Saturday, March 18, 2006

War Pimps Remembered

From Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, some of the dumb things the media told us about what a great idea the Iraq war was, and how well it was going:

"The Final Word Is Hooray!"
Remembering the Iraq War's Pollyanna pundits

These are the grossest, tributes to Smirky McFlightsuit:

Mission Accomplished?

"The war winds down, politics heats up.... Picture perfect. Part Spider-Man, part Tom Cruise, part Ronald Reagan. The president seizes the moment on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific."
(PBS's Gwen Ifill, 5/2/03, on George W. Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech)

"We're proud of our president. Americans love having a guy as president, a guy who has a little swagger, who's physical, who's not a complicated guy like Clinton or even like Dukakis or Mondale, all those guys, McGovern. They want a guy who's president. Women like a guy who's president. Check it out. The women like this war. I think we like having a hero as our president. It's simple. We're not like the Brits."
(MSNBC's Chris Matthews, 5/1/03)

"He looked like an alternatively commander in chief, rock star, movie star, and one of the guys."
(CNN's Lou Dobbs, on Bush's 'Mission Accomplished' speech, 5/1/03)

ANWR Drilling Passes Supine Senate

Republicans in the Senate aren't too worried about supporting President 33%, because they just snuck ANWR drilling legislation into a budget bill. Sneaky and environmentally insane, all in one fell swoop:

WaPo: Senate panel to OK ANWR drilling bill by mid-May

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will approve legislation by mid-May to open Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, according to the panel's chairman.

The U.S. Senate late on Thursday approved in a close 51-49 vote a $2.8 trillion budget bill that calls for the government to raise $6 billion over 10 years in leasing fees from allowing oil companies to drill in ANWR. The revenue would be split between the federal government and the state of Alaska.


Republican leaders, with White House support, used budget legislation to give oil companies access to the refuge, because budget bills can't be filibustered under Senate rules.

Small ray of hope, the House hasn't voted on this yet, and some Republican House members may oppose. They're all a little more worried about supporting President 33%, because they're all up for re-election in November:

The House of Representatives has yet to vote on its budget legislation. But two dozen Republican House lawmakers have said they oppose putting ANWR drilling language in the budget bill.

Corporate Media Catching on to Operation Photo Ops

Who'da thunk it? The latest, widely reported offensive was just a photo op. And the corporate media may have figured it out after the fact, but it's a start: On Scene: How Operation Swarmer Fizzled
Not a shot was fired, or a leader nabbed, in a major offensive that failed to live up to its advance billing

Four Black Hawk helicopters landed in a wheat field and dropped off a television crew, three photographers, three print reporters and three Iraqi government officials right into the middle of Operation Swarmer. Iraqi soldiers in newly painted humvees, green and red Iraqi flags stenciled on the tailgates, had just finished searching the farm populated by a half-dozen skinny cows and a woman kneading freshly risen dough and slapping it to the walls of a mud oven.

The press, flown in from Baghdad to this agricultural gridiron northeast of Samarra, huddled around the Iraqi officials and U.S. Army commanders who explained that the "largest air assault since 2003" in Iraq using over 50 helicopters to put 1500 Iraqi and U.S. troops on the ground had netted 48 suspected insurgents, 17 of which had already been cleared and released. The area, explained the officials, has long been suspected of being used as a base for insurgents operating in and around Samarra, the city north of Baghdad where the bombing of a sacred shrine recently sparked a wave of sectarian violence.

But contrary to what many many television networks erroneously reported, the operation was by no means the largest use of airpower since the start of the war. ("Air Assault" is a military term that refers specifically to transporting troops into an area.) In fact, there were no airstrikes and no leading insurgents were nabbed in an operation that some skeptical military analysts described as little more than a photo op. What’s more, there were no shots fired at all and the units had met no resistance, said the U.S. and Iraqi commanders.

St. Patrick's Day Joke Round-Up, Blogtopia Edition

booman tribune


dependable renegade

Friday, March 17, 2006

Random Sports Thoughts

Who stole Rick Barry's voice, and implanted it in Jim Spanarkel?

When did Giants running back Tiki Barber become a right wing F-word Faux News anchor? Ewwww.
Why doesn't ESPN realize that to build the audience for a sport, they have to cover it? ESPN has exclusive rights to the US national soccer teams, men's and women's, yet they failed to cover the US women in the Algarve Cup. We lost to Germany on penalties, 4-3. ESPN didn't even put the scores on the ticker. Idiots.

