Thursday, November 30, 2006

Bill Gates isn't Greek, is he?

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"The Antikythera Mechanism, sometimes called the world’s first computer, has now been examined with the latest in high-resolution imaging systems and three-dimensional X-ray tomography. A team of British, Greek and American researchers was able to decipher many inscriptions and reconstruct the gear functions, revealing, they said, “an unexpected degree of technical sophistication for the period.”"


"They said their findings showed that the inscriptions related to lunar-solar motions and the gears were a mechanical representation of the irregularities of the Moon’s orbital course across the sky, as theorized by the astronomer Hipparchos. They established the date of the mechanism at 150-100 B.C.

The Roman ship carrying the artifacts sank off the island of Antikythera around 65 B.C. Some evidence suggests that the ship had sailed from Rhodes. The researchers speculated that Hipparchos, who lived on Rhodes, might have had a hand in designing the device."

Article found via Madison Guy.

The ACLU sues intelligence agencies on behalf of innocent men tortured by the CIA.

"Khaled El-Masri was innoncently detained in a secret CIA prison. Now US civil liberties advocates are helping him take the intelligence service to court. His chances of winning the trial are slim -- but his case is stirring up negative publicity for the Bush administration."
"The ACLU has succeeded in legally representing two victims from the CIA's shadow realm until now: Masri and Canadian citizen Maher Arar. Arar was deported to Syria in September of 2002 and tortured there. His innoncence has since been established, just like Masri's. That's just what makes the two cases so valuable for the ACLU -- and so dangerous for the White House."

We're not leaving Iraq until the job is done. We're not! We're not! We're not!

"President Bush today proclaimed Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki "the right guy for Iraq," and said the two had agreed to speed the turnover of security responsibility from American to Iraqi forces. But Mr. Bush dismissed a reported decision by an independent bipartisan panel to call for a gradual withdrawal of troops."


"The news conference came against a backdrop of rising violence in Iraq and increasing tensions between the two leaders. On Wednesday evening, Mr. Maliki took the unusual step of backing out of a planned meeting with the president, an embarrassment to the White House that came on the heels of publication of a classified memo from National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley that raised doubts about Mr. Maliki's leadership.

Today, both men tried to tamp down any suggestion that the relationship was strained. Mr. Bush said yet again that he has confidence in the Iraqi prime minister."


"Still, tensions seemed to bubble just under the surface. The two leaders barely looked at one another during the news conference. And when Mr. Bush, at one point, asked the prime minister if he wanted to continue taking questions from reporters, the prime minister swiveled his head toward the president and shot Mr. Bush an incredulous look."

Bush pushes Poppy and Baker away, refusing to let them fix his mess:

"But the conventional wisdom may have underestimated the president's stubbornness -- and Cheney and Rove's tenacity.

Because at today's press conference in Jordan, following his abbreviated meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Bush made it abundantly clear that he is waving off the rescue attempt by longtime Bush family fixer James A. Baker III. He'd rather stay the course.

News reports this morning indicate that Baker's bipartisan Iraq Study Group will next week officially recommend a gradual pullback of American troops from Iraq.

But in Amman, Bush went out of his way to mock the notion of a "graceful exit" -- and to insist that he's in Iraq for the long haul. "This business about graceful exit just simply has no realism to it at all," Bush said."

Dennis Prager proves himself a moron.

Trying to claim that Keith Ellison will swear into Congress on a Koran, Prager ignores the fact Congresspersons do not swear on any type of religious book.

Think Progress:
"Bloggers on the left and right — including Taylor Marsh, Steven Bennen, Eugene Volokh, Stephen Bainbridge — have torn apart Prager’s argument on constitutional grounds.

But Prager’s column is based on one other glaring error: the swearing-in ceremony for the House of Representatives never includes a religious book. The Office of the House Clerk confirmed to ThinkProgress that the swearing-in ceremony consists only of the Members raising their right hands and swearing to uphold the Constitution. The Clerk spokesperson said neither the Christian Bible, nor any other religious text, had ever been used in an official capacity during the ceremony. (Occassionally, Members pose for symbolic photo-ops with their hand on a Bible.)"

But maybe Prager is worried that as more Muslims become involved in politics, we will lose yet another boogeyman to rally against.

Glenn Greenwald:
"James Joyner and Stephen Bainbridge both provide excellent rebuttals, including Joyner's pointing out the rather obvious fact that requiring elected officials to take their oaths on the Bible would constitute a textbook case of a "religious test" prohibited by Article VI, and would almost certainly violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment as well.

As always, it is the most basic constitutional principles -- which were previously beyond challenge -- that are placed in doubt by the most rabid Bush followers. And these attacks on our constitutional values are, with no sense of irony, waged in the name of defending "America.""

Update 12/1: Rook at Rook's Rant (I do like that name!) has an idea:
Swear in on the Constitution.

Psst. Wanna buy some polonium?

Only $69, such a deal!

Radiation advice:
"Medical advice has been issued to staff at a British Airways plant in Wales, in case they worked on seats from a plane found with traces of radioactivity.

It followed the discovery that seats, which had undergone routine maintenance in Blackwood, were from an aircraft which tested postive for polonium.

Traces of polonium were found on the plane during inquires into the death of ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko."

Thanks to Moonbootica for the links!

Update: LetterFromHere blog catches another facet, the one of terrorism:

"Anyway, to the point: this wasn't simply an assassination. ....

What this is, is a warning: "we have the capability to detonate a dirty bomb in central London any time we feel like it, so don't fuck with us". (Just take Polonium and add a little TNT.)"

Sin of Omission

George Will reported the little set-to between Webb and Bush without reporting Bush's retort that set Webb off. By leaving off the snarky statement, it changes the entire tone of the exchange, and makes Webb look like an idiot.

"At a private reception held at the White House with newly elected lawmakers shortly after the election, Bush asked Webb how his son, a Marine lance corporal serving in Iraq, was doing.

Webb responded that he really wanted to see his son brought back home, said a person who heard about the exchange from Webb.

“I didn’t ask you that, I asked how he’s doing,” Bush retorted, according to the source.

Webb confessed that he was so angered by this that he was tempted to slug the commander-in-chief, reported the source, but of course didn’t.
But George Will couldn't defend the honor of our totally emasculated president by telling you all the truth, so he had to do with a lie."

Glenn Greenwald:
"Webb's office, more or less, confirmed the report. It is difficult to fathom the hubris and self-indulgence required for someone to ask a parent of a soldier in Iraq how their son is doing only to then snidely tell the parent that the answer isn't what he wanted to hear."

Update: over at Talking Points Memo, a reader had this:
"I have a slightly different take on this.

I think Bush sought out Webb--who was rather obviously avoiding Bush--to symbolically spit in his face. "How's your boy?" was Bush's code for, "You may think you're hot spit because you have a chestful of medals and won running against me and my war, but I'm the Decider, see, and you don't have a damn thing to say about when your precious son, or any of the other troops, are going to leave Iraq. They'll stay there until I say they can go and not before. The only way your boy's getting out of there any earlier is on a stretcher or in a body bag. How do ya like *them* apples, tough guy?"

Bush intended for Webb to get it and be humiliated because he wouldn't dare answer back confrontationally in the context of a celebratory presidential reception.

Webb *did* get it, but he refused to knuckle under. It wasn't Bush's petulant response to Webb's statement about Iraq that got Webb's back up, it was the initial patently insincere inquiry about his son. The exchange
was hostile right from the start."

On your mark, get set....

"Come January, however, the man that the liberal Nation magazine once called the "Eliot Ness of the Democrats" can do even more, thanks to the two words that strike fear in the heart of every government official: subpoena power. As the new chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, Waxman will have free rein to investigate, as he puts it, "everything that the government is involved with." And the funny thing is, Waxman can thank the Republicans for the unique set of levers he will hold. Under a rules change they put through in the days when they used the panel to make Bill Clinton's life miserable, the leader of Government Reform is the only chairman who can issue subpoenas without a committee vote. Then Chairman Dan Burton--who famously re-enacted the suicide of Clinton deputy White House counsel Vince Foster by shooting at what he called a "head-like thing" (later widely reported to be a melon) in his backyard--issued 1,089 such unilateral subpoenas in six years. Since a Republican entered the White House, the G.O.P. Congress has been far less enthusiastic in its oversight. Waxman likes to point out that the House took 140 hours of sworn testimony to get to the bottom of whether Clinton had misused the White House Christmas-card list for political purposes, but only 12 hours on prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib."

