Saturday, April 29, 2006

The American™

Digby also chimes in to mock opposition to the Spanish language American Anthem.
Apparently honoring the confederate flag is ok because it's a tribute to the heritage and culture of some Americans' forebears.

But that's the only culture and heritage to which Americans are allowed to pay such tribute. The one that seceded from the United States and created its own country.

Those whose forebears didn't secede from the US to form their own country but rather came to America to become Americans should not be allowed to honor their culture in any way shape or form. That would be un-American.

And now I will chime in.

What is the big frickin' deal about a Spanish language Star-Spangled Banner? It means exactly the same thing. People who sing the national anthem in whatever language are still honoring America.

Who are these culture police with their checklist of attributes that make up The American™? If you display a Union Jack, you obviously hate America™ and should be shipped back to England. What, you have no English heritage, you're just an Anglophile? Doesn't matter, you're not sufficiently American™.

What's on that checklist, anyway? Do I have to like country-western music?

At what point does something foreign [eww, have to wash my fingers after typing foreign] become American™? When did using a day to supposedly honor an Irish Catholic saint as a pretext to paint your ass green and dance drunkenly in the street become American™?

[edited because I wasn't quite through ranting]

I've always thought being American meant valuing the Constitution and the principles it made law. Honoring ideals, like equality under law, freedom of speech (whatever the language), separation of powers. It doesn't mean wearing certain clothes, speaking a certain language, worshipping a certain God, or eating certain foods -- in other words bowing down to some unidentifiable, ungraspable ever-changing culture.

Because no matter what you wear, speak, eat, or worship, if you honor the Constitution of the United States and will fight to protect this country and all its inhabitants from attacks on our liberties and system of government, foreign or domestic, then you are an American.

Update: Rash Nussell linked to Nuestro Himno (the Spanish-language anthem) in comments. It's still the anthem, as pop-sucky as it is.

A News Blog Rant

And a good one, IMO, on Monday's scheduled boycott.
But talk about waking a sleeping giant, jesus. Of course, Bush tossed more logs on the fire by complaining about the National Anthem being sung in Spanish. So what? Sing it in Portuguese, Russian, German, I could care less. There is no official langauge in the US and never has been. English is merely the lingua franca, not mandated by law. You need to speak English to get ahead, but we don't have scenes like a Canadian judge speaking in French to a room full of Anglophones because it's the law.

...

This has gotten personal Every two-bit peckerwood who hates anyone with brown skin has been insulting these people since this mess started. Hispanics take personal dignity seriously, and Lou Dobbs and friends have been trampling on it like a rug.

Holtzman Lied, His Campaign Died

WashParkProphet has details on not only Holtzman's campaign manager lying about non-existent poll numbers, but Holtzman's own lies about Refs C & D.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Beware the Tricky Wiki

Political operatives have been using it to rewrite info on candidates, often to ridicule or smear opponents.

Narcs or Nards?

RMN asks a provocative question: Would you turn this girl in? Dwight Schrute knows the answer to that one! (One of my favorite Schrute quotes: "My grandfather killed 20 men. Then he spent the rest of the war in an Allied POW camp.")











She's smoking pot at UC's "420" day celebration. About 50 narcs have turned in their friends already.

Make sure she gets off with treatment.

Update: Ubikkibu spotted a toker with Republican Congressman John Sweeney, at SoapBlox Colorado.

Where's the Mug Shot?

Limbaugh was arrested on drug charges, for which he turned himself in, but it looks like he's going to get off on doctor shopping charges with treatment, as most drug abusers -- even the poor non-white ones -- ought to.

When asked about his 1995 comments:
Drug use, some might say, is destroying this country. And we have laws against selling drugs, pushing drugs, using drugs, importing drugs. ... And so if people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up.

Limbaugh answered:
I must have been on drugs when I said that. [/snark, for dumbasses]

Prayer Addendum

To the Poor Man's humble supplication:

5) Please let #1 have been supplied to #2. Is that going too far?

Ooops, I forgot. This prayer will actually ensure that wishes 1 - 5 will not come true.

(Again via Atrios. Why don't I just go down my own Favorites list, instead of going to Eschaton right away? Eschaton was the first blog I ever visited, so it's my default blog nearly every time.)

Republican Sex Scandal

Or as Atrios calls it, Hookergate. He's got the links.

Another Iran-Contra Scandal?

What to make of money diverted and spending costs unaccounted for? From The American Prospect. Maybe this is the contra Iran scandal.

Via Atrios.

I'll Never Be Ready

The trailer for United 93 played before Inside Man. Unlike at home, where I can turn the channel or otherwise occupy my attention, it was impossible to avoid.

I don't think I'll ever be able to watch any dramatization of 9/11. I had a hard enough time watching Schindler's List (only once, I haven't been able to watch it again, though when it played on TV I watched bits just to see an uncensored R movie on network television in primetime).

Since I know there are a lot of other people who also won't be able to watch it, it'll be interesting to track the numbers.

[edited to get the name of the film right]

A "For the Children" Plea I Can Get Behind

The Denver Post supports a law making its way through the Colorado Legislature, the Colorado Domestic Partnership Benefits and Responsibilities Act, which not only gives domestic partners certain rights, but protects their children.
Providing such rights to children is so important that even the sponsors of an initiated constitutional amendment limiting marriage to a union of a man and woman in Colorado specifically drafted it to co-exist with a domestic partnership law.

Such tolerance is anathema to Rep. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud, and Will Perkins, an anti-gay Colorado Springs activist, who have filed a rival initiative that would ban domestic partnerships. We frankly urge voters not to sign that bigoted measure but to instead vote for the Colorado Domestic Partnership Benefits and Responsibilities Act if the legislature refers it to the November ballot.

