Saturday, June 16, 2007

Peace on Earth, Good Will Towards Men

Atef Safadi/European Pressphoto Agency

Fatah gunmen entered the Palestinian Legislative Council building in Ramallah on Saturday in a show of force.

The world after six years of the toxic Presidency of Bush; current headlines on

Fatah Seizes Parliament Building in West Bank

In Aftermath of Gaza Battle, Grim Realities

Second Sunni Mosque Is Blown Up in Basra

U.S. Begins New Offensive Against Insurgents in Iraq

Identification Cards of 2 Missing U.S. Soldiers Found in Iraq

Suicide Bomber Kills 4 Bystanders in Afghanistan

Afghan Bomber Kills 10, Including 5 Children

Asterisks* for Barroid*

No truly great signs last night, but lots of asterisks. I wish someone would carry a sign with a hypodermic needle (that would be the clear, not the cream).

All of these are from the Boston Globe photo gallery from last night's game.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Clemens in 2057

Today Boston Dirt Dogs has a hilarious film about Roger Clemens, and George Steinbrenner, and the New York Yankees in 2057.

Talk about the twilight of a career. Don't be eating or drinking while you watch this film. Funny stuff.

Barroid's Coming to Town

I hope someone with tickets comes up with a sign as good as the Philly fan ode to Barry Bonds, Barroid the Juicer:

"Ruth did it on hot dogs & Beer / Aaron did it with class / How did YOU do it?"


NYTimes editorial Borks Bork: Bork v. Bork

Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

That's Some Big Baby!

Worcester Telegram: Commissioner of the Department of Fish and Game Mary Griffin and Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Ian Bowles pose with the eaglet.

Worcester Telegram: Video of the eagle banding

Update: Another video, this one from WBZ, who had a camera on the guy who climbed the tree, so you can see the eaglet sitting in the nest.

Worcester Telegram: Bands all here for the eagles

It’s always risky to drop in unannounced on a new family.

Pushing the envelope is when about 25 people converge on a small submarine-shaped island to view the only offspring of the first pair of eagles to have successfully nested at Wachusett Reservoir. Wednesday was the coming out party for the 4-week-plus-old eaglet who was removed from its nest and fitted with two metal leg bands that give it unique identifiers that will help track it the rest of its life.

The adult eagles took the whole affair in stride. They circled the island from time to time, but kept a distant and silent vigil. Left to deal with the humans on his own, junior proved to be a really good sport. For those of us on the island, there was more than a little drama, a dose of education and a rare chance to share a moment of pride with the state agency personnel that have helped restore the bald eagle population in Massachusetts.

Resembling a mini beaver hut, the eagle’s nest was cradled near the end of a bend formed by new growth at the top of a 60-foot white pine tree. The whole configuration leaned into the 15-mile-an-hour northeast blow churning up the reservoir on Wednesday morning.

Pitched Battle in the War on Moisture

A former Secret Service agent carrying a toddler and a sippy cup filled with water are heroically foiled by vigilant TSA agents. You've got to read this story to believe it. This mom was "detained, harassed, [and] threatened with arrest", all while trying to keep a 19-month-old calm, all over a few ounces of water in a sippy cup.

How long before our long national nightmare of ridiculous security procedures that don't keep anybody safe are over?

nowpublic: Nightmare at Reagan National Airport: A Security Story to End all Security Stories

hat tip to Boing Boing

Just Say No to Funding Abstinence Programs

Politics is the art of compromise. But there are compromises and there are compromises. The Democrats in Congress are poised to vote to increase funding for abstinence programs, a multi-million dollar racket that takes federal money and puts it into the hands of religious crackpots. All the research into these abstinence programs -- into which the Bush Administration has poured more than 1 billion dollars -- shows that they don't work. So, in essence Congress enriches the Religious Right to fund their pet boondoggle. Talk about a waste of money. We need sex education, not abstinence education. Kids are going to have sex no matter what. They need to be educated to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease, not have their minds filled with religious dogma. The bill is still being crafted; we can let Congress know how STUPID this is. The ACLU says the vote on the bill will come next week so there is still time.

