Friday, August 19, 2005

As I write this....

I have about fifteen hours left until I am wheels up on my vacation.

Ergo, since I have not drummed up a substitute author of my wit, intelligence and charm (Bill Clinton being pre-occupied), I will sadly suspend posts as of this moment until my return, the following week (probably August 29, altho I might find the strength that Sunday to scribble a bit).

Enjoy your week, folks, and I shall speak to you soon...

Roberts is a RACIST!

This just in....

Weld To Run For Governor

I'm not sure this is a good idea, Bill.

See, New York is a curious state. We don't mind carpetbaggers.

When they run for Senate.

Like Hillary Clinton. Or Robert F. Kennedy. Or James Buckley (who was born in New York, but moved to Connecticut).

We figure that at the Federal level, a foreigner can represent our interests as well as a native-born person (although to be honest, we have better luck with Charles Schumer than we've had with James Buckley).

But for governor? We want someone who is on top of the local issues, who's actually BEEN to Onteora for more than a whistlestop on a campaign tour. We want someone who understands that our state is rural AND urban AND suburban. We aren't New Jersey. You can't rule over one demographic and ignore the other two. You'll get killed by the press.

Nelson Rockefeller understood this state better than any governor I've seen since (albeit a Republican, he certainly has to be classified a liberal), and while some of his decisions were god-awful (the Rockefeller Drug laws, as an example: Equating possession of two ounces of cocaine to second degree murder is a pretty odious penalty), he was in tune with the people of the state.

Not bad for a Rockefeller, I thought. I mean, he could have been Bush, completely out of touch with people and insulated and elitist, but he chose not to. I actually have his autograph from a campaign stop he made in 1998 (I think) at Jones Beach. The man was vital and vibrant, which probably explains why he died of a heart attack while having sex with his secretary.

But Bill? I have to be honest: Massachussetts is not New York, and so governing the one does not qualify you to govern the other.

Maybe you can take Hillary's place after she's sworn in in 2009....

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Today's Weird Story

Minor League Team To Host 'Hairiest Back' Contest

POSTED: 11:23 pm EDT August 17, 2005
WOODBRIDGE, Va. -- The Potomac Nationals of the Carolina League are ready to let the fur fly later this month.
The Class-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals will hold its first-ever "Hairiest Back at the Ballpark" contest before their game against a team from Salem, Va., on Aug. 25.
According to the team's press release, the winner will receive a complimentary laser hair removal service valued at $2,500.
In addition, there will be a drawing for a complimentary laser removal service worth $1,200 for those fans who do not want to participate in the contest.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press.

On Elitism, Sacrifice, and War

Earlier this month, I wrote a piece about the sacrifices of war and why it's only the poor and middle class that are paying the price for this conflict.

I guess Bob Herbert reads this blog.... ;)

For the most part, the only people sacrificing for this war are the troops and their families, and very few of them are coming from the privileged economic classes. That's why it's so easy to keep the troops out of sight and out of mind. And it's why, in the third year of a war started by the richest nation on earth, we still get stories like the one in Sunday's Times that began:

"For the second time since the Iraq war began, the Pentagon is struggling to replace body armor that is failing to protect American troops from the most lethal attacks by insurgents."

Scandalous incompetence? Appalling indifference? Try both. Who cares? This is a war fought mostly by other people's children. The loudest of the hawks are the least likely to send their sons or daughters off to Iraq.

He goes on to point out that not only aren't people sacrificing for this war (I mean, c'mon, Prez...a FIVE week vacation? The longest any president has ever taken? In the middle of a war? The first war we've ever unilaterally declared on a sovereign nation? And it's going so badly????), but no one even really cares!

I was in Jacksonville, Fla., a few days ago and watched in amusement as a young woman emerged from a restaurant into 95-degree heat and gleefully exclaimed, "All right, let's go shopping!" The war was the furthest thing from her mind.
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File this under "DUH!"

