Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Scooter Libby's Nightmare


The mirror black surface is not comforting for Scooter Libby as he laboriously treads water with his bum leg. It's been some time now since his republican cohorts gave up on him and paddled off for calmer waters to regroup and lick their wounds.

Scooter's eyes dart left and right as the periphery of his vision plays tricks on him. Periodically, his subconscious makes him stop breathing so his sense of hearing will be sharp and pure. A straight and true black fin pierces the obsidian plane directly in front of him and he catches the look of horror on his own face in the wet reflection.

Something large brushes up against him and he recoils in horror, thrashing wildly backwards as he slams into his headboard and sits up panting in his bed. Thank goodness it was only a bad dream he thinks to himself momentarily.

Suddenly the waking dream of his present reality comes rushing back in and he fumbles for the barbituates and glass of water on his night stand. As he knocks the pills back and goes to wash them down, he is faced with the same nightmarish reflection of his face in the surface of the water in the glass. He solemnly puts the water back down without taking a drink, chokes the pills down with a grimace and lays back to welcome the relative escape of sleep. For even a nightmare filled slumber is a respite compared to the growing shadows of reality.

Sleep tight Scooter. It won't be long now.

Tony Blair And The Two Memos

Tony blair is scrambling to downplay the European press frenzy over a leaked document that reportedly shows that Blair talked bush out of bombing the headquarters of Al Jazeera in Doha, Qatar.

What started out as a leak of one document, may now have multiplied into 2 documents.

Now it looks like 2 men have appeared in court and are facing charges over the leaked documents.

It's only a matter of time before these documents come out.

Come on Blair, get off the leash. Or should I say anchor?

Victory: Objective, Not Strategy

Once again I've tried to clear the slate and give this President a chance. Once again I'm completely underwhelmed by his message and overwhelmed by his administration's marketing talent for delivering shiny packaging with no product inside.

How many times are we going to be subjected to these ridiculous backdrops, stage dressing and large slogans that go farther in getting their message across than Bush could ever hope to? And then there's the aspect of the crowd he delivers these dry, robotic speeches to. I am not impressed by the fact that he continues to exlcusively address troops and party loyalists. This is not to say that I would expect him to orate in front of a room full of liberal Bush-bashers, that wouldn't be constructive either.

What I'm talking about is saving the taxpayer's money by showing Bush with rolled up sleeves and giving a comprehensive and intelligent speech from the Oval Office. Show us a true strategy that utilizes Bush's cabinet and some demonstrable tactics that are being employed to steer this behemoth of a disaster towards the light.

Also, am I the only one that is enraged by Bush and Rumsfeld trying to dress up the readiness of Iraqi soldiers, troop levels and troop readiness? Just one month ago General Casey sat in front of a congressional panel and said that there was only 1 Iraqi battalion that was operational. That was down from a previous count of 3 Iraqi battalions. Factoring in that level of attrition and coupling it with the slow pace of Iraqi troop readiness and a growing instability in Iraq - one wonders what type of math is being employed by this administration.

One of the other important factors that I believe this administration is ignoring is the belief that our presence in Iraq is fueling the insurgency. I firmly belive this is true. Factor this into the equation and it becomes obvious that any military strategy taken will only serve to help the insurgency grow.

I, as well as a growing segment of America, have no faith in Bush or his ability to lead. So why deliver more Bush to us reading a staccato speech and painfully pausing for applause? You can't polish a turd. Let's see some real leadership because it's sorely lacking and even more urgently needed.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Cunningham And The Commode Confusion


Ok, time to straighten things out here. One of the items in Cunningham's long list of lavish gifts is the following:
  • $7,200 paid to an antique store for a circa 1850 Louis Phillipe period commode and a circa 1830 Restoration period commode
As much as I would like to believe that the Dukester was just "dropping some kids off at the pool" in luxurious style each morning, people are getting this one wrong.

I've heard Chris Matthews, Dan Abrams and a bevy of other journalists and pundits mock Cunningham for his penchant for expensive crappers today. Am I the only one who knows that an antique commode is actually a piece of furniture similar to a buffet?

In fact, all one has to do is google up an image search for 1850 Louis Phillipe commode for confirmation. So, rather than getting kickbacks for toilets, Duke was selling his soul for silly little pieces of barely-functional furniture.

Is Jim Vandehei High?

After reading his article today and considering the fact that Jane Hamsher already eviscerated him over it, I was going to let Jim Vandehei slide today. It really irked me that the overarching theme of his article is that Viveca Novak is Rove's saving grace. The article title sets it up with "Time Reporter Called a Key to Rove's Defense In Leak Probe" and then he goes for the over-the-net slam by sourcing his incantation to "two people familiar with the situation."

Two people familiar with the situation? What the hell does that mean? I have 10 close friends that are "familiar with the situation" and I'd say 3 of them have a firm grasp of the situation. I mean, come on, talk about weak sauce.

So anyways, I was going to let him slide... But then I caught Vandehei's appearance today on the Abrams Report and right out of the chute he summed up the thing that irked me most about his afore-mentioned article.

Abrams directs his first question to Vandehei (paraphrased):
Abrams: "How is it that a Time reporter is going to be the key to Rove's defense?" Vandehei: "Well, that really is the big mysterious question"
How does one bring himself to write and then have published an article whose premise is so fatally hollow and "mysterious"? I understand that speculative journalism is nothing new, but why muddy the waters on such an important case? Especially after your ace and fellow reporter screwed the pooch so hard on this very issue.

Perhaps Woodward is letting Vandehei take pinches from his stash.

Bush Wasting Time With Immigration Push

Who does President Bush think he's kidding with this sudden trudge into the trenches of the battle over illegal immigration? He has simply beaten around the Bush over the last 5 years because of his affinity for the gringo sympathy vote. It's just more smoke and mirrors to try to shake the current woes his administration he is facing.

He will be totally ineffectual on this topic as long as he remains loyal to the corporate side of the debate who embrace illegals because they pad the bottom line as cheap labor. He's offered nothing new to solve the problem.

He's throwing more money at the issue to put up more obstacles for those trying to sneak across the border. That tactic has proven to be largely unsuccessful due to the fact that those people will just try to come across again and again until they get through. It's like trying to keep back the tide.

Rove: Same As He Ever Was

The only difference about Karl "The Architect" Rove these days compared to the Rove of days-gone-by is that the strategies he erects now fall apart under the slightest bit of pressure. That's not to say that Rove is doing something different, he's not. It's just that the public is finally waking up and even if they don't know it, they are now hip to his shady tactics. He is now politcally castrated and housebound.

The fact that Fitzgerald is circling above Rove like a vulture doesn't help, but even if Fitzgerald came out today and clear Rove... it's too late. He's damaged goods. He's a political leper.

