Friday, December 30, 2005

Get Thee to FireFox

Windows Security Flaw Is 'Severe'
PCs Vulnerable to Spyware, Viruses

Unlike with previously revealed vulnerabilities, computers can be infected simply by visiting one of the Web sites or viewing an infected image in an e-mail through the preview pane in older versions of Microsoft Outlook, even if users did not click on anything or open any files. Operating system versions ranging from the current Windows XP to Windows 98 are affected.

My computer was shutting down from spam/ad/spyware attacks regularly until I switched to Mozilla Firefox two months ago. Now, I never have any problems. It's a free download and will save you a Bill-Gates-sized headache.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

The Little Red Hoax

Federal agents' visit was a hoax
Student admits he lied about Mao book

And I fell for it:

He Knows What You've Been Reading

I was thinking about this kind of thing the other day while I watched coverage of the latest day of Saddam Hussein's trial. Hussein was claiming to have been beaten while in U.S. custody. A few years ago I would have laughed at such a claim. Now, after Guantanimo, Abu Graib, dozens of prisoners dead at the hands of their U.S. captors, I had to think. Maybe we did torture him.

And that's one of the tragedies of the Bush Administration. Their conduct has been so anti-democratic that everyone now assumes the worst about them. There's no presumption of innocence once you've broken the law so many times.

I'd believe just about anything they're accused of. Sad.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Blogweather Report

Heading out for the holidays today. Posting may occur, but will be intermittent. More likely on Saturday, and from Tuesday next. However, unpredictability is key here. Don't count on anything.

Happy holidays, Merry X-mas (why are they taking the "X" out of Xmas, anyway?) and Happy New Year.

'We Have Dentists'

US soccer fans win a rare award (from the

Swells Awardz 2005

The Best Crowd Heckle Ever Award
goes to ...
American fans at the US v England friendly in Chicago. Not only did they sport T-shirts proclaiming "Tea is for pussies", "Beach Boys kick Beatles' ass", "Beckham is a Fairy", "FDR can't save you now", "Magna Carta this..." and "We own Man U", but - led by a drummer - they taunted David James for an entire half with:

"We Have Dentists!"
Boom boom boom-boom-boom
"We Have Dentists!"
Boom boom boom-boom-boom
"We Have Dentists!"
Boom boom boom-boom-boom
"We Have Dentists!"
Boom boom boom-boom-boom
"We Have Dentists!"
Boom boom boom-boom-boom.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Faux War on Christmas: The Final Act

From Attaturk:

Five to the Egg Noggin'

A Drop of Good News

Senate Blocks Alaska Refuge Drilling

WASHINGTON - The Senate blocked oil drilling in an Alaska wildlife refuge Wednesday, rejecting a must-pass defense spending bill where supporters positioned the quarter-century-old environmental issue to garner broader support.

Drilling backers fell four votes short of getting the required 60 votes to avoid a threatened filibuster of the defense measure over the oil drilling issue. Senate leaders were expected to withdraw the legislation so it could be reworked without the refuge language. The vote was 56-44.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist was among those who for procedural reasons cast a "no" vote, so that he could bring the drilling issue up for another vote.

The vote was a stinging defeat for Sen. Ted Stevens (news, bio, voting record), R-Alaska, who for years has waged an intense fight to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He had thought this time he would finally get his wish.

Cheney To Middle Class: Go Fuck Yourself

From Reuters:

Senate passes spending cuts after Cheney breaks tie

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate on Wednesday narrowly passed a bill to trim nearly $40 billion from federal spending over five years, including cuts to social welfare programs such as health care for the elderly and poor.

But the super-rich (like Cheney) keep their tax cuts.

The man is going to hell.


What would Johnny Damon do? It's one of my favorite Red Sox t-shirts from the World Championship season.

Guess I'll have to retire it, because Damon has just become a MFY*.

Apparently, the answer to the question is, he'd go anywhere for money.

Damon jumps to Yankees
Deal with New York worth $52m

Into the trash heap my WWJDD t-shirt will go, along with "Get Foulked" and "Cowboy Up". Maybe I can bear to take them out some day far in the future. Right now this is painful.

Favorite Damon diatribe so far, from A Red Sox Fan in Pinstripe Territory:

F This/Where Have You Gone, Bill Lee?

None of these shithead macho jocks cares about anything except the money that's waved under their noses. David Ortiz aside, of course. What's the point in rooting for any of these people? What if Steinbrenner said he's changing the yankees logo to an Old English red "B"? Would yankee fans still root for the yankees? Why should I choose a side in a game where all the sides are the same?

*Mother Fucking Yankees

You Can't Fight the Philistines With a Spoon

Peter Daou on (via firedoglake [amusing side note, blogger's spellcheck wants me to replace "firedoglake" with "prodigally". Ha.])

The Dynamic of a Bush Scandal: How the Spying Story Will Unfold (and Fade)

7. A few reliable Dems, Conyers, Boxer, et al, take a stand on principle, giving momentary hope to the progressive grassroots/netroots community. The rest of the Dem leadership is temporarily outraged (adding to that hope), but is chronically incapable of maintaining the sense of high indignation and focus required to reach critical mass and create a wholesale shift in public opinion. For example, just as this mother of all scandals hits Washington, Democrats are still putting out press releases on Iraq, ANWR and a range of other topics, diluting the story and signaling that they have little intention of following through. This allows Bush to use his three favorite weapons: time, America's political apathy, and make-believe 'journalists' who yuck it up with him and ask fluff questions at his frat-boy pressers.

8. Reporters and media outlets obfuscate and equivocate, pretending to ask tough questions but essentially pushing the same narratives they've developed and perfected over the past five years, namely, some variation of "Bush firm, Dems soft." A range of Bush-protecting tactics are put into play, one being to ask ridiculously misleading questions such as "Should Bush have the right to protect Americans or should he cave in to Democratic political pressure?" All the while, the right assaults the "liberal" media for daring to tell anything resembling the truth.

9. Polls will emerge with 'proof' that half the public agrees that Bush should have the right to "protect Americans against terrorists." Again, the issue will be framed to mask the true nature of the malfeasance. The media will use these polls to create a self-fulfilling loop and convince the public that it isn't that bad after all. The president breaks the law. Life goes on.

10. The story starts blending into a long string of administration scandals, and through skillful use of scandal fatigue, Bush weathers the storm and moves on, further demoralizing his opponents and cementing the press narrative about his 'resolve' and toughness. Congressional hearings might revive the issue momentarily, and bloggers will hammer away at it, but the initial hype is all the Democrat leadership and the media can muster, and anyway, it's never as juicy the second time around...

Rinse and repeat.

Certainly that's how the recent glut of scandals has gone: the August 6, 2001 PDB, Guantanimo, Abu Graib, Scooter Libby, et al. Let's hope critical mass has been attained. And there's always Jack Abramoff, who the New York Pravda Times says today claims to be broke and is discussing a plea. (How broke can someone who stole millions be? Is he buying cat food for dinner? Doubt it.)

The Democrats cry out for a new leader. I had hopes for Barack Obama after the 2004 Democratic convention, but he is taking bland pleasantness to new heights. You can't fight the Philistines with a spoon. You need a sword. Obama is a plastic spoon at this point. We need someone who's really tough. Chimpeachment will come only at the point of the sword. Who will the sword be?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Fertilize the Tree of Liberty With a Little Bushit

Thomas Jefferson, November 13, 1787:

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it's natural manure.

Root Bush out.

Conservatives for Chimpeachment

Conservative Scholars Argue Bush’s Wiretapping Is An Impeachable Offense

Conservative scholars Bruce Fein (constitutional scholar and former deputy attorney general in the Reagan Administration) and Norm Ornstein (American Enterprise Institute Scholar) argued yesterday on The Diane Rehm show that, should Bush remain defiant in defending his constitutionally-abusive wire-tapping of Americans (as he has indicated he will), Congress should consider impeaching him.

You know BushCo will continue to say all criticism is coming from Democrats, but how long will that hold up?

Oh, And Watch Out For the Queer Lawyers, Too

From Americablog:

Pentagon anti-terror investigators labeled gay law school groups a "credible threat" of terrorism

According to recent press reports, Pentagon officials have been spying on what they call "suspicious" meetings by civilian groups, including student groups opposed to the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual military personnel. The story, first reported by Lisa Myers and NBC News last week, noted that Pentagon investigators had records pertaining to April protests at the State University of New York at Albany and William Patterson College in New Jersey. A February protest at NYU was also listed, along with the law school's LGBT advocacy group OUTlaw, which was classified as "possibly violent" by the Pentagon. A UC-Santa Cruz "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" protest, which included a gay kiss-in, was labeled as a "credible threat" of terrorism.

Those gay kiss-ins are definitely hotbeds. Of something. Terror? Not so much.

