Saturday, May 13, 2006

But It Was A Powerfully Staged Photo Op, Wasn't It

I stand by this man. I stand by this man because he stands for things. Not only for things, he stands on things. Things like aircraft carriers and rubble and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong message: that no matter what happens to America, she will always rebound -- with the most powerfully staged photo ops in the world.

--Stephen Colbert, White House Correspondents Dinner, 2006

dailykos: Meanwhile.... (in the lower 9th ward of New Orleans, 8.5 months later)

People living outdoors in camping tents, in America, 8 1/2 months after the federally-built levees broke.

Iran Reinstates Ban on Women Attending Soccer Matches

The real revolutionaries of Iran.

Fundies rule in Iran. Kind of like Kansas, but with abayas and hejabs.


Iran's women will be barred from attending soccer games, a reversal by the president that comes a month before the national team plays in the World Cup.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had ruled in April that he would allow women to go to soccer games and sit in a separate section of the stands. He wanted to "improve soccer-watching manners and promote a healthy atmosphere."

But Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei -- who under the Islamic republic's constitution has the final say -- opposed the move.

Ahmadinejad's decision to allow women into stadiums had provoked outrage among hard-line Shiite Muslim clerics, who supported his election last year.

Previous posts: Women to Attend Football Matches in Iran (April 25, 2006)

Take Action for Women's Rights (April 11, 2006)

Medicare Part (D)isaster Penalties: Will Rethugs Blink?

Monday, May 15 is the deadline for seniors to sign up for the Medicare Part (D)isaster prescription drug plan. If you don't sign up by Monday, no matter what your circumstances, you face a lifetime of escalating penalties for missing the deadline. Read the last paragraph of today's WaPo article: they have already waived the deadlines and penalties for the poorest seniors. I wonder if all this Bush blather about enforcing the deadline was just a bait-and-switch to get seniors signed up (to the benefit of the real beneficiaries of the plan, the pharmaceutical companies) and then give his Rethug supporters the chance to look good by doing the right thing on May 15th?

WaPo: GOP Wavers On Penalties In Medicare Drug Plan

As older Americans face a nationwide deadline Monday to sign up for Medicare prescription drug coverage, key Republicans are examining ways to remove or reduce financial penalties the Bush administration plans to charge people who try to join the program after the enrollment cutoff, according to lawmakers and legislative aides.

GOP lawmakers are reluctant to talk openly of their plans before midnight on May 15, for fear of counteracting a cheerleading blitz that President Bush and his top health advisers have undertaken to spur a last-minute surge in enrollment.

Still, motivated by Republicans' concerns about their prospects in the fall elections and by persistent confusion about the new drug benefit, several of Congress's architects of the program have concluded that it would be unwise to punish people who miss the deadline. The rethinking of the penalties, by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), House Ways and Means health subcommittee Chairman Nancy L. Johnson (R-Conn.), and others, marks the first time Republicans have broken with the White House over the program.


The financial penalties are an attempt to motivate relatively healthy Medicare patients to sign up right away, rather than waiting until their health falters and they need more prescription drugs. The late fee, based on 1 percent of the national average price of the insurance premiums for the drug coverage, starts out relatively small. It starts at an extra $1.98 per month if they sign up later this year, but it mushrooms the longer people wait to get coverage.


Of the 6 million people who still lack drug coverage based on the administration figures, a disproportionately large share -- about 3.2 million -- have relatively low incomes. CMS announced a few days ago that it would eliminate deadlines and penalties for that group.

