Saturday, July 24

Your next Vice President

You don't change horsemen in the middle of the Apocalypse.

The bush strategy in a nutshell. I am sure that it is not original(update-yup been dogdamndiddlyang done b-fore [still funny as hell]) though it just occured to me. I feel a riff coming on.-later

Say it ain't so John

The GOP, champions of fairness, protectors of the white to vote, and like good old regular folk they sometimes get all those fancy words mixed up in their mouths. Our friend the honorable John Pappageorge, state rep, R-Troy, is taking a little heat for this blunder:
Pappageorge, 73, was quoted in July 16 editions of the Detroit Free Press as saying, "If we do not suppress the Detroit vote, we're going to have a tough time in this election."
Now I can't for the life of me figure out what anyone might find offensive in this statement. He obviously meant impress not suppress. Everybody knows that champions of this Democratic Republic consider all votes equal and fight tooth and nail to make sure that they are all counted. Anyone who would suggest otherwise might just be one of those "nattering nabobs of negativity" that I have heard of. In fact I check under the bed before I go to sleep just in case one of them wants to ruin my dreams. Meanwhile back to our beleagered buddy (stop making me alliterate Michelle)
Blacks comprise 83 percent of Detroit's population, and the city routinely gives Democratic candidates a substantial majority of its votes.

Pappageorge's remark reflected the GOP's failure to send black voters a persuasive message, said Rep. Alexander Lipsey, D-Kalamazoo.
Just send the Dauphin and the dutchess's to Detroit and that'll fix it up lickety split. What? They wouldn't be caught dead, in downtown Detroit? My bad. I guess the message will have to trickle down from Troy, that bastion of lower middle class values.
"This is the endgame strategy the Republican Party has decided to utilize, rather than positive strategies," he said. "They are strategizing, "How can we get those folks we don't care about from going to the polls?"'

Pappageorge said he had not read the remark attributed to him but did not deny making it.

"In the context that we were talking about, I said we've got to get the vote up in Oakland (County) and the vote down in Detroit. You get it down with a good message. I don't know how we got them from there to "racist,"' Pappageorge said. "If I have given offense in any way to my colleagues in Detroit or anywhere, I apologize."
See, he meant up=good, down=good, down with a good message=good. Shoot everything is turning up DoublePlus Good. And see how he was quick to apologize to his colleagues, that just shows how congenial he is, which of course is good. Thanks to GOTV for the heads up.


Fun with acronyms. From a comment here, and here, on a thread at Atrios

T he
R epublicans
A ren't
I nterested in
T ruth:
O nly
R obbing
S ociety

DJ Acronyminator

"I" is for Intelligence you leak.
"O" is for Opressiveness you seek.

"K" is for the Ku, the Klux & Klan
"I" is for the "Image" of Manly Man.

"Y" is for Yokels in your base.
"A" is for "Assholes" in your face,


"R" is for new boy Raperooms in Iraq.

Sorry but I just couldn't help myself.

Holy shit Ted

This came across my radar thanks to Susan, and all I have to add is Hell Yah. Says Ted:

When I was getting into the television business, lawmakers and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) took seriously the commission's mandate to promote diversity, localism, and competition in the media marketplace. They wanted to make sure that the big, established networks--CBS, ABC, NBC--wouldn't forever dominate what the American public could watch on TV. They wanted independent producers to thrive. They wanted more people to be able to own TV stations. They believed in the value of competition.

So when the FCC received a glut of applications for new television stations after World War II, the agency set aside dozens of channels on the new UHF spectrum so independents could get a foothold in television. That helped me get my start 35 years ago. Congress also passed a law in 1962 requiring that TVs be equipped to receive both UHF and VHF channels. That's how I was able to compete as a UHF station, although it was never easy. (I used to tell potential advertisers that our UHF viewers were smarter than the rest, because you had to be a genius just to figure out how to tune us in.) And in 1972, the FCC ruled that cable TV operators could import distant signals. That's how we were able to beam our Atlanta station to homes throughout the South. Five years later, with the help of an RCA satellite, we were sending our signal across the nation, and the Superstation was born.

That was then.

Today, media companies are more concentrated than at any time over the past 40 years, thanks to a continual loosening of ownership rules by Washington. The media giants now own not only broadcast networks and local stations; they also own the cable companies that pipe in the signals of their competitors and the studios that produce most of the programming. To get a flavor of how consolidated the industry has become, consider this: In 1990, the major broadcast networks--ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox--fully or partially owned just 12.5 percent of the new series they aired. By 2000, it was 56.3 percent. Just two years later, it had surged to 77.5 percent.