Take action:

You can call your Congresscritter by calling the Congressional switchboard (202) 225-3121, and give them your Representative's name, or your zip code.

Use the ACLU form to send an email: Halt Funding Increase for Abstinence-Only "Education"

Use the Action Network's Population Connection form email Obey, Pelosi, and Hoyer: The Democrats did WHAT?!

Or use the Advocate for Youth form to send an email to your Representative. ('Tell the Democratic Leadership to end Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Funding!' is the first issue on the Take Action list.)

The National Family and Reproductive Health Association has a form that allows you to fax your member of Congress: Urge Congress to Put "Prevention First"

NARAL has a page that lets you email your Senators and Rep: Urge Congress to Make Sex Ed a Priority

Michael Reynolds, The Nation: The Abstinence Gluttons Learn all about the crackpots we are enriching with taxpayer dollars.

Laura Flanders, The Nation (via Common Dreams): Idiot Liberals Strike Again The inspiration for this post. She says "Idiot liberals" because that's what Appropriations Committee Chair David Obey (D-WI) called a military mom who went to his Congressional office to ask him to end the war. Idiot.

The Hill: Harkin to tie stem cell research to spending bill
The fight isn't over yet:

Supporters of stem cell research refuse to give up on getting their legislation signed into law this year.

As President Bush prepares to veto the measure Congress sent him last week, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) is planning to attach the pro-research legislation to the spending bill being crafted by his Appropriations labor subcommittee.

That raises the stakes on the so-called “Labor-H” spending bill. House Appropriations Chairman Dave Obey (D-Wis.) has been trying to build a veto-proof majority for the bill, adding sweeteners to the bill such as an increase in abstinence-only education.

Bush already has threatened to veto spending bills that exceed his spending thresholds. Including legislation that repeals Bush’s 2001 stem cell research compromise could give him further incentive to nix the bill.

MSNBC: Abstinence students still having sex
Study tracked 2,057 young people in government-funded programs
No kidding.

Campus Progress: Bad Science, Silly Gender Stereotypes, Dangerous Misinformation : Why Federally Funded Abstinence-Only Education Isn't Working

New Humanist: Unbuckling the bible belt (Nov 01, 03)
Orlando Radice on Bush’s virgins
A Brit's take on our "value-laden pedagogy".

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Huge Victory for Civil Rights in Massachusetts

Mary Marra of Haverhill, a supporter of same-sex marriage, blew bubbles as she and hundreds of others demonstrated before the vote on putting the gay marriage amendment on the ballot.
(Globe Staff Photo / John Tlumacki)

Huge victory for civil rights in Massachusetts today, where the proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage was defeated. The vote was 151 to 45; the opponents of gay marriage needed 50 votes to have the question placed on the November ballot. So we will not vote on the civil rights of our fellow citizens. The decision of the Supreme Judicial Court stands:

MARSHALL, C.J. Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support; it brings stability to our society. For those who choose to marry, and for their children, marriage provides an abundance of legal, financial, and social benefits. In return it imposes weighty legal, financial, and social obligations. The question before us is whether, consistent with the Massachusetts Constitution, the Commonwealth may deny the protections, benefits, and obligations conferred by civil marriage to two individuals of the same sex who wish to marry. We conclude that it may not. The Massachusetts Constitution affirms the dignity and equality of all individuals. It forbids the creation of second-class citizens. In reaching our conclusion we have given full deference to the arguments made by the Commonwealth. But it has failed to identify any constitutionally adequate reason for denying civil marriage to same-sex couples.

Boston Globe: Legislators vote to defeat same-sex marriage ban

The Herald's view: Lawmakers vote to kill anti-gay marriage question

Job Well Done, Mass Equality

Mass Equality, the group that lead the fight to keep gay marriage the law in Massachusetts, produced some very effective ads that I saw several times on television in the last few weeks. The first one was my favorite. (For some reason the Youtube versions of the ads all end about 10 seconds before the final tag lines, but you get the essence.)

Call the Wingnut Wahhhhhmbulance

'Cause Scooter Libby's going to jail. Directly to jail, (well, as direct as it ever gets for a rich white-collar defendant, six to eight weeks), no hanging out watching the roots of the aspens entwine while his appeal drags on. Awwww.

