Saturday, August 27, 2005

Another Prediction Gone to Cheese Sandwich

A blast from the past:

Rumsfeld: Iraqis Free to Form Own Gov't as Long as It is Not an Iranian-Style Theocracy

WASHINGTON - Iraqis will be free to form their own government as long as it is not an Iranian-style theocracy, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Thursday.

"If you're suggesting, how would we feel about an Iranian-type government with a few clerics running everything in the country, the answer is: That isn't going to happen," he said in an interview with The Associated Press.

I found this little gem at Al Franken's Air America blog.

US Soccer Hall of Fame Inductions Monday

I'm headed to upstate New York today to go to the US Soccer Hall of Fame inductions with Coach Mom on Monday. Last year we got to see the greatest player in the history of American soccer, Michelle Akers, inducted along with Eric Wynalda and Paul Caligiuri. Hopefully the Hall will do a better job this year. For unknown reasons (I suspect because of her gender) the Hall inducted her first, instead of last, as would be customary for the two-time World Cup winner named the FIFA "Player of the Century" in 2000. If they're smart, John Harkes, former captain of the US National Team, the first American to play in Wembley Stadium, the first American to play in the UEFA Cup, the first American to play in the FA Cup, will be inducted last.

And a little bonus, Freddie Adu, he of the million dollar Nike contract, has returned from injury and is expected to play in the Hall of Fame game. My first chance to see the young phenom. So far he's more famous for his contract than his play, but as I keep saying to Coach Mom, he's only 16, give him a little time. She's more annoyed with the hype than the player. Do you know that when you attend US Men's National Team games, the only t-shirts for sale with players names on them are Donovan, Beasley and Adu? Adu, who's never been capped? Personally, I think they better lay in a supply of Gooch t-shirts, because Oguchi Onyewu is going to be the US hero of the 2006 World Cup.

Together again, forever
Former World Cup teammates to be enshrined by Soccer Hall on Monday; Adu expected to playfor D.C. United in annual Hall of Fame Game


Soccer Hall seeking permanent spot on calendar for inductions

Heads of the Class
Hall of Fame Induction Monday

Friday, August 26, 2005

The "New" Reefer Madness

I agree with John Tierney's take on the federal government's "Reefer Madness", even though I know this column is part of Tierney's continuing attempt to save Rush Limbaugh's cheese sandwich* when his Oxycontin case comes to trial.

Marijuana Pipe Dreams

When the Supreme Court ruled in June that states could not legalize marijuana for medical uses, Justice Stephen Breyer voted with the majority. But during oral arguments, he suggested an alternative way for patients to get it: let the federal Food and Drug Administration decide if marijuana should be a prescription drug.

"Medicine by regulation is better than medicine by referendum," he said. In theory, that sounds reasonable. But what if the officials doing the regulation are afflicted with a bad case of Reefer Madness?


[Dr. Lyle Craker has been denied an FDA permit to grow marijuana for research purposes.] There are precedents for his request, because researchers already get supplies of other drugs - like heroin, LSD and Ecstasy - from independent laboratories licensed to make them. But researchers who want marijuana have only one legal source: a crop grown in Mississippi and dispensed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Scientists say they need an alternative partly because the government's marijuana is of such poor quality - too many seeds and stems - and partly because the federal officials are so loath to give it out for research into its medical benefits.

Discovering benefits, after all, would undermine the great anti-marijuana campaign that has taken hold in Washington. Marijuana is deemed to be such a powerful "gateway" to other drugs that it's become the top priority in the federal drug war, much to the puzzlement of many scientists, not to mention the police officers who see a lot of worse drugs on the streets.

People with glaucoma and AIDS have sworn by the efficacy of marijuana, and there have been studies by state health departments showing that smoking marijuana is especially good at controlling nausea. Scientists would like to test these effects, but they can't do good studies until they get good marijuana.

*I have taken a vow to replace all curse words with the phrase "cheese sandwich."

Traitor Karl

How long before Traitor Karl is brought before the bar of justice?