Raw Story has an interesting story up about Rove that shines some more light on his apparent knack for selectively logging phone calls.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Cracked Ribs Really Blow

Thanks to all of you who have sent me emails and left comments about my Thanksgiving day incident. Sorry I haven't been able to blog much, I just haven't really been able to get comfortable in any position and stay there for more than 5 minutes.

I have no desire to go the Rush Limbaugh route and get addicted to pain medication, so I'm trying to tough it out.

For those who have expressed curiousity as to how I was so lucky to have this injury bestowed upon me, it's really anti-climactic... but here it goes:

Every year here in Sacramento there is a large (500-600 people) Turkey Day bike ride that winds through the downtown area, circles the State Capitol, vibrates through the cobble stone streets of Old Town Sacramento, merges onto the Sacramento river bike trail and ends up at a nice little beach at Discovery Park.

Well, this year I volunteered as a traffic guide for the ride (read: cyclist shepard) and early on in my duties I saw some confusion mounting, so I bolted to the head of the pack and took up a position in the middle of the street directly in front of our beautiful State Capitol building. Stradling my bike and diverting traffic like a pro, I didn't even see the out of control guy who was going 10 times faster than anyone else on a giant, old battle ram of a cruiser. Well, next thing I know I'm on the ground after he apparently forgot how to turn, put his feet on the ground (read: flintstone braking method) and plowed directly into me, hockey check style. The very next thing I noticed was that the guy was very drunk. So did the cops that were near by. I was fuming as I was bending my front tire back into shape (I did a surprisingly good job), all the while trying to ignore the pain throbbing from the back of my ribcage.

So, not much to do other than ride it out and sit and lay in weird positions while my calciferous organ protectors get back up to speed.

Cunningham Throws In The Towel

Representative Randall "Duke" Cunningham takes the fall and resigns after pleading guilty to conspiracy and tax evasion charges. Standing on the courthouse steps in San Diego, the Duke kicked on the water works and with shaking hands tried to wipe away the tears.

I'm sorry, but that Jimmy Swaggart crap just doesn't fly with me. Not on the heels of his statement in July 2005 where he claims to have committed no "wrongdoing". He didn't stop there, his bravado allowed him to quip:
"If I've done anything wrong, come get me."
Well, he's been gotten. He's 65 and looking at 10 years of jail time.

Anyone else notice that this isn't getting much in the way of airtime on the major news outlets?

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Bolton The Big Bully Walrus

Close to realizing his dream of hamstringing the United Nations after just 4 months into his ambassador position, John Bolton has encountered a major snag. Britain has rejected Bolton's proposal to withhold the 2006 operating budget for the U.N until his demands for U.N. reform are met.

I would imagine that most U.N. members, including Britain, have had enough of Bolton's ham handed approaches to diplomacy. Especially considering his embarassing, backdoor recess appointment by Bush.

An interesting quote from the Telegraph article:
"Privately, British diplomats express surprise that he has not made greater efforts to cultivate them or build alliances. "You're either with him or against him," said one."
Bolton should know where that tactic got Bush. Nobody likes a Bully.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Turkey Day


I wish you all the best and sweet dreams in your post-turkey, trypotphanic slumber.

Extra Special thanks to the firedoglake folks for all the kind words and wishes.

Big thanks to all the troops abroad who are longing for the comfort we enjoy. Thanks to you most of all.

-Monk

EXCLUSIVE: BRITISH INTEL PLAN ON AL JAZEERA INCIDENT



Last night I was enjoying a pint with a friend at my local pub when I was approached by a lanky man with bad teeth. He said nothing, but his eyes underscored the importance of the yellow envelope he had offered up to me. As I took it, he spun around, walked up to the bar and proceeded to knock back a full glass of red wine in one belt. Then he disappeared out the front door and not 2 seconds later, 3 gunshots echoed into the establishment.

As people scrambled for cover, I sat motionless and methodically opened the envelope. I was bowled over by the gravitas of the photo I was staring at and have posted above. This brave man had provided me with the British Intelligence satellite photo that proves Tony Blair fended off George Bush's plan to blow up Al Jazeera's headquarters in Doha, Qatar. Even though I found the photo riveting, I couldn't help but wonder why he didn't just give me the memo since that would be much more powerful and damning.

In silent retrospect, I imagined how much different the war in Iraq would be if Tony Blair hadn't been able to keep the cowboy in check that day.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Scanlon Takes The Stool

Teeth are chattering and knees are knocking throughout the halls of Congress now that Michael Scanlon has pled guilty to bribing public officials and agreed to cooperate with investigators. One can only guess as to how investigators are going to run their game plan.

Ever the armchair political quarterback, it seems obvious that they'll ride Scanlon hard and long about his crooked dealings with Abramoff. Then use that information to take the legs out from under Abramoff and get him to turn as well. Jack Abramoff is the hub. A veritable octopus of influence and power in the world of high pressure lobbying.

It will be interesting to see how and if this investigation penetrates into democratic congressional members. Reason being, the model that Tom Delay and Grover Norquist established sought to segregate the parties in congress. This model came in the form of "The K Street Project" - a project by the Republican Party to pressure Washington lobbying firms to hire Republicans in top positions, and to reward loyal GOP lobbyists with access to influential officials.

The GOP blood will flow and the irony will be monumental if Delay and Norquist were so successful in setting up their Republican firewalls, that it turns out to be more of an oven that will cook them all from the inside.

Welcome Back, Bush


President Bush touched down on American soil last night after his week long, lackluster tour of Asia. While he may have been able to escape Washington and get in some quality biking time in China, his current woes dogged him the whole way.

He appears befuddled that these problems aren't just disappearing like they used to. In fact, they're gaining steam and his previous handmaidens are recoiling from him as if he had shown up on a child molester's database.

The now famous door incident is very symbolic in many ways. Foremost, it conjurs up an image of his "Stay the course" mantra for Iraq and lack of an exit strategy. It was easy to notice that once he had checked both doors and no portal had materialized, he simply gave up and stared at the crowd. If he were to follow his own strategy in Iraq, he would have knocked the door down, or at least tried. Better yet, he would have at least looked for another exit. I've been curious as to how he got to the podium? Did he enter through those doors only to have them get locked behind him? Did he enter through the backdrop that he finally exited through and just forgot his previous route?

For me, it is just another example of how this President chokes under pressure.

Monday, November 21, 2005

I'm Tired Of Dick Cheney's Big Fat Mouth

Doh! I erased the text on accident... I'll type it back up in a few. Here's the graphic in the mean time.

Update: Screw it. I'll let this one stand. I'm working on a larger piece for Cheney.

Dropping: The Hammer


Those TV ads and computer generated phone calls with Tom Delay claiming that Ronnie Earle has filed "baseless charges" against him are starting to look rather baseless themselves.

