Saturday, October 15, 2005

Finally: We Got The Number One in Al Qaeda

We've captured the most senior Al Qaeda


Really! He gave the best haircuts! You should have seen his scissors fly! The blunt cuts! Oh, and his work with the clippers: chilling in its exactitude! And what a colorist! Worked miracles with extensions! Facial hair a specialty! He could make Osama bin Laden look like George W. Bush in about 25 minutes! He could make any run-of-the-mill insurgent look like the no. 2 man in Al Qaeda!

Coming attractions: Over the next few months, expect that we will arrest 33 or so of the "2nd in command" to this most senior barber.

You think I'm joking, don't you? Gotcha.

Al Qaeda "barber" arrested in Iraq

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S. forces in Iraq said on Saturday that they were holding a man suspected of acting as a barber to senior al Qaeda militants and helping them change their appearance to evade capture.

The man, named as Walid Muhammad Farhan Juwar al-Zubaydi -- "aka 'The Barber,"' the U.S. military statement said -- was arrested in Baghdad on September 24, the day before U.S. troops caught up with and killed a militant they described as the most senior al Qaeda leader in the capital, Abu Azzam.,

"'The Barber's' duties included altering senior al Qaeda in Iraq members' appearances by dying hair color, altering hairstyles and changing facial hair in their efforts to evade capture," the military said in the statement.

Also detained on September 24 was Ibrahim Muhammad Subhi Khayri al-Rihawi, the military said, naming him also as Abu Khalil and calling him a "close associate" of Abu Azzam.

"(He) served as an executive assistant for the terrorist emir. He also acted as a banker for Azzam and stored the terrorist organization's funds so they would not be confiscated should Abu Azzam be killed or captured," it added.

Abu Azzam was described by U.S. commanders after his death as second only to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in the Islamist network's organization in Iraq.

U.S. forces are keen to show progress in tracking down insurgents.

What's next? The most senior chef? The most senior dialysis nurse? The most senior food taster?

Wanted, dead or alive.

It's Poison, Poison, I Tell You

From, an article originally published in the French paper Le Monde:

We Are All Chemically Contaminated

When one out of two men, one out of three women, today is affected by cancer, it's no exaggeration to talk about an epidemic. Certainly, it's not as visible as the epidemic of the plague. The victims don't die on the street, but the tribute exacted is heavy, with 150,000 deaths a year in France. Risk factors other than chemical substances are implicated (diet, tobacco use ...), but with the evaluation of chemical substances, we know for certain that we can dry up a part of the source of these chronic illnesses. Moreover, it is unacceptable that this public health imperative not be imposed upon the chemical industry.

The volume of chemical substances at a global level has gone from 1 million tons during the 1930s to 400 million tons today! The chemical industry has thus put on the market - without evaluating them - substances that will sometimes be withdrawn once the damage to the population's health is assessed. That's the "proof by people" to demonstrate toxicity that was the rule at the end of many long years. Still, that's only the case for a minority of substances, since for 97% of the substances data is incomplete or nonexistent.

Years ago I read The Politics of Cancer (1978) [updated & released in 1998] by Dr. Samuel Epstein. He argues that all cancer is environmentally caused.

From a review of his book by Robert Weissman:

As Dr. Epstein points out, from 1950 to 1998, the overall incidence of cancer rose about 60 percent, with much higher increases for cancer of some organs. For non-Hodgkins lymphoma and multiple myeloma, the increase has been 200 percent. Breast cancers have increased by 60 percent. Prostate cancer has increased 200 percent. For testicular cancer in men of the ages 28 to 35, there has been a 300 percent increase since 1950.

And don't let anybody fool you into thinking that the cancer rate increase is because the population is getting older -- these rates are age-adjusted. The cancer rates of a group of 50 year old men in 1990, for example, are compared to the cancer rates of a group of men in 1950.

So, why is the cancer establishment losing the war against cancer? "The cancer establishment is fixated on damage control -- diagnosis, treatment and basic genetic research -- and is indifferent, if not sometimes hostile, to cancer prevention -- getting carcinogens out of the environment," Epstein told us recently. "The second factor is conflicts of interests, which are significant when it comes to the National Cancer Institute, but profound and overwhelming when it comes to the American Cancer Society. In the book, I go into great detail on conflicts between the American Cancer Society and the cancer drug industry, the mammography industry, the pesticide industry, and other such industries."

