Saturday, July 14, 2007

I Kick Michael Fumento's Ass

From comments in my post, The Swirling Waters
Simply by following your link, readers can see I didn't say "liberals" split a but when the Twin Towers fell but rather was making a specific reference to a single blogger and some of his commentators. So you're a liar and too stupid to realize how readily you could be caught, what's new?

And while you question my courage, fact is I've been embedded three times in Iraq and once in Afghanistan. I was permanently maimed on the first trip, to Fallujah, and was in Ramadi twice during its roughest period. How many times have you been over, chickendove?

The precise quote is here, Fume-nto:

Because I say an actor is “Arabic-looking” I’m a racist?

1. The point is that this was part of bending over backwards not to implicate Muslim terrorists.

2. Arabs are Caucasian, like me.

3. The actor in question actually played an Arab in a previous movie, Three Kings.

This accusation represents the combined intelligence of the original blogger and his idiot acolytes. I’ll bet you all split a gut laughing when those Twin Towers fell.

That blog is a liberal blog. Your comments were clearly directed at the liberals (including myself) who comment there. I did not say you said that about all liberals. I stand by my comment.

Have a nice day, chickenshit!

Edited By Siteowner

Michael Fumento
I'm guessing either Fumento is a product of the Reagan era Department of Education, and thus illiterate even about his own comments, or the maiming he speaks of was an amputation from the neck up.

Who Breaks First?

Squirreled away in these two stories (separate links) is the seed of a momentous occasion in the ranks of the Republican party.

First up, Richard Lugar & John Warner:
The proposal by Sens. Richard Lugar of Indiana and John Warner of Virginia, unlike troop withdrawal plans by leading Democrats, would leave it up to Bush to order any pullout.

While it has received a tepid response from Senate Democrats and the White House, the measure underscores the growing bipartisan opposition in the U.S. Congress to the increasingly unpopular war.
This is even less than the Democrats cravenly put forward (and then quickly allowed to get mashed under the wheels of the bus).

Next, John McCain:
CONCORD, New Hampshire (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate John McCain hit the road on Friday to rejuvenate his limping campaign but clung to the theme that helped get him in trouble -- his support for President George W. Bush's politically unpopular strategy in Iraq.
The image of the maverick was soundly beaten to within an inch of its demise (he has made some passes at bucking other Republican credos, like campaign finance reform, even after hugging a Bush).

Which now begs the question, in a race as tight as the GOP Presidential nomination has proven to be, when will the first major candidate step forward and say the war was wrong?

When last we checked in with the Ten Stooges (or is it nine? I can never recall), to a "man", every one of them was touting the invasion of Iraq as a good thing, something they support.

And none of them has precisely gained traction for saying it. Barack Obama has raised $31 million in the past three months, Hillary Clinton, $28 million, and the frontrunning fundraiser, Rudy Giuliani, raised a mere $17 million in the same period.

Admittedly, the heavy money in the Republican race has stayed back in the shadows, which contributes to the lack of spine in any one candidate: those donors, who remain unconvinced of the conservative bona fides of any of the frontrunners (and wouldn't dare put money down on someone in the single digits), are crucial to getting the funding necessary to maintain not only the primary run, but to put a down payment on the general election.

One wonders when a Republican, out of desperation, decides to throw caution to the wind and come out against the Iraq mess? I find it hard to believe that there isn't a mass of moderate Republicans out there, horrified by the prospect of a Republican-led unending war (those are usually the purview of Democratic presidents), who wouldn't leap at the chance to give some funding in support of a candidate who showed he wasn't genuflecting at the feet of the Neo-Conservative hatemongering religious base.

Obama has shown that the Internet fund raising tactics unveiled by Howard Dean work particularly well for a candidate who is seen as bucking the trend. One wonders that any Republican hasn't given this a closer look. After all, it's not like consistency is a bulwark of Republican politics.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday Music Blogging

Elton John - Tiny Dancer

Admin Note

I've posted Friday Kitten Blogging early today, in anticipation that I will be away from my desk. College orientations, and while I'm sure I could use a 'puter on campus, I'd rather stare at what I can no longer have.

Yes, that's right, I'll be sitting in the pizza shop...

Friday Kitten Blogging

Itz 2 HOT! I can haz some playce kool?L

Nobody Asked Me, But...

1) First up, Ladybird Johnson. As Mr. Doggity points out, she was an environmentalist before it became a vogue (but not by much. I remember the first Save The Earth campaigns). She also had grace and intellect, and was thrust into the White House after the second most tragic event of the 20th Century, and had to live with an unpopular war. Still she never forgot that America was beautiful and needed to remain so. Laura Bush, with a heart and a brain.