Firedoglake: Libby Loses Liberty

WaPo: Judge Won't Delay Libby Prison Term

Fun Fact

If you leave a comment on a Robert Novak column in the Washington Post calling him a traitor, it will be deleted. See here; note that the first commenter states: "Can we once discuss the merit of the article without all that pointless name-calling, however justified it may be?"; this is in reference to several traitor comments which the Post removed.

However, if you leave a comment calling President Bush Chimpy McFlightsuit, that comment is OK. See here, 6th comment down.

I thought you would want to know.

Blogtopia* RoundUp, Thursday, June 14, 2007

Happy Flag Day!

The Solicitor General will not fight for defrauded investors -- even though dozens of state attorneys general have -- on direct order from Herr Bush. There go defrauded investors rights and probably the pensions of the Enron workers. Robert Borosage, Bank Shot: Bush Shafts Enron's Victims, via The Left Coaster

Speaking of lawsuits, (the good) Roger Ailes skewers Robert Bork delightfully.

At HuffPo, comedian Kate Clinton riffs on the gay bomb. You heard that right, the Air Force requested $7.5 million to develop a bomb to turn our enemies gay.

I'm surprised this request for millions for the gay bomb wasn't approved, as the New York Times reports today that the Justice Department has been take over by theocrats enforcing nonexistent religious discrimination. Or, as one clever blogger put it: Crusading Crackpots Taking over the DOJ

Speaking of DOJ, the multiple investigations have gotten into the White House. Former White House Counsel and exclamation point lover Harriet Miers and former White House political director Sara Taylor have both been subpoenaed to appear before Congress. Taylor's US Attorney email messages, and those of her deputy, Scott Jennings, were both sent on their Republican National Committee email accounts. Subpoena duces tecum, anyone?

Eagles Return to Wachusett Reservoir

An adult bald eagle soared through the air as the scientists worked on banding the eaglet.
(Mark Wilson / Globe Staff Photo)

The resurgence of the bald eagle population in the northeast continues. Today's Boston Globe has a photo gallery showing the nest built by the first pair ever to nest along the Wachusett Reservoir in Central Massachusetts.

They banded a baby eaglet from the nest so it can be tracked.

The eaglet received two new bands, an aluminum US Fish and Wildlife Service band and a colored Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife band.
(Mark Wilson / Globe Staff Photo)

Today's Hearing on Hans von Vote Suppressor

I didn't get to see the Rules Committee hearing on von Spakovsky's nomination to the Federal Election Commission today, so here is a round-up of reactions.

McClatchy wins both the headline and reporting award with this story:

Ex-Justice Dept. lawyer can't recall his role in controversial policies

WASHINGTON - Another former Justice Department lawyer went before Congress on Wednesday with few answers for his Democratic interrogators and a spotty memory.

Hans von Spakovsky, who's seeking a full six-year term on the Federal Election Commission, deflected questions about whether he undermined voting rights laws, saying, "I was not the decision maker in the front office of the Civil Rights Division."

Time and again during his confirmation hearing, he cited either the attorney-client privilege or a cloudy memory for his purported role in restricting minorities' voting rights.

Von Spakovsky couldn't remember blocking an investigation into complaints that a Minnesota Republican official was discriminating against Native American voters before the 2004 election.

Under oath, he also said he didn't recall seeing data from the state of Georgia that would have undercut a push by senior officials within the Civil Rights Division to approve the state's tough new law requiring photo IDs of all voters. The data showed that 300,000 Georgia voters lacked driver's licenses. A federal judge later threw out the law as unconstitutional.

John Lewis, who spilled his blood for voting rights, and other Georgia Democrats have opposed von Spakovsky's nomination, 'saying his appointment "could potentially turn back the clock on 50 years of progress" in voting rights.' The grilling of von Spakovsky

NYTimes Editorial: Another Sorry Ascension

[] President Bush gave him a recess appointment to the commission last year. The new Democratic-controlled Senate now has the opportunity to strike a blow against electoral skullduggery with a blunt rejection of Mr. Spakovsky’s nomination for a full six-year term.

