Thursday, November 10, 2005

I'm With The Champ On This One

Bush IS crazy.

At the White House, Prizes for 14 Champs
Medal of Freedom Ceremony Shows Ali as Fast as Ever

Aretha Franklin was teary-eyed, Carol Burnett was teasing, Alan Greenspan was reliably taciturn, and "The Greatest of All Time" stole the show when President Bush bestowed the Medal of Freedom on them and 10 others in a White House ceremony yesterday.

Bush, who appeared almost playful, fastened the heavy medal around Muhammad Ali's neck and whispered something in the heavyweight champion's ear. Then, as if to say "bring it on," the president put up his dukes in a mock challenge. Ali, 63, who has Parkinson's disease and moves slowly, looked the president in the eye -- and, finger to head, did the "crazy" twirl for a couple of seconds.

The room of about 200, including Cabinet secretaries, tittered with laughter. Ali, who was then escorted back to his chair, made the twirl again while sitting down. And the president looked visibly taken aback, laughing nervously.

Was Ali making a political statement? In his remarks about the fighter, Bush mentioned the Olympic gold medal, the grit, "the Ali shuffle, the lightning jabs . . . the sheer guts and determination he brought to every fight." He did not mention Ali's very public opposition to the Vietnam War, which led the prizefighter to lose his boxing license for three years when he refused to serve in the Army.

Or was the boxing legend living up to another trait the president noted, his penchant for psyching out the challenger?

The Nine Million Dollar Meeting

Lobbyist Sought $9 Million to Set Bush Meeting

WASHINGTON, Nov. 9 - The lobbyist Jack Abramoff asked for $9 million in 2003 from the president of a West African nation to arrange a meeting with President Bush and directed his fees to a Maryland company now under federal scrutiny, according to newly disclosed documents.

The African leader, President Omar Bongo of Gabon, met with President Bush in the Oval Office on May 26, 2004, 10 months after Mr. Abramoff made the offer. There has been no evidence in the public record that Mr. Abramoff had any role in organizing the meeting or that he received any money or had a signed contract with Gabon.

Jeez, if they charged this much to meet with Bush, what would it cost to meet Cheney?

And....very interesting....what sworn Bushco enemy was the former Ambassador to Gabon? Why, Joseph Wilson, that's who. Maybe that's why Bush the Dumber took the meeting. Looking for more dirt.

We Got Rid of Saddam and Brought the Iraqis....Napalm

From Altercation, via booman tribune:

US Army Admits Use of White Phosphorus as Weapon

That's right. Not from Al Jazheera, or Al Arabiya, but the US fucking Army, in their very own publication, from the (WARNING: pdf file) March edition of Field Artillery Magazine in an article entitled "The Fight for Fallujah":

"WP [i.e., white phosphorus rounds] proved to be an effective and versatile munition. We used it for screening missions at two breeches and, later in the fight, as a potent psychological weapon against the insurgents in trench lines and spider holes when we could not get effects on them with HE. We fired 'shake and bake' missions at the insurgents, using WP to flush them out and HE to take them out."

In other words the claim by the US Government that White Phosphorus was used only for illumination at Fallujah had been pre-emptively debunked by the Army. Indeed, the article goes on to make clear that soldiers would have liked to have saved more WP rounds to use for "lethal missions."

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Maybe If We Play "Hotel California"* Over and Over

Would Theo change his mind & return to the Red Sox? Rectifying the biggest mistake the Sawx have made since that whole Bambino thing? A girl can dream, can't she?

Peter Gammons, reporting for ESPN: Bowden, Beattie to interview for Red Sox GM post

Some in the ownership group hold out hope that Epstein can resolve his differences with Lucchino and return as the GM. Contrary to some reports, Lucchino has not rejected that idea, and wants Epstein back, Gammons reported.

Michael Silverman, Boston Herald: Next Sox GM: Epstein? Rumors persist door’s still open

Multiple Red Sox personnel, several prominently placed in the organization, have quietly been trying to talk Epstein into rejoining the ballclub he left on Halloween when he rejected a three-year, $4.5 million offer. Retaining credibility for Epstein in case he changes his mind remains a significant hurdle to overcome, plus a multitude of organizational issues would have to be resolved.

