Saturday, December 02, 2006

Everything You Know Is Wrong

Times (uk): Pyramids were built with concrete rather than rocks, scientists claim

The Ancient Egyptians built their great Pyramids by pouring concrete into blocks high on the site rather than hauling up giant stones, according to a new Franco-American study.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Blogtopia* Roundup, Friday December 1st, 2006

People stand on a 1700 square-meter banner, that indicates the areas in the world where the AIDS problem is at its worst, on World AIDS Day at the Spuiplein in The Hague December 1, 2006. REUTERS/Michael Kooren (NETHERLANDS)

Glenn Greenwald smacks down Tom "Six More Months" Friedman: The Tom Friedman disease consumes Establishment Washington

Two good posts at Hullabaloo:

(1) Digby on the new Republican meme, 'Blame the American people, not Bush, when we lose Iraq': Political Constraints

(2) Tristero says we must not forget 'the extremely dangerous failure of intellectual judgment' that led influential pundits to support the Iraq war: On Not Leaving Well Enough Alone

Susie Madrak points out that George Will's nasty column about Senator Jim Webb yesterday got 77 pages of comments (most of which are biting): Incivility

Dan Froomkin (WaPo) says journalists need to do their jobs again: On Calling Bullshit

Today is World AIDS Day, probably a more important idea than yesterday which was proclaimed Meth Awareness Day by the U.S. Government

*yes! skippy coined that phrase!

Governor Hypocrite

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks at the Republican Governors Association conference, Thursday, Nov. 30, 2006, in Miami. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)
Halo supplied by AP, not God.

Maybe I should start calling the Mittwit "The Mittocrite". Or maybe just Mitt, the lawn man. He's not going to be President. His position on illegal immigration seems to be, Keep those illegal immigrants out. Except the ones who do the grounds of my estate.

Boston Globe: Illegal immigrants toiled for governor
Guatemalans say firm hired them

As Governor Mitt Romney explores a presidential bid, he has grown outspoken in his criticism of illegal immigration. But, for a decade, the governor has used a landscaping company that relies heavily on workers like these, illegal Guatemalan immigrants, to maintain the grounds surrounding his pink Colonial house on Marsh Street in Belmont.

The Globe recently interviewed four current and former employees of Community Lawn Service with a Heart, the tiny Chelsea-based company that provides upkeep of Romney's property. All but one said they were in the United States illegally.

The employees told the Globe that company owner Ricardo Saenz never asked them to provide documents showing their immigration status and knew they were illegal immigrants.

"He never asked for papers," said Rosales, who said he had paid smugglers about $5,000 to take him across the US-Mexican border and settled in Chelsea.

The workers said they were paid in cash at $9 to $10 an hour and sometimes worked 11-hour days.

Romney never inquired about their status, they said.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Security, Schmecurity

Persons stand in the door of a British Airways Boeing 767 grounded at London's Heathrow Airport Thursday Nov. 30, 2006, as it sits in a maintenance area. British authorities are urgently checking four commercial jets and two dozen sites in and around London for radiation levels as part of the fast-expanding investigation into the death by poisoning of former Soviet spy Alexander Litvinenko. Home Secretary John Reid said traces of radioactivity have been discovered at a dozen sites and in all, experts are scrutinizing 24 sites. He did not say whether the radioactivity found at the sites was polonium-210, used to poison the former KGB agent, who died a week ago. Authorities will not will not say if the aircraft shown are under investigation. (AP Photo/ Max Nash)

For the last 5 years we, the nonthreatening flying public, have been subjected to more and more ridiculous security measures. I've waited in three hour security lines. I've been pulled out of line and wanded and frisked, forced to take off my sandals and walk on bare floor, had nail clippers confiscated, thrown away perfectly good coffee, water, juice, and once an apple, flown without a carryon, stuffed my purse into my carryon to make it seem I had only one bag, and on my most recent trip, had to place all small liquid or gel containers in a one quart ziploc bag. I've watched my mother questioned roughly by arrogant screeners, old people in wheelchairs scared into tears, baby strollers searched, and women felt up by perverse male screeners.

And a guy could fly on a plane carrying radioactive polonium?

Wouldn't that be one of the more important 'threats' to screen for? Couldn't they put a Geiger counter in that stupid airport screening machine? Shouldn't a dose big enough to kill a man set off something?

I know, I know, the whole airport security thing is a huge joke, just like the 13 or so years where we got asked the Lockerbie questions [Have your bags been in your possession the entire time? Has anyone unknown to you asked you to carry anything?], like anyone would ever answer 'yes' if they really had a bomb. It's just window dressing. In my rational brain I know that, but still, I expect that something major like a radioactive element that could be used as a trigger for a nuclear weapon is something that shouldn't go into the passenger cabin on a commercial aircraft.

WaPo: Britain Extends Probe Into Poisoning of Former Russian Spy

Police search the Itsu sushi restaurant on November 25. Traces of radiation have been found at the London restaurant which was visited by former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko on November 1.(AFP/File/Leon Neal)

(I walked by this restaurant last month, but Coach Mom and my sister don't like sushi, so we had lunch closer to Piccadilly Square.)