What say you and me later, toots?

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China didn't even have to invade?

"CHINA'S second-biggest oil company, Sinopec, is on the verge of signing a $US100 billion ($128 billion) energy deal with Iran."

The Iran deal dwarfs everything else. At present, Iran is the third-biggest source of China's oil imports, providing 12 per cent of the total in the first 10 months of 2006, behind Angola and Saudi Arabia. Russia comes next.

About half of China's oil comes from the Middle East, growing to an anticipated 70 per cent by 2015. And it has a strong incentive to focus more heavily on Iran, where there are fewer competitors. American companies are forbidden from investing there.

But Iran needs fresh investment merely to maintain the output of its aged and declining oil fields at the present 4 million barrels a day. Iran's constitution does not allow foreign firms to own access to the country's natural resources. But they are permitted to finance the development, technically give Iran control, and recover their investment at an agreed rate from the output - as would happen with the massive Yadavaran field."

Future Gulf War Syndrome?

Factor VII:
"Two senators called on the Pentagon on Wednesday to investigate the military's use of a largely experimental blood-coagulating drug that doctors inject into wounded troops to control bleeding, but which has been linked to unexpected and potentially deadly blood clots."

Honor their service, never forget them, never neglect them.

Los Angeles Times shows the wounded soldiers and their fight to return to some sort of normality.

Graphic photos.

The Lifeline I think maybe I just need a couple of days without getting blown up. The Lifeline
— Army Spc. Corbin Foster

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Tangy fresh!

" The Bush administration pleased farmers and frustrated environmentalists Monday by declaring that pesticides can be sprayed into and over waters without first obtaining special permits.

The heavily lobbied decision is supposed to settle a dispute that's roiled federal courts and divided state regulators. It's popular among those who spray pesticides for a living, but it worries those who fear poisoned waters will result."

My al-Qaeda dog ate my homework.

Bush is sure we haven't heard this excuse before.

What it sounds like when intelligent people talk about Iraq:

"SPIEGEL ONLINE spoke with Yasar Qatarneh, director of the Regional Center on Conflict Prevention in Amman, about how the Iraq problem could be solved."

..."Qatarneh: Of course Bush is seriously concerned about the growing sectarian conflict in Iraq -- and the effect it is having on American public opinion. It is also true that the administration is unhappy with the Iraqi government and is beginning to see Maliki's government as incompetent and inept. But the Iranian initiative upstaged Bush. Washington has no direct contacts with Iran, meaning the meeting on Monday between Talabani and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gave the impression that the US was being sidelined even by its allies in Baghdad.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Is the meeting part of a US shift in strategy in the region?

Qatarneh: Nothing significant will come as a result. I don't expect the administration will announce any changes in strategy until it sees the results of the Pentagon's review of US options in Iraq as well as those of the Iraq Study Group.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Would the region be better off were the US to completely withdraw, or does the Middle East need a strong American presence?

Qatarneh: Beyond the question of larger US presence versus withdrawal, a new atmosphere for change is developing in Washington after the recent Congressional election. After taking over both the Senate and the House of Representatives, the Democrats have publicly discussed reinstituting an oversight committee and starting investigations into defense spending. They have also hinted at investigations into the Bush Administration's conduct of the war. All of this will make it hard to sustain a "stay the course" policy in Iraq. Against this background, I believe that Iraq is a case for the United Nations, with full and unrestricted backing from the European Union. The UN has to take over the country. Such a huge undertaking would involve giving Iraq a similar status to Kosovo. Iraq's sovereignty would have to be put temporarily into the hands of the international community."

Well, that was short.

The War on Christmas ends with an acknowledgement of misunderstanding related activites:
"DENVER, Colorado (AP) — A subdivision has withdrawn its threat of $25 daily fines against a homeowner who put a Christmas wreath shaped like a peace sign on the front of her home.

Homeowner Lisa Jensen told The Associated Press on Monday that the board of directors of the Loma Linda Homeowners Association had apologized, called the incident a misunderstanding and had withdrawn its request for the wreath’s removal."

Update: The entire town gets in the act:
"In any case, there are now more peace symbols in Pagosa Springs, a town of 1,700 people 200 miles southwest of Denver, than probably ever in its history.

On Tuesday morning, 20 people marched through the center carrying peace signs and then stomped a giant peace sign in the snow perhaps 300 feet across on a soccer field, where it could be easily seen.

“There’s quite a few now in our subdivision in a show of support,” Mr. Trimarco said.

A former president of the Loma Linda community, where Mr. Trimarco lives, said Tuesday that he had stepped in to help form an interim homeowners’ association.

The former president, Farrell C. Trask, described himself in a telephone interview as a military veteran who would fight for anyone’s right to free speech, peace symbols included.

Town Manager Mark Garcia said Pagosa Springs was building its own peace wreath, too. Mr. Garcia said it would be finished by late Tuesday and installed on a bell tower in the center of town."

Because nobody likes oversight....

"Business interests, seizing on concerns that a law passed in the wake of the Enron scandal has overreached, are advancing a broad agenda to limit government oversight of private industry, including making it tougher for investors to sue companies and auditors for fraud.

A group that has drawn support from Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. plans to issue a report tomorrow that argues that the United States may be losing its preeminent position in global capital markets to foreign stock exchanges because of costly regulations and nettlesome private lawsuits."

One person = one vote. One machine = -18,000 votes.

Which lever, button, switch do I push to vote for a paper trail or the old fashioned vote counting by humans?

Pelosi says no to both Harman and Hastings.

"The fight over the top spot on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has exposed the kind of factional politics that bedeviled House Democrats before they were swept from control in 1994. Harman, a moderate, strong-on-defense "Blue Dog" Democrat, had angered liberals with her reluctance to challenge the Bush administration's use of intelligence. Hastings, an African American, was strongly backed by the Congressional Black Caucus but was ardently opposed by the Blue Dogs, who said his removal from the bench disqualifies him from such a sensitive post."
"In the end, Pelosi's pledge to clean up Congress after two years of scandal made Hastings's appointment impossible, Democrats said.

Likewise, Pelosi was not willing to bend the committee's unique term-limit rules for Harman, who she believes had violated a promise to step aside, according to Democrats. Harman had angered some Democrats with a tough management style that helped drive away longtime Democratic staffers."

Um...Harman has been a DINO in many things. She is not a centrist. Supporters of Bush, his vanity war, and his attack on the Constitution are not exactly welcome in the Democratic Congress. The Democrats were voted into power because they are NOT Republicans.

We need to turn the country hard to the left to keep it on the road, because staying the course by turning to the right or to the center still takes us off the cliff.

Harman in her own words. Says it all.

Glenn Greenwald:
"Quite transparently, none of this ever had anything to do with "concern" over who will lead the House Intelligence Committee (which is why one searches in futility for all the in-depth media debates and analysis over the all-powerful Pete Hoekstra), but instead was all driven by the increasingly intense commitment to destroy Nancy Pelosi's ability to lead the House. It was all based on imaginary "facts" and assumptions that were completely unwarranted by the evidence, and fueled by the caricature that Pelosi is both inept and intent on destroying the Democratic Party. The entire Hastings-vs.-Harman contest was an illusory media drama from start to finish."

Update: More on the smearing of Pelosi and her vineyard in Napa:
"An ABC News reporter asked Peter Schweizer “if he had researched those facts before he called Pelosi a hypocrite.” Schweitzer responded, “It’s not my responsibility to go and find out how every single particular circumstance is handled on the Pelosi vineyard.” Why burden yourself with the facts?"

When there are no boundaries, how do you define the center?

Steve Bates collects the blogs that have defined centrism.

Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake:

"In fact "centrism" is not antithetical to populism, and both are, in pure abstract terms, measurements. If an axis of opinion can be established with two discernable poles, then your opinion is "centrist" if there are equal numbers of those who stand to one side of you as another. If more people feel their interests lie on one side of the spectrum rather than another, it is generally assumed to have a populist base of support (as I believe Kevin is using the term here, contra elite "blue ribbon commissions"). And as Atrios notes, imposing a right/left dichotomy on most issues thus abstracted is both awkward and frequently misleading.I don't think I've ever rejected a position simply because it was "centrist," it would be like having a problem with long division. Rather, I get a bit irked with the smug certainty of pundits and politicians who think the wisdom of their position should be respected because it is "centrist" when they have not in fact established that such a measurement is applicable, or why (if it is) this should lead to some knee-jerk assumption of validity."

"Aesthetics are not metrics. John McCain's ability to laugh casually and tell a good joke on the Daily Show does not mean he is not morphing into a cynical right-wing wacko before our eyes. And those who want to invoke the "centrism" of their ideas are going to have to try a little harder to establish both that they are, and why we should care."

Ezra Klein: (my bold)
"Guys like Sebastian Mallaby, Robert Samuelson, and David Broder make a play at pushing marginally useful, technocratic ideas as a way of dismissing progressive ones. In these instances, the idea is subordinate to its perceived position on the ideological spectrum. When "centrist" ideas become a navigational device rather than a policy proposal, that's wankery. And it should be opposed. When a good idea emanates out of a centrist, or even conservative, source, that's a good idea."

Those damned activist judges!

Always getting in the way and slowing down the New World Order!

"A federal judge struck down President Bush's authority to designate groups as terrorists, saying his post-Sept. 11 executive order was unconstitutional and vague.
Some parts of the Sept. 24, 2001 order tagging 27 groups and individuals as "specially designated global terrorists" were too vague and could impinge on First Amendment rights of free association, U.S. District Judge Audrey Collins said.

The order gave the president "unfettered discretion" to label groups without giving them a way to challenge the designations, she said in a Nov. 21 ruling that was made public Tuesday.

The judge, who two years ago invalidated portions of the U.S. Patriot Act, rejected several sections of Bush's Executive Order 13224 and enjoined the government from blocking the assets of two foreign groups."

How to fight terrorism at home.

DrunkDuck shows us.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Don't you think the Iraqis might resent this just a tiny bit?

In response to King Abdullah's statement, Rush Limbaugh:
"ABDULLAH [audio clip]: -- will be to provide whatever we can do for the Iraqi people, but the same time we do want to concentrate ourselves on the core issues which we believe are the Palestinians and the Palestinian peace process, because that is a must today --

LIMBAUGH: Oh, give me a break.

ABDULLAH [audio clip]: -- as well as the tremendous concern we have had over the last several days with what's happening in Lebanon. And we could possibly imagine going into 2007 and having three civil wars on our hands.

LIMBAUGH: All right, well, let's just have them. Let's just have the civil wars and let the crumbs crumble and the cookie crumble where -- because I'm fed up with this."

"Fine, just blow the place up. Just let these natural forces take place over there instead of trying to stop them, instead of trying to use -- I just -- sometimes natural force is going to happen. You're going to have to let it take place. You can spend all the time you like with diplomacy, and you can spend all the time you want massaging these things with diplomatic -- you're just -- you're just delaying the inevitable."

Picking the low-lying fruit would have lost us the harvest.

Jonathan Singer at MyDD dissects the idea Democrats needed to tweak their message to include Evangelicals in order to win the election.

"One of the bits of common wisdom that emerged during the period between the last two elections was that White Evangelical voters were the key to George W. Bush's reelection and thus the Democrats would need to actively court such voters if they were interested in winning in future contests. To this end, it was thought that the Democrats should find issues upon which they agreed with such "faith voters", most notably the environment.

If November 7 showed us anything, it was that the Democrats clearly do not need the suppport of Evangelical voters in order to create an electoral majority. And a report by Neela Banerjee in today's issue of The New York Times should put to rest the theory that the religious right is at all interested forging any semblence of compromise or comity with progressives, be it on social issues or even issues such as the environment."


"While some will no doubt continue to tell us that the Democrats that they need to give up on some of their issues (particularly ones relatiing to abortion and equal rights for all Americans, including homosexuals) and that can steal away "faith voters" from the Republicans by appealing on issues like the environment, it should be plain to any serious watcher of politics that not only do the Democrats not need to do this but that by doing so the Democrats threaten to lose whatever gains they made earlier this week. That is not to say that the Democrats should not keep an open tent, but only that the so-called "low-lying fruit" among Evangelicals (those who theoretically are aching to vote Democratic -- but only if there is outreach) aren't quite as low-lying as many believe."

At a Freedom of Speech dinner, Gingrich attacks freedom of speech.

Those damned internets and their tubes, terrorists will drive trucks right through 'em!

A Congress that actually know... does stuff.

"Reid also said he's doing away with the ''do-nothing Congress'' that Democrats campaigned against this year as they ousted the Republican majority in both chambers of Congress. The Nevada Democrat, who is wrapping up his final days as Senate minority leader, will take control of the Senate agenda when the new Congress takes the oath of office in January.

''We're going to put in some hours here that haven't been put in in a long time,'' Reid said. That means ''being here more days in the week and we start off this year with seven weeks without a break. That hasn't been done in many, many years here.''

Because THIS is what the Republicans are leaving the Democrats to deal with:
Even though the Do-Nothing 109th Congress has passed just two out of 11 spending bills, it has decided to put off the remaining nine until the new year, “dumping almost a half-trillion dollars of spending bills on the incoming Democratic majority.”

The conservative leadership is already making excuses. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) said he is looking into “what is feasible and achievable.” Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) admitted that political considerations may be behind the inertia, stating, “I know a lot of folks just as soon not to see them done this year and let the Democrats struggle here next year.”"

At least he escaped with his soul.

"When Polish student Michael Gromek, 19, went to America on a student exchange, he found himself trapped in a host family of Christian fundamentalists. What followed was a six-month hell of dawn church visits and sex education talks as his new family tried to banish the devil from his soul. Here's his story."
"Things began to go wrong as soon as I arrived in my new home in Winston-Salem, where I was to spend my year abroad. For example, every Monday my host family would gather around the kitchen table to talk about sex. My host parents hadn't had sex for the last 17 years because -- so they told me -- they were devoting their lives to God. They also wanted to know whether I drank alcohol. I admitted that I liked beer and wine. They told me I had the devil in my heart."

The crazier and more deluded you are....

the more likely you voted for Bush.

But we already knew this.

I don't think so.

If we invaded Canada, say, and plopped in an unknown Prime Minister of our choosing after making everyone 'vote' for him, why would we expect him to able to control the angry citizens let alone run the country? And if the population of Canada was in the midst of a civil war and the PM's shaky support came from one of the factions, would he try to contain them?

So when Bush demands that al-Maliki rein in the militias that are actually part of his base, can Maliki say no?

We know what you're thinking, stop that!

Via Moonbootica, two links:
British civil liberties under attack:
"Police are to demand new powers to arrest protesters for causing offence through the words they chant and the slogans on their placards and even headbands.

The country's biggest force, the Metropolitan police, is to lobby the attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, because officers believe that large sections of the population have become increasingly politicised, and there is a growing sense that the current restrictions on demonstrations are too light."

And thought police:

"Criminal profilers are drawing up a list of the 100 most dangerous murderers and rapists of the future even before they commit such crimes, The Times has learnt.

The highly controversial database will be used by police and other agencies to target suspects before they can carry out a serious offence. Pilot projects to identify the highest-risk future offenders have been operating in five London boroughs for the past two months."


Firedoglake takes apart the discussion on impeachment. Should we rush in demanding impeachment? No. Should we investigate carefully all of the various missteps of this administration, and when confronted with undeniable misdeeds pursue impeachment? Damn right.

Let Waxman, Leahy, and Conyers loose.

Monday, November 27, 2006

No to Maine school vouchers.

Court votes no on school vouchers:
"WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court on Monday refused to take up the issue of school choice in Maine, where a state law bars the use of public funds to send students to private religious schools.

The case could have provided a platform for a court battle over school choice and the separation of church and state."

