats, but that he was trying to open a new line of conversation to the myriad people who are religious, but who aren't James Dobson. Many of those people have values which are more properly aligned with the Democrats than the Republicans, but since the GOP has managed to get the idea that they're the faithful, and we're the athiestic devils, accepted, we lose those votes without even trying. Here's an interview with Obama where he reflects on the speech, and talks in a little more depth about the ideas he was trying to get across. I think it's summed up pretty well by Obama's press secretary, who said "If we're not talking to these people, Focus on the Family will."

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Couldn't happen to a nicer guy...

According to a report in the New York Daily News, several sources within Major League Baseball expect a San Francisco grand jury to indict Giants slugger Barry Bonds, possibly even as early as next week (link).

Dumbest Human on the Planet

Here is a rich one, a comment to a Chicago Tribune letter to the editor:

Al Gore would never used force. He would of asked why they hate us and tried diplomacy, meanwhile we would be witnessing planes hitting the Sears Tower.

Capturing Bin Laden would serve a limited purpose in the war. The fact he resides in a cave and can no longer plan attacks is a great victory. With your type of thinking the fighting in Iraq we see today would be occurring in Chicago and New York. I believe God put Bush in office, so we wouldn't suffer multiple 9/11 under Gore.


Praying for Death

The LA Times published a fascinating and terrifying article recently about religious groups and Armaggedon. Not content with merely having it somewhere down the line, a number of groups, of different religions, are working on bringing the end times nigh. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

For thousands of years, prophets have predicted the end of the world. Today, various religious groups, using the latest technology, are trying to hasten it.

Their endgame is to speed the promised arrival of a messiah.

For some Christians this means laying the groundwork for Armageddon.

With that goal in mind, mega-church pastors recently met in Inglewood to polish strategies for using global communications and aircraft to transport missionaries to fulfill the Great Commission: to make every person on Earth aware of Jesus' message. Doing so, they believe, will bring about the end, perhaps within two decades.

In Iran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has a far different vision. As mayor of Tehran in 2004, he spent millions on improvements to make the city more welcoming for the return of a Muslim messiah known as the Mahdi, according to a recent report by the American Foreign Policy Center, a nonpartisan think tank.

To the majority of Shiites, the Mahdi was the last of the prophet Muhammad's true heirs, his 12 righteous descendants chosen by God to lead the faithful.

Ahmadinejad hopes to welcome the Mahdi to Tehran within two years.

Conversely, some Jewish groups in Jerusalem hope to clear the path for their own messiah by rebuilding a temple on a site now occupied by one of Islam's holiest shrines.

Artisans have re-created priestly robes of white linen, gem-studded breastplates, silver trumpets and solid-gold menorahs to be used in the Holy Temple — along with two 6½-ton marble cornerstones for the building's foundation.

Then there is Clyde Lott, a Mississippi revivalist preacher and cattle rancher. He is trying to raise a unique herd of red heifers to satisfy an obscure injunction in the Book of Numbers: the sacrifice of a blemish-free red heifer for purification rituals needed to pave the way for the messiah.

And then there's the section devoted to the only University of Colorado football coach I dislike more than Gary Barnett.

By contrast, Bill McCartney, a former University of Colorado football coach and co-founder of the evangelical Promise Keepers movement for men, which became huge in the 1990s, has had a devil of a time getting his own apocalyptic campaign off the ground.

It's called The Road to Jerusalem, and its mission is to convert Jews to Christianity — while there is still time.

"Our whole purpose is to hasten the end times," he said. "The Bible says Jews will be brought to jealousy when they see Christians and Jewish believers together as one — they'll want to be a part of that. That's going to signal Jesus' return."

Jews and others who don't accept Jesus, he added matter-of-factly, "are toast."

On Constitutional Amendments

I recall Em making the statement in PIC that she could never understand a country that would pass an amendment to ban gay marriage or burn the American flag before they would pass the Equal Rights Amendment. I agree with that, but let's look at what's driving these two amendments. We all know that it's shameless pandering to the Religious Right.

Do you guys recall Charles Rangel's (a vocal opponent of the debacle in Iraq) legislation that would re-institute the draft? We all know that he opposed the draft, but was trying to make a point. And that was that the chickenhawks that trumpet this cause aren't willing to go to the ultimate and logical ends to "win" this war. Another half million to million troops or more and then maybe we could overpower this insurgency (that no one in this clueless administration saw coming), "declare victory" and get the hell home....but I digress, back to gay marriage and flag burning.

