Saturday, June 10, 2006

Diplomacy Anyone?

Iran isn't buying into the proposal offered to them without scrutiny and possible counter offers. Which is exactly what diplomacy is.
Iran said it has started to study the West's offer to resolve the nuclear crisis and could make counter-proposals through shuttle diplomacy, as Iraq mounted a mediation effort.

"We have opened the package, and we are studying it, and afterwards we will officially reply to the Europeans," Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki was quoted as saying following talks with Palestinian counterpart Mahmud al-Zahar.

"We hope ... a shuttle diplomacy will be started for the Islamic republic's proposals in the form of amendments or counter-proposals to be studied seriously by the Europeans," he added.

"We are in favour of discussions which are fair, unbiased and without preconditions, that will result in an understanding satisfactory for all sides," he said.

Hmmm. Don't think I've taken a stand on all this except to say I think Bush will attack Iran and Iran is continually making it more likely to occurr.

So here goes. If Iran does develop nuclear weapons, which I suspect is inevitable, we'll be able to cope. We've lived with many countries who've nuclear capabilities and survived. It isn't a great world to live in, but it can be managed. Although I doubt Bush could handle it, but he'll be gone.

At this juncture, with Bush in office, if I were a country I'd be afraid to not have nuclear weapons and ICBMs.

(read more)

Shit! Now Tanzania Has To Build A Border Fence

Illegals everywhere. And they aren't all brown.
A British national has been detained in Tanzania for working illegally in the country despite explanations and warnings from the country's immigration department, according to reports reaching here on Saturday.

The Briton, identified as Clifford Len Hunt, was held for working with a road construction firm using a tourist's visa. The detention was made on Friday at Clifford's office.

The 72-year-old engineer has been working since last year with the firm that was contracted to build a road between Dodoma and Manyoni.

At 72, I say give the guy a pass.

(read more)

Beginning Of The Ugly Season?

A tropical wave in the Caribbean has formed.
The National Hurricane Center is keeping watch on a tropical wave that has been developing in the northwestern Caribbean for the past two days. As of 9:30 p.m. CDT, the system's barometric pressure was continuing to drop, and a center of circulation had formed.

While currently consisting of a broad band of thunderstorms, this system could organize into a tropical depression or even strengthen into a tropical storm over the next 12-24 hours as it moves toward the Gulf of Mexico. Forecasters are alerting the southeastern Gulf Coast to keep an eye on the system.

As you can see in the image above, a tropical wave drops tons of rain. Only the high winds are missing as would happen in a hurricane.

(read more)

Murtha's Plans

The story is everywhere and is generating various "takes" on it, so here's mine, but first "the story".
Democrats are months away from elections to decide control of the House, but the prospect of grabbing the majority in November is bringing out ambition and division in the party ranks.

Representative John P. Murtha, a Pennsylvanian who has become a leading Democratic voice against the Iraq war, surprised many colleagues Friday by circulating a letter announcing that he would be a candidate for majority leader should his party gain 15 or more seats to topple Republicans from power.

"If we prevail, as I hope and know we will, and return to the majority this next Congress, I have decided to run for the open seat of the majority leader," Mr. Murtha wrote.

I applaude Murtha. Instead of waiting to see what happens in November and then blind siding everyone, he's up front about his ambitions. That, my friends, is character.

Feeling Secure? Well Don't #8

Wouldn't you think those in charge of America's nuclear stockpile would have a secure computer system? Well, you'd be wrong.
A computer hacker has got into the US agency that guards the country's nuclear weapons stockpile and stolen the personal records of at least 1,500 employees and contractors.

A senior US legislator revealed the incident on Friday, which targeted the National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA).

It is the latest agency to reveal that sensitive private information about government workers was stolen.

The incident happened last September but energy department officials were not told about it until this week, prompting the chairman of the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee to demand the resignation of the head of the NNSA.

An NNSA spokesman was not available for comment.

(read more)

Appeals Court Backs Bush on Wiretaps

This isn't good news. BTW, Judge David Sentelle was a Reagan appointee, Judge Harry Edwards was a Carter appointee and the third (I believe), Judge Karen L Henderson, was appointed by daddy Bush. Funny how they voted, huh?
A federal appeals court sided with the Bush administration Friday on an electronic surveillance issue, making it easier to tap into Internet phone calls and broadband transmissions.

The court ruled 2-1 in favor of the Federal Communications Commission, which says equipment using the new technologies must be able to accommodate police wiretaps under the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, known as CALEA.

Judge David Sentelle called the agency's reading of the law a reasonable interpretation. In dissent, Judge Harry Edwards said the FCC gutted an exemption for information services that he said covered the Internet and broadband.

The FCC "apparently forgot to read the words of the statute," Edwards wrote.

(read more)

PS. I "borrowed" the headline for my title.

Oy Vey! This Just Has To Be Stopped Cold

Jesus H Christ on a rollercoaster. We speak English in America. Not Spanish, not Russian, not Italian, not Latin and certainly not Yiddish. Just let the language die. Bush says English damn it!
Itche Goldberg and Jason Rubin are separated in age by 82 years, but they're linked by a common passion for an ancient Jewish language that threatens to slip into obscurity.