Previous posts:

Bush To Old People: Drop Dead (May 10, 2006)

Medicare Part (D)isaster, Incompetently Administered, Misleading Poor Seniors (May 7, 2006)

Most Severely Ill Senior Citizens Already in Medicare Part (D)isaster Doughnut Hole (April 27, 2006)

Medicare Part (D)isaster: Watch Out For That Hole (April 12, 2006)

President Out-of-Touch Moron Meets the Seniors
(March 19, 2006)

Medicare Part (D)isaster: Making the Mentally Ill Sicker (February 6, 2006)

Medicare Part (D)isaster Creating Havoc at Social Security Administration (February 4, 2006)

Right Wing Blogs Exhibit Myopia Over Medicare Part D(isaster)
(January 24, 2006)

Medicare Part (D)isaster (January 20, 2006)

Operation Photo Op, Medicare Part D edition, 1.0 (January 18, 2006)

'Horrific at Best'
(January 9, 2006)

The Incompetence, The Corruption, and The Cronyism: Sunday, January 8, 2006
(January 8, 2006)

The Last Curse

The infamous black cat circles Ron Santo in 1969 at Shea Stadium, just before the "Miracle Mets" write another chapter of the Cubs curse.

The interfering Bartman

The Red Sox broke their curse in 2004; the White Sox did the same last year. The last true cursed team in baseball is the Chicago Cubs. My friend, the White Sox fan who always revels in Cub misery, sent me this:


Twenty major events that have occurred since the Chicago Cubs last laid claim to a World Series championship:

1. Radio was invented; Cubs fans got to hear their team lose.
2. TV was invented; Cubs fans got to see their team lose.
3. Baseball added 14 teams; Cubs fans get to see and hear their team lose to more clubs.
4. George Burns celebrated his 10th, 20th, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th, 70th, 80th, 90th and 100th birthdays.
5. Haley's comet passed Earth twice.
6. Harry Caray was born....and died. Incredible, but true.
7. The NBA, NHL and NFL were formed, and Chicago teams won championships in each league.
8. Man landed on the moon, as have several home runs given up by Cubs pitchers.
9. Sixteen U.S. presidents were elected.
10. There were 11 amendments added to the Constitution.
11. Prohibition was created and repealed.
12. The Titanic was built, set sail, sank, was discovered and became
the subject of major motion pictures, the latest giving Cubs fans hope that something that finishes on the bottom can come out on top.
13. Wrigley Field was built and becomes the oldest park in the National League.
14. Flag poles were erected on Wrigley Field roof to hold all of the team's future World Series pennants.
Those flag poles have since rusted and been taken down.
15. A combination of 40 Summer and Winter Olympics have been held.
16. Thirteen baseball players have won the Triple Crown; several thanked Cubs pitchers.
17. Bell-bottoms came in style, went out of style and came back in.
18. The Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox and the
Florida Marlins have all won the World Series.
19. The Cubs played 14,153 regular-season games; they lost the majority of them.
20. Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Oklahoma and New Mexico were added to the Union.

Great quotes in Cubs History!!!

"Noise pollution can't be that much of a problem at Wrigley. There's
nothing to cheer about."
--State rep. John F. Dunn, arguing for the installation of lights at Wrigley Field

"If I managed the Cubs, I'd be an alcoholic."
--Whitey Herzog

"There's nothing wrong with this team that more pitching, more fielding and more hitting couldn't help."
--Bill Buckner

"You get tired of looking at garbage in your own backyard."
--Cubs manager Lee Elia in 1983 about why the Cubs
got rid of so many players. Elia was fired later that same season.

"The Cubs were taking batting practice, and the pitching machine threw a no-hitter."
--Radio deejay

"The only bad thing about being released by the Cubs is that they made me keep my season tickets."
--Ken Rietz, ex-Cub third baseman

"Would the lady who left her nine kids at Wrigley Field please pick
them up immediately? They are beating the Cubs 4-0 in the 7th inning."
--Radio deejay

"One thing you learn as a Cubs fan: When you bought your ticket, you
could bank on seeing the bottom of the ninth."
--Joe Garagiola

"The Chicago Cubs are like Rush Street--a lot of singles, but no action."
--Garagiola again

Q: Did you hear about the new Cubs soup?
A: Two sips and then you choke.

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

Friday, May 12, 2006

Happy Birthday To Me ... And Stephen Colbert

Bush contemplates sending Colbert on all-expenses paid permanent vacation to Guantanimo for his 42nd birthday.