It sounds like a step in the right direction, and I like the Post's strong language for those whose opposition to same sex couples is nothing but religious bigotry and homophobia.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Bush Caused High Gas Prices

Democrats Represent More Americans makes the case that the reason gas prices are high is because the Bush Administration's actions pushed them up there, and are keeping them there.

"Behold, the Atheists' Nightmare"


Yes, that's right, it's The Banana™, designed by God-as-Ron-Popeil, with easy grip non-slip surfaces and convenient non-splattering pull tab.

Kirk Cameron has a new career in evangelical infomercials with an Australian salespartner (a must for all good infomercials, it seems).

Crooks and Liars (via Jesus' General) recommends watching only from 3:30 - 4:36 on the recording, and I did learn that I've been peeling bananas the unGodly way my whole life (I peel down one side, split it open, and take out the fruit -- and for the correct way to eat it, see Stephen Colbert).

But there's an awful lot of awful goodness to behold in their attempt to teach how to run logical rings around atheists by arming the Faithful with Intelligent Design arguments.

For instance, right after the banana bit, Cameron uses the out of context Darwin quote:

To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of Spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree.

The rest of the quote:

When it was first said that the sun stood still and the world turned round, the common sense of mankind declared the doctrine false; but the old saying of Vox populi, vox Dei ["the voice of the people = the voice of God "], as every philosopher knows, cannot be trusted in science. Reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a simple and imperfect eye to one complex and perfect can be shown to exist, each grade being useful to its possessor, as is certain the case; if further, the eye ever varies and the variations be inherited, as is likewise certainly the case; and if such variations should be useful to any animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, should not be considered as subversive of the theory.

I have my own quote:
To say that Darwin wrote that it seems highly improbable that the eye was created by natural selection, which proves that Darwin believed the eye to be created by an intelligent designer seems, I freely confess, dishonest in the highest degree.

The rest of the quote:
It is.

A great resource for someone with photoshop, Banana Museum.

Potential Presidential Candidate

Western Democrat notes the Denver Posts' optimism about Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM).

Also from Western Democrat, maps showing possible correlation between Bush's popularity and gas prices.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Parasitic Pin Head Whiners' Home

For a limited time only, I suspect, the Poor Man has a new name.

Sometimes the best parody of a wing-nut comes from the wing-nuts themselves.

Dems Looking West

It's a smart move. July 22 - 24 the DLC will hold its "national conversation" in Denver, which could bode well for a western convention, another smart move. The DLC doesn't seem to make too many smart moves.

Monday, April 24, 2006

What Happened to Blair?

Didn't he used to be less extreme?
He outlines controversial new steps, ranging from seizing assets from suspected drug dealers - which could see anyone stopped with more than £1,000 having the money confiscated - to draconian new restrictions on the movements of those suspected of involvement in organised crime.

Donald Trump better leave the money clip at home for his next trip to England.
Even if they are not convicted of a crime and there is insufficient evidence to try them, suspects could be banned from associating with certain individuals or travelling to certain places, in order to disrupt trades such as human trafficking.

Blair's intent:
I would generally harry, hassle and hound them until they give up or leave the country.

I've been wondering for quite some time when the British people will so harry, hassle and hound Blair he'll either give up or leave the country. But then, my country re-elected Bush, so who am I to judge?

V's not looking quite so crazy anymore, is he?

Bush to Reality: "Nice to Meet You"

Speaking on illegal immigration

Lucid Statement #1:

"We cannot lose sight of that we are talking about human beings that need to be treated with respect," Bush told the [Orange County Business Council], adding, "Massive deportation of human beings is not going to work."

Perhaps he could arrange an introduction with the pampered elite of the OC.

Meg Waters, a public relations consultant from Laguna Niguel, asked Bush a more pointed question about immigration: how he planned to address the impact of millions of undocumented immigrants swelling California schools and emergency rooms, where many seek primary medical care. Waters said her daughter waited five hours last year to see a doctor in an emergency room because it was packed with immigrants.

Of course rich white people should never have to wait 5 hours for their emergency rooms, though that's been my average wait most of my life, even in ERs with mostly white or black faces, thus I'm assuming legal citizens. (I've visited ERs probably 2 dozen times in my life. I'm accident-prone). It depends a great deal on the nature of the problem. You know, people in danger of dying go before even crying spoiled rich brats with a boo boo.

Recently, the wait has been very short. We were in and out of two here in the south suburbs -- Skyview and Littleton -- in about 45 minutes. But during the doctor strike in Jacksonville, FL I was in the ER 8 hours with a kidney stone, all so the doctors could pressure the voters to put caps on malpractice awards, even though it wouldn't save doctors a nickel in insurance premiums. But I shouldn't complain too much -- only an hour and a half of that was I writhing and moaning in pain surrounded by strangers watching me. And I wasn't too out of it to notice the lack of people who looked like they might be illegal immigrants.

Lucid Statement #2:


Bush responded that non-emergency care should be handled by community health centers.

"Bet you have them in Orange County," he said. "You don't?" he added quizzically when Waters and others shook their heads.

It's the wealthy, Republican OC, of course they don't have community health centers. Poor people apparently don't live in the OC, therefore need no services. The ER was obviously packed full of bused-in illegal immigrants. Oh, and the illegal immigrants that residents of the OC hire to maintain their mansions.

But Bush's mental clarity ended at those two statements.
Bush has regularly stated his opposition to letting illegal immigrants, regardless of how long they have been living in the United States, "go to the head of the line" of those seeking citizenship.

Who's suggested they should?

Allard's Second Greatest Achievement

Fooling people into thinking he's a workhorse.

'He's a workhorse, not a show horse," his supporters like to say of
him.
For a Western senator, the slogan uses imagery that voters find appealing, said George Lakoff, linguistics professor at the University of California, Berkeley. In using the workhorse/show-horse comparison, he said, Allard appeals to conservative populists "who see themselves as oppressed by the 'liberal elite."'