The Vegans Are Coming, The Vegans Are Coming

Everybody to get from street!*

In today's New York Pravda/Times:

F.B.I. Watched Activist Groups, New Files Show

WASHINGTON, Dec. 19 - Counterterrorism agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation have conducted numerous surveillance and intelligence-gathering operations that involved, at least indirectly, groups active in causes as diverse as the environment, animal cruelty and poverty relief, newly disclosed agency records show.


One F.B.I. document indicates that agents in Indianapolis planned to conduct surveillance as part of a "Vegan Community Project." Another document talks of the Catholic Workers group's "semi-communistic ideology." A third indicates the bureau's interest in determining the location of a protest over llama fur planned by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Well, I'm sure glad the Bush Administration is keeping us safe from the vegans, the Catholic Workers and the animal lovers. Al Qaida? Not so much.

*From The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming (1966)

New York Times Pravda: Official House Organ of the Bush Adminstration

From today's Los Angeles Times (not to be confused with the Bush court stenographers, the New York Times):

Critics Question Timing of Surveillance Story
The New York Times, which knew about the secret wiretaps for more than a year, published because of a reporter's new book, sources say.

The New York Times first debated publishing a story about secret eavesdropping on Americans as early as last fall, before the 2004 presidential election.

But the newspaper held the story for more than a year and only revealed the secret wiretaps last Friday, when it became apparent a book by one of its reporters was about to break the news, according to journalists familiar with the paper's internal discussions.

So, the public wasn't entitled to know that one of the presidential candidates was violating the constitution's 4th Amendment prohibition on warrantless searches. During an election year.

Like I said yesterday, Fuck the [New York] Times. They're pathetic.

Liberal media, my ass. Journalism is dead. Long live the embedded corporate media.

Snoopgate = Chimpeachment

Jonathan Alter in Newsweek:

Bush’s Snoopgate
The president was so desperate to kill The New York Times’ eavesdropping story, he summoned the paper’s editor and publisher to the Oval Office. But it wasn’t just out of concern about national security.

[] Bush was desperate to keep the Times from running this important story—which the paper had already inexplicably held for a year—because he knew that it would reveal him as a law-breaker.


This will all play out eventually in congressional committees and in the United States Supreme Court. If the Democrats regain control of Congress, there may even be articles of impeachment introduced. Similar abuse of power was part of the impeachment charge brought against Richard Nixon in 1974.

Not impeachment. Chimpeachment.

Monday, December 19, 2005

This Woman Should Run For Congress

Kristin Breitweiser, one of the 9/11 widows, has written a powerful deconstruction of why Bush doesn't need any more spy powers. He needs more intelligent analysis of the existing intelligence:

The King's Red Herring

President Bush should be stopped in his tracks with regard to his use of 9/11 scare tactics to circumvent constitutional laws that are meant to protect U.S. citizens. His justification for doing so – the inability to conduct surveillance on the 9/11 hijackers – is a red herring. History will bear out the truth – our intelligence agencies held a treasure trove of intelligence on the 9/11 hijackers, intelligence that was gathered through their initially unencumbered surveillance. President Bush should busy himself by investigating why that information was then stymied and not capitalized upon to stop the 9/11 attacks

'World Is At Its Hottest Since Prehistory'

World is at its hottest since prehistory, say scientists

The world is now hotter than at any stage since prehistoric times, a top climatologist announced last week. His startling conclusion comes as Nasa reported that 2005 has been the hottest year ever recorded.

Dr Michael Coughlan, head of the National Climate Centre at the Australian Government's Bureau of Meteorology, said: "One probably has to go back into prehistoric times - and way back in them - to be seeing these sorts of temperatures."


Last June, September and October were all logged as the warmest ever, world-wide. The past 10 years are all in the warmest 10 ever recorded, apart from 1996 whose place is taken by 1990.

This year Arctic sea ice dropped to its smallest ever extent, the Atlantic suffered a record hurricane season and an unprecedented drought reduced the flow of the Amazon to its lowest ever level. Canada and Australia had their hottest ever weather this year, while India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Algeria suffered heatwaves touching 50C.

Only an ideological fucking moron like George Bush could deny the reality of global warming.

Fuck the Times

Yesterday I thought about going out & picking up the Sunday New York Times, which I do on occasion for a day of culture immersion. Arts & Leisure, the magazine & the puzzle, Week In Review, etc.

And then I thought, fuck the Times. They withheld the story that (King) George Bush was violating the 4th Amendment during the 2004 election. While I was giving money to John Kerry and John Edwards, and arranging to fly to Florida to monitor a polling place so what happened in 2000 didn't happen in 2004, the New York Times decided to put their finger on the scale and withhold critical information. They may as well have stolen my political contributions out of my pocket.

So fuck the Times. They don't get any more of my money. Fuck them. Fuck Times Select. Fuck Judy Miller and Elisabeth Bumiller and all the other incompetent "journalists" living in the Bushco tank, breathing the fetid Bushco air and spewing filthy Bushco lies.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Charity Begins At Home

If you've been to the Boston Marathon in the last 25 years, you know who Dick and Rick Hoyt are. Rick Hoyt was born with cerebral palsy. They entered the Marathon in 1981 as a team, and Dick Hoyt ran pushing his son in a wheelchair. Honest to god, you get choked up every year watching them go by. It's an amazing thing to watch a father push his son's wheelchair for 26.2 miles. And he's back doing it again, at the age of 65, despite heart surgery in 2003.

They've hit a rough patch, and need a new van. I'm sending a check today. This is as about as good a cause as you can imagine.

Hoyts face a new challenge: Marathoning father and son need a van and a little bit of good luck

To contribute to the Hoyts’ van fund, send a tax-deductible check to the Hopkinton Athletic Association, P.O. Box 820, Hopkinton, MA 01748. Checks should be made out to the HAA, and specify the "Hoyts Fund" in the memo line of the check.

Bush Killing Polar Bears

Global warming is accelerating exponentially, thanks to the US, our production of greenhouse gases, and the Bush Administration's stubborn & insane refusal to recognize that global warming is real. Just ask a polar bear. Try to find one that hasn't....drowned.

From Britain's Sunday Times:

Polar bears drown as ice shelf melts

SCIENTISTS have for the first time found evidence that polar bears are drowning because climate change is melting the Arctic ice shelf.

The researchers were startled to find bears having to swim up to 60 miles across open sea to find food. They are being forced into the long voyages because the ice floes from which they feed are melting, becoming smaller and drifting farther apart.

Although polar bears are strong swimmers, they are adapted for swimming close to the shore. Their sea journeys leave them them vulnerable to exhaustion, hypothermia or being swamped by waves.

According to the new research, four bear carcases were found floating in one month in a single patch of sea off the north coast of Alaska, where average summer temperatures have increased by 2-3C degrees since 1950s.

'Bush Lied, Liberty Died'

George Bush went on the radio yesterday and admitted to violating his oath to uphold and preserve the constitution.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

President Acknowledges Approving Secretive Eavesdropping

President Bush said yesterday that he secretly ordered the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans with suspected ties to terrorists because it was "critical to saving American lives" and "consistent with U.S. law and the Constitution."

As usual, what Bush said was a bald-faced lie:

As President, I took an oath to defend the Constitution, and I have no greater responsibility than to protect our people, our freedom, and our way of life.


In the weeks following the terrorist attacks on our nation, I authorized the National Security Agency, consistent with U.S. law and the Constitution, to intercept the international communications of people with known links to al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations. Before we intercept these communications, the government must have information that establishes a clear link to these terrorist networks.

Warrantless intercepts violate the 4th Amendment to the Constitution. You don't have to be a brain surgeon to figure this one out. Even cretins like Bob Barr, former Congressman from Georgia, can figure out that this is unconstitutional.

Bush has gone from Worst President Ever to President Most Likely to be Impeached.

Best blogtopia post title on this subject, from (the good) Roger Ailes:

Bush Lied, Liberty Died

He Knows What You've Been Reading

Agents' visit chills UMass Dartmouth senior

NEW BEDFORD -- A senior at UMass Dartmouth was visited by federal agents two months ago, after he requested a copy of Mao Tse-Tung's tome on Communism called "The Little Red Book."

Two history professors at UMass Dartmouth, Brian Glyn Williams and Robert Pontbriand, said the student told them he requested the book through the UMass Dartmouth library's interlibrary loan program.

The student, who was completing a research paper on Communism for Professor Pontbriand's class on fascism and totalitarianism, filled out a form for the request, leaving his name, address, phone number and Social Security number. He was later visited at his parents' home in New Bedford by two agents of the Department of Homeland Security, the professors said.

