Saturday, February 25, 2006

Polling 101

The Gallup News Service has a fine tutorial on polling methodology here. That may or may not have been their intent, but it works as such.

They focus on a controlled CBS News/New York Times poll concerning Bush's authorizing wiretaps of US citizens.

The first question provides a reason for such wire taps.
After 9/11, President Bush authorized government wiretaps on some phone calls in the U.S. without getting court warrants, saying this was necessary in order to reduce the threat of terrorism. Do you approve or disapprove of the president doing this?

53% approve
46% disapprove
1% unsure

The second question provides no suggested justification for such wire taps and predictably elicits slightly different results.
After 9/11, George W. Bush authorized government wiretaps on some phone calls in the U.S. without getting court warrants. Do you approve or disapprove of George W. Bush doing this?

46% approve
50% disapprove
4% unsure

Of course these pollers are attempting to be neutral, as they should, but I wish they could have framed the question differently to see what the results might be.
After 9/11, George W. Bush authorized illegal governmental wiretaps on many phone calls in the U.S. These wiretaps could and might already be targeting you. Do you care if George W. Bush allows this?

Friday, February 24, 2006

A Little game

Start with any republican member of the US House or Senate or any of the Bush regime. Then try to link that person to Jack (the godfather) Abramoff. Unlike 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon, you have to find the link in 3 degrees. So it is 4 people to make the link. Got it? Not too complicated.

For extra credit/extra difficulty like in platform diving, you can start with the Heritage Foundation, Manhattan Institute, American Enterprise Institute, Hoover Institute or the Republican National Committee.

If you want to go for the gold, try to link Abramoff to a member of the US Democratic House or Senate members or the Democratic National Committee.

Couldn't there be any imagination in these names? Change the first word and create a new organizasion. Republican/Democratic...National Committee. Why not call one of them Walter?

I will give you a fair break. If you decide to go for the gold and link Abramoff to a Dem, you get one extra degree. Now you have 4 degrees or 5 people needed to connect to the asshole. Sorry. To connect to the honorable lobbyist. Ouch! it hurt to type that.

When You Have Your Health...

Reality check folks. You can be important and powerful, but that doesn't buy you health. I hope and pray for Governor Pataki. My appendix was removed years ago only minutes before it probably would have burst. Not fun.

*** warning - touchy feely awareness alert ***

If you are healthy you should enjoy it. Live life fully because you never know. Pataki is a very influential guy. How could he not be as Governor of New York, duh. Right now he is a slug in a hospital bed with hospital food, funny smells and nothing to watch on TV and NO COMPUTER [shudder]. Been there, done that and wore out the hospital gown that didn't cover my butt.

I'm fine now. No need to pray for me. On the other hand...

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Demand Paper, Not Touch Screen

This is a complete stolen post from Slashdot. It is something important to all Americans because your vote may or may not count, at least not as much as "someone" else's.
Posted by Zonk on Friday February 24, @09:18AM
from the please-do-not-be-shocked dept.
Security Politics
boot1780 writes "Having 'successfully sued former Palm Beach County (FL) Supervisor of Elections Theresa LePore to get the audit records for the 2004 presidential election,' Black Box Voting reports that the 'internal logs of at least 40 Sequoia touch-screen voting machines reveal that votes were time and date-stamped as cast two weeks before the election, sometimes in the middle of the night.' Besides the date discrepancies, they claim to have discovered countless other errors and anomalies, including a case of one voting machine being 'powered down 128 times during the election'." Given the findings here, can we have a do-over?

Hey, maybe some people voted 2 WEEKS! early because they had other plans. Just saying.

I've warned you. It is the whole post, but you can check it out to make sure I'm not lying.

I Win!

Although DailyKOS has a gajillion hits, his hits break down into three continental groups.

86%..North America
9%...Unknown country

Don't understand it, but my hits are much more interesting.

76%..North America
2%...Unknown country
1%...South America

I just had my 200th hit to DailyKos's millions. Not many people see my site, but I'm very happy the ones who do come from everywhere. This indicates I'm doing something right or have loaded my URL at the right places. lol

The mission (hahaha) of this site is to stir thots wherever. It makes me proud I have visitors from Kenya and Iceland, Croatia and Japan, Chile and France and Malaysia. The internets are world wide and I'm reaching the world. Too kewl!