Wishful thinking for a knock-down drag-out hair-pulling Harman vs. Pelosi catfight.

It would give Harman street creds and belittle Pelosi.

Atrios links to Greenwald:
"There is nothing "credible" about Harman. Yes, she is smart and knowledgeable, but she has been wrong about everything that matters, particularly in the intelligence area. But she was wrong in exactly the same way that the Beltway geniuses and The New Republic and David Broder and Fred Hiatt were wrong. For that reason, they don't want her to be repudiated and rejected because that would constitute a repudiation and rejection of them. So they build up and glorify the "credible," responsible Harman because she represents them, and they hate Pelosi in advance for rejecting Harman for being wrong about everything because they feel rejected by that choice."


"In light of [Harman's] history, why would anyone think that Nancy Pelosi should choose Jane Harman to be the Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, a key position for exercising desperately-needed oversight over the administration's last two years of intelligence mischief and, as importantly, for investigating and exposing the administration's past misconduct? She instinctively supports, or at least acquieses to, the administration's excesses, and would be among the worst choices Pelosi could make."

To Rich Lowry, Harman is a centrist:
" Harman is a moderate on national security, noted for her expertise. She has a reputation for bipartisan comity and has worked to pull Democrats to the center on defense and intelligence issues. "

Greenwald again:
Given her position as ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, Harman was repeatedly used by the administration -- with her consent -- as a potent instrument to shield itself from scrutiny, by creating the "Responsible Democrat" (Harman, Lieberman) v. "Irresponsible Democrat" dichotomy and then arguing that they enjoyed bipartisan support from the Good, Sensible Democrats like Harman. That's why, just like Joe Lieberman, Harman's most vociferous defenders are the most extreme Bush followers and neoconservatives. It is their agenda whom she promotes (which is why they defend her)."

CorrenteWire reminds us:
" Harman, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, remained silent for over a year after being briefed on the Bush administration’s violation of federal wiretapping law (FISA) and recently told “Meet the Press” that she deplores the New York Times for informing the American people that the Bush Administration ignored the law."

Know who your politicians are before you bet on them.

Apparently we forgot a wooden stake and some garlic.

Katherine Harris plots comeback.

Corrected by Steve. I should be careful who I'm insulting. Where's a silver cross, please?

The fanatical Christianist is not gone, but lurks.

If you want to have your blood run cold, read the Scribe. The war on the Constitution has yet to start.

Make sure no submarines can take it out, Georgie.

Bush plans for his library. It will be the bestest, better'n Clinton's OR Poppy's! There'll be a massive sign that proclaims to one and all Georgie's library cost millions, no make that billions of dollars!

But the doors won't open. National security, y'know.

Besides, how many copies of The Pet Goat can you have?

Update: cartoon. (Via Verse)

How waving the flag does not mean protecting the Constitution.

Driftglass blows it out of the water:

"And this is the real reason why Conservatives despise the nitpickyness and piffling of “the system”.

Because “the system” they actually despise is the daily public business of maintaining a constitutional democracy.

They cringe at the thought of having to lay out the bare, unpolluted facts and then letting the evidence lead us wherever it may, irrespective of how much poisonous, lying bilge Limbaugh and Coulter and Dobson try to scream and pray and threaten into the jury box.

Because in the end, Limbaugh and Coulter and Dobson and the rest of their ilk are the true Enemies of the State, and what these dimwitted fuckers who heed them are incapable of getting through their fat heads is this simple truth:

The Constitution our leaders swear to protect and defend demands that Democracy be both our ends and our means."

Bring back Saddam Hussein!

He'll know how to make his country men behave!

NTodd catches Jonathan Chait dragging out this idea and points out Iraq doesn't want him and that the US can no longer make such decisions.

Drunk Duck has the cartoon.

Update 11/28:
Chait runs in several directions at once to explain himself.

It depends on what the word Theory means....

as to whether or not Intelligent Design have parity with the scientific concept of evolution, or even why the religious theory has bound itself so tightly to the conservative movement.

In the post, Zeno notes:
"There are no surprises here for the informed citizen who knows a little bit about the enterprise of scientific research and the standards of proof that accompany it. Wilson continues his essay by discussing such things as the religious motives of intelligent design advocates and design flaws in nature (the eye's “blind spot”) that suggest the absence of an intelligent designer. He was promptly taken to task, of course, by those ID sympathizers whose will to believe in a creator God makes them eager to embrace ID as scientific (and not a thinly veiled attempt to make fundamentalist religious dogma more respectable)."

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Starting the Season with a shot across the bow.

"DENVER - A homeowners association in southwestern Colorado has threatened to fine a resident [Jensen] $25 a day until she removes a Christmas wreath with a peace sign that some say is an anti-Iraq war protest or a symbol of Satan."

So I guess this means this starts the War on the War on Christmas or Who Would Jesus Bomb?

"[Bob Kearns, president of the Loma Linda Homeowners Association in Pagosa Springs] ordered the committee to require Jensen to remove the wreath, but members refused after concluding that it was merely a seasonal symbol that didn’t say anything. Kearns fired all five committee members."

Damn! It's hard to get into the reason for the season if nobody takes it to heart!

41 can't understand why the world doesn't like 43.

"President Bush's father was forced into an emotional defense of his son yesterday in the Persian Gulf when an Arab audience launched a blistering surprise attack on his first-born.

"We do honor Americans, and I believe that they are highly respected in our country. However, we do not respect your son, and we do not respect what you are doing all over the world," college student Nevine Al Rumeisi told the former President at a leadership conference in the United Arab Emirates.

Her comment was roundly cheered by the business and political leaders gathered in once pro-American Abu Dhabi.

The elder Bush just looked stunned."

Oliver Wills has a response:

News flash: Your son is going to go down in history as one of the worst and least liked presidents in history. On his watch thousands of Americans have died unnecessarily from terror and war, while an entire city drowned as he yucked it up and the government let corruption run wild. Deal with it."

The Iraq War

is so entirely and completely owned by the Republican Party.

"Americans need to wake up to the fact that their choices have consequences. The Republican party owns this war. They keep telling us that victory is the only option. Fine. Then it's their job to get us out of it and prove that victory really is an option."

Choose the Falsies Winner!

"Welcome to the third annual "Falsies Awards" contest, sponsored by the Center for Media and Democracy to recognize the people and players responsible for polluting our information environment. This year, we are asking you to help identify the worst spinners and propagandists of 2006. Please read through the list of nominees below and rank them. You can also nominate additional candidates in our readers' award section."

Want to find out whether that was a bunch of nuns or the KKK in the park?

Click on your state.

Bloggers know everything.

Even some guy with a blog knows more than you.

The melt down

If you want to know how it is on the ground in Iraq, listen to Michael Ware.

Rook cites Mercury News:
"With Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki relegated to the sidelines, brazen Sunni-Shiite attacks continue unchecked despite a 24-hour curfew over Baghdad. Al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia now controls wide swaths of the capital, his politicians are the backbone of the Cabinet, and his followers deeply entrenched in the Iraqi security forces. Sectarian violence has spun so rapidly out of control since the Sadr City blasts, however, that it's not clear whether even al-Sadr has the authority - or the will - to stop the cycle of bloodshed."

Garbled information about casualities, the burning alive of civilians.

Josh Marshall quotes the NYTimes saying that:
" of the secret report's more surprising conclusions, according to The Times, is "that terrorist and insurgent groups in Iraq may have surplus funds with which to support other terrorist organizations outside of Iraq.” It seems counterintuitive that the armed Shiite and Sunni militias battling for control of Iraq would be financing terrorists outside of Iraq while the battle inside of Iraq still hangs in the balance.

In fairness, The Times makes clear that the secret report may be flawed: "Some terrorism experts outside the government who were given an outline of the report by The Times, criticized it for a lack of precision and a reliance on speculation."

The overwhelming impression I'm left with from the piece is that more than three and half years after ostensibly seizing control of Iraq, the U.S. government is still largely ignorant of the armed groups arrayed against its efforts there."

Everyone seems to be hoping the Baker-Hamilton Commission's report will give us some way out of Iraq, but apparently Bush wants options, like never having to say he's sorry.