And why doesn't ESPN ever have soccer on ESPN classic? Where's Liverpool defeats AC Milan, last year's Champions League final? The 2002 World Cup games? Boy would I love to watch US-Germany again, or US-Portugal. Don't they want to build an audience for this summer's World Cup?

WaPo Presstitute VandeHei Rewrites History

Did you know that it was Congressional Republicans who killed Bush's crazy privatize social security plan?

That's what Presstitute Jim VandeHei says in today's Washington Post:

GOP Irritation At Bush Was Long Brewing

So when Bush sprang the Social Security plan on them, many Republicans balked. Eventually, congressional Republicans revolted and killed what Bush had trumpeted as the top domestic priority of his second term. Another common complaint about the White House is that it asked lawmakers to take politically risky votes and did not bother to provide cover when Democrats started attacking.

Here in the reality-based community, we know that it was the Democrats, and unrelenting pressure from liberals, and the liberal blogs, Joshua Micah Marshall of TalkingPointsMemo leading the charge, that killed Social Security privatization. But it makes a good phony point in the Congressional Rethugs feeble attempts to distance themselves from their incompetent idiot liar leader before the midterm elections in November. They killed his Social Security plan! He hasn't been leading them around by their petards since 2000. See, they all have functioning vertebrae!

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

'Why Does Bush Act So Macho?'

I saw this on Blue Gal:

The Incompetence, The Corruption, The Cronyism: March 17, 2006 edition

Wonder why the number one word Americans associate with George W. Bush is 'incompetent'? Here's why:

The Incompetence:

Security? Bushco don't give no stinkin' security.

TSA is a joke. Airport security is a joke. Have you been to an airport lately? You have to take your shoes off still (so stupid), but watch the screeners chatting with each other, barely paying attention to the passengers passing through.

Airline screeners fail government bomb tests
21 airports nationwide don’t detect bomb-making materials

WASHINGTON - Imagine an explosion strong enough to blow a car's trunk apart, caused by a bomb inside a passenger plane. Government sources tell NBC News that federal investigators recently were able to carry materials needed to make a similar homemade bomb through security screening at 21 airports.

In all 21 airports tested, no machine, no swab, no screener anywhere stopped the bomb materials from getting through. Even when investigators deliberately triggered extra screening of bags, no one discovered the materials.

NBC News briefed former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean, chairman of the 9/11 commission, on the results.

"I'm appalled," he said. "I'm dismayed and, yes, to a degree, it does surprise me. Because I thought the Department of Homeland Security was making some progress on this, and evidently they're not."


NBC News asked a bomb technician to gather the same materials and assemble an explosive device to determine its power. The materials for the bomb that exploded a car's trunk fit in the palm of one hand. NBC News showed the results to Leo West, a former FBI bomb expert.

"Potentially, an explosion of that type could lead to the destruction of the aircraft," said West.

Port security? Not on the Republican agenda:

ThinkProgress: Right-Wing Blocks Funding For Port Security, Disaster Preparedness

Moments ago, the House of Representatives narrowly defeated an amendment proposed by Rep. Martin Sabo (D-MN) that would have provided $1.25 billion in desperately needed funding for port security and disaster preparedness. The Sabo amendment included:

– $300 million to enable U.S. customs agents to inspect high-risk containers at all 140 overseas ports that ship directly to the United States. Current funding only allows U.S. customs agents to operate at 43 of these ports.

– $400 million to place radiation monitors at all U.S. ports of entry. Currently, less than half of U.S. ports have radiation monitors.

– $300 million to provide backup emergency communications equipment for the Gulf Coast.

Meanwhile, the Bush budget – which most of the members who voted against this bill will likely support – contains an increase of $1.7 billion for missile defense, a program that doesn’t even work.

The Corruption:

Idaho Senator Mike Crapo (very appropriate name) raised twice as much money from the U.S. Virgin Islands as he did from residents of Idaho last year. Can you say, "Vote for Sale"?

Crapo donations questioned

Lobbyists for the islands are trying to reduce the number of days a person must remain on the islands to be considered a resident, an issue that could have tax benefits.

