Friday, July 20, 2007

To us, he's the President of Pakistan

To the rest of the world, he's viewed as (from the first 'graph of a Financial Times story):

General Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's US-backed military ruler, faced calls to resign yesterday after attacks by Islamist militants claimed at least 54 more lives, bringing the death toll since Saturday to 184.
Yep, he's our "good friend".

We've got a way with our good friends...until we don't need them any longer.

Thanks for playing

Read these words carefully

President Bush signed an executive order Friday prohibiting cruel and inhuman treatment, including humiliation or denigration of religious beliefs, in the detention and interrogation of terrorism suspects.

NOW these things are bad?????

Music issues in Music City?

Shamelessly stolen from Love Boat crew member Em, who should post more here. And remember, this is the WHITE HOUSE transcript:

Q Mr. President, music is one of our largest exports the country has. Currently, every country in the world -- except China, Iran, North Korea, Rwanda and the United States -- pay a statutory royalty to the performing artists for radio and television air play. Would your administration consider changing our laws to align it with the rest of the world?

THE PRESIDENT: Help. (Laughter.) Maybe you've never had a President say this -- I have, like, no earthly idea what you're talking about. (Laughter and applause.) Sounds like we're keeping interesting company, you know? (Laughter.) Look, I'll give you the old classic: contact my office, will you? (Laughter.) I really don't -- I'm totally out of my lane. I like listening to country music, if that helps. (Laughter.)

I left the "laughter" lines in because you know they are laughing AT him. Hmmm, you visit a city known for its music industry and you KNOW NOTHING about a local concern?? Good work.

Bush: "I...AM...THE...LAW!"

Washington Post: Broader Privilege Claimed In Firings
White House Says Hill Can't Pursue Contempt Cases
Bush administration officials unveiled a bold new assertion of executive authority yesterday in the dispute over the firing of nine U.S. attorneys, saying that the Justice Department will never be allowed to pursue contempt charges initiated by Congress against White House officials once the president has invoked executive privilege.
Under federal law, a statutory contempt citation by the House or Senate must be submitted to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, "whose duty it shall be to bring the matter before the grand jury for its action."

But administration officials argued yesterday that Congress has no power to force a U.S. attorney to pursue contempt charges in cases, such as the prosecutor firings, in which the president has declared that testimony or documents are protected from release by executive privilege. Officials pointed to a Justice Department legal opinion during the Reagan administration, which made the same argument in a case that was never resolved by the courts.

"A U.S. attorney would not be permitted to bring contempt charges or convene a grand jury in an executive privilege case," said a senior official, who said his remarks reflect a consensus within the administration. "And a U.S. attorney wouldn't be permitted to argue against the reasoned legal opinion that the Justice Department provided. No one should expect that to happen."

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly, added: "It has long been understood that, in circumstances like these, the constitutional prerogatives of the president would make it a futile and purely political act for Congress to refer contempt citations to U.S. attorneys."
[Always observant Representative Henry] Waxman added: "I suppose the next step would be just disbanding the Justice Department."
But Stanley Brand, who was the Democratic House counsel during the Burford case, said the administration's legal view "turns the constitutional enforcement process on its head. They are saying they will always place a claim of presidential privilege without any judicial determination above a congressional demand for evidence -- without any basis in law." Brand said the position is essentially telling Congress: "Because we control the enforcement process, we are going to thumb our nose at you."

Rozell, the George Mason professor and authority on executive privilege, said the administration's stance "is almost Nixonian in its scope and breadth of interpreting its power. Congress has no recourse at all, in the president's view. . . . It's allowing the executive to define the scope and limits of its own powers."

It gets more clear every day. Impeach.

Oh, wouldn't this be sad...Bwhahahahaha

From Think Progress:

Former House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert has indicated to a close former aide that it is likely he will not run for a 12th term from his northern Illinois district and may even resign from Congress before his present term concludes. That runs counter to widespread speculation on Capitol Hill that Hastert will continue in the House for another two years as a private member with no leadership responsibilities.


My main reaction to what Bonds is doing is sadness. Growing up a baseball fan, I'd never thought I'd see someone break Aaron's record, and I always envisioned it as something quite exciting. The cloud over Bonds (we know he cheated, but how much, for how long, and how much did it actually affect his play will never be known) diminishes the event, no matter what.

I don't condemn him as much as others do, because excluding him from the record books, etc, would require going back through history and doing the same to all of the myriad cheaters throughout the history of baseball - Gaylord Perry, Whitey Ford, every player in the 60's and 70's who took amphetamines, and so on and so on. That's not realistic (and we don't know who did what exactly).