"The show horse is the liberal elite," Lakoff said. "He's attacking the
liberals by doing this. In a few words, he gets a lot done."


Fooling Coloradans is the most he's ever gotten done. "Allard almost never plays a role in major legislation ... one of its least influential senators ..." Sounds more like he spends his time grazing in the meadow.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

StarFest 2006 Pics

I was jealous of those who got to see Kos Wednesday night, now you can be jealous of me.



Dwight Schultz (Murdoch, A-Team; Barclay, ST:TNG) and Dirk Benedict (Face, A-Team; Starbuck, BTG) being hilarious.







A model '66 Enterprise with blinking lights









The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters









What, for me, was the highlight of the day, the Gary & Dean Improv Show, with Gary Jones (Harriman, Stargate:SG-1) and Dean Haglund (Langly, X-Files)

Friday, April 21, 2006

Tony Snow a Good Choice

We're all going to miss Scottie's monotone, verbiose, redundant WH briefings.

But Tony Snow, as Media Matters documents, would actually be a good replacement. He has tons of on-air experience lying. And his lack of shame (which I suspect Scottie had, thence the mumbling monotone) will make his lies much more bald-faced and creative.

And he is more attractive and has more personality than the previous two, which should make for much better television.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Allard "Affable Nitwit"

That from WesternDemocrat, who quotes from the Time piece (I don't read Time since they put mAnn Coulter on the cover with a fluff piece).
Allard almost never plays a role in major legislation, even though he's on two key Senate committees, Budget and Appropriations. ... He's polite, affable and willing to take on thankless tasks, such as his current role overseeing the construction of a visitors center on Capitol Hill. ... one of its least influential senators.

So of course he was far too busy to answer any emails.

Jealousy

I stayed home with the kids, so missed out on some good times, inspiring talk, mixed drinks and apple pie.

My Feng Shui is coming along, and on the main level, the Family/Community, Wealth, Fame/Future, Relationships, and Creativity/Children areas are re-organized and uncluttered. Expect to see me at Drinking Liberally and CB & Potts for HD37 Democrats soon.

Tancredo Won't Run

In an unusual moment of lucidity, Tom Tancredo has said he probably won't run for President in 2008, as he's already done about as much damage as he can. He's still running to retain his seat, despite his self-imposed term limit.

Actually, I don't think what he's put into motion is a negative thing. The immigration issue, as Amy Walter, senior editor at the Cook Political Report, said, has "taken on a life of its own." And as often happens in fiction, Tancredo's creation may run wildly afar from his ideals.

The protests and the upcoming gringo boycott are bringing the "invisible people" out into the open to empower themselves. And I think a lot of people already know that enforcement alone isn't going to solve anyone's problem.

For one thing, a wall is a demoralizing symbol to many of us who associate walls with political oppression and don't want to emulate certain other oppressive regimes.

For another, the idea of rounding up millions of people for deportation would be another demoralizing and logistically impractical task -- I hate to break Godwin's law, but Hitler had no moral constraints in how he rounded people up, but he still couldn't get 12 million people in the 12 years he was working on it. And his boat didn't have a hole in it, with people still trying to get into Germany despite the roundups, as they would in the U.S.

And I think most people realize that enforcement only would be like treating a rotten tooth with morphine. Sure, the pain might lessen for a while, but that tooth still has to be fixed.

NAFTA is a sore tooth.
NAFTA has brought enormous benefits to some sectors in Mexico, as exports to the United States have increased---particularly in the apparel sector and in non-traditional crops such as flowers. Others, most notably the poor, rural population, have experienced declining real wages, fewer employment opportunities and increased rates of poverty.

...

While the jury is still out on the effects of the agreement nationwide, poor, rural Mexicans are the clear losers under NAFTA. Agricultural liberalization has displaced hundreds of thousands of small farmers in rural Mexico, many of whom have migrated to cities or to the United States.

New employment in the Maquiladora sector is poorly paid, lacks benefits, discourages union activity, and often violates basic worker and human rights. Further, export processing zones in which foreign companies assemble products for sale abroad create few forward and backward linkages to the Mexican economy, and therefore do little to advance national development and poverty reduction goals.

CAFTA, too
People who wonder why there is such passionate opposition to CAFTA - an expansion of the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to six more nations - need look no further than the decade of results of NAFTA in Mexico. NAFTA displaced 1.5 million Mexican peasant farmers. Many of these displaced farmers sought industrial jobs, causing Mexican wages to drop by 20 percent. Communities and families were torn asunder as those who lost their livelihoods undertook the perilous journey to the United States in hopes of finding some way to support their family.

...

What benefits can come for Guatemalan workers when CAFTA will roll back the stronger labor rights require-ments existing under current U.S.-Central America trade law? What will become of the 60 percent of Guatemala's popula-tion that lives in small farming communities when CAFTA allows the dumping of subsi-dized food exports into our countries? And what can a priest say to the family of a person ill with HIV-AIDS for whom the generic anti-retroviral medicines that CAFTA's patent rules forbid is the only hope? The Bush Administration demanded that before the U.S. Congress would even consider CAFTA, our nation had to revoke a law that helped ensure access to these medicines for the more than 78,000 Guatemalans living with HIV-AIDS. Is this a good neighbor policy?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

I'm the Decider, Except When I Decide I'm Not

Big Ink finds interesting contradictory quotes by President Snippy.

I Am the Egg Head

I think the lyrics to this parody are superior to Lennon's original because they make sense.

Via Atrios.

Malkin, Proto-Fascist

David Neiwert at Orcinus does a great job, as usual, of examining proto-fascism, this time in the case of Michelle Malkin. (via Atrios)

I read The Man in the High Castle recently, a story about what the world would have been like had the Axis won the war, written in 1962.