(update) It seems new visitors are really new. They come from countries I haven't reached yet and I love it. Here is the latest info.

United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
United States

I thank all of you including the "unknowns".

Because I have visitors from so many different lands, if you are not sure what I mean in my posts, please ask. If I mention something that most Americans understand, but you don't, ask me what I mean. I'll do my best to explain.

Partial-birth Abortion Ban

William Saletan has an excellent article in/on/over at (internets confuse me) Slate entitled Never Say Never, The arrogance of the partial-birth abortion ban.

Three days ago, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it would review the constitutionality of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. The announcement signaled a possible rescue of the law, which had been struck down by appellate courts. Pro-lifers rejoiced. Pro-choicers fumed. The press saw it as a possible turning point in the campaign to overturn Roe v. Wade.

He makes the case that the partial-birth abortion ban bill is too simplistic considering the complicated situations concomitant with pregnancies.
Because the justifying scenarios are exceptional, and because the rationales for the procedure are technical, the federal judge who heard testimony in this case [overruling the ban -ed] issued an opinion short on generalizations and long on details. His opinion runs 474 pages. It spends 57 pages reviewing congressional testimony over a nine-year period, and another 278 pages reviewing medical testimony at the trial. It discusses numerous health conditions which, according to doctors who testified, make partial-birth abortion possibly the safest procedure for the woman. It concludes, "The trial evidence establishes that a large and eminent body of medical opinion believes that partial-birth abortions provide women with significant health benefits in certain circumstances." Not all circumstances—just certain ones. (emphasis mine)

Now contrast the above with the thourough and detailed wording of the bill in question.
The ban's authors in Congress, like its defenders in the Bush administration, show no such humility. The nine years of congressional testimony that took 57 pages to describe in the trial court's opinion are boiled down in the ban's text to five pages. Every inconvenient nuance, witness statement, or piece of evidence is obliterated. The word "never" appears 10 times. "Congress finds that partial-birth abortion is never medically indicated to preserve the health of the mother," says the law, offering no details. "These findings reflect the very informed judgment of the Congress that a partial-birth abortion is never necessary to preserve the health of a woman." Who needs information when you've got informed judgment? Who needs sometimes when you've got never? (emphasis mine -ed)

I'll concede the trial judge might have had diarrhea of the word processor, but it is unlikely. Attorneys are taught to say/write exactly what they mean to convey. It took 57 pages to precisely explain the testimony.

The last two sentences belong to Saletan of course and show his snark and style.

Please go read the whole article.

Flu Pandemic

Much worse than that silly bird flu.

Colin Please Talk

I agree with Warren Whipple over at Dingleberry Wine that Colin Powell needs to level with the American people. I too held Powell in very high regard although not so much that he convinced me we had to invade Iraq. It certainly wasn't necessary at that time. Should he have been duped too, as Warren suggests might be the case, I would forgive him, although could never regard him in the same way again.

However any other scenario wouldn't do. Any other scenario would mean Powell was incompetent or a flat out liar just like Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and the usual thugs. His reputation aside, he is out now and probably knowledgable about the whole run-up to the attack and he owes US an explanation.

Warren's piece is very good. Please go over and read it all.


Have only been blogging for a couple months now, but today reached my 200th hit. A great big thank you to all who have visited. An extra special thank you to those of you who come back again and again.

You won't find much profound on this site, but you might see something to make you think. Something else you might find is information no other blogger has because of the hours I blog. I see breaking news when most bloggers are sleeping.

Enough self promotion. This is YOUR post. Thank you again.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Catapulting Propaganda

The thing is it works. By constantly reminding Americans how dangerous Iran is, the Bush regime has made them the most dangerous country in 1/3 of Americans' minds. In a new Gallup poll, Iran is the top vote getter for the first time.
More Americans consider Iran the United States' greatest enemy today than any other country, according to Gallup's annual World Affairs survey. Iraq, North Korea, and China are also mentioned frequently by Americans as the United States' greatest enemy. This poll marks the first time that Iran has topped the list as the United States' greatest enemy; in previous years, Iraq or North Korea ranked first. Republicans are more likely than Democrats, and men are more likely than women, to say Iran is the country's greatest enemy.