Glenn Greenwald
notes the bizarre first condition of the Commission:
"There is nothing "centrist" about a Commission which decides in advance that it will not remove our troops from a war which is an unmitigated disaster and getting worse every day. It just goes without saying that if you invade and occupy a country and are achieving nothing good by staying, withdrawal must be one of the primary options considered when deciding what to do about the disaster.

Even if that is not the option ultimately chosen, a categorical refusal in advance to consider that option -- or to listen to experts who advocate it -- is not the work of a "centrist" body devoted to finding a solution to this war. If the Commission begins with the premise that we have to stay in Iraq and then only considers proposals for how to modify our strategy on the margins, that is anything but centrist. To the contrary, that is a close-minded -- and rather extremist -- commitment to the continuation of a war which most Americans have come to despise and want to see brought to an end."

Some are not impressed:
"Today on CNN, Former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski issued a strong, preemptive criticism of the Baker Commission studying alternatives for Iraq. Brzezinski said that while the commission “will probably come out with some sound advice on dealing with the neighborhood,” it essentially “will offer some procrastination ideas for dealing with the crisis.”"

NTodd spells it out to an idiot thinking it would be good for us to bring back Saddam:
"I'll explain: it's not fucking up to us.

No, really, the Iraqis want us out--they don't want us to put Saddam or anybody else in power. They know we fucked things up for them and they still just want us to get the hell out of their country and stop helping further destroy it.

The Iraqis' destiny was always really in their own hands even before we decided to take on the mantle of White Man's Burden and "liberate" them. Now that we've been so gracious as to get rid of their old murderous thug so a thousand new murderous thugs can bloom, it's time for us to make a gracious exit.

So long and thanks for all the IEDs. Sorry about the mess. Send the cleaning bill to us--we're good for it."

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Bush's social security plan: send the seniors to Iraq.

60 year old grandmother called up.

Soldier goes AWOL for the second time.

"Snyder said the military doesn't chase down people who are absent without leave. "I'm not a rapist, not a murderer, not a child molester. I'm not doing anything negative," he said. "I'm doing what I feel I have to do as a human being.""

"Pvt. Kyle Snyder, 23, a former combat engineer, went AWOL from his Army unit after failing to report to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, on November 1 -- a day after turning himself in after an 18-month AWOL stint. He had fled to Canada in April 2005 while on leave to avoid a second tour in Iraq.

"Legally, I'm AWOL again," Snyder said Friday. "My lawyer has tried to contact Fort Leonard Wood like 75 times -- it's documented, 75 times -- and tried to get in touch with the military. They've avoided this entire subject."

Snyder was among two dozen volunteers from Iraq Veterans Against the War spending the week in New Orleans, gutting houses belonging to veterans and musicians that were flooded more than a year ago by Hurricane Katrina.

Snyder has said he was put on patrol when sent to Iraq in 2004, which he said he was not trained to do, and that he began to turn against the war when he saw an innocent Iraqi man killed by American gunfire."

The Democrats solution to Iraq.

Tom Tomorrow goes into the past.

The climate of fear.

"Science Teachers' Organization Refuses To Accept Copies of Inconvenient Truth."
"In their e-mail rejection, they expressed concern that other “special interests” might ask to distribute materials, too; they said they didn’t want to offer “political” endorsement of the film; and they saw “little, if any, benefit to NSTA or its members” in accepting the free DVDs. …

[T]here was one more curious argument in the e-mail: Accepting the DVDs, they wrote, would place “unnecessary risk upon the [NSTA] capital campaign, especially certain targeted supporters.”"

Like oil companies: "including Exxon-Mobil, Shell Oil, and the American Petroleum Institute" which are working actively against the Kyoto Agreement.

Joshua Marshall notes:
"GOP stalwarts like Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), who is chairman of the Senate committee on the environment, are way out on the whacky right fringe but have managed to dominate their party's discussion of global warming, if not stifle the conversation outright. That's not to say that corporate America has suddenly turned green. Exxon Mobile, for example, has been a particularly vigorous sponsor of global warming deniers. But there has been in place a broader political consensus on the issue than one might be led to believe by looking at the leading voices of the GOP.

Today the WaPo surveys the current political landscape. Corporate America knows that the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions is coming. Now it's gearing up to maximize its influence on what that legislation will look like."

Not all are lemmings.

Digby reviews an article by an intelligent conservative:
"What is most refreshing about this piece, and perhaps unprecedented, is that Bramwell does not just fault flawed execution or creeping liberalism. He considers the movement empty in all its forms, even as his temperament and view of human psychology shows him to be what everyone used to think of as a conservative."

Quoting Bramwell:
"Like Orwell’s “Inner Party,” those at the top of the movement have almost perfect freedom to decide what opinions count as official conservatism. The Iraq War furnishes a telling example. In the run-up to the invasion, leading conservatives announced that conservatism now meant spreading global democratic revolution. This forthright radicalism—this embrace of the sanative powers of violence—became quickly accepted as the ineluctable meaning of conservatism in foreign policy. Those who dissented risked ostracism and harsh rebuke. Had conservative leaders instead argued that global democratic revolution would not cure our woes but increase them, the rest of the movement would have accepted this position no less quickly. Millions of conservative epigones believe nothing less than what the movement’s established organs tell them to believe. Rarely does a man recognize, like Winston Smith, his own ideology as such."

Well, at least Bush is consistent.

Getting his Saudi friends to bail him out of another failed endeavor. This time Unka Dick had to go because Georgie is pouting over the smackdown election and the losing of Rumsfeld.

Tengrain has a picture.

Isn't this the second time at least Bush has screwed up a British undercover operation for temporary political gain?

The Independent: US interference 'allowed terror gang to escape':
"A team of suspected terrorists involved in an alleged UK plot to blow up trans-atlantic airliners escaped capture because of interference by the United States, The Independent has been told by counter-terrorism sources."

Crooks and Liars has more.

Rumsfeld's fingerprints are all over Abu Ghraib.

Apparently he really likes torture. Oh, sorry, torture newly defined is not torture unless your organs fail and then it's an oops.

Former U.S. Army Brigadier General Janis Karpinski:
""The handwritten signature was above his printed name and in the same handwriting in the margin was written: "Make sure this is accomplished"," she told Saturday's El Pais.

"The methods consisted of making prisoners stand for long periods, sleep deprivation ... playing music at full volume, having to sit in uncomfortably ... Rumsfeld authorized these specific techniques.""

It's all Clinton's fault! He forced us to attack Iraq!

No accountability, no admission of failure, no attempt to govern, no awareness on how to run a war. But when the house of cards comes tumbling down about their ears, the Republicans play the blame game.

Bryan at Why Now? shows how those who never have fought in a war run one disastrously:
"Veterans realize that the units in Iraq are not trained or equipped for occupation or the training missions they have been given. They are front line combat units, not civil affairs people. Non-veterans are probably not familiar with the difference. The Army had to create the Combat Action Badge to recognize the reality that many people are not doing to the job they were trained for, they are acting in a totally different specialty. The Marines are moving around the deserts of Anbar province in amphibious vehicles and the swamp ready vehicles of the Louisiana National Guard were not available for use after Katrina, because they were also left in the desert. These are things that veterans know because of their experience and training that non-veterans don’t know.

The “all volunteer military” is being subjected to “stop loss”, recalls and extensions that are definitely not voluntary. There is a “back door draft” going on that affects those people who thought they had a hard and fast contract. Members of the National Guard and Reserves are being destroyed financially by unexpected and extended call-ups that weren’t mentioned when they volunteered. There has been no effort to relieve any of these problems by expanding the regular forces. Veterans understand these details and worry about them, non-veterans don’t know what we are talking about or what the effects are."

Attaturk points out that the WarOnTerraandBringingDemocracyAtTheEndOfAGun now has been going on longer than WWII:
"America's involvement in Iraq will reach that milestone at a time when the clamour for withdrawal has never been louder, and the possibility of achieving it has never seemed so difficult. The decisive end of World War II in 1945 delivers no lessons that could be applied to a very different war in a very different era.

