Saturday, November 18, 2006

Must Read

Important series in the LA Times today documenting the incredible rise of cancer rates among Navajo Indians, caused by the US government failing to clean up the radioactive waste left behind from uranium mining on their lands.

They took shelter amid the poison
During the Cold War, uranium mines left contaminated waste scattered around the Navajo Nation. Homes built with it silently pulsed with radiation. People developed cancer. And the U.S. did little to help.

The slide show is actually a video documentary of interviews and photos.

Saturday November 18th Blogtopia* Roundup

I want that drink. I need that drink? How long 'til this dumb dinner is over?

Actual caption: President Bush attends a dinner hosted by Vietnam's President Nguyen Minh Triet in Hanoi, November 17, 2006. (Reinhard Krause/Reuters)

New drinking game: Drink every time the media refers to Nancy Pelosi as 'Nancy'!

James Wolcott
reports rumors that Bush is indeed drinking again.

Maru the Crankpot (WTF IS IT NOW?) links to this and many other funny posts (scroll up to see the post).

Glenn Greenwald: Cheney Administration is pathological, laughing as they shred the Constitution.

Soon to be former Congressman John Sweeney (R-Wife Beating and Drinking) in trouble again, this time for doctoring police records. Bye bye!

Professor Juan Cole
at Informed Comment:

Bush went to Vietnam and boasted about how we would have won if we had not quit. This was, he said, the lesson for Iraq of the Vietnam War. He managed to be wrong about two wars at once and to anger both his hosts (how churlish!) and the Iraqi public. The American Right never admitted that they lost in Vietnam, thus the Rambo movies and, Melani McCallister argues, the US admiration for Entebbe. Iraq was their chance, they thought, to get it right. Bush had also said insulting things to the Philiippines about how wonderful it was that we had colonized them (and killed 400,000).

Colonialism is over with. When will they get that through their heads?

And actually we can't win in Iraq by just staying. Just like when you are sinking in quicksand, staying put is not a virtue.

Reminds me of the old joke about Bush. What's the difference between Iraq and Vietnam? Bush had a plan to get out of Vietnam. Who knew the plan was not to go until 2006 and to have Air Force One at the ready?

*yes! skippy coined that phrase!

Press The Meat

Our political discourse is ruled by idiots.

Go watch this video before you watch Meet The Press again. Warning: don't have any liquids in your mouth or you will spit them all over your computer.

Save the Forest: Eat the Baby to Save the Baby

This Happened While We Were In London

The pigeon struggled in the pelican's mouth before going down kicking and flapping

BBC: Pelican swallows pigeon in park

Luckily we weren't actually there.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Blogtopia* Roundup

The 2006 election was nine days ago and this is what CNN had on their screen today (Digby)

DC media Kool Kidz Klub apply following purple prose to Nancy Pelosi: too reliant on a tight inner circle; 'she shattered party unity', 'fratricide'; a 'liberal idealist' for supporting conservative Jack Murtha for House Whip; Digby says media are applying Clinton Rules Redux, 'cause
For some reason, when Democrats are in power the press corps immediately goes from being merely shallow to insufferable, sophomoric assholes.

See, also, Glenn Greenwald: Beltway attacks on Nancy Pelosi; John Murtha: Let's Get To Work

Bush Administration hires gynecologist opposed to contraception and abortion to family planning position at Health and Human Services; Digby says: Bush Hires Latest Sacha Baron Cohen Character, with picture of said doctor and his cheesy porn-star moustache. Pharyngula critiques his scientific beliefs and finds them wanting: Bad science? It's OK—just put him in charge of women's health

If you've got the stomach for it, go to the News Blog and watch the video of UCLA campus police (part of LAPD, natch) tasering a student in the library 5 times because he won't leave quietly. And after the first tasering, they are tasering him because he can't get up after being tasered. Sick, sick, police state stuff. (Who would Jesus taser? asks Americablog.)

Billmon with an interesting perspective on newly-Democratic, newly-progressive, newly-elected Virginia Senator Jim Webb: Comrade Webb; read Webb's Wall Street Journal op-ed here: Class Struggle.

Today is Democratic Party Chair Howard Dean's 58th birthday: dailykos: Happy Birthday, Howard Dean!. Go to and throw the Dems some money for Howard's birthday. I gave $20.58. Thanks, Howard.

*yes! skippy coined that phrase!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Two More For US

NYTimes: Two Democrats Win in Georgia

ATLANTA, Nov. 15 — Georgia officials certified the votes on Wednesday in two extremely close Congressional races, putting the Democratic incumbents, Jim Marshall of Macon and John Barrow of Savannah, officially in the winners’ column.