We're kind of a freaky lot, the May 13ths, weirdos like Jim Jones and Dennis Rodman (not that I'm equating their weirdness), and tons of artists, actors and musicians. This year for the first time I notice I share a birthday with Stephen Colbert. Go watch the Correspondents Dinner roast again to celebrate.

Wikipedia: May 13

# 1882 - Georges Braque, French painter (d. 1963)
# 1907 - Dame Daphne du Maurier, English author (d. 1989)
# 1913 - Gil Evans, Canadian musician (d. 1988)
# 1914 - Joe Louis, American boxer (d. 1981)
# 1923 - Beatrice Arthur, American actress
# 1931 - Jim Jones, American cult leader (d. 1978)
# 1939 - Harvey Keitel, American actor
# 1941 - Ritchie Valens, American singer (d. 1959)
# 1944 - Armistead Maupin, American author
# 1950 - Stevie Wonder, American singer and musician
# 1956 - Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Founder of the Art of Living Foundation
# 1961 - Dennis Rodman, American basketball player and actor
# 1964 - Stephen Colbert, American comedian and actor
# 1966 - Darius Rucker, American singer (Hootie & The Blowfish)
# 1978 - Barry Zito, baseball player
# 1978 - Mike Bibby, American basketball player

Wikipedia missed one: Oguchi Onyewu, defender for the U.S. Men's National Soccer Team, born May 13, 1982.

From, add

1950 : Peter Gabriel, rocker (Genesis-Against All Odds)

and from

1943 Mary Wells, singer ("My Guy")

All I wanted for my birthday this year was frogmarching, but I guess that will have to wait. Maybe next week?

truthout: BREAKING
Jason Leopold:
Rove Informs White House
He Will Be Indicted

'Tip of the Iceberg'

I've been having a running argument with a commenter on an earlier post, My Radio Debut, about the nature and extent of the NSA spying program. It's my position that things are always worse than they seem with the Bush Administration, and that what we know here probably constitutes just the tip of the iceberg. Didn't take long for the next shoe to drop:

ThinkProgress: NSA Whistleblower To Expose More Unlawful Activity: ‘People…Are Going To Be Shocked’

CongressDaily reports that former NSA staffer Russell Tice will testify to the Senate Armed Services Committee next week that not only do employees at the agency believe the activities they are being asked to perform are unlawful, but that what has been disclosed so far is only the tip of the iceberg. Tice will tell Congress that former NSA head Gen. Michael Hayden, Bush’s nominee to be the next CIA director, oversaw more illegal activity that has yet to be disclosed:

A former intelligence officer for the National Security Agency said Thursday he plans to tell Senate staffers next week that unlawful activity occurred at the agency under the supervision of Gen. Michael Hayden beyond what has been publicly reported, while hinting that it might have involved the illegal use of space-based satellites and systems to spy on U.S. citizens. …

[Tice] said he plans to tell the committee staffers the NSA conducted illegal and unconstitutional surveillance of U.S. citizens while he was there with the knowledge of Hayden. … “I think the people I talk to next week are going to be shocked when I tell them what I have to tell them. It’s pretty hard to believe,” Tice said. “I hope that they’ll clean up the abuses and have some oversight into these programs, which doesn’t exist right now.” …

Tice said his information is different from the Terrorist Surveillance Program that Bush acknowledged in December and from news accounts this week that the NSA has been secretly collecting phone call records of millions of Americans. “It’s an angle that you haven’t heard about yet,” he said. … He would not discuss with a reporter the details of his allegations, saying doing so would compromise classified information and put him at risk of going to jail. He said he “will not confirm or deny” if his allegations involve the illegal use of space systems and satellites.

When Is a Tax Cut Not a Tax Cut

When it's a loss leader for millionaires, dummy.

Yesterday the Senate passed a tax bill which gives people earning less than $82,000 a year (that's most of us) a tax cut of $30 or less. Filled up your tank lately? That's the cost of less than a tank of gas.