The NSA has finally coughed up documents that said that if we went to war in Iraq, we ought to be prepared for an exit strategy.

How nice of them to state the obvious...wasn't it Colin Powell who said something about the "Pottery Barn" policy?

But this telling passage indicates something more sinister afoot:
The new documents, released this month to the National Security Archive under the Freedom of Information Act, also provide more evidence on when the Bush administration began planning for regime change in Iraq -- as early as October 2001.

The declassified records relate mainly to the so-called "Future of Iraq Project," an effort, initially run by the State Department then by the Pentagon, to plan for the transition to a new regime after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003. They provide detail on each of the working groups and give the starting date for planning as October 2001.

Maybe that header should read "File this under D-huh?????"

Uncle Sam Needs You

By Mark Tran / Guardian 01:35pm

July proved to a good month for the US army's recruitment target. This branch of the US armed forces has struggled to meet its recruitment targets but last month it signed up 8,085 new recruits, beating its target of 7,450.

Still, when the army finishes its financial year on 30 September it is expected to be 7,000 short of its 80,000 recruiting goal. With public support for the war in Iraq steadily dropping, the army chief of staff, General Peter Schoomaker, tells the San Francisco Chronicle that next year "may be the toughest recruiting environment ever."

That's no surprise when the army is up against the likes of Cindy Sheehan, who is camped outside George Bush's Texas ranch in protest at the death of her son in Iraq. Media coverage of returning casualties from Iraq, such as this powerful piece in the Washington Post does the US army no favours either.

Given this unpromising context, Business Week reports that the army will spend more money on recruitment ads next year, about $320m up from $240m this year. As it helpfully points out this amounts to $4,000 per recruit if the army signs up 80,000 next year - more than twice what Toyota spends to woo a new customer.

Because of my avocation and my hopes to shortly kick back the rat race to someone else's lap and start living the high life off commercial voiceover revenues, this article caught my eye.

Toyota ads are all over the place and they sell millions of cars nationwide each year. The Army is going to spend more than Toyota for a few measly dozen thousands? Will the recruits get that cool "employee pricing" on hospital beds and coffins? How about body armor? Any chance that will be thrown in as an option? Can a recruit lease, rather than buy? You know, trade it in for a brand new war in two years, maybe in Iran? What's the warranty? Can they haggle, you know, maybe get free undercoating, or at least an extra M-16? I mean, if I'm going to sign up for a war, I want to get all the candy!

I thought we were in a fiscal crisis? Maybe if they stopped, you know, fighting in Iraq, they could save some money on recruitment?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Question about Michelle Malkin...

Why does Jane L. Monhart live with Michelle and her "husband", Jesse?

She's not the cook, the cleaning woman, or the nanny. Think there might be some nookie-nookie going on, despite the supposed conservative family values that they all espouse? Maybe ol' "Mr. Mom" Jesse isn't the, um, man he should be?

Ol' Jane do get around....

I Want to Have Maureen Dowd's Baby

Maureen Dowd's column in today's NY Times has this:

Biking Toward Nowhere
Published: August 17, 2005
How could President Bush be cavorting around on a long vacation with American troops struggling with a spiraling crisis in Iraq?

Wasn't he worried that his vacation activities might send a frivolous signal at a time when he had put so many young Americans in harm's way?

"I'm determined that life goes on," Mr. Bush said stubbornly.

That wasn't the son, believe it or not. It was the father - 15 years ago. I was in Kennebunkport then to cover the first President Bush's frenetic attempts to relax while reporters were pressing him about how he could be taking a month to play around when he had started sending American troops to the Persian Gulf only three days before.

On Saturday, the current President Bush was pressed about how he could be taking five weeks to ride bikes and nap and fish and clear brush even though his occupation of Iraq had become a fiasco. "I think it's also important for me to go on with my life," W. said, "to keep a balanced life."

Pressed about how he could ride his bike while refusing to see a grieving mom of a dead soldier who's camped outside his ranch, he added: "So I'm mindful of what goes on around me. On the other hand, I'm also mindful that I've got a life to live and will do so."