I guess the FCC forgot their mission, and forget the the airwaves belong to us all. Read the whole thing. Yet another problem to tackle If we can get our government back from Ali Baba and the forty thieves.

Nice Try George

The dumbassed Dauphin decided that blowing off the NAACP, might hurt him so he decided to share his vision with the Urban League. From this article, brought to our attention by Steve, here are some goodies:
Bush pointed to the fact that blacks such as national security adviser Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of State Colin Powell are key members of his administration. To periodic smatterings of applause from the black audience, he asserted that his prescription of tax relief, education reform and compassionate conservatism is doing far more than the traditional programs of Democrats to address the nation's ills that hit particularly hard at blacks.
The Republican Party is the party of racists. Most black people know this, which is why 90 percent of them will not support the party. No amount of inane blather will convince them otherwise. Actions speak louder than words, no matter how many Uncle Toms you surround yourself with, or how many classrooms full of black kids you read books with.
"Has class warfare or higher taxes ever created decent jobs in the inner city?" Bush asked. "Are you satisfied with the same answers on crime, excuses for drugs and blindness to the problem of the family?"

He invited blacks to "take a look at my agenda" of boosting small businesses, demanding high standards in the nation's public schools and defending "the institutions of marriage and family."
Remember this, everytime you hear the words "class warfare" slip past the lips of a republican you are listening to a class warrior, whose goal is to stuff as much cash into their pockets as possible. Your cash, my cash, any cash that is not bolted down, with the goal of creating an enclave that will protect them when the natives get restless. The Bush Tax Plan is the latest and most avaricious implimentation of Class Warfare. As the worlds second most wealthy person, you might not expect Warren Buffet to agree with me.
"If class warfare is being waged in America, my class is clearly winning," Buffett said in Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s annual report.
When he asks the polite black people to consider his agenda, things like this come to mind. Most of us don't find this in the least bit humorous.
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Steve puts it nicely:
The idea that Bush could insult the NAACP and then shuck and jive with the Urban League is a joke. You can't dis one and then court the other. They are all related. Don't kick my brother and then ask me for a favor.
One of the commentors on his post, gets the real target of the shuck and Jive.
Isn't this again the whole compasionate conservative two-step.
Bush was not courting the black vote last night, but white swing voters, especially soccer moms, who don't like to vote for biggots.
It was not so much trying to increase the 11%, as saying to those white voters: "See I also went to speak them black folks".
The rovepublicans running the campaign may be craven, but they aren't stupid. They know that they don't have a chance of swindling black folk with their "crock of compassion", but they do know that there are a lot of reasonable people out there who would not vote for racists, no matter the imact on their pocketbook.

Friday, July 23

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Presidential reading comprehension

It occured to me after checking out some of the platform thread over at Kos that I should take a look at the Gettysburg Address again and maybe even try commiting it to memory. It is a fantastic piece of work and is demonstative of the galaxy sized gulf between the intellect of Lincoln and that of the Dauphin. It also stands as a model of brevity and clarity. I hang my lexicon mangling head in shame. For your consumption the man himself:

Nov. 19, 1863

Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it as a final resting place for those who died here that that nation might live. This we may, in all propriety do. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have hallowed it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

It is rather for us the living, we here be dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth."

Dogzilla can't keep them down

The Records that is. Atrios has it here, ABC has it here. Lets have a look see, shall we.
WASHINGTON July 23, 2004 — The Pentagon on Friday released newly discovered payroll records from President Bush's 1972 service in the Alabama National Guard, though the records shed no new light on the future president's activities during that summer.

A Pentagon official said the earlier contention that the records were destroyed was an "inadvertent oversight."

Damn. I really enjoyed flogging, Dogzilla, The Fire Breathing Record eating Beast. Oh and nothing has been cleared up except that he didn't , wasn't, cant, be proven to have been anywhere.
Like records released earlier by the White House, the newly released computerized payroll records show no indication Bush drilled with the Alabama unit during July, August and September of 1972. Pay records covering all of 1972, released previously, also indicated no guard service for Bush during those three months.

You say awolio I say desertalicious. Will the vast communist media conspiracy go after this, with the alacrity that they have jumped into Berger's Pant's. Only time will tell.

Molly gets it as always

As usual Molly is all over the Dubyanator like a cheap suit.