Slate: Implausible Deniability
The Internet foils fudging by three "voter fraud" warriors.

Senator Dick Durbin questions von Spakovsky:

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

We Have a Winner

Earlier today I posted a picture of the destroyed golden minarets of the Golden Mosque in Samarra, Iraq, and asked this question:

How soon before some Bush Administration flack tells us that this increased violence means the surge escalation is working?

And Bushco Press Secretary Tony Snowjob may have already taken the cake, minutes before I posted, when he was asked to comment about today's bombing of the Golden Mosque:

It does fit a pattern that we see throughout the region, which is that when you see things moving towards success, or when you see signs of success, that there are acts of violence.

War is peace! Freedom is slavery! Ignorance is strength! It's not 2007. It's 1984. It's always 1984 in Bushworld.

Photo of the Day

Black presidential seal socks. That's what the war president wears. He got the Crocs shoes from the Chairman of Crocs, Inc., who presided over a fundraiser in May that raised $630,000 for the Virginia Republican party.

I won't feel guilty when I buy a pair of mock Crocs. No money for Rethugs.

Photo via Manolo's Shoe Blog: Impeach Him!

If You Lived In Iowa or New Hampshire: Bill Richardson

Two Richardson ads on the subject of energy policy and global warming:

hat tip Scrutiny Hooligans

Groundhog Day

The destroyed golden minarets at the Shiite Muslim Golden Mosque in Samarra, Iraq.
(Getty Images)
June 13, 2007

How soon before some Bush Administration flack tells us that this increased violence means the surge escalation is working?

LATimes: Blasts topple part of Shiite shrine in Samarra
The attack on the Golden Mosque, where an assault a year ago triggered widespread bloodshed, brings new fears of violence.

Another for the "He has no scruples, does he?" Mittwit File

The Song of Mitt: "I'll say anything, for you, dear, anything, for you, dear, anything, for you" (apologies to Lionel Bart and the musical Oliver)

Romney refused to grant any pardons during his four years as Massachusetts absentee governor. Even to Anthony Circosta, a decorated Iraq war veteran who wanted to expunge a conviction from when he was age 13 for shooting another boy in the arm with a BB gun. (Hey, I think all the boys I grew up with were criminals!) Nope, the Mittwit couldn't grant that pardon, even though it would have allowed Circosta to become a police officer. And now as he shamelessly panders to the rabid Republican base, he advocates a pardon for poor, poor Scooter Libby, convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice.

So think about this. A 13-year-old boy makes a dumb mistake. He shoots his friend in the arm with a BB gun (doesn't even break the skin). Goes on to join the Army National Guard and distinguish himself leading a platoon in the Sunni Triangle. His shooting a BB gun accidentally at age 13 cannot be pardoned by the Mittwit. But Scooter Libby, the assistant to Vice President Dick Cheney? Reveals the name of a covert CIA agent to reporters for political purposes, then lies about it repeatedly to a federal grand jury investigating the outing. Remember, he is a 54-year-old attorney. Those four criminal convictions, decided by a jury? Throw them out and set him free, proclaims the Man of the Most Convenient Answer. That's what he says now. Wait a month, he may have a difference answer. Varmint.

Or as Barney Frank said of the Mittwit, two days ago on New England Cable News:

"The real Romney is clearly an extraordinarily ambitious man with no perceivable political principle whatsover. He is the most intellectually dishonest human being in the history of politics."

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

He Never Was From Massachusetts

There's a song playing in the background of this short video (turn up your volume to hear it). Mitt Romney doesn't know the song, because he never was 'from' Massachusetts; the man lived and lives in Utah. He lied to get his job in the Commonwealth, and now Multiple Choice Mitt, the man with a million answers to every question, is lying to become President.

And what is that mysterious song the Mittwit from Utah can't identify? Let's let the Red Sox Monster explain:

The song? "Dirty Water" by the Standells, an anthem for Red Sox fans that is played at every home game at least once, and also appears in the gaggeriffic Sox film, "Fever Pitch."