The Rove Clock

Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer News

Montana's governor eyes coal to solve U.S. fuel costs

HELENA, Montana (Reuters) - Montana's governor wants to solve America's rising energy costs using a technology discovered in Germany 80 years ago that converts coal into gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel.

The Fischer-Tropsch technology, discovered by German researchers in 1923 and later used by the Nazis to convert coal into wartime fuels, was not economical as long as oil cost less than $30 a barrel.

But with U.S. crude oil now hitting more than double that price, Gov. Brian Schweitzer's plan is getting more attention across the country and some analysts are taking him very seriously.

Montana is "sitting on more energy than they have in the Middle East," Schweitzer told Reuters in an interview this week.

"I am leading this country in this desire and demand to convert coal into gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel. We can do it in Montana for $1 per gallon," he said.

"We can do it cheaper than importing oil from the sheiks, dictators, rats and crooks that we're bringing it from right now."

The governor estimated the cost of producing a barrel of oil through the Fischer-Tropsch method at $32, and said that with its 120 billion tons of coal -- a little less than a third of the U.S total -- Montana could supply the entire United States with its aviation, gas and diesel fuel for 40 years without creating environmental damage.

An entry level Fischer-Tropsch plant producing 22,000 barrels a day would cost about $1.5 billion, he said.

You gotta love a Democrat willing to call oil producers "sheiks, dictators, rats and crooks." Plain-speaking Democratic governors have a future on the national stage. Schweitzer for President.

He's Got 'Em Eating Out of His Hand

Corporate media, bought, paid for, and well fed:

Bush's Secret Dinner -- With the Press

About 50 members of the White House press corps accepted President Bush's invitation last night to come over to his house in Crawford, eat his food, drink his booze, hang around the pool and schmooze with him -- while promising not to tell anyone what he said afterward.

It's something of a Bush tradition, a way of saying thank you to journalists for whom an extended stay in the Crawford area is anything but a vacation.

And in spite of all the recent press demands for senior administration officials to stay on the record more often, the press corps can't resist an offer of face time with the president, pretty much no matter what the conditions.

Nevertheless, I'm told that several reporters expressed squeamishness about last night's event, particularly as the press-pool vans drove by antiwar protester Cindy Sheehan's "Camp Casey" site. And later, a small handful watched askance as the rest fawned over Bush, following him around in packs every time he moved.

Journalism is dead. Long live the Corporate Media.

Liberal Media Discovers Dave Rossie

He's on the Smirking Chimp today:

Peaceful siege makes chicken hawks squawk

It's vintage Dave Rossie. Here is his conclusion:

It's not just the chicken hawks who have overreacted. Mary deJullis, a columnist for the Muskogee (Oklahoma) Phoenix, visited Camp Sheehan and witnessed this incident when the squire's convoy rolled by on the way to a GOP fundraiser on the afternoon of Aug. 12 with a Secret Service escort:

"A helicopter flew overhead lower than others we were accustomed to. The helicopter had an agent riding outside with a weapon trained on us, but once the motorcade passed he moved on as well. The motorcade went by us twice, very fast, and a few of the vehicles had rifles pointed out open windows, I was thankful no one made any sudden moves."

This is what we've come to in the land of the free. Rather than continue camping in Crawford, Sheehan would be better off getting in shape and practicing for next year's Tour de France. Win that and she gets her interview with the great man. Guaranteed.

Meanwhile, let's see which happens first, a Bush/Sheehan meeting, or the first Democratic member of Congress to show up at Camp Casey in support of Cindy Sheehan.

Don't hold your breath waiting for either one to happen.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

$250,000 Bail For a 12-Year Old?

$250,000 Bail Set in Boston for Boy, 12, Found With Gun

I saw this headline on the front page of the Boston Globe this morning and thought to myself, "The judge is white, and the kid is black."

This article in the New York Times confirms half of my suspicion -- the Times runs a photograph of Judge Lewis, and he is white. None of the articles mentions the race of the boy, perhaps because he is a juvenile.