I wish that someone who opposes both these measures would draft legislation that would also go to (un)logical ends that a draft would. Why shouldn't gay folk be allowed to marry? Because they're second class citizens as compared to we straight folks? Because what other reason could one have in two others "joined in matrimony" (I purposely ommitted "holy" in describing matrimony because any church anywhere already has the option/right to refuse to marry couples they deem unworthy.

Well hell, if that's so, that they're "second class", then they shouldn't be able to hold down federal jobs. Or state jobs that accept federal money. Or vote, or run for any office. And one of most fundamental rights that the Constitution allows, they shouldn't be able to own property, because they might leave it to someone who's gay. And, going even further than those adoption laws that prohibit gay folk from adopting, they should be sterilized so that can't have biologocal children either. Hell, let's just round all of them up and inter them. Whaddya say?

And as far as flag burning, let's also add that it's illegal to burn a copy of the Constitution or Declaration of Independence. That would include books that include pictures of the flag or of the Constitution or Declaration of Independence. Or a picture of that bald eagle holding the branch thingy in his talon.

And let's really ban clothing that incorporates the flag. I mean boxer shorts with the stars and stripes? How much more can one descecrate Old Glory than putting her right next to where you piss and crap? I guess the Olympic teams will all have to design new uniforms, but we have to get this flag desecration problem under control. It and gay marriage are the two most egregious problems our nation face.


Monday, July 10, 2006

Another reason soccer sucks...

The Paris-based anti-racism advocacy group SOS-Racism issued a statement Monday quoting "several very well informed sources from the world of football" as saying Materazzi called Zidane a "dirty terrorist." It demanded that FIFA investigate and take any appropriate action.

I'm sorry, he "called" him a "dirty terrorist?" Excuse me? In the heat of a 2 hour match a player calls another player "a name?" THIS is the most popular sport in the world, and we have players and press getting pissy over trash talking?

Foresight from The Onion

From their "Top Stories of 2001":

Bush: 'Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over'

January 17, 2001 | Issue 37•01

WASHINGTON, DC–Mere days from assuming the presidency and closing the door on eight years of Bill Clinton, president-elect George W. Bush assured the nation in a televised address Tuesday that "our long national nightmare of peace and prosperity is finally over."


Bush swore to do "everything in [his] power" to undo the damage wrought by Clinton's two terms in office, including selling off the national parks to developers, going into massive debt to develop expensive and impractical weapons technologies, and passing sweeping budget cuts that drive the mentally ill out of hospitals and onto the street.

During the 40-minute speech, Bush also promised to bring an end to the severe war drought that plagued the nation under Clinton, assuring citizens that the U.S. will engage in at least one Gulf War-level armed conflict in the next four years.

"You better believe we're going to mix it up with somebody at some point during my administration," said Bush, who plans a 250 percent boost in military spending. "Unlike my predecessor, I am fully committed to putting soldiers in battle situations. Otherwise, what is the point of even having a military?"

On the economic side, Bush vowed to bring back economic stagnation by implementing substantial tax cuts, which would lead to a recession, which would necessitate a tax hike, which would lead to a drop in consumer spending, which would lead to layoffs, which would deepen the recession even further.


Bush had equally high praise for Attorney General nominee John Ashcroft, whom he praised as "a tireless champion in the battle to protect a woman's right to give birth."

"Soon, with John Ashcroft's help, we will move out of the Dark Ages and into a more enlightened time when a woman will be free to think long and hard before trying to fight her way past throngs of protesters blocking her entrance to an abortion clinic," Bush said. "We as a nation can look forward to lots and lots of babies."


Continued Bush: "John Ashcroft will be invaluable in healing the terrible wedge President Clinton drove between church and state."

The speech was met with overwhelming approval from Republican leaders.

"Finally, the horrific misrule of the Democrats has been brought to a close," House Majority Leader Dennis Hastert (R-IL) told reporters. "Under Bush, we can all look forward to military aggression, deregulation of dangerous, greedy industries, and the defunding of vital domestic social-service programs upon which millions depend. Mercifully, we can now say goodbye to the awful nightmare that was Clinton's America."

"For years, I tirelessly preached the message that Clinton must be stopped," conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh said. "And yet, in 1996, the American public failed to heed my urgent warnings, re-electing Clinton despite the fact that the nation was prosperous and at peace under his regime. But now, thank God, that's all done with. Once again, we will enjoy mounting debt, jingoism, nuclear paranoia, mass deficit, and a massive military build-up."


"We as a people must stand united, banding together to tear this nation in two," Bush said. "Much work lies ahead of us: The gap between the rich and the poor may be wide, be there's much more widening left to do. We must squander our nation's hard-won budget surplus on tax breaks for the wealthiest 15 percent. And, on the foreign front, we must find an enemy and defeat it."