Total number of Americans killed so far is 901, but the new line is: What War? We turned it over to the Iraqis, see? Presto, it disappears, just like magic. It's their problem now. Doesn't have anything to do with us. Bush is out campaigning by calling himself "the peace president." Honest. "He repeated the words 'peace' or 'peaceful' many times, as he had done increasingly in his recent appearances," reported The New York Times from Iowa this week.

Watch the media compliantly take up this line. Truly fascinating. We're also getting a new round of "9-11 was all Clinton's fault anyway." I don't think this one will work for the R's. It's kind of pitiful, after four years, to still go around saying, "It's all Clinton's fault."

Their first week in office, the Bushies claimed the Clintonites had taken the W's off White House computers, glued the drawers together and committed other vandalism -- all of which turned out to be a big fat lie. Why that didn't tip the media off about what kind of people they were dealing with is unclear to me.


These goons lied right out of the gate and tricked all those elite liberal media outlets to buy into every one of these lies. Their modus operandi is the lie, hell their modus vivendi is steaming piles of mendacity. You would think that a media hellbent on destroying the sanctity of life, fighting tooth and nail, for liberal causes, might have paused, thought about it and refused to continue spoonfeeding the steaming piles of horseshit coming out every administrative orifice.

Oh yeah---that liberal media. Keep swinging Molly. cheers to you.

I will not bite you

Unless you are planning to vote for Smirky/Snarly.
Frankly they scare the shit out of me.
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Thursday, July 22

would some one straighten him out

Kofi Annan got his signals crossed with the Dubyanater.
By Irwin Arieff

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The world is no safer than it was three years ago, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said on Wednesday, countering President Bush's claims he had made the world a safer place.

Annan, at a news conference, also criticized a Bush administration decision to withhold $34 million from the U.N. Population Fund, saying the agency was saving women's lives. Annan's remarks could renew strains on ties between the United States and United Nations, which -- while devastated by Bush's inability to win U.N. backing for the U.S.-led war on Iraq -- had improved following U.N. help in setting up a new government in Baghdad in time for the U.S. occupation to end.

"No, I cannot say the world is safer today than it was two, three years ago," the U.N. leader said.
What Dubyanator says:
"For a while we were marching to war. Now we're marching to peace. ... America is a safer place. Four more years wars and America will be safer and the world will be more peaceful," Bush said.
Uh Huh, yeaah thats the ticket.
"The enemy declared war on us," Bush told a re-election rally in Cedar Rapids. "Nobody wants to be the war president. I want to be the peace president... The next four years wars will be peaceful years. wars" Bush used the words "peace" or "peaceful" a total of 20 times.
Just keep saying it over and over "there's no place like home", "there's no place like home", "there's no place like home", and it will be so.

Kent digs the Who

They are one of his favorite bands - always in the top three, which will change from time to time so I guess it could be argued that they are his favorite band. So Kent was over at the Rude Pundit (kind of responsible for the third person thing) reading his most recent work, a piece on bullie's, when it appears that there is some kind of spat going on between my man Pete and Micheal Moore - who knew?
Rock guitarist Pete Townshend has labelled Michael Moore a "bully" in a public spat over the use of the classic Who song Won't get Fooled Again in Fahrenheit 9/11.The Who guitarist refused Moore permission to use the song on the end credits of the film. Afterwards, Moore claimed that Townshend did so because he was in favour of the war in Iraq.
Well that would have been cool. I hope pete isn't aware of how many times his Meet the new Boss Same as the old Boss line has been used here in blogistan to refer to the Iraqi turnover, Alawi hacking off hands and executin' prisoners, I know cause if you scroll down or check the archives, lets just say that i'm guilty as charged.
On his website, Townshend protests that this is not the case. Instead, he says he refused permission because he was suspicious of Moore's credentials. "When first approached I knew nothing about the content of his film Fahrenheit 9/11. I had not really been convinced by Bowling for Columbine [Moore's previous film] and had been worried about its accuracy. Once I had an idea what the film was about, I was 90% certain my song was not right for them."
Sorry Pete, but I have to dissagree with you, I am about 100% certain that your song would have been a perfect ending to that movie. I like the Neil Young, but man Won't Get Fooled again would have Rocked the house dude.

Sharks and Jets

This is good. No doubt about it, just the work of a few very busy "bad apples"
By MATT KELLEY, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Army investigators announced 94 cases of confirmed or alleged prisoner abuse in Iraq (news - web sites) and Afghanistan (news - web sites) — a number higher than previous estimates — in a report Thursday that concluded no systemic failures were at fault.
This is rich. I can't help but think that the number is actually much higher given the DOD's relationship with veracity. But let's accept the number as it stands. We have 6 or 7 "bad apples" so that works out to about 15 cases of abuse for each "applet".
But Senate Democrats, pointing to deficiencies in training and inconsistencies in doctrine outlined in the Army report, immediately challenged the findings.