In a similar vein, Bob Hebert reports that the Bush administration has fired the head of the Bureau of Justice Statistics, Lawrence Greenfield. Greenfield objected to the administration's attempts to cover up data showing that Hispanics and blacks are treated more harshly by police during traffic stops: Truth-Telling on Race? Not in Bush's Fantasyland

I have personal experience with racial discrimination, which favored me, the white chick with the Irish surname. I got a ticket 5 years ago on my way home after a long day in court. It was a bogus ticket -- I turned right on a green right arrow, and a motorcycle cop was waving over everyone going through the light. The two cars ahead of me and the one behind me must have been familiar with this scam, because they ignored the cop & kept going. Me, sucker, law abiding lawyer, I pulled over. The guy gave me a ticket for going through a red light! I was mad, so I appealed. Plus, under Massachusetts law such a moving violation would stay on my insurance for 7 years, costing me hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

I appeared in court on the scheduled date about 3 months later. The cases were heard by the white clerk-magistrate, a woman. A white male police officer sat at the table with a pile of tickets in front of him. Names were called in alphabetical order, so I got to see 20 or so cases before I was called. As a lawyer I was keenly interested in the process, and wanted to figure out the best way to make my case. As it turned out, I brought my game with me. I was white and polite, and that was all that mattered.

There were three types of cases. First, polite white people. They denied the offense, were treated with courtesy, and found not responsible. Their ticket was ripped up, & they walked out home free.

Second, the clueless angry liberals. At least three of these people used the phrase "jack booted thug" in referring to the arresting officer. That just infuriated the clerk-magistrate, and these people were found responsible & had to pay their tickets.

Third, people of color. Didn't matter whether they were polite, or angry. All were questioned harshly, and almost all were found responsible.

I was shocked by this, but found myself with a dilemma. Would I protest the obvious discrimination going on here? Or would I just submit, be polite, and get out of my ticket?

Of course I took the coward's way out. I stepped up, denied the offense, was cautioned (with a smile) to drive more carefully, and walked out absolved. Not a proud moment.

Racism, alive & well in the 21st century.

Slow-Motion Disaster

Wave of Marine Species Extinctions Feared

....For years, many scientists and regulators believed the oceans were so vast there was little risk of marine species dying out. Now, some suspect the world is on the cusp of what Ellen K. Pikitch, executive director of the Pew Institute for Ocean Science, calls "a gathering wave of ocean extinctions." Dozens of biologists believe the seas have reached a tipping point, with scores of species of ocean-dwelling fish, birds and mammals edging toward extinction. In the past 300 years, researchers have documented the global extinction of just 21 marine species -- and 16 have occurred since 1972.

Since the 1700s, another 112 species have died out in particular regions, and that trend, too, has accelerated since the mid-1960s: Nearly two dozen shark species are close to disappearing, according to the World Conservation Union, an international coalition of government and advocacy groups.

"It's been a slow-motion disaster," said Boris Worm, a professor at Canada's Dalhousie University, whose 2003 study that found that 90 percent of the top predator fish have vanished from the oceans. "It's silent and invisible. People don't imagine this. It hasn't captured our imagination, like the rain forest."

Women Flee "New" Iraq

A partial draft of the Iraqi constitution is out, and tragically, as expected, Islamic law is enshrined, before a boilerplate paragraph protecting the rights of women.

CHAPTER ONE: Basic Principles

Article (1): The Republic of Iraq is an independent, sovereign nation, and the system of rule in it is a democratic, federal, representative (parliamentary) republic.

Article (2): First, Islam is the official religion of the state and is a basic source of legislation:

a) No law can be passed that contradicts the undisputed rules of Islam.

b) No law can be passed that contradicts the principles of democracy.

c) No law can be passed that contradicts the rights and basic freedoms outlined in this constitution.

CHAPTER TWO: Rights and Freedoms

Part One: Rights

Article (14): Iraqis are equal before the law without discrimination because of gender, ethnicity, nationality, origin, color, religion, sect, belief, opinion or social or economic status.