The German consul in San Francisco was reading a book about what the world would have been like had the Allies won the war, and he got so angry, he started considering sending someone to the author's home in the Rocky Mountain States to kill him, because that would teach him.

Fascists are the same everywhere through all time, whether they know it or not.

Rumors on the Internets about Karl

I'm mainly linking to this because of the picture. Via TalkLeft.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Malkin Roundup

Mahablog has a collection of liberal, death-threatless posts on Malkin's latest reprehensible behavior.

Dollar Destabilization

My brother first clued me into the main reason we invaded Iraq ... currency exchange. The end of dollar dominance may be nigh.

Abstinence-Only Marriage

If only they would give grants for married adults to practice abstinence, I would be rich.

Or at least have more money to spend on hobbies and collectibles (these two links NSF).

I know it's really a program to give grants to educate adults on abstinence, but doesn't it make more sense to pay people to not have sex? It can't be any more effective than paying to teach abstinence, and it could help spur the economy.

BTC News' WH Correspondent; Give Him Turkey

In bragging (rightfully so) about their very own Eric Brewer being the first blogger to ask a question at a White House briefing and eliciting the notice of columnist Dan Froomkin last year, BTC News excerpts a revealing quote:

Eric Brewer, a scientist by trade and one of a handful of contributors to a small, liberal blog called BTC News, got his chance toward the end of Friday’s briefing.


The question he asked was a good one, on a topic that’s probably of great interest to an awful lot of people. It’s also precisely the kind of question your typical full-time White House correspondent doesn’t ask anymore — because there’s simply no point. You’re not going to get an answer.


What well-trained little puppies, they always go on the paper.

Click on BTC News and donate during their fundraising drive, to give the American people at least one person who is doing his business right in the middle of the WH press room and rubbing the Administration's nose in it.

(That's an unfortunate and confused metaphor, and I'm sorry for all of us that I wrote it)

Monday, April 17, 2006

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

Dick Morris on George W. Bush (via Mahablog)
Bush has truly become the Republican equivalent of President Jimmy Carter, out of control, dropping in popularity, unable to resume command. He barely skated through 2004 using the issue of terrorism. But his very success in preventing further attacks has eroded the strength of the issue and has undermined its political importance.

I never thought the Bush Administration was complicit in 9/11. But I thought they knew something was going to happen, something run-of-the-mill like a hijacking or an attack on a military target such as the U.S.S. Cole, only in the U.S. I think they had a pretty good inkling something was about to go down, and they let it. They just didn't know it was going to be as huge as it was. Hell, Osama bin Laden didn't know the towers would come down.

I do not doubt the sociopaths in charge are capable of such callous indifference in the name of power. It's how they and their families have gotten so wealthy. It's why so many scandals surround them all. They are fundamentally flawed, and power, money, and sexual depravity (actually, the last two are also related to the power issue) are the only things that fill the hole. It's how, with a smile on their faces, they get up and lie to us all every day and continue to commit their atrocities, large and small.

That they've gotten so far in life with their scheming and dishonesty only bolstered their belief in the rightness of their positions. They didn't want to invade Iraq for oil, for revenge, for democracy, for safety. They wanted to invade Iraq for D) All of the above. It was a perfect scheme that had so many "upsides."

Their megalomaniacal dreams made them believe they could invade Iraq with little trouble, get revenge on Saddam, get the populace on their side, create a democratic Middle Eastern friend for ourselves and Israel, break Opec's hold on Middle Eastern oil, prevent the replacement of dollars for euros in oil trades thus shutting out Europe and making our Chinese friends continue saving our economy, etc.

Okay, that was a lot about oil. But still, not really. It's about power and megalomaniacal dreams of world dominance. Oil is merely a tool to that end. If we replace oil with another valuable energy source, or any commodity or resource that is valued worldwide, that will be the tool.

Their unswerving belief in their own abilities and purposes is continually revealed. From the small stuff -- like using whatever dirty or illegal tactics they can to win an election -- to the big stuff -- like cherry-picking intelligence to justify an unnecessary war, leaking the name of a NOC and destroying her intelligence network related to Iran's nuclear capabilities -- they will do whatever is necessary to get to their goal.

That's why I'm getting very afraid, and not just that there will probably be another terrorist attack before Bush's term ends. "The ends justify the means." Often, when this phrase is used, "the ends" refers to a good outcome. But I'm afraid that "the ends" as it relates to the neo-con fever dream, will be much worse than any of the means they used to get there.

"Virtual" Black Market

I find this bizarre. Gamers on World of Warcraft were collecting virtual gold and weapons to sell to other gamers for real world money, and the cheaters have been purged. What sorry, pathetic loser would pay real money so their online game character could have more gold or weapons? Robbie Wheeling from Mazes and Monsters?

I've played World of Warcraft twice now, and I understand the attachment one can get to a character, but come on.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Anti-FSMism in Kansas

A Flying Spaghetti Monster sign (via WTF Is It Now?) on a science room door taunts a fundie member of the Kansas School Board.

Sen. Allard's Greatest Achievement

Making Time's Five Worst Senators list. (Via Coloradolib) I can vouch for the fact that he's the worst at returning emails.

Colorado Tartan

Today is History Day on They Get Letters.

NatureBlog has the history of modern day tartans in Scotland, and explains why ours is just as authentic.

Diplomacy is a Hindrance to War

And that's a bad thing? This Mark Steyn column is asinine (hat tip commenter 6thcitizen). He speaks of diplomacy as if it were an ineffective waste of time, calling it a "tap dance." Diplomacy is often a tap dance, and it often, as hard and frustrating as it is, avoids war. It may not solve everyone's problems, give everyone exactly what they want when they want it. But as convoluted, slow-moving, and seemingly stupid as it may be, it can save millions of lives.

Yes, sometimes there are leaders who will take advantage of others' unwillingness or inability to fight, invade multiple nations and spread war. But the alternative, if one disdains diplomacy and its apparent ineffectiveness when results are not immediate and absolute, is constant war.