From Bloomberg:
"Scanlon, a former aide to Representative Tom DeLay, is scheduled to appear today in U.S. District Court to present a plea bargain with the Justice Department likely to lead to his cooperation with investigators. His testimony would ratchet up the pressure on Abramoff and aid prosecutors in widening the investigation to members of Congress, such as Republicans DeLay and Representative Robert Ney of Ohio."
I wouldn't be surprised if Scanlon does take the stool and starts dropping dimes on his cohorts, it's in his nature. Taking opportunities is the backbone of any "good" lobbyists' pedigree and I doubt Mr. Scanlon has many opportunites these days with the corner he's painted himself into. Putting knives in peoples backs is the rule of thumb at the level these guys play at and when you are facing jail time you've got to be quick. The guy who sinks his shank first will likely be the one who won't have to worry about be on the receiving end of one in a prison yard.

I'll be writing/creating more about this within the next few days I'm sure... let's see what happens with Scanlon today.

UPDATE: Looks like Michael Scanlon pled guilty and will be cooperating with investigators.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Wonder Fitz Powers! Form Of: A New Grand Jury


After a seemingly endless barrage of body blows to the administration, Fitz goes upstairs and lands a solid uppercut to the jaw in the form of a fresh and new Grand Jury.

A collective groan resonates across the red states and the White House as a whole new volume in this enthralling series begins.

Of course, this was no surprise to most of us that have been paying attention.

Who is the focus of Fitzgerald now? Who was Bob Woodward's mysterious source? Just about everyone except for Cheney has had a spokesman come forth and say it wasn't their boss. The noose is tightening and Dubya isn't going to have a good landing when he returns from his trip abroad.

Rather, he'll likely walk into a putrid stench of the rotting meat emanating from his cabinet members.

Bush Contradicts Pentagon On Iraq Pullout?

The Republican led Congress, President Bush, Vice President Cheney and The Pentagon all stress the importance to avoid sending the troops in Iraq the wrong message. Yet, if you've been following the events of yesterday and the news today, it's clear that they are the ones sending nothing but confusion to the troops.

The conflicting messages I am referring to:
Which message is worse? The Democrats and a majority of the US public desiring a phased withdrawal from Iraq? Or the contradictory statements from those in charge of this war about a future plan for our troops in Iraq?

Our troops are loyal and fierce, but when the command segments send mixed messages, it projects an air of incompetence and surely undermines their confidence in their leaders.

The Republicans in the House rushed through their session yesterday and avoided meaningful debate on this issue in an effort to escape to their 2 week vacation. If anything, they should have delayed their vacation while they hammered out a substantive agreement and resolution for, at the very least, a timetable for an effective exit strategy.

Woodward Lets Pissed Off Cat Out Of Bag


Jane Hamsher has burned some midnight oil on the Woodward issue over at firedoglake and we all reap the rewards.

In short, she has managed to put together a string of contradictory and seemingly false statements by Bob Woodward in regards to when he finally came clean with his boss, the editor of The Washington Post, Len Downie.

To me, the signifigance of these contradictory statements goes to Woodward's motivation for doing so. Based on Jane's amazing ability to put together a complex puzzle, an image slowly forms of a coughing, stumbling Woodward that has just been smoked out of a hiding spot. He almost seems bewildered.

Now, I'm no detective, but I have worked in some compliance roles with regards to securities and derivatives trading and this smacks a familiar tone. I've questioned traders before on questionable trades and it was easy to tell which ones did so out of ignorance and which ones were scheming and hoping they wouldn't get caught. The guys that were not following the rules on purpose would often change their stories because of the complex nature of trade reporting and the regulations that govern most exchanges. In other words, as they would give their series of events, I would point out how that couldn't be possible for reason X and they would change it up a bit. Not a good idea.

Woodward doesn't know what Fitz knows and he's breaking down like a San Francisco Chronicle in the rain.

Should've let that cat out when it was doing that long deep growl, Bob-O. Tsk, tsk.

(Hat tip to Jane for the graphic inspiration)

Friday, November 18, 2005

Jean Schmidt Steps In A Pile Of It


Jean Schmidt, the junior representitive from Ohio, resorted to the type of tactics usually reserved for elementary school politics. Word of her tirade and ad hominem on the house floor have spread like wildfire. Trying to hide behind the red, white and blue of her carefully chosen sweater she allowed her lips to purse up like a sphincter and produce the following statement:
"[A Marine Colonel] asked me to send Congress a message - stay the course. He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message - that cowards cut and run, Marines never do"
The tactic instantly backfired as house Democrats lept from their seats and rushed the well of the floor shouting their objections to the personal attack. Howard Fineman of Newsweek was in the viewing gallery and said that it's the first time he'd ever seen anything like it.

Tempers are running hot on the hill and that is good thing. Finally we have the signs of life in our democracy that suggest we are actually following a system of checks and balances rather than a system of bend over and grab your ankles.

The above quote is from the following article by the Associated Press.

All The President's... Women?

A very interesting story that seems to be gaining steam suggests that Bush is now fishing for ideas from his estrogen pool.

From AmericaBlog.com:
"The sources said Mr. Bush maintains daily contact with only four people: first lady Laura Bush, his mother, Barbara Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes. The sources also say that Mr. Bush has stopped talking with his father, except on family occasions."
I don't think this is a terribly bad idea considering the rut his previous knuckle draggers got him, and this country, into.

Futhermore, if it is true, it is very apparent that Bush has made alot of mistakes. An admission of which we will never get directly from him.

Note: I'm very sorry for the subpar photoshop quality of the graphic above. Working with those 5 horrid faces was alot tougher to stomach than I thought.

Bush Admin Does Some More Rewriting Of History

I realized tonight that I was falling behind on my self-flagellation so I headed over to Pentagon.gov to see what Rumsfeld has been up to. There I found a transcript from just 4 days ago where Rumsfeld employed his twisted, Orwellian speak in an effort to prop-up the quagmire in Iraq.

Near the end of Rumsfeld's opening statement, I noticed the following:
"While the American people understandably want to know when our forces can leave Iraq, I believe they do not want them to leave until our mission is accomplished and the Iraqis are able to sustain their fledgling democracy."
Recognize anything? Immediately the image of Bush on the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln with the inafamous "Mission Accomplished" banner behind him popped into my mind. So, it's clear now. We didn't accomplish the mission back on May 1st, 2003. It has yet to be accomplished according to Rumsfeld. Of course, we all know this, but the administration has never addressed it honestly. Talk about a rewrite of history.

Futhermore, no one in the Bush administration has apologized or admitted the error that the banner has come to represent. In fact, the only thing the administration has done is to pass the buck onto the Navy for the banner's presence.

One other thing jumped out at me while researching for this blog entry.