Article (15): Every individual has the right to life and security and freedom and cannot be deprived of these rights or have them restricted except in accordance to the law and based on a ruling by the appropriate judicial body.

Article (16): Equal opportunity is a right guaranteed to all Iraqis, and the state shall take the necessary steps to achieve this.

So, you might say, what's the problem? Women's rights are in the constitution, so that's enough, right?

Well, that's not the way Iraqi women see it. For example, Dr. Raja Kuzai, who says this in today's New York Times:

"This is the future of the new Iraqi government - it will be in the hands of the clerics," said Dr. Raja Kuzai, a secular Shiite member of the Assembly. "I wanted Iraqi women to be free, to be able to talk freely and to able to move around."

"I am not going to stay here," said Dr. Kuzai, an obstetrician and women's leader who met President Bush in the White House in November 2003.

Cheese sandwich, cheese sandwich, cheese sandwich. Cheese sandwich George Bush and all those neo-cons who pretended they cared about women. Iraq is now a giant cheese sandwich.

I miss my curse words.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Who Would Jesus Assassinate?

I guess Pat Robertson's WWJD bracelet stands for "Who Would Jesus Do?"

Did Jesus come to Pat and say, Hugo Chavez? Or did he come up with that on his own.

Onward, Christian soldiers.

The Lighter Side

From Dan Froomkin's column in today's Washington Post:

How many members of the Bush administration does it take to change a light bulb?


1. One to deny that a light bulb needs to be changed;

2. One to attack the patriotism of anyone who says the light bulb needs to be changed;

3. One to blame Clinton for burning out the light bulb;

4. One to tell the nations of the world that they are either for changing the light bulb or for eternal darkness;

5. One to give a billion dollar no-bid contract to Halliburton for the new light bulb;

6. One to arrange a photograph of Bush, dressed as a janitor, standing on a step ladder under the banner 'Bulb Accomplished';

7. One administration insider to resign and in detail reveal how Bush was literally 'in the dark' the whole time;

8. One to viciously smear No. 7;

9. One surrogate to campaign on TV and at rallies on how George Bush has had a strong light-bulb-changing policy all along;

10. And finally, one to confuse Americans about the difference between screwing a light bulb and screwing the country.

Not Really News

Maradona Owns Up to Using Hand in '86 Cup

OK, everyone called Maradona's goal which beat England in their quarterfinal in '86 the "Hand of God", but it was a joke. We all knew it was Maradona, and he did it on purpose.

What a great player, though. Too bad he succumbed to drugs. I had tickets to see Argentina-Greece for the '94 World Cup here at Foxboro, and Maradona tested positive for drugs the day before. So I've only seen him on film.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Iraq War Planned While Ground Zero Still Burned

October, 2001: Earliest Documentation on Iraq War Planning?

Documents released by the National Archives last week included a State Department Powerpoint slide that said:

October 2001 State Department planning on the transition began

Why didn't I read about this in the New York Times? The Washington Post? Oh, that's right, journalism is dead. Long live the corporate media.

Wingnuts: Women's Rights Optional

I caught the end of the re-run of Meet the Press (known in blogtopia as "Press the Meat") and heard an astonishing statement. Checked the transcript today, and yes, I heard right, women's rights are "not critical to the evolution of democracy."

David Gregory was substituting for Tim Russert and he put the following quote from the NYTimes up on the screen:
"[American ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay] Khalilzad had backed language [in the constitution] that would have given clerics sole authority in settling marriage and family disputes. That gave rise to concerns that women's rights, as they are annunciated in Iraq's existing laws, could be curtailed. ...