The life of 102-year-old Goldberg spans the recent decline of Yiddish to its heyday early last century when about 13 million Jews - or some 70 percent of Jews worldwide - spoke the lilting language that gave English words such as "chutzpah" and "schmo."

Rubin, a 20-year-old student of Yiddish, embodies the hope that somehow, some way, the language can survive now that there are fewer than 2 million speakers.

(read more)

Bush Blocks Any Investigation Which Could Prove Embarrassing

Embarrassing isn't really the right word. Corruption is the right word. Gotta protect his friends.
During the days of the Nixon Watergate scandal investigation, reporter Bob Woodword was famously advised by his mysterious source, Deep Throat, to "follow the money" as a way of cracking the story.

Well, there is a lot of money to follow in the current scandal that can be best described as the Bush/Cheney administration, and so far, nobody's doing it.

My bet for the place that needs the most following is the more than $9 billion that has gone missing without a trace in Iraq--as well as $12 billion in cash that the Pentagon flew into Iraq straight from Federal Reserve vaults via military transports, and for which there has been little or no accounting.

When word of the missing money first surfaced in 2004, Congress passed legislation creating an office of Special Inspector General, assuming that this new agency would root out the problem and figure why all that taxpayer money had disappeared, and why only minimal reconstruction was going on in destroyed Iraq, instead of a massive rebuilding program as intended.

The new inspector general, an affable attorney named Stuart Bowen, went to work and came up with a report in early 2006 that sounded scathing enough. Bowen found cases of double billing by contractors, of payments for work that was never done, and other scandals. But he never came up with more than $1 billion or so worth of problems.

Now we know why.

It turns out that Bowen was never really looking very hard.

When the Boston Globe, this past April, broke the story that President Bush has been quietly setting aside over 750 acts passed by Congress, claiming he has the authority as "unitary executive" and as commander in chief to ignore such laws, it turned out that one of the laws the president chose to ignore was the one establishing the special inspector general post for Iraq. What the president did was write a so-called "signing statement" on the side (unpublicized of course), saying that the new inspector general would have no authority to investigate any contracts or corruption issues involving the Pentagon.

Well, since most of the missing money has been going to the military in Iraq, that pretty much meant nothing of consequence would be discovered by the inspector general.

(read more)

Bush Can't Do (Almost) Anything Right

As dangerous as hurricanes and global warming are, its more important to go to the moon. Yeah, sure it is.
NASA is canceling or delaying a number of satellites designed to give scientists critical information on the earth's changing climate and environment.

The space agency has shelved a $200 million satellite mission headed by a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor that was designed to measure soil moisture - a key factor in helping scientists understand the impact of global warming and predict droughts and floods. The Deep Space Climate Observatory, intended to observe climate factors such as solar radiation, ozone, clouds, and water vapor more comprehensively than existing satellites, also has been canceled.

And in its 2007 budget, NASA proposes significant delays in a global precipitation measuring mission to help with weather predictions, as well as the launch of a satellite designed to increase the timeliness and accuracy of severe weather forecasts and improve climate models.

The changes come as NASA prioritizes its budget to pay for completion of the International Space Station and the return of astronauts to the moon by 2020 - a goal set by President Bush that promises a more distant and arguably less practical scientific payoff. Ultimately, scientists say, the delays and cancellations could make hurricane predictions less accurate, create gaps in long-term monitoring of weather, and result in less clarity about the earth's hydrological systems, which play an integral part in climate change. [emphasis mine]

Bullshit Aplenty

This Dino is shilling for AT&T and Viacom and couldn't care less about his constituents.

Whereas this guy is doing his job correctly.

The name we've given to this says it all - NET NEUTRALITY. All treated the same.

Oh yeah, the penguin...just threw it in there.

No Politics. Just Eye Witness Stuff From Iraq

This guy's posts are always disheartening at best, but its interesting to read what one grunt is going through.

Another Must Read, IMHO

Cat Blogging

Not your average cat.

Must Read IMHO

US killed satan? Not so much.

We Have A New Word

The new word is "BLOGGERED".

Use of this word means I'm fucked!

Many boggers use Blogger and when it's not functioning, we're totally fucked. Right now Blogger's trying to upgrade, but we need it to work. Alpha test a little more Blogger. Quit hosing us.

I feel better.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Bush Spike?

Gallup Polls know what's coming. They understand the American psychic.
by Frank Newport, Editor in Chief
The Gallup Poll

Editor in Chief's Pulse of the Nation is a continuous review and discussion of Gallup Poll results on topics currently in the news. Dr. Frank Newport, editor in chief of The Gallup Poll, is the author of Polling Matters (Warner Books, 2004) and The Evangelical Voter, and has more than 15 years of experience directing the nation's oldest monitor of American public opinion.

As is perhaps inevitable when there is a major news event such as the death of insurgent leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi on Wednesday in Iraq, there has been a good deal of speculation about the political implications domestically here in the United States.

As I told the San Francisco Chronicle's Marc Sandalow Thursday, there is a reasonable hypothesis that President Bush's job approval rating will move up, and that attitudes toward the Iraq war will improve at least in the short term. I'm writing this on June 9; we should know if this hypothesis is borne out when we have new data at the beginning of next week.