In Bush's speech from the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln, he makes one of the more tacit, and less commonly cited, comments that tries to link Iraq to 9/11:
"The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September the 11th, 2001 and still goes on."
The Republican talking point about Democrats trying to rewrite history isn't sticking. Like the magical adhesive on a sticky note, it only lasts so long.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Wilson Wants Internal WaPo Probe Of Woodward


Joe Wilson chimed in today with a statement that suggested The Washington Post should haul in Woodward and give him a good probing. He also went a little further.

From the Boston Globe article:
"Wilson, a former ambassador turned White House critic, told Reuters that The Washington Post should reveal the name of Woodward's source, and conduct an inquiry to determine why he withheld the information for more than two years from his editors and the federal prosecutor."
Further down in the article:
"A White House official said on Thursday that national security adviser Stephen Hadley was not Woodward's source on Plame. According to current and former administration officials and lawyers, neither was: President George W. Bush himself, top political adviser Karl Rove, Libby, White House chief of staff Andrew Card, counselor Dan Bartlett, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former CIA director George Tenet, and former deputy CIA director John McLaughlin."
Still noticably absent from the list is VP Cheney.

Bush's Approval Ratings In Freefall


From the Wall Street Journal:
"Bush's current job approval rating stands at 34%, compared with a positive rating of 88% soon after 9/11, 50% at this time last year, and 40% in August."
Ouch.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Do Not F@*$ With The Fitz


Today has been interesting to say the least now that Bob Woodward has thrown his hat in the ring. As the day dragged on I started wondering just how much money Libby is paying his hotshot attorney Ted Wells. However much it is, he should probably reconsider when signing his next check over to Wells.

The reason I give this advice to Libby is because of the legal stumbling on the part of Wells today. His weak attempt to form a mountain out of an ant hill came today in front of reporters on a rainy Washington, DC night.

From the astute Mr. Keith Olbermann:
"Wells issued a statement at midday, the key passage of which concludes that Woodward’s "disclosure shows that Mr. Fitzgerald’s statement at his press conference of October 28, 2005 that Mr. Libby was the first government official to tell a reporter about Mr. Wilson’s wife was totally inaccurate."

But Fitzgerald never said that.

The transcript of Fitzgerald’s news conference is not disputed — nobody from his office has called up trying to get it altered after the fact. On October 28, Fitzgerald actually said: "Mr. Libby was the first government official known to have told a reporter" about Ambassador Joe Wilson’s wife.

"The first government official known to have told…" is a huge difference from "The first government official to tell…"

I agree with Olbermann completely. In bowling terms, that's a nice pick up by Keith on Well's 7-10 split.

However, not everyone thinks that Keith is free and clear with his conclusion.

"Later in his press conference, Fitzgerald says this:

At the end of the day what appears is that Mr. Libby's story that he was at the tail end of a chain of phone calls, passing on from one reporter what he heard from another, was not true.

It was false. He was at the beginning of the chain of phone calls, the first official to disclose this information outside the government to a reporter. And then he lied about it afterwards, under oath and repeatedly.

That looks a bit light just now."

Just to muck things up further, I have to say that I disagree with Tom Maguire here. This is just more of Fitzgerald leaving the doors open. The word "beginning" does not have a singular connotation in this case.

To help make my point, I submit the following picture of the "beginning" of the last New York Marathon:

Why Did Bob Woodward Sit On This Egg?


I'm having a hard time understanding Bob Woodward's motivation for keeping his involvement in the Plamegate case secret. The investigation of Plame's outing has been public for more than 2 years now. The entire world sat in collective anticipation of Patrick Fitzgerald's findings for weeks as the indictments were imminent. Yet Bob Woodward just sits idly by, telling no one about what he knows. What are we to call this absurd behavior? Journalistic Kitty Genovese Syndrome?

It would be a slightly different matter if he hadn't been a regular commentator on this issue. Take, for instance, the following statements by Woodward about Plamegate:
"He has called Patrick J. Fitzgerald a "junkyard dog prosecutor" and said in interviews this year that the damage done by Plame's name being revealed in the media was "quite minimal." He told NPR this past summer, "When I think all of the facts come out in this case, it's going to be laughable because the consequences are not that great." (Source: EditorandPublisher.com)
I find it disturbing that Woodward would be so cavalier about spinning this issue in favor of the White House while now stating "I hunkered down. I'm in the habit of keeping secrets. I didn't want anything out there that was going to get me subpoenaed." Isn't that just a perfect summation of every deceitful person's crutch? He can't have it both ways. By "hunkering down" does he mean that he just wore shoes without lifts? Nonsense.

The jury is still out on this development. He is still imitating a clam on several key issues. But, we will be watching with extreme interest.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Why Can't Bill O'Reilly Just Apologize?


First he invites terrorism on San Francisco, then he blames "a well funded effort to slime the Radio Factor" and now he's just calling what he said "satire."

Has fathead learned nothing from this debacle? He's trying to sluff the situation off like it's no big deal, but we are going into the 3rd day of him commenting on his shows about this. As I understand it, O'reilly hasn't given other serious stories this much airtime, so he's obviously feeling the heat.

I'm no friend of Bill O'Reilly, not by a long shot. In fact, I'm hoping that this blog makes his list of "anti-military Internet crowd" sites that he's threatening to publish on his website. But, one must wonder why he can't just suck it up and apologize for the Coit Tower portion of his statement.... oh wait, that's right, it's his blimp-sized ego that's preventing him from doing the right thing.

As I said in an earlier blog entry:
He just picked a fight with the stronghold of the left. It's the equivalent of mocking a rival school by antagonizing their rugby team with icy hot in their jockstraps. In his weakened state, it wasn't the brightest move he could make. But then again, consider the source.
He's going to have a tough time getting out of this hornet's nest because the activist nature of San Francisco is relentless. They will not stop until he either apologizes or is fired. Being the top rated show at Faux News (good lord, why?) pretty much negates the latter of those routes.

So, It will continue on and people like me will keep prodding him until he folds.

UPDATE: ID Reader and blogger extrodinaire "Ace Cowboy" provides another good angle:
"See, I think fighting with this guy is the wrong move. You have to EMBARRASS him into apologizing.

I think a good strategy would be something like, "Deep down, Bill O'Reilly really likes the Coit Tower, because it subconsciously reminds him of a giant vibrator, and we read all about his love for vibrators.""

Fitzgerald Keeping The Pressure Up On Rove?

One rule about blogging is that it doesn't wait for you. I really wanted to get in the mix on these new articles about Rove and where he sits on Fitz's burners but I've been tending to other irons in my fire.

There's a nice one, two punch combo by Jeralyn at Talk Left and Jane at firedoglake that do well to grapple this Rove issue into focus.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Constitution, Schmonstitution


Cheney's push for legalizing torture and now Graham's ammendent that sandbags Habeas Corpus should have every American very concerned.

The fundamental tenets of this country are being slashed at and for what? To protect the country? That's tantamount to a snake eating it's own tail.