After getting the reaction of Larry Diamond, former advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, also a fellow at the right wing think tank the Hoover Institution at Stanford (& don't get me going on the over-abundance of right wing views on the MSM, where are the liberals?) Gregory turned to Reuel Marc Gerecht, who he had introduced as a "former Middle East specialist for the CIA." (He's also Director of the Middle East Initiative at the Project for the New American Century, Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and contributing editor at the Weekly Standard Magazine.) Christopher Allbritton at BacktoIraq in 2002 described Gerecht's "ties to the American Enterprise Institute, a noted right-wing think tank peopled with with conservative cognoscenti with deep ties to the Bush Administration. Lynne Cheney, the veep's wife, is one of its scholars, along with Robert Bork, Newt Gingrich, Jean Kirkpatrick and (drum roll, please) Richard Perle, the bombastic hawk who's been itching to invade Iraq since before Bush ever got into office."

OK, now that we've established his right wing bona fides, here's his answer.

MR. GREGORY: Mr. Gerecht, the consequences of this?

MR. GERECHT: Actually, I'm not terribly worried about this. I mean, one hopes that the Iraqis protect women's social rights as much as possible. It certainly seems clear that in protecting the political rights, there's no discussion of women not having the right to vote. I think it's important to remember that in the year 1900, for example, in the United States, it was a democracy then. In 1900, women did not have the right to vote. If Iraqis could develop a democracy that resembled America in the 1900s, I think we'd all be thrilled. I mean, women's social rights are not critical to the evolution of democracy. We hope they're there. I think they will be there. But I think we need to put this into perspective.

So let me get this right. We're sending female soldiers to Iraq to establish a male-supremacy as well as a theocracy? American women are dying for this?

I guess the Bush administration is getting ready to throw the Iraqi women overboard.

They never gave a cheese sandwich* about women's rights anyway.

*I have taken a vow to use the phrase "cheese sandwich" in place of all curse words.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

My First Nigerian Spam Email

Returned from vacation to find my first Nigerian spam email! I wonder if my recent change to Verizon DSL service occasioned this new level of spam in my in-box.

Unfortunately for Barrister Belgore, I am not willing to falsely represent myself as the next of kin of his unfortunate client, the deceased Mr. Frederick.

Date: Sun, 7 Aug 2005 10:14:10 +0200 (CEST)

From: Dele Belgore
Fax: 234-1-7590662
Private Email:
Subject: Next Of Kin To Late Mr. Frederick
Date: August 7th, 2005.

Good Day,

Before I start, I must first apologize for this unsolicited ail to you. I am also aware that this is certainly an unconventional approach to start a relationship, but i believe as time goes on, you will realize the need for my actions. I am Barrister Dele Belgore I知 the Personal Financial Attorney to Mr. Frederick, a national of your country, who used to work with Chevron Nigeria Ltd (CNL).

On the 24 April 2004 21:51 hrs, my client who is Chevron subcontractor including five other people were attacked and killed by the river pirates of the Niger Delta, including one other US oilman, in an attack on workers inspecting abandoned wells in southern Nigeria's strife-torn Niger Delta,. Since then I have made several enquiries to your embassy to locate any of my clients extended relatives, this has also proved unsuccessful. After these several unsuccessful attempts, I decided to trace his relatives over the Internet, to locate any member of his family but of no avail, hence I contacted through the help of my cousin that works in the AMERICAN CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE, planning and industry. (Please visit the homepage for more update.)


I have contacted you to assist in repatriating the money that belongs to my client before they get confiscated or declared serviceable by the bank where these huge deposits were lodged. Particularly, the Bank where the deceased had an account valued at about $10.4 million dollars has issued me a notice to provide the next of kin or have the account confiscated within the next 21 official working days. Since I have been unsuccessful in locating the relatives for over 3 years now I seek your consent to present you as the next of kin of the deceased since you are from the same country and bear the same last name, so that the proceeds of this account valued at $10.4 million dollars can be paid to you and then you and me can share the money. 62% to me and 30% to you, while 8% should be for expenses or tax as your government may require, I have the certificate of deposit that can be used to back up any claim we may make.

All I require is your honest cooperation to enable us see this dealt through. I guarantee that this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law. Please get in touch with through my Personal email Address.

Best Regards,

Barrister Dele Belgore