Here's the Youtube of the Standells performing "Dirty Water" (lyrics here):

hat tip to Drudgico, aka Politico

The Mittwit: No Comment Needed

I love a good photo op.

hat tip to Scutiny Hooligans, who got it from Rachel Maddow, who got it from somebody who probably got it from somebody.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Bombard Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker: Set Genarlow Wilson Free

Judge Thomas H. Wilson ruled today that Genarlow Wilson's sentence be set aside and he be released for his time served (27 months).
The judge's ruling Monday threw out Wilson's 10-year sentence and amended it to misdemeanor aggravated child molestation with a 12-month term, plus credit for time served, and he would not be required to register as a sex offender.

"The fact that Genarlow Wilson has spent two years in prison for what is now classified as a misdemeanor, and without assistance from this court, will spend eight more years in prison, is a grave miscarriage of justice," wrote Judge Thomas H. Wilson, who is no relation to Genarlow Wilson.

"If this court or any court cannot recognize the injustice of what has occurred here, then our court system has lost sight of the goal our judicial system has always strived to accomplish ... justice being served in a fair and equal manner," the judge wrote.

The Georgia Attorney General immediately announced that he would appeal the ruling. Thurbert Baker (that's him in the picture) is a Democrat, but he was originally appointed by Zell Miller, so he's no progressive. And this is just idiotic. Under current law, Genarlow Wilson could only get a maximum penalty of six months. He's served 27. What end does it serve for him to rot in jail? The appeal of this ruling is just idiotic. So let's protest, again. As my brother said in an email today, "Bombard these idiots until they get it right!" Here are the telephone and fax numbers of the AGs; below is a link to a contact form that lets you email Georgia governor Sonny Purdue and ask him to remove AG Baker.

Phone: 404-656-3300
FAX: 404-657-8733

Thurbert E. Baker
Attorney General
Phone: 404-656-3300
FAX: 404-657-8733

Jeff L. Milsteen
Chief Deputy Attorney General
Phone: 404-656-3347
FAX: 404-657-8733

Mary Beth Westmoreland
Deputy Attorney General
Criminal Justice Division
Phone: 404-656-3349
FAX: 404-651-6459

Daryl A. Robinson
Counsel to the Attorney General
Phone: 404-651-6194
FAX: 404-651-7676

Russ Willard
Director of Communications
Phone: 404-463-7540
FAX: 404-651-7676

David S. McLaughlin
Special Prosecutions
Phone: 404-651-5805
FAX: 404-651-7676

Trey Ellis, Huffington Post: Save Genarlow Wilson, Remove Attorney General Thurbert Baker

Click here to sent [AG Baker] a message.

When the form asks what is your message choose "other" (the last category) and then type in the box below it "Genarlow Wilson."

Monroe County Judge Rules: Release Genarlow Wilson

It's being reported as breaking news by (Atlanta), MSNBC and CNN; more later.

Hated the End of the Sopranos?

Perhaps you'd have liked the ending of Six Feet Under better:

hat tip Brilliant at Breakfast

To Do List: Be An Activist

De-Authorize the War Now. Sign Bill Richardson's petition to Congress to de-authorize the war before the summer break.

Save the free and open internet. Use the button on the right to send your story to the FCC. The comment period ends June 15th, so don't delay.

Write to Al Gore, if you want him to run for President. Or if you don't. The address of his Nashville office is 2100 W End Ave, Nashville, TN 37203. Sign the petition to draft Al. Check out pictures of the solar panels on the roof of his house here (he had to petition to change the zoning laws to install them!)

Use the Sudan Divestment Task Force's Screening Tool to learn if any of your investments are in the Sudan.

Stop Big Media. Use the links on the right to contact the FCC to protect local media, promote diversity, and stop Rupert Murdoch from taking over the information delivery highway.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Art, or Crap? You Decide


Wikipedia: Fountain by Marcel Duchamp, 1917, photograph by Alfred Stieglitz.

Is it Art, or is it just Plain, Old Crap?

Do you know your Dada from your Moma? Try the quiz and see.

Everyone has got their opinions, but they won't help you here!
For the purposes of this quiz, "art" is something that has been exhibited as such by an artist.

Hat tip to Josie Goes to Pot