Saturday, December 16, 2006

Macaca Honored

S.R. Sidarth was named's Person of the Year.

Salon Person of the Year: S.R. Sidarth
The Virginia native and son of Indian immigrants changed history with a camcorder and introduced Sen. George Allen -- and the rest of us -- to the real America.

...[T]he real message of macaca may have been the kid behind the camera.

Jim Webb eked out a statewide victory on the basis of massive margins in the booming suburbs of northern Virginia. Macaca and all the missteps that followed helped convince voters in these affluent, well-educated and increasingly diverse zip codes outside Washington that they had grown tired of George Allen. But the same voters may also have recognized Sidarth, born and raised in northern Virginia, a straight-A student at a state college and a member of the local Hindu temple, as their neighbor. Allen was just a California transplant with dip and cowboy boots who had glommed on to the ancient racial quirks of his adopted home. Sidarth was the kid next door. He, not Allen, was the real Virginian. He was proof that every hour his native commonwealth drifts further from the orbit of the GOP's solid South and toward a day when Allen's act will be a tacky antique. Allen was the past, Sidarth is the wired, diverse future -- of Virginia, the political process and the country.

It's Hard to Laugh at These

Bob Geiger: The Saturday Cartoons

Gitmo: ‘A politically motivated farce’

Most of these prisoners are guilty of nothing.

An unconstitutional farce, as well.

AP, via MSNBC: Most Gitmo detainees freed after transfer
Four-fifths of ‘vicious killers’ released after return to home countries

The Pentagon called them "among the most dangerous, best-trained, vicious killers on the face of the Earth," sweeping them up after Sept. 11 and hauling them in chains to a U.S. military prison in southeastern Cuba.

Since then, hundreds of the men have been transferred from Guantanamo Bay to other countries, many of them for "continued detention."

And then set free.


our-fifths freed after transfer
But through interviews with justice and police officials, detainees and their families, and using reports from human rights groups and local media, The Associated Press was able to track 245 of those formerly held at Guantanamo. The investigation, which spanned 17 countries, found:

* Once the detainees arrived in other countries, 205 of the 245 were either freed without being charged or were cleared of charges related to their detention at Guantanamo. Forty either stand charged with crimes or continue to be detained.
* Only a tiny fraction of transferred detainees have been put on trial. The AP identified 14 trials, in which eight men were acquitted and six are awaiting verdicts. Two of the cases involving acquittals — one in Kuwait, one in Spain — initially resulted in convictions that were overturned on appeal.
* The Afghan government has freed every one of the more than 83 Afghans sent home. Lawmaker Sibghatullah Mujaddedi, the head of Afghanistan's reconciliation commission, said many were innocent and wound up at Guantanamo because of tribal or personal rivalries.
* At least 67 of 70 repatriated Pakistanis are free after spending a year in Adiala Jail. A senior Pakistani Interior Ministry official said investigators determined that most had been "sold" for bounties to U.S. forces by Afghan warlords who invented links between the men and al-Qaida. "We consider them innocent," said the official, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue.
* All 29 detainees who were repatriated to Britain, Spain, Germany, Russia, Australia, Turkey, Denmark, Bahrain and the Maldives were freed, some within hours after being sent home for "continued detention."

Some former detainees say they never intended to harm the United States and are bitter.

"I can't wash the three long years of pain, trouble and humiliation from my memory," said Badarzaman Badar, an Afghan who was freed in Pakistan. "It is like a cancer in my mind that makes me disturbed every time I think of those terrible days."

Overall, about 165 Guantanamo detainees have been transferred from Guantanamo for "continued detention," while about 200 were designated for immediate release. Some 420 detainees remain at the U.S. base in Cuba.

‘A politically motivated farce’
Clive Stafford Smith, a British-American attorney representing several detainees, said the AP's findings indicate that innocent men were jailed and that the term "continued detention" is part of "a politically motivated farce."

"The Bush administration wants to be able to say that these are dangerous terrorists who are going to be confined upon their release ... although there is no evidence against many of them," he said.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Diabetes Breakthrough?

Interesting article in the National Post (Canada) today about a study conducted at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children where diabetic mice were cured of diabetes after painkillers were injected into the pancreas.

National Post (Canada): Diabetes breakthrough
Toronto scientists cure disease in mice

Their conclusions upset conventional wisdom that Type 1 diabetes, the most serious form of the illness that typically first appears in childhood, was solely caused by auto-immune responses -- the body's immune system turning on itself.

They also conclude that there are far more similarities than previously thought between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, and that nerves likely play a role in other chronic inflammatory conditions, such as asthma and Crohn's disease.