From an article over at TheHill.com:
"Graham says that his bill would eliminate numerous legal claims from prisoners that are tying up the resources of the Department of Justice and slowing the ability of interrogators to glean important information from the detainees."
So, we're setting flame to the constitution over a matter of judicial inconvenience? Nice.

Jane and Reddhedd are doing a great job at covering these items over at firedoglake.

Alito Rejected Abortion As A Right


Sure to be a bombshell news story today, a legal position paper penned by Alito has surfaced. What's the big deal about that? Well, Mr. Alito was very candid about his personal opinion on abortion.

From the Washington Times article:
"Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr., President Bush's Supreme Court nominee, wrote that "the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion" in a 1985 document obtained by The Washington Times.

"I personally believe very strongly" in this legal position, Mr. Alito wrote on his application to become deputy assistant to Attorney General Edwin I. Meese III. The document, which is likely to inflame liberals who oppose Judge Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court, is among many that the White House will release today from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

In direct, unambiguous language, the young career lawyer who served as assistant to Solicitor General Rex E. Lee, demonstrated his conservative bona fides as he sought to become a political appointee in the Reagan administration.
"I am and always have been a conservative," he wrote in an attachment to the noncareer appointment form that he sent to the Presidential Personnel Office. "I am a lifelong registered Republican.""
As it states in the article, the letter is from almost 20 years ago. However, it is going to be a large elephant in the room of his confirmation hearings early next year. This will give any Senator on the panel a wide open door to call him on the carpet about his position on abortion. I don't see a way he can tapdance around the question with, say, a giant version of this letter resting on an easel in front of him.

I think I just heard Bush crack open a 1.75 liter bottle of Jim Beam. It's going to be a long week.

Cheney: "The Vice That Dooms Bush"


Here's a great article by Peter Preston from across the pond. He sees right through Cheney and wonders why Bush is keeping him around.

From the Guardian article:

"That was the choice Bush made when he picked Dick Cheney for another term. It's the decision that, day by day, brings him down. If you haven't got a designated heir and an administration that sees the chance of continuing life in transferred allegiances, then you've only got time, running out. Cheney is not a candidate. He is too old, too sick and in too much trouble. The prosecutors who pursue his chief of staff pursue him too. The White House's lousiest moral maze wanders straight up Pennsylvania Avenue to his door.

This situation upends the first-term dynamics when Cheney was the experienced professional and chum of dad who exercised more influence than any vice-president in memory. Without him, Saddam would still be in charge of Iraq, looking for his own WMD. Without him, Colin Powell would still have been the voice of American foreign policy.

But now Cheney is shaky and absolutely no mover. Every time he climbs into some bully pulpit and snarls defiance, Bush's ratings slide again. The party looks out three years and sees contenders circling. Condoleezza Rice has said she'd never stand, which leaves John McCain, a favourite again at 67; Rudy Giuliani, if memories for 9/11 last; George Pataki, from Albany - and many more. The current party of government is future-obsessed. The Oval Office it holds is a pear-shaped irrelevance."

--==--

Sunday, November 13, 2005

"Libby May Have Tried to Mask Cheney's Role"


Nothing really new here other than it's good to see the Washington Post keeping the heat on this story. I like the way these two snips are easy to digest for folks that may not be following this thing closely.

From the beginning of the article:
"Libby said that, when he told other reporters about the CIA operative and her marriage to Iraq war critic Joseph C. Wilson IV, he believed he had first learned the information from Tim Russert of NBC News and was merely passing along journalistic hearsay. This was an explanation made dubious by Libby's own notes, which showed that he previously had learned about Plame from his boss, Cheney."
And then from the end of the same article:
"Russert, Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper and Judith Miller of the New York Times all testified about their conversations with Libby. All contradicted Libby."
-:::-

Dr. Evil:
Mini Me, if I ever lost you I don't know what I would do.

[pauses]
Dr. Evil: I would probably move on, get another clone but there would be a 15 minute period there where I would just be inconsolable.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

"Democrats Have No Plans And No Message"


This is one of the few remaining mantras that those on the right are clinging to. We couldn't really do much to counter it before due to the Republican domination of both houses, the committees therein and the submissive main stream media laying down at the feet of the right.

But now things are different. The curtain is fraying and we are beginning to see the scared little men working the levers feverishly behind it to keep up their fabricated illusion. It's time to frame out our plan to welcome in those who are finally seeing through this administration.

I submit the following Plan, or Message, that we can lay as the foundation to build upon:
As a unified party, our primary focus is to undo the damage caused to this Nation, and the World, by the Bush Administration.
Pretty simplistic isn't it? From that foundation we can pledge to present a Presidential candidate and Senatorial candidates that will sign on to this plan and work towards reversing the decay this administration has allowed and encouraged to take hold and spread.

First and foremost, we need a fresh administration that can demonstrably show it's difference from the previous administration. Friendly, respectable faces that will reignite the symbolic torch and guiding light of freedom and progression that so many formerly respected. We need new people with new and forward-thinking perspectives to come to the various tables around the world with a message of "We're sorry, we kind of lost sight of our ethos after 9/11. We suffered a form of post traumatic shock on a National scale. We hope you are able to forgive us and perhaps understand our plight and desire to get back on our former track."

Let's take the hood and electrodes off this wonderful Nation and look forward with the resolve to install measures that make sure we don't get hijacked again.

UPDATE: ID Reader Antifa posts the comment I've been expecting:
"I'm sorry, but this is a horrible Democratic slogan, and mission.

It is reactionary. "We are the un-Republicans."

We need to be thinking THROUGH the Republicans, not just pushing back a little bit, cleaning up after them like good little children. This slogan portrays us as the maids of the nation."
I respectfully disagree Antifa. First off, we have to be reactionary. Not in the extreme conservative sense of the word, but rather in the literal sense. By default, we must react to the corrupt and inept governing perpetrated by this administration.

Furthermore, I believe the message I laid out above can welcome in Republicans that have been abandoned by this administration. There is a large, and growing, segment of Republicans that have woken up to the reality of who is steering their boat - a proverbial jackal in elephant's clothing. Their agenda is contra to the values which true republicans embrace.

Again, let me stress that the message I laid out is a foundation. I believe that in as short as five to six months, there will be fertile soil in this nation to plant such a message.

And yes, we can play the role of maids to this nation, someone desperately needs to. Only I wouldn't suggest using the term 'maid', but rather something like 'reconstruction foremen.'

To analogize for a moment... this country has been slowly flooded with the dark waters and muck of this neocon cabal. Like New Orleans after the flood waters receded, we wouldn't expect people to just move back in and go on with their lives. There must be a period of clean-up, followed by damage asessment and then rebuilding.

Again, this is merely a suggestion to counter the "Democrats have no agenda" talking point. Feel free to debate this issue further in the comments section. Or, better yet, build upon it.