However, the average millionaire will get a $42,000 tax cut. That's not a tank of gas, or 10 tanks of gas, or 20 tanks of gas, or 100 tanks of gas.

That's a car. In some rural areas, that's a house.

Vote Democratic; throw these bums out in November.

LATimes: IRAs Become Focus of Tax Bill
In a $70-billion package passed by Congress, a provision that would widen access to Roth accounts draws fire as a giveaway to the rich

"The average millionaire will receive an additional $42,000 tax cut," Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) said of the bill Thursday, "while middle-income Americans will see an average of $20."

Public Service Announcement

Your phone company paid for this ad

If you see this ad anywhere on the internets, be advised it's bought and paid for by Big Telecom.

Yes, the same immmoral bastards who sold your telephone records to the federal government are putting up stick figure drawings to get you to give them complete control over the internet.

Suckers. They think we're suckers. Don't get sucked in. Go to to learn the real story.

Media Citizen: Telcos Seek to Deceive Bloggers with Cartoon

Previous posts:

Save the Internet, Part Deux
(May 2, 2006)

Update [Net neutrality voted down in House Committee] (April 27, 2006)

A Better Argument for Saving the Free Internet (April 25, 2006)

Save The
(April 24, 2006)

'Just a Bald-Faced Lie'

Impeach this lying SOB.

Eugene Robinson, Washington Post; An Easy Call: Lying

At least now we know that the Bush administration's name for spying on Americans without first seeking court approval -- the "terrorist surveillance program" -- isn't an exercise in Orwellian doublespeak after all. It's just a bald-faced lie.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Chill the Champagne

Firedoglake: Grand Jury to Meet Tomorrow

Bugman To Self-Exterminate June 9th

Taking his tiny penis with him, Tom Delay has announced he is resigning his Congressional seat as of June 9th. He claims to be leaving 'to pursue new opportunities to engage in the important cultural and political battles of our day'; of course, we know that he must get to work at the corporate trough, sucking in as much money as he can so he can pay his [CAUTION; pdf link] very expensive lawyer , Dick DeGuerin. Ironically, DeGuerin is the kind of lawyer DeLay has been trying to put out of business for years with his assaults on the rights of criminal defendants. A worthy transfer of assets.

Raw Story: DeLay notifies Speaker of the House he will resign June 9

Rene The Weenie in USA Today

This time, Rene picked on the wrong kid. Harris parents' support her.

More support for Jen Harris's discrimination complaint against Penn State women's basketball coach Rene Portland, from today's USA Today:

Others make allegations against Penn State's Portland

New evidence that Portland discriminates against lesbians, from former player Christine Gulas (1981-1982); Chris Demuth, student trainer for 1996-97 season; and Amber Bland, who was kicked off the team the same night as Jen Harris.

Harris stands tall in painful battle with Penn State coach

And, of course, the Weenie's side of the story: Portland vigorously defends her integrity and Penn State program

Previous posts: Rene is a Weenie (March 26, 2006)

Just Keep Sending Her to Diversity Training; It Worked So Well Before (April 19, 2006)

The lawsuit is taking a physical and mental toll on Harris. "I'm on sleeping pills and anti-depressants now because I've gone through such a long period of depression that it was starting to worry people," she says. Adds her father: "I haven't heard Jennifer laugh in a year."

Legal Genius Bush Says: Surveillance Legal BECAUSE I SAY SO

He also said Harriet Miers was the most qualified person to serve on the Supreme Court, so there you go.

Shorter Bush: 9/11, 9/11, 9/11, an enemy, al Qaeda, 9/11, 9/11, nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah.

WaPo: NSA Call-Tracking Program Sparks Alarm
Bush Insists That Citizens' Privacy is 'Fiercely Protected'

President Bush, responding to a newspaper report on a previously undisclosed program to track the phone call patterns of millions of Americans, insisted today that U.S. intelligence activities he has authorized are lawful and aimed strictly at the al-Qaeda terrorist network.