And to illustrate his and the Bush Administration's lack of complex thought or understanding of how life works, Steyn throws in a metaphor to explain how simple the Iranian situation is, especially when he ignores reality.
You know what's great fun to do if you're on, say, a flight from Chicago to New York and you're getting a little bored? Why not play being President Ahmadinejad? Stand up and yell in a loud voice, "I've got a bomb!" Next thing you know the air marshal will be telling people, "It's OK, folks. Nothing to worry about. He hasn't got a bomb." And then the second marshal would say, "And even if he did have a bomb it's highly unlikely he'd ever use it." And then you threaten to kill the two Jews in row 12 and the stewardess says, "Relax, everyone. That's just a harmless rhetorical flourish." And then a group of passengers in rows 4 to 7 point out, "Yes, but it's entirely reasonable of him to have a bomb given the threatening behavior of the marshals and the cabin crew."

The simple solution to this situation -- which is obviously exactly like the Iranian situation ::rolleyes -- is for the air marshall to stand up and immediately shoot Ahmadinejad in the leg and cuff his arms behind his back, then crawl into his brain and occupy it until it loves democracy, freedom, and Christianity. After all, it's working so well with Saddam.

But what if he really does have a bomb, and when he gets shot, he falls on the detonator and it goes off, killing everyone on board? Or what if it's just a ploy to identify the air marshalls and other passengers willing to stand up and fight, and after Ahmadinejad is disabled or killed, the other terrorists are able to take over the plane? Or what if Ahmadinejad is off his medication, and a frightened Jewish passenger decides to snap his neck in self-defense, and Ahmadinejad's brother, who is flying with him, then retaliates, leading to further escalation and all-out war on the plane? Or what if snakes suddenly drop down like oxygen masks? Pandemonium!

What if, what if. If passenger Ahmadinejad announced he has a bomb, he obviously has a reason for announcing it and giving the air marshall the opportunity to take him down. If Ahmadinejad's purpose was to strike at fellow passenger Israel, then he should have just done it without fanfare, keeping his bomb a secret to the last. After all, it is logical to obtain nukes as a leg up to being a major player in the world. But it is illogical to use nukes as a weapon, unless he is crazy and willing to die, along with all his friends and family.

Knowing that Ahmadinejad has a purpose, the wise air marshall would want to find out what that is, and diplomatically -- you know, by talking, but with a gun at the ready -- attempt to defuse the situation until it becomes clear what the situation is. Perhaps then it will be too late, and everyone will blow up. But the alternative to diplomacy is default war for every adverse situation.

And it may already be too late with Iran (via Square in the Nuts). Bush's inability and disdain for diplomacy may have pushed it too far, and every day he thumps his shoe on the table and threatens to bury them brings us closer to all-out war.

But you never know what a madman will do, especially when it comes to self-destructive behavior. Ahmadinejad might be a madman. But Bush might be a madman. So who uses nukes first? The U.S. is the air marshall and Iran is but a passenger on our planet?

Wasn't Stalin a madman? Weren't we afraid of Breshnev? But containment worked with them. It was working with Iraq, since there were no WMDs, and the nuclear program had been shelved. It was working with North Korea, since they didn't develop a bomb until we stopped giving them incentive to not develop nukes.

And the whole reason Ahmadinejad is in power, that conservatism in Iran had an upswing, is Bush's irresponsible rhetoric and shoe-banging about Iran, crusades, Axis of Evil. Bush elevated a relatively small but deadly terrorist threat that could have been dealt with through cooperation amongst states into a huge, multinational, religious, ethnic cultural war with increasing support and recruitment for the terrorists.

We need level-headed adults back in charge, people who talk softly but carry a big stick, not pathological liars who insist on pushing us closer to global conflict. We need diplomacy to try to defuse this, and every other situation.

What can be done in the short-term, I don't know. The chickenhawks are squawking again, having learned not one single thing from the past five years. The President is already invading Iran and probably will do air strikes, contrary to his Constitutional authority. What else is new? My best hope is still this November with a subsequent impeachment, but that will probably be too late.

Happy Easter

I'm going to overload on Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs. But it's only once a year.

Some Pagan history of the Goddess Eostre.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Has Bush Seen This Video?

Is he fully informed on his latest lunatic idea? I already suspect him to have a depraved indifference to humanity. Whether or not he is informed, if he bombs Iran with nuke bunker busters, his inhumanity will be absolutely, undeniably confirmed.

Nuclear bunker busters are WMDs, will kill millions, and will create more animosity towards the U.S. than already exists.

Watch this video. (via Mike's blog roundup at Crooks & Liars)

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Segregation in Omaha

Did the past 40 years ever happen, or was it just a beautiful dream?

I just told my husband about how Omaha's only black Senator, Ernie Chambers, sponsored a bill to redraw school districts along mainly racial lines, White, Black, and Hispanic. He was born in Omaha and has strong family ties there still. His response, "Hmm, sounds like Omaha."

The bill passed, 31 - 16, but there's strong and vocal opposition to it. But Sen. Chambers makes his case. Omaha is pretty much segregated anyway, since busing is no longer done, and the students in the the predominantly black part of town are getting short shrift. Giving racial minorities control over their own district would mean better resources. And since the re-districting would not happen until 2008 -- and there will likely be lawsuits to prevent it from happening even then -- there's time for lawmakers to study the problem and come up with a better solution.

It sounds like Sen. Chambers mainly passed his bill to make a point. Force the city to recognize the segregation and inequality that already exists, and publicly shame them into addressing the issue.

Owens' Vetoes

They make me wonder, how does Gov. Owens personally profit from fat, pregnant teenage girls?

Scottie Doth Protest Too Much?

Scottie was all agitated about the suggestion that his boss is a big fat liar.
"It's reckless reporting. Everybody should be agitated about it," White House spokesman McClellan told reporters of The Washington Post report.