According to Epstein, the outgoing director of the National Cancer Institute left that organization to go to the cancer drug industry. Another NCI director in the 1970s left NCI to go to the American Cancer Society and from there to head up the fiberglass industry (fiberglass is a recognized carcinogen).

Epstein charges that the cancer establishment is misleading people into believing that it is spending a good chunk of its stashed away billions on prevention -- which is untrue.

Farewell, Fans Under Glass

From the Boston Globe:

Opening day for renovations
Maligned .406 Club is the first to go at Fenway

Originally named the "600 Club" (for its 600 seats), the name was changed to the ".406 Club" in 2002 to honor Ted Williams, MLB's last 400 hitter. (Unfortunately, this was 17 days after he died. Couldn't they have done it before then?)

[Speaking of last 400 hitters, did you know that the last 400 hitter in baseball was Artie Wilson of the Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro American League?]

We plebians who usually sat in the bleachers always called it "Fans Under Glass".

Reportedly, it changed the wind patterns at Fenway Park, and the players hated that.

Friday, October 14, 2005

It's All About Appearances, Karl Rove edition

Karl Rove left his house this morning in his Jaguar, then showed up at Federal District Court for his court appearance in a tan Toyota Camry.

The Jaguar

Another view of the Jaguar

Karl looking annoyed getting into the Jag

Karl, leaving court in the tan Camry

CBS video of Karl getting into the not-Jaguar tan Camry

Update, 10/15/05: Today's Washington Post says the getaway car was a Ford Taurus.

Just For Laughs

When Harry met George
By John Kenney, JOHN KENNEY is a humorist who has just finished his first novel.

From the Los Angeles Times, the imagined correspondence of Harriet Miers to "cool" George W. Bush.

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Not much to say today. It's raining. I got my hair cut. Had to replace a mount on my rear tire ($169). It's still raining.

Karl Rove begged not be indicted today, for four hours. The New York Times still isn't talking. Rumor has it that Judith Miller may resign. Good riddance. Josh Marshall asks a couple of interesting questions: What did Harriet Miers know about the Plame outing and the subsequent cover-up? What does she know about what the President knew?

Still waiting for the Bush Administration's traditional post 5:00 p.m. Friday news dump, calculated to draw as little attention as possible to bad news.

No photo ops for Bushie today. Guess the White House didn't like seeing the word "staged" used so much by the MSM.

Hey, did I mention that I'm going to England next week, for two weeks? Whee-hoo!

Publication of this blog will be suspended until November 1st.

Maybe by the time I return it will have stopped raining.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The (Wo)man Behind the Curtain

Here's the official White House bio of the director of Bush's "spontaneous" Q&A today:

Allison Barber, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense

Current Assignments: Allison Barber is the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Internal Communications and Public Liaison. In this position, she is responsible for the Department's communication to the men and women of the military, worldwide, and for community relations programs that link citizens to members of the Armed Forces at home and abroad. Ms. Barber is also an Army wife and her husband recently returned from a year's deployment in Iraq.


Past Experiences: Ms. Barber comes to her position with extensive experience in public relations and advertising. Prior to this position, Ms. Barber was the President of Sodenta, her public relations firm in Washington, D.C. Previously, she was President of the Washington D.C. office of PlowShare, a Connecticut-based advertising agency. From 1992 to 1998, she was a Public Relations Director for the American Red Cross. From 1986 to 1991, Barber was a grade school teacher at Merrillville Public School in Indiana and served as Vice President of the Teachers Association.

Education: Ms. Barber holds a BS in Elementary Education from Tennessee Temple University and a MS in Elementary Education from Indiana University.

So, she's been

a grade school teacher (5 years)

"a" PR Director for the American Red Cross (not "The" Director) (6 years)

"President" of the Washington DC office of PlowShare advertising agency which counts among its clients the American Red Cross. (If you go on PlowShare's website, there's no mention of a President or a Washington DC office. The principals are referred to as "partners". Sounds like a bit of resume puffery to me.)

Then President of her own PR agency, Sodenta. Looking them up on the internets, I suspect a freelancer who incorporated for tax purposes.

Here's the address, on a YourTownMall services directory:

Sodenta Agency
2916 Stuart Drive
Falls Church, VA 22042
Phone: (703) 698-7608

SourceWatch couldn't find any other listing for her agency. Looking at googlemaps, I suspect she ran this out of her home.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense. Another PR flack. Because the Bush Administration is all about the PR. No substance. I will say in her defense (no pun intended), like a good elementary school teacher she had those soldiers lined up nicely, well groomed, and they repeated their lines very well.