In a hastily arranged appearance before reporters at the White House, Bush reacted to a USA Today report that says the National Security Agency has been secretly using records provided by the three largest American telephone companies to build a massive database of foreign and domestic phone calls. The program was launched shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks with the aim of analyzing calling patterns to detect terrorist activity, the paper reported. The effort involves collecting phone numbers but does not entail recording or eavesdropping on phone conversations, it said.

The NSA declined comment, saying only that it "operates within the law."

I got this picture from one of my favorite bloggers:

Art Pottery, Politics and Food: "Our intelligence activities strictly target al Qaeda..."
--12:03 pm Statement

While I'm thieving, check out his pic of Michael Hayden, the most qualified person to run the CIA:

The Look & Feel of Harry

My Radio Debut

I was just interviewed by Open Source Radio, for their piece on the NSA Phone Call Database that will air tonight.

I said "Chimpeachment"; hope that makes it through the editing process.

Call Verizon And Ask For A Refund

(800) 870-9999

That's what I just did, and I was shocked that the Verizon flunkie had not received any other calls about this. He didn't even know about the story, and was quite conciliatory after he looked it up. (Bet he has a Verizon account, and therefore an NSA/FBI file, too). I asked for two things:

(1) Immediately suspend any NSA access to my account; and

(2) A refund of my service charges for the last five years.

The arrogant Verizon bastards put me on hold as I navigated from voice mail hell to the rep, and the taped announcement ends with "As always, privacy of your account is your right, and our duty."

Lying bastards.

Verizon Sold Me Out

The dumbass who approved the program and the fathead who ran it.

I feel like Marion Barry. Bitch set me up. To any and all class action lawyers out there reading this blog (and you know who you are) I will be a name plaintiff in any case against Verizon for giving my personal, private information away to the fascists in the Bush Administration. I did not consent to this and it violates my constitutional rights under the 4th and 1st Amendments. Bastards. Pricks. Go Cheney yourself, Verizon. And Commander Codpiece. And from now on, all conversations emanating from this house will start with a seditious prelude. Like "Impeach the Lawbreaking Chimperor", if I am trying to keep it clean. Keep a record of that, assholes.

WaPo: Paper Reports NSA Collecting Phone Records

WASHINGTON -- The government is secretly collecting records of ordinary Americans' phone calls in an effort to build a database of every call made within the country, it was reported Thursday.

AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth telephone companies began turning over records of tens of millions of their customers' phone calls to the National Security Agency program shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, said USA Today, citing anonymous sources it said had direct knowledge of the arrangement.


One big telecommunications company, Qwest, has refused to turn over records to the program, the newspaper said, because of privacy and legal concerns.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department has abruptly ended an inquiry into the warrantless eavesdropping program because the NSA refused to grant its lawyers the necessary security clearance.

The Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility, or OPR, sent a fax to Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., on Wednesday saying they were closing their inquiry because without clearance their lawyers cannot examine Justice lawyers' role in the program.

USAToday: NSA Has Massive Database of Americans' Phone Calls
The spy agency, with the help of three major telecom firms, has been collecting data on the domestic calls of millions of Americans since shortly after 9/11.
Sources say the NSA is using the data to analyze calling patterns in an effort to detect terrorist activity.

For the customers of these companies, it means that the government has detailed records of calls they made — across town or across the country — to family members, co-workers, business contacts and others.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Further Adventures of Soon-To-Be-Ex-Congressman John Sweeney

She's got a purty face. Heh heh. Gimme another beer.

In which our porcine Congressman lets out his inner swine:

Swing State Project: NY-20: Sweeney Blutarsky At It Again

He said this. He really said this;

"You can't take a resume and a pretty face from New York City and say to people this is good for you simply because we can spend a lot of money and raise a lot of money," Sweeney told the Record of Troy. (Emphasis added.)

I Want To Hear What Drinan Has to Say About This

Raw Story: GOP House Speaker taps Cheney, Goss for Congressional Distinguished Service Awards

Poor Father Drinan, on the same award dais as Darth Cheney and Hooker poker Porter Goss. Ewwwwwww.