The results are:

31% Iran
22% Iraq
15% Korea/North Korea (non-specific)
10% China

I would have voted Canada, but what do I know?

A couple things occur to me. The first is that Bush and the gang haven't catapulted enough about Venezuela yet. They will.

The second thing is, being somewhat anal, I would like to know if "enemy" was defined or if it was left to the subjects to supply their own. Seriously I would have to rate North Korea at the top. They have the potential to draw us into a huge conflict somewhere down the line. Iraq is not an enemy. We aren't fighting Iraq, we are fighting a faction (several now) of its people, but the Iraqi Military is on our side, right?

Now, back to "enemy". If it is economic enemy rather than military enemy, China has to shoot to the top. They have easily leap frogged over Japan in that category. Who'd a thot? Then again, with our agreements with Taiwan...well the potential for problems with China are there, but Bush doesn't worry about any agreements we've signed onto so we're safe for 3 years anyway.

Torture R US

Human Rights First has just issued a report titled “Command's Responsibility: Deaths in U.S. Custody in Iraq and Afghanistan” which details very disturbing information about the 100 detainees who have died since 2002. Their primary focus is, as the title says, on the reponsibility of military commanders. Of the 100 deaths, 34 were homicides under the U.S. military’s definition.
“Looking closely at these cases, we found time and again badly flawed investigations, and a lack of command responsibility for what’s gone wrong – especially in cases where victims were tortured to death. The result across the board has been to create a culture of impunity, where no one, especially not command, is held fully accountable for detainee deaths,” said Deborah Pearlstein, Director of the U.S. Law and Security Program at Human Rights First.

These findings come as no surprise. But something did surprise me because I haven't followed the courts martial very closely.
Despite the high number of homicides and unexplained deaths, only 12 detainee deaths to date have resulted in any kind of punishment for any U.S. official, military or civilian. The report finds that often the more serious the case – particularly those involving people tortured to death – the less severe the punishment; the highest sentence in a torture-related death is five months in prison.

Five months in prison for torturing a human to death! I'm no proponent of the death penalty. I see it as revenge and nothing more and a case could be made that the torturers didn't premeditatedly plan to cause death. But a slap on the wrist like this isn't right.

Speaking of right, it isn't right for the CIA to get a pass. Not just a Get Out of Jail Free card, but an even better Don't Go Near Jail Free card.
Overly broad classification of information and other investigation restrictions have left CIA and Special Forces essentially immune from accountability;[.]

This is the first comprehensive report of its kind.

(read the Executive Summary)
(read the Full Report - warning PDF 1MB)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Porous Port Problems

Got here via Mahablog who linked to

From the LA Times.

Dubai Ports World, like the foreign companies that already run the majority of key U.S. ports — including 80% of the terminals in Los Angeles — does not own the points of entry. It is a contractor that coordinates logistics.

I call bullshit. This is exactly what most people miss..."logistics". By definition, "1 : the aspect of military science dealing with the procurement, maintenance, and transportation of military matériel, facilities, and personnel.". This from Merriam-Webster Online.

Dirty bombs or any bombs for that matter might resonably be considered "military"? The management of the ports includes movement of stuff coming thru the port. If they control that, it makes no difference if Homeland Security is around. They can by-pass them. Managers manage. They give orders and others follow those orders. They can direct incoming containers anywhere they want.

If Dubai were squeeky clean, this might not be a problem, but it is hardly innocent. Two of the 9/11 terrorists were from UAE and it is generally accepted the country's banks funnel money to terrorists. Not good. British companies who now control the ports are trusted allies.