Pay no attention to the woman behind the curtain!

Like We Wouldn't Notice

Bush Teleconference With Soldiers Staged

Or as the Wizard of Oz said: "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!"

WANTED: The Banana Republicans

America's Most Wanted

Click on the link to see the poster.

For many years, my dad had a poster hanging in the back of the room where he taught high school social studies. I brought it back for him from my senior trip to Washington, DC. It said "Wanted", and had pictures of Nixon, Haldeman, Erlichman and Dean and all the Watergate conspirators. All but Nixon had "Apprehended" splashed across their pictures.

I've got to dig that poster out.

When You're a Shiite, You're a Shiite All the Way

From your first cigarette to your last dying day:

From Knight-Ridder:

Sectarian resentment extends to Iraq's army

The Bush administration's exit strategy for Iraq rests on two pillars: an inclusive, democratic political process that includes all major ethnic groups and a well-trained Iraqi national army. But a week spent eating, sleeping and going on patrol with a crack unit of the Iraqi army - the 4,500-member 1st Brigade of the 6th Iraqi Division - suggests that the strategy is in serious trouble. Instead of rising above the ethnic tension that's tearing their nation apart, the mostly Shiite troops are preparing for, if not already fighting, a civil war against the minority Sunni population.


"In Amariyah last week, a car bomb hit a U.S. Humvee and their soldiers began to shoot randomly. They killed a lot of innocent civilians. I was there; I saw it," said Sgt. Fadhal Yahan. "This happens all the time. If they keep doing this, the people will attack them. And we are part of the people."

Sgt. Jawad Majid chimed in: "We have our marja'iya [the ruling council of clerics led by al-Sistani] and we are waiting for them to decide when the time to fight (the Americans) is, when it is no longer time to be silent."

We are training and arming the Iraqis for their coming civil war. Our troops will be fortunate to be withdrawn before the guns of our trainees are turned against us.


From the smoking gun:

The Harriet And George Letters
Bush-Miers Texas correspondence reveals mutual admiration society

The sycophantic letters of Harriet E. Miers (HEM) to George W. Bush.

My firm had an employee once who wooed me with constant flattery. She wanted to work for me. It was embarrassing, and I never trusted her for a moment because it was so transparently brownnosing.

These letters remind me of that woman. Sad.

I wish some handwriting expert would opine on the flowery, loopy handwriting. Looks like a 9th graders. Apologies to any 9th grader reading this. Mier's handwriting looks like she should be drawing hearts over her "i"s.

Still haven't decided a position on Miers, though I don't think it matters what position the Democrats take on Miers. The right wing is going to take her down.

Operation Photo Op,George W. Bush to Iraq edition

Just watched President Stupid's photo op with 15 soldiers sitting in formation in camouflage in Iraq. GWB hunched over a lecturn in the White House before a giant TV screen showing the soldiers. I wonder how much this little TV moment cost? Let's see, giant TV screen, cameras and lighting for White House, cameras and lighting for soldiers in Iraq, video conferencing equipment, scriptwriter, days of preparing and rehearsing statements, drycleaning uniforms, and there's much more, I'm sure.

Who wrote the scripts for the soldiers? They're clearly giving prepared speeches. Bush keeps interrupting them.

Bush is standing with his left, twitchy side away from the camera. Someone at the White House must have finally seen the internet video compilation of his jaw tic.

How is that our military men and women are ALL more articulate than their Commander in Chief?

Guess none of those high school dropouts without GEDs the Army is now accepting made the 15 member panel.

All that was missing was the plastic turkey.

FEMA: Let Them Eat Beanie Weenies From Florida

Louisianans get few post-Katrina contracts

A Department of Homeland Security official tasked with helping local businesses get post-Hurricane Katrina contracts resigned in frustration last week because he could not secure catering work for local vendors.

Doug Doan, a business liaison at DHS, lined up a group of Louisiana chefs and restaurants to provide 26,000 meals a day in St. Tammany Parish to people without power and unable to cook for themselves.

Instead of the seafood pasta and beef with a red wine mushroom reduction that Doan arranged, box lunches and military rations known as meals-ready-to-eat, or MREs, from outside Louisiana are being served.