UPDATE: ID Reader Henry comments:
"Seconding Antifa: it's not a program and it leads to DLC Clintonian triangulation and school uniforms... So what is that message? Pro-worker, pro-family, pro-peace, pro-environment, pro-education. Simplistic? Sure. Needs development? Of course. But it's a crucial set of dividing lines that the Dems should adopt if they want to stop wandering in the wilderness--even though most Americans support their general policy goals.

Bush Wrote The Book On Rewriting History


Sometimes my attempts at graphical humor undercut my true feelings of anger regarding the issue I'm trying to convey. This is one of those occasions.

I try to temper these feelings by reminding myself that I can read this administration like an open book. I had a strong feeling this past Wednesday that Bush would use Veteran's Day to wrap himself in the flag and criticize his critics about the Iraq War. Nevermind the fact that his Republican Senate lap dogs agreed to investigate the White House's roll in the intelligence gathering for the Iraq war. Nevermind the fact that 5 out of the 6 reasons for war that Colin Powell laid out in front of the United Nations turned out to be bogus. Nevermind the fact that Bush essentially ignored the "OBL determined to strike inside the US" PDB, yet his administration enthusiastically buoyed the bad information given by "Curveball" and Chalabi. Never mind the fact that "Curveball" was identified as a non-credible source and Chalabi was on the lam for embezzlement. Nevermind the fact that this information was withheld from Senators that were supposedly acting on "the same intelligence" that the Bush administration had.

Knowledge of the above is the essence of why I grit my teeth when I hear Bush stumble up to a mic and proclaim:
"It is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began"
What then of your irresponsible behavior, Mr. President, for rewriting the reasons that we went to war? (see above graphic) What is more irresponsible? Launching a preemptive war on fabricated and fixed information or ignoring very valid questions and concerns that have emerged about this administration and it's nefarious practices? One begets the other. He continues:
"These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America's will." (Source: Washingtonpost.com)
We will see how 'baseless' these claims are, but first they must be investigated. Our enemies are our enemies despite their perception. America's will should be to ferret out the truth from this house of weasels.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Bill O'Reilly Invites Terror Attack On San Francisco


Falafel boy goes through the floor and hits the absolute bedrock of lowness with his latest tirade. While flicking spittle at the microphone of his radio talk show, Bill O'Reilly launched into a venomous attack against San Francisco for putting a measure on the last ballot that would urge city schools to reject military recruiters from campus recruitment.

In O'Reilly's warped and fat head, that means the city, as a whole, is anti-recruiter and thus anti-military. Which allows him to follow his path of twisted logic and spout the following:
"Listen, citizens of San Francisco, if you vote against military recruiting, you're not going to get another nickel in federal funds. Fine. You want to be your own country? Go right ahead... And if al-Qaida comes in here and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. We're going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you, except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead"

O'Reilly has been able to spew rhetoric unabated for what seems like an eternity from his faux hole. The vector of his popularity is parallel with that of Fox News and it is waning. Even his most strident of followers seem to be growing tone deaf to his pan pipe and are looking for the next hole to scurry into. His hot air grows more tepid with every rant and his balloon sized head is slowly deflating and coming back down to earth.

He just picked a fight with the stronghold of the left. It's the equivalent of mocking a rival school by antagonizing their rugby team with icy hot in their jockstraps. In his weakened state, it wasn't the brightest move he could make. But then again, consider the source.

Veterans Day :: 2005

My Grandfather the pilot. Career military man. The photo above is a photo of him flying an early P-51 Mustang above Texas during training. He flew P-51's in the European theater during WWII. Helicopter instructor/pilot in Vietnam. Civil Air Patrol in Southern California. Veteran Reno Air Race Pilot - #11 "Come On Eleven" in the 1970's. One of my earliest memories, at 5 yrs old, was flying with him and looking up (we were inverted) at the patchwork quilt of greens and browns of the southern California landscape. I was always in awe of him. I still am.

This handsome guy is my uncle. Veteran of combat action in Danang, Vietnam. His strength, clarity of mind and perseverance is an inspiration and model I try to follow. Recent example of his ability to grab the bulls by the horn: His next door neighbor's house caught on fire and while everyone retreated to a slackjawed stare, he sprung into action and doused the blaze single handedly. I was amazed and convinced the fire was already too far along. He's the guy you want around when things go bad.

Thank you to these fine gentlemen and to all the those who have served and are currently serving.

Scott Mclellan's Head Will Explode Today


He's been on the ropes and bleeding for the past few weeks. But today the tires will come off for old Scotty boy I believe. He's had the "ongoing investigation" line to hide behind but that won't protect him from the now rabid White House press pool. Like an ultimate fighter who's just landed a knee to the face of their opponent, they smell blood and they are looking for every opportunity to skewer the staggering Press Secretary.

I believe the knockout blow may come today, IF Scott shows up at the podium.

The reason I think today is the day is because of the story that is gaining strength and momentum involving an altered press briefing transcript.

In short, during the Oct. 31st press gaggle, Mclellan responded "That's accurate" to a question from David Gregory that concluded that Rove was involved with the Plame leak to reporters. The only problem is that the White House transcript of the press gaggle had Scott's response as "I don't think that is accurate." Two other transcription services listed the response as "That's accurate" and when they were contacted by the White House to change their transcripts, they stood fast and refused. (Source: Wonkette)

I'm confident that he will get peppered with questions about this tomorrow and he won't be able to spout the "ongoing investigation" line.

Watch out Scotty, we know what your bosses wanted you to say.

Ted Stevens: Oil Industry Handmaiden


Ted Stevens, republican senator and pathetic power monger from Alaska, is as low as they come. Let's forget for a minute that he had a literal temper tantrum and soiled his depends when fellow senators asked him to give back the $223 million that is earmarked for the bridge to his 50 constituents.

What I want to focus on is what happened today on the hill. A group of big oil executives appeared before the Energy and Commerce committees to give us an explanation for the reason we are paying huge prices at the pump while they announce record profits.

In another republican example of wanton abuse of chairperson power, Ted Stevens engaged in the following: (snipped from Washington Post)
When Energy Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska, $102,190) announced that he would not require the executives to give their testimony under oath, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash., $9,400) asked for a vote on the issue. Stevens shot back: "There will be no vote . . . It's the decision of the chairman, and I have made that decision."

"I move that we swear in witnesses," Cantwell persisted.

"I second the motion," said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif., $9,450).

"That's the last we're going to hear about that, because it's out of order," a piqued Stevens replied. When the two women continued their protest, the chairman informed them that "I intend to be respectful of the position that these gentlemen hold."