Go Read This

If you read anything today, read Digby:

Hullabaloo: President Unbound

Here's my favorite part:

I blame the media []. After 9/11 they lost their minds and became unthinking hagiographers and adminstration cheerleaders to an absurd extent. The man's halting, incoherent first press conference after 9/11 scared me more than the attacks and yet the press corps behaved as if they were in the presence of a God whose stuttering, meandering gibberish were words uttered from on high. He was called a genius and compared to Winston Churchill. Paeans to his greatness were turned into best sellers. His "gut" was infallible. It was patently obvious that he was in over his head and yet this bizarre, almost hallucinogenic image of the man emerged in the media that actually made me question my sanity at times. It took years for this trance to wear off with a majority of the public and even longer in the media. It was one of the strangest phenomenons I've ever observed.

We Love Lists

NYTimes: The 10 Best Books of 2006

Falling Through the Earth and Absurdistan are on my Christmas wish list.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006



I'm your puppet

The Chimperor's insistence on meeting Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki on his 'diplomatic' trip has broken up the fragile Iraqi government.

WaPo: Bloc Led by Shiite Cleric Quits Iraqi Government
Lawmakers Loyal to Moqtada al-Sadr Protest Prime Minister's Summit With Bush

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

President Incapable of Empathy

Democrat James Webb holds up his Marine Corps son's combat boots during an election victory rally in Arlington, Virginia [on] November 9, 2006. REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES)

The Hill: Son also rises in testy Webb-Bush exchange

At a private reception held at the White House with newly elected lawmakers shortly after the election, Bush asked Webb how his son, a Marine lance corporal serving in Iraq, was doing.

Webb responded that he really wanted to see his son brought back home, said a person who heard about the exchange from Webb.

“I didn’t ask you that, I asked how he’s doing,” Bush retorted, according to the source.

Webb confessed that he was so angered by this that he was tempted to slug the commander-in-chief, reported the source, but of course didn’t. It’s safe to say, however, that Bush and Webb won’t be taking any overseas trips together anytime soon.

UPDATE: Today's WaPo offers this version of the exchange:

At a recent White House reception for freshman members of Congress, Virginia's newest senator tried to avoid President Bush. Democrat James Webb declined to stand in a presidential receiving line or to have his picture taken with the man he had often criticized on the stump this fall. But it wasn't long before Bush found him.

"How's your boy?" Bush asked, referring to Webb's son, a Marine serving in Iraq.

"I'd like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President," Webb responded, echoing a campaign theme.

"That's not what I asked you," Bush said. "How's your boy?"

"That's between me and my boy, Mr. President," Webb said
coldly, ending the conversation on the State Floor of the East Wing of the White House.

Darth Cheney Answers His Master's Call

What can I do for you, sir?

He was summoned to Saudi Arabia. Didn't go on his own. Summoned. And people wonder if this is a war about oil and corporate profit?

WaPo: Civil War in Iraq Near, Annan Says
Study Group Begins Two-Day Meeting

Saudi Arabia is so concerned about the damage that the conflict in Iraq is doing across the region that it basically summoned Vice President Cheney for talks over the weekend, according to U.S. officials and foreign diplomats. The visit was originally portrayed as U.S. outreach to its oil-rich Arab ally.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Getaway

Commander Codpiece is apparently preparing for the day when he is indicted for war crimes in the Hague. In the fine tradition of war criminals through history (like Joseph Mengele) he's bought a getaway ranch in Paraguay.

A mere

....98,840 acres of land in Chaco, Paraguay, near the Triple Frontier (Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay)....

He can hide his entire bloody administration there. Dick Cheney is probably already wiping the whole place off The Google Maps.

Ice, Ice, Baby

By Jae C. Hong, AP
Kristine Lilly gets a celebratory lift from U.S. teammates Abby Wambach, center, and Aly Wagner after the winning goal.

USWNT 2 - CanadaWNT 1

Kristine Lilly with the gamewinner in her unbelievable 319th start for the national team. She has more national caps than any player ever in the history of soccer, male or female, and her record will probably never be broken (she started at age 15 in an era of few professional opportunities for women; today there are many fewer national games per year). Too bad the game wasn't on ESPN, only on FoxSoccerChannel; great if you have DirectTV, but the rest of us are shut out. And it was played at the Home Depot Center, a pathetic excuse for a soccer field in California, where the field is too small and Californians don't come out to support women's soccer. Had the game been in Cary, North Carolina or somewhere on the East Coast Coach Mom and I probably would have been part of more than 20,000 in the crowd. Instead they played to a crowd of less than 7,000.

USAToady: Lilly's clutch penalty kick ices Gold Cup title for U.S. women

CARSON, Calif. — The U.S. women's soccer team extended its record unbeaten streak and earned its third CONCACAF Women's Gold Cup title Sunday night — barely.