Bush To Old People: Drop Dead

I thought this article deserved a New York Post-style headline:

Bush Backs Monday Deadline For Seniors
Millions Have Not Sought Drug Benefit

President Bush insisted yesterday that the May 15 deadline for picking a Medicare prescription drug plan will stand, even as key Republican lawmakers suggested they may take action retroactively to protect people who miss the Monday cutoff.

Speaking yesterday at a retirement community in Sun City Center, Fla., Bush urged eligible seniors to act quickly. "Deadlines are important," he said. "Deadlines help people understand there's finality, and people need to get after it, you know?"

"Deadlines are important," he said. "Deadlines help people understand there's finality, and people need to get after it, you know?"

Translation: I just don't give a shit about anybody but myself. What's their problem? Whatever. Where's mah bike?

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

For Once, Bush Is Right

Like a clock every 12 hours, Commander Codpiece finally got one right. His greatest accomplishment in more than five years is catching a fish. Sad, but true.

WaPo: Bush's best moment in office? Reeling in big perch

BERLIN (Reuters) - President Bush told a German newspaper his best moment in more than five years in office was catching a big perch in his own lake.

"You know, I've experienced many great moments and it's hard to name the best," Bush told weekly Bild am Sonntag when asked about his high point since becoming president in January 2001.

"I would say the best moment of all was when I caught a 7.5 pound perch in my lake,"
he told the newspaper in an interview published on Sunday.

All Colbert, All The Time

The chimperor is not amused.

Whew, blogger is up again and I can post. Whee-hoo!

From Atrios, I learn that Google Video has the rights to the Colbert video, so you can watch it again. Remember not to spit coffee on your computer screen.

In the WaPo, Richard Cohen, intrepid journalist, who believed Bush's case for war (MORON) is tetchy about ... emails, chiding him for saying Colbert was not funny. Remember, even though thousands have died and are dying for Bush's lies, it's all about being nice to the corporate media. They believe they've earned it.

Speaking of the corporate media, I expect this TV critic to get canned any day now:

Doug Elfman, Chicago Sun-Times: Did media miss real Colbert story?

The truth is many in the media wrote about Bush's stand-up routine at the dinner as if they had just watched the coming of a comic genius, but they didn't report much on Colbert's funnier, harsher jokes. This may have been a case of the press corps following a standard motto: to the winner goes the spoils, and Bush got more laughs (out of copy written for him) than Colbert did.

How did Bush tickle reporters? He made fun of the fact that he can barely speak English (he is quite simply the worst communicator of all U.S. presidents), that our vice president is a heartless face-shooter, and that Bush is basically an idiot.

Ha ha, our "war president" knows he's a village idiot? To members of the White House press corps, that's some real funny stuff. To non-insiders, this looked like another example of good old boys and gals slapping each other on the back.

Colbert's routine was more remarkable for its unique and creative brazenness. He joked that Bush's presidency is like the Hindenburg; that Bush's wiretappers were monitoring this very event, and that the White House press corps, sitting in front of Colbert, gave Bush a free pass, scandal after scandal, until recently (when his polls numbers dropped).

How's this for a newsworthy lead? It was perhaps the first time in Bush's tenure that the president was forced to sit and listen to any American cite the litany of criminal and corruption allegations that have piled up against his administration. And mouth-tense Bush and first lady Laura Bush fled as soon as possible afterward.

From whom were they fleeing? A star comedian pretending to be a Fox News-like blowhard doing a sort of performance art that America hasn't witnessed nationally since the days of Andy Kaufman. Even if Colbert's bit had been reported as a train wreck, that would have sufficed. Instead, shocking lines like the following were barely covered by any traditional organ except industry magazine Editor & Publisher: "I stand by" Bush, Colbert cracked, "because he stands for things. Not only for things, he stands on things. Things like aircraft carriers and rubble, and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong message that no matter what happens to America, she will always rebound with the most powerfully staged photo ops in the world."