I'm nearly struck dumb and speechless every time I read that. I submit that Ted Stevens should have recused himself from these proceedings. Why? Most people aren't aware that every man, woman and child of Alaska receive a yearly 'dividend' from a permanent fund set up and funded by oil companies that operate in Alaska. This dividend averages about $1000 per year, per person. One might wonder why it is that the Chairperson, Ted Stevens, is protecting the executives and industry that has a direct funding link to every one of his constituents.

Ted Stevens should be removed from office for this travesty and his outright disdain for the interests and greater good of the citizens of the United States.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Pat Robertson: The Prince Of Harshness


Pat Robertson must have a penchant for the taste of shoe leather because he stuck his cloven hoof deep into his kisser earlier this morning. It wasn't too long ago that he raised eyebrows by calling for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. I remember thinking, Ok... that's it... Nothing out of his mouth will surprise or shock me again.

Imagine my surprise and shock upon reading what he said today:
"I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: if there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city... And don't wonder why He hasn't helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I'm not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that's the case, don't ask for His help because he might not be there" :: (Source CNN)
That's right folks. Pat Robertson has moved from bashing people of the U.S. after storms hit because of their godlessness, to hoping that God will smite them with storm and fury because they didn't vote the way he wanted them to.

If you are an observant lad or lass like me, you've probably noticed that Robertson condemned the entire city of Dover, Pennsylvania with that statement. Even the people that voted for the Intelligent Design statement to be added into the high school curriculum are subject to Pat's meteorological jihad. Oh, lets not forget the people that didn't even vote... they are screwed as well in Pat's book. How about tourists that may be in Dover at the time Pat? Are they subject to hellfire and brimstone? Lets not forget that storms and catastrophes rarely confine themselves to city limits. Thus, other towns in the surrounding areas will likely fall in the wake of Roberston's godly and political vengeance.

Howard Stern has to move to outer space to avoid the FCC and potentially offending people. I say we strap Pat to the next shuttle.

An Evening With Henry Rollins


How it is that Henry Rollins doesn't have some type of a talk show on a cable news network is beyond me. Of course I don't mean your typical, run of the mill talk show. No scripts or teleprompters, no furniture, no faux-bookcase backdrop or Pier One tchotchke littered about. Just Henry Rollins standing in front of a black back drop or maybe a brick wall with blood stains and graffiti on it. Then just turn him loose.

That is exactly what we got last night at the Crest Theater in Sacramento. Almost three non-stop hours of Henry just, as he says, "tearing his guts out" on stage.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't expecting a tirade against the Bush administration and the war in Iraq. In fact, if there was a bet to be placed on those topics being the content for the evening, I would have laid my last dollar down on that square. Alas, I would've lost that bet.

While Henry made quick jabs at Bush here and there, they were nothing more than that. Instead, he was all over the map.

After quickly coming up the stairs stage left and greeting the full house (1100 people) he decided to sink his teeth into Wal Mart first. He admitted to shopping there but gave the excuse that when it's 4am in Norman, OK and you need to buy 90 gallons of water and other miscellaneous items and you're driving a large tour bus, you really have no other choice besides the 24 hr Wal Mart. He professed his addiction to social observation and recommended Wal Mart as a top notch environment for doing some viewing and research. He launched into a hilarious reenactment of how, upon entering Wal Mart, all time seems to stand still . You're now on "Wal Mart" time. The absence of natural light, the long vertigo inducing aisles, the heaping pallets of product everywhere all pitch in together like a casino to make you forget about the outside world. He pretended to be a Wal Mart shopper, slowly trudging along, out of breath, straining to reach the 90 serving Stouffer's lasagna tray and heaving it into the cart, almost crushing the 3 kids in the cart below. My sides were already sore.

From there he tip toed into an area of how we see ourselves in comparison with people on TV and advertisements and how it fosters self loathing. Nothing entirely new here except for the way he delivered the message. He pointed out that all of us are attractive to others, it's just a matter of discovering what it is that makes you unique and taking pride in that aspect of your individuality. He maintained that whether you want to believe it or not, someone earlier that day had seen you walk by and thought to themself "Man, I was born to hit that." He relayed a funny story about a gay Pakistani cab driver, named 'Ijaz', that had apparently grown really fond of Rollins during a cab ride from JFK to his hotel. They had a pleasant exchange during the cab ride that Rollins said culminated with Ijaz asking Henry to move to Pakistan with him where they would live together forever... he'd even buy the plane ticket for Henry. "Like that was the deal clincher" Rollins quipped. Ijaz even asked Henry for his phone number which he admitted to handing over because "He was sincere and totally real." Sadly, he said that Ijaz never called him. The crowd roared with laughter.

The show wove on and into areas of Rollins travel practices. He stated that he hates having a day off and often rides his manager to fill open slots on his schedule. He relayed a story where he had a block of 11 days off this past February and thought it would be a good idea to ride the Trans-Siberian Express from Moscow to Vladivostok. A 6,000 mile trip in -40 degree weather is Henry's idea of a good time. To be more precise, he considered it a trip that would make him stronger. That seems to be Rollin's mantra... that which doesn't kill me, will make me stronger. He likened his current daily routine as that of the forming of a Katana sword. Thrust the shapeless steel into the fiery coals, pull it out, slap it on the anvil and hammer it into shape. Then repeat the process until you get the desired result. Would you really expect anything less from Henry?

He closed out the show talking about his 6 tours with the USO. He rattled off the list of all the countries he's been to with the USO and it reads like the top 20 list of most dangerous places in the world. A very admirable feat and the crowd let him know. He said all those tours paled in comparison to recent tours he has done stateside at various military hospitals. While he said that it is tough to go from room to room and see all the shattered lives and young men and women, he said it is nothing compared to how tough it must be for the soldiers and their family. He is happy to do it.

After he closed out the show and walked off stage, a huge smile had broken across my face as I applauded. I was actually relieved to not have heard a 2 1/2 hour rant against Bush and Co. Even though that was one of the main reasons I went. I realized that, for once, we can take a quick breather because the tides are finally turning against this regime. And that is a good thing.

Bravo Henry. Bravo.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Turdblossom Must Go


I'm up to my eyeballs in this and that, don't have too much time to blog today. The folks listed on the right are doing a good job at covering the quivering house of GOP cards.

I however have put some finishing touches on the piece of work shown above. Please Send it far and wide.

Here is a link to a larger version so you can print it out and hang it in your cubicle. Or blow it up and put it on a protest sign. Print it out and make a shirt for yourself. Throw darts at it. Sleep with it at night, whatever. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Frist Shoots First, Takes Aim Later


The hilarious stumbling and clustermuck debacle continues for the GOP and it's gearless leaders.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist called for a senate investigation to find out who may have leaked info about secret CIA prisons to the Washington Post. Nevermind the fact that he should be calling for a senate investigation into whether and why these prisons actually exist.