"It is difficult to believe there were not systemic problems with our detention and interrogation operations," Michigan Sen. Carl Levin, top Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, said at a hastily called hearing.

The acting Army secretary and its top general said they took responsibility for the abuses while insisting that they were the misconduct of enlisted soldiers or lower-ranking officers — and not sanctioned by Army leadership.

"These actions, while regrettable, are aberrations," said Acting Army Secretary Les Brownlee. "The Army is responsible for their acts. As the senior civilian leader in the Army, I accept this responsibility."

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker said mistakes were understandable, though not excusable. Troops must be trained to contain their anger at prisoners who had been trying to kill them, he said.

"It's in the middle of a rumble that this is happening," Schoomaker said.
The sharks and the Jets indeed.

Warm and Sticky, The Womb of Wingnuttery

From the NYT, A warm sticky fluff piece by ADAM NAGOURNEY. He lets us know how the Bushernaut is going to "bring it on". the quotes below come from page two. Atrios has a take on Nagourney over here.

"The advantage he has is that the external world continues to put forward factors that remind the public that he is the president,"
said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. "The balance tips in a subtle fashion toward the person who is doing the job in uncertain times."
You see its good that there is things going on that remind me he is preznitential. All that manly prezintude makes my belly warm in these uncertain times. WTF! How about accepting that this "miserable failure" kicked over the hornets nest providinge "these uncertain times."

Though Mr. Bush's job approval ratings are low, she said, "It's possible for people to say Bush is not doing a good job and still to conclude that Kerry wouldn't do any better."
Why am I beginning to suspect that Kathleen Jamieson, via Nagourney is carrying water for the Bush re-election campain? Yes I understand, how could anyone expect a man to to do a better job than a grown up petulant child, especially a job that might require a wee bit of nuance.

Still, there are signs of concern in the White House. With some polls showing Republicans losing their advantage on national security issues, Mr. Bush Smirky McJackoff has begun a new push to convince voters that the war in Iraq has made them safer.
Ha Ha Ha Ha. Ha Ha Ha Ha. Ha Ha Ha Ha. Made us safer. Ha Ha Ha Ha.Ha Ha Ha Ha. Oh yeah, I forgot about the flypaper theory. Ya know the one that claims that its better to fight a bunch of guys who would likely never have had the funds to cross the ocean to blow up that suitcase bomb-wait-could it be that the guys that could or would blow up the suitcase might not be lured into out glorious trap.

Mr. Bush in recent days has had to campaign in solidly Republican areas, and to stress conservative issues, to maintain the enthusiasm of his base. In contrast, Mr. Kerry appears so confident of support from his base that he makes a point of saying in campaign appearances that he is appealing for the support of non-Democrats, and at one point, strongly expressed his personal opposition to abortion, without creating any stir.
It's not like he's a scared little baby who makes absolutely sure that he never has to confront any protest. I guess I can't blame him, I'd be a little sensitive too if people pummeled my inauguration limosine with eggs. It must be nice to spend all of that time basking in the warm sticky womb of hardcore rightwing support.

9-11 commision report

here Thanks Poppy McCool

Self medicating Primates

This is pretty damn cool.
A Madagascan lemur has been revealed as the first animal known to self-medicate when pregnant. Female sifaka eat plants rich in poisonous tannins in the weeks before giving birth, researchers have discovered. It is unclear why the sifaka does this. In other mammals, small doses of tannins kill parasites and stimulate milk production. And vets often use tannins to prevent miscarriage, raising the intriguing possibility that by eating the plants the sifaka is protecting its developing baby.

At first sight, a taste for tannins might seem odd whether you are pregnant or not. Plants use them as defensive chemicals to deter herbivores from munching their leaves, as the toxic tannins bind to proteins in the animals' guts.

"The sifakas are doing something that goes against the grain," says Michael Huffman, an expert in primate self-medication at Kyoto University in Japan and a member of the team. "But this probably means they have a good reason for doing it."

Every year we learn that animal behavior is more rich and complex than previously expected. Paleo Anthropology is a favorite subject of mine. Evidence continues to mount that out prehistoric ancestors were much brighter than we had thought.

Right now there is evidence to support that North America was populated by Europe and Asia and that clovis point technology originated in Europe. Unfortunately a large amount of the evidence that would confirm a certain level of technical prowess has