But Scottie's passionate denials seem a little out of character, considering he normally resembles a limp squid.

When Bush said "we have found the weapons of mass destruction," the White House had been faxed a report which unequivocally denied that the trailers were mobile biological weapons labs. But Bush stated unequivocally the opposite, despite having been made aware of serious doubts.

But, just like with every other bit of inconvenient information that doesn't fit the script, Preznit McLeaky ignored it.
McClellan said Bush made his statement based on the combined conclusions of the CIA and DIA that were given to him in a May 28 white paper.

That white paper reflected the intelligence community's position at the time that the mobile units were biological weapons laboratories.

Perfectly reasonable explanation, until you see what the CIA and DIA White Paper based their confident conclusion on: info from Curveball [pdf], who was revealed to be a possible fabricator in late 2002, and the fact that they couldn't think of any other plausible uses for the trailers. Seriously.

The State Department dissented from the CIA's opinion about the trailers, but were left out of the loop. Perhaps the State Department uses better fax paper, so their copy didn't curl up and roll under the fax machine, like at the White House.
The fact that the C.I.A. and the D.I.A. did not consult with other agencies in producing the so-called white paper reflects a rare but not unknown approach, officials from the intelligence agencies and Congress said.

...

"We didn't shop that paper around because we were the ones who were most knowledgeable about it," the C.I.A. official said. "We were the ones who knew from a former Iraqi scientist [ed: yep, Curveball] what to expect, and we didn't have to ask a handful of people in small agencies."

Small, insignificant agencies like the State Department.
But administration officials sympathetic to the State Department said that the department's intelligence bureau felt it had been deliberately shut out of the process. The intelligence bureau has been more skeptical than the C.I.A. and D.I.A. on matters related to Iraq's suspected illicit weapons program and its ties to terrorism.

An intelligence official sympathetic to the C.I.A. view said the State Department intelligence bureau's skepticism had been well known and that seeking its input on the report would have served no useful purpose.

Got that? The CIA supporter said the CIA had no use for evidence that didn't fit the agenda.

But Scottie won't give up. Oops, I mean a "U.S. intelligence official, speaking on the condition of anonymity" ::winkwink:: won't give up.
...the field report was a preliminary finding that had to be evaluated.

"You don't change a report that has been coordinated in the (intelligence) community based on a field report," the official said. "It's a preliminary report. No matter how strongly the individual may feel about the subject matter."

No matter how uncoordinated the White Paper was, how little evidence it was based on, you don't change it just because some other agency has unequivocal evidence that contradicts the White House spin. Also, no matter how much the contradictory evidence gets evaluated, you shelve it and ignore it for nearly a year.
The three-page field report and a 122-page final report three weeks later were classified and shelved, the Post reported. It added that for nearly a year after that, the Bush administration continued to publicly assert that the trailers were biological weapons factories.

There seems to be only two ways the White House can go in explaining this. They were either incompetent and stupid, or deliberately deceitful. Obviously the former is less damaging. But they're both. Incompetent and stupid to rush into actions based on wishful thinking, and deliberately deceitful by disregarding information which doesn't fit their wishful thinking, which leads to further incompetence and stupidity, which also leads to further deliberate deceitfulness in hiding their incompetence and stupidity.

Maybe that's why Scottie's so frazzled. For the normal joe who doesn't delve deeply into issues, this incident, more than the other complicated instances of White House criminality and lies, may be easier to understand . The President knew the truth, but told us a lie for nearly a year.

Come to think of it, it's the same with the Plame leak. He knew he was the leaker, but claimed for more than two years that he didn't know who the leaker was.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

White House Kills Its First Ground Zero Victim

Don't let anyone blame terrorists for the death of police detective James Zadroga. Like the soldiers dying in Iraq, he's a victim of the irresponsible, delusional -- hell, pathological Bush Administration.

A coroner's report released Tuesday found James Zadroga's death after developing respiratory disease was "directly related" to the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center.

...

Zadroga's family and union released his autopsy results, the first known medical ruling positively linking a death to recovery work at ground zero.

Truthout.org:

A week after the attack, the EPA announced that the air near ground zero was safe to breathe, but the agency did not have enough information to make such a guarantee, the inspector general's report said.

The White House "convinced EPA to add reassuring statements and delete cautionary ones" by having the National Security Council control EPA communications, the inspector general's report found.

Why? To save a few nickels on respirators and particle masks?

What is the particular pathology that leads them to tell us that highly dangerous carcinogens are actually good for us; to go shopping in response to a terrorist attack; to fool us into a war no matter what NOC had to be betrayed; to hide science that contradicts their religious beliefs or hurts their pocketbooks; to lie to our faces when we know the truth?

More About Preznit Pants on Fire

Via Atrios
Two small trailers captured by U.S. troops had turned out to be long-sought mobile "biological laboratories." He declared, "We have found the weapons of mass destruction."

However,
A secret fact-finding mission to Iraq -- not made public until now -- had already concluded that the trailers had nothing to do with biological weapons. Leaders of the Pentagon-sponsored mission transmitted their unanimous findings to Washington in a field report on May 27, 2003, two days before the president's statement.


See also:
President Pants on Fire

Cheney Booed

This is by Washington Times reporter Joseph Curl.

"I have never -- ever -- heard anyone get booed like that man," the affable usher and lifelong Democrat said yesterday with a smile.


"That man" was Vice President Dick Cheney, who, two months after shooting a bird-hunting companion in the face, tried his hand at another sporting event -- tossing out the first pitch for the Washington Nationals' home opener at RFK Stadium.

It's not a friendly article. Joseph Curl writes,

Mr. Cheney strode out of the Nats' dugout and boos immediately began to rain down on him, growing to a crescendo as he neared the mound.

...