If anything, things seem to be getting worse, the options less appealing. Baghdad is reeling from the deadliest assault on Iraqi civilians since the start of the US invasion in March 2003. At least 200 people died and more than 250 were injured after six car bombs, mortar attacks and missiles battered the Shiite Muslim slum of Sadr City."

Glenn Greenwald on how the insurgent Iraqis have time to plan their attacks to influence US elections:
"So, to recap: when insurgents engage in violence before the elections, that's the fault of Democrats because it's done to help them win (and credit to Republicans because it shows how tough they are on The Terrorists). When the insurgents engage in violence after the elections, that's also the fault of Democrats because they are excited by the Democrats' success (and credit to Republicans because Republicans want to stay forever, which makes the insurgents sad and listless). And when there is no violence, all credit to Republicans because it shows how great their war plan is.

Put another way, no matter what happens in Iraq (violence increases, violence decreases), and no matter when it happens (before the election, after the election), it is the fault of Democrats and it reflects well on the Republicans. Isn't it fair to say that that's the very definition of the mindset of a cultist?"

Chuck Hagel supports phased withdrawal.

From ThinkProgress:
"There will be no victory or defeat for the United States in Iraq. These terms do not reflect the reality of what is going to happen there. The future of Iraq was always going to be determined by the Iraqis — not the Americans.

…The time for more U.S. troops in Iraq has passed. We do not have more troops to send and, even if we did, they would not bring a resolution to Iraq. Militaries are built to fight and win wars, not bind together failing nations.

…The United States must begin planning for a phased troop withdrawal from Iraq."

The Disappearance of King George?

Where has Bush the cheerleader for the War on Terra, Iraq and Spreading Democracy at the Point of a Gun disappeared to?

Joshua Marshall wonders.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Hastert feels lost.

Joe from Americablog:
"It will also be a major change for Mr. Hastert. Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, he has rarely if ever flown on commercial planes because of security concerns, and he has been surrounded by a staff of 60 or so, including Congressional and political workers. For the last eight years, he has stood behind the vice president in the constitutional line of succession to the presidency. Now he will be just one of 435 and a member of the minority in the House, where as Mr. Hastert knows too well, the majority clearly rules."

Dollar dropping.

"The dollar dropped sharply against a broad range of major currencies today, and the euro broke through the $1.30 mark for the first time in a year and a half, highlighting concern about the strength of the American economy.

The dollar’s losses came during a thin trading day in which the British pound rose to its strongest value against the dollar in two years. The Japanese yen and the Swiss franc also gained at the dollar’s expense.

Stocks closed lower on Wall Street today after a shortened trading session that was soured by news of the dollar’s woes.

Though the Thanksgiving holiday probably accentuated the dollar’s fall, analysts said the drop appears to reflect concerns that the American economy will continue to weaken as economies in Europe and Asia grow stronger.


Analysts said that the dollar’s drop today reflected a growing anxiety over Chinese economic policy. China’s central bank holds a large amount of American currency, and speculation has intensified recently that it could begin selling off dollars to avoid being burned if the dollar collapses."

Don't even think about bashing on my door at eight in the morning!

Aussie John Safran takes it personally when Mormons knock on his door persistently and flies to Salt Lake City to promote atheism.

EPA shutting down access to information for all involved.

"The White House has begun closing the Enviromental Protection Agency's research libraries to the public and to its own staff, cementing Bush's reputation as usher of a new dark age.

It never got down to actual book-burning, but the Republican choke-hold on government would clearly have taken us there. In August, under the guise of fiscal responsibility, the Bush Environmental Protection Agency began closing most of its research libraries, both to the public and to its own staff.

The EPA's professional staff objected strongly, insisting that closing the libraries would hamstring them in their jobs. In a letter to Congress protesting the closures, public employees said, "We believe that this budget cut is just one of many Bush administration initiatives to reduce the effectiveness of the US Environmental Protection Agency, and to continue to demoralize its employees.""

Molly Ivins gives thanks.

"It’s time to give thanks, and I want to start off with a great, big thank you for the top American movement conservatives and all the fun we’ve had since Election Day. I know I promised not to gloat after this election was over, but I’m not talking unseemly gloating—I’m talking about moments so brilliantly hilarious the only option is to put your head down on the desk and howl."

She lists the people she's grateful for, starting with Kate O’Beirne.
"First in line is the wit of The National Review’s Kate O’Beirne, who clearly teamed up with Borat to explain the great conservative win. Her explanation is that this is a win for conservatism because a great many of the D’s elected are so conservative themselves. She says half of them are conservatives.

She is indeed right. If only twice as many Democrats had been elected, it would have proved that there are twice as many conservatives in the country, and this is clear to any thinking person. We might challenge Ms. O’Beirne to explain how the next Republican win is a victory for liberalism.

The reason that O’Beirne and others are able to accept such an absurdity is because they’ve been listening to George W. Bush for six years and are thus able to believe six impossible things before breakfast."

Captain Vegetable.

For those suffering from too much pie.

Odious abortion bill in Georgia.

Shakespeare's Sister:
"This is House Bill 1 (or HB1, for short), and it was presented for prefile by Representative Bobby Franklin. This odious bill, if enacted into law, would impose a total ban on abortion in the state, one that rivals the South Dakota ban. This means no abortion even in the case of rape, incest, or detriment to the health of the mother, and for the life of me, I have scoured this bill, and it makes no mention of allowing for an abortion to save the life of the mother."

Don't say, I'll pretend I didn't hear.

Military recruiters ignore the Don't ask, don't tell policy.

Judith Regan's almost book: If I Did It inspires others:

Steve M.:

* If I Helped Turn Iraq into an Open-Air Abbatoir for Human Beings, Here's How It Happened by Douglas Feith
* If I Invented Ideological Ambulance-Chasing, Here's How It Happened by Larry Klayman
* If I've Become Rich Spewing Bigotry and Enabling Some of the Worst Political Leaders on the Planet, Here's How It Happened by Neal Boortz
* If I'm Responsible for the Rise to Power of the Worst President in American History, I'm Going to Avoid Talking About How It Happened by Ralph Nader
* If My Pomposity Back in the 1980s Helped Make It Acceptable for the United States to Openly Embrace Brutality Overseas, Here's How It Should Happen Again by Jeane Kirkpatrick

They have found Cheney's secret undisclosed location.

At a depth between 1013 m and 1340 m, on the Norfolk Ridge, north-west of New Zealand.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Vietnam is not like Iraq because....

they're different?

Jonathan Schwarz:
"My calm, measured inquiry is prompted by a new NY Times op-ed by Mark Moyar, a professor at the Marine Corps University. According to Moyar, it turns out Vietnam and Iraq are quite similar, but in a good way:"

Schwarz then takes the op-ed apart and finishes:

"• Again, Diem was Catholic. In fact, he was Extra-Catholic; his brother was an archbishop. But the main sects he attacked in 1955 were Cao Dai (Syncretic), Hoa Hao (Buddhist), and a criminal organization called Binh Xuyen. (As the op-ed says, Diem "suppressed challenges to his authority from another religious group" in 1963. The other religious group was Buddhist.)

• Again, Maliki is Shia. Thus, even if he had the power to crush the Shia militias (he surely doesn't), he wouldn't want to. He would be crushing his own base of support.

The op-ed is crazy and evil in about nineteen other ways too. Spencer Ackerman touches on a few here. But just the problem I identify should be enough to disqualify this guy from teaching anyone anything anywhere. Moreover, even if the crazy-filter failed to catch him before he got tenure, in a non-insane country the country's most prestigious newspaper wouldn't be printing something like this. In a non-insane country, the most prestigious newspaper would be wiping its prestigious ass with it."

Um...NOBODY will be asking Georgie II advice about anything.

Attaturk found this desperately self-deluded post:
"And there really will come a time, believe it or not, when a future American President baffled and paralyzed by the latest insanity from the Middle East—whether an Iranian nuke or a Syrian invasion of Lebanon or another Middle East war or the usual assassination and killing of Americans—will ask former president George Bush II for advice, as a then fawning media will look back to his past "toughness" and "determination" when under fire. That seems unhinged now, but it too will come to pass, as they say."