2) Oxford University has proposed a "fat tax". Amen. Like smoking, if you want to risk your life, fine, but expect to pay for it.

3) The whole David and Victoria Beckham arrival in America is starting to get really weird. Becks is undoubtedly still a force in soccer, but chose to forego a smaller-than-usual (for him) contract in Europe to try to do what Pele failed to do thirty years ago: make soccer a top tier sport in America.

4) Will John McCain make it past Iowa? Will Rudy?

5) There's some irony to the fact that McCain loses a campaign aide named "Failor".

6) If anyone needed more proof of the cynical failure of the Bush administration in protecting us, look no further.

7) By the way, why is Norm Coleman featured so prominently on the Voice Of America website, when it was the GAO who uncovered this story?

8) This score just in: Pamplona Bulls 13, Spaniards 0. The "running of the bulls" ought to mean swapping locker room stories.

9) The world's tallest man got married. He also caught the bouquet.

10) Something to keep in mind after Bush is gone. Or rather, not keep in mind.

11) It's Friday the 13th. Triskedekaphobia, anyone?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Swirling Waters

Last night, I bit the bullet and watched "United 93".

There's an idiot on the right wing named Michael Fumento, who claims liberals "split a gut laughing when those Twin Towers fell." I imagine my good friend Mike McGinn probably still busts a gut thinking about how his brother Billy was trapped in the Towers. Bet he laughs so hard he cries (follow that link, Fumento, you sleazy pandering right-wing jerkwad. I dare you to have the courage).

So naturally, as a die-hard liberal, I expected a comedy.

I mean, jeez, I only avoided watching this film for the better part of a year because I wasn't sure I was ready to see it, what with sucking in asbestos dust and body parts for weeks, and seeing daily reminders...the still-chained bicycles, the plume of smoke and ash, the "MISSING" posters, the lack of those two gleaming towers...all over town.

I was pretty surprised that a movie about such tragic events that I've relived over and over in my head and in my dreams (and on TV) was so riveting and thrilling. Yes, it was a bit cardboardish and cartoonish, to be expected since we will never know precisely what happened on that flight, but still, the film was good enough that I felt part of the action, part of the narrative, and ultimately, part of the devastation of lives around the country.

OK, I wrote all that as a preface to this:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An American Airlines flight was diverted to New York early on Thursday after the crew reported a suspicious passenger in what the U.S. homeland security chief later said may have been a misunderstanding.
Aside from the eerie coincidence of having finally watched United 93 the night before another "concern," I note that, finally, someone got the story out quickly:
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told CNN he had received a report the man in question was an employee who was traveling in a private capacity.

"It may very well turn out that this is nothing more than a misunderstanding with an employee who used an employee bus to get on a plane for a private flight," Chertoff said.
My point is, this nation is terrified, and Al Qaeda has done its work without lifting a finger towards the United States. Even Chertoff himself has said he has a gut feeling there's going to be a terror attack this summer, even if both the White House and he took great pains these past two days to back away from that questionable statement. A little.

I look around the city and, to put it in Fumento-logic, I see myriad reasons to be lighthearted and joyful. Streets blocked off for no apparent reason, large dump trucks filled with sand lurking suspiciously by on-ramps for bridges and tunnels, and cops armed with semi-automatic rifles.

Oh joy! I haven't laughed this much since The Red Skelton Show!

And why is this country suddenly walking around on eggshells? Could it be that this administration, bolstered heavily by numbnut knownothings like the aforementioned (Butt)Fume-nto, have created a Chicken Little atmosphere where legitimate concerns about Al Qaeda cells become not the lead story of the news cycle, but buried behind the front page on someone's blog?

And the Fumentos of the world laugh a cynical laugh at me, and call me a traitor?

Bush has failed, failed horribly, to protect us from future terror attacks. About all we can say to his credit is that they may not happen on his watch, since he's desperately trying to run out the clock, and knows if they do, he'll be exposed to even the sliver of the percentage pie, like the Michael Fumentos of the world, who still believe in him.

A sliver, I note, that is smaller than the sliver that believe Barry Bonds doesn't use steroids. A sliver smaller than the percentage of American adults who believe in the tooth fairy. A sliver far smaller than the percentage of American adults who don't believe in evolution (which means Bush can't even con the abjectly stupid anymore, and holds on tightly to the hydrocephalic moron vote like a life raft).

