Saturday, January 12, 2008

I'm Less of a Threat

So why do I keep having to take off my shoes in airports?

Yesterday Michael (Skeletor) Chertoff announced the next federal step towards a national ID (called "Real ID", like my passport isn't a real ID. Please.). States have until May 31 to agree to go along with the federal rules for IDs that would be necessary a) to get into federal buildings, and b) to fly. But there are different compliance dates, based on the age of the person to whom the license is being issued. Why is this?

The schedule released Friday calls for compliant licenses for everyone under 50 by May 11, 2014, and for those 50 and over, by Dec. 1, 2017.

The Homeland Security Department decided this would lower costs, according to Mr. Chertoff. He called it “risk management,” saying older people were less likely to be terrorists.

So, again I ask, if I'm less likely to be a terrorist, why am I taking my shoes off in airports?

This is just spinning their wheels. Nothing gets done before Bush leaves office, and the national ID is deeply unpopular. Hopefully a Democratic president will scuttle this waste of money. It reminds me of Nazi Germany: Papers, please? Or Casablanca and the letters of transit. No one will be able to travel without a Real ID, and the black market for counterfeit IDs will become even more lucrative.

Democratic Ads

John Edwards, ad running in South Carolina:

Hillary, ad running in South Carolina and Nevada:

Obama, ad running in Nevada:

hat tip to Hotline on Call

Rudy In Freefall

Smell the desperation: Mr. "Immigrants Should Speak English" releases Spanish ad in Florida

Yesterday it was announced that Rudy Giuliani's senior campaign staff ("voluntarily", right) wouldn't be paid for the month of January. Not a good sign. He has also pulled all his paid staff out of Michigan and South Carolina. But it's not helping. In the most recent CNN poll, Rudy is third in Florida with 18%, far behind McCain at 34% and trailing even no money, no organization Mike Huckabee at 21%.

I think it's over for Giuliani, and the writing's been on the wall for some time. However, he still has a few days left to make his signature gaffes. Like this one (from Newsday, via firedoglake):

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - Rudy Giuliani loves baseball, but does he know the game?

According to a clip played by sports reporter Jared Max on WCBS-AM Thursday morning, Giuliani spoke about the impact of the steroids scandal on the pursuit of the record for all-time most home runs by Yankee slugger Alex Rodriguez.

"Is Bobby Bonds' record a legitimate record that A-Rod should be shooting for," Giuliani asked, "or should A-Rod be judged by the Babe Ruth standard, assuming A-Rod did not take steroids?"

A good question, except Bobby Bonds, long retired from baseball, is the late father of the current homerun record holder, Barry Bonds. It's Barry who is accused of using steroids, though he denies it.

And if Barry Bonds is stripped of his record, it reverts not to Babe Ruth, who had 714 home runs, but Hank Aaron, the former Atlanta player who hit 755 before retiring years ago.

He should have stuck to his usual "Noun, verb, 9/11" script.

Here are some of the headlines in the media about Rudy's flailing campaign:

LATimes: Giuliani is feeling the squeeze
Some staffers forgo their pay as the GOP presidential hopeful bets heavily on a victory in Florida.

Miami Herald: Salary cuts dull Giuliani message

The Weekly Standard: The Giuliani Implosion
From frontrunner to also-ran in eight short weeks.

Melbourne (AUS) Sun:
Rudy Giuliani's nomination snub gamble backfires
ONE-time Republican frontrunner Rudy Giuliani's high-stakes gamble of bypassing the early presidential nominating contests has stamped a "big L" for loser on his forehead.

Later that day; edited to spell "desperation" correctly, I hope.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Perfectly Normal

It's thundering outside my windows, in January...

and it snowed in Baghdad today, for the first time in almost 100 years.

But there's no global warming.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Wear Orange on Friday

ACLU: Close Guantanamo

JANUARY 11, 2008, is the six-year anniversary of the first arrival of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay.

On January 11, we are calling on everyone opposed to torture and indefinite detention to WEAR ORANGE to symbolize their sadness and disgust with the national shame that is Guantánamo Bay.