I don't think they will be able to shake Georgie out of the drugged stupor he'll be in to even ask a question.

Can the Democrats help nation intelligence agency whistle-blowers?

"Whistle-blowers employed by these [intelligence-gathering agencies]agencies must seek recourse within the same agency they are blowing the whistle on. And even if the investigators within their own agency confirm reprisal allegations, the investigators have no power to remedy the situation.

Devine says the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has ruled against whistle-blowers in 125 of 127 of the reprisal cases seen by the court since 1994. “They've gutted the law,” Devine says, “and it's degenerated into a rubber stamp for retaliation.”

Lawmakers recently considered two sets of legislation that would affect whistle-blowers. One attempted to extend the Whistleblower Protection Act to cover intelligence agency employees through amendments to the 2007 Defense Authorization Bill.

Why were the Australian wheat companies so special?

That they were told ONE YEAR before the American citizens that we would be attacking Iraq?

Update 11/26:
But don't let your friends get between you and the almighty dollar:

"THE United States intervened to sabotage a huge wheat contract agreed upon by AWB and Iraq during a series of secret meetings in Cairo last year, less than two years after Australia joined America to topple Saddam Hussein.

Senior US officials in Baghdad complained to Iraqi Government ministers in January last year - 10 months before the United Nations exposed AWB's kickbacks to Saddam Hussein - after learning Australia had landed a $900 million wheat deal with Iraq."

Pharmaceutical companies mourn the leaving of Santorum.

There will not be many allies in Congress now...*sob*

Krugman: do we have to wait for a constitutional crisis?

Crooks and Liars:
"The evidence is already compelling that Republicans are in the midst of stealing Florida's 13th, and as Paul Krugman noted today, this is a clear instance in which paperless voting machines “delivered the race to the wrong candidate.” Indeed, state officials, who already unfairly certified Republican Vern Buchanan the "winner," tapped an FSU professor as an “independent” expert to oversee an audit — despite the fact that this prof made an appearance on the steps of the Florida Supreme Court during the 2000 recount battle wearing a “Bush Won” sign."

Update: Talking Points Memo quotes E. J. Dionne:
"Control of the House does not depend on how this race turns out. It is therefore in the interest of both parties, not to mention the country, to be simultaneously aggressive and judicious in figuring out what went wrong in Sarasota and to use that knowledge to fix the nation's voting system before a major disaster strikes. Sarasota is the canary in the electronic coal mine."

Dobson has no time to cure Haggard's gayness.

Should we care? Mustang Bobby points out some interesting .... characteristics.

Update: Crooks and Liars has more proof that Dobson is batshit crazy.

Kramer Krashes.

Sinbad has the most coherent and intelligent response. Steve Gilliard also addresses the melt down.

Update: Sinbad's link is fixed.

The future is ours to imagine.

Look at what Rook found! Totally jaw-dropping video (via Suburban Guerrilla).

Gee, they've just noticed?

Novak sees something wrong with Bush's presidency.

Ah. What gave this moron a clue? The exploding rubble called Iraq that once was a functioning society? The bloated deficit from uninhibited spending? The embarrassingly obvious greed of the corporation executives? The manipulated elections that failed because everyone voted Democratic just to get the bastards out? The desperation of the neocons to somehow bomb Iran before they lose power? The fact that the entire world hates us?

Novak? Maybe he's just not getting as many phone calls to blovate. Blame it on Bush.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Flaw in Firefox.

"A flaw in Mozilla Corp.'s Firefox browser makes it easy for cybercriminals to steal user information on Web sites where users create their own pages, such as"

Civil War

I don't know what else to call it. 161 dead in one attack in Iraq.

Update 11/24:
Steve Gilliard:
"Iraq Sunni constantly overestimate their ability to deal with the Shia. It isn't just the militia, but the new army which they have to factor in. The "carpetbaggers from Iran" means SCIRI, but the fact is that if the Sunnis try an overrun of the Green Zone, the Shia will fight them and so will the US, having no choice.

What that would do is set the state for a full scale civil war."

Fixing global warming:

If you can't stop it, go in reverse:
"Wood's proposal was not technologically complex. It's based on the idea, well-proven by atmospheric scientists, that volcano eruptions alter the climate for months by loading the skies with tiny particles that act as mini-reflectors, shading out sunlight and cooling the Earth. Why not apply the same principles to saving the Arctic? Getting the particles into the stratosphere wouldn't be a problem -- you could generate them easily enough by burning sulfur, then dumping the particles out of high-flying 747s, spraying them into the sky with long hoses or even shooting them up there with naval artillery. They'd be invisible to the naked eye, Wood argued, and harmless to the environment. Depending on the number of particles you injected, you could not only stabilize Greenland's polar ice -- you could actually grow it."

So...they know how much to put into the air? We won't suddenly lose control of our climate, right? Right?

Who is Wood?
"Then Lowell Wood approached the podium. At sixty-five, Wood is a big, rumpled guy, tall and broad as a missile silo, with a full red beard and pale blue eyes that burn with a thermonuclear glow. In scientific circles, Wood is a dark star, the protege of Edward Teller, the father of the hydrogen bomb and architect of the Reagan-era Star Wars missile-defense system. As a physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Lab in California for more than four decades, Wood has long been one of the Pentagon's top weaponeers, the agency's go-to guru for threat assessment and weapons development. Wood is infamous for championing fringe science, from X-ray lasers to cold-fusion nuclear reactors, as well as for his long affiliation with the Hoover Institution, a right-wing think tank on the Stanford campus. Everyone at Snowmass knew Wood's reputation. To some, he was a brilliant outside-the-box thinker; to others, he was the embodiment of Big Science gone awry."

Lovely....the Pentagon would be in charge of this. Now we know it would be well run.....sheesh.

Prezniting is hard on paranoia.

Pachacutec from Firedoglake asks if this reminds us of anyone we know:
"A suspicious person is a person who has something on his mind. He looks at the world with fixed and preoccupying expectation, and he searches repetitively, and only, for confirmation of it. He will not be persuaded to abandon his suspicion or some plan of action based on it. On the contrary, he will pay no attention to rational arguments except to find in them some aspect or feature that actually confirms his original view. Anyone who tried to influence or persuade a suspicious person will not only fail, but also, unless he is sensible enough to abandon his efforts early, will, himself, become an object of the original suspicious idea."

Republicans focus on what is important.

MyDD's Jonathan Singer:
"Congressional Republicans, led by GOP Rep. Tom Davis of Northern Virginia, are pushing a plan to hand the District of Columbia a seat in the House of Representatives in exchange for also giving Utah another seat, temporarily pushing the size of the House to 437 seats. In theory, this plan would be party-neutral, as DC would elect an extra Democrat and Utah would elect an extra Republican. But according to Glen Warchol of The Salt Lake Tribune, Utah Republicans are attempting to shut the state's Democrats out of the redistricting process with, perhaps, the intention of making it impossible for Democratic Congressman Jim Matheson to win reelection."

Happy Tryptophan Day!

Although there really isn't enough in the turkey you eat to make you sleepy.

Mr. Bean and his turkey.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Igor continues to fend off the pitchforks and torches.

Gonzales still thinks warrantless wiretapping needs to be made legal.

"He continues to demand that the Congress pass the NSA wire tap law or the terrorists will win. He implied as much to the cadets at the Air Force Academy at a speech Saturday. From an AP report:

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales contended Saturday that some critics of the Bush administration's warrantless surveillance program were defining freedom in a way that poses a "grave threat" to U.S. security."

Maybe he'll lose his passport and can't get back in?

Cheney to visit Saudi Arabia.
"“Vice President Dick Cheney will leave for Saudi Arabia the day after Thanksgiving for talks with King Abdullah. The vice president’s office said Wednesday that Cheney would meet with Abdullah on Saturday to discuss developments in the Middle East, then return to Washington with no other stops planned.”"

When liberal penguins attack!

Shakespeare's Sister's Paul the Spud compares The March of The Penguins with Happy Feet. Conservative values when you don't dare discuss global warming, overfishing, and the invasion of wilderness areas, liberal values when you do.


Watertiger has the ultimate evil Penguin.