The professors said the student was told by the agents that the book is on a "watch list," and that his background, which included significant time abroad, triggered them to investigate the student further.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Young Prophet

My brother reminded me of this Matt Damon soliquoy from Good Will Hunting:

(Matt Damon, as Will Hunting, being interviewed for a possible job with the National Security Agency - the spooks who conduct electronic eavesdropping for the U.S. Government)

Why shouldn't I work for the NSA? That's a tough one. But I'll take a shot. Say I’m working at the N.S.A. Somebody puts a code on my desk, something nobody can break. So I take a shot at it and maybe I break it. And I’m real happy with myself ‘cause I did my job well. But maybe that code was the location of some rebel army in North Africa or the Middle East. Once they have that location they bomb the village where the rebels were hiding and fifteen hundred people I never had a problem with get killed.

Now the politicians are sayin’ “Send in the marines to secure the area” ‘cause they don’t give a shit. It won’t be their kid over there, gettin’ shot. Just like it wasn’t them when their number got called, ‘cause they were pullin’ a tour in the National Guard. It’ll be some guy from Southie takin’ shrapnel in the ass. And he comes home to find that the plant he used to work at got exported to the country he just got back from. And the guy who put the shrapnel in his ass got his old job, ‘cause he’ll work for fifteen cents a day and no bathroom breaks. Meanwhile my buddy from Southie realizes the only reason he was over there was so we could install a government that would sell us oil at a good price. And of course the oil companies used the skirmish to scare up oil prices so they could turn a quick buck. A cute little ancillary benefit for them, but it ain’t helping my buddy at two dollars and fifty cents a gallon. And naturally they’re takin’ their sweet time bringing the oil back and maybe even took the liberty of hiring an alcoholic skipper who likes to drink martinis and play slalom with the icebergs and it ain’t too long ‘til he hits one, spills the oil and kills all the sea life in the North Atlantic. So my buddy’s out of work and can’t afford to drive, so he’s got to walk to the job interviews, which sucks ‘cause the shrapnel in his ass is giving him chronic hemorrhoids. And meanwhile he’s starvin’ ‘cause every time he tries to get a bite to eat the only blue plate special they’re servin’ is North Atlantic scrod with Quaker State.

So what’d I think? I’m holding out for somethin’ better. I figure I’ll eliminate the middleman. Why not just shoot my buddy, take his job and give it to his sworn enemy, hike up gas prices, bomb a village, club a baby seal, hit the hash pipe and join the National Guard? Christ, I could be elected president.

and do things like this:

Bush Authorized Domestic Spying

Have a Very Chewy Christmas

Can't beat Alvin and the Chipmunks, but funny nonetheless:

Chewbacca Sings!

Joke of the Day

Another over the email transom:

Robot bartender

A man enters a bar and orders a drink. The bar has a robot bartender.

The robot serves him a perfectly prepared cocktail, and then asks him, "What's your IQ?"

The man replies "150" and the robot proceeds to make conversation about global warming factors, quantum physics and spirituality, environmental interconnectedness, string theory, nano-technology, and sexual proclivities. The customer is very impressed and thinks, "This is really cool."

He decides to test the robot. He walks out of the bar, turns around, and comes back in for another drink. Again, the robot serves him the perfectly prepared drink and asks him, "What's your IQ?"

The man responds, "about a 100." Immediately the robot starts talking, but this time, about football, NASCAR, supermodels, favorite fast foods, guns, and women's breasts.

Really impressed, the man leaves the bar and decides to give the robot one more test. He heads out and returns, the robot serves him and asks, "What's your IQ?"

The man replies, "Er, 50, I think." And the robot says ... real ... slowly, "So ............. ya ....... gonna ....... vote ...... for ...... Bush ........ again?"

Good Riddance to the Mittwit

Have a nice life back there in your true home, Utah, after your Presidential run crashes and burns. Goodbye, our own living, breathing, press-conference holding Ken Doll. Even the Herald, our right-wing Murdoch rag, is sick of his schtick.

Yesterday's Boston Herald editorial:

Hey Mitt, it’s been swell!

OK, so Mitt Romney isn’t running for re-election. Well, we didn’t exactly stop the presses for that one.

The bad news is that Romney pretty much gave up the day job months ago — not a good thing. Legislative leaders have been working on that assumption too, for the most part treating the governor like the little man who isn’t there.

Now, in the wake of last night’s announcement, he really isn’t there — his eyes presumably set on bigger stuff. So it’s time for Romney to do the decent thing and turn over the day job to someone who (1) wants it and (2) is perfectly capable of doing it. That would be Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey.

Being governor of Massachusetts isn’t beanbag. Memo to Mitt: Don’t let the screen door hit you in the backside.

Yesterday's Globe editorial:

Romney exits right

OUR NEW YEAR'S wish: a governor who wouldn't rather be elsewhere.

By thumbing his nose at Massachusetts after less than three-quarters of one term as its chief executive, Mitt Romney, yesterday surrendered his clout and squandered his legitimacy. If, as it appears, his heart and mind are no longer in Massachusetts, he should resign.

Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey is inexperienced. But the state would be far better off in the hands of someone focused on state problems, rather than someone touring the country ridiculing the people he was elected to serve. Romney has joked in several states that, as a Republican here, he feels like ''a cattle rancher at a vegetarian convention."

Today's Globe:

Facing hard realities, Romney accrued modest list of successes

Less than three years into the CEO-style governorship of Mitt Romney the broad reform agenda he promised in the early days has been reduced by the political reality of Beacon Hill to a more modest series of legislative accomplishments.

Horse-trading and patronage, long the currency of the State House, have been anathema to Romney. That reluctance to deal, combined with his uncompromising nature, has meant that many Romney proposals -- even bottom-line, money-saving moves -- were ignored, killed, or gutted by the Democrats who run the Legislature. Close courthouses? Not in our districts. Merge the Highway Department and Turnpike Authority? Forget it.

Even on reinstating the death penalty, a hot-button issue on which polls have indicated that Romney had popular support, the governor lost a vote in the House by nearly 2 to 1. Eight years earlier, a capital punishment bill failed on a tie vote.

Spies Like US

From today's New York Times:

Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts

This article could also have been entitled "Bush Violates Several US Laws", but that would a real journalist's headline.

How pathetic is the New York Times, that they have to include this paragraph in their story:

The White House asked The New York Times not to publish this article, arguing that it could jeopardize continuing investigations and alert would-be terrorists that they might be under scrutiny. After meeting with senior administration officials to hear their concerns, the newspaper delayed publication for a year to conduct additional reporting. Some information that administration officials argued could be useful to terrorists has been omitted.

"All the News The Bush Administration Tells Us Is Fit to Print"

Time for another panel on blogging ethics.

Journalism is dead. Long live the embedded corporate media.

Why There Will Be Frogmarching

Murray Waas in National Journal gives a little more background about the Plame outing:

Why Novak Called Rove

Ironically, the materials prepared for Rove in advance of the conversation had nothing to do with Valerie Plame, the CIA officer whom Novak would identify -- using Rove as one of his sources -- as an "agency operative" in a July 14, 2003, column.

Instead, the voluminous material on Rove's desk
-- including talking points, related briefing materials, and information culled from confidential government personnel files -- involved a different woman: Frances Fragos Townsend, a former senior attorney in the Clinton administration's Justice Department whom President Bush had recently named to be his deputy national security adviser for combating terrorism.

Bush had personally assigned Rove to help counter what the president believed to be a "rearguard" effort within his own administration, by persons unknown, to discredit Townsend and derail her appointment, according to White House documents and accounts given by former and current officials.

Nativity Scene 2005

I received this in an email today:

Nazareth Carpenter Being Held On Charges Involving Underage motherr

Bethlehem, Judea - Authorities were today alerted by a concerned citizen who noticed a family living in a barn. Upon arrival, Family Protective Services personnel, accompanied by police, took into protective care an infant child named Jesus, who had been wrapped in strips of cloth and placed in a feeding trough by his 14-year old mother, Mary of Nazareth.

During the confrontation, a man identified as Joseph, also of Nazareth, attempted to stop the social workers. Joseph, aided by several local shepherds and some unidentified foreigners, tried to forestall efforts to take the child, but were restrained by the police.

Also being held for questioning are three foreigners who allege to be wise men from an eastern country. The INS and Homeland Security officials are seeking information about these who may be in the country illegally. A source with the INS states that they had no passports, but were in possession of gold and other possibly illegal substances. They resisted arrest saying that they had been warned by God to avoid officials in Jerusalem and to return quickly to their own country. The chemical substances in their possession will be tested.

The owner of the barn is also being held for questioning. The manager of the Bethlehem Inn faces possible revocation of his license for violating health and safety regulations by allowing people to stay in the stable. Civil authorities are also investigating the zoning violations involved in maintaining livestock in a commercially-zoned district.

The location of the minor child will not be released, and the prospect for a quick resolution to this case is doubtful. Asked about when Jesus would be returned to his mother, a Child Protective Service spokesperson said, "The father is middle-aged and the mother definitely underage. We are checking with officials in Nazareth to determine what their legal relationship is.

Joseph has admitted taking Mary from her home in Nazareth because of a census requirement. However, because she was obviously pregnant when they left, investigators are looking into other reasons for their departure. Joseph is being held without bond on charges of molestation, kidnapping, child endangerment, and statutory rape.