Sign the Pledge

Talking Points

We Love Lists 10 Creepiest Old Ads

hat tip to BlogsNow

Kerry Endorses Obama

Erik S. Lesser for The New York Times

Senator John Kerry endorsed the presidential candidacy of Senator Barack Obama on Thursday at a rally in Charleston, S.C.

John Kerry announced in South Carolina today that he is endorsing Barack Obama. More importantly, he is giving him the enormous email list (3,000,000 strong) he developed during his 2004 Presidential campaign.

More emails for me! I'm on both lists already.

This is not really a surprise. Kerry and Edwards have had a strained relationship (Elizabeth Edwards' book says John Edwards wanted to contest the results in Ohio in 2004, but was overruled by Kerry who took his $16 million and went home), and Hillary Clinton called Kerry's botched jokes about education or Iraq "inappropriate".

Ron Paul's Racist Newsletters

I continue to describe Ron Paul as "Right on the war, wrong on everything else."

The New Republic: Angry White Man
The Bigoted Past of Ron Paul

The New Republic: Selections From Ron Paul's Newsletters (At this link, you can click on pdf files that show the actual newsletters.)

The Newsletters: Since at least 1978, Ron Paul has attached his name to a series of newsletters--Ron Paul's Freedom Report, Ron Paul Political Report, The Ron Paul Survival Report, and The Ron Paul Investment Letter--that frequently made outrageous statements:


"A Special Issue on Racial Terrorism" analyzes the Los Angeles riots of 1992: "Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks three days after rioting began. ... What if the checks had never arrived? No doubt the blacks would have fully privatized the welfare state through continued looting. But they were paid off and the violence subsided."

The November 1990 issue of the Political Report had kind words for David Duke.

This newsletter describes Martin Luther King Jr. as "a world-class adulterer" who "seduced underage girls and boys" and "replaced the evil of forced segregation with the evil of forced integration."

The January 1991 edition of the Political Report refers to King as a "world-class philanderer who beat up his paramours" and a "flagrant plagiarist with a phony doctorate."

A February 1991 newsletter attacks "The X-Rated Martin Luther King."

An October 1990 edition of the Political Report ridicules black activists, led by Al Sharpton, for demonstrating at the Statue of Liberty in favor of renaming New York City after Martin Luther King. The newsletter suggests that "Welfaria," "Zooville," "Rapetown," "Dirtburg," and "Lazyopolis" would be better alternatives--and says, "Next time, hold that demonstration at a food stamp bureau or a crack house
Group News Blog: The End of Ron Paul

Majikthise: Reporter unearths racist comments in pre-1999 Ron Paul newsletters

Iranian Gunships Incident Probably Faked

United States Navy, via Getty Images

The United States Navy released this photograph of a speedboat suspected of being from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Navy maneuvering near three Navy warships on Sunday in the Strait of Hormuz. The United States has said five armed Iranian speedboats confronted the warships. (NYTimes)

dailykos: Strait of Hormuz Incident: almost certainly a fake

The Pentagon released footage of a supposed Iranian encroachment on a US warship that occurred on Sunday. You can watch it here, below, yourself. The tipoff is the audio; while the Iranians were supposedly in gunships with outboard motors (on a lake here in Massachusetts we'd call these powerboats), there is no motor noise in the background (listen from about 2:20 forward); and then there is the Borat-ish accent of the supposed Iranian.

How convenient for Commander Codpiece that this purported incident occurs just before he heads to the Middle East.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Everybody To Get From Street

Slaty-backed gull: The Superior Waters Project

The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming!

Boston Globe: Flock's foray from Siberia inspires local delight

A group of Russians landed unnoticed on the Massachusetts coast recently, saying little as they scouted the area for a possible occupation. But with their bright pink legs and distinctive wing markings, the slaty-backed gulls could not maintain their cover.

The local bird-watching community is atwitter over the first known Massachusetts sightings of the species, which usually nests on Russia's frigid eastern coast and winters in northeast Asia.