Gulf Coast lawmakers, such as Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and other critics have complained about the federal government's failure to steer recovery dollars to businesses in the areas affected by the storm. A list of contracts awarded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency showed that as of Oct. 3, two of 140 agreements had gone to Louisiana prime contractors.

"Louisiana makes the best food in the world," Doan said Tuesday. "To be bringing in beanie weenies from Florida or peanut butter sandwiches from Ohio at a greater cost ... is an outrage."

The Incompetence, The Corruption, The Cronyism: October 13, 2005 edition

The Incompetence:

We could make this all FEMA, all the time:

DIY Disaster Relief

Don’t let anybody kid you. The government response to Hurricane Katrina was not only a disaster when the storm first hit. It’s still a disaster now.

I’ve been talking to medical professionals who have been to the Gulf Coast in the past couple of weeks, and this is what they have told me.

First, FEMA continues to be next to useless. It is not providing relief workers with the access they need to areas crying out for their help. It is not keeping up with bills for the emergency work it has authorized so far. A shockingly large number of doctors and nurses are being told that their services are not needed. Those with the guts and the initiative to go ahead regardless are finding that the exact opposite is true – thousands upon thousands of storm evacuees who have run out of their prescription medications, or require new prescriptions, or need help with a panoply of storm-induced problems, from simple cuts and bruises to infections and depression and suicidal feelings.

Secondly, FEMA and the Red Cross are not talking to each other to sort it all out. At the Cajundome in Lafayette, Louisiana – home to more than 5,000 evacuees – there was, as of a few days ago, no formal on-site medical care. That meant people had the unenviable choice of going to the emergency room of a Lafayette hospital, waiting in line for hours and hoping for the best, or somehow fending for themselves.

Thirdly, the failures of the first six weeks or so since Katrina struck are likely only to compound the problems down the road. Sanitation in the shelters is a nightmare. Some professionals don’t exclude outbreaks of tuberculosis or other diseases one might have associated, pre-Katrina, with an earlier, more backward era.

Mobile Homes, Campers Wait at FEMA Sites

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- More than 9,000 mobile homes and campers meant for the victims of Hurricane Katrina are sitting unused at government staging areas while displaced families continue to live out of tents and shelters.

$11 Million a Day Spent on Hotels for Storm Relief

WASHINGTON, Oct. 12 - Straining to meet President Bush's mid-October deadline to clear out shelters, the federal government has moved hundreds of thousands of evacuees from Hurricane Katrina into hotel rooms at a cost of about $11 million a night, a strategy local officials and some members of Congress criticize as incoherent and wasteful.


The American Red Cross started the hotel program days after Hurricane Katrina struck, when it became clear that the shelters it had opened were not adequate to deal with the 600,000 to 700,000 families displaced by the storm, a spokeswoman, Carrie Martin, said.

The hotel program was intended to last a couple of weeks but has twice been extended by FEMA. Now Red Cross officials are saying there is no end to the initiative, which pays for 192,424 rooms in 9,606 hotels across the United States, in a range of cities as diverse as Casper, Wyo., and Anchorage, Alaska.

Congress last month appropriated a $62.3 billion for the relief effort, most of it designated for FEMA. The agency had told Congress that it expected to spend more than $2 billion to buy up to 300,000 travel trailers and mobile homes to house displaced residents. The agency also planned to give out $23.2 billion in assistance to victims for emergency needs and for temporary housing and housing repairs.

But the temporary housing program has been troubled since the start, observers say. Instead of setting up as many as 30,000 trailers and mobile homes every two weeks, as of Tuesday, just 7,308 were occupied. Even counting berths on the four ships that FEMA has leased and rooms on military bases and elsewhere, the agency has provided only 10,940 occupied housing units for victims in the three Gulf states.

The Corruption:

The law may be catching up with Senator Frist:

SEC Issues Subpoena To Frist, Sources Say
Records Sought On Sale of Stock

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) has been subpoenaed to turn over personal records and documents as federal authorities step up a probe of his July sales of HCA Inc. stock, according to sources familiar with the investigation.