Mary was taken to the Bethlehem General Hospital where she is being examined by doctors. Charges may also be filed against her for endangerment. She will also undergo psychiatric evaluation because of her claim that she is a virgin and that the child is from God.

The director of the psychiatric wing said, "I don't profess to have the right to tell people what to believe, but when their beliefs adversely affect the safety and well-being of others - in this case her child - we must consider her a danger to others. The unidentified drugs at the scene didn't help her case, but I'm confident that with the proper therapy regiment we can get her back on her feet."

A spokesperson for the governor's office said, "Who knows what was going through their heads? But regardless, their treatment of the child was inexcusable, and the involvement of these others frightening. There is much we don't know about this case, but for the sake of the child and the public, you can be assured that we will pursue this matter to the end."

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The True Patriot

Believes in freedom and limited government.

Thank you Senator Russ Feingold for fighting the so-called "Patriot Act" from day one. He was the only senator to vote against its passage in October of 2001. Word on the Hill is that he has the votes to prevent its renewal. You go, Russ.

Feingold Now Has Numbers on His Side

WASHINGTON - In Congress, where numbers are everything, the math on the Patriot Act suddenly seems to be moving in favor of Sen. Russell Feingold.

He was a minority of one four years ago, when the Wisconsin Democrat cast the lone Senate vote against the USA Patriot Act in the traumatic weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks. The law, he said then, gave government too much power to investigate its citizens. Ninety-nine senators disagreed.

Now add more than two dozen senators to Feingold's side, including the leaders of his party and some of the chamber's most conservative Republicans, and the balance of power shifts.

The new Senate arithmetic that emerged this week is enough to place the renewal of major portions of the law in doubt. It was enough to inspire Senate Republican leaders to consider a backup plan in case Feingold's filibuster threat succeeded. Enough to prompt President Bush to dispatch Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to Capitol Hill twice in two days to lobby on the accord's behalf.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I Just Want a Little Frogmarching for Christmas

Byron York in National Review today:

Will Rove be Indicted?
As rumors fly, here is what is known at this point.

This part is hilarious:

Still, it's possible Fitzgerald will forge ahead, in part because his much-publicized, two-year investigation has so far produced relatively meager results. After intense probing, and working with virtually unlimited power and discretion, the hard-charging prosecutor has succeeded in indicting one person, Libby, although not for an underlying offense, and disrupting or marring the careers of journalists Judith Miller, Cooper, Woodward, and, most recently, Time's Viveca Novak. Some Fitzgerald watchers find it difficult to believe that he will close up shop and go home with a record like that.

Now, how exactly has Fitzgerald "disrupt[ed] or marr[ed]" the careers of Judith Miller (who went to jail to protect a source she ... couldn't remember, after royally screwing up the WMD/Iraq story), Cooper (what, it screwed up his life to get subpoenaed?), Woodward (revealed for the Bushco court stenographer he is) or Novak (revealed confidential information to a source then lied to her editors about it).

Oh, that's right, he hasn't.

And Byron? When a prosecutor indicts someone for obstruction of justice, it's because they've obstructed investigation into the underlying offenses. If there hadn't been obstruction, the prosecutor would have been able to indict on the underlying offenses. Duh.

Frogmarching, soon, I think.

You Go, Girl

Lady Bears Grow by Leaps and Bounds

As a player at Hammond (La.) High School, her teams went 136-5 and won four state titles as she scored 4,075 points, then a national record. As the point guard at Louisiana Tech, she led the Lady Techsters to two national titles and a 130-6 record before becoming a member of the 1984 gold-medal-winning Olympic team.

During her 15 years as an assistant at Louisiana Tech, the team went 430-68 and won another national title. In fact, she would never have thought to venture to Baylor if Louisiana Tech had not tried to engage in some horse trading that Mulkey-Robertson found insulting.

When the coach she played for and assisted, Leon Barmore, retired in 2000, Mulkey-Robertson was designated his successor. University officials, however, refused to offer her a five-year contract, which is not only the industry standard, but would have also ensured that Mulkey-Robertson had 20 years at Louisiana Tech and would have qualified for a full pension.

I remember watching Kim Mulkey play in college. She is tiny and always played with her hair in two long braids. Tough as nails, though. She was the leader of those two national championship teams.

La. Tech refused to give her a long-term contract when Barmore retired. Women coaches in general have much less job security than male coaches. Most ADs are men and they are far more likely to give men long-term deals. Remember when Bob Marcum signed Bruiser Flint to a 5-year contract after John Calipari left UMass? Flint had been an assistant for 7 years, and to be honest, no one had ever heard of him. They even had to buy out the last year of his contract. In his 5 years he compiled an 86-72 record. If he was a woman, he would have had a one year deal & probably fired after two.

Kim Mulkey is women's basketball royalty, and La. Tech threw her away without a backward glance. And where is La Tech today? Not ranked, not even a vote in the AP coaches poll. Well, they earned it. Stupid is as stupid does. I wonder if the AD who decided to play hardball with Kim Mulkey kept his job? (runs to google). Oh yeah, that fool is still there. Jim Oakes, La. Tech athletic director since 1994.

Revenge is a dish best eaten cold. Enjoy your Baylor national championship, Kim.

1000 Days of War in Iraq

From the Independent (UK):

The war in numbers: From WMD to the victims

$204.4billion The cost to the US of the war so far. The UK's bill up until March 2005 was £3.1 billion

2,339 Allied troops killed

98 UK troops killed

30,000 Estimated Iraqi civilian deaths

0 Number of WMDs found

8 per cent of Iraqi children suffering acute malnutrition

$35,819m World Bank estimated cost of reconstruction

53,470 Iraqi insurgents killed

67 per cent
Iraqis who feel less secure because of occupation

$343 Average monthly salary for an Iraqi soldier. Average monthly salary for an American soldier in Iraq: $4,160.75

66 journalists killed in Iraq. Journalists killed during Vietnam war: 63

5 foreign civilians kidnapped per month

47 per cent
Iraqis who never have enough electricity

20 casualties per month from unexploded mines

20 per cent Inflation rate 2005

25-40 per cent
Estimated unemployment rate, Nov 2005

251 Foreigners kidnapped

70 per cent of Iraqi's whose sewage system rarely works

183,000 British and American troops are still in action in Iraq. There are 162,000 US troops and 8,000 British with 13,000 from other nations

90 Daily attacks by insurgents in Nov '05. In Jun '03: 8

82 per centIraqis who are "strongly opposed" to presence of coalition troops

15,955 US troops wounded in action

Blog Post Title of the Day

Teacher Says Every Time A Republican’s Subpoenaed, An Angel Gets His Wings

That's right, Clarence!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Real Evildoers

From alternet:

The 14 Worst Corporate Evildoers

Dow Chemical
Ford Motor Company
KBR (Kellogg, Brown and Root): A Subsidiary of Halliburton Corporation
Lockheed Martin
Nestle USA
Philip Morris USA and Philip Morris International (a.k.a. The Altria Group Inc.)
Suez-Lyonnaise Des Eaux (SLDE)

WalMart's Christmas Spirit

From the Middletown (New York) Record:

Police: Wal-Mart Santa arrested for exposing self to boy

Newburgh - A Wal-Mart Santa Claus was arrested Monday for allegedly exposing himself to a 15-year-old boy and attempting to have the boy engage in oral sex with him at his home on Dec. 9, according to a City of Newburgh police press release.

Ransford George Perry, 57, of Newburgh, has acted as an advocate for numerous children around Newburgh through a business called the Association Against Biased Educators. He is also a promoter for "talented children," and a Santa Claus at the Wal-Mart on Route 300 in the Town of Newburgh, police said.

From the Metrowest Daily News (Framingham, Mass.)

Kids shooed away

FRAMINGHAM -- Police escorted a group of fifth-grade protesters from the Rte. 9 Wal-Mart yesterday after the youngsters decried what they say is the retail giant’s use of sweatshop labor.

"Wal-Mart, instead of letting in what we’re telling them, they’re not listening," said Newton 10-year-old Owen Weitzman. "We’re not going to stop until they listen."

Armed with colorful balloons, the fifth-graders from the Workmen’s Circle Jewish Sunday school in Brookline protested the superstore’s wage and employee practices.

The students made up a crowd of more than 100 children and adults protesting at the store’s snowy entrance at about 1:30.

Weitzman said Wal-Mart employs sweatshop labor, most of whom are underpaid, work long shifts and don’t receive health care.


After students gave speeches on low Wal-Mart employee wages and the history of Jewish sweatshop labor in the United States, about a dozen fifth-graders marched into the store, accompanied by adults and photographers. They asked the store manager to give a letter they wrote to company CEO Lee Scott.

The store manager Nicky, who wouldn’t give her last name, asked the group to leave the store, and spoke with them outside the main entrance. She said she couldn’t accept the letter due to company policy, but gave the group an address where they could mail it.