The "paradigm-changing" study opens "a novel, exciting door to address one of the diseases with large societal impact," said Dr. Christian Stohler, a leading U.S. pain specialist and dean of dentistry at the University of Maryland, who has reviewed the work.

"The treatment and diagnosis of neuropathic diseases is poised to take a dramatic leap forward because of the impressive research."

I saw this article on BlogsNow.

Kirsten Gillibrand, Revolutionary

NYTimes Editorial: Congress and the Benefits of Sunshine

At first, the innovation sounds simple enough: Representative-elect Kirsten Gillibrand has decided to post details of her work calendar on the Internet at the end of each day so constituents can tell what she is actually doing for their money.

In fact, it is a quiet touch of revolution. The level of transparency pledged by Ms. Gillibrand, Democrat of New York — down to naming lobbyists and fund-raisers among those she might meet with — is simply unheard of in Congress. The secrecy that cloaks the dealings of lawmakers and deep-pocket special interests underpinned the corruption issue that Ms. Gillibrand invoked as voters turned Republicans from majority rule last month.

I saw this at DownWithTyranny!

The Burning Question

Other architects of disasters receiving Presidential Medal of Freedom from the Master of Disaster himself.

The burning question is, how long before Rummy gets his Presidential Medal of Freedom? Will it be at today's farewell ceremony to ol' Heckuva Job Donald?

WaPo: Rumsfeld Career Ending in Ignominy of Iraq

"I think his epitaph will be a dark one," said Justin Logan, a foreign policy analyst with the libertarian Cato Institute. "Rumsfeld's one-line epitaph will be, 'The man who was at the helm of the Defense Department and supported what was doomed to be a losing war effort that Americans will remember as a national tragedy'."

Say Goodnight, George

The Chimperor, quoted by ABC News yesterday:

“I must tell you, I'm sleeping a lot better than people would assume,” he said.

Rising Hegemon heard a song:

The Liar Sleeps Tonight

YouTube, The Tokens: The Lion Sleeps Tonight

The Chimperor Has No Clothes

And you thought the elections would make a difference to the mad Chimp of Crawford? Mr. 'Elections Have Consequences'? No. The latest insanity, that we will change the course of a popular uprising in Iraq by inserting 20,000 or 40,000 troops (when we needed more than 400,000 to begin with, how is 140,000 + 40,000 going to change anything? Even if you count the 100,000 mercenaries contractors in Iraq, it's still woefully short.)

Go read Professor Juan Cole.

Let me explain why it won't work. It won't work because Iraqis are now politically and socially mobilized. This means that they have the social preconditions for effective political and paramilitary action (they are largely urban, literate, connected by media, etc.) And they are politically savvy and well-connected. They are well armed, gaining in military experience, and well financed through petroleum and antiquities smuggling and through cash infusions from supporters abroad. The Mahdi Army fighters can be defeated by the US military, as happened twice in 2004. But they cannot be made to disappear, as they were not in 2004. That is because they are an organic movement springing from the Shiite poor, and are the paramilitary arm of a large social movement with a national network and ideology.

Attempts to crush popular movements once they have mobilized have most often failed. []

Bush is the Napoleon of our age, trampling on whole peoples, a Jacobin Emperor mouthing the slogans of liberty and popular sovereignty while crushing and looting those he "liberated."
And Kagan and Kristol (playing Talleyrand 1798) and Emperor Bush are readying a further slaughter of our US troops, 24,000 of whom have been killed or wounded, and of innocent Iraqis, 600,000 of whom have been killed by criminal and political violence since spring of 2003.

And you thought a mere election would make a difference. No one had to elect the American Enterprise Institute. No one needs to crown the emperor, he can do it himself. Welcome to Year 1 of the Empire.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Just the Facts, Ma'am

Two good reads, on the significance of facts and why ignoring them can jeopardize democracy's health:

TomDispatch: Schwartz and Engelhardt, War without End

Bushco's allergy to facts doomed the Iraq War, and the ISG's allergy to facts dooms it as well.

Glenn Greenwald, Unclaimed Territory: Media as adversary to the government

The proper role of the media, and why "the well-documented and much-discussed journalistic myth that "objectivity" requires mindless recitation of both sides's claims, and that it is improper and "biased" to take sides" is bullshit. There are certain identifiable facts, and if those are known conclusions can be drawn.

Tuesday Was a Rotten Anniversary

And I missed it. Tuesday marked the sixth anniversary of the most dishonest Supreme Court decision since Dred Scott: Bush v. Gore.

Lawyers, Guns and Money: A Rotten Anniversary

Today, I am sad to remind everyone, is the sixth anniversary of the grotesque and consequential Bush v. Gore decision, which was delivered in all its steaming feculence by five activist judges who substituted their own political fantasies for the rule of law and rendered a decision that flew in the face of tradition and popular will.