The ultimate repudiation for history will come when Al Qaeda attacks the US once again, inside the US, and immistakably despite the half-hearted efforts of the Bush administration to, you know, protect the people. That will, I'm afraid, be Bush's legacy for the rest of eternity, and may he burn in hell when his time comes, subject to the sexual predations of every Muslim who died believing in the 72 virgins.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Hump Day Comedy Blogging

Men get whipped and lose their nuts

Free Markets, Iraqi Style

Welcome to capitalism, Baghdad!
Many Iraqis say basic services are at their worst level in decades. More than four years of war has crippled infrastructure while unrelenting violence has hobbled reconstruction efforts.

To make matters worse, summer temperatures can remain above 40 degrees centigrade (104 degrees Fahrenheit) even at night.

Some residents say they get electricity in Baghdad and other provinces for around two hours a day, while water supplies are often cut for days at a time. Motorists sometimes queue for half a day to get petrol.[...]

"I don't know whether to laugh or cry when I see the situation with fuel in a country that sits on a sea of oil," [Taxi driver Mustafa al-Zubaidi] said, before edging closer to the petrol station.
Mr. al-Zubaidi, here's a reason for that. From an article on the BBC website dated March 17, 2005:
Two years ago today - when President George Bush announced US, British and Allied forces would begin to bomb Baghdad - protesters claimed the US had a secret plan for Iraq's oil once Saddam had been conquered.

In fact there were two conflicting plans, setting off a hidden policy war between neo-conservatives at the Pentagon, on one side, versus a combination of "Big Oil" executives and US State Department "pragmatists".

"Big Oil" appears to have won. The latest plan, obtained by Newsnight from the US State Department was, we learned, drafted with the help of American oil industry consultants.
The official story is somewhat different, of course:
Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani told lawmakers that acts of sabotage by insurgents and people drilling holes in fuel pipelines to steal refined oil products were a major reason for petrol shortages.

"In just one stretch of pipeline between Baghdad and Baiji, we found 1,488 holes," he said, referring to a key pipeline running from a refinery in the city of Baiji, 180 km (112 mile) south to the capital. "It doesn't function as a pipeline ... it's more like a sieve."
An excuse which is ludicrous on its face. Where is an average Iraqi citizen going to go with refined petroleum, which needs still further processing to turn it into usable oil products? Insurgents popping pipelines, while certainly a possibility, run into allied patrols regularly, as nearly all of our "temporary bases" are strung along oil pipelines, and one of the first things the Bush administration secured in the invasion were oil production and transport facilities.

Nonetheless, the insurgents have reason to blow up as much of the oil infrastructure as they can: to prevent the aforementioned privatization plans by foreigners hellbent on exploiting Iraqis. Which sort of makes them less insurgents and more patriots, in this limited instance. Think of this aspect of the struggle as the Boston Tea Party, if you need an historical framework.

It's not just the energy and electricity services that are down and out. Basic services like water supply, heavily dependent in a desert country like Iraq on electricity (which of course, requires oil to fuel it and cabling to deliver it), is failing badly, as well as food delivery systems.

These people would be happy for a bath and a cool night's sleep. Is it any wonder that, the longer we keep troops in Iraq, the more insurgents we're generating? That's about ALL that's being generated in Iraq right now.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

If Only...

So long as the United States is devolving into a morass of medievality, what with torture and rendition being in vogue now, perhaps we can bring back another long-standing barbaric tradition: killing bureaucrats who fail us?:
The former head of China's State Food and Drug Administration, Zheng Xiaoyu, has been executed for corruption, the state-run Xinhua news agency reports.
He was convicted of taking 6.5m yuan ($850,000; £425,400) in bribes and of dereliction of duty at a trial in May.

The bribes were linked to sub-standard medicines, blamed for several deaths.
Now, naturally, Mr. Secret Service Man, I would *never* in a million years advocate this for an elected official, but would it be so terrible if, say, Michael Brown had to answer for Katrina in this way?

(h/t MissCellania)

Another Shitty Year In Blogtopia

And yes, he coined that phrase!

Meander over and say "hi" to Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo, and give him some attaboys on making it to five years of blogging. Tell him I sent you.

As someone who is fast approaching his second anniversary, I can attest to how horribly hard this gets to be from time to time. Skippy has kept a consistent level of information and humour for five years, and I can't help but marvel at it, as I struggle with my manic-depressive bouts of writer's brain-cramp.