The formal request for documents usually presages an acceleration of a federal probe. In Frist's case, regulators had to proceed with caution due to his status in Congress and their mutual desire to avoid triggering constitutional objections to the release of documents. The disclosure of the subpoena comes as Democrats blasted Frist anew for his financial and personal ties to Hospital Corporation of America, a Nashville chain founded in 1968 by his father and his brother, Thomas Frist Jr. Critics yesterday seized on a report that Frist held a substantial amount of his family's hospital stock outside of blind trusts between 1998 and 2002 -- a time when he asserted he did not know how much of the stock he owned.
The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that Frist earned tens of thousands of dollars from HCA stock in a partnership controlled by his brother, outside of the blind trusts he created to avoid a conflict of interest.

"It seems that for years, Frist may have misled his constituents and the American people about his health care industry stock holdings and the conflict of interest they created as he drafted our nation's health care policy," said Democratic National Committee Communications Director Karen Finney. "This deal raises even more questions about the Republican culture of corruption in Washington, D.C."

The Cronyism:

Great article in the New Republic, outlining the 15 worst hacks in the Bush Administration. Here's just one:

Welcome to the Hackocracy

11: Patrick Rhode
Acting Deputy Director Federal Emergency Management Agency

As acting deputy director of FEMA, 36-year-old Patrick Rhode had, until recently, the unenviable job of backstopping the hapless Michael Brown, a man who needed much backstopping. Unfortunately, it's not clear that Rhode is much more qualified than Brown to be managing the nation's worst disasters. Before joining FEMA, the biggest disaster he had helped manage was the Small Business Administration (see Hector Barreto)--and even that was something of a stretch. Rhode entered federal government in 2001 as deputy director of advance operations for the Bush White House, a job he had also held for Bush's 2000 campaign. Never fear, though: Rhode has covered disasters--as a TV anchor for local network affiliates in Alabama and Arkansas, in which capacity he developed "an acute interest in what responders do in times of crises." Perhaps not acute enough. He recently said that FEMA's response to Katrina was "probably one of the most efficient and effective responses in the country's history."

High Crimes and Misdemeanors

From attytood "Covering Philly and the world like Cheese Whiz":

The President's day: One high crime and two misdemeanors

Misdemeanor No. 1: In using religion as a key basis for offering Miers a job, the president would appear to have violated the spirit, if not the letter, of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. According to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Title VII of the law "prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin."

Misdemeanor No. 2: More specifically, one could make the case that Bush's actions are also in violation of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, which specifically covers federal employees. According to the same EEOC primer: "The CSRA prohibits any employee who has authority to take certain personnel actions from discriminating for or against employees or applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age or disability."

High crime: As you might expect, the "high crime" here is more serious, and is also the area where it's hardest to argue that the president did not cross the line. We are referring to Article VI, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution, which states that "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

We Must Get Out This Vote!

From Intelligence Squad, via The News Blog:

Bush Approval Is 2% Among Blacks

Apparently, watching thousands of one's people drown, starve and dehydrate while the man responsible for assisting them squeezes a couple of extra days out of his vacation tends to make folks appropriately cranky. According to NBC's Tim Russert, the network's latest poll has only 2% of blacks saying they approve of the job Bush is doing as president. Those are Ku Klux Klan-like levels. I bet Newt Gingrich had better numbers than that among blacks as Speaker of the House during the Clinton impeachment. I bet Jefferson Davis had better numbers as the president of the Confederacy during the Civil War. Apparently Condi Rice, Minister T.D. Jakes, Ken Blackwell, and a tiny handful of other sellouts are the only black folks left in America still willing to support this monkey.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Why We Still Love Nomar

He's just a great guy.

Former Red Sox shortstop rescues two women from the water

Who's On First?

I got this from an email; traced it back to

George: Condi! Nice to see you. What's happening?

Condi: Sir, I have the report here about the new leader of China.

George: Great. Lay it on me.

Condi: Hu is the new leader of China .

George: That's what I want to know.

Condi: That's what I'm telling you.

George: That's what I'm asking you. Who is the new leader of China?

Condi: Yes.

George: I mean the fellow's name.

Condi: Hu.

George: The guy in China.

Condi: Hu.

George: The new leader of China.

Condi: Hu.

George: The main man in China!

Condi: Hu is leading China.

George: Now whaddya' asking me for?

Condi: I'm telling you, Hu is leading China.

George: Well, I'm asking you. Who is leading China?

Condi: That's the man's name.

George: That's who's name?

Condi: Yes.

George: Will you, or will you not, tell me the name of the new leader
of China?

Condi: Yes, sir.

George: Yassir? Yassir Arafat is in China? I thought he's dead in the
Middle East.