Certainly Iraqi-related events such as the capture of Saddam Hussein and the first elections in Iraq resulted in at least modest rallies in public attitudes, lending credence to the prediction that something similar will happen in this case.

Every indicator we have suggests that the Iraq war is and has been the single most important national issue on Americans' minds at this point. It tops the list of the public's views of the most important problem facing the nation, and is the No. 1 priority that Americans want their government to address. Hence, if there is some sign of progress on the Iraq front -- as the death of al-Zarqawi will presumably be seen -- it is a reasonable assumption that broader attitudes may change as well.

(courtesy link)

Help Save The Internets

Yesterday, the US House passed the Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act (COPE) without meaningful network neutrality provisions promoted by the diverse, right-left coalition of public interest and business groups.

The 152 to 269 vote coincides with a massive lobbying effort by telephone companies to enter the national television market and prevent preservation of network neutrality requirements.

"Special interest advocates from telephone and cable companies have flooded the Congress with misinformation delivered by an army of lobbyists to undermine decades-long federal practice of prohibiting network owners from discriminating against competitors to shut out competition. Unless the Senate steps in, today's vote marks the beginning of the end of the Internet as an engine of new competition, entrepreneurship and innovation." said Consumers Union Senior Policy Analyst, Jeannine Kenney.

Contact your Senator now! Contact info is on the right.

Bloggers will be particularly affected. We can't afford to pay for priority access. That means our blog sites will load sooooooooo sloooooooowly people won't bother with us.

Can you imagine the chances eBay could survive if their pages loaded slower than they already do? This would be the equivalent of giving extortion rights to AT&T, Viacom and the other ISPs.

Tell your Senator he/she has no chance in hell of getting your vote if they don't do everything they can to kill this legislation.


OK, Sometimes Bushco Does Think Clearly

It hurts to post this, but its sensible.
With Congress still deadlocked over immigration reform, the Bush administration plans to announce new regulations today in a move to strengthen enforcement efforts designed to prevent the hiring of illegal immigrants.

The new rules target the way companies deal with employees and their records. Lackluster implementation of laws on illegal hiring contributed to the failure of earlier immigration overhauls and, administration officials say, continues to undermine attempts to control illegal immigration.

President Bush has repeatedly urged Congress to create a worker verification system that is effective but easy for employers to use.

Both the Senate and House bills propose sweeping changes in work-site enforcement, including hefty fines and criminal penalties for employers who hire illegal workers.

The administration's new regulations take a more detailed approach, aiming to simplify procedures for employers and to close loopholes exploited by those who hire illegally. As federal regulations, they do not require passage by Congress. [emphasis mine]

You probably can't spot counterfeit money. How about a counterfeit social security card or drivers license? Remember, of course, there are 50 different styles of driver licenses. If a worker verification system is really secure and difficult to reproduce, employers would have a better chance of honestly hiring only legal workers. This should also lead to fair pay because legal workers can't be blackmailed into working for slave wages.

Just "securing the border" can't work if there's no emphasis on eliminating the job opportunities for illegals.

(read more)

Bad Times Ahead In Iraq

I posted earlier about how killing al-Zarqawi won't slow down the terrorists. This guy says it will most likely increase the danger. He makes a good point.
Abubaker Saad, a professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at Western Connecticut State University, said Wednesday's death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi signals a dangerous time in Iraq because a new al-Qaida leader will certainly emerge.

Al-Zarqawi, the 39-year-old leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, was killed Wednesday, along with six others, including his deputy and spiritual adviser, Abdul Rahman, in a U.S. air strike in the Iraqi city of Baqouba.

"They are going to want to assert themselves quickly," said Saad. "This is a relief for Iraq and Jordan, but I anticipate the new leader will want to do something dramatic right away.

"This is as much a psychological war as a physical war," Saad said. "The new leader doesn't want to give the U.S. a psychological victory."

(read more)

Has Bush Failed Again?

It sure looks like he has. He's practically guaranteed China and Russia will control Middle East and African oil instead of US. Can you say irony? Sure you can.
The United States' global energy-control strategy, it's now clear to most, was the actual reason for the highly costly regime change in Iraq, euphemistically dubbed "democracy" by Washington. But while it is preoccupied with implanting democracy in the Middle East, the United States is quietly being outflanked in the rush to secure and control major energy sources of the Persian Gulf, the Central Asian Caspian Basin, Africa and beyond.

The quest for energy control has informed Washington's support for high-risk "color revolutions" in Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan in recent months. It lies behind US activity in West Africa, as well as in Sudan, source of 7% of China's oil imports. It lies behind US policy vis-a-vis President Hugo Chavez' Venezuela and President Evo Morales' Bolivia.

In recent months, however, this strategy of global energy dominance has shown signs of producing just the opposite: a kind of "coalition of the unwilling", states that increasingly see no other prospect, despite traditional animosities, but to cooperate to oppose what they see as a US push to control the future security of their energy.

(read more)

Bushco: Poor? What Poor?

If you ain't got money, Bushco couldn't care less about you.
Democratic lawmakers say Congress will be working in the dark on big issues such as Social Security and Medicaid if the Census Bureau eliminates a unique survey of poverty and income.

The Bush administration has proposed cutting the Survey of Income and Program Participation. It is the government's only survey that repeatedly questions thousands of people over time about how income changes affect their poverty status, health coverage and use of government services.

(read more)

Iraq By Iraqis

This is really good.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

The Death of Al-Zarqawi in context

I'm going to leave it up to those better versed in the Middle East than I to deconstruct the larger meaning of the death of Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi in a U.S. airstrike last night.

This operation is undoubtedly good news at a time when the troops fighting in Iraq are sorely in need of some. I'm skeptical, however, about a) how much difference this will ultimately make in conditions on the ground in Iraq; and b) how much political mileage the Republicans will get out of this in terms of the midterm elections. It's occurred far too early in the game, which is why when I heard the news today I actually believed it to be true this time (despite the fact that we've heard many other times that Al Zarqawi had been killed).

The reality of the loose confederation of Islamic terrorist organizations is that if you cut off one head, it rapidly grows six more. As someone posted at the MSNBC feedback board this morning, is this what the world's only superpower has been reduced to? Crowing about the death of one guy?

The other factor which makes me wonder about the importance of this "catch" is the news not so long ago (April 10 of this year, in fact) that the Pentagon was exaggerating the importance of Al Zarqawi for propaganda purposes:

The U.S. military is conducting a propaganda campaign to magnify the role of the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, according to internal military documents and officers familiar with the program. The effort has raised his profile in a way that some military intelligence officials believe may have overstated his importance and helped the Bush administration tie the war to the organization responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The documents state that the U.S. campaign aims to turn Iraqis against Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian, by playing on their perceived dislike of foreigners. U.S. authorities claim some success with that effort, noting that some tribal Iraqi insurgents have attacked Zarqawi loyalists.

For the past two years, U.S. military leaders have been using Iraqi media and other outlets in Baghdad to publicize Zarqawi's role in the insurgency. The documents explicitly list the "U.S. Home Audience" as one of the targets of a broader propaganda campaign.

Some senior intelligence officers believe Zarqawi's role may have been overemphasized by the propaganda campaign, which has included leaflets, radio and television broadcasts, Internet postings and at least one leak to an American journalist. Although Zarqawi and other foreign insurgents in Iraq have conducted deadly bombing attacks, they remain "a very small part of the actual numbers," Col. Derek Harvey, who served as a military intelligence officer in Iraq and then was one of the top officers handling Iraq intelligence issues on the staff of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told an Army meeting at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., last summer.

In a transcript of the meeting, Harvey said, "Our own focus on Zarqawi has enlarged his caricature, if you will -- made him more important than he really is, in some ways."

"The long-term threat is not Zarqawi or religious extremists, but these former regime types and their friends," said Harvey, who did not return phone calls seeking comment on his remarks.

Is this good news? In the short term, absolutely. But if in fact the Pentagon was exaggerating Al-Zarqawi's importance to play on Iraqi fears, and that catalyst is gone, what do they do next?

(cross-posted at Brilliant at Breakfast)

Bush Is Satan

You think I joke? Nope. Got photo evidence.

Here's how the loyalist idiots view Bush.

But take a look.

I rest my case.

Gotta Love Molly

This is her latest.
I realize it’s silly to let really stupid people upset you, but I have had it with the wingnuts who go about claiming that liberals are delighted about Haditha or want to use it for nefarious public relations purposes. Listen, twits, if you can’t stop your petty little partisan political games long to [sic] enough to recognize Sad when you see it, then shut up.

Cross posted at Brilliant at Breakfast.


I definitely smell bullshit.
Bush said the death of the Jordanian-born Zarqawi "is a severe blow to al Qaeda," a victory in the war on terrorism, "and it is an opportunity for Iraq's new government to turn the tide in this struggle."

Think of a huge corporation. Think IBM for example. Think of many branch managers. Think what happens if one of those managers dies on the way to work.

OMG! We're going under! No more IBM!

Bullshit. Someone will step in. Probably someone already being groomed to replace al-Zarqawi. After all, terrorist has to be one of the most dangerous job descriptions in the world. There's a pretty good chance you'll lose someone at any minute. I seriously doubt they can get life insurance.

Al-Qaeda won't miss a beat. Sometimes I think Bush believes all Americans are as stupid as he is.

Cross posted at Brilliant at Breakfast.

More On Al-Zarqawi's Death

Let's see. There's this.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Good morning.

Last night in Iraq, United States military forces killed the terrorist al-Zarqawi. At 6:15 Baghdad time, special operation forces, acting on tips and intelligence from Iraqis, confirmed Zarqawi's location and delivered justice to the most wanted terrorist in Iraq.

A Jordanian official, who claimed to have knowledge of the operation which led to the killing of al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, said that Jordan provided the U.S. military with information on his [sic] al-Zarqawi's whereabouts.

A presidential spokesman denied reports that the air strike that took the life of the leading notorious insurgency chief was carried out as a result of a tip-off provided by the Jordanian intelligence.

The information about his whereabouts were provided by natives of the region where he was hiding along with his aides, the spokesman said.

Since when is fact debatable? Jordan helped or it didn't. Why make such a claim if untrue? Personally, I'd believe anyone before Bushco. Well, probably not Ann Coulter.

BTW, can anyone confirm one way or another if the $25 million reward is paid? If natives and some of al-Zarqawi's aides tipped US off, they deserve to share the reward.

Hey, wait a second. The aides are terrorists. We can't give money to terrorists. Damn it all to hell, but this gets complicated.

[all emphasis mine]

At It Again

Bushco is supposedly against abortion, but they abort any meaninful oversight by Congress before its born.
Phone company executives won‘t be grilled by a Senate panel anytime soon about their roles in the Bush administration‘s eavesdropping program.


But in an informal conversation, one company lawyer told Specter the executives wouldn‘t be able to testify about any classified information. Specter said Cheney told the committee the restriction would apply to everyone the senators want to question.

Oh, but it gets better worse. Specter then had the balls to say...are you ready?
"I yield to no man or woman on pressing this administration on these issues," he said.


(read more)

They Finally Got The Right Guy?

This just posted. Don't know if its true because I haven't seen any confirmation of the report.

Update: Agence France-Presse is also reporting al-Zarqawi's death.
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the al-Qaida-linked militant who led a bloody campaign of suicide bombings, kidnappings and hostage beheadings in Iraq, has been killed in a U.S. air raid north of Baghdad, Iraq's prime minister said Thursday.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said al-Zarqawi was killed Wednesday evening along with seven aides.

The Jordanian-born militant, who was believed to have personally beheaded at least two American hostages, became Iraq's most wanted militant, as notorious as Osama bin Laden, to whom he swore allegiance in 2004. The United States had put a $25 million bounty on al-Zarqawi, the same as bin Laden.

[I believe that's an AP photo]

Cross posted at Brilliant at Breakfast.

Liar, Liar Pants On Fire

"...record deficits are spiraling out of control..."
- Nancy Pelosi (D-California)

"We must ensure this trend of strong growth and deficit reduction continues by maintaining pro-growth tax policies, and by keeping spending in check."
- Jim Nussle (R-Iowa)

They can't both be right, right? Let's see if you can guess the liar.

Go here for the answer.

[all emphasis mine]

An Officer And A Gentleman And A Patriot

Some people have the courage of their convictions even when they mean serious consequences.
Ehren Watada is a 27-year-old first lieutenant in the United States Army. He joined the Army in 2003, during the run-up to the Iraq war, and turned in his resignation to protest that same war in January of 2006. He expects to receive orders in late June. He is poised to become the first lieutenant to refuse to deploy to Iraq, setting the stage for what could be the biggest movement of GI resistance since the Vietnam War. He faces a court-martial, up to two years in prison for missing movement by design, a dishonorable discharge, and other possible charges. He says speaking against an illegal and immoral war is worth all of this and more. Journalist Sarah Olson spoke with Watada in late May about his reasons for joining the military, and why he wants out.

(read more)

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Congress Won't Outlaw Free Trips? No wonder

Just can't avoid this post. Its gonna be all over the internets soon.

Do you want to go to Spain? How about Paris or Hawaii? Think General Atomics [?] or Boeing might be willing to foot the bill? They might if you have political clout.
Over 5 1/2 years, Republican and Democratic lawmakers accepted nearly $50 million in trips, often to resorts and exclusive locales, from corporations and groups seeking legislative favors, according to the most comprehensive study to date on the subject of congressional travel.

From January 2000 through June 2005, House and Senate members and their aides were away from Washington for more than 81,000 days -- a combined 222 years -- on at least 23,000 trips, according to the report, issued yesterday by the nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity. About 2,300 of the trips cost $5,000 or more, at least 500 cost $10,000 or more, and 16 cost $25,000 or more.

"While some of these trips might qualify as legitimate fact-finding missions," the study said, "the purpose of others is less clear." In addition, the lawmakers' financial reports that disclose the details of the trips are routinely riddled with mistakes and omissions.


House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) proposed banning such travel [too his credit] soon after Abramoff's plea. But lawmakers of both parties and in both chambers of Congress quickly resisted imposing significant new restrictions on the trips, which are a much-prized perk of office. Rep. John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) won election to the post of House majority leader this year by running on a platform that included opposing the travel ban.

These people take trips you might only dream about and they're FREE! Best government money can buy I guess.

(read more)

Cross posted at Brilliant at Breakfast.

Congress Is Growing Balls?

Its long overdue, but Congress is finally waking up to Bush.
In a new jab at the Bush administration over its use of executive power, the Senate Judiciary Committee is demanding that the Justice Department explain the agency's investigations of journalists who publish classified information.

Specifically, Republicans and Democrats want to know more about the FBI's effort to obtain a half-century's worth of papers kept by columnist Jack Anderson - a member of President Nixon's ``enemies list'' - who died in December at 83.

Matthew Friedrich, the Justice Department's criminal division chief of staff, is facing a skeptical panel at a hearing Tuesday.

Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., has chafed for months over President Bush's secretive domestic wiretapping and phonetapping programs, and maintained that national security may not justify such uses of executive power. He personally told President Bush earlier this year that ``the president doesn't have a blank check.''

Let's look at the first amendment to the Bill of Rights of the Consitution.
Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom ... of the press...

The founding fathers were pretty clear about that.

Cross posted at Brilliant at Breakfast.

Another Bushco Legacy. As If We Needed Another

It seems State has lost decades of experience.
A reorganization of the State Department offices that are leading the fight against weapons of mass destruction was badly managed and politicized, which led to a flight of experts with decades of knowledge, according to a new account by a veteran weapons expert.

Dean Rust, who watched the reorganization unfold, charges that its ''botched implementation'' led many career officers to leave and ``will hamper the State Department's role at home and abroad for years to come.''

Someone's gonna spend many years mopping up after Bushco.

I have a question for anyone reading this. Can Bushco do anything right? Even as screwed up and weird as I am, I occassionally get it right.

We need a term for an anti-Midas. A term for people whose every touch turns things to shit.

And who was in charge of the reorg? Condi Rice. So she would make a good president? Yeah, sure she would. She'd be about as good as the current idiot.

Oh Yeah, This Idiot Would Make A Good President

I changed my major for the last time just a school quarter from graduating from university. How the hell is a 9th grader capable of choosing a vocation?
For his last education initiative as governor, Jeb Bush wants every Florida high school student to pick a major.

Bush visited a South Florida high school on Monday to sign into law public school reforms known as the "A-Plus-Plus Plan."

The law requires high school students to choose a "major area of interest" and take four, yearlong courses in the subject starting with students who begin ninth grade in fall 2007.

A major could include math or history, a foreign language or a field such as automotive repair or culinary arts.

Just to stick it to Jeb. He said this. Emphasis mine.
"Frankly, there are a lot of kids that need relevance and some structure in their high school education that they lose little by little when they leave elementary school," he said.

People aren't "thats". People are "whos". So it should be.
"Frankly, there are a lot of kids that who need relevance and some structure in their high school education that they lose little by little when they leave elementary school," he said.

While I'm in the "that" neighborhood. It's a word that is rarely needed. Its amazing how often "that" appears when omitting it works just fine.

Immigration Good: Poll

It looks like Bushco hasn't won the minds and hearts of everyone with their stirring up immigration fears.
Public acceptance of immigrants has grown in Canada, the United States and several European countries over the last few years despite outbreaks in some countries of immigrant riots and heated debates aimed at limiting migration.

AP-Ipsos polling found more tolerance for immigrants now than two years ago in the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.


More than half the people in the United States - 52 per cent - said immigrants are having a good influence in their newly adopted country, up 10 percentage points from May 2004.

The whole story is quite flattering to Americans although it is aimed at Canadian Immigration.

Bushco Is Lying...What A Surprise

Bushco is saying this.
He made the final decision only after telephone calls with President Vladimir Putin of Russia and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, led him to conclude that if Tehran refused to suspend its enrichment of uranium, or later dragged its feet, they would support an escalating series of sanctions against Iran at the United Nations that could lead to a confrontation.

But that doesn't seem to be Russia's take on the situation.
An extensive interview given by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to the Russian media, the full transcript of which has been seen by Asia Times Online, throws much light on the state of play in the Iran nuclear issue.

His remarks illuminate the paucity of options that the United States has left itself in dealing with the issue. Washington's May 31 offer to engage in direct talks with Tehran is in fact its only real option - in Lavrov's words, "a victory of common sense".

At the same time, Lavrov exposes as grandstanding many of the statements emanating from the administration of US President George W Bush about the talks offer. Moscow, it emerges, was not consulted on the matter, and is not party to any tacit agreement on imposing sanctions on Iran, despite Washington's spin to this effect. In other words, an increasingly isolated United States finds itself with very little room left to maneuver, let alone impose its will on an increasingly multipolar world.[emphasis mine]

They just don't care anymore. They'll lie and lie even if there are others who can call bullshit on them. They're all so pathetic.

And yes I do trust a Russian official more than I trust Bushco when it comes to lying.

Cross posted at Brilliant at Breakfast.

This Isn't Good News At All

Here's another 6 billion that won't go into the US economy.
US technology giant IBM said Tuesday it will triple its investments in India to six billion dollars over the next three years, reiterating India's dominance in the global outsourcing industry.

It won't take too many similar US corporate investment decisions to have a very severe impact on the US economy as a whole.

Oh yeah, did you notice the 9% slice of that pie? Yep, its the worker bees' jobs that are being outsourced, not management's. The corporate big shots stay in America where its getting harder and harder for the rest of Americans to afford to live.

Cross posted at Brilliant at Breakfast.

A Good Post About America

This from the Ananymous Liberal.

An excerpt.
This defining down of American principles has not gone unnoticed by the rest of the world. They see a country famous for its embrace of freedom and individual rights spying upon its own citizens without warrants and locking away its own citizens without due process of law. They see a country famous for its humane treatment of captives building secret torture prisons, engaging in widespread abuse and humiliation of detainees, and using an off-shore prison at Guantanamo Bay as a way of circumventing its own laws and constitutional principles. And worst of all, they see a country that appears to have no more interest in leading by example, a country more concerned with getting itself out of prior commitments and finding ways to exempt itself from the rules. A reputation that took the better part of a century to earn may soon be little more than a memory.

Cross posted at Brilliant at Breakfast.

Sure Wish We Didn't Need This Day

Bushco earned this via brutality. I really admire loathe them for it.
June 26th is the date that the United Nations has marked as the International Day in Support of Survivors and Victims of Torture. This year a coalition of human rights, civil liberties and faith organizations have joined TASSC International, a leading survivors organization, in declaring June “Torture Awareness Month." This awareness raising month is an effort to respond to the growing evidence that the United States government is engaging systematically in the use of torture and inhuman treatment as part of the “war on terror.”

Monday, June 05, 2006

What Is Important To Americans?

The poll was conducted May 22-24 of a nationally representative sample of 1,003 members of Gallup's household panel.

Americans' Top Priorities

The poll asked Americans to identify, without prompting, what should be the "top priority for the president and Congress to deal with" at the present time. The results show that more than 4 in 10 Americans, 42%, say the war in Iraq should be the top priority. This is followed by fuel or oil prices, at 29%, immigration, at 23%, the economy, at 14%, and healthcare, at 12%.

What the hell? Gay marriage and flag burning aren't top concerns of Americans? Why do they hate America?

Cross posted at Brilliant at Breakfast.

Good Post On Bush

Big Shot Bob in Texas has a good summary.

Well Call Me Completely Surprised

Bush is pushing the gay marriage amendment to the Constitution. Of course he is because it is an important moral principal for him. Hahaha.
Though Bush himself has publicly embraced the amendment, he never seemed to care enough to press the matter. One of his old friends told NEWSWEEK that same-sex marriage barely registers on the president's moral radar. "I think it was purely political. I don't think he gives a s--t about it.

This asshole will do what he must to retain power and push the GOP political agenda. He has no moral compass and cares nothing about Americans. He's so ego-centric it's sickening.

Cross posted at Brilliant at Breakfast.

This Is Disgusting

The Geneva Convention was great. It spelled out humanitary limits on how humans behave. But its no more important to Bushco than the Constitution of the United States.
The Pentagon has decided to omit from new detainee policies a key tenet of the Geneva Conventions that explicitly bans "humiliating and degrading treatment," according to knowledgeable military officials, a step that would mark a further shift away from strict adherence to international human rights standards.

The decision culminates a lengthy debate within the Defense Department but will not become final until the Pentagon makes new guidelines public, a step that has been delayed. However, the State Department opposes the military's decision to exclude Geneva Conventions protections and has been pushing for the Pentagon and White House to reconsider, the defense officials acknowledged.

I'll try to be civil here. FUCK JORGE BUSH! Oops. Not too civil at all. Oh well.

Cross posted at Brilliant at Breakfast.

Looking For Volunteer

Anyone in Las Vegas willing to attend this little confab and report back to the blogosphere?

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Go To Hell

Hell is the place to be Tuesday for the 666 (6 June 2006) party.
They're planning a hot time in Hell on Tuesday. The day bears the date of 6-6-06, or abbreviated as 666 - a number that carries hellish significance. And there's not a snowball's chance in Hell that the day will go unnoticed in the unincorporated hamlet 60 miles west of Detroit.

Nobody is more fired up than John Colone, the town's self-styled mayor and owner of a souvenir shop.

"I've got `666' T-shirts and mugs. I'm only ordering 666 (of the items) so once they're gone, that's it," said Colone, also known as Odum Plenty. "Everyone who comes will get a letter of authenticity saying you've celebrated June 6, 2006, in Hell."

Most of Colone's wares will sell for $6.66, including deeds to one square inch of Hell.

Hell's website.

Unlawful Search & Seizure? You Bet Your Ass It Is

This is so onerous its disgusting. Does Bushco see the people as nothing more than cattle? It sure as hell seems like it.
Some people in law enforcement are calling for a national registry of every American's DNA profile, against which police could compare crime-scene specimens instantly. Advocates say the system would dissuade many would-be criminals and help capture the rest.

"This is the single best way to catch bad guys and keep them off the street," said Chris Asplen, a lawyer with the Washington firm Smith Alling Lane and former executive director of the National Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence.

But opponents say the growing use of DNA scans is making suspects out of many law-abiding Americans and turning the "innocent until proven guilty" maxim on its head.

Countdown Begins

They start perhaps on Monday. So how many days will pass before an illegal alien is shot dead? And, how long after that will the MSM first report it? Just asking.
Fifty-five National Guard members from Utah arrived in Yuma, Arizona, on Saturday as the first troops to be sent to the Arizona-Mexico border in a plan announced by President George W. Bush to crack down on illegal immigration.

The Utah troops were supposed to work on fences and other projects as part of the Guard's long-standing efforts at the Arizona border, officials had said as late as Wednesday.

But their mission has since been folded into Bush's plan to send up to 6,000 National Guard troops to the four southern border states to help federal immigration agents.

The Utah troops got word of the change Friday from Guard officials in Washington, D.C., said Maj. Hank McIntire, a spokesman for the Utah National Guard.

They were scheduled to be briefed on their mission Sunday and start their field work as early as Monday, McIntire said.

Its gonna happen. I've posted about it before. Remember Kent State? How about this?

Cross posted at Brilliant at Breakfast.


Ever discuss painting a room with your roommate/partner/spouse and you say anything is fine except yellow and your R/P/S insists it has to be yellow? The discussion pretty much stops right there.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said that Tehran will decide, on the basis of its national interests, on the proposals to be delivered by EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana over Iran's nuclear issue, the official IRNA news agency reported on Sunday.

"Iran is ready to hold fair and unconditional talks with the West on Iran's nuclear issue. Negotiations should not have preconditions," said the president.

Ahmadinejad underlined, "We will wait after they have put forth their proposals and after we have heard them, then, we will decide based on our national interests." [emphasis mine]

But then, a little later in the story, Ahmadinejad displays just how "unconditional" these talks will be from his side of it.
Meanwhile, the president stressed that Iran would reject any compromise on its absolute rights to uranium enrichment for peaceful purposes.

"We also regard the peaceful use of nuclear energy as our legitimate right and will not negotiate on our rights with anybody, " the president added.

Meanwhile Bushco is taking this position.
He made the final decision only after telephone calls with President Vladimir Putin of Russia and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, led him to conclude that if Tehran refused to suspend its enrichment of uranium, or later dragged its feet, they would support an escalating series of sanctions against Iran at the United Nations that could lead to a confrontation.

Even after Bush edited the statement Rice was scheduled to read Wednesday before she flew to Vienna to encourage Europe and Russia to sign on to a final package of incentives for Iran — and sanctions if it turns the offer down — Rice wanted to check in one more time.

She called Bush. Was he sure he was OK with his decision?

"Go do it," he responded.

She did, but the results remain unclear. Iran has given no indication it will agree to Bush's threshold condition, suspending nuclear fuel production. [emphasis mine]
So Bushco is saying no yellow cake and Ahmadinejad is saying of course yellow cake.

Put away the paint brushes. This room stays the color it is.

Oh yeah, you catch that last part where Bush has gotten Europe and Russia to agree to sanctions? It still looks like Bushco is going through the motions diplomatically, but the end game remains an invasion.

Cross posted at Brilliant at Breakfast.

Seems The Vets Are Really Taking It In The...

There's one word that comes to mind. Yuck! Never been to a VA hospital, but have heard some amazing horror stories about them. This one's pretty bad.
More than 22,000 veterans who underwent prostate biopsies at veterans' hospitals across the country are being warned that improperly sterilized equipment may have exposed them to deadly viruses.

No patient is known to have been infected but the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is offering free blood tests as a precaution, said VA spokesman Jim Benson. The prostate biopsy equipment includes a probe that, if improperly cleaned, could retain traces of body fluids containing the viruses that cause hepatitis or AIDS.

It's possible but unlikely that someone could get infected that way, said Michael Erdmann, chief of staff of the Milwaukee VA Medical Center.

"We're concerned for the safety of our patients, but really, the odds are really quite low," he said.

I hope no one tests positive, but should they, I hope they sue the pants off (pun intended) the VA.

I really don't think this is a laughing matter. Sorry if I offended you.

Cross posted at Brilliant at Breakfast.

Secrets, Secrets, Secrets.

Basically Bushco can kill lawsuits from the get because they claim state secrets privilege. They are the ones being challenged for illegal activity, but they hold all the cards. Great gig if you can get it.

Facing a wave of litigation challenging its eavesdropping at home and its handling of terror suspects abroad, the Bush administration is increasingly turning to a legal tactic that swiftly torpedoes most lawsuits: the state secrets privilege.

In recent weeks alone, officials have used the privilege to win the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by a German man who was abducted and held in Afghanistan for five months and to ask the courts to throw out three legal challenges to the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance program.

But civil liberties groups and some scholars say the privilege claim, in which the government says any discussion of a lawsuit's accusations would endanger national security, has short-circuited judicial scrutiny and public debate of some central controversies of the post-9/11 era.

The privilege has been asserted by the Justice Department more frequently under President Bush than under any of his predecessors — in 19 cases, the same number as during the entire eight-year presidency of Ronald Reagan, the previous record holder, according to a count by William G. Weaver, a political scientist at the University of Texas at El Paso.

Cross posted at Brilliant at Breakfast.

1984 Has Arrived

This is just so bizarre. Not the idea, but that anyone in government would even consider it.
Scott Silverman, Chairman of the Board of VeriChip Corporation, has proposed implanting the company's RFID tracking tags in immigrant and guest workers. He made the statement on national television on May 16.

Silverman was being interviewed on "Fox & Friends." Responding to the Bush administration's call to know "who is in our country and why they are here," he proposed using VeriChip RFID implants to register workers at the border, and then verify their identities in the workplace. He added, "We have talked to many people in Washington about using it...."

I read somewhere that it won't be long before most people will volunteer to have such implants. They won't think twice about it because it is just another step in technology that they've become accustomed to accepting.

Cross posted at Brilliant At Breakfast.