Maybe North Korean companies are excellent managers of ports, but we don't want them involved in our country. I contend UAE is little better, but they do have more oil. [snark]

Another Repug Story

This from slacktivist. It seems Representative Joe Barton (R-TX) is joining in Bush's offense against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez by attacking one of Venezuala's oil companies. You know, the one giving discounts to poor Americans this winter?
Venezuela's Citgo Petroleum Corp. is offering heating oil at a 40 percent discount to low-income families throughout the American Northeast.

Here are some of the words Rep. Barton has used to describe this assistance: "unfriendly," "belligerent," "hostile." Barton is chair of the House Energy Committee, whose spokesperson, Lisa Miller, also chimed in on the fuel assistance for poor families, calling it "obnoxious." Barton and Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., have launched a congressional investigation of Citgo.

No, really.

Citgo is being investigated by the GOP Congress for helping low-income American families. Joe Barton seems to think launching such an investigation -- trying to stop, or at least interfere with, such assistance -- is his job as a member of Congress.

Did I forget to mention Barton has, besides politics, common Republican reasons for being such an asshole? Click slacktivist and get all the info.

Wish I Had Such Talent

This is lifted (read stolen) from NEATORAMA "the neat side of the web!" including Alex's description.

That’s a neat photo of an Airstream trailer, right? Wrong - that’s a photorealistic oil on canvas painting of the famous artist Ralph Goings. -LINK

NEATORAMA is a kewl site to visit when you just want to get away...

Got Your Number(s)

Poll info via

Time Poll conducted by Schulman, Ronca & Bucuvalas (SRBI) Public Affairs. Feb. 15-16, 2006. N=1,001 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.

"Last Saturday Dick Cheney accidentally shot someone in his hunting party when he was quail hunting on a Texas ranch. The news was disclosed to the media almost 24 hours later, when the ranch owner told a local reporter about the accident. In a televised interview today/yesterday Cheney took responsibility for the accident. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the Vice President has handled the situation?"

Approve 52% - Disapprove 42% - Unsure 6%

"Do you think the Vice President should have immediately taken public responsibility for the shooting incident, or not?"

Yes 65% - No 28% - Unsure 7%

So 65 out of 100 think Cheney should have immediately taken public responsibility which he didn't do and that's ok with 52 out of 100. Now let's assume all 42 out of the 100 said he should have taken immediate public responsibility, where did the other 23 people come from? Hell, lets assume the 6 who thot Cheney handled it fine also were in the 65. Where did the other 17 people come from? I detect a little double dipping here. Excuse me, but my head is spinning.

Granted, if the same people were not asked both questions then this all makes sense, but it appears, of the polled group, all were asked both.

Why This Word, Now?

Before I start, no I don't think this is a stretch. A stretch is when Bush says something and it really is true.

Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary catalogues word searches on its site. The number one most frequently referenced word for 2005 is: INTEGRITY.

This word further breaks down to 3; incorruptability, soundness and completeness. Its synonym is HONESTY.

From whom do we ask integrity? Being hypocrites as most of us are, we don't ask it of ourselves. Nope. First and foremost we ask it of our leaders. So during the last year, were people searching for a loop hole so they could still believe their leaders had integrity, incorruptability, soundness and completeness? How about that old "honesty" part?

I surmise most Americans no longer find any of these words compatible with the word "leaders". They feel cheated, lied to, tarnished, afraid and angry. Merriam-Webster confirms it for them. There is no wiggle room within those words. Without modifiers such as "relative", integrity is pretty straightforward.

Oh yes, thank God for I have to carry around my driver's license so I can look up the spelling of my name.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

No More Fear

Beginning now I will no longer use terms such as shrub, the vp, repugs, rethugs, etc. Not that these aren't descriptive and accurate, but for two other reasons.

First is search engines. If you are looking for "Bush budget 2007" you won't "hit" me. I do want your hits because I think I may have something to tell you.

Second is fear. I've spent my whole life, as have you, living with fears. Mine may be the same as yours. They are or were fear of:

My father and don't get me started.
Girls. Overcame much of that one.
Dying with no insurance.
Dying with insurance.
Missing my flight which happened at Narita in Tokyo and resulted in a horrible 24 hour wait.
Carbonless paper.
Internal Revenue Service.
Looking stupid.
Growling dogs.