David Sibley of Concord was the first to spot the gull, at Jodrey State Fish Pier in Gloucester on Dec. 23.

"It's always a thrill to find a bird that rare," said Sibley, an artist who has written several authoritative bird books. "There's something really special about that feeling of discovery."

Wayne Petersen of the Massachusetts Audubon Society sighted a second gull on Coast Guard Beach in Eastham an hour later. Later, others sighted a third slaty-backed gull in Gloucester.

Sibley said the gull stands out from local species because of its leg color, an extra bit of white on its wing tips, its slate-gray back, and brown streaking on its head. Petersen said the bird has been sighted in the last two decades across the United States, as far southeast as Florida. The gulls may be looking for property; gull populations, in general, have been on the rise.

Sibley said more slaty-backed gulls could visit in the future. "This could be the beginning of the invasion," he said.

Extreme Weather: South Asia

BBCNews: Deadly blizzards bring Asia chaos

Heavy snow and bitterly cold weather have caused scores of deaths and major disruption in parts of Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asia and Pakistan.

Some areas have seen snow for the first time in years, with people struggling to keep warm in sub-zero temperatures amid power shortages.

In Iran, heavy snow over recent days has seen eight people frozen to death after being trapped in their cars.

Tens of thousands of other motorists were rescued from their vehicles.

Some desert areas in Iran reported snowfalls for the first time in living memory.

BBCNews: Dozens killed in Iran blizzards

Dr. Robert Jarvik Not a Medical Doctor

Dr. Robert Jarvik, inventor of the Jarvik artificial heart.

I hear his voice on TV almost every night shilling for Lipitor, the cholesterol medication. "Dr. Robert Jarvik". They always say his name this way. I always assumed he was a medical doctor. Otherwise, why would they introduce him this way in a commercial for a medication? A doctor says it's good. That's what I heard.

But he's not a medical doctor, he's an engineer with a medical degree who has never practiced medicine a day in his life.

Congress is now investigating this as potential fraud.

International Herald Tribune (AP): Congress questions Jarvik's Lipitor lip service, credentials as part of celebrity-pitch probe

Why Hillary Won

That's the big question today, as all the polling leading up to yesterday's vote indicated that Barack Obama would win New Hampshire.

Here are my theories:

1. New Hampshire is essentially a conservative state. Hillary is the more conservative of the two candidates.

2. Independents listened to the pre-vote polls and went for McCain, reasoning that Obama already had it locked up.

3. Women were PISSED at how Hillary got treated, both by the media and by the other candidates.

- The Heathers on the bus incident. Hillary took coffee & bagels to the reporters covering her in Iowa and was greeted with stony silence (and contempt, really) by that adolescent-acting group.

- Chris (Heather) Matthews berating her at a campaign event, then pinching her cheek. Ewww. Rachel Maddow told him to his face on MSNBC last night that in the eyes of some that turned the voters to Hillary.

- In the Saturday night debate, Charlie (Heather) Gibson asked her why voters found her less likeable than Obama. She replied "That hurts my feelings, but I'll try to go on" and Obama without looking up from his notes said "You're likeable enough, Hillary." Ouch.

- She choked up while talking the day before the vote, and when the media went to John Edwards for a response he said this:

John Edwards was asked in Lakeport about reports that Hillary had teared up.

“I really don’t have anything to say about that,” he said. “I think what we need in a commander in chief is strength and resolve, and presidential campaigns are a tough business, but being president of the United States is also a very tough business. And the president of the United States is faced with very very difficult challenges every single day, difficult judgments every single day. What I know is that I’m prepared for that, and I’m in this fight for the middle class, for the future of this country, for the long haul.”

- I received this Katha Pollit post on the Nation blog and this Gloria Steinem article from the New York Times in email on the day of the primary, both being circulated to groups of professional women. Hillary won women by double digits; they (we) were pissed. She's not my candidate, and I hated the way she got treated.

4. Hillary turned women voters in her favor over these incidents. Even if Obama had similarly "turned" the minority vote, it would have had negligible impact on the vote, as New Hampshire is 96.1% white (pdf file). He had no voting bloc to turn.

