Saturday, January 06, 2007

White House argues its visitors log is off-limits to public

All secret all the time. Bush disgusts me.
The White House and the Secret Service signed an agreement last spring in the midst of the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal declaring that records identifying visitors to the White House are not open to the public.

The Bush administration didn't reveal the existence of the memorandum of understanding until the fall. The White House is using it to deal with a legal problem on a separate front, a ruling by a federal judge ordering the production of Secret Service logs identifying visitors to the office of Vice President Dick Cheney.

In a federal appeals-court filing three weeks ago, the administration's lawyers used the memo in a legal argument aimed at overturning the judge's ruling. The Washington Post is suing for access to the Secret Service logs.

The five-page document dated May 17 declares that all entry and exit data on White House visitors belongs to the White House as presidential records rather than to the Secret Service as agency records. Therefore, the agreement states, the material is not subject to public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.

I doubt this is as it seems. Are they trying to hide lobbyist's visits? It don't take a tinfoil hat to see something is being hidden here beyond Abramoff's visits.

The secrecy of the Bush cabal is frightening. If anyone investigates Bush's presidency they are shut out by "state secrets", or "presidential papers" or any other fucking ruse.

There's a madman in the White House and he will destroy America if not the world if he isn't stopped.

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Get over it, jeez

There is nothing in the world that won't upset some sectors of society.
Snowzilla may be a smash hit with shutterbugs, but the towering snowman has detractors closer to home.
Some neighbors of the two-story high snowman say they're fed up with the hordes of gawkers clogging their street.

"When you get 20 people out there in their cars, now the whole street comes to a stop and nobody can get through," said Anthony Bahler, who can see Snowzilla from his front window. "They just stand out there, in the middle of road, talking about a snowman."

Bahler's neighbor, Billy Powers, supervised construction of the original Snowzilla last year. Through the Internet, it became a media sensation, drawing crowds of visitors and TV crews from Japan and Russia before it melted in the spring.

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I'm so disappointed

I had a visitor who linked to me from

Too kewl, but I went there and decided the visitor had merely clicked on the "NEXT BLOG" button on Blogger. They didn't blogroll me nor link to me. :^(

Gotta find out how to get linked from the porn sites. I'm talking big traffic here.

Does this bother you?

Increasingly these seem to be the instruments of negotiation throughout the world. I've stated my position on weapons before, but abhor the use of firearms to get results. And I'm talking about a kid at school, a post office worker, a terrorist or Bush (are they the same thing?).

Yeah, I'm a goddamn pacifist. Hahaha. Just kidding. Ya don't stop a Hitler with words. If Churchill couldn't do it, it just couldn't be done.

They aren't Catholic priests are they?

I'm being entirely too flippant about this, but Jesus H Christ on Ecstasy, what in hell is going on here? Is this a matter of guys seeing third world children as prey? Do they leave their morals and ethics at home? Do none of them have children of their own? Are they fucking animals?
The United Nations has investigated more than 300 members of U.N. peacekeeping missions for alleged sexual exploitation and abuse during the past three years and more than half were fired or sent home, according to a senior U.N. official.

The announcement came as the United Nations was trying to determine whether a report in a British newspaper involved new allegations or ones the U.N. had investigated or was investigating. The Daily Telegraph report alleged U.N. personnel in southern Sudan were involved in sexual exploitation and abuse of more than 20 children.

I'm sorry, but I can't understand this behavior at all. THESE ARE KIDS!

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Cat Blogging

Oops, nearly forgot to cat blog.

For anyone new to this site, I have no cat. My cat blogging consists of posting pix of almost any animal but a cat. I did have one and can attest cats, or at least the one I had, taste like chicken.

Iraq PM hits out at Saddam execution critics

Shorter al-Maliki: If you're gonna be so mean, I won't play with you anymore.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has threatened to "review" relations with countries which have criticised the bungled execution of Saddam Hussein, saying the hanging was an internal matter.

As Maliki lashed out at critics of his government, 27 corpses of people killed execution-style in central Baghdad were found, providing more grisly evidence of Iraq's raging sectarian conflict.

"The Iraqi government could be obliged to review its relations with any state that fails to respect the wish of the Iraqi people," said Maliki in his first reaction to the ousted president's hanging in Baghdad on December 30.

"We consider the execution of the dictator an internal affair that concerns only the Iraqi people," said Maliki, speaking at a ceremony on the 86th anniversary of the Iraqi army.

Maliki also lashed out at those who criticised the execution.

"We find that this conduct is inciting sedition and flagrant interference in the internal affairs of Iraq and abuses feelings of the families of the victims."

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Bacon! Bacon! Bacon!

This Jessica is really clever. I'm in awe.

Not just a must read, but a required read

It's Molly Ivins again. She starts out thus.
The president of the United States does not have the sense God gave a duck--so it's up to us. You and me.

I don't know why President Bush is just standing there like a frozen rabbit, but it's time we found out. The fact is we have to do something about it. This country is being torn apart by an evil and unnecessary war, and it has to be stopped now.

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Gotta supply troops for the SURGE™

So the US Army is looking for any warm bodies they can...

Wait a minute. It seems they don't need to be warm or viable troops.
The Army said Friday it would apologize to the families of about 275 officers killed or wounded in action who were mistakenly sent letters urging them to return to active duty.