Enough already. You get the idea.

If I use real names and real organisation names/office titles, I may get a place on the infamous list of 350,000 people who are "watched" by the US government. Maybe I will be denied boarding of a plane or re-entry to the US. Not sure what all could come of it.

However, I think it is clear I have enough fears. Terrorists is not one of them. Hell, where I am it is quite possible my neighbor is a terrorist. I don't know, but it wouldn't surprise me. I don't need another fear and I will not fear the US government. That is not an option. I criticise Bush and his horrible regime and do it because it is my right to do so. Fuck 'em if they can't take the heat (ok, I can't be considered "heat"). Fuck 'em if they don't like what I say.

Most bloggers and commenters already open themselves up to scrutiny and I will use their bravery to bolster my own.

Oh yeah, I still won't capitalise bush, rice, cheney. I will capitalise the offices, but not if I'm referring to "the" vice president. This won't screw up the searches, but it will indicate I have no respect for these people. I respect the Presidency, but not the office holder at all.

Monbiot Twofer

This is an older post from George Monbiot's site, but it is something you should know and most certainly is something your reps in Washington should know. Simply and frightenly put.
Biodiesel enthusiasts have accidentally invented the most carbon-intensive fuel on earth.

How does that sentence grab you considering it is one of the US and other government's objectives to rely more heavily on biofuels?

Two things. 1) Mr Monbiot is British although universal in his ideas. 2) He has so much to tell you that I have yet to see a "short" post from him.

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Big Brother Alert

First let me suggest you often visit George Monbiot's site. This guy is very good.

Anyway his topic this day is Big Brother.
It received just a few column inches in a couple of papers, but the story I read last week looks to me like a glimpse of the future. A company in Ohio called CityWatcher has implanted radio transmitters into the arms of two of its workers. The implants ensure that only they can enter the strongroom. Apparently it is “the first known case in which US workers have been tagged electronically as a way of identifying them”(1).

He then goes on to explain how this might scare us or merely worry us now, it won't be long until it will be "voluntary" and seem perfectly normal to us.

Democrats Lead Poll Shows

According to the latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup survey, 50% of registered voters would vote for the Democrat and 43% would vote for the Republican in their district. However, Gallup's experience says an 11 point lead is necessary for the Dems to capture the House.

No Theft This Time

I give full credit to the other two sites and direct you there. Take a look at this at Dependable Renegade via Think Progress.

I'll just sit here, mouth open and shake my head.

Fratboy At It Again

I stole this photo from Dependable Renegade. who got it from Agence France-Presse. Did a little lousy Gimping (Linuxspeak for PhotoShoping). Couldn't resist the urge. Nor could shrub.

Monday, February 20, 2006


A fascinating download that gives you a 3-D walk-thru of Gitmo.

Hate Halliburton Much?

In case you needed more reason to hate Halliburton, well, I've got it for you. Actually it is Bob Geiger who has it.

Too Scary

I wonder if Jim Jones' decendents are involved.

via Brilliant at Breakfast.

The Woes of Hamas

Time magazine online has an article entitled How Will Hamas Rule? In the article they mention that shrub is insistent he will not send funds to a Hamas led government - $1.1 billion last year. In fact he has already ordered them to return some foreign aid already sent. And he won't deal with them.

--unless the group renounces violence and recognizes the Jewish state.

Renounce violence, maybe, but recognise Isreal? Not likely.

In an earlier post I made a case for Hamas' not having a chance to rule. How can any government rule when almost no one, including their neighbor won't deal with them and a huge chunk of their annual income dries up?

We may never know how or in what manner Hamas will operate. They may be DOA.

Joe Someone I Think

A new Gallup poll asked people if they could name six world leaders. The leaders were the presidents of Russia and Mexico, the prime minister of Great Britain, the chancellor of Germany, the leader of Cuba, and the U.S. secretary of state. Here are the results.

70% named the Leader of Cuba

56% named the U.S. secretary of state

54% named the Prime minister of Great Britain

37% named the President of Russia

29% named the President of Mexico

4% named the Chancellor of Germany

Where would someone have to hide to not know Fidel Castro?