5. Obama lost his voice -- literally, he was having trouble speaking -- during the last three days of the campaign. His speeches, croaked, were no longer as inspiring.

6. Nothing changed. The results were the same as they would have been before Iowa; it's just that the media lost their collective mind in the ensuing five days and predicted a big jump in Obama support that just wasn't there.

7. The Bradley (also known as Wilder) effect; voters telling pollsters they would vote for a black candidate, then not doing it.

Those are my theories. Any to add?

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Deep Thought

Maybe for the next primary, the media should wait until after the votes are in to tell us it's over? Just a thought.

She's not my candidate, but I'm glad Hillary won just to stick it to the media who hate her so. Hillary 1, Heathers 0.

We Need Universal Healthcare

We need national healthcare. We all should have the same access to healthcare as Dick Cheney (CheneyCare, as the California Nurses Association calls it). We need to get the for-profit insurance companies out of the picture, because they are killing us. Over 100,000 Americans die each year who would be alive if they lived in France, Japan or Australia.

Reuters: France best, U.S. worst in preventable death ranking

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - France, Japan and Australia rated best and the United States worst in new rankings focusing on preventable deaths due to treatable conditions in 19 leading industrialized nations, researchers said on Tuesday.

If the U.S. health care system performed as well as those of those top three countries, there would be 101,000 fewer deaths in the United States per year,
according to researchers writing in the journal Health Affairs.

dailykos: Each year, 101,000 Americans die needlessly because they're not French

dailykos: Medical Crisis: The Shape Of Things To Come

Congratulations to Kristine Lilly

She's pregnant! She says she's not retiring, but I have to wonder about that. She will be 37 in July. And I wonder who will be the new captain of the National Team? Abby Wambach?

ussoccer: U.S. Women's National Team Legend Kristine Lilly Will Not Play in 2008
- World's All-Time Cap Leader is Expecting Her First Child

CHICAGO (January 7, 2008) – Kristine Lilly, the captain of the U.S. Women’s National Team for the last three years, will not play international soccer in 2008 as she is expecting her first child with husband David Heavey, a firefighter in Brookline, Mass.

The news means that Lilly, who has played in every Women’s World Cup and Olympics ever contested by the United States (eight total tournaments) will not play in the 2008 Olympics should the USA qualify in April. Lilly is due in July.

“I’m not closing any doors as far as soccer,” said Lilly, who has played 340 games for the USA. “I hope to play in the new league and if one day I get the chance to play for (new U.S. head coach) Pia (Sundhage), that would be fantastic. But for now, I’m focusing on becoming a mom for the first time and everything that goes with that experience.”

SoccerAmerica: U.S. captain Kristine Lilly to skip Olympics

Bush Administration To Sacrifice Polar Bears To Big Oil

The Bush Administration announced yesterday that it will miss tomorrow's deadline on listing polar bears as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. No surprise, this is political. Bushco wants to grant an oil & gas lease for a 29-million-acre area of the Chukti Sea in Alaska.

If the polar bear is an endangered species, the Interior Department would have to consider the impact on the polar bear's habitat, and the sale probably doesn't go through. So they will grant the oil & gas lease, then list the polar bear as endangered: too late for the Chukti Sea region, though. Hello to more pollution and global warming, goodbye more polar bears.

While the comment period about the endangered species determination is closed, you can always blast the Interior Dept. for delaying the decision. Use this address to contact Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne:

Get involved

The official comment period for whether the polar bear should be considered a threatened species is closed. However, you can share your opinion about the newly announced delay by contacting the U.S. Department of the Interior, which oversees the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Who: Dirk Kempthorne, secretary of the interior

Address: 1849 C St. NW, Washington, DC 20240

Phone: (202) 208-3100 or (800) 344-9453

Log comments at:

San Francisco Chronicle: Groups cite oil leases in U.S. delay on rating polar bear's status

Environmental groups fear that political meddling and a rush to sell oil leases in Arctic waters are behind the Bush administration's announcement Monday that it will miss a legal deadline to determine whether to list the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act.