The letters were sent a few days after Christmas to more than 5,100 Army officers who had recently left the service. Included were letters to about 75 officers killed in action and about 200 wounded in action.

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Quote of the day

Iran Is Next

This is a must read from Pen and Sword.
It seems highly unusual for a navy admiral to take charge of CENTCOM until you consider two interrelated things. First is that Bush needs a senior four-star in the CENTCOM job who hasn't gone on record as opposing additional troops in Iraq. Second is that Fallon's CENTCOM area of responsibility will include Iran.

A conflict with Iran would be a naval and air operation. Fallon is a naval flight officer. He flew combat missions in Vietnam, commanded an A-6 Intruder squadron, a carrier air wing and an aircraft carrier. As a three-star, he commanded Second Fleet and Strike Force Atlantic. He presently heads U.S. Pacific Command. His resume also includes duty in numerous joint and Navy staff billets, including Deputy Director for Operations with Joint Task Force Southwest Asia in Riyahd, Saudi Arabia.

If anybody knows how to run a maritime and air operation against Iran, it's "Fox" Fallon.

Still harboring doubts Iran is in Bush's sights? Just asking.

A good post I suggest you read

You'll find it at AMERICAblog.

A letter to president Bush

This via Speaker Nancy Pelosi's website.
January 5, 2007

President George W. Bush
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

The start of the new Congress brings us opportunities to work together on the critical issues confronting our country. No issue is more important than finding an end to the war in Iraq. December was the deadliest month of the war in over two years, pushing U.S. fatality figures over the 3,000 mark.

The American people demonstrated in the November elections that they don’t believe your current Iraq policy will lead to success and that we need a change in direction for the sake of our troops and the Iraqi people. We understand that you are completing your post-election consultations on Iraq and are preparing to make a major address on your Iraq strategy to the American people next week.

Clearly this address presents you with another opportunity to make a long overdue course correction. Despite the fact that our troops have been pushed to the breaking point and, in many cases, have already served multiple tours in Iraq, news reports suggest that you believe the solution to the civil war in Iraq is to require additional sacrifices from our troops and are therefore prepared to proceed with a substantial U.S. troop increase.

Surging forces is a strategy that you have already tried and that has already failed. Like many current and former military leaders, we believe that trying again would be a serious mistake. They, like us, believe there is no purely military solution in Iraq. There is only a political solution. Adding more combat troops will only endanger more Americans and stretch our military to the breaking point for no strategic gain. And it would undermine our efforts to get the Iraqis to take responsibility for their own future. We are well past the point of more troops for Iraq.

In a recent appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee, General John Abizaid, our top commander for Iraq and the region, said the following when asked about whether he thought more troops would contribute to our chances for success in Iraq:

“I met with every divisional commander, General Casey, the Corps commander, General Dempsey. We all talked together. And I said, in your professional opinion, if we were to bring in more American troops now, does it add considerably to our ability to achieve success in Iraq? And they all said no. And the reason is, because we want the Iraqis to do more. It's easy for the Iraqis to rely upon to us do this work. I believe that more American forces prevent the Iraqis from doing more, from taking more responsibility for their own future.”

Rather than deploy additional forces to Iraq, we believe the way forward is to begin the phased redeployment of our forces in the next four to six months, while shifting the principal mission of our forces there from combat to training, logistics, force protection and counter-terror. A renewed diplomatic strategy, both within the region and beyond, is also required to help the Iraqis agree to a sustainable political settlement . . In short, it is time to begin to move our forces out of Iraq and make the Iraqi political leadership aware that our commitment is not open ended, that we cannot resolve their sectarian problems, and that only they can find the political resolution required to stabilize Iraq.

Our troops and the American people have already sacrificed a great deal for the future of Iraq. After nearly four years of combat, tens of thousands of U.S. casualties, and over $300 billion dollars, it is time to bring the war to a close. We, therefore, strongly encourage you to reject any plans that call for our getting our troops any deeper into Iraq. We want to do everything we can to help Iraq succeed in the future but, like many of our senior military leaders, we do not believe that adding more U.S. combat troops contributes to success.

We appreciate you taking these views into consideration.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

Speaker Nancy Pelosi [emphasis mine]

Now I realize the letter is PR for the people as well as a message to Bush, but I think they should have omitted the highlighted words. I'm thinking salt in wound here.

Captain Codpiece

Bush as I would love to see him.
Via Bad Attitudes.

And They Can Vote

From Overheard in New York.
Middle-aged Long Island lady thumbing through magazine: Look, there's Stephen Colbert.
Husband: Who's that?
Middle-aged Long Island lady: He's a terrific Republican reporter on TV. You should watch him. He's really great. Puts the liberals in their place.


Overheard by: djeremy

Friday, January 05, 2007

A tribute to wingnuts

Ya don't really believe that do you?

In truth, I've worked and lived among Republicans and had respect for most of them even though I often thought their positions were wrong, but I could understand how they could believe what they did.

But wingers are a different breed. They have no morals, character or dignity. They don't even know what being a Republican means. They deserve the appellation wingnuts.

Sadly No! has a kewl graphic I wanted to try using. This is a test to see if it works here. The graphic is the line of wingnuts that appear to be little ducklings or turtles. Or maybe I need new glasses. I definitely need a new monitor.