Condi: That's correct.

George: Then who is in China?

Condi: Yes, sir.

George: Yassir is in China?

Condi: No, sir.

George: Then who is?

Condi: Yes, sir.

George: Yassir?

Condi: No, sir.

George: Look Condi. I need to know the name of the new leader of China.
Get me the Secretary General of the U.N. on the phone.

Condi: Kofi?

George: No, thanks.

Condi: You want Kofi?

George: No.

Condi: You don't want Kofi.

George: No. But now that you mention it, I could use a glass of milk.
And then get me the U.N.

Condi: Yes, sir.

George: Not Yassir! The guy at the U.N.

Condi: Kofi?

George: Milk! Will you please make the call?

Condi: And call who?

George: Who is the guy at the U.N?

Condi: Hu is the guy in China

George: Will you stay out of China?!

Condi: Yes, sir.

George: And stay out of the Middle East! Just get me the guy at the U.N.

Condi: Kofi.

George: All right! With cream and two sugars. Now get on the phone.

(Condi picks up the phone.)

Condi: Rice, here.

George: Rice? Good idea. And a couple of egg rolls, too. Maybe we
should send some to the guy in China. And the Middle East. Can you get Chinese food in the Middle East?

You Know the Bloom Is Off Your Presidential Rose...

...when the Washington Post publishes articles like this:

For President Under Duress, Body Language Speaks Volumes

...The president was a blur of blinks, taps, jiggles, pivots and shifts. Bush has always been an active man, but standing with Lauer and the serene, steady first lady, he had the body language of a man wishing urgently to be elsewhere.

The fidgeting clearly corresponded to the questioning. When Lauer asked if Bush, after a slow response to Katrina, was "trying to get a second chance to make a good first impression," Bush blinked 24 times in his answer. When asked why Gulf Coast residents would have to pay back funds but Iraqis would not, Bush blinked 23 times and hitched his trousers up by the belt.

When the questioning turned to Miers, Bush blinked 37 times in a single answer -- along with a lick of the lips, three weight shifts and some serious foot jiggling. Laura Bush, by contrast, delivered only three blinks and stood still through her entire answer about encouraging volunteerism.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Be Still My Heart

News Orgs Working On Story Tying Cheney Into Plamegate… Developing…

The Huffington Post | Posted October 11, 2005 07:28 PM

The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg are working on stories that point to Vice President Dick Cheney as the target of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation into the leaking of CIA operative Valerie Plame's name.

A Long Line of Power Hungry Warlords

From the Guardian:

Scion of traitors and warlords: why Bush is coy about his Irish links
Tapestry artist reveals ancestors of US president as murderous bunch

God help me, I am distantly related to the Smirking Chimp. My mother, intrepid genealogy researcher, unearthed this fact at the New England Historical Genealogical Society in the 80s. She told my father & I this in an elevator, and a quiet researcher sharing our car sympathized over our sad discovery.

I don't think we're related through the murderous warlord, though. Just a potato farmer.

This Made Me Laugh

Perplexed by This Pick

I have nothing against Miers, though I probably will once she dons those black robes and starts voting on cases I care about. Over the years, the president has had more than enough time to peer deeply into her heart, or her soul, or wherever it is he looks to discern what the person under scrutiny thinks about Roe v. Wade . I'm betting that she's no David Souter -- that she quickly signs up with the Scalia-Thomas fringe, even if she lacks Antonin Scalia's right-wing erudition or Clarence Thomas's persecution complex. They'll be like a middle-aged Mod Squad, a trio of groovy avengers fighting for truth, justice and the American Way circa 1805.

Julie (Harriet), Link (Clarence), and Pete (Antonin). I can just see it. Wasn't Clarence still 3/5 of a person in 1805? Harriet didn't exist, constitutionally speaking.

I can't decide where to come down on Harriet. Obviously, she's in Bush's hip pocket. But she's at least taken a few positions in her life that I would agree with (favoring gay rights, etc.). If we defeat her, will we get an even more right-wing wingnut, a la Clarence Thomas, with a better resume, that the Republican majority (55-45) in the Senate will vote in no matter how horrible the record or hateful the beliefs?

Let's hope we get some frogmarching news in the next few days to take our minds off this conundrum. I fear there are no good answers.