Environmental groups fear that the polar bear decision has been purposefully delayed to allow a first-time oil lease sale to go forward Feb. 6 in Alaska's pristine Chukchi Sea, which provides one-tenth of the habitat for the world's polar bears.

Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, criticized the administration's decision to proceed with the 29 million-acre lease sale in the Chukchi.

"On the one hand, the Interior Department is dragging its feet on protecting the polar bear, while opening up new oil and gas drilling in sensitive polar bear habitats on the other," Markey said in a statement.

Andrew Wexler, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council in Chicago, said, "The one-month delay comes at a time that is very fortuitous for oil and gas companies that want to drill in the Chukchi."

If the bear were listed before the lease-sale decision, Interior Department's Minerals Management Service might have to delay or stop the sale, Wexler said.

Melanie Duchin, a Greenpeace campaigner in Alaska, agreed that the delay is highly suspect.

"You can't both protect the bear's habitat and drill in it at the same time," Duchin said.

"The sale would set up a one-two punch for the polar bear. On one hand, it would expose the bears to oil spills and all manner of industrial disturbance that comes along with exploration, drilling and transportation. Once those fossil fuels are burned, they exacerbate global warming and melt the polar bear's sea-ice habitat," she said.

More Extreme Weather - Tornadoes in January


The warm weather is headed east, though hopefully the tornadoes will not follow. It was already in the 50s when I took my garbage to the curb this morning. Note that the authors of this AP article, about out-of-season tornadoes reported in six midwest states, and daily temperature records being smashed by 5 and 10 degrees, never mention global warming or climate change. "Unseasonable" is as far as the Weather Service meterologist goes in describing these dramatic events; the AP writers call it "making history". I call it the extremes of global warming.

YahooNews (AP): Rare winter tornadoes rake Midwest

WHEATLAND, Wis. - A freak cluster of tornadoes raked across an unseasonably warm Midwest, demolishing houses, knocking railroad cars off their tracks and even temporarily halting justice in one courthouse.

Record temperatures were reported across much of the country Monday, and storms continued to pummel the nation's midsection as darkness fell. More warmth and storms were in store for Tuesday.

Tornadoes were reported or suspected Monday in southwest Missouri, southeastern Wisconsin, Arkansas, Illinois and Oklahoma. Two people were killed in Missouri.

Eleven houses in Wisconsin's Kenosha County were destroyed, five others had heavy damage and four had moderate damage, authorities said. About 13 people were injured, none seriously.

"I have never seen damage like this in the summertime when we have potential for tornadoes," Sheriff David Beth said. "To see something like this in January is mind-boggling to me. This is just unimaginable to me."


Meteorologists said the unusual weather was the result of warm, moist air moving from the south. It brought temperatures hovering near 70 degrees on Sunday and Monday.

"It's very unseasonable for this time of year," said National Weather Service meteorologist Benjamin Sipprell. "The atmosphere is just right."


Elsewhere, the heat was making history. By about noon Monday, Chicago's temperature already had hit 64 degrees, breaking a previous record-high of 59 degrees set on Jan. 7, 1907, according to the weather service.

The high in Buffalo, N.Y., of 59 degrees beat the old record for the date by 5 degrees.
The high was 66 in Toledo, Ohio, a record that led some University of Toledo students to stroll to class in T-shirts, flip-flops and shorts. In New Jersey, the Atlantic City International Airport recorded a high of 68 degrees, breaking a 10-year-old record by 10 degrees.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Decision Day In New Hampshire

Decision, decisions:


Daniella Zalcman, flckr

Or this:

Daniella Zalcman, flckr

I'm still not sure how I would vote.

Looks Up To See Curb

Two days after Christmas, former Congressman John Sweeney refused to pay a cab fare after a late night ride home from a strip club. Later, someone with a brain in his family went down to the cab company and paid the fare (with a little something extra for the cabbie) and the cab co. dropped the complaint.