We have to stay eclectic

Hey, ya never know when this might come in handy to know.
Back in 1997 all the friends from that eponymous television show trekked to the beach, only to witness a jellyfish sting Monica. In this episode, Joey remembered seeing a documentary that advised urinating on the sting to ease the pain. Monica agreed to try the treatment and it worked. Unfortunately, in the real world treating a jellyfish sting by urinating on it may actually cause someone in Monica's situation even more pain, rather than relief. Urine can actually aggravate the jellyfish's stingers into releasing more venom. This cure is, indeed, fiction.

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Definitive proof of Bush's value

Check out the results of my Google® search for "Bush is a great president".

Reaching out for help here folks

I've been reading about people bailing out of Bush's administration and many speculate its because of the inevitable oversight hearings and investigations.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but can't Congressional committees subpoena anyone they deem useful to an investigation? And further, if they discover illegal activity, can't the people then be brought up on charges?

In other words, what good does it do to distance oneself from Bush when you're still as vulnerable as ever? Just asking.

Two questions in fine style

Bush. What a tool

Why doesn't anything this idiot does surprise me?
President Bush is shaking up the team responsible for carrying out his military and diplomatic strategies in Iraq as he prepares to outline a new direction for the war that has raged for nearly four years.

Bush will replace Gen. John P. Abizaid, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East, and Gen. George Casey, the chief general in Iraq, in the coming weeks, according to media reports Thursday. A revamping of the administration's national security team was already under way.

Of course these are the people he "listened to" because they were the experts "on the ground". He's lost it, folks. He's grasping at straws to try to save his fucking ass and it ain't gonna work. We all know it, but the idiot-in-chief still can't buy a clue.

Is it any wonder all the world's leaders outside the UK, Israel, Australia and Canada fear this imbecile? Is it any wonder everyone wants nukes? He is totally batshit crazy.

Addendum: Was that a little too over-the-top? Just asking.

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Best pic of Golden Gate Bridge Evah

(full size image) Warning: Its Flickr which loads very slowly for me.

Ya never know what you'll find

Did I mention this site is eclectic? Oh yeah, its right up there in the masthead.

Anyway, I present the Goatse ride.

If you don't know about Goatse, you are very lucky and I strongly suggest you not look for it.

Things they don't want you to think about

I've read the death rate in the Civil War was higher than anytime since. The reason is because a wounded soldier usually died. Not so anymore.
On New Year's Eve, the number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq passed 3,000. By Tuesday, the death toll had reached 3,004 -- 31 more than died in the Sep. 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon.

But the number of injured has far outstripped the dead, with the Veterans Administration reporting that more than 150,000 veterans of the Iraq war are receiving disability benefits.

Advances in military technology are keeping the death rate much lower than during the Vietnam War and World War Two, Dr. Col. Vito Imbascini, an urologist and state surgeon with the California Army National Guard, told IPS, but soldiers who survive attacks are often severely disabled for life. [emphasis in original]

That's 150,000 veterans who have to live with the horror of Iraq forever.

Hell, if you have followed this blog you know I broke my wrist last year. It still isn't right and I have almost no use of my right hand even today. I shout profanities many times daily when I can't perform the simplest functions with it and when I try it hurts like hell. But these veterans have it far far worse. And Bush can take all the credit.

Are you as pissed off by that pic as I am? Don't ya just wanna slap that stupid grin off his fucking face? Just asking.

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Guess what she is

OK, no credit for guessing cheerleader. Duh! what else is she? Answer in comments.

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Learn to quit flying here

No comment necessary

This visitor probably wasn't too happy

I got a visit from this website. Its a site dedicated to "Advancing the Kingdom of Jesus Christ in the Ivy League"

They entered my site at this post. That post, among other things, warns people about the infiltration of fundies into the Ivy League.

God, I love irony! And check out the first song title listed. Bwahahaha.

Its like a traffic accident

Most people can't avoid looking.

I can't believe the hits I've gotten because I put "Hussein hanging" in the title of a post.

The traffic is nice, but the visitors probably won't return because I've not posted a link to the video. I haven't viewed it and don't intend to. For some reason, watching someone's neck break at the end of a rope, regardless that person's crimes, holds no attraction for me.

As for the death penalty itself? I'm against it, but particularly in cases like this. We won't know a lot of things because Hussein is gone. What Saddam knew is lost. And hanging one tyrant certainly won't deter future Husseins, Hitlers, Papa Docs or Pinochets.

'IDF can stop Iran's nuclear program'

Jesus H Christ on a red carpet. This attack by Israel is becoming more likely by the hour.
Israel is capable of stopping Iran's nuclear program with an independent military strike, a former head of the Israel Air Force who was involved in the 1981 bombing of Iraq's Osirak reactor has told The Jerusalem Post.

According to the former commander, the IAF could use its US-made F-16I and F-15I fighter jets to reach Iran and, if not completely destroy the program, at least cause enough damage to set back the development of a nuclear weapon by several years.

"Israel can do it," said the officer. "All you have to do is pick a number of essential targets and destroy them. This way you delay the process and wait to see what happens," he said.