She asked the group to leave store property. A second store manager came outside and told the kids she would call the police if she had to.

The children refused to leave the property until their letter was accepted, and young Weitzman read the letter despite the warning. The letter called the company’s use of sweatshops overseas "outrageous," and made six requests of the company, including, adhering to living wages and allowing "workers to go to the bathroom whenever they need."

A few minutes later, a Framingham Police car pulled up, and the officer asked the protesters to move along. They walked back to the shopping plaza entranceway, with the adults and students grumbling, and rejoined the rest of the group.

He Feels Nothing

Bush in Philadelphia yesterday. From the White House website:

Q Since the inception of the Iraqi war, I'd like to know the approximate total of Iraqis who have been killed. And by Iraqis I include civilians, military, police, insurgents, translators.

THE PRESIDENT: How many Iraqi citizens have died in this war? I would say 30,000, more or less, have died as a result of the initial incursion and the ongoing violence against Iraqis. We've lost about 2,140 of our own troops in Iraq.


Q Mr. President, thank you --

THE PRESIDENT: I'll repeat the question. If I don't like it, I'll make it up. (Laughter and applause.)

Ha Ha Ha Ha, Bush says, after saying 30,000 dead. Just stunning in its coldness. The real number is probably much higher, since the Guardian (UK) reported over a year ago that the number of civilian dead was 100,000.

100,000 Iraqi civilians dead, says study

George Bush is one sick fuck.

Frogmarching Expected Momentarily


Fitzgerald was long suspicious Rove had hidden evidence; Not swayed by last minute testimony, lawyers say

Fitzgerald still looking to indict Rove

Short of a last minute intervention by Rove’s attorney, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is expected to ask a grand jury investigating the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson to indict Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove for making false statements to the FBI and Justice Department investigators in October 2003, lawyers close to the case say.

I'll be having a little Fitzmas cocktail that happy day!

Facts, Schmacts

Yesterday on Chris Matthews' show Hardball, Washington Post reporter Jim VandeHei said that Stephen Hadley was the person who told Karl Rove who Valerie Plame was.

This sent left blogtopia into a tizzy, since (a) Rove has maintained all along that he learned of her identity from a journalist; and (b) no one had ever tied Hadley to the leak before.

Except, when someone asked VandeHei about his comment, it turns out he misspoke. VandeHei meant to say, it was Scooter Libby who gave the info to Rove. Scooter Libby Rove's source? Another "fact" VandeHei had not previously reported. True? Not true? Who knows. Oops.

In the spirit of that weird moment, here's Regret The Error blog's list of the worst MSM errors of 2005. While I am reposting the Correction of the Year, read the whole thing. The list is full of Errors and Nofacts.

Crunks '05: The Year in Media Errors and Corrections
The Crunks ’05

Correction of the Year
Last year’s winner in this category was a remarkable correction, albeit a very late one. It was a clear winner, an easy choice. This year was more difficult. There were many funny corrections, and many terrible errors. Our choice this year is a correction that combines many elements that are indicative of the correction format: it is very short, the error is very bad and also very funny, and the correction is entirely inadequate. Ladies and Gentleman, the Correction of the Year for 2005, as published in the Denver Daily News on July 27:

The Denver Daily News would like to offer a sincere apology for a typo in Wednesday's Town Talk regarding New Jersey's proposal to ban smoking in automobiles. It was not the author's intention to call New Jersey 'Jew Jersey.'

Yes, it’s a terrible error. Offensive, even. And the resulting correction is hilarious. But another reason we singled this baby out is that, like so many corrections, it begs for much more detail and a more complete explanation. The News offends an entire state and a major religion and all it can muster is 39 words? Only a newspaper could get away with that.

Democrats Must Fight Rigged Elections

From thesmirkingchimp:

'Dear Howard Dean: Why bother?'

Dear Dr. Dean,

Every week I get dozens of solicitations from the Democratic National Committee, from the Democratic Senate and Congressional Campaign Committees, or from various Democratic candidates and office-holders, each of them asking for contributions. "You can help us achieve victory next November," I am told.

If by "victory" is meant a majority vote cast at the polls, then the Democrats achieved "victory" in 2000, 2002 and 2004. And yet, the Republicans remain in control of the Congress and the White House.

Small wonder! Republicans build the voting machines, Republicans write the secret software, Republicans count and compile the totals. The Republican machines allow no auditing of the vote totals they report. So Republicans have the ability to "win" elections, regardless of the will of the voters. There is compelling evidence that they have done just that.

And so, if nothing is done to end the privatization of our elections and to introduce reliable verification, the Republicans will "win" again in November 2006 and then in 2008. Today, eleven months before the mid-term election, the outcome is fore-ordained - as certain as Soviet elections under Stalin, and Iraqi elections under Saddam. For, as Stalin said, "Those who cast the votes decide nothing, those who count the votes decide everything."

He's absolutely right. And if the Democrats don't fight back we will continue to be marginalized.

The #1 voting machine rigger in the country is Diebold. Their CEO just resigned:

Wally O'Dell, Diebold CEO, resigns!

But not because they got nailed for vote rigging. No, Wally committed securities fraud, and some other dyed-in-the-wool Re-thug lover, Thomas Swidarski, has taken the reins at Diebold.

North Carolina required a little bit of transparency and accountability in the electronic voting machines, so Diebold pulled out the state entirely. Tells you that they are crookeder than a barrel of fishhooks.

Now That's a Ringing Endorsement

"Jeanine Pirro is not dead,"

state GOP Chairman Stephen Minarik assured the Associated Press. "She's living and breathing."

As quoted in the Washington Post: Pirro's Challenge to Sen. Clinton Falters

Can we put a fork in trout-lips Pirro? She's toast. Collagen on toast, but toast nonetheless. Clinton is not going to be beaten in New York unless Elliot (Ness) Spitzer decides he wants to be in the Senate.

United States of Generica (2)

Yesterday while driving through Bolton I noticed that the sign for "Hebert's Candies" had changed. It's a wonderful old-fashioned candy store, been there for 88 years according to the website. Just bought out by some corporate LLC.

Now it's called "Colonial Candy".

You could be anywhere.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Mercury Rising

On my way home tonight, I heard a piece on AM radio about a high school in Pittfield, Massachusetts being closed tomorrow because a mercury thermometer had been broken in the classroom. They are still cleaning up the mercury, a neurotoxin. I thought of my high school science class where the teacher put a bead of mercury on a piece of glass and let us see and touch it.

Then I got home and found this article on mercury contamination in commercially sold fish, from the Chicago Tribune (via, via

Toxic risk on your plate
Seafood for sale in area stores is contaminated with mercury, Tribune testing shows. Government and industry fail to protect consumers, even as Americans buy more fish than ever.

Supermarkets throughout the Chicago area are routinely selling seafood highly contaminated with mercury, a toxic metal that can cause learning disabilities in children and neurological problems in adults, a Tribune investigation has found.

In one of the nation's most comprehensive studies of mercury in commercial fish, testing by the newspaper showed that a variety of popular seafood was so tainted that federal regulators could confiscate the fish for violating food safety rules.


The Tribune's investigation reveals a decades-long pattern of the U.S. government knowingly allowing millions of Americans to eat seafood with unsafe levels of mercury.

Regulators have repeatedly downplayed the hazards, failed to take basic steps to protect public health and misled consumers about the true dangers, documents and interviews show.

The government does not seize high-mercury fish that violate U.S. limits. Regulators do not even inspect seafood for mercury--not in ports, processing plants or supermarkets.

In fact, federal officials have tested so few fish that they have only a limited idea of how much mercury many species contain, government data show. For example, the government has tested just four walleye and 24 shrimp samples since 1978. The newspaper tested more samples of commercial walleye than the government has in the last quarter-century.

So, to amend my previous post, while I don't worry too much about eating organic food, I do make some simple choices. I don't eat swordfish or tuna from the fish case. I only eat canned tuna fish about once a month, and after reading this article, I may reduce that!

Here's what the authors recommend to limit your mercury exposure:

How to minimize risks of mercury

A lack of government guidance makes it difficult to avoid mercury in seafood. But consumers can take steps to reduce the likelihood of eating tainted fish.

While it makes no difference where you shop--supermarkets, health food stores and gourmet fish shops often use the same suppliers--consumers can choose to buy certain kinds of seafood.

Small or short-lived species, such as sardines, shrimp, crab and tilapia, generally have low amounts of mercury. Wild salmon, which eat plankton and small fish, are low in mercury, as are farm-raised salmon, which are fed fish meal containing little mercury.

Large predator fish, such as swordfish and shark, generally have the most mercury.

Better Living (?) Through Chemistry

From, this article summarizes my feelings about eating organic food. Nice idea, but when you get down to it, does it make much of a difference?

Don't eat this, don't eat that!

Our world is totally contaminated.

