Saturday, November 19, 2005

There's Only One Roy Keane-O

Farewell to Manchester United captain Roy Keane, unceremoniously dumped by ManU yesterday.

The Guardian:

Roy Keane and Alex Ferguson: 1993-2005

Ushered out of the door by the most ruthless manager in the business [Sir Alex Ferguson], Keane's exit could hardly have been less dignified for a man who has graced the Old Trafford pitch for the last 12 years.

Roy of the rage can look back at Old Trafford in anger - and with pride

The Old Trafford dressing room will be quieter without him, dangerously so. United were unbeaten on all six of his appearances this season. The affluence of the squad may drift into a tolerance of the defeats he loathed. It will be a tamer club without him and almost certainly a less successful one.

I was privileged to attend a Man U game last month & had the pleasure of spotting the Man U captain glowering at the team from the Director's Box. I did get to see him play a few times on the Man U tours of the US and he was something. Even in his 30s he played with ferocity.

I wonder how soon Sir Alex will let some other player wear #16? And who will be captain? Scholes doesn't really have the personality for the role. Part of Keane's fury with the team is that no one has stepped up to lead in his absence. Well, now they'll have their chance.

Friday, November 18, 2005

"It is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion."

If only Nixon could go to China, only a man like John Murtha could lead the Democratic revolt against the Iraq war.

The Honorable John P. Murtha
War in Iraq

Dick Cheney is a Virus on the US Operating System

I've spent the day figuring out why my computer kept knocking me off the internet. The wonderful world of viruses. An hour on the phone with Verizon, then installing & running ad-aware seem to have solved the problem.

And Big Time? He's everywhere. Here are the Dick Cheney highlights of the day, from the ridiculous to the far too real.

The Dick Cheney Random Fact Generator, from Rob the Dirty Liberal (love that name). Hilarious. I've added a few, although not the scatological ones. There are no pictures, but language-wise, this is not work-safe. Here's the first one on the list; as of this posting, there are over 200 random facts for your laughing pleasure.

1. One time, Dick Cheney stabbed a delivery boy just for forgetting his egg rolls.

Great Dick Cheney/1984 pic, from Jesus General: Quotations from the Deputy Leader

AP quotes John Murtha (D-Pa.) letting Cheney have it:

Vice President Dick Cheney jumped into the fray Wednesday by assailing Democrats who contend the Bush administration manipulated intelligence on Iraq, calling their criticism "one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges ever aired in this city."

Murtha, a Marine intelligence officer in Vietnam, angrily shot back at Cheney: "I like guys who've never been there that criticize us who've been there. I like that. I like guys who got five deferments and never been there and send people to war, and then don't like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done."

Ex-CIA chief: Cheney 'VP for torture'

LONDON, England -- Former CIA director Stansfield Turner has labeled Dick Cheney a "vice president for torture."

In an interview with Britain's ITV news Thursday, Turner said the U.S. vice president was damaging America's reputation by overseeing torture policies of possible terrorist suspects, the UK's Press Association reported.

"I'm embarrassed the United States has a vice president for torture," Turner said, according to ITV's Web site. "He condones torture, what else is he?"

Turner said he did not believe U.S. President George W. Bush's statements that the United States does not use torture.

Turner ran the Central Intelligence Agency from 1977 to 1981 under former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.

"We have crossed the line into dangerous territory," PA quoted Turner as saying. "I think it is just reprehensible."

Referring to Cheney, Turner said: "I just don't understand how a man in that position can take such a stance."

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Long Live the Corporate Media

Marty Kaplan, Huffington Post:

Journalism: R.I.P.

Mainstream journalism has cancer. The diagnosis – stage three, terminal – was made this week, by anyone with eyes to see.


The worst – and this is what pushed me over the edge – is the disgraceful mischaracterization of the impact of the Woodward revelation on Fitzgerald’s case against Libby. With the exception of Keith Olberman, everyone is parroting Libby’s lawyer’s lie that this disproves Fitzgerald’s assertion that Libby was the first person in the Administration to leak Valerie Plame’s name. Fitzgerald, of course, didn’t say that. He said that Libby was “the first government official known to have told a reporter.” This is not a small distinction; it is not quibbling about words. If Woodward hadn’t decided that the World-According-to-Bob rules meant that he could keep his mouth shut while the Grand Jury was still empaneled, then Fitzgerald would have been able to add the leak to Woodward to his timetable. (And if Libby hadn’t thrown sand in Fitzgerald’s eyes, the investigation could have gone deeper.)

And yet now the Washington Post, ABC News, CNN, NBC and the AP have spread the lie, and soon every lazy stenographer on the planet posing as a journalist will gladly cut and paste this Republican propaganda into their narrative of the most troubling chapter in modern American history. What does it say about the news profession when most of the voices determined to ensure accuracy are onliners working without benefit of staffs below them, editors above them, or brand-name seals of approval from the priesthood?