Ah, the insensitivity of reporters who ask the President Bushes how they can expect to deal with Middle East fighting while they're off fishing.

The first President Bush told us that he kept a telephone in his golf cart and his cigarette boat so he could easily stay on top of Saddam's invasion of Kuwait. But at least he seemed worried that he was sending the wrong signal, as his boating and golfing was juxtaposed on the news with footage of the frightened families of troops leaving for the Middle East.

"I just don't like taking questions on serious matters on my vacation," the usually good-natured Bush senior barked at reporters on the golf course. "So I hope you'll understand if I, when I'm recreating, will recreate." His hot-tempered oldest son, who was golfing with his father that day, was even more irritated. "Hey! Hey!" W. snapped at reporters asking questions on the first tee. "Can't you wait until we finish hitting, at least?"

Junior always had his priorities straight.

Not the Sharpest Crayon in the Box

I mentioned below in a post here that I really enjoy my high school alumni(ae) e-mail list, because I'm simply not the brightest kid in the room.

I was all set to write an impassioned defense of Cindy Sheehan today, noting that exploitation of the dead, when done by Republicans, is A-OK, but when a simple housewife from California does it, suddenly the right-wing chuckleheads (yea, MMalkin, this means you. I know you've been alerted!) get their knickers in a twist.

When along comes a good friend named Ira to say this:
Circus or not, it is about time the media focused on what a farce the "war" -- no, this renamed armed exercise against extremism -- has become. The Washington Post ran an article saying the insider pros in the administration are backing off their aspirations for "transforming" Iraq into a democracy, the outstanding constitutional issues of federalism, role of religion, division of oil revenue seem intractable, and what Sheehan has done, which somehow the 2004 election failed to do, is force us to realize we have committed our troops and treasure for Bush lies. It is more than unfortunate that America's attention span is so short, fleeting, and seemingly apt to follow the travails of the likes of Paula Abdul or Terry Schiavo or Martha Stewart or OJ or Michael Jackson, when we are killing people and being killed for no good reason, and this administration thinks nothing of political retaliation (a la Rove) when someone speaks truth to power. (And not just Wilson, but Clark and O'Neill as well)

So, as simple and perhaps artificial as the Sheehan media event is, at least the focus is on the right thing for once. It seems the only way to get our lazy administration stenographers (that is, the mainstream media) interested in anything that should be serious is to introduce a "circus" -- that is, entertainment -- component into it. So, if that's what it takes, so be it. If the game has to be played to get people to realize America has been disgracefully astray in Iraq for the last 30+ months, let's play.

Cud nae said it better meself...

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Food For Thought

This is from a 2005 report by the GAO (yes, a government agency that actually has it's head screwed on!). Read it and think about what we've done to this country, and why I'm so angry at Bush.

George W. Bush's Greatest Hits

It's a Flash animation to make you laugh, make you cry and make you count down to Jan. 21, 2009....

Monday, August 15, 2005

Republican Hypocrisy

So the right wing was all a fluffer about the purported investigation into the adoption records of John Roberts, the Supreme Court nominee.

Wonder how they'll handle this?

Can you say "hypocrite", anyone? You wonder what kind of little secrets are in Ms. Malkin's past?

I'm looking into it. Believe me, the temptation to post her personal information is enormous, but I know I wouldn't want it to happen to me, so I'm keeping my finger off the trigger. Until I find something criminal, like say she or her dad have been arrested, something like that... *hint*

Sweet Neo Con

These may (and I stress, may) be the lyrics to the controversial new Stones' song, Sweet Neo Con. Got them from a correspondent who says he found them on a Stones' fan site. Obviously, they are not complete, and the italics emphasize phrases and lines either missed or interpreted...