Evidently the letter that Frist sent off to Peter Hoekstra and Pat Roberts was folded like a boomerang because it came back to hit him in square in the face. It wasn't long after Frist called for the investigation that Trent Lott came out saying that the source of the leak was likely a GOP Senator or staffer.
"Trent Lott stunned reporters by declaring that this subject was actualy discussed at a Senate Republican luncheon, Republican senators only, last tuesday the day before the story ran in the Washington Post. Lott noted that Vice President Cheney was also in the room for that discussion and Lott said point blank "a lot of it came out of that room last tuesday, pointing to the room where the lunch was held in the capitol." He added of senators "we can't keep our mouths shut." He added about the vice president, "He was up here last wek and talked up here in that room right there in a roomful of nothing but senators and every word that was said in there went right to the newspaper." He said he believes when all is said and done it may wind up as an ethics investigation of a Republican senator, maybe a Republican staffer as well." (Source: CNN via Eschaton)
This should get interesting...

Adventures In Voting


I set out to vote this morning and rather than drive my SUV, I thought I'd be extra patriotic and ride my bike to my polling place. I rounded the corner and off in the distance I could see that something was wrong. None of the usual election day flare was on display. No 'Polling Place' signs with little red, white and blue shiny mylar strips and banners. There were lots of people milling about out front in confusion. Inside, things weren't much different. The doors to the auditorium where the polls are normally located were locked tight and the room was dark.

I checked today's date on my cell phone, yep... November 8th. So I broke left and entered the library to find 3 librarians pulling their hair out while trying to determine where the correct polling place was for the 30 or so people that were inquiring. They were trying to pull up the state run web site that gave polling booth information and the site was down. Apparently I wasn't alone in this confusion.

To be clear, I'm certain that my voter guide had the new polling place info on it. But that sucker hit the recycle bin at least a week ago. I read nearly the entire thing, just not the part that counted most.

Then, bam! Someone at the bank of internet terminals at the library got through on the website and found a polling place just 2 blocks from my house. I pedaled over there and my name was on their voting roster. I picked up my ballot and cozied up to the voting booth right next to a Coke machine. After marking my votes, I dropped a dollar into the Coke machine to toast my patriotism and the damn machine ate my dollar yet delivered no libation. A rather ominous sign, I thought.

Not to be defeated, I sauntered over to the nice lady that was guarding the vote scanner and slid my ballot in and watched the counter go from 197 to 198.

Let freedom ring mutha f$@er.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Rove: USS Fitzgerald Is On His Trail


Why reinvent the wheel when Pachacutec laid it out so nicely over at firedoglake:
The weakness of the Fitzgerald investigation - that it does not play to the press - is also its strength, for two reasons.

The first we have already discussed: by refusing to play politics, Fitzgerald insulates himself from much criticism, keeping his mystique of fearsome incorruptibility. You had better believe that indefatigable, Dudly Do-Right aura plays on the minds of his prey.

This leads to my second point. Since the Fitzgerald operation runs something like a submarine - occasionally surfacing, or otherwise making its presence known by firing a shot - it also has the opportunity to maximize its impact by the element of surprise.

Stroll with me through the following imaginary scenario. Fitzy's submarine submerges for a while. The political process plays out as the president and his minions weaken. The fallout form the original indictment takes its toll. Then, from a political point of view, the situation stabilizes, reaches an equilibrium.

Maybe Bush even regains a couple of points in the polls, and the public begins to forget about our friend Patrick. Lord knows, there will still be plenty of bad news for the administration occupying the public mind, from home heating prices to Iraq to whatever.

Then comes the next Fitzy strike.

Boom. A new surge of indictment news. The public, having thought perhaps it was all over, sees that it is not. The next shot Fitzy fires draws more blood, and closer to the President. Suddenly, that new, provisional equilbrium bottoms out, with a degree of force equivalent to the level of surprise associated with it.

That makes for a very unstable situation, wheras the danger of Fitzy being in the news every day is that his investigation becomes mundane, perhaps to the point of inoculating the public to the story.

I am quite happy to see the legal side of the story fade for a while. Let's allow everyone to digest what happened in ths first round, and maybe even get comfortable. The next shock could drop the polls below 30% and bring about the unequivocal implosion of the GOP, at a time even closer to the '06 midterms.

Take your time, Patrick. That's my advice.

Take your time, my friend.

Just some thoughts.

Bush: Has Borrowed More Than Previous 42 Presidents Combined


People are using the "That was so funny/shocking, I just spit out my coffee" or the "You owe me money for a new keyboard because I sprayed my drink out of nose" lines way too much these days. I'm almost certain that they are lying at least 99 percent of the time. Which is sad, because it diminishes the impact of times when it actually does happen.

Take for instance the warm egg nog with nutmeg and cocoa powder that found it's way out of my sinuses and through my fingers today upon reading this:
"According to the Treasury Department, from 1776-2000, the first 224 years of U.S. history, 42 U.S. presidents borrowed a combined $1.01 trillion from foreign governments and financial institutions, but in the past four years alone, the Bush administration borrowed $1.05 trillion."
There you have it folks. A very nice way to sum up the fiscal runaway train that is towing America towards a brick wall. With a cliff behind the wall. And lots of pointy cacti and scorpions and broken glass at the bottom of the cliff.

I don't mean to joke about this, but it's either that or cry. I'll cry tonight when I have my pillow.

Read the rest of the article here.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Scalito And The Vanguard Conflict


I've been hesitant to chime in regarding Samuel Alito's nomination because I would rather wait for more information to come in. Well, I didn't have to wait long.

The Boston Globe online has reported a very troubling conflict of interest case involving Vanguard mutual funds that Scalito presided over.

The short story is that Mr. Alito ruled in favor of Vanguard in a case where a widow tried for a decade to collect the money invested in Vanguard mutual funds that were in her deceased husband's IRA. The problem is that Mr. Alito had previously agreed to recuse himself from any cases involving Vanguard. Why would he recuse himself? Because he apparently held $390,000 worth of Vanguard mutual funds during the ruling.

Now, the issue that we should be concerned about here is a matter of Scalito's word. In this case, Scalito has clearly vilolated a previous agreement to recuse himself from cases involving Vanguard, yet he participated and precided over the case and then challenged his previous agreement.

This is an absolutely critical justice position, one that will surely tip the balance of the Supreme Court. If I were on the Senate Judiciary Panel, I would hammer him on this issue and likely vote against him.

EXCLUSIVE: SCOOTER LIBBY'S MUGSHOT


Ah yes, Inflatable Dartboard's extensive beltway contacts have come through again. Everyone is looking for it, everyone wants it and even though federal trial mugshots are not usually made available to the public... we got our hands on it! Here it is:


Not really sure what the two red burn marks are on his right bicep. Maybe Rove used a Taser on him to take the fall? Perhaps Cheney put out his cigarettes on his arm after he broke Libby's ankle to keep him quiet? Hopefully we'll find out before the trial.