[]...every December 12, we ought to remember the names of the dishonest hacks who buggered the Constitution on behalf of George W. Bush.

And those five were:

Anthony Kennedy
Sandra Day O’Connor
William Rehnquist
Antonin Scalia
Clarence Thomas

They gave us 9/11, the Iraq War, unconstitutional eavesdropping, shit (oh, sorry, e coli) in our vegetables, energy policy by oil comanies, and all the other crap we've been subjected to by the incompetent, corrupt, cronyist Bushco.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

'Three Simple Words'

Just go laugh, Or cry. Both are appropriate.

WorkingForChange, Tom Tomorrow: This Modern World: The year in review, Part I

'The Army, despite its $168 billion budget, is out of money '

Iraqis celebrate next to a burning [$225,000] U.S. Army Humvee after an attack near Fallujah []. Three Americans were wounded, witnesses said. (Akram Saleh/Reuters)

Stephen Pizzo, The Smirking Chimp: An Important Story You Didn't See

Here are just a few of the grim facts from Jaffe's exclusive:

* According to Maj. Gen Stephen Speakes, the Army was sent to war in Iraq $56 billion short of essential equipment.
* Army officials told the White House that it needs at least an additional $24 billion, not in the 2007 budget, just to pay its current bills.
* Cash shortfalls have forced the Army to lay off janitorial staff, close base swimming pools, and even stop mowing lawns on Army bases.
* But cuts have also hit soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Army officials had to cut $3 billion for replacement of weapons in heavy use in Iraq, such as armored Humvees, two-way radios, remote control surveillance aircraft and trucks.
* National Guard units now lack 40% of their critical readiness gear because it's been sent to Iraq, and the Army lacks the funds to replace it.

This budget crunch comes at a time when running the US Army never cost more, Jaffe reported.

* To stem the flow of soldiers leaving the Army because of repeated deployments to Iraq the Army was forced to spend $773 million on “retention bonus' this year compared with just $85 million three years ago.
* The Army had to spend an additional $300 million on recruiting this year than in 2003.

* The quality of the Army's oft touted all volunteer force has slid with the Army's decision to accept more enlistees that scored in the lower third of aptitude tests.
* As a result the Army had to issue 8500 “moral waivers” this year compared with just 2260 ten years ago. (Moral waivers are issued for past criminal convictions, drug use and other proven legal/moral violations.)

How much of the Army's budget problems are due to poor budgeting and how much from private sector gouging? You decide.

Here are few more facts from Jaffe's report.

* The cost of equipping an infantry soldier tripled, from $7000 in 1999 to $24,000 today.
* The cost of Humvee's went from $32,000 in 2001 to a breathtaking $225,000 each today.
* The cost of training, feeding and housing Army recruits went from $75,000 per soldier in 2001 to $120,000 today. (The Army uses private contractors, largely Halliburton's Kellogg, Root & Brown, to provide most non-training services, such as food service and base maintenance.)

No Kidding

USAToady: Majority say history won't be kind to Bush

In a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday, a 54% majority says Bush will be judged as a below-average or poor president, more than double the negative rating given any of his five most recent predecessors.

I Have A Mean Thought

I saw this headline and thought, another side effect of Viagra.

That was not nice of me.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Decline and Fall of a Once Great American Newspaper


Did you hear that?

It was Katherine Graham rolling over in her grave.

The Washington Post today eulogized Augusto Pinochet. Favorably. Here's the unbelieveable torturing, murdering dictator-loving editorial, and blogtopian deconstructions of same:

WaPo: A Dictator's Double Standard
Augusto Pinochet tortured and murdered. His legacy is Latin America's most successful country.

Unclaimed Territory (Glenn Greenwald): The Washington Post's praise for Augusto Pinochet

MaxSpeak, You Listen: WHY I DON'T BELIEVE Hours Of Fun

The Hammer (or his pet nail) has figured out how to moderate comments on his new blog. And, surprise, surprise, he only lets comments that praise his mighty self appear.

But he hasn't figured out the little trick people play where they write a post so that the first letters of each line spell out something else entirely. I bolded them to make it easier to read.

In[c]redible! There are
Many bloggs out there, but i
Prefer those that consider
Each side of every
Argument. We need more
Champions like yourself
Here on the internet.
Be assured I will
Use this blog as my homepage!
Sure, some may object, but to
Hell with them!

December 11, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterRBT-Lific

Good afternoon and welcome to the blogosphere! I
only I wish it could've been sooner...

Freepers like me have missed you, It's
unbelievable how things change out of the limelight, eh?
Congrats on finally launching your blog. Everyone in
Kansas loves you, even now that you've retired..