Our foods -- all of them -- have toxins in them on them. Even the organic foods are contaminated, because the soil is contaminated, and the water. Organic veggies have antibiotics in them, and how do you think it got there? Fertilizer from cows with growth hormones and antibiotics produces plants with antibiotics in them. Even if the farmer gets organic raised cow poop for his garden, farms upstream have runoff, rivers have sewer dumps, and the rain falls on farms and cities, and the runoff from chemical-contaminated rains fill the rivers and water the fields.

The food containers, air, water, all these are infused with chemicals and pollutants and they are inside us too. Each of us carries a heavy "chemical load" before we are even born. None of us are "pure" and chemical free.

You can try to eliminate some of the toxins from your life, but it's futile. For poor folks it's almost impossible. Stress kills, bad food, sugar, sucrose, mercury in vaccines ... We are seeing three-headed toads and other animal mutations, fish are changing sex. I know the wild animals eat organic foods and don't shop at supermarkets or drink Coke, yet they are mutating. What happens to them is going to be happening to us.


For me the answer is to not fret every waking moment over what I eat or don't eat. As for "food safety," in this age that is a relative term, so be reasonable but not phobic.

I will die. My quality of life will go downhill, because decay, entropy, and dissolution is the pattern of what life over time becomes in this world.

I can preoccupy myself endlessly questioning which additives, allergens, foods, or chemicals hurt me the most, and avoid them. You can find out what hurts you the most, and avoid that. When it changes avoid the new irritants. It's endless paranoia for you and endless profits for certain markets.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Global Temperature Continues to Rise

From New York Magazine:

Bush Threatens U.N. Over Clinton Climate Speech

Bush-administration officials privately threatened organizers of the U.N. Climate Change Conference, telling them that any chance there might’ve been for the United States to sign on to the Kyoto global-warming protocol would be scuttled if they allowed Bill Clinton to speak at the gathering today in Montreal, according to a source involved with the negotiations who spoke to New York Magazine on condition of anonymity.

Bush officials informed organizers of their intention to pull out of the new Kyoto deal late Thursday afternoon, soon after news leaked that Clinton was scheduled to speak, the source said.

The threat set in motion a flurry of frantic back-channel negotiations between conference organizers and aides to Bush and Clinton that lasted into the night on Thursday, and at one point Clinton flatly told his advisers that he was going to pull out and not deliver the speech, the source said.

“It’s just astounding,” the source told New York Magazine. “It came through loud and clear from the Bush people—they wouldn’t sign the deal if Clinton were allowed to speak.” Clinton spokesman Jay Carson confirmed the behind the dustup took place and that the former president had decided not to go out of fear of harming the negotiations, but Carson declined to comment further.

On Friday afternoon, Clinton did end up speaking at the conference,....

Late Friday the U.S. walked out for other reasons.

The conference was able to call Bushco's bluff on Clinton's speech because they knew there was no chance that they would sign on to Kyoto. Sadly, Bushco never intended to participate with the rest of the world in addressing climate change. Not our oil & gas administration. Bye bye glaciers, hello wild weather.

"The United States of Generica"

The mallization of America continues:

Farewell, Filene's

The folding of Filene's into Macy's is part of a homogenizing trend in which our country is becoming the United States of Generica. Suburban shopping malls are already gone: few have unique local businesses, all have essentially the same national chains, and it's hard to tell one from another. In south Florida, which takes this cookie-cutter trend to an extreme, it's hard even to find a locally owned restaurant.

Downtown malls are moving in the same direction, except that they are more upscale. Increasingly, it is hard to tell malls like Copley Place or Prudential from airport duty-free shops.

But to the extent that downtowns are what give cities like ours their special character, it seems almost a crime to turn them into indistinguishable generics. The process takes away what makes a city feel special to the locals, and also makes it less attractive as a destination for visitors. (What is left of the unique feel of a city can always be Disneyfied, completing the corporate process).

I didn't realize until after I chose the name for this blog that Disney has an attraction called "Main St. USA". (I get lots of traffic from that search.) I chose the name because I grew up on Main Street, in a town so small the houses didn't have numbers. Little did I know that Disney had already chosen the name to represent the generic US street. The United States of Generica, I'm going to have to use that phrase.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Group of Death -- Damn You, Steve Sampson!!!

Yes, the worst has happened. While we avoided Brazil, Argentina and Germany, the US (#8 in the FIFA rankings) drew the fabled Group of Death: World #2 Czech Republic, World #12 Italy, and Ghana, the group patsy, World #50.

Even Sports Illustrated, which has belatedly discovered the existence of the world's most popular sport, agrees:

Yes, it's a Group of Death
U.S. got the short end of the stick with its Cup draw

Bobby McMahon, FoxSports: Who's buried in the 'Group of Death'?

Watching the pre-show I realized with horror that Steve Sampson, like a zombie reaching back from the grave, denied the US a seeding. Steve Sampson, the moron who dismissed John Harkes, the team captain, from the 1998 US team just before the World Cup, sending the team into a tailspin of disarray. Steve Sampson, the moron who brought in David Regis (a Frenchman with an American wife, played in only two qualifiers before the Cup, barely spoke English) at the last moment. Steve Sampson, who had the US play a 3-6-1 formation. For that alone he will be remembered with hatred and revulsion. (Are you getting a sense of my feelings about Steve Sampson????) And these brilliant coaching decisions of Sampson helped him coach his way to a dead last 32nd place finish. My god, we lost to Iran.

So why didn't the US get seeded in 2006? Because the FIFA formula for determining seeds took into account team performance at the 2002 and 1998 World Cups. Now in 2002 we finished in the quarterfinals, very respectably, and were a blatant handball and a hideous Scottish referee named Hugh Dallas away from the semifinals. But in 1998 we finished dead last. So in the FIFA system for 2006 we missed out on a seed by one point. And now, unprotected from the other seeded teams (each seeded team is in a separate group, so Brazil was protected from Germany, Italy, France, Spain, England, Mexico and Argentina, the other seeds) we're in the group of death.

Damn you Steve Sampson. Damn you.

Bonnie Raitt Still Rocks

Just picked up her new CD, and found this interview in this week's Newsweek:

Sexy Woman With the Guitar
After four decades, singer Bonnie Raitt is still on the road—making music and speaking her mind.

How People Get Here

I installed a site meter a few months ago, and it's fascinating.

For example, would you have suspected that if you search 'President Dumbass' on google, I'm the #1 result? On yahoo, if you searched 'john murtha wackenhut', again, #1. On, someone searched '"death toll in gulf coast"', #1.

I get a lot of hits from people searching for info on David Ortiz, or people who must be wondering if he got named American League MVP (as he should have been). Sorry, hate to have to say this again, but the Baseball Writers gave it to the pretty loser, Alex Rodriguez (Slappy McBluelips).

I see Wackenhut a lot on my results. I ended up on the blogroll of the "Eye on Wackenhut" site, a watchdog organization maintained by SEIU, because I included them in one of my "The Incompetence, The Corruption, and the Cronyism" posts in October. Wackenhut is one of those shadowy outfits raking in the money hand over fist from Bushco for poorly performed "security" services. They're mucking up security at the Statue of Liberty, for example.

Finally, Jabar Gibson, the kid who commandeered the bus in Houston and drove 80 people to the Astrodome from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina (recently busted for drugs) continues to generate a lot of traffic. That's in part because Steve Gilliard posted my post on his site, The News Blog, which generated and still generates a lot of traffic. He's one of those Top 250 bloggers, so there you go.

World Cup Draw

Today is the draw for the groups for the 2006 (men's) World Cup.

The U.S. is not seeded, which is a crime given that Mexico is seeded and we killed them at our last meeting. We hope to avoid Brazil (the favorite), Argentina (my pick to win it all), and Germany (the home team). Let's hope we don't end up in the Group of Death.

Good soccer day for me as my local Fox affiliate is replaying Liverpool-Wigan at noon. Stevie G.! Mr. Crouch!

Snow falling heavily, fine and thick. All local schools are closed. Putting a little Christmas music on the stereo (Mixed Nuts Soundtrack (my personal all-time favorite Christmas CD), Vince Guaraldi's A Charlie Brown Christmas, The Alligator Records Christmas Collection, The Platters A Christmas Album, and last but not least, The Brian Setzer Orchestra Boogie Woogie Christmas.)

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Happy holidays!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

John Lennon, Dead 25 Years

Hard to believe it has been 25 years since John Lennon was shot outside his apartment building, the Dakota, in New York City. I remember hearing on the radio that he had died. Only one of my three roommates was home that night. We put the White Album on the stereo, really loud, and played bongos and cymbals and sticks and sang along with it for hours. I can see V sitting on the back of a chair on one side of the room, eyes closed, banging away and singing at the top of her lungs. Large quantities of alcohol accompanied our wake. There was a strong sense that life would never be the same. (Of course, we had had very similar feelings the previous month when Ronald "Bonzo" Reagan was elected president. That night I spent in a pool hall with another roommate drinking boozy toasts to the end of the world.)