The cab cost $80. Maybe he spent all his money at the club? Source: cops called after Sweeney cab ride

hat tip to Talking Points Memo

The Mittwit 'Marched' 'With' Martin Luther King

I'm sure you read this latest Multiple Choice Mitt claim last week. First he said his dad George Romney marched with Martin Luther King. Then it turned out that the Mittwit had claimed to march with Martin Luther King himself!

"My father and I marched with Martin Luther King Jr. through the streets of Detroit."

Boston Herald, 1978 interview (as reported by the Boston Globe)

The Mittwit was forced to admit this was not true. (He didn't admit the lie himself; he had his campaign put out a statement: 'Yesterday, Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom acknowledged that was not true. "Mitt Romney did not march with Martin Luther King," he said in an e-mail statement to the Globe.') So Multiple Choice Mitt has been a liar for decades.

On hearing the news about him claiming George marched with MLK (we hadn't heard of the Herald interview yet) my brother & I began texting each other. My brother is a better texter than me and actually spells things write (Freudian slip!) & uses capitals and punctuation.

me: & mittwit's dad marched w/ m l king - not. pathological liar

BRO: That dude will say ANYTHING to get elected

me: he's big papi's father

BRO: Paul Revere changed his name from Romney

me: planted landmines while in france

BRO: Personally tore down the Berlin wall

me: built great wall of china

BRO: Spent a decade ministering to untouchables in Calcutta

me: son of god

BRO: Freed the slaves

me: will turn hillary to pillar of salt

BRO: Once escaped from chains and straitjacket and locked trunk submerged beneath frozen river.

BRO: Invented light bulb one morning, hypothesized theory of relativity that afternoon, cured polio that night.

me: ascended to heaven afterward

BRO: Planning to come again in glory to judge the living and the dead; also making longer-term plans for "kingdom that has no end"

BRO: Wrote the Magna Charta, built the pyramids, mapped the human genome, invented astroturf

me: mittwit invents fake grass - perfect

Chimp's Economy Lifts All Boats

In England, that is.

BBCNews: Britons 'richer than Americans'

The average UK person will this year have a greater income than their US counterpart for the first time since the 19th Century, figures suggest.

Analyst Oxford Economics said the UK's GDP per head of population will reach £23,500 - £250 higher than in the US. The average UK person will this year have a greater income than their US counterpart for the first time since the 19th Century, figures suggest.


Mr Cooper [of Oxford Economics] said: "The UK has been catching up steadily with living standards in the US since 2001, so it is a well-established trend rather than simply the result of currency fluctuations."

Heckuva job, George.

hat tip to Attaturk at Eschaton.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Birders Document Global Warming Changes

Thomas McDonald for The New York Times
A saw-whet owl in an evergreen tree.

A story from last week's New York Times on the Audubon Society's annual Christmas bird count and how global warming has effected where birds are wintering:

NYTimes: The Binocular Brigade

John Flicker, president of the National Audubon Society, has called birds “the canary in the coal mine — a sign that something is going on” in terms of environmental change.

National Audubon recently issued its WatchList 2007, a periodic synthesis of data for the United States that takes into account current species’ population size, population trends, range size of a species and threats to a spread of populations. According to Dr. Greg Butcher, National Audubon’s director of bird conservation, there are 10 regional species on the WatchList’s urgent list and some 37 regional species on the cautionary list.

“The worst of it is definitely in the future,” Dr. Butcher said. Among other things, “we’re worried about the coastal species in 50 to 100 years.”

Geoffrey S. LeBaron, national director of the bird count, elaborated. Should ocean levels rise in coming decades, he said, the already endangered piping plover that nests on Jones Beach and elsewhere, for one, would be particularly vulnerable.

Mr. LeBaron calls forest species the future’s “wild card.” Common, adaptable species with habitats near the human population will probably be relatively unaffected, he said.

For now, there is unease, if not panic, among the New York region’s birders.

Julian Sproule, president of the Saugatuck Valley Audubon Society, in Wilton, Conn., also serves on birding boards at the state level and has a broader perspective on how climate change affects the region. He points to a study led by Alan Hitch, a wildlife expert at Auburn University, that clearly documents a northward trend among certain species. The familiar northern cardinal, Mr. Sproule said, and the Carolina wren are wintering here.