Kristine Lilly converted a penalty kick in the final minute of overtime to give the USA a 2-1 victory over Canada in front of 6,749 at the Home Depot Center.

The USA received the penalty kick after Canada's Robyn Gale fouled Carli Lloyd in the penalty area in the 120th minute.

Lilly, the tournament MVP, scored her 117th international goal in her 319th game by placing the ball to the right of goalkeeper Erin McLeod. The victory extended the USA's record unbeaten streak to 32 games.

WaPo: Lilly's PK Gives U.S. Gold Cup in OT
United States 2, Mexico 1, OT Penalty pain for Canada USA Wins CONCACAF Women's Gold Cup with 2-1 OT Victory vs. Canada

Sunday, November 26, 2006

My Heart Is Hard

Smoke rises after mortar attacks in Baghdad November 26, 2006. REUTERS/Mahmoud Raouf Mahmoud (IRAQ)

I still haven't forgiven Michael Moore for supporting Ralph Nader in 2000, for being so ignorant of history that he could say with a straight face that there's no difference between Republicans and Democrats, but this letter helps me towards my better nature:

Sunday, November 26th, 2006
Cut and Run, the Only Brave Thing to Do ...a letter from Michael Moore


Tomorrow marks the day that we will have been in Iraq longer than we were in all of World War II.

That's right. We were able to defeat all of Nazi Germany, Mussolini, and the entire Japanese empire in LESS time than it's taken the world's only superpower to secure the road from the airport to downtown Baghdad.

And we haven't even done THAT. After 1,347 days, in the same time it took us to took us to sweep across North Africa, storm the beaches of Italy, conquer the South Pacific, and liberate all of Western Europe, we cannot, after over 3 and 1/2 years, even take over a single highway and protect ourselves from a homemade device of two tin cans placed in a pothole. No wonder the cab fare from the airport into Baghdad is now running around $35,000 for the 25-minute ride. And that doesn't even include a friggin' helmet.


The Soviet Union got out of Afghanistan in 36 weeks. They did so and suffered hardly any losses as they left. They realized the mistake they had made and removed their troops. A civil war ensued. The bad guys won. Later, we overthrew the bad guys and everybody lived happily ever after. See! It all works out in the end!

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

The Mittwit Has The Media A-Twitter

Wikipedia: Mormon underwear (from Andrew Sullivan,

Mitt Romney is a liar, he's a hypocrite, and he wears funny Mormon underwear (we're pretty sure). His company, Bain Capital Partners, just bought ClearChannel, so maybe he'll make some money in his doomed Presidential campaign. He zigged left here, he's zigging right on the campaign trail, but he's got no core. Just another corporate tool.

David Broder apparently didn't dig deep enough to realize that the Mittwit ran as a moderate when he ran for Mass. governor, before he began running against our state as a Presidential candidate. WaPo: Romney Leaving Mass. With Mixed Record: As Governor Eyes National Stage, He Faces Scrutiny of His Performance at Home

....Romney is a staunch conservative....

Joan Vennochi of the Boston Globe apparently has access to The Google:

Romney's dance to the right

When he ran against Ted Kennedy for the Senate in 1994, Romney wrote a letter to the Massachusetts Log Cabin Club, pledging that as "we seek to establish full equality for American gay and lesbian citizens, I will provide more effective leadership than my opponent." During that same campaign, Romney was accused of once describing gay people as "perverse." In response, Romney's campaign vehemently denied that he used the word "perverse" and said that he respected "all people regardless of their race, creed, or sexual orientation."

While running for governor in 2002, Romney and his running mate, Kerry Healey, distributed pink fliers at a Gay Pride parade, declaring "Mitt and Kerry wish you a great Pride weekend." He backed domestic partner benefits for public employees, winning the endorsement of the national Log Cabin Republicans. In his inaugural speech, he promised to defend civil rights "regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or race."

As governor, he appointed openly gay and lesbian people to high-profile administration positions. He doubled the budget line item for the Governor's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, until he tried to disband it last May -- more political theater for the Republican right.

But why didn't the Boston Globe dig up the sacred Mormon underwear for the last gubernatorial campaign? Why didn't Shannon O'Brien? Inquiring minds wanted to know.

Andrew Sullivan: Mormon Sacred Underwear

New Element

Check it out: Bushcronium!

A major research institution has just announced the discovery of the densest element yet known to science. The new element has been named "Bushcronium." Bushcronium has one neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 224 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 311. These particles are held together by dark forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons. The symbol for Bushcronium is "W". Bushcronium's mass actually increases over time, as morons randomly interact with various elements in the atmosphere and become assistant deputy neutrons in a Bushcronium molecule, forming isodopes. This characteristic of moron-promotion leads some scientists to believe that Bushcronium is formed whenever morons reach a certain quantity in concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as "Critical Morass". When catalyzed with money, Bushcronium activates Foxnewsium, an element that radiates orders of magnitude more energy, albeit as incoherent noise, since it has 1/2 as many peons but twice as many morons.

I saw this at Democratic Veteran, who found it in comments at Firedoglake.