Dead Cat Splat

I suspect this is the beginning of the end for whatever small chance Bush had for a legacy:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Opposition to the Iraq war has climbed to a record high and President George W. Bush's approval rating dropped to a new low amid growing dissent from members of his own Republican party over his war strategy, according to a new USAToday/Gallup poll.
Which is a slightly misleading statement, since in truth, the opposition from within the Republican party is...
According to the report, nearly four in 10 Republicans cited the immigration debate, which ended in defeat for Bush's overhaul proposal, as the reason for losing confidence in him.
Mind you, this poll was taken well after the Libby commutation occured, something the White House felt would shore up his standing with the Republican base. His approval ratings amongst Republicans had never been below 80% until this poll, where it dropped dramatically to 62%.

So where does he go from here? Well, "jail", in my opinion, but that's not likely to happen. Even Nixon never seriously faced jail time.

I mentioned last March that the pieces were in place for Bush to simply run out the clock. Events over the weekend have strengthened my belief that this is the only option left to him, barring another terrorist strike (which carries its own baggage of failure, should it occur). Bush has refused to let Congress have access to his aides, citing executive privilege, and of course, with essentially three of the SCOTUS justices Bush appointees (Thomas was Daddy's) he stands a good chance of prevailing. Or maybe not. Even in poker, there's no such thing as a sure thing. You calculate your risks and hope for the best.

We're also already seeing trial balloons regarding concessions made on issues that anger the American people: the Iraq invasion, Guantanamo, even Alberto Gonzales may be on the negotiating table. Bush has made a particular effort to reach out to Democrats lately, inviting them to bipartisan private dinners at the White House. Given the disturbing news coming out of Iraq that the government has failed to hit even one benchmark, six months after the surge, Bush has no place to run, no place to hide, despite the tortured arguments of Dick Cheney that he is neither executive nor legislative branch, leaving Bush a temporary place to stash his hoard of political capital.

Oh well...he could always move to Libya...

Monday, July 09, 2007

Hai! I Gotz Stroke!

Dis is tha kine of news mah dadby shud spen mo time cubbering:
KEY WEST, Florida (AP) -- City officials have sided with Ernest Hemingway's former home and its celebrated six-toed felines in its cat fight with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Key West City Commission exempted the home from a city law prohibiting more than four domestic animals per household.

About 50 cats live there.

The house has been locked in a dispute with the USDA, which claims the museum is an "exhibitor" of cats and needs a special license, a claim the home disputes.

The new ordinance reads in part, "The cats reside on the property just as the cats did in the time of Hemingway himself. They are not on exhibition in the manner of circus animals. ... The City Commission finds that family of polydactyl Hemingway cats are indeed animals of historic, social and tourism significance."

It also states that the cats are "an integral part of the history and ambiance of the Hemingway House."
Neeeeeeeeow Ah kin haz cheezburger in Paradice? Becuz Ah wuz de cat dat made you read about dis...k, bai!

Say What You Will About George Bush...

...You can't really argue his comedic timing:
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. strategists are exploring how to implement a peace accord to officially end the 1950-53 Korean War and hope to start discussions with North Korea as soon as year end, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.
Presumably, this is an attempt to salvage some kind of historical legacy that will deflect some of the criticism of the Iraq invasion, but in point of fact, history will probably look at this as an indication of the cynical acknowledgement by the Bush administration that Iraq was a debacle and that by ending the Korean War, Bush is setting the stage to make Iraq the longest-running conflict in American history.

In other words, by calling attention to the long-standing "failure" of past administrations to essentially put pen to paper and make de facto that which has been considered de jure for roughly twenty years, Bush throws into harsh relief the fact that, well, he'll never be considered seriously for a Nobel Peace Prize, to be charitable. Too, it highlights the officious and arrongant manner in which Bush has run his foreign policy, and takes essential brainpower (something already in short supply at the White House) off the more pressing and immediate problem of Iraq to formalize that which basically exists, but for our interference. Or should I say, Bush's interference.

This comes on the same day as Iraqi leaders warned that civil war is imminent if the US pulls its troops out anytime soon:
BAGHDAD, July 9 (Reuters) - Iraqi leaders warned on Monday that an early U.S. troop withdrawal could tip Iraq into all-out civil war after the New York Times said debate was growing in the White House over a gradual scaling-down of forces.

The stark comments followed a wave of bombings and shootings in Iraq at the weekend that killed 250 people.

"This could produce a civil war, partition of the country and a regional war. We might see the country collapse," Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari, a Kurd, told a news conference when asked about the New York Times report.

Citing administration officials and consultants, the Times said these officials feared the last pillars of political support among Senate Republicans for U.S. President George W. Bush's Iraq strategy were "collapsing around them".
In other words, the Iraqi leaders are in danger of losing their cushy jobs, and will be forced back into the streets along with the people they so callowly abandoned for their vacation.