In 1981, a formation of eight F-16 fighter jets flew just over 2,000 kilometers and destroyed the Osirak reactor near Baghdad. According to the former air force chief, Israel could use its F-15Is - with a combat range of close to 4,400 kilometers - and the F-16Is it purchased in the late '90s, all capable of striking Iran without refueling, much like the operation against Osirak.

Does anyone believe this won't happen? If you do, you might as well move through the looking glass with Alice and leave all your cognitive abilities at the door.

Israel is afraid and they will do whatever they want to protect themselves. Bush? Hahaha. He will encourage them if he hasn't done so already. One way or another Iran will be attacked. After all, that's how Israel and the US conduct foreign policy now.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

I want to weigh in on this subject

I apologize for that headline. It really is in bad taste and I know it.
The parents of a nine-year-old girl who suffers from a rare brain condition have said they are deliberately keeping her child-sized to give her a better life.

The youngster, named only as Ashley, suffers from static encephalopathy and cannot walk or talk.

Three years ago, fearing that she would one day become too big to lift or move easily, they took the decision to keep her small with a treatment known as growth attenuation.

Ashley, who doctors expect to have a normal lifespan, has had a hysterectomy, surgery to prevent breast growth and high doses of oestrogen that will keep her about 4 foot 5 tall forever. Her weight will remain at around five and a half stone (39 kg or 77 lb). The high doses of oestrogen accelerated the early signs of puberty she was already showing to minimise her adult height and weight.

The doctors thought it very likely she would reach a weight of 9 stone (57 kg 126 lb).

I want to say I agree with the parents based on the limited information available. Lately I had to help a friend who was drunk. She weighed at most 98 lb. She was what is referred to as "dead weight" and it took all the strength I could muster to move her. These parents want to include their child in their lives, but fear it would be near impossible if she should become too heavy and they are right.

Now a little rant. I've read many accounts of this girl's situation and most accounts mention there is much much more information at the family's website, but none of the articles ever give that website address. Wake up there. This is the internets tubes times and we need to have links.

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A special thanks

To Prof Juan Cole who has added SPIIDERWEB™ to the courtesy link exchange section of his weblog.

Most of the time I don't link to Prof Cole's site in my posts. I believe most of you already read his essays or should be.

But I read him all the time for an understanding of the Mid-East. If you aren't reading his post regularly you're missing out on a free university level education in Mid-East studies.

And you don't even have to get dressed to attend.

Thank you Prof Cole.

Quote of the day

Here We Go Again

I offer you headlines and links. Bush is at it again. Just the headlines are disturbing enough.

US helps in stepped up bid to track down routed Somali Islamists

US helped Ethiopian choppers target Somalia Islamists

US joins hunt for Islamists as Kenya closes border with Somalia

US forces deployed near Somalia

For a little background, check out an earlier post at SPIIDERWEB™.

It appears there'll be much more to this in the next few weeks.

Bush says feds can open mail without warrant

Photo by greglief

There's no area of your life Bush can't look at, according to Bush, if he wants to. He's the dictator decider and there's nothing you can do to stop him.
President Bush quietly has claimed sweeping new powers to open Americans' mail without a judge's warrant.

Bush asserted the new authority Dec. 20 after signing legislation that overhauls some postal regulations. He then issued a "signing statement" that declared his right to open mail under emergency conditions, contrary to existing law and contradicting the bill he had just signed, according to experts who have reviewed it.

A White House spokeswoman disputed claims that the move gives Bush any new powers, saying the Constitution allows such searches.

Let me just add, the story says Bush "...quietly has claimed sweeping new powers...". Folks, there's no reason for secrecy in doing something like this unless you know you're doing something wrong and you don't want any attention. Bush is such a snake in the grass. And I'm amazed by my restraint which may merely be a feeling of helplessness.

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Negroponte to join state department

People in powerful positions in business or in government just don't voluntarily demote themselves. So what's really going on?
John Negroponte, the US national intelligence director, is to resign after 20 months in the job to become deputy secretary of state to Condoleezza Rice.

He took over in April 2005 as the United States' first intelligence chief, responsible for overseeing 16 US spy agencies.

Hmmm. Maybe I have my answer further down in the story.
The Democrats, who take control of Congress on Thursday, have promised greater oversight of government agencies.

The Senate intelligence committee, for instance, is planning hearings this month on the intelligence overhaul that Negroponte helped put in place.

But why stay in government? Wouldn't it make more sense to leave for private industry? And the oversight will still happen and Negroponte could still find himself in hot water. And then there's this.
Negroponte's transition to the state department must be confirmed by the Senate, as would Bush's choice for his replacement.

Both changes will also create new openings for the Democrats to debate the administration's intelligence and foreign policy direction.

So I'm just stumped. No need for tinfoil hats, but there has to be much more to this than just some reconsideration of career. Right? Just asking.

One thing is very clear, the GOP critters ain't watching out for each other anymore, especially Bush.Their lack of loyalty is simply amazing. They used to have it in spades, but that was back when the prez had clout. As the most lame duck in US history he has as much clout now as I do.

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Remarks by President Bush After Meeting With Cabinet Members

And I will try to add a little snark to what is being said.

Its only partly trying to be funny, which it isn't because this is just how you have to listen to this guy. Most politicians are like this and you need to "hear" what is really being said.

I apologize for for a technique I've employed that requires you to understand whether it is Bush thinking to himself or if I'm making a comment. It isn't that hard to do. I did it quite easily.