Nancy Pelosi

seen through Republican eyes....nervously. Wonderfully presented by Tengrain.

Attaturk disrupts Cheney's pipe dream.

"The United States had more than ample ability to "blow shit up" for the years prior to Bush -- however, from FDR to Clinton -- both Parties had leaders that generally followed a foreign policy line where moderation worked for great success (the UN [oh how they hate it], NATO, nuclear arms treaties, victory in the Cold War) it is only when they ventured out of moderation that disaster occurred [Cuba, Vietnam, etc.]. But Bush has constantly deviated from this line...

...and constantly fucked up and made things far worse.

There is NEVER going to be a fucking utopia [or as the Cheney Administration defines it the United States ruling the World with an Iron Fist] you can only make things better by marginal degrees. That's realism, and that is the world we fucking have. To use 9/11 as this attempt to create this cockeyed and delusional vision underlies the great negligence and crimes of these idiots."

Gates and Iran-Contra.

Laura Rozen: (my bold)
"former CIA Soviet analyst Jennifer Glaudemans on Robert Gates and the politicization of intelligence:
In 1985...Iran-Contra was in the planning stages then, a secret scheme in which the Reagan administration was going to sell arms to an enemy country, Iran, and use the proceeds to fund the anti-communist Contras in Nicaragua.

In order to justify these actions, administration officials felt they needed some analytical backing from the intelligence community. Those in my office knew nothing of their plans, of course, but it was the context in which we were asked, in 1985, to contribute to the National Intelligence Estimate on the subject of Iran.

Later, when we received the draft NIE, we were shocked to find that our contribution on Soviet relations with Iran had been completely reversed. Rather than stating that the prospects for improved Soviet-Iranian relations were negligible, the document indicated that Moscow assessed those prospects as quite good. What's more, the national intelligence officer responsible for coordinating the estimate had already sent a personal memo to the White House stating that the race between the U.S. and USSR "for Tehran is on, and whoever gets there first wins all."

No one in my office believed this Cold War hyperbole. ...

We protested the conclusions of the NIE, citing evidence such as the Iranian government's repression of the communist Tudeh Party, the expulsion of all Soviet economic advisors and a number of Soviet diplomats who were KGB officers, and a continuing public rhetoric that chastised the "godless" communist regime as the "Second Satan" after the United States.

Despite overwhelming evidence, our analysis was suppressed. At a coordinating meeting, we were told that Gates wanted the language to stay in as it was, presumably to help justify "improving" our strained relations with Tehran through the Iran-Contra weapons sales."

How bad is it in Iraq?

Do you really want to know?

Firedoglake breaks it down: infiltrators within the Iraqi ranks, fearful Iraqi commanders quiting, not enough advisers for Iraqi troops that will not be able to stand up when the Americans leave, and advisers who are unqualified to assist Iraqis.

Staying the course is straight down.

Update: Watertiger has more bloody statistics.

Abstinence-only connected to rise in AIDS.

Uganda's falling rates of AIDS is now on the upswing because of the Bush abstinence-only program.

"The reasons for the increase are not clear, but there has been a shift in the message from Uganda's leadership. Between the early 1990s and early 2000s, HIV prevalence fell sharply in major cities among pregnant women - the group most commonly monitored because they have contact with health services - as President Yoweri Museveni worked to raise awareness of the dangers of HIV and put the authority of his office behind condom use.

But in recent years the message on condoms has been diluted in favour of greater emphasis on sexual abstinence until marriage - in line with the thinking of the Bush administration, which is spending millions of dollars on HIV prevention and treatment. Critics say many women are not in a position to abstain from sex and that many are infected by their husbands."

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Passports needed at borders as of January 23rd.

"Nearly all air travelers entering the U.S. will be required to show passports beginning Jan. 23, including returning Americans and people from Canada and other nations in the Western Hemisphere."

Just remember this.

Taunting with a water bottle.

Losing hearts and minds with cruel gestures.

Richard Dreyfuss and a civics lesson.

Via Steve Bates (via Bryan), Richard Dreyfuss speaks passionately about preserving our democracy by educating our children.

Your Republican Congress at work.

Or not.

Joshua Marshall has this about the closing up of the 109th Congress:
"Republicans vacating the Capitol are dumping a big spring cleaning job on Democrats moving in. GOP leaders have opted to leave behind almost a half-trillion-dollar clutter of unfinished spending bills.

There's also no guarantee that Republicans will pass a multibillion-dollar measure to prevent a cut in fees to doctors treating Medicare patients.

The bulging workload that a Republican-led Congress was supposed to complete this year but is instead punting to 2007 promises to consume time and energy that Democrats had hoped to devote to their own agenda upon taking control of Congress in January for the first time in a dozen years."

Floozy Patch?

Is that what they are calling it these days?

Firedoglake suggests that Congress focus on more important things that obsessing over what women do in bedrooms, which leads to Digby declaring, "I have a feeling that this anti-birth control and brood-mare-for-Jesus thing isn't going to catch fire."

Pandagon discusses Bachelor Girl by Betsy Israel:
"I have to say that the most amusing part of the book for me was reading how the scare-mongering tactics aimed at single women never seem to change from one generation to the next. Regardless of any random generation of single women felt about their status, the endless drumbeat at them was the same: If you don’t get married young, no one will love you and you’ll be sorry one day when your womb rots out and your teeth fall out. The best parts were the parts where barely concealed racial anxieties reared their heads. It’s clear what the message of the drumbeat says about the role of women in the white American patriarchy, which is to be the incubators of the oh-so-important heirs of white men and to be subservient and to be, above all, grateful for the chance."

The Draft.

When the military is spread too thin, overused, and resentful; enlistment is dropping, and the shine has gone from your latest war; how will you get enough cannon fodder for the latest planned adventure?

Update 11/22:
Charlie Rangel's mandatory conscription idea:
"Rangel is advocating a public debate about the costs of the war, with testimony from Administration officials, and he is advocating that war supporters in Congress make a choice between ending the war and commiting political suicide."

The weirdness of Sam Brownback.

He has no idea what he'll be facing if he steps out of his Kansas delusions to run for president in the real world. Mustang Bobby has more of his fantasies:
"In his dream America, the one he believes both the Bible and the Constitution promise, the state will simply wither away. In its place will be a country so suffused with God and the free market that the social fabric of the last hundred years -- schools, Social Security, welfare -- will be privatized or simply done away with. There will be no abortions; sex will be confined to heterosexual marriage. Men will lead families, mothers will tend children, and big business and the church will take care of all."

For those presidents who failed History 101.

Keith Olbermann pounds in the facts:
"Asked if there were lessons about Iraq to be found in our experience in Vietnam, Mr. Bush said that there were — and he immediately proved he had no clue what they were.

"One lesson is," he said, "that we tend to want there to be instant success in the world, and the task in Iraq is going to take a while."

"We'll succeed," the President concluded, "unless we quit."

If that's the lesson about Iraq that Mr. Bush sees in Vietnam, then he needs a tutor. Or we need somebody else making the decisions about Iraq.

Mr. Bush, there are a dozen central lessons to be derived from our nightmare in Vietnam, but "we'll succeed unless we quit" is not one of them."

Even Kissinger jumps ship.

"Military victory is no longer possible in Iraq, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said in a television interview broadcast Sunday."

So now we just need to save Bush's face and change what 'staying the course' means:

""I think we have to redefine the course, but I don't think that the alternative is between military victory, as defined previously, or total withdrawal," he said."

I do think this is worse than quibbling over what the word is means....

Tengrain has the pic.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The recycled cans came to $800.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

"The 8-year resident of the building was apparently exceedingly fond of Coors Light beer, drinking a couple of dozen cans a day, every day, for the length of his residence, saving all the empties as well as the cartons they came in. (The townhouse was found to contain an estimated 70,000 empty beer cans which reportedly fetched a total of $800 when they were delivered to a recycler.) Despite his unusual behavior, the occupant of the townhouse was described as a reliable tenant who paid his rent on time, never complained, and maintained such a low profile that the local mail carrier thought the residence was vacant. (Although, for reasons not explained by news reports, the tenant had evidently deliberately shut off the water and heat to the townhouse.) "