Currently, under a 2004 act of Congress, individuals must spend at least half the year in the Virgin Islands to be considered a resident for tax purposes. Lobbyists would like to see that reduced to an average of 122 days per year over a three-year period.

Crapo, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, is looking into the issue.

"He's very much involved in the philosophy states should be able to determine states' business," Crapo spokeswoman Susan Wheeler told the Idaho State Journal. "And in the same vein, territories should be able to determine the tax benefits that bolster business and the economy."

And then there's recently retired General Richard Myers, who has sold his corrupt soul to Northrup Grumman:

ThinkProgress: As The Revolving Door Turns: Former Top U.S. General Cashes In With Defense Contractor

Less than 6 months ago Gen. Richard B. Myers retired as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest ranking military officer in the country. He’s quickly found alternative employment. From the Chicago Tribune’s The Swamp:

Northrop Grumman, one of the nation’s largest and best-known defense firms, announced Wednesday that Myers, an Air Force veteran and former fighter pilot, has joined its board of directors.

As one of 11 “non-employee” directors, Myers will earn $200,000 a year, according to a company spokesman. Half of that sum is paid to the company’s 12 directors in stock.

In exchange for his 200K, Myers will have to attend “eight scheduled board meetings this year, two of which are conducted by phone.

Billions of taxpayer dollars are wasted each year on unnecessary weapons systems. Meanwhile, the defense industry rewards top military brass for looking the other way.

The Cronyism:

Bush nominates fellow mountain biker, Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, to replace Gale Norton as Interior Secretary. He shares her anti-environmental views:

Kempthorne Picked for Interior
Idaho Governor Hailed by Bush, Assailed by Environmentalists

Kempthorne has been a favorite in the Bush White House for years and was considered three years ago as the likely choice for administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. He may have cemented his relationship with the president last summer when he and Bush went biking through Idaho trails together. Bush recalled that day fondly yesterday and noted that Kempthorne and his wife, Patricia, were married during a sunrise ceremony atop Idaho's Moscow Mountain.

Slate magazine, August 5, 2003 (via Suburban Guerilla):

During six years in the Senate in the 1990s, Kempthorne scored a "0" on the League of Conservation Voters' legislative scorecards every year except 1993, when Kempthorne scored 6 percent on the basis of one little-remembered vote against funding a rocket booster for the space program that environmentalists judged harmful to the environment. Knight Ridder's Seth Borenstein reported June 23 that in the two years after Kempthorne became governor of Idaho, the state increased toxic emissions by 2 percent—this during a period when the national average declined by 9 percent. The chief of staff for Idaho's Department of Environmental Quality told Borenstein that environmental inspections were at "a bare-bones minimum" aimed only at staying in compliance with a state court order.

And then there's the 28-year-old travel arranger (Travel arranger? Does that mean he was a driver?), appointed executive director of the Homeland Security Advisory Committees.

ThinkProgress: Inexperienced 28-Year-Old Bush Staffer Appointed to Critical Homeland Security Post

Hoelscher has no management experience, a review of his professional credentials shows. He came to government in 2001 as a low-level White House staffer, arranging presidential travel, according to news reports. He earned $30,000 a year, salary documents show.

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

Color US Blue

Via skippy, from delaware dem's dkos diary:

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Clint Dempsey Fighting For (or Against?) World Cup Spot

Dempsey left off U.S. roster following fight, suspension

I was sad to see this story. I hope Dempsey gets his shit together & gets back in Bruce Arena's good graces. He's young (23) and a little wild. Not necessarily a bad thing in a soccer player (see Rooney, Wayne) and I thought he was the US's best player on the field in their last two friendlies.

According to the Herald, he got into a fight with Revolution team captain Joe Franchino after Franchino fouled him. says that after Franchino body checked Dempsey, Dempsey punched him in the face. The Globe says they "grappled" on the ground, both throwing several punches, then were separated and removed from the field, then fought again after they returned. Both were bloodied, and Franchino's eye swelled shut, although X-rays were negative.

Franchino was not disciplined, which seems weird to me. It takes two to tango, and Franchino has his own reputation as a hothead. And he's the captain, for crying out loud. And Clint? Punch out the captain? Not the best move. Better not try that on Kasey Keller. He'd take you out for sure.