He Who Must Not Be Named, Boston Globe: Time to kiss and make up
Sox search should look back at Epstein

But we haven't talked much about the obvious choice to fill the position. He's young, talented, experienced, local, and has a World Series ring in his dresser drawer. He was born and raised to be general manager of the Boston Red Sox and he's currently not employed.

The Red Sox should offer the job to Brookline native Theo Epstein.

This is not as stupid as it sounds. Think about it for a moment. There was a lot of emotion involved in young Theo's decision last week. He never really told us why he's not coming back, but he did say he could no longer put his heart and soul into the business of running the Red Sox.

Bet he's having second thoughts about that decision right about now. Bet he'd listen if the Sox reached out.

"Welcome to the Hotel California....
You can check out any time you like
But you can never leave"

12:30 p.m. update: The Soxaholix sez it ain't gonna happen.

Clean Sweep

Democrats and right-thinkers won almost everything yesterday.

Jon Corzine (D) is the new governor of New Jersey, by a "surprisingly large margin" of 9 points.

Tim Kaine (D) is the new governor of Virginia, 52-46.

The Democratic mayor of St. Paul, Minnesota, who endorsed Bush in 2004? He lost to a real Democrat, Chris Coleman, 69-31.

Ah-hold's initiatives were soundly defeated in California. Every one of them.

The christ-o-fascists on the Dover, Pennsylvania school board who added intelligent design to the science curriculum? Replaced by 8 Democrats. Every incumbent lost. (Scientific American chortles, "It's Over in Dover")

Maine rejected a referendum that would have repealed the state's new anti-gay discrimination law.

Only in Tex-ass did a Republican-supported, anti-gay amendment win. And who cares about Tex-ass? Future retirement home of the disgraced, hopefully impeached Bush the Dumber.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Send Scooter 30 Pieces of Silver

Libby Establishes a Fund to Help Pay Legal Bills

I'm going to take a sheet of silver wrapping paper & cut out 30 pieces of silver & send them in an envelope for the Scoot.

Just to let him know I care, I'll include a little Bible quote:

"What does it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his own soul?" (Luke 9:25)

Too True

Check out these Faux News headlines from yore:

If Fox News Had Been Around Throughout History

Just Another Sacred Heterosexual Marriage in Kansas

Owners Convicted in Kan. Enslavement Trial

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - The married owners of a group home for the mentally ill were convicted Monday of enslaving its residents, forcing them to work naked and perform sex acts, and illegally billing their families and the federal government for therapy.

Arlan Kaufman, 69, and his wife, Linda, 62, were convicted of 30 federal charges, including health care fraud, Medicare fraud, forced labor and holding clients in involuntary servitude at the Kaufman House Residential Treatment Center. Arlan Kaufman also was found guilty of making a false representation.


Federal prosecutors contended the Kaufmans controlled the lives of the mentally ill residents, including forcing them to work on their farm and deciding who could wear clothes.

The couple was accused of forcing residents to masturbate, fondle each other and shave each other's genitals - activities Arlan Kaufman videotaped.

The Kaufmans claimed that nude therapy sessions and other treatment methods had therapeutic value for schizophrenic patients, and that having residents act out problem behavior helped them avoid repeating it. Arlan Kaufman insisted at trial that the residents' behavior was voluntary.

And these people are afraid of gay marriage?

Bush's Latin American Education Continues

Guess who said "Wow! Brazil is big."

Bush’s vision for Latin America
He calls for strong democracies in response to leftists

At one point, [Brazilian President] da Silva even exhibited a map of his country, which is larger than the continental United States. "Wow! Brazil is big," [Brazilian foreign minister] Amorim quoted the U.S. president as responding.

(tip o' the cap to skippythebushkangaroo)

President Dumbass Speaks

I couldn't let this little press conference snippet from Bush's trip to the Central American summit go unnoticed. From

President's Remarks to the Travel Pool at Summit of the Americas in Argentina

Q Mr. President, you're likely to cross paths with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez at this summit. How should Americans think about this President, who has said many hostile things about you and your administration? Do you think of him as another Castro? And if you see him this afternoon, do you have any words for him?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I will, of course, be polite. That's what the American people expect their President to do, is to be a polite person. And I will -- if I run across him, I will do just that.