WaPo: 2 More Called Winners in House; 7 Races Undecided

George Orwell Would Be Proud

WaPo: Some Americans Lack Food, but USDA Won't Call Them Hungry

The U.S. government has vowed that Americans will never be hungry again. But they may experience "very low food security."

Every year, the Agriculture Department issues a report that measures Americans' access to food, and it has consistently used the word "hunger" to describe those who can least afford to put food on the table. But not this year.

War is peace.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

James Carville Needs To STFU

James Carville, Clintonista married to a Republican strategist, is running around accusing Howard Dean of doing a terrible job as DNC Chairman. Carville charges that the DNC had $6,000,000 in the bank that they should have spent in Democratic races, and that the party should have taken an additional 15 seats as a result. (He called Dean's performance "Rumsfeldian"; them's fightin' words, Boudreaux.)

I'll put aside the fact that you can't do a straight money-to-victory analysis here. Rahm Emmanual put $3,000,000 into Tammy Duckworth's race, and she lost; he put $0, zero, into Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01), and she won, so there you go.

But why doesn't Carville look at his own Clintonista house? Hillary Clinton spent $29.5 million to win her Senate race in New York, a race that was essentially over before it started; can you even name her opponent? (HINT: he had the same name as a member of the cast of West Wing; I'll leave his name in Comments.) She won 67% to 31%. Wouldn't it have been more useful for her to donate half of her vast stores of money to candidates around the country who were actually in competitive races? Looking at it from that perspective, her actions were Cheneyesque. (Is that stretching it? Like giving no-bid contracts to Halliburton? Well, it works as well as James Carville calling Howard Dean who helped WIN BACK CONGRESS Rumsfeldian. I mean, what has Rumsfeld ever won? The handshake of Saddam Hussein? The trust of Commander Codpiece? I mean, really.)

Minority Whipping

The Good Old Days, Celebrating the Good Old Days (photo courtesy HuffPo)

WaPo: Trent Lott Elected Minority Whip

WaPo's 'The Fix': Mississippi Senator Rises Again

Or, as a commenter at put it:

Trent Lott selected as Senate Minority Whip, because if there's one thing that Trent Lott likes, it's whipping minorities.

I saw this comment on Eschaton, who also dug up Lott's prior statements about his love for Strom Thurmond.

I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either.

Fox, Henhouse

Fox News is in the news today for two separate but equally dubious things.

First, they put out a memo on Election Night instructing their reporters to look for signs that 'Iraqi insurgents' were celebrating the Democrats' victory in the mid-term elections. The original is posted on the Huffington Post and says:
"And let's be on the lookout for any statements from the Iraqi insurgents, who must be thrilled at the prospect of a Dem-controlled congress."

Not really a surprise to see Karl Rove's inhouse network exposed as UnFair and UnBalanced.

Not only that, Fox News apparently paid $2,000,000 in ransom to "Palestinian terror groups and security organizations in the Gaza Strip" in order to secure the release of a reporter and a cameraman last summer. A leader of Gaza-based Popular Resistance Committees said that they used the money to buy weapons including rockets to use against Israel.

That's Fox News for you. Funding terrorists around the globe, then looking for them to make political statements against the Democratic Party. Oh, the hypocrisy. What next? They'll declare a fake War on Christmas, then get caught selling holiday ornaments? Oh, they already did that.

Americablog: Someone allegedly paid terrorist organizations $2 million for release of FOX News reporters

Ha Ha

Mike Keefe, Denver Post, November 9, 2006

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Fat Lady Hasn't Sung Yet

There are still six House races where the votes are being counted; two other races, in Louisiana and Texas, will go to runoffs:

NYTimes: Counts Still Under Way in 6 House Races

But a few more have concluded:

Democrat Darcy Burner
(former Microsoft executive) has conceded to her opponent, incumbent Republican Dave Reichert, in Washington's 8th District. She lost by less than 6,000 votes with more than 220,000 cast. I saw her speak on C-Span and was impressed. Hope she stays in politics and runs again in 2008.

Democrat Jim Courtney won the race in Connecticut's 2nd District by a mere 91 votes out of almost 250,000 cast after a recount. Talk about every vote counting.

Signs I Am Getting Old

I just watched a piece on local TV about an email death threat against local hero Doug Flutie. And Doug Flutie has badly dyed hair. Darker than his eyebrows, all one color, not a speck of the white at the temples or the red highlights that he used to have. Kind of sad. I still have my red and blue boxes of Flutie Flakes.