Hope Clint is making all the right moves, apologizing, etc., and will be on the roster (which will be named by May 15th) for Germany. Old teams don't win the World Cup. We need our youth!

Boston Globe: Revolution suspend Dempsey

Boston Herald: Revs KO Dempsey for fightin’ Revs suspend Dempsey for fighting

U.S. roster for next Wednesday's game against Germany with players' teams in parentheses:

Goalkeepers (2): Marcus Hahnemann (Reading FC, England), Kasey Keller (Borussia Moenchengladbach, Germany).

Defenders (7): Gregg Berhalter (Energie Cottbus, Germany), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96, Germany), Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City Wizards, Major League Soccer), Cory Gibbs (ADO Den Haag, Netherlands), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew, MLS), Heath Pearce (FC Nordsjælland, Denmark), Eddie Pope (Real Salt Lake, MLS).

Midfielders (6): Bobby Convey (Reading FC, England), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy, MLS), Chris Klein (Real Salt Lake, MLS), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids, MLS), Ben Olsen (D.C. United, MLS), Kerry Zavagnin (Kansas City, MLS).

Forwards (4): Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo, MLS), Eddie Johnson (Kansas City, MLS), Taylor Twellman (New England Revolution, MLS), Josh Wolff (Kansas City, MLS).

Although Landon Donovan was named to the squad, he will miss the game with a calf strain.

Canary in the Republican Mine

George W. Bush and the Republican party's reluctance to recognize global warming will be breached first by the people who will have to pay for it: The insurance industry.

From Inter Press Service, via Commondreams: States Calculate Global Warming Pricetag

WASHINGTON - The decision, taken by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, came during the same week that the world's biggest insurance broker, Marsh & McLennan, briefed its corporate clients, which include roughly 75 percent of the "Fortune 500" biggest companies, on the potential impact of global warming on their businesses.


These latest studies, as well another one by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that found that CO2 levels in the atmosphere have reached levels that have not been seen on Earth for more than a million years, have lent credence to the notion that the Earth's climate is, as NASA's director of the Goddard Institute of Space Studies, James Hansen, said last December, "nearing... a tipping point beyond which it will be impossible to avoid climate change with far-reaching undesirable consequences."

Some of those consequences are of particular concern to the insurance industry, which has been forced to pay out billions of dollars in recent years as a result of damages caused by the growing intensity in recent decades of hurricanes that are fueled by the warming waters of the Caribbean and elsewhere.

Indeed, last week's action by the state insurance commissioners came in the wake of devastating back-to-back hurricane seasons that caused a record 30 billion dollars in U.S. insured losses in 2004 and as much as 60 billion dollars in insured losses from Hurricane Katrina alone in 2005, which was also by far the costliest year in weather-related natural disasters on record, according to a recent study by the Munich Re Foundation.

Indeed, according to a December 2005 Ceres study, U.S. insurers have seen a 15-fold increase in insured losses from catastrophic weather events in the past three decades, increases that have far outstripped the growth in premiums, population and inflation over the same time period.

"It's becoming clearer that we are experiencing more frequent and more powerful weather events that pose huge challenges for the insurance industry,"
according to Tim Wager, director of Nebraska's Department of Insurance and co-chairman of the new task force set up by NAIC, which originally scheduled the initiative for approval at a meeting in New Orleans that was then cancelled due to Hurricane Katrina.

"The impacts are being felt on our coasts and in the interior U.S.," he added. "We're seeing all kinds of extreme weather in the Great Plains states, including drought, tornadoes, brushfires and severe hailstorms."

The cheerful weatherbots on the news won't say global warming, but it's why all this unusual weather is happening.

Survey Says, I Live In the Smartest State in the Nation

We're No. 50, which means we're No. 1:


#50 Massachusetts

26% approve, 71% disapprove

We beat New Jersey by 1 percentage point, because our disapproval number is higher.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

'Don't Shoot, I'm Human'

If I lived near Las Vegas, this is how I'd be celebrating St. Patrick's Day:

Press Release: Dick Cheney Hunting Vest Night Scheduled for March 17th

Bright orange hunting vests with the slogan “DON’T SHOOT, I’M HUMAN” will be given to the first 1,000 fans that attend the Las Vegas Wranglers game on Friday, March 17. The vest will also feature a Wranglers’ logo.