You call yourself a Christian
I think that you're a hypocrite
You say you are a patriot
I think that you are a crock of shit

And listen about the price of gasoline (not sure about this...)
I drink it every day
But its getting very pricey
And who is goin' to pay

Oh oh you're so wrong
My sweet Neocon

It's liberty for all
'cause democracy's our style
unless you are against us
Then it's prison without trial

But one thing that is certain
Like this girl in Haliburton
If you're really so astute
You should invest in ???

How come you're so wrong
My Sweet Neocon
If you turn out right
I'll eat my hat tonight

It's gettin' very scary
Yeah, I'm frightened out of my wits
There's police in my bedroom
Yeah, and it's giving me the shits

We must have looked for reasons
To protect us from our (own?)
We're doing it alone

How come your so wrong
my sweet neocon
Where's the money gone
In the Pentagon

Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah.... Neocon!

What's Behind Bush's Back?

Maybe you recall the flapdoodle during the Kerry-Bush debates last year over whether our President was wearing some sort of hidden device, with an earpiece, feeding him answers.

Turns out, an analysis by the fellow at Jet Propulsion Labatories who analyzes the Saturn photos sent back by probes, had a story on this topic killed, not once, but twice!

Still Hiding the Bush Bulge
Spiking of story an “internal matter,” Pasadena paper says

Extra! July/August 2005

Dave Lindorff

Pasadena residents didn’t get to read about the exploits of local celebrity Dr. Robert Nelson, who, besides being a Jet Propulsion Lab photo analyst who helped present those dramatic photos of Saturn’s rings and moons, also gave the lie to White House claims that the bulge seen on Bush’s back during the presidential debates was “just a wrinkle.”

They didn’t get to read Nelson’s account of how his photo analysis of Bush’s jacket—a story that would have increased speculation that the president was wearing a hearing device during the debates—almost made it into the New York Times before being killed by top editor Bill Keller (Extra!, 1–2/05).

They didn’t read all this in their local daily, the Pasadena Star-News, because senior editors at that paper killed the story on Saturday, April 30, right before publication in the Sunday edition—apparently for political, not journalistic, reasons.

The Star-News is the oldest holding of MediaNews Group, a newspaper and television station chain owned and run by William Dean Singleton, one of the U.S.’s more conservative media moguls. Singleton was singled out by Editor & Publisher (1/26/04) as one of several newspaper chain owners who contributed money to the Bush/Cheney re-election campaign last year. MediaNews Group also owns the Denver Post and the L.A. Daily News.

What role, if any, Singleton and his politics had in the killing of Star-News reporter Gary Scott’s story on Nelson and the Bush bulge is unclear. What is known is that the story was filed, edited and set to run, that a photographer had been assigned and had taken pictures of Nelson at home with his photo analysis equipment, and that it was killed at the last minute.

Several sources confirm that the story was axed—and immediately wiped from the paper’s computer system—on orders of Star-News executive editor Talmadge Campbell, who oversees the operations of the Star-News and two other papers, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune and the Whittier Daily News, from an office in San Gabriel. Sources say that Campbell, a former Texan and outspoken Bush supporter, does not normally get involved in day-to-day decisions like what features run—or don’t run—in the Pasadena paper...

Click on the link in the header to read the whole story.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Carl's Theory of Political Evolution and General Relativity

OK, this is bare-bones stuff, but today's as good a time as any to plant the flag and then flesh it out over the next several months....

I have a theory about politics.

The Republican party runs about thirty years behind the Democrats in terms of development. Where we had the 70s for turmoil and unrest and splintering into factions, the Republicans are only just now coming into their own in this regard.

Think about how they are forcing people into Atwater's "big tent". You have former marxist neo-cons who applaud big government squaring off against smaller government paleo-cons. You have social conservatives with liberal fiscal policies (damn evangelical Christians!) against fiscal conservatives with liberal social policies (damn heathens!).

I think the only thing holding this coalition together is their deep fear that the Democrats have been right all along (as evidenced by the unparalleled peace and prosperity of the Clinton administrations), that and fixing elections to maintain a cling on power.
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