Earthquake Death Toll Hits 42,000

Millions homeless as storms slow aid
U.N. launches $272 million appeal; estimated death toll hits 42,000

Louisiana Death Toll 1021; Many 9th Ward Homes Still Not Searched

From Scout Prime (via First Draft, via Norwegianity, via Newsfare. Whew!)

NOLA Lower 9th Ward: Residents Not Getting In,
Who Will Search Homes for Bodies?

LA [Louisiana] Death Toll: 1021

The Incompetence, The Corruption, The Cronyism: October 11, 2005 edition

The Incompetence:

Hey, what's a little money between Republicans and their corporate friends?

Government Can't Explain Increase in 2002 TSA Contract
Homeland Security Office Says It Lacks Documentation on $343 Million Change

In the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the government changed a contract to hire federal airline passengers screeners in a way that cost taxpayers an additional $343 million. More than three years later, officials cannot explain exactly why.

Homeland security officials say they have no memos, e-mails or other paperwork to document the reason for the change, as required by federal contracting regulations. They have also offered accounts of the decision that conflict with internal government documents obtained by The Washington Post.

The modification to the contract involved switching the interview sites for tens of thousands of airline passenger screener jobs from a contractor's own assessment centers to hotels and luxury resorts.

The change added hundreds of millions of dollars to a contract that increased from $104 million to $741 million in nine months. Federal auditors later called into question $303 million of that spending.

The Corruption:

Corruption begins at home:

Coalition leader faces sex abuse allegations

Law enforcement officials said Saturday they are investigating complaints that Louis Beres, longtime chairman of the Christian Coalition of Oregon, molested three female family members when they were pre-teens. []

The Oregonian talked to three of Beres' female relatives, including two who told reporters that he molested them. All three said they have been interviewed for several hours by detectives.

"I was molested," said one of the women, now in her early 50s. "I was victimized, and I've suffered all my life for it. I'm still afraid to be in the same room with (Beres)." []

Beres is also former chairman of the Multnomah County Republican Party.

The Cronyism:

For a guy who hates my chosen profession, Bush appoints a lot of Republican crony lawyers. Maybe he thinks "lawyer" is a synonym for "jack-of-all-trades"?

to protect our country from a worldwide avian flu pandemic

estimated to kill millions...awol assigns the task to a former lawyer for amtrak. guess he figures he'll sue it or run it into the ground. our country is cooked.

Dog F-Rod

A-Rod: 'I played like a dog the last five days'

2-15 (.133), 5 K in 2005 ALDS vs Angels

A-Rod wilts in dog days

ANAHEIM - After good games or bad, Alex Rodriguez has a habit of jutting out his bottom lip so it curls into a pout. It's a pose that stains his cover-boy charm.

Appearances can be deceptive. When A-Rod truly connects with other humans, when he looks them in the eye rather than at a spot on their forehead, he can be quite enchanting. The trouble, as with most everything regarding A-Rod, is deciphering the authentic from the fake. Even the man at the center understands he sometimes creates nearly as many questions as he does answers.

The Real Louis Freeh

Or Louie, as I prefer to call him. The FBI guy, now dumping on Clinton? Here's the skinny:

Freeh at Last: Revenge and Revisionism at the FBI

Freeh's Republican "way of thinking" - and disdain for Bill Clinton - was perhaps best expressed in a note he sent Whitewater special counsel Ken Starr upon the latter's departure. Freeh praised Starr, saying "we have all been greatly impressed with your sacrifice, persistence, and uncompromising personal and professional integrity."

Monday, October 10, 2005

A Fraud Helps Yankees Out Of Playoffs

Smarting as I am over the Red Sox drubbing by the Pale Hose, the only consolation for me is if the Yankees lose. Hurray, tonight I get my wish. Angels-White Sox for the American League title.

A-Rod, Mr. "MVP" in the minds of Yankees fans, gets up in the 9th, the Yankees down by 2, Jeter on first, no outs. What does he do, Mr. MVP? He of the 2 for 14 hitting "streak" in this series? He of the .321 season average, 48 homers, 130 RBIs? He does what A Fraud does best. Nothing. No, worse than nothing. He hits into a double play, wiping Jeter off the board too.

David Ortiz is the American League MVP, and A-Rod is just a fraud.

Well, there will be no gloating at the family picnic year, by either me or my Yankee-loving relatives.