Scott Heth, president of the Sharon Audubon Society in Connecticut, said, “We’re pretty sure that has to do with climate change.” Green herons are atypically wintering in Orient. Mockingbirds, Baltimore orioles, egrets and some hummingbirds are wintering around New York.

Moreover, some birdwatchers lament the loss of habitat throughout the area. It is considered “at least as important as climate change” to species depletion, said Lawrence Trachtenberg, who watches from Westchester.

Dr. Butcher said that habitat loss, caused by “the tremendous growth of the megalopolis” around New York, has already caused the demise of the northern bobwhite, and “has had a pretty dramatic effect” on kestrel populations as well as other species here.

Mike Huckabee, Among Other Faults, Is A Dope

I linked to this video before, but it's still a classic. Canadian comedian Ric Mercer interviews Americans asking false questions about Canada. Watch the first two minutes to see Mike Huckabee opine on Canada's National Igloo. Really.

A Pox on Bipartisanship

hat tip to Digby: Partisan Bickering (via Sideshow & C&L)

George McGovern: Chimpeach

George McGovern, WaPo: Why I Believe Bush Must Go
Nixon Was Bad. These Guys Are Worse.

As we enter the eighth year of the Bush-Cheney administration, I have belatedly and painfully concluded that the only honorable course for me is to urge the impeachment of the president and the vice president.

After the 1972 presidential election, I stood clear of calls to impeach President Richard M. Nixon for his misconduct during the campaign. I thought that my joining the impeachment effort would be seen as an expression of personal vengeance toward the president who had defeated me.

Today I have made a different choice.

Of course, there seems to be little bipartisan support for impeachment. The political scene is marked by narrow and sometimes superficial partisanship, especially among Republicans, and a lack of courage and statesmanship on the part of too many Democratic politicians. So the chances of a bipartisan impeachment and conviction are not promising.

But what are the facts?

Bush and Cheney are clearly guilty of numerous impeachable offenses. They have repeatedly violated the Constitution. They have transgressed national and international law. They have lied to the American people time after time. Their conduct and their barbaric policies have reduced our beloved country to a historic low in the eyes of people around the world. These are truly "high crimes and misdemeanors," to use the constitutional standard.

From the beginning, the Bush-Cheney team's assumption of power was the product of questionable elections that probably should have been officially challenged -- perhaps even by a congressional investigation.

In a more fundamental sense, American democracy has been derailed throughout the Bush-Cheney regime. The dominant commitment of the administration has been a murderous, illegal, nonsensical war against Iraq. That irresponsible venture has killed almost 4,000 Americans, left many times that number mentally or physically crippled, claimed the lives of an estimated 600,000 Iraqis (according to a careful October 2006 study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health) and laid waste their country. The financial cost to the United States is now $250 million a day and is expected to exceed a total of $1 trillion, most of which we have borrowed from the Chinese and others as our national debt has now climbed above $9 trillion -- by far the highest in our national history.

All of this has been done without the declaration of war from Congress that the Constitution clearly requires, in defiance of the U.N. Charter and in violation of international law. This reckless disregard for life and property, as well as constitutional law, has been accompanied by the abuse of prisoners, including systematic torture, in direct violation of the Geneva Conventions of 1949.

I have not been heavily involved in singing the praises of the Nixon administration. But the case for impeaching Bush and Cheney is far stronger than was the case against Nixon and Vice President Spiro T. Agnew after the 1972 election. The nation would be much more secure and productive under a Nixon presidency than with Bush. Indeed, has any administration in our national history been so damaging as the Bush-Cheney era?


Impeachment is unlikely, of course. But we must still urge Congress to act. Impeachment, quite simply, is the procedure written into the Constitution to deal with presidents who violate the Constitution and the laws of the land. It is also a way to signal to the American people and the world that some of us feel strongly enough about the present drift of our country to support the impeachment of the false prophets who have led us astray. This, I believe, is the rightful course for an American patriot.