Polite? What, is he regressing to grade school? First thing that jumped into his little head? This is the best he can do to avoid the question? Sad.

My attitude toward any leader -- toward leaders, and I judge leaders based upon their willingness to protect institutions that will -- for a viable democratic society.

Is there a coherent sentence, or thought, in the future of this answer?

And to the extent that any leader undermines the free press, we will speak out. To the extent that any leader makes it difficult to worship freely, we will make our positions known. To the extent that the judiciary is not an independent organization -- in other words, to the extent that there's not proper checks and balances, we will express our positions.

Undermines the free press? You mean like having your own Assistant (Libby was Assistant to the President, as well as Cheney's Chief of Staff) use the press to play politics with national security? Difficult to worship freely? Like siccing the IRS on a liberal church for opposing your illegal and immoral war? The judiciary is not independent? Like bypassing your judiciary completely for shadowy secret trials? Oh yeah, we'll speak out. Do as we say, not as we do.

And there's ways to do so. We can do so through our embassies, we can do so in forums -- not necessarily singling out a particular country or person, but talking on the positive

Talking on the positive? A new circumlocution from our President Malaprop...

about how important it is to have checks and balances in society, about how important it is to have these institutions so that a single person cannot become the ruler of all people.

Oh, wish that it were so...

I will remind people today at this important summit that -- as we talk about poverty and minority rights, which is of concern to many countries here, that one -- such concerns are our concerns, and that if you're interested in minority rights, the best way to allow minorities to have rights is in a democratic society, where the people actually make the decisions for government.

And so it's a -- I think this is a good forum and a good opportunity to express -- for me to express our country's values. But they're not American values, I keep telling you, these are universal values that are true. That's why my meeting with President Kirchner was -- one of the reasons it was so positive is because Argentina shares the same values that America shares.

Ah, Argentina, bastion of liberal values. The country that took in the Nazi war criminals and barred Jews from immigrating after the Second World War, the country of the the dirty war, the military junta, torture and death. Or maybe that's the value he thinks we share? Life is so simple when you are an incurious man who knows nothing of history!

They've been through some difficult experiences

Oh, so that's what you call decades of repression and murder...

and making sure that those values are rooted in their societies. Of course I've reminded others, we went through difficult experiences in the past. And we had a Constitution that said everybody is free, but they weren't.

And that was the original intent of the Constitution, no? For you originalists out there...

And so it's a -- so what I'll search for in the world, as I think about world leaders, is that commitment, firm commitment to values and institutions that make democracy viable.

World leaders with firm commitment to democratic values, like the Saudis and the Pakistanis?

Thank you all very much, thanks.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Dick Cheney's Chain of Disaster

As usual, James Carroll says it much better than I could:

Deconstructing Cheney

from his opening line:

THE INDICTMENT of the vice president's chief of staff for perjury and obstruction of justice is an occasion to consider just how damaging the long public career of Richard Cheney has been to the United States.

to his final, damning conclusion:

Iraq, therefore (including the prewar deceit for which Scooter Libby takes the fall), is simply the last link in the chain of disaster which is the public career of Richard Cheney.

Read the whole thing; he nails it.

Monday, Monday

Why don't she write? Just not inspired this weekend. Sometimes the news gets me down.

How is it possible that a pure evil character like Dick Cheney has been Vice President of this country for 5 years? Not surprising that the man who opposed releasing Nelson Mandela from a South African prison has been the main proponent of Bushco's torture policy. If Alberto Gonzales is Torture Guy, Dick Cheney is Big Time Torture Guy. And without any shame or remorse, he's still advocating to exempt himself and the CIA from US laws banning torture.

And what stalwart defender of freedom has staked out a public position opposing Big Time? Which capital D Democrat leads the anti-torture charge? None that comes to mind. Instead, the politician who is taking on Cheney on torture is tortured POW John McCain. Who's also cozying up to Jerry Falwell this week. Like I said, it's enough to depress an idealistic liberal.

It's a beautiful day. I'm going for a walk.