Or, as I like to say, Journalism is Dead. Long Live the Corporate Media.


Just took my first wheel throwing class at the Worcester Craft Center. It seemed so simple when my teacher demonstrated. Then I got up there and couldn't remember which part of which hand was supposed to push or pull. Centering the clay is much more difficult than it looks. Great fun, though. I returned home covered with mud.

I am learning to throw while standing up. This is unusual. Most people learn on a low wheel while sitting on a small stool. You have to bend forward a little as you work. Many older throwers end up with significant back injuries and back surgeries. I read some articles this summer by a potter named John Glick. He would throw for 8 to 10 hours a day when he was young. I read an article of his from the 1970s where he described the dinnerware sets he made, one of which was purchased by Vice President Walter Mondale. Then I read an article he wrote in the late 1990s where he described learning to throw standing up after having disc surgery on his back. He made his own wheel by building a stand for his old one. I had been wary of the seated throwing position before reading his articles, and they cemented my desire to learn the modern way.

My teacher is Kristin Keiffer. She makes beautiful elegant ware, through a combination of throwing and handbuilding. She throws standing up, and told me she apprenticed with John Glick for a year! Small world. That's when she started to throw standing.

Kristin Keiffer Tea Set

John Glick dinnerware

Throwing is very different than handbuilding. You get and keep the clay so wet. I did make one small pot that wasn't horrible. I didn't have high expectations for my first day so was pleased that I made one thrown pot. There are two women in my class who took their first class last session. They were both amazed that I made a pot worth keeping!

November 17, 2005: 34 Percent

From the Wall Street Journal, via Suburban Guerrilla, Bush's approval rating has sunk to 34 percent.


January 12th is looking better and better!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Another Assistant to the President Commits Treason

Raw Story is reporting tonight that Bob Woodward's source was Stephen Hadley. In June of 2003, Hadley, like I. Lewis Libby, was an Assistant to the President of the United States.

If Bush wasn't such a fucking moron, wouldn't you think he gave the orders to out Plame?

11:15 p.m. update: Dependable Renegade's pics of Hadley, now and then.

There Was a Time I Would Have Dismissed This Story as Far Fetched...

That was before the reign of King George the Torturer.

Iraqis Say Troops Caged Them With Lions

WASHINGTON - Two Iraqi businessmen, who were imprisoned by U.S. forces in Iraq, claimed Monday that American soldiers threw them into a cage of lions in a Baghdad palace, as part of a terrifying interrogation in 2003.

The Woodward Doth Protest Too Much, Methinks*

Go read Atrios, he's busy printing all of Bob Woodward's interviews on the Plame investigation.

*apologies to Shakespeare.

The Curse

Honor can't erase playoff choke image

The Red Sox had the Curse of the Bambino; the Yankees have the Curse of Getting A-Rod.

Not Really News: Oil Company Execs Caught Lying [Again!]

Document Says Oil Chiefs Met With Cheney Task Force

The document, obtained this week by The Washington Post, shows that officials from Exxon Mobil Corp., Conoco (before its merger with Phillips), Shell Oil Co. and BP America Inc. met in the White House complex with the Cheney aides who were developing a national energy policy, parts of which became law and parts of which are still being debated.

In a joint hearing last week of the Senate Energy and Commerce committees, the chief executives of Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and ConocoPhillips said their firms did not participate in the 2001 task force. The president of Shell Oil said his company did not participate "to my knowledge," and the chief of BP America Inc. said he did not know.

Perhaps this is why Big Oil's good friend Senator Ted Stevens, Republican of Alaska, refused Democratic requests to swear in the witnesses. However, their false statements can still be prosecuted:

The executives were not under oath when they testified, so they are not vulnerable to charges of perjury; committee Democrats had protested the decision by Commerce Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) not to swear in the executives. But a person can be fined or imprisoned for up to five years for making "any materially false, fictitious or fraudulent statement or representation" to Congress

Bob Woodward: Tool of the Bush Administration

Woodward Was Told of Plame More Than Two Years Ago

Washington Post Assistant Managing Editor Bob Woodward testified under oath Monday in the CIA leak case that a senior administration official told him about CIA operative Valerie Plame and her position at the agency nearly a month before her identity was disclosed.

In a more than two-hour deposition, Woodward told Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald that the official casually told him in mid-June 2003 that Plame worked as a CIA analyst on weapons of mass destruction, and that he did not believe the information to be classified or sensitive, according to a statement Woodward released yesterday.

Fitzgerald interviewed Woodward about the previously undisclosed conversation after the official alerted the prosecutor to it on Nov. 3 -- one week after Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, was indicted in the investigation.