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Spreading Rot

This story is a few days old, but doesn't seem to get any traction. This is how a democracy begins to rot. A little here, a little there and pretty soon you have a rancid government.

It seems a typo caused the House and Senate to vote into law two slightly different versions of the new budget bill. Under the Constitution, the versions must be exactly the same.
Last Monday, Alabama Republican activist and lawyer Jim Zeigler announced that he had filed a lawsuit asking that the act be declared unconstitutional because the versions of the bill approved by the House and Senate are different.


"An eighth grader in civics class knows that a bill cannot become law unless the identical bill passes the House and Senate and is signed by the president," Zeigler said in a statement announcing the suit. "Congressmen did not read the bill, and they made a serious, foolish mistake. The Senate bill says patients dependent on medical equipment such as oxygen get to live for 13 months. The House bill says they get to live 36 months."

Zeigler says "gets to live" because the bill limits Medicare payments for medical equipment rentals to 36 months in the House version (the error) and 13 months in the corrected Senate version.

So the Senate came up with the bright idea to just ignore the Constition and send the bill to shrub.
After news of the purported error became public, the Senate approved a resolution correcting the problem that was subsequently refused by House democrats who want a new vote on the entire legislation.

Do I have this right? The people who make our laws don't give a rat's ass about the Constitution? They violate the Constitution by taking away the House's right to re-vote. Now everyone is usurping power.

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Good Site

If you haven't already, please consider adding Brilliant at Breakfast to your aggregator. Always good stuff there.

Cartoon Violence is NOT Predictable?

Why can't people realise Mohammad is sacred to Muslims? In the West it is acceptable to "joke" about Jesus, but that is our culture and not the East or Middle East way of thinking. ANY depiction of Mohammad is just wrong for the Muslim faith.

Acceptance of our siblings in other cultures and religions requires a modicum of understanding of others' values and Westerners are showing ignorance of Muslims' beliefs.

Publish unflattering, or any image of Mohammad and you will inflame a large number of the worlds' people. Free speech is not the right to enrage Muslims, Blacks, Jews or any other segment of society. Use your common sense if you are an editor. Do the right thing from now on.

Then I read this.

Teh Lazy Bloggers

What is it with this? It seems most bloggers took Sunday off. My guess is there were about 10% of the normal volume of posts. Shame on you guys/gals. Don't you know your fans crave your insights? I wash my hands of you slackers.

Ok, to be fair, maybe conservative bloggers were at their keyboards, but I wouldn't know because I didn't visit any of their sites.

But you progressives are not carrying your weight. You can't expect an idiot like me to take up the slack. Buckle up.

Sunday, February 19, 2006


I'm new at this blogging. If you visit my site, please comment. I value your suggestions/analysis/insight and will use all to improve. Yea, I'm a damn blogger and will post what I want, but constructive criticism is always welcome and I love link suggestions.

If you don't have a blog you probably don't realise how difficult it is to blog. I have no assistants to help me cruz other blogs and many news feeds. If you have a link to an interesting news story, please let me know.

I would also suggest you visit my blogroll buddies. I regularly try to peruse these sites because they are interesting and informative. You will probably like their work...or not. Your choice.

Oh yes, if you visit, please sign my guest book. Hahaha. Only kidding. I have no guest book.

Damn, I Missed It!

The Rolling Stones in Rio.

Things Do Not Look Good

Israel decided in their weekly cabinet meeting that they will halt transfer of funds to the Hamas-led Palestinian government immediately. Customs duties alone, collected by Israel for Palestinians, are substantial.
[A]bout $50 million a month or about one-third of the Palestinian Authority's annual budget.

And the chances of peaceful coexistence don't look good at all.
During the meeting, Israeli Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ruled out any contact with the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas)and the Hamas-led Palestinian government, which he said would become a "terrorist" entity.


Speaking of Israel's future ties with the PNA, Olmert said it "will not hold contacts with a regime in which Hamas takes part, be it marginal, significant or all-encompassing."

I think I'll stop here before I get angry.

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