I won't celebrate the accomplishment the same way I want to, and might if ARod gets there someday. If I had a vote, I'd still vote him and Sammy and McGwire into the HOF, although not with joy.

Barry Bonds will hopefully retire at the end of the year as the all-time HR leader (although there's an interesting article on Baseball Prospectus about how, in today's game, Babe Ruth's 714 are equivalent to over 1000 dingers). Rather than being perceived as the truly great player he was, however, his legacy will be that of doubt and anger and sadness.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

A home run dumbass

Wow. Check this one out from a Sandeep Mehta of Naperville:

Bonds innocent until proven guilty

Can we all stop complaining about Barry Bonds? I know there's a strong chance that he took some kind of performance-enhancing drugs and maybe he did do it on purpose, but does it really deserve the type of vilification that Bonds has received? The fact of the matter is Bonds is an exception baseball player. He hit at least 30 home runs in every season between 1992 and 2004; since his rookie season he's never struck out over 100 times in any season; he's accumulated over 500 stolen bases; and he's batting almost .300 for his career. These are not numbers that can be accumulated by an average player on steroids. In addition, during the current season Bonds has received more walks than any other player in the league, evidence that pitchers still don't want to pitch to him even at the age of 43. And with all testing procedures in place and no suspicion of steroid use this year, Bonds still ranks among the top 25 in the majors with 17 homeruns.So before we all stand up and boo the man without mercy let’s consider what he has accomplished and whether the supposed crime fit the punishment.

With all those impressive years behind him, does he really deserve to be treated like a criminal every time he takes the field just because he is SUSPECTED of steroid use? There is no way of knowing if Bonds did purposely take steroids or how much they might have helped his numbers. Also, there are many others under suspicion of steroid use and none of them have come close to matching the numbers that Bonds has put up. With or without steroids, Bonds has been a tier above the rest in his abilities as a baseball player. Steroids did not create the numbers Bonds has put up. In my humble opinion instead of boos, this man deserves many more cheers and standing ovations.

Wow, that is staggering, on so many levels. I will let most of it stand on its own because of its obvious ridiculousness, but let's just note:

1) Bonds was a Hall of Famer before he started doing this. We know that. That compounds the tragedy and the farce of this.
2) He isn't SUSPECTED of using steroids. We KNOW he
3) MLB and its testing is WAY behind the dopers.
4) On the #s, you think it was natural to go from 37 home runs in 1998 (when we had the Great Juicer Race) to 73 in 2001?
5) Besides that, he's just a miserable person.

Sandeep, look at his rookie card and him now, and

Draft College Republicans

h/t TPM

Plame lawsuit dismissed

A federal district judge dismissed Valerie Plame's civil suit for outing her against Cheney, Rove and Libby on "jurisdictional" grounds. I'm guessing, without having seen an opinion, that it is based on some form of sovereign immunity. As the repulsive Drudge would say---developing!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Cruise Lines from Hell

A reporter for the Independent, a paper in Britain, recently took part in a cruise organized by the National Review, that bastion of hate and ignorance. Apparently, they do this every year, so if after reading the article, you want to share in the experience, you can.

It's a fascinating and terrifying read, and I'll post one sentence here just to give you a taste.

The familiar routine of the dinners – first the getting-to-know-you chit-chat, then some light conversational fascism – is accelerating.

h/t Glenn Greenwald

Who let the dogs out?

The notion of a dogfight conjures up images of daring aviators in mortal combat, but no--AN NFL QUARTERBACK? Dogs?

You've heard by now that Falcons QB Michael Vick was indicted on charges connected to dogfighting.

I am a dog lover (I have the world's cutest, sweetest and dumbest Pomeranian, Gizzmo, who can't be housetrained for anything but I love him to death.) I have to wonder how anyone could subject dogs to such cruelty, not only the horrific fighting but HANGING or DROWNING those no longer needed? And who enjoys this, who bets on this? (I can't claim PETA perfection on animal gambling, nor would I want to, as I do enjoy 3 or 4 afternoons a summer at Arlington Park, and as Rousing knows, the most exciting two minutes in sports, but that is betting on who wins, not who survives!)

And again, an NFL quarterback???

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Vote for "None of the Above"

AP Poll: GOP pick is 'none of the above'

By LIZ SIDOTI, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 17 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - And the leading Republican presidential candidate is ... none of the above.

The latest Associated Press-Ipsos poll found that nearly a quarter of Republicans are unwilling to back top-tier hopefuls Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, John McCain or Mitt Romney, and no one candidate has emerged as the clear front-runner among Christian evangelicals. Such dissatisfaction underscores the volatility of the 2008 GOP nomination fight.