WASHINGTON, Jan. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a
transcript of remarks by President Bush after meeting with Cabinet Members:
Rose Garden
10:19 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. We just finished our first Cabinet meeting of 2007.

And, thank God it didn't take a whole 3 hours like working down there in Crawford.
I want to thank my Cabinet officers for joining me here.

Like they had the choice of skipping the meeting.
We discussed our priorities for the next two years, and how we plan to achieve them.

Or, how can we milk the US people for as much as possible for us and our friends before this gravy train comes to an end.
The Congress has changed; our obligations to the country haven't changed.

Nor have my mind and priorities changed.
Tomorrow, members of the 110th Congress will take their oaths of office, and I congratulate them. I welcome their arrival into town. I'm looking forward to working with them, and so are members of my Cabinet.

Did the speech writers really have to put that shit in there? Yeah, I want to work with the in the same way the guys on my "ranch" work with the bull calves at castrating time.
We've all been entrusted with public office at a momentous time in our nation's history.

If not the end of our nation's history.
And together we have important things to do. It's time to set aside politics and focus on the future.

I'll just bet he thinks people might still believe this line.
I've been encouraged by the productive meetings that I've had with many of the new leaders of Congress, people from both parties. I want to thank them for coming down to the White House and talking to me about their ambitions and their goals for our country. I'm hopeful that Republicans and Democrats can find common ground to serve our folks, to do our jobs, to be
constructive for our country.

Yada, yada, yada. Yawn.
One area where we must work together is that we've got to make sure we spend the people's money wisely.

Damn! Came close to snickering when I read that. Gotta tell the speech writers to leave out the jokes.
Over the past few years, pro-growth economic policies have generated higher revenues.

For Halliburton and our other friends.
Together with spending restraint, these policies allowed us to meet our goal of cutting the budget deficit in half three years ahead of schedule.

They won't noticed I slipped that one past 'em.
We did so without taxing the working people. We kept taxes low.

Especially for us guys with the big bucks. Hehehe.
It's now time to take the next step. Next month I will submit a
five-year budget proposal that will balance the federal budget by 2012.

Which, if my math is right, means most of the balancing will have to be done by someone not named W.
This budget will restrain spending while setting priorities. It will address the most urgent needs of our nation, in particular the need to protect ourselves from radicals and terrorists; the need to win the war on terror; the need to maintain a strong national defense; and the need to keep this economy growing by making tax relief permanent.

Of course, based on past experience, doing all these things will not balance the budget just as it hasn't in the last 6 years. But that won't be my problem. I got mine.
By balancing the budget through pro-growth economic policies and
spending restraint, we are better positioned to tackle longer-term fiscal challenges facing our country, namely the entitlement programs.

Because I'm nearly entitled and I want more ice cream and cake. Besides, if I can convince these idiots to implement private accounts, hell, I can afford 'em.
These programs need to be reformed for the sake of younger Americans.

Damn you writers. You slipped another knee slapping joke in there. I'm trying to look serious here.
We need to reform Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid so future generations of Americans can benefit from these vital programs without bankrupting our country.

Bankrupting our country is the preznit's job, not all the riffraff's.
Another area where we can work together is to reform the earmark
process. One important message we all should take from the elections is that people want to end the secretive process by which Washington insiders are able to get billions of dollars directed to projects, many of them pork barrel projects that have never been reviewed or voted on by the Congress.

Some of the earmarks are not even included in legislation. They are stuffed into committee reports that have never been passed, and are never signed into law. Earmarks often divert precious funds from vital priorities like national defense. And each year they cost the taxpayers billions of dollars.

As if there aren't sixty gazillion other ways we can get what we want. Rove was right about using smoke and mirrors. This shit really works.
I appreciate the fact that Senator Byrd and Congressman Obey, the
Democrats who will lead the appropriations process in the new Congress, heard the same message. For this year's budget, they pledged to maintain current levels of spending without additional earmarks. They agreed to a temporary moratorium on all earmarks. And this is a good start, and I appreciate their position.

Hahaha. Got 'em there. A good start. And they weren't even first.
I also appreciate the fact that House Republicans last fall passed strong earmark reform idea -- put forth earmark reform ideas. And I appreciate their hard work.

That's who was first, the GOP. Or as I like to call 'em my Group of Pirates.
But we need to do more. Here's my own view to end the "dead of the
night" process: Congress needs to adopt real reform that requires full disclosure of the sponsors, the costs, the recipients, and the justifications for every earmark.

In the first place, "dead of the night" is a ridiculous time to be working. Won't catch me doing it.
Congress needs to stop the practice of concealing earmarks in so-called report language.

Which I could never understand anyway. Didn't understand it as Texas governor and really didn't understand it here in DC.
And Congress needs to
cut the number and cost of earmarks next year by at least half.

Half sounds good. I think my friends and I can still make out like bandits.
To help rein in wasteful spending and restore fiscal discipline in
Washington, I call on Congress to give the President the tool that 43 governors have, a line-item veto.

I think that's the only tool I'm missing before taking complete dictatorial control of this damn nation.
There are just a few of the issues that we're going to need to work on in the year ahead. This new year brings new opportunities for progress, and
I'm looking forward to working with the new Congress.