Imagine there's no heaven,
It's easy if you try,
No hell below us,
Above us only sky,
Imagine all the people
living for today...

Imagine there's no countries,
It isn't hard to do,
Nothing to kill or die for,
No religion too,
Imagine all the people
living life in peace...

Imagine no possesions,
I wonder if you can,
No need for greed or hunger,
A brotherhood of man,
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...

You may say I'm a dreamer,
but I'm not the only one,
I hope some day you'll join us,
And the world will live as one.

They Shot Him Because He Ran

In terror-mad times, "flying while schizophrenic" is the new "driving while black". Yesterday, that was fatal.

White House backs air marshals' actions
Marshals', witnesses' accounts differ on jet bomb threat claim

The marshals say Alpizar announced he was carrying a bomb before being killed.

However, no other witness has publicly concurred with that account. Only one passenger recalled Alpizar saying, "I've got to get off, I've got to get off," CNN's Kathleen Koch reported.

They shot him because he ran. He ran because he was mentally ill, in a manic episode. Huge over-reaction by the federal air marshals. Tragic.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Sad Update

Missed this while I was away for Thanksgiving. The hero kid who commandeered a bus and drove it to the Astrodome from New Orleans after Katrina, rescuing 80 people, was arrested and charged with possession with intent to distribute heroin.

Katrina Hero Booked on Heroin Charge

Two things here. One, it just goes to show that an addict is not a uniformly bad person. I have a friend in jail on drug-related offenses. The year before he got busted, in the midst of his battle with his addictions, he saw an accident on the side of the highway. He pulled over his car & climbed into the car to pull the occupants to safety. The car burst into flames shortly thereafter. You just can't judge a person by only one bad act in their life.

Second, sounds like the kid just went home to the same place where he'd had a shaky beginning. It's hard to change your direction when you keep walking down the same road.

Elves Hard At Work Preparing for Fitzmas

CIA leak prosecutor again goes before grand jury

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Six weeks after White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was indicted in the CIA leak case, special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald was back at work Wednesday before another grand jury in the drawn-out federal probe.

Fitzgerald, accompanied by several deputies seen carrying files as they walked into the grand jury area of the courthouse, made no comment to reporters about the nature of his visit.


He's Baaaaack

UPDATE #2: And isn't this interesting? No idea how much weight to put on this since the article notes that the WH and Commerce Department is confirming nothing at this point and it appears based on a single "source close to Ralston", but the timing of this article (if it is correct) is quite intriguing. Seems that the Philippine News online is reporting that Susan Ralston has left Rove's office due to *cough* too much pressure. Hmmmm....would that be from the Abramoff investigation or the Traitorgate one? (Hat tip to reader Carrie for the link.)

New Holiday, In Song

From Me3 in the comments on Firedoglake, a new carol:

Neonuts roasting on an open fire,
Cunningham taking off his clothes,
Scanlon singing like a reformed choir, Delay's polls fall about his toes...

And so I'm offering this simple phrase,
To kids from one to ninety-two,
Although its been said many times, many ways,
A very Merry Fitzmas to you!!!

More Fitzmas carols, at Corrente Wire:

O Come All Ye Fitz-Full!

Merry Fitzmas!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Code Pink Punks Tom Delay

Short On Guests, DeLay Fundraiser Lets In Protestors

Cheney yesterday skipped the White House Christmas party to headline a fundraiser for Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX). Top ticket prices were $4,200, where donors could attend a VIP reception,... []

While 250 people allegedly attended the event, evidently not everyone had to pay full ticket price. Protestor Diane Wilson of Code Pink said she paid only $50:

I guess they needed people inside. You can get in pretty cheap. I didn’t want to give too much.

You go, girl!

Rethugs Had a Boom-Boom Room?

Must.... reprint.... speculation from right-wing National Journal:

DC Sex Scandal About To Break?

Sometimes we read too many political clips and overlook some amazing things staring us in the face. Among those in Monday's edition, this little factoid, culled from Sunday's San Diego Union-Tribune blockbuster digging deeper into the Duke Cunningham's relationship with "co-conspirator No. 1," a.k.a. lobbyist Brent Wilkes.

According to the U-T, Wilkes also "ran a hospitality suite, with several bedrooms, in" DC -- "first in the Watergate Hotel and then" in a Capitol Hill hotel.

Come again? A "hospitality suite with several bedrooms"?

Talk about raising more questions, including:

-- Why does a lobbyist need a "hospitality suite with several bedrooms"?

-- Who uses those bedrooms and for what?

These lobbying scandals involving Cunningham and Wilkes and Abramoff are looking more and more like a bad movie script every day. Except with one difference from the movies: this stuff actually happened.

Season's greetings! (I'm trying to make the Bill O'Reilly enemies list with all these Christ-less Xmas endings. Will continue until January 1 or until I (or you, my loyal readers) get bored.)

Bushco Tortures In Our Name

From the, excerpts from the diary of Benyam Mohammed, who was arrested in Pakistan and flown in a US government plane a prison in Morocco:

'One of them made cuts in my penis. I was in agony'

They took the scalpel to my right chest. It was only a small cut. Maybe an inch. At first I just screamed ... I was just shocked, I wasn't expecting ... Then they cut my left chest. This time I didn't want to scream because I knew it was coming.

One of them took my penis in his hand and began to make cuts. He did it once, and they stood still for maybe a minute, watching my reaction. I was in agony. They must have done this 20 to 30 times, in maybe two hours. There was blood all over. "I told you I was going to teach you who's the man," [one] eventually said.

They cut all over my private parts. One of them said it would be better just to cut it off, as I would only breed terrorists. I asked for a doctor.


I suffered the razor treatment about once a month for the remaining time I was in Morocco, even after I'd agreed to confess to whatever they wanted to hear. It became like a routine. They'd come in, tie me up, spend maybe an hour doing it. They never spoke to me. Then they'd tip some kind of liquid on me - the burning was like grasping a hot coal. The cutting, that was one kind of pain. The burning, that was another.

In all the 18 months I was there, I never went outside. I never saw the sun, not even once. I never saw any human being except the guards and my tormentors, unless you count the pictures they showed me.

Who is Benyam Mohammed? Again, The

Suspect's tale of travel and torture

Mohammed, 26, who grew up in Notting Hill in west London, is alleged to be a key figure in terrorist plots intended to cause far greater loss of life than the suicide bombers of 7/7. One allegation, which he denies, is of planning to detonate a "dirty bomb" in a US city; another is that he and an accomplice planned to collapse a number of apartment blocks by renting ground-floor flats to seal, fill with gas from cooking appliances, and blow up with timed detonators.


Mohammed was born in Ethiopia and came to the UK aged 15 when his father sought asylum. After obtaining five GCSEs and an engineering diploma at the City of Westminster College in Paddington, he decided to stay in Britain when his father returned, and was given indefinite leave to remain. In his late teens he rediscovered Islam, prayed regularly at al-Manaar mosque in Notting Hill, and was a volunteer at its cultural centre. "He is remembered here as a very nice, quiet person, who never caused any trouble," says Abdulkarim Khalil, its director.

He enjoyed football, and was thought good enough for a semi-professional career. "He was a quiet kid, he seemed deep thinking, although that might have been because his language skills weren't great," says Tyrone Forbes, his trainer.

In June 2001 Mohammed left his bedsit off Golborne Road, Notting Hill, and travelled to Afghanistan, via Pakistan. He maintains he wanted to see whether it was "a good Islamic country or not". It appears likely that he spent time in a paramilitary training camp.

He returned to Pakistan sometime after 9/11, and remained at liberty until April 2002 - during which time, US authorities believe, he became involved in the dirty bomb and gas blast plots. His alleged accomplice, a Chicago-born convert to Islam, Jose Padilla, is detained in the US. Mohammed says interrogators repeatedly demanded he give evidence against him.

You will recall despite the three years of claims about Padilla's involvement with a dirty bomb plot, that when the government finally indicted him a few days ago to avoid a Supreme Court decision about his indefinite detention, the dirty bomb plot was not charged. It was not even mentioned.

....Now that Padilla has actually been indicted, he is not accused of dirty bombs, apartment fires or any violent act whatsoever. Instead, he is accused of playing a decidedly marginal role in a group that allegedly sought to provide support for unidentified terrorist acts abroad. No one in the conspiracy is accused of engaging in any violence, and Padilla's role is so tangential that he is not even actually accused of providing material support to terrorists. Most of the case consists of fraud and perjury charges against the other defendants. The most interesting fact in the indictment is that one of Padilla's aliases was "Abu Abdullah the Puerto Rican."

So Mohammed has been tortured to reveal the existence of a plot that probably never existed. We have lowered ourselves to the level of the lowest, the vilest of the nation states of the world. We are in Saddam Hussein territory here, Duarte, Baby Doc, the torturers.