The Las Vegas Wranglers, a professional hockey team that has already secured an ECHL playoff spot, will play host to the Alaska Aces at the Orleans Arena at 7:05 with doors opening at 6:00 pm.

“We thought it might be fun to announce the event for Friday night’s game, but not actually hand them out until the next day,” said Wranglers vice president and COO Billy Johnson. “But that’s a subtlety in punch line that might not sit well with paying customers for Friday’s game.”

What Are the Ides of March, Anyway?

Last night my friend's son asked us what the Ides of March were, and I was stumped. "It's something to do with Shakespeare" was the best I could come up with, along with "It's what you say every year on March 15th!" So this is for Scott.

From's Astrology section:

Julius Caesar was assassinated on March 15, 44 B.C.E. []

The warning itself was made famous in Shakespeare's play on Julius Caesar, when an unidentified soothsayer tells Caesar, who is on his way to the Senate (and his death), "Beware the ides of March." Caesar replies, "He is a dreamer; let us leave him. Pass."

Caesar ignored the warning, went to the Roman Senate, and was killed.

What's an ide?

The term Ides comes from the earliest Roman calendar, which is said to have been devised by Romulus, the mythical founder of Rome. Whether it was Romulus or not, the inventor of this calendar had a penchant for complexity. The Roman calendar organized its months around three days, each of which served as a reference point for counting the other days:

* Kalends (1st day of the month)
* Nones (the 7th day in March, May, July, and October; the 5th in the other months)
* Ides (the 15th day in March, May, July, and October; the 13th in the other months)

The remaining, unnamed days of the month were identified by counting backwards from the Kalends, Nones, or the Ides. For example, March 3 would be V Nones—5 days before the Nones (the Roman method of counting days was inclusive; in other words, the Nones would be counted as one of the 5 days).

And from wikipedia, this compendium of alternate uses of the phrase "Ides of March":

Ides of March is also a novel by Thornton Wilder, describing, in a series of documents, the events leading up to the death of Julius Caesar.

"The Ides of March" is also an instrumental song by Iron Maiden from their 1981 album, Killers.

The Ides of March is also a band who performed the 1970 hit, "Vehicle."

"Ides of March" is the name of the season 4 finale of the television series Xena: Warrior Princess. The events of the episode roughly correlate with the key elements in the Shakespeare play, with Xena warning Brutus to beware the Ides of March, implying Caesar had become uncontrollably megalomaniacal.

And March 15th is also home to these holidays and observances (also from wikipedia):

# Turkey buzzards return to Hinckley, Ohio.
# International Day Against Police Brutality
# For corporations in the United States that use the calendar year as their fiscal year, the date on which the corporation must file its corporate income tax return
# National holiday in Hungary celebrating the 1848 Revolution.
# World Consumer Rights Day

Happy birthday to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Jimmy Swaggart (there's a match made in astrological heaven), Sly Stone, Ry Cooder, and Harold Baines.

Attack of the Pacifists

Noted Pacifist Mahatma Ghandi

Your federal government, using their new anti-terrorism powers to spy on....pacifists.

Maybe the grammatically challenged President thought pacifists were a threat to the Pacific Ocean?

WaPo: FBI Took Photos of Antiwar Activists in 2002

An FBI agent in Pittsburgh photographed members of an antiwar activist group in 2002, according to documents released yesterday by the American Civil Liberties Union, which said the disclosure marks the latest incident in which the FBI has monitored left-leaning groups.

An FBI report from November 2002 indicates that an agent photographed members of the Thomas Merton Center as they handed out leaflets opposing the impending war in Iraq. The report called the group a "left-wing organization advocating, among many political causes, pacifism."

Previous posts:

The Vegans Are Coming, The Vegans Are Coming (December 12, 2005)

Attack of the Vegans (January 27, 2006)

What's Cooking

Today I decided to make a Banoffee Pie. When my brother, Mom & I were in England last fall, we saw banoffee pie on the menu and couldn't figure out what it was. Our waiter patiently explained that it is a pie made out of bananas and toffee. Duh.

The toffee part of the pie is made, bizarrely enough, by boiling a can of sweetened condensed milk in water for a few hours. I never would have guessed that. And, the recipes say you store the cans after boiling indefinitely in a cupboard, so you always have the toffee ready if you want to throw one of these together at the last minute.