"The insanity is over," Bush said. "After a long, dark night of peace and stability, the sun is finally rising again over America. We look forward to a bright new dawn not seen since the glory days of my dad."

One large order of fake outrage to go, please

I am so tired of the word of the day, TREASON!!!!!, flying around the vacuous right-wing echo chamber on the international banking "story." This is the non-story of the year. The New York Times (and the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, LA Times, etc.) revealed nothing of substance (other than the lack of oversight, not a huge concern to the "evildoers")--yet of course, it is the NYT that is the whipping boy, not the other papers. And as Steve Chapman points out in the Chicago Tribune, if this was so important, why didn't the administration try to stop it?

However, I am NOT sending a big shout out to the  New York Times. I think the NYT DESERVEDLY caught a tremendous amount of heat (and lost a HUGE batch of respect) over Judy Miller, Curveball and its role as head administration cheerleader leading up to the war. This episode is NYT Editor Bill Keller standing up (and protesting FAR too much) saying "Look at us! We're independent! No I really mean it, see, we're publishing "secret" stuff, aren't you proud of us?"

No, Bill, I'm not. You're a day (or three+ years) late and half a trillion dollars short. 

Other Sports Inspired by World Cup Shootout

In response to the overwhelming popularity of World Cup penalty kick shootouts, Major League Baseball and the National Football League have announced new procedures for resolving tie games at the end of regulation play. In World Series games beginning this fall, each team will name one player to compete in a deciding game of Jenga:

The National Football League also announced that future deadlocked Super Bowls will be decided by a best two out of three "rock, paper scissors" contest.

"We believe that these additions maintain the integrity of the game to the same high degree as that shown by penalty kicks," said the leagues in a joint statement.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

And we wonder why the cost for the Iraq war is so high?

Perhaps it's because kind, generous souls like Bruce Hopfengardner are busy lining their pockets with largess. Of course, in the grand scheme of things, he's only a tiny fish to get caught, enough tiny fish sure to make a large mass, a la sardines or alewives.

To excerpt:

Documents filed Friday in U.S. District Court said that Hopfengardner will plead guilty to conspiring with Philip H. Bloom, a U.S. citizen with businesses in Romania; Robert J. Stein, a former Defense Department contract official; and others to create a corrupt bidding process that included the theft of $2 million in reconstruction money.

Apparently between Hopfengardner, Bloom and Stein (sounds like a tax-law firm, doesn't it?), they managed to find a way to steer contracts in the direction of Bloom in exchange for (surprise, surprise), cash, gifts, jewelry, vehicles and some private Ya-Ha time with some, ummm...'entertainers' at Bloom's villa in Baghdad. Of course, just to 'keep it below the radar', everything was under $500,000 because that's all the authority Stein had to approve.

Excuse me, am I the ONLY one who doesn't seem to think that the words 'villa' and 'Baghdad' should be allowed to be used in the same sentence? Why not just use the phrase 'luxurious Siberian resort and spa' while you're at it? I'm sure that's how Mikhail Khordorkovsky feels about HIS accomodations, couresty of "Pootie-Poot" and the Russian government.

On little cat feet

The Bush administration is always trying to slide things past us. Clear-cutting old growth woods is allowed under the "Healthy Forests Act." Under the Clear Skies law, pollutants can be belched into the heavens. But this one is unique, as it isn't the oh-so-cute names that cover up what is being done, it is the bureaucratic ordinariness of it that hides it away.

Try this one on:

Memorandum of May 5, 2006

Assignment of Function Relating to Granting of Authority for Issuance of Certain Directives
Memorandum for the Director of National Intelligence

By virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, including section 301 of title 3, United States Code, I hereby assign to you the function of the President under section 13(b)(3)(A) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (15 U.S.C. 78m(b)(3)(A)). In performing such function, you should consult the heads of departments and agencies, as appropriate. You are authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.

/s/ George W. Bush

OK, how dull does that sound? Everyday Washington techospeak, right? WRONG. First all all, the players. The Director of National Intelligence is John Negroponte. He is an interesting character. Negroponte is to death squads as trailer courts are to tornados. There is not necessarily a cause and effect relationship, but where Negroponte goes (El Salvador, Iraq) death squads generally follow.

And just what authority is being granted? Why, the authority to exempt issuers from the internal accounting control and recordkeeping provisions designed to reduce the risk of accounting fraud. On what grounds? Why, NATIONAL SECURITY of course! care to anticipate the beneficiaries of such largesse? Halliburton, perhaps?? Wait and see.