No sadder than yesterday when I was flicking through the channels and saw Robert Redford on CNBC, and he appeared to have a really bad orange wig on top, well kind of askew on top, of his grey hair. It looked like he had just stuck it on there himself, no stylist involved, a lovely bright orange color, and all his white sideburns and neck hair sticking out all around it.

Well, at least neither of them has had awful plastic surgery, like Michael Douglas or Mickey Rourke.

Personally, I'd rather be gray and saggy than fake.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Not Blue, Not Red: Purple

I saw this on Echidne of the Snakes, who makes me feel like I have a very boring title for my blog.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Wonkette Is Whaling on Sweeney

And given his history, isn't that appropriate?

Wonkette: Slappy Sweeney's Story of Success

Losing your “safe seat” in the House doesn’t mean you’re a Loser — according to the Albany magazine “Success,” it means just the opposite.

After all, the alleged drunk and wife beater has a long list of accomplishments to show from his years in Congress:

* When it comes to using federal cops to lock up cancer patients using medical marijuana, he’s No. 1.
* After boozing up at a bar in Upstate New York, he successfully stranded skiers on the lifts when he expertly knocked down a utility pole with his Jeep.
* Sweeney was named one of the Top 20 Most Corrupt Congressmen by the prestigious Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
* His stripper wife started a “fund-raising company,” and the next day landed a great client: John Sweeney!
* Of New York’s 29 members of the House, Slappy McDrunk ranked No. 1 in taking campaign donations.

All Wonkette posts referring to John Sweeney

'I Am Macaca'

WaPo: I Am Macaca, By S.R. Sidarth

The larger question that this experience brings up is: How far has society progressed on the issues of race and openness? By 2050, according to most projections, the United States will be a minority-majority nation. But the fact that Allen believed I was an immigrant, when in fact I am a native Virginian, underlines the problems our society still faces.

Then again, Webb's victory last week gives me hope that Virginia will not tolerate playing the race card. It is still hard for me to accept that I could have had a pivotal role in the election results; I would not wish the scrutiny I received on anyone. But I am also glad to have helped Webb. Every little bit counted, especially in an election decided by about 9,000 votes out of nearly 2.4 million cast.

The politics of division just don't work anymore. Nothing made me happier on election night than finding out the results from Dickenson County, where Allen and I had our encounter. Webb won there, in what I can only hope was a vote to deal the race card out of American politics once and for all.

Ya Notice?

The price of gas in my area has gone up 5 cents since Election Day.

Not that gas companies were trying to buy the election or anything.

'This war MUST end, NOW.'

Blah3: Veteran's Day

As you all know, now, I am a Disabled Veteran of Gulf War Poppy. I'm not proud, nor do I want sympathy... I was Disabled doing... printing....Hyper exposed to toluene making little metal plates for ships, Hyper exposed to Toluene making little metal plates for ships, nine hours a day, and 24 hour a day every 3rd day.

I'm now severely epileptic, I see the VA Doctors every few months. I used to be the young kid in the waiting room... no more... My heart gets torn apart, sitting there in the VA Hospital Neurology labs waiting room... Kids 19-20 years old being rolled in in their wheelchairs.. Fuct for life by this misbegotten war based on lies... These poor kids, their poor families.

Many of these kids are obviously missing large chunks of their skulls and brains. They wear helmets or other protective headgear, but, it is obvious that the level of trauma that they took was far more heavy than I took. More often than not, when my name is called, I defer to one of these poor Brothers... or Sisters first. Who the fuck am I to hold up their obviously more urgent care. I often set a precedent for others in the waiting room. We KNOW who needs care more than us. Thus the Band of Brothers and Sisters.

Regularly, sitting there in the waiting room, we discuss the War, the Policies, the Funding, and to a man, lately... the past year, we were all in agreement... The Bush Administration has been fucking US Disabled Veterans as quickly as they are making them. They have reduced VA Department budgets by over $300 Million dollars in the past six years. We all know this and feel it in our care, service and treatment. I used to see the doctors once a month... Now it's every six months... out of budget necessities, and with their sincere apologies. I can't blame the VA. I CAN blame the Goddamned Bush Motherfuckers though.

How FUCKING DARE THEY make a thousand Disabled Veterans every month, while they CUT the VA budget? Heartless motherfuckers. I'm not thinking about myself... I thinking about these poor kids in the Neurology Lab waiting room, hoping for... fuck... something... Here is what I see in that lobby.

We Love Lists

NYTimes: On a Desert Island...

We asked 22 funny people the same question: Which five comedies would you want to take with you if you were stranded alone on a desert island? Here's what they said.

My list would be:

Duck Soup
Groundhog Day
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
My Cousin Vinny
Uncle Buck