Yet the vice president, a year older than Mr. Horton, didn't toe the pitcher's rubber, 60 feet 6 inches from home plate. Instead, he took a spot in front of the mound, on the infield grass. The boos sustained their deafening pitch in the stadium's bowl. With a jerky and short windup, the vice president threw the ball toward home plate.

It didn't quite make it. The ball skipped in the dirt just in front of the plate, but was expertly scooped up by Washington catcher Brian Schneider.


He makes it sound like Cheney is a wimp. The man deserves to be booed wherever he goes, but he's old and unhealthy. I'm not criticizing the article, I'm just noting how overtly negative the Moonie Times writer was about the VP, making no attempt to defend him or balance the article. But I haven't been reading the WT, so I don't know if there's a trend toward writing negatively about Cheney. I just find it interesting.

Update: What does it mean when the wacky right-wing Moonie Times prints an accurate and negative portrayal of a Republican official, but the purportedly liberal Washington Post won't? Firedoglake (via Atrios) has this:
The first pitch of the Washington Nationals’ second season at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium was low and away, bouncing in the dirt before being scooped up by catcher Brian Schneider. For that, Vice President Cheney received a round of boos from the home crowd this afternoon.

Hamsher also links to Crooks & Liars' video of the event.

Update 2: Think Progress shows how the Post changed their story, though it's still inadequate.

Also something I didn't excerpt from the Moonie Times, but which adds to the ambience:
But not everyone at the half-filled stadium was booing. Former Clinton strategist James Carville, in the front row just behind the home team's dugout, was howling like a hyena, his face contorted in laughter. Next to him, his wife, Mary Matalin, cheered enthusiastically as her former boss headed to the mound.

The above-quoted usher didn't boo, either. Neither did the players, the umpires, Cheney, his Secret Service, the owners, etc. So how bad could the booing have been? [/snark]

Saturday, April 08, 2006

General Assembly: Help, I'm Becoming a Wonk

I got up early for the Democratic General Assembly in Aurora. I actually enjoyed it.

I hadn't been entered into the computer as a delegate, so I had to get in the credentials line, and it occurred to me that headquarters might need a little help with data entry. And I was intrigued by the parliamentarian, who seems to have an innate knowledge of all the obscure procedures. Maybe I can do that someday, I thought. Burgeoning wonk.

I was also determined that I wouldn't be going to the State Assembly, which is going to be on May 20, in Greeley. I had some trepidation after the caucus, which was confusing, and where I had been pressured into more participation despite my newness (because of my newsness?) than I felt ready and competent for. But there are enough places at the State Assembly for every delegate who attended the general assembly, so they went with an "opt out" procedure. I think I might actually be able to go, but more than ability, I find myself really wanting to go.

But I'm also selfish. Despite having been with my husband for nearly ten years (two of them living in sin, which was awesome) I want to spend my time with him. However, I will make sacrifices for my country. And if I ever resign a position so I can "spend more time with my family," you'll know it's true.

Several candidates and party officials were there (I left before Bill Ritter showed up): Andrew Romanoff, Dan Slater of DemNotes, Ed Perlmutter, Peggy Lamm, Manny Rodriguez of the DNC, Ken Gordon (who I particularly liked).

Bill Winter made me cry when he talked about the dog tags he carries which belonged to his friend's only child who was killed in Iraq. He got a couple of standing ovations, and I feel very good about him as our candidate. He makes me feel hope the way Barack Obama did.

There were a couple of contentious issues about the party's platform which spurred debate. One paragraph in Elections and Politics lead to much parliamentary procedure, suspending the rules and whatnot. A woman got up to object to the phrasing of a sentence, "encourage women and other minorities..." She said, "I object to calling women a minority. We are a majority."

Our Arapahoe County candidates are as follows (the ones I can vote for in CD6, HD37, CCD2):
  • Clerk & Recorder -- Kathleen Conway
  • Assessor -- Glen Emerson
  • Treasurer -- Doug Milliken (current Centennial treasurer)
  • Commissioner for District 2 -- Tom Donohue (made a good showing against the absent Lauri Clapp with 42% of the vote last time)
  • State Board of Education -- Arapahoe County Dems Party Chair Karen Middleton
  • Colorado House of Representatives -- Angela Engel (to replace the inaccessible Lauri Clapp)
  • U.S. House of Representatives -- Bill Winter (to replace the often-absent Tom Tancredo)

Lamest Movie Review Ever: Inside Man

We went to see The Inside Man tonight (don't go to the last show without your No-Doz, not because it's boring, but because it will get out late). What I particularly liked about it wasn't the plot, the directing or the acting, all of which were very good.

I particularly like how Spike Lee gives a voice to the little guy. Amongst others, the bigoted cop, the Sikh, or the Albanian parking violator. It would be easy to categorize them as one dimensional stereotypes, but I got a sense of their stories, of them as fully formed human beings with histories that helped to shape who they are in just the short times they had on the screen.

I wish my brain would work better, but I have to get up to go to that damn general assembly tomorrow, so this is all you get. It's a good movie, and I'd write more, but I don't believe in spoilers. Suffice it to say, there's a red herring in the movie's opening music, and a subtle, barely noticed jab at the Bushes in the pictures of the bank owner with various famous people -- a reference to a similarity between Prescott Bush and the bank owner?

Friday, April 07, 2006

Harkin Censure Petition

The Democrats are not only scared of hardball politics, they're too cowardly to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do. But Tom Harkin wants us to give the Beltway Dems a little goose, so has a petition link up at his campaign website.

The direct link to the petition is here.

Don't Get Excited at Repub Implosion

Georgia10 at Daily Kos also warns Dems not to get too excited about Repub troubles, as there is still plenty of time for those cheating bastards to regroup and steal yet another election with their lies and dirty tricks. Kos (via Crooks and Liars) also warns Dems to grow some balls and get a plan, and not rely on the Republican implosion.