Now don't even think of bring up the word impeachment.
Thank you for your time.

And please explain how, after 6 years, you can still set through one of these pressers? Please. I know I could never manage it.

END 10:25 A.M. EST

SOURCE White House Press Office

President Bush Calls for Line Item Veto Once Ruled Unconstitutional

Do ya think Bush really did hear the voters? At least he's asking this time and not just doing something illegal because he thinks he has the right.
In a press conference on Wednesday, President Bush called on Congress to grant him Presidential power to line item veto appropriations bills in an attempt to curb pork-barrel spending. Citing earmark appropriations buried in voluminous pages of a bill, President Bush has asked Congress to give him the power to cancel certain portions without vetoing the entire bill.

I've said in the past this is something which seems abundantly practical. It's almost criminal how an amendment for something like the famous "bridge to nowhere" can be tacked onto a necessary flood relief bill to ensure it gets approved. No one wants to kill flood relief just to stop the building of an unnecessary bridge.

But the devil is in the details, as they say, and this is a huge weapon when used to make sure most of the opposition's amendments never get passed.

I wouldn't trust Bush for a second to use such power judiciously and intelligently.

OMG! I just put the words Bush, judiciously and intelligently in the same sentence. I will go to my corner for a time out now.

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This Ellison guy has a future in politics

This is a very cunning move on Ellison's part. If this doesn't shut up Goode, nothing will. He's chosen a very special Qur'an for his swearing in ceremony.
Rep.-elect Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, found himself under attack last month when he announced he'd take his oath of office on the Koran -- especially from Virginia Rep. Virgil Goode, who called it a threat to American values.

Yet the holy book at tomorrow's ceremony has an unassailably all-American provenance. We've learned that the new congressman -- in a savvy bit of political symbolism -- will hold the personal copy once owned by Thomas Jefferson. [emphasis mine]

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Bush wants balance budget by 2012

Perhaps, just perhaps, reality is seeping into that addled mass of tissue Bush calls his brain? Who knows. With this "announcement" Bush is admitting he's pushing his enormous US deficit onto his successor. This is the same thing he admitted he was doing concerning the Iraq invasion, leave it to his successors to pick up the pieces and solve the mess Bush created.

And it follows the pattern of failure in business for Bush such as Arbusto, Spectrum 7 Energy Corp, and Harken Energy. Not to mention Katrina, which I just did.
President Bush said Wednesday he'll submit a proposal to balance the budget in five years and exhorted Congress to "end the dead of night process" of quietly tucking expensive pet projects into spending bills.

The president's spokesman, meanwhile, said Bush would talk in his Jan. 23 State of the Union address about making spending on the Iraq war "as transparent as possible."

Lawmakers and the independent, bipartisan Iraq Study Group have criticized the Bush administration for funding the war through emergency supplemental bills, instead of including the costs in the administration's yearly formal budget request for running the government. That means the full cost of the war is not included in the administration's deficit calculations, and are not subject to overall spending caps.

Congress is expected to get another such emergency request soon. The Pentagon says it needs $100 billion more to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through the end of September, adding to the $350 billion the Iraq war alone has so far cost the nation.

These actions, actually just words and inactions, say one of two things. He thinks a Dem might be the next president and maybe even the next two presidents or he thinks the Repugs might win in '08.

So he may be admitting he has no faith in his own party to win in '08, or...

If he has any faith at all in the GOP to win in '08, he's saying he doesn't give a shit about the GOP. He has no qualms about unloading a nearly hopeless deficit nor a nearly hopeless disaster in the Gulf states on a GOP president.

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Cell phone video of Hussein hanging

I've read a couple accounts of this.

(Update below)

(Update II below)
...a prosecutor at the trial that condemned Mr. Hussein to death, said that one of two men he had seen holding a cellphone camera aloft to make a video of Mr. Hussein’s last moments — up to and past the point where he fell through the trapdoor — was Mowaffak al-Rubaie, Mr. Maliki’s national security adviser. Attempts to reach Mr. Rubaie were unsuccessful. The prosecutor, Munkith al-Faroun, said the other man holding a cellphone above his head was also an official, but he could not recall his name.

Each time a link was given to this page.

Those words are not part of the story now. It appears they've been expunged. It now reads.
Mr. Maliki seemed equally eager to ward off the opprobrium stirred by the execution. His aides announced that the events at the hanging would be the subject of an inquiry. A prosecutor who attended the execution, Munkith al-Faroun, said he thought one of the invited witnesses had recorded the session on a cellphone, but he could not recall his name.

In fact there is no mention of "...he fell through the trapdoor...". That was probably just too embarrassing for Bush and Maliki.

Yep, you're watching history re-write itself right in the pages of the NYT.

UPDATE: My apologies to Bush (hard to type that), Maliki and the NYT. As if they need them. But it appears they changed their story because the eye witness denied what the NYT originally reported.

I will fault the NYT for not mentioning that little denial at the time they posted the re-write. Disappeared facts always seem very suspicious.
On Wednesday, an Iraqi prosecutor who was also present at the execution denied a report that he had accused National Security Adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie of possible responsibility for the leaked video.

"I am not accusing Mowaffak al-Rubaie, and I did not see him taking pictures," Munqith al-Faroon, a prosecutor in the case that sent Saddam to the gallows, told The Associated Press.