Sue Judy Miller: Criminals Shouldn't Profit

This letter was published in the Elkhart Truth (Indiana):

Jailed reporter shouldn't profit

Judy Miller, the New York Times reporter who spent 85 days in jail for criminal contempt for failing to provide the name of a source who divulged the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame, has reportedly inked a $1.2 million book deal.

Many incidents revolving this case cause an eyebrow to raise.

First, the "leak" is attributed to Mr. Bush's senior political strategist, Karl Rove. Now the focus has shifted to I. Lewis Libby, Mr. Cheney's chief of staff. Hmmm, is Mr. Libby simply an administrative scapegoat (and hence, sacrificial) to protect Mr. Rove?

Additionally, Ms. Miller used unreliable and gullible reporting practices when she announced that Iraq was developing WMDs. She was then reckless (some would say criminal) in reporting the name of an active CIA operative. And now she is reportedly going to profit from her story.

I believe the state of New York needs to sue Ms. Miller under the Son of Sam laws, which prohibit criminals from profiting from their criminal actions.

Or maybe she can come up with yet another scapegoat to take the fall.



I second that emotion.

Need a Job? Call Cronies-R-Us



Will The Traitors Go Frogmarching In, Hurrah, Hurrah?

From thinkprogress:

Kristol: “One or More Indictments in the Next Three Weeks”

Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol on Fox News Sunday:

Criminal defense lawyers I’ve spoken to who are friendly to the administration are very worried that there will be one or more indictments in the next three weeks of senior administration officials, just looking at what Fitzgerald is doing and taking him at his word, you know, being a serious prosecutor here. And I think it’s going to be bad for the Bush administration.

Someone like Bill Kristol doesn’t get information like this by accident. It’s being fed to him so, if there is an indictment, he can prepare the base. Towards the end of the segment, Kristol got started, saying, “I hate the criminalization of politics.”

The best way to stop the criminalization of politics is to get the criminals out of politics.

I heard Jeffrey Toobin on CNN last week say that the only person who would spend time in jail is Judy Miller. That's before Judy, Judy, Judy found her other notebook, with the notes from her June conversation with Scooter.

Funniest line of the week in Blogtopia? Jane Hamsher of firedoglake:

Of all the amazing discoveries. She's the fucking Indiana Jones of dust bunnies, that one.

Recruiting, Bush Administration Style

Family feels misled by recruiter
Kingston student to be sent to Iraq

The recruiter lied to the kid and his parents. He could finish school and wouldn't be called up for that four period.

We'll do anything for sausage for the Iraq machine.

Now here's a great name for a liar: Sergeant Jason M. Whipkey

News You Won't Hear On MSNBCNNCNBCFOXNN Today

From the NY Times:

Names of the Dead

Published: October 10, 2005

The Department of Defense has identified 1,946 American service members who have died since the start of the Iraq war. It confirmed the deaths of the following Americans on Saturday:

CABINO, Shayne M., 19, Lance Cpl., Marines; Canton, Mass.; Second Marine Division, Second Marine Expeditionary Force.

CHERAVA, Nicholas O., 21, Cpl.; Ontonagon, Mich.; Second Marine Division, Second Marine Expeditionary Force.

FRYE, Jason L., 19, Pfc.; Landisburg, Pa.; Second Marine Division, Second Marine Expeditionary Force.

KENNY, Patrick B., 20, Lance Cpl., Marines; Pittsburgh; Second Marine Division, Second Marine Expeditionary Force.

McVICKER, Daniel M., 20, Lance Cpl., Marines; Alliance, Ohio; Second Marine Division, Second Marine Expeditionary Force.

RAINES, Carl L. II, 20, Lance Cpl., Marines; Coffee, Ala.; Second Marine Division, Second Marine Expeditionary Force.

If Only New Orleans Had Been in Pakistan

Showing Speed and Loyalty, Bush Mobilizes Aid to Pakistan

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Because P.R. Is All They Do

From The Emperor Has No Clothes Dept.;

Bush Works to Reassure G.O.P. Over Nominee for Supreme Court

Behind the scenes, Republican allies of the White House said they were trying to put together a public relations strategy to combat the mounting criticism over the Miers nomination.

You were thinking she would rise or fall on her merits? That's funny. She has no merits.

Republican Generosity

That's an oxymoron.

Earthquake death toll crosses 40,000

Relief effort under way for quake victims

United States

Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, said the United States will provide $100,000 in emergency relief funds from the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Even less than the $400,000 the US initially offered after the tsunami struck last year.

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