Citing a confidentiality agreement in which the source freed Woodward to testify but would not allow him to discuss their conversations publicly, Woodward and Post editors refused to disclose the official's name or provide crucial details about the testimony. Woodward did not share the information with Washington Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. until last month, and the only Post reporter whom Woodward said he remembers telling in the summer of 2003 does not recall the conversation taking place.


Woodward never mentioned this contact -- which was at the center of a criminal investigation and a high-stakes First Amendment legal battle between the prosecutor and two news organizations -- to his supervisors until last month
. Downie said in an interview yesterday that Woodward told him about the contact to alert him to a possible story. He declined to say whether he was upset that Woodward withheld the information from him.

This is journalism? Telling the public the whole story? Woodward has been commenting on this case for over two years without revealing he is part of it.

"When the story comes out, I'm quite confident we're going to find out that it started kind of as gossip, as chatter," he told CNN's Larry King.

Woodward also said in interviews this summer and fall that the damage done by Plame's name being revealed in the media was "quite minimal."

"When I think all of the facts come out in this case, it's going to be laughable because the consequences are not that great," he told National Public Radio this summer.

He's also been flat-out lying. This is what he said on October 27th on Larry King Live, quoted in this entry on the Huffington Post:

They did a damage assessment within the CIA, looking at what this did that Joe Wilson's wife was outed. And turned out it was quite minimal damage. They did not have to pull anyone out undercover abroad. They didn't have to resettle anyone. There was no physical danger of any kind and there was just some embarrassment.

There was no CIA damage assessment

In an October 29 article by staff writer Dafna Linzer, headlined "CIA Yet to Assess Harm From Plame's Exposure," the Post reported that the CIA "has not conducted a formal damage assessment, as is routinely done in cases of espionage and after any legal proceedings have been exhausted."

Bob Woodward. He thought Watergate would provide his epitaph. Instead, I will always think of him as a pathetic little tool of the Bush Administration.

How the mighty have fallen.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Republicans to FDNY: Drop Dead

'Promise Broken': N.Y. to Lose 9/11 Aid

WASHINGTON - Congressional budget negotiators have decided to take back $125 million in Sept. 11 aid from New York, which had fought to keep the money to treat sick and injured ground zero workers, lawmakers said Tuesday.

New York officials had sought for months to hold onto the funding, originally meant to cover increased worker compensation costs stemming from the 2001 terror attacks.

But a massive labor and health spending bill moving fitfully through House-Senate negotiations would take back that funding, lawmakers said.


The tug-of-war over the $125 million began earlier this year when the White House proposed taking the money back because the state had not yet spent it.

New York protested, saying the money was part of the $20 billion pledged by
President Bush to help rebuild after the Sept. 11 attacks. Health advocates said the money is needed to treat current and future illnesses among ground zero workers.

The Senate voted last month to let New York keep the $125 million, but the House made no such move. House and Senate budget negotiators then decided to take the money back, lawmakers and aides said.

Top New York fire officials recently lobbied Congress to keep the funding. Fire and police officials say they worry that many people will develop long-term lung and mental health problems from their time working on the burning pile of toxic debris at ground zero and they want to use the money to help them.

This is especially galling because the EPA lied to New Yorkers and worst of all to the workers who worked to clean up the World Trade Center site about the toxic quality of the air at Ground Zero. Think of this every time you hear President Dumbass say 9/11 changed everything, over and over. He lies. Constantly, reflexively, as though he were breathing. If only we had saved canisters of Ground Zero air for him.

Monday, November 14, 2005

When Will Bush Hit 30?

As in 30% approval?

From Talking Points Memo, Bush's last 9 polls show an approval high of 39% (ABC/Washington Post, 10/30 to 11/2/05) and a low of 35 (CBS 10/30 - 11/1/05).

I say he hits 30 on January 12, 2005. I'm going to be in New York City that day, and I look forward to seeing the big 3-0 on the ticker in Times Square.

Leave your predictions in comments. Closest wins a pot!

Pretty Loser Wins AL MVP

Alex Rodriguez Wins AL MVP Award

A-Rod is the Anna Kournikova, the Pavel Bure, of baseball: pretty loser. He's got the numbers, all right, if only you don't look at one crucial component: his numbers in the clutch. Clutch (close-and-late) hits, a statistic in which David Ortiz lead the majors; A-Fraud wasn't even in the top 50.

Stats Inc. describes close-and-late situations as ones that occur from the seventh inning on, with the batting team ahead by a run or tied or the tying run on base, at bat or on deck. Ortiz leads the majors with 33 close-and-late RBIs. Rodriguez is not even in the top 50.

Need I remind you that David Ortiz has a World Series ring, and Slappy McBluelips has none?

This award is a travesty. David Ortiz is the true MVP.

I wonder if the repulsive one, the CHB, voted for David Ortiz?