I'm making the reputed 'original' recipe, from the Hungry Monk restaurant in East Sussex, England: The Original Hungry Monk Banoffi Pie

Test Your Survival Skills

Via dailykos's Science Round-Up, I found Living the Scientific Life, where I took this quiz:

Extreme Survival Skills

I'll leave my results in comments.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Oscar Weiner

I cannot let the week go by without noting the most amusing moment of my vacation. While our hotel did not have televisions, the manager had an Oscar party & brought in a TV so we could all watch the Oscars. I entered the pool and finished second, although there were five tied for first, so technically I tied for 6th.

The funniest moment of the Oscars (and there were many, unintentionally funny moments) was Selma Hayak. She introduced the Oscar-nominated songs. At one point, she introduced "Oscar winner Bill Conte", who was leading the show's orchestra. Except, with her sad command of her second language, English, what she actually said was "Oscar Weiner Bill Conte".

Our host picked up on this and I was lost in hysterical giggling when he said, Oscar Mayer Weiner, Bill Conte.

Selma didn't help when she later referred to Brokeback Mountain as "Brockbock Mountain." Then there was the award winner who said, Movie making is incredibly hard work. (From a man who never did a lick of physical labor in his life.) Or the recipient who began her acceptance speech, "Art is a duty." Better yet, two awards later, the award winner who said "Art is a hammer."

A duty, a hammer, Oscar Mayer Weiner. You had to laugh.

Stock Up On....Tuna?

That's your federal government's recommendation for surviving bird flu. Rummy (Donald Rumsfeld makes $5m killing on bird flu drug) would recommend getting the Tamiflu shot, but that's just science. Powdered milk and canned tuna are the official way to go. Perhaps the mercury in the tuna is a cure?

Stockpile tuna for bird flu crisis, says HHS secretary

March 13, 2006 - In a remarkable speech over the weekend, Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt recommended that Americans start storing canned tuna and powdered milk under their beds as the prospect of a deadly bird flu outbreak approaches the United States.


ABC News has obtained a mathematical projection prepared by federal scientists based on an initial outbreak on an East Coast chicken farm. Within three months, with no vaccine, almost half of the country would have the flu.

As Brilliant at Breakfast puts it:

So just as Tom Ridge advised Americans to stock up on duct tape and plastic sheeting as a means of keeping them terrified so they wouldn't notice how Osama Bin Laden was still on the loose and the war in Iraq was going badly, so is Mike Leavitt now telling people that only a can of Chicken of the Sea stands between them and certain death.

[Insert your own mercury contamination joke here.]

A loaf of bread....a jug of wine....a can of tuna....and bird flu

Monday, March 13, 2006

Shopping for an Alibi

Did you hear the one about Claude Allen? George W. Bush's 'domestic policy advisor', caught shoplifting at Target?

Montgomery County, Maryland police press release and mug shot

This afternoon as I drove home (a few days late, car trouble) I heard a piece on NPR's All Things Considered on the Allen story. They interviewed a reporter for the Washington Post, Michael Fletcher, who floated the latest excuse for Allen. He has an identical twin. The twin has always been in trouble. I doubt if it was just the twin with the light fingers, that Claude Allen would have known to call the White House the night he was arrested.

I googled Claude Allen and twin and got no hits. So I don't think this excuse has gotten any traction yet. I wonder where the twin lives? Allen's bios all say he is a Virginia native, so his brother could live nearby. The Target where Allen was caught is 8 miles from his home in Gaithersburg.

Bro couldn't have lived that close by, unless he also could afford a $958,300 home (that's what Allen & his wife paid for their home in Gaithersburg, Maryland in October). In the old days before housing prices became so insane, conventional wisdom was that you could buy a house worth three times your annual salary. For Allen's $161,000 federal salary, that would be $483,000. I wonder if his wife works? How would that be possible, as the Washington Times reports that Allen and his wife home-school their children?

He looks a little overextended financially to me. And if they caught him 25 times, you know that's probably the tip of the iceberg. I mean, I've gotten one speeding ticket. Doesn't mean that's the only time...well, never mind.

Here's the link to the NPR story, although as of this posting there is no audio available: Former Bush Advisor's Arrest Makes Headlines