They're right. Democrats are not necessarily the alternative to voting Republican. Lots of people could opt to stay at home on election day, depressed at the Republican crooks and uninspiring Dems. It could be a close one again, with only party loyals taking part -- and considering what's been happening in key states during close elections recently ::cough::FloridaOhio::cough::, that would be very, very bad for democracy and the U.S.

But voters could also do what I did in the 90's when I didn't much care for the Dems and wouldn't vote for a Republican -- vote third party.

President Queeg

The giant waves of scandal and incompetence are knocking the White House crew hands on their asses while the captain fondles his balls and obsesses over stolen strawberries. Georgia10 at Daily Kos notices a bizarre threat from President Queeg:
President Bush said Friday he would use his power to veto spending bills if Congress does not cut the federal budget as he has asked.

What's bizarre about it is that there are no spending bills, because the House GOP can't get their act together, either.

Can we expect another orange alert soon, 'cause it seems like the WH is just randomly picking issues, scrambling to cling to anything that might float while the ship is capsizing.

McCain Keeps Chipping Away at His Own Soul

AmericaBlog says McCain is gutting his own campaign finance law, his signature issue, for his own personal benefit. It also helps the Republicans generally.
So, yet again the Republicans, in their Orwellian well, pass a bill whose intent has nothing to do at all with the name of the bill. Rather, the Republicans who control the US House and the US Senate simply are trying to rewrite the laws to write the Democratic party out of existence, just like Tom Delay did in Texas.

Tancredo, the Flag, Zero Tolerance

It's wonderful to see our Congressman Tancredo finally taking an interest in something happening here in his home district which is not related to illegal immigration, writing a letter to Shaw Heights Middle School's principal, Myra Shepherd about the wearin' o' the red white and blue.

Oops, fact check. Shaw Heights is in Westminster, way the hell on the other side of Denver. Oops, fact check two. The red white and blue was banned, along with the Mexican flag, because it was causing disruptive behavior in the school over immigration issues. Oh well. ::sob:: When will Tancredo notice me?

I happen to agree that nation flags shouldn't be banned. (If I were going to that school, I might have adorned myself with flags of many nations, excluding the U.S. and Mexico. That's how I roll.) The principal should have called a school assembly and used the opportunity to have discussions about free speech, civil speech (as opposed to the racial slurs being used), correct behavior, and the penalties for incorrect behavior, which includes the use of foul language, racial slurs and threats.

Then later, give the parents of the opposing sides one Mexican flag, one U.S. flag, send them to the gym where there is a huge mound of dirt, throw in some machetes and chains, lock the doors and tell them to work out their own gorram issues rather than using their children as proxies.

Plus, this flag-banning is yet another example of the "zero-tolerance" mindset that many school officials have. It's easier to CYA and make blanket decisions without having to consider unique, individual circumstances.

Centennial Call-N-Ride

Call-N-Ride service, a shuttle that will be based out of the Orchard St. Light Rail stop in November, is currently running. I don't get to use it, as I'm out of the service area, but someone might find the information useful. Click link for service area, phone number, and prices.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Tiktaalik

Scientists found a new fish that looks like an intermediate between fish and amphibians on the evolutionary scale (via Panda's Thumb).

The coolest thing about it, for a non-scientist like myself, is the artwork.

And I appreciate the opportunity to report that it was found in Canada's newest province, Nunavut. I'll never remember that name unless I use it, which I rarely do. (Like I can even remember all the other provinces.)

Bush's Bubble Bursting

In a welcome change, and exchange, an actual dissenter (via Science and Politics) gets the opportunity to share different opinions with the President. I especially like the looks the neighboring women are giving him: "Oh, snap, no he di'n't."

A glimmer of hope? Sure, Bush is still denying wrongdoing, but it will take a while for dissenters to catapult the propaganda into his thick head.

PZ Myers Explains Plan B Contraception

And proves what the pro-choicers have been saying all along: right-wingnuts don't want to save lives, they want to control lives by controlling sexual activity and reproductive cycles.

All Apologies

I was gone last week, so missed out on some cool stuff, like Cynthia McKinney's stupidity. For the record, my opinion is that you don't hit a cop. Unless it's a rogue cop made of liquid metal, but that mainly just happens in movies. Her actions seemed to be like many other people in power and privilege who feel entitled to special treatment, who think it's okay to strike out at lesser beings for inconveniencing or angering them.

When I got into the car this morning and switched the radio to the AM dial, I heard a recording of Rep. McKinney talking about her support of the police and "the misunderstanding." When I heard some derisive "harumphs" interspersed in her speech, I looked down at the dial, remembered my mom was the last one to use the car, and realized it was right-wing radio. I switched away real quick, then back so I could hear the rest of the apology, heard Rush Limbaugh's dulcet tones dismissing it, then switched the dial again.

See, Rush doesn't believe her, and for good reason. He's never truly sorry about anything he does, so he doesn't believe that other people are, either. That's why Republicans rarely apologize or admit to wrongdoing. They aren't sorry. Since they believe they are the actors who create reality, they believe their denials of culpability mean that they really aren't culpable. That's also a part of why I don't generally support moves to get Republicans to apologize for their wrongdoing, though apologies often go a long way toward healing hurts by showing a capacity for empathy, the ability to learn from mistakes, and the willingness to change.

First, Republicans won't apologize anyway, so nagging them about it makes Dems seem weak and ineffective. Second, they aren't sorry, so they shouldn't be allowed to lie their way out of owning up to who they really are. Every time a Republican says or does something stupid or bad, don't demand an apology. Just say, "see, that's what he's like, that's how he thinks." Remember to thank him for the insight into his true personality and character. It's polite.

Congrats Bill Winter

For winning Russ Feingold's Progressive Patriot's Fund.

Progressive Women's Blog Ring
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