We have a special counsel looking into the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame, in part because the release of her identification put other covert agents and cooperating persons at risk of torture.

Isn't the torture scandal worthy of its own special counsel? I'm writing to my senators and my representative today.

Not in my name. No longer.

She Really Was Embedded

According to Editor and Publisher, summarizing a Vanity Fair article on New York Times reporter Judy (Judas) Miller due out next week, she

.... "had built a reputation for sleeping with her sources," had dated one of [NYTimes Publisher] Sulzberger's best friends, Steve Ratner, "and had even, for a time, shared a vacation home with Sulzberger," whatever that means.


Treason's Greetings, Judas! I'm sure you'll enjoy this little holiday gift of an article.

Move Over Calendar Girls

Church group launches nude calendar
A German church group has caused controversy by releasing a calendar using nude models to portray bible scenes.

This is a "not safe for work" link. Racy book, that Bible.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 05, 2005

This Is Why Rape Victims Don't Report Rape

Don’t Just Blame the Victim; Prosecute Her

A 17-year-old girl went to police at the urging of her friends after she was allegedly gang-raped by three men, including her boyfriend. The men testified that the act was consensual. After reviewing all the information and statements, prosecutors decided they didn’t think they could prove a rape allegation, and so declined to prosecute the case.

Instead, they prosecuted the victim for filing a false police report. Yesterday, she was found guilty.

The victim has never recanted her story. Instead, the decision was based on the judge’s opinion that the three men were more credible, in part because a police detective and the victim’s friends testified she did not “act traumatized” in the days after the incident.

We call this the "second rape": the humiliations visited upon rape victims by "the system" when they come forward. No wonder so few do.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

For the Christmas List?

Via Dependable Renegade:

Baby Bush Toys

Personally, I like the "Portable Playground"

DumBush's 2005 Lowlights

From Click on the link for the photo and audio links:

Top Ten Bushisms of 2005

The Dumbest Things President Bush Said in 2005

10) "It's totally wiped out. ... It's devastating, it's got to be doubly devastating on the ground." --turning to his aides while surveying Hurricane Katrina flood damage from Air Force One, Aug. 31, 2005

9) "I'm occasionally reading, I want you to know, in the second term." --Washington, D.C., March 16, 2005

8) "This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous. And having said that, all options are on the table." --Brussels, Belgium, Feb. 22, 2005

7) "I'm going to spend a lot of time on Social Security. I enjoy it. I enjoy taking on the issue. I guess, it's the mother in me." --Washington D.C., April 14, 2005

6) "Because the — all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers.
For example, how benefits are calculate, for example, is on the table; whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those — changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be — or closer delivered to what has been promised. Does that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled." --explaining his plan to save Social Security, Tampa, Fla., Feb. 4, 2005

5) "I think I may need a bathroom break. Is this possible?" --in a note to to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a U.N. Security Council meeting, September 14, 2005 (View photo)

4) "We've got a lot of rebuilding to do. First, we're going to save lives and stabilize the situation. And then we're going to help these communities rebuild. The good news is -- and it's hard for some to see it now -- that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before. Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house -- he's lost his entire house -- there's going to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch." (Laughter) --touring hurricane damage, Mobile, Ala., Sept. 2, 2005

3) "See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda." --Greece, N.Y., May 24, 2005 (Listen to audio)

2) "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job." --to FEMA director Michael Brown, who resigned 10 days later amid criticism over his handling of the Hurricane Katrina debacle, Mobile, Ala., Sept. 2, 2005 (Listen to audio)

1) "You work three jobs? … Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that." --to a divorced mother of three, Omaha, Nebraska, Feb. 4, 2005 (Listen to audio)

Friday, December 02, 2005

John Bonifaz for Massachusetts Secretary of State

From the huffingtonpost:

Who the Heck Is John Bonifaz?

I'll vote for him just for this:

John went to Ohio last November to fight for the right to vote. When the Kerry Campaign took its $15M and went home, John took his $150 and bought a plane ticket to Columbus to help fight for a recount. (Video here of Bonifaz testimony at Conyers hearing on Ohio.)

A Democrat who fights! I'm sending him money tonight. Here's his website:

John Bonifaz

I'll also vote for him because our current Secretary of State, William Galvin, is an ambitious publicity seeking camera hog. Galvin could give Chuck Schumer a run for his money.

Schumer's propensity for publicity is the subject of a running joke amongst many commentators, leading Bob Dole to quip that "the most dangerous place in Washington is between Charles Schumer and a television camera."

Coincidence? I Don't Think So.

From scrutinyhooligan:

I Call Bulls**t

Sorry, but I gotta call bullshit.

The morning the news that 10 marines are killed by a roadside bombs breaks in the United States, 3 bombscares are called in around the country.

Conn. courthouses evacuated after bomb threat

Washington Monument shut after bomb threat

Taliban’ note on jet forces emergency landing

I hate to be so suspicious, but when you get an Administration that lied its way into a war, fake news stores in Iraqi news papers, fake letters to the editor in US newspapers, its easy to think that this is just psy-ops for the U.S. citizen.

Since this was posted, the deaths of four more American soldiers were announced. Three in a "vehicular accident,", one in a rocket attack.

14 dead in one day. And that ignores all the Iraqis who were killed and maimed in the past 24 hours. For what.


Ten U.S. Marines were killed and eleven Marines wounded in Fallujah yesterday by a homemade bomb, which the military has bureaucratically named the "IED", for "Improvised Explosive Device".

That just means bombs that were built with the material the U.S. military left unguarded when they stormed Iraq in 2003 with an insufficent number of troops.

Therefore, the Iraqi resistance is making bombs with the material looted from ammo dumps the US knew existed but callously chose not to guard. Improvised with the explosives Bush gave them.

Shouldn't there be a new name for these things?


Bush Bombs
Chump Cheneys

Anyone care to add a suggestion?

Karl Rove, bless his black heart, Traitor's Greetings to him, would have been all over this. Democrats are slow to cotton to the power of words.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Stupid People Are in Charge

Tuesday I visited the Statue of Liberty with my goddaughter (hereinafter "the kid"). What should have been a fun trip was a boring ode to the Bush Administration's paranoia.

We bought tickets for the ferry ($9.50 for me, $4.50 for the kid). Had to enter a canvas building on the shore to go through security, which included taking off our coats (luckily it was 60 degrees) and walking through a metal detector. The building led directly to the ferry entrance. We walked past at least 10 National Park Service employees and their contractors in the process.

When the ferry took off, most of the people on the boat, rather than look forward to the Statue of Liberty, looked backward at the tip of Manhattan and took pictures, thinking of the missing World Trade Center buildings.

On arrival at Liberty Island, the Park Service employees herded us into another line, to another canvas building. No food or drink was allowed in the building, came over the loudspeaker, as we watched a Park Service employee walk past the gate carrying an apple and a bottle of water. So we got out of line to put our little bags with a bottle of water in lockers which cost $1 for 2 hours (I wonder who gets that money? Probably another private contractor, not the Park Service).

Back into line. Our tickets were swiped. Herded into the canvas building where the line snaked around barriers and ropes. There was nothing in this building but a small kiosk with some information about the Statue. There were two flat screen TVs on the wall, but they remained blank. We stood in line for 35 minutes here. The kid stood quietly for about 10 minutes, but then she grew restless. When we finally got to the head of the line, we found a security officer who wore a badge that said "Wackenhut". Once we entered this second room, we waited again, for despite all the uniformed security in place, only two sets of machines were in use.

The first machine required that you step in and stand within a box taped to the floor. After a green light came on, a mechanical voice announced that air was coming. Shots of air were directed at your body from behind. The kid's hair flew into the air. Many people wearing light jackets or shirts had those blown into the air, exposing their underwear or worse. After passing through this machine, you had to walk through a conventional metal detector.

The folks in line were from all over the world. The group in front of us were Japanese. I watched the kids trying to explain his eye drops without English. He did a pretty good job, miming removing his glasses and putting drops in his eyes.

By the time we finally got past all these barriers the kid was bored. We flew through the museum and exhibits, finally arriving to...another line, which we stood in for 5 minutes before being allowed onto the elevator to the base of the statue itself. By the time we got out onto the base we had been in transit for almost an hour and a half. We circled the base once and headed out.

It wasn't really any fun at all. I didn't feel like I had celebrated freedom when I finally got off the ferry. The symbol of freedom, ruined by bureaucratic ineptitude and paranoia.

Then I got up on Wednesday morning and read that the Transportation Security Administration is ready to allow airline passengers to carry:
scissors less than four inches long and tools, such as screwdrivers, less than seven inches long

And I'm thinking, I had to go through security three times at the Statue of Liberty? I couldn't take in a bottle of water? Yet Bushco wants the guy next to me on a plane to be able to have a 7" knife?

Republicans are morons.

In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for. As for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican.
H.L. Mencken