In sharp contrast, the Democratic race remains static, with Hillary Rodham Clinton holding a sizable lead over Barack Obama. The New York senator, who is white, also outpaces her Illinois counterpart, who is black, among black and Hispanic Democrats, according to a combined sample of two months of polls.

A half year before voting begins, the survey shows the White House race is far more wide open on the Republican side than on the Democratic. The uneven enthusiasm about the fields also is reflected in fundraising in which Democrats outraised Republicans $80 million to $50 million from April through June, continuing a trend from the year's first three months.

"Democrats are reasonably comfortable with the range of choices. The Democratic attitude is that three or four of these guys would be fine," said David Redlawsk, a University of Iowa political scientist. "The Republicans don't have that; particularly among the conservatives there's a real split. They just don't see candidates who reflect their interests and who they also view as viable."

More Republicans have become apathetic about their top options over the past month.

A hefty 23 percent can't or won't say which candidate they would back, a jump from the 14 percent who took a pass in June.

Where's Richard Pryor when we need him?

From the archives

I was browsing through some old posts, and I came across this comment from Schmidlap:

I see one last hope of knocking the evil fuckers down, but it may not be too solid.

The one thing that is really killing them right now is a vigorous, aggressive, non-politicized Justice Department. Fitz and the boyz are crawling up into each and every orifice, examining each rancid dingleberry. And because the evil cabal is the most gutless, chickenshit bunch of bastards on the planet, at the first sign of DoJ involvement, they are going hoarse from all the squealing they are doing on their "pals." The whole Ponzi scheme is collapsing.

But I say it may not be too solid for two reasons. One, Chimpy McGlowstick-in-Anus can just pardon everyone. Two, he can keep appointing cronies to head Justice and then nothing will really get done. Why Ashcroft recused himself at the beginning of the Plame investigation is one of the great mysteries of our time. You can be sure Abu Gonzalez is more of a team player than that and this breach of trust won't happen twice.


Why we must impeach

Tonight Harry Reid and the Democrats in the Senate are stepping up the pressure on the GOP by actually making them filibuster the Reid-Levin amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill. The Reid-Levin amendment would actually require a withdrawal of troops from Iraq in 120 days. It's a good idea, but, sadly, irrelevant. The best case scenarios are either that enough Republicans feel the pressure and either the amendment gets the 60 votes it needs to end the filibuster, or the GOP drops the whole idea of the filibuster and lets the amendment pass with a simple majority.

What if that happens? Well, President Bush has already made it clear he will veto any bill limiting his power to do whatever he wants in Iraq, so he'll veto this one.

Then what? Okay, let's say that the GOP finally sees what the rest of the country has seen, and we get the 67 votes we need to overturn the veto (and the same thing happens in the House). Yippie! Right?

Wrong. Two words - signing statements. President Bush will never allow something like Congress overturning a veto to stand in his way. The war will not stop while he is in office. There's precedence for this model of "governing": Richard Nixon.

From the Boston Globe:

In Iraq bills, a Vietnam echo: Legislating an end is a thorny quest

By Charlie Savage, Globe Staff | July 16, 2007

WASHINGTON -- In December 1970, Congress passed historic legislation revoking the 1964 Tonkin Gulf resolution, which had authorized military force in Vietnam, and banning the deployment of ground troops in Cambodia. War opponents hoped Congress was on the verge of forcing a quick end to the bloody quagmire in Indochina.

"The president, in our judgment, now lacks legitimate authority to keep on prosecuting the war," said Senator Frank Church , Democrat of Idaho, in a 1971 speech. "Under these circumstances, a great opportunity is presented to Congress -- the chance to fill this constitutional vacuum with a disengagement policy that could help unite the country again."

War opponents' hopes were dashed. Despite signing the bills, President Nixon said he had independent authority as commander in chief to keep combat in Vietnam going. For the next two years, Congress failed to agree on further restrictions, and nearly 3,000 more American soldiers died. Nixon finally ended the war on his own terms with a cease - fire agreement in January 1973.

Charlie Savage, you may recall, is the reporter who blew the lid off Bush's signing statements. He knows what he's talking about. Does anyone doubt that George Bush, controlled, err, advised as he is by Dick Cheney, would fail to follow the lead of Mr. "Well, when the president does it that means that it is not illegal."?

Not only have our President and Vice President wantonly and repeatedly violated the Constitution, but they continue to do so, ignoring the intent of the founders and any semblance of respect for the balance of power which has served our nation so well. How can we stop them - before more unnecessary deaths? Before an attack on Iran? Before our willful ignorance of the real threats to our nation lead to more terrorism on US soil? Before even more of our civil liberties get trampled?

George Bush will never listen to "reason" - he believes that he is guided by his God in this war. He must be removed from office - not in January 2009, but now.