"But I saw two of the government officials who were ... present during the execution taking all the video of the execution, using the lights that were there for the official taping of the execution. They used mobile phone cameras. I do not know their names, but I would remember their faces," al-Faroon said in a telephone interview.

UPDATE II: The person believed to have taken the cell phone video has been arrested, but not named.

Iraq to execute two Saddam aides on Thursday

Most news sources (and blogs) are still reporting the execution date is unknown.
Two former aides of Saddam Hussein will be executed on Thursday, five days after the former dictator was himself hanged in Baghdad, an official at the Iraqi prime minister's office said on Wednesday.

Saddam's half-brother and former head of intelligence, Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, and Awad Ahmed al-Bandar, the former chief judge of revolutionary court, will be put to death at dawn on Thursday, the official said.

"Their documents have been signed and they will be executed Thursday," he told AFP on condition of anonymity, adding that they remain for the time being in the custody of "US authorities".

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A game to waste your time

I strongly recommend you not play. Its very hard to stop.

(the game)

Shorter Ranger Against War

Iraqis can own AK-47s, but you can't. Why is that?

No, he doesn't advocate Americans be allowed AK-47s in every cupboard. Just read this very intelligent post.

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Bush is al-Qaeda's best friend

This article says al-Qaeda is regrouping now that its successes have fueled enthusiasm for its efforts.
As Washington prepares to reposition itself in Iraq with more forces and resources, al-Qaeda too is shaping its transformation from an ideological movement into a physical entity. This would serve as an umbrella to unify resistance movements in preparation for a decisive battle against the "infidel" West.

Away from the high-tech world and sophisticated war machines, in the mountain vastness of al-Qaeda's hideouts in the tribal areas between Pakistan and Afghanistan, this process is already well under way.

This is something bubble boy just can't or won't understand.

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Life cycle of toys

You really need to go to Jessica Hagy's site sometimes. Its all graphs all the time, but not boring ones. For example.

OK, one more example to whet your appetite.

Shorter Focus on the Family news release

Waahhh, its not fair unless our side does it.

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"Israel Can Attack Iran on Its Own": Israeli Think Tank

Not only can they, but they likely will.
An Iranian nuclear bomb is only a matter of time" if no military action is to be taken, Israeli Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS) at Tel Aviv University warned in its annual report released to press Tuesday.

The report, Middle East Strategic Balance, also made the conclusion that "Israel can attack Iran on its own".

INSS head Zvi Shtauber said Israel was "technically" capable of striking alone and would have to do it alone if it is to take any action, as no other country would agree to work openly with Israel.

Brigadier General Giora Eiland, a member of the institute's board, suggested that Israel must pursue full "strategic and military" understanding with the United States if it decided to attack Iran.

Where do these guys come from? Does Bush supply think tank people to Israel? Their solutions always involve bigger guns and more bloodshed and destruction. Makes one wonder how we all survived the cold war, doesn't it?

As for that full "strategic and military" understanding with the United States
shit, do they really think they would have to ask Bush for it?

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After all, they've done it before in Iraq.
1981: Israel bombs Baghdad nuclear reactor

The Israelis have bombed a French-built nuclear plant near Iraq's capital, Baghdad, saying they believed it was designed to make nuclear weapons to destroy Israel.

It is the world's first air strike against a nuclear plant.

Now isn't that a "first" any statesman/stateswoman should be proud to have achieved?

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Sorry, but this gets very linky. I've made so made posts on this subject and often it includes information about Israel making the first air strikes against Iran. Its all been mapped out. They just haven't implemented it. Think of it as "a success that hasn't occurred yet."

Gawd, I love that phrase.

Too Funny

Ya can't make this shit up,
but ya can Photoshop® it.

Global warming warning? Farmers are told that they could be penalised if they do not stop their flatulent animals farting so much methane - one of the most dangerous greenhouse gases

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Rise of the non-police police state

This is downright scary. Do we really need to be giving police powers to private individuals?
Some question the granting of police power to private security firms; more than 2m in US employed by private sector dwarfs the nearly 700,000 sworn police

Kevin Watt crouched down to search the rusted Cadillac he had stopped for cruising the parking lot of a Raleigh apartment complex with a broken light. He pulled out two open Bud Light cans, an empty Corona bottle, rolling papers, a knife, a hammer, a stereo speaker, and a car radio with wires sprouting out.

"Who's this belong to, man?" Watt asked the six young Latino men he had frisked and lined up behind the car. Five were too young to drink. None had a driver's license. One had under his hooded sweat shirt the tattoo of a Hispanic gang across his back.
A gang initiation, Watt thought.

With the sleeve patch on his black shirt, the 9mm gun on his hip and the blue light on his patrol car, he looked like an ordinary police officer as he stopped the car on a Friday night last month. Watt works, though, for a business called Capitol Special Police. It is one of dozens of private security companies given police powers by the state of North Carolina -- and part of a pattern across the United States in which public safety is shifting into private hands.

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Self fullfilling prophecy

Forewarned is forearmed.
During recent discussions of congressional Democrats' reported plans to conduct extensive oversight on a wide array of the Bush administration's policies, various media figures have cautioned Democrats against "sound[ing] strident," "finger-wagging," "get[ting] into political trouble," or emboldening terrorists, while also warning that these potential investigations are "something that Democrats may find blowing up in their face."