You should know by now that
our country needs more people like you. Your
undeniable courage and compassionate yet strong
republican moral are like a beacon
shining in the night.
everyone is glad to have you here, and we all
look forward to seeing you making many, many
frequent additions to this blog.

December 11, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterTIBT

D. C. insiders are in fact completely
incapable of looking beyond their self-serving
elitist opinions and short-term outlooks.

I am overjoyed that you started this blog and
noticed others in here feel the same.

fter all, somebody needs to show them liberal haters!

Fighting against these liberal media scum
is the only way for us to save our freedoms. The
real Americans are with you Mr. Delay. And I pray
everyday for more decent, honest leaders like you.

December 11, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterUFIA

Considering the moral uprightness
of the Republican Party, I'm
really surprised that you haven't
received the vindication you deserve.
Under the circumstances, the best
position you can take is in a blog.
There, you can compete with anti-
American libertinism on a level
surface. If you should decide to
suffer again as an elected politician,
honor must hold Americans accountable
over the scandalous smear job.
Leave it alone until the Americans are
eager to have you back!

December 11, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterHTML

I was alerted to these trojan comments by Blah3, who got it from CrazyMike at BartCopForum

Monday, December 11, 2006

A Quiz for Lawmakers

Next Hurrah: A Quiz for Lawmakers

I did OK; got 3 of 16 wrong (9, 10, 16), so give me an 81.

Silvestre Reyes (D-Tx), the new Chair of the Intelligence Commmittee, will probably have a hard time:

Democrats’ New Intelligence Chairman Needs a Crash Course on al Qaeda

And let's not even talk about Bush and his intelligence gap.

The Fighting First Family

YouTube video: The Fighting First Family


How the Bush family's recruitment-eligible generation is winning the war against Godless Islamunistofascism

video by Jesus' General

Red Squirrel

Saw one of these on my morning walk along the Wachusett Reservoir. I don't see them often in New England and at first I thought it was a chipmunk, but it had no stripes and that big red tail was the giveaway.

OLS Biden

The great ship foundering at sea, the OLS ('One Last Shot') Biden.

Atrios dug up several of Joe Biden's ridiculous foreign policy pronouncements over the last three desperate years. And you guessed it: We keep getting one last shot to get it right in Iraq. Kind of like a Friedman, but with even more wiggle room.

One Last Shot. Destined to become a drinking game if Biden enters the 2008 Democratic Presidential primaries. (And every shot will be One Last Shot.)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Pop Quiz

Who wrote, of Vietnam:

“It was a shameful thing to ask men to suffer and die, to persevere through god-awful afflictions and heartache, to endure the dehumanizing experiences that are unavoidable in combat, for a cause that the country wouldn’t support over time and that our leaders so wrongly believed could be achieved at a smaller cost than our enemy was prepared to make us pay.

“No other national endeavor requires as much unshakable resolve as war. If the nation and the government lack that resolve, it is criminal to expect men in the field to carry it alone.”

Answer in comments.

Tee Hee

Tom Delay started a blog! Then Tom Delay found out that blogs get comments. Tom Delay's blog got lots of very funny comments. And 75 minutes later, Tom Delay's blog was wiped of content.

Tom Delay deleted his blog, but a smart techie saved it: HERE.

I found the link at Crooks & Liars.

Call John Sweeney The Wahhhhhhhmbulance

'Cause it's time for this very disturbed man to go home.

Albany Times-Union: On the Hill, the sound of silence
John Sweeney, still reeling from re-election loss to Kirsten Gillibrand, fails to show for votes

WASHINGTON -- Since losing re-election last month, Rep. John Sweeney has played hooky in Congress, skipping votes, dodging reporters and avoiding his new make-shift office in a basement cubicle set up for lame ducks.

Sweeney's friends and colleagues Capitol Hill say the Republican from Clifton Park is still stunned about the outcome of the Nov. 7 election when he lost to Democratic challenger Kirsten Gillibrand.


Sessions [Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, a close friend of Sweeney's], asked why Sweeney was so angry and shocked about his loss, said: "John was disappointed that some frailties in his life were contributing issues to his defeat." He said Sweeney has been ill and his blood pressure had risen.

Sweeney believes he picked up "a bug" during congressional trips to Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Sessions.

"A bug got into his system and lodged in his brain,"
Sessions said. "It caused unimaginable pain and stress."

Hat tip to Talking Points Memo.

RIP Jeane Kirkpatrick

When I read all the dainty fawning obituaries of Jeane Kirkpatrick in the corporate press, I hoped someone in the progressive blogosphere would write up the real story: Iran-contra, death squads in El Salvador, funding the 'rebels' in Afghanistan [read: bin Laden]. And here it is:

dailykos: The Real Obituary of Jeane Kirkpatrick

[A] legacy of bloodshed, death and destruction.