Right now, American troops are like crack cocaine in Iraq: cheap to get, and plentiful. And highly tempting. Shoot one up, and move on to the next fix. But they also imply a stronger drug is at work, and that drug is the civil war that is already raging in Iraq, all over Iraq, and with a few exceptions, throughout Iraqi provinces. And like crack addicts, the Iraqi leadership is in deep denial over the extent of this addiction as well as their role in facilitating it.

Sunday, July 08, 2007


If you know our good friend Jacq, please pay your condolences to her. Her mom passed away yesterday. Her blog is private, so you must have the keys to get in.

Live(?) Earth

I saw a fairly substantial portion of the Live Earth concerts yesterday, wrapped around an afternoon of scuba diving (first dive of the season and I can be charitable and say that I clearly wasn't prepared for it properly). Seven continents, nine cities hosting shows, and NBC giving over six different channels to the shows.

Ugh. And that's where the problem lay. NBC has access to a whole lot more channels than they broadcast on yesterday. The shows were carried on NBC, Universal HD, Bravo, Universal (Latin America), and CNBC (which simulcast the Universal HD show). They had access to five or six other channels: SciFi, Telemundo, MUN2, USA, and Sleuth.

Here's the problem: Why is it that, at several points last night, not one live act was shown??? There were tape delays, endless repeats of Madonna (MADONNA???) in England from three hours earlier, and god help me, Joss Stone was shown on all four broadcasts simultaneously, even tho she had performed in the afternoon (and she sucks).

OK, in fairness to Madonna, she did write the theme song to the entire show, "Hey You".

Only two acts from the Rio de Janiero show were broadcast: Lenny Kravitz, and Xuxa, who opened the show and hosts a children's television show. One hundred and fifty acts, and we get Madonna on demand??? We saw nothing of the DC concert (that's possibly because Congressional Republicans try to ban Al Gore from having a concert, but a Native American group waived their permit in exchange for performance time...would have been nice of NBC to even fucking mention that when they had Gore on for an interview, if they couldn't get a fucking newscrew in to do a remote feed!), and only bits and pieces of the Johannesburg show (Joss Stone....arggh!).

And finally, the most tasteless part of the night was Missy Elliot, who for some reason can't help but use her dresses to sell advertising. This one, at least, was to remind people that Darfur is a problem, but that, you know, sort of distracted from the point of a benefit concert.

And, naturally, there were snipes from the Rupert Murdoch papers regarding Madonna:
The News of the World tabloid, Britain's biggest-selling newspaper, detailed estimates of Madonna's carbon emissions from nine houses, a fleet of cars, a private jet and the Confessions tour, calling her a "climate-change catastrophe".

The Sunday Telegraph quoted U.S. reports of her alleged financial links to companies accused of being major polluters.

Her spokeswoman in Britain was not immediately available for comment, but in a statement appearing in the Independent on Sunday, her New York spokeswoman said:

"Madonna's agreeing to sing at the Live Earth Event is merely one of the first steps in her commitment towards being environmentally responsible."


That said, there were some high points:

1) Far and away, the best performance of the day, held in front of a raving, moshing crowd, was from Antarctica. Five British scientists formed a band called Nunatak, and gave an amazing performance, made more so by the fact they played the Antarctic winter! The penguins *really!* went wild.

2) Bravo was good enough to broadcast the entire set of each act from the New York show in its entirety, on tape delay.

3) Alicia Keys did an astounding cover of "Gimme Shelter" with Mr. Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban and then went on to do her own set. She was hands down the highlight of the New York concert, beating out the headline act, The Police, who were flat and needed appearance by John Mayer and Kanye West to generate any excitement from an exhausted and heat-drained crowd. And Kanya West probably should have realized that appearance was not his set, and stopped trying to dominate Sting.

4) Shakira was a revelation. She had been sold here as a upscale Christina Aguilera, but in truth, she's more Sheryl Crowe.

5) The stadium in Sydney lost partial power during the closing act (the always amazing Crowded House) who then went on to include the audience in the entire closing number, even inviting them to dance on stage.

6) Some of the short films that were dispersed in the broadcast in lieu of commercials (which were limited but for some reason all featured Billy Mays) were powerful, even tear-jerking, in particular the child-slaves of Brazil's charcoal industry and how that industry goes onto pollute the environment in myriad ways, right up to the processing of steel).

7) Two comedy bits about the last two polar bears on the planet, starring Rip Torn and Harry Shearer, could easily have been on Saturday Night Live, they were that good.

8) The best short, tho, was about the last penguin on earth.