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Ambitious painter

The cancer within

I finally got off my lazy ass. Well, technically got on it, and wrote about malignant fundamentalism in the US.

While people are worrying about Iraq, Iran, NKorea, global warming, etc. ad nauseam, something is happening right under their noses. Perhaps each incident seems isolated, but it isn't.

Fundies are infiltrating anything they can such as the UN.
A collection of advocates for right-wing think tanks and fundamentalist groups now populate U.S. delegations to the UN. For example, the official U.S. women’s delegation includes: Nancy Pfoten- hauer, president of the Independent Women’s Forum, which is opposed to spending tax dollars to relieve violence against women and opposes women’s comparable pay efforts and affirmative action programs; and Winsome Packer, former executive assistance to the vice president of the Heritage Foundation.

Bush’s appointments to non-governmental organization (NGO) observer status to the UN come from right-wing religious groups, such as the following:
Janet Parshall, author of Tough Faith: Trusting God in Troubled Times and Light in the City: Why Christians Must Advance and Not Retreat, hosts a conservative talk show and frequently attacks women’s rights advocates, such as Gloria Steinem and Patricia Ireland.
A devout Presbyterian, Patricia P. Brister served as chair of the Republican Party of Louisiana and chair of Bush/Cheney ‘04 in Louisiana.
Susan B. Hirschmann, a lobbyist, is a former chief of staff for Tom DeLay and former executive director of Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, a conservative political action group that helped defeat the Equal Rights Amendment and is a vociferous opponent of the feminist movement.

Such appointments illustrate a religious focus on foreign policy that is a break with the traditional separation of church and state, a policy that began to change with Pat Robertson and the creation of the Moral Majority. Backed by social conservatives, neoconservative ideologues, and the religious right, Ronald Reagan declared that foreign policy would henceforth rest on moral clarity combined with military might.

How about the Baptist Convention, Republican Party and the US military?
I’ve just finished reading a long and somewhat alarming essay titled Infiltrating the U.S. Military: Gen. Boykin’s “Kingdom Warriors by Katherine Yurica. The essay puts forth a very compelling argument that the hard-line Christian Right has been working towards infiltrating and usurping control over various institutions for decades starting with the Southern Baptist Convention then the Republican Party and more recently the U.S. Military all with the aim “to dominate and control American institutions, the American government, and the American culture by ‘Christians’ of the hard right.”

Then there are the Ivy League schools.
A story in the New York Times (registration required) today highlights the efforts of the fundagelical movement to prostitute, I mean proselytize, themselves on the campusus of the Ivy League.

Now a few affluent evangelicals are directing their attention and money at some of the tallest citadels of the secular elite: Ivy League universities. Three years ago a group of evangelical Ivy League alumni formed the Christian Union, an organization intended to "reclaim the Ivy League for Christ," according to its fund-raising materials, and to "shape the hearts and minds of many thousands who graduate from these schools and who become the elites in other American cultural institutions."

As a graduate of an Ivy League institution, I don't for one minute believe the Ivy League or any other group of educational institutions need to be 'reclaimed for Christ.' How about just allowing them to continue to educate?

And we have the public schools.
The Dover school board had required teachers to present intelligent design as an alternative to evolution in high school biology classes. Statements from board members made clear, however, that they were not as concerned with teaching good science as with infiltrating religion into the public schools.

The judge in the case, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III, acknowledged the school board's agenda: "The secular purposes claimed by the Board amount to a pretext for the Board's real purpose, which was to promote religion in the public school classroom," he said.

I could go on if I weren't so lazy. The stories I've found include this cancer growing on local school boards, city councils, many legislative bodies, hospitals, NGOs, the Boy Scouts, governmental bodies at all levels including Capitol Hill aides, police forces and day care centers.

What the fundies can't seem to grasp is someone can be quite "saintly" and I use that word reluctantly, but it conveys the picture I need, even if you recognize no diety at all. You can live a far more perfect life than most, with strong morals and acceptance in your heart and hold a cow as sacred.

But what they absolutely refuse to entertain is the notion freedom of religion implicitly means freedom from your religion.

In other words, the cancer is in every institution that has any sort of say about your life and it is often launched at the most fundamental levels. You did notice I mentioned day care centers up there? Just asking.

Must Read IMHO

Over at Crooks and Liars. Olbermann of course.

Geek post

Bush ranch at Crawford, TX

Bush has renamed his ranch due to recent happenings and discoveries.

Hunger is a huge problem

This World map shows the country and the frequency of people dying of starvation, waterborne diseases and AIDS. One person every other second needlessly dies. Approximately 85% of them are children.

Hunger map

Please visit source site.

This Is Disgusting

and its exactly the reason hangings should not be made public. Way to go, guys.
Mubashar Ali, 9, hanged himself, while re-enacting Hussein's hanging with the help of elder sister, 10, after tying a rope to a ceiling fan and his neck in his home on Monday, January 1st.

NOTE: I did not look at this hanging even to the point of the above photo. I'm weird, but no goul.

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Here We Go Again

As best I can tell, things are back to a semblance of order now and the blogging can begin again.

Will try to ease back into it so I can catch up on news I've missed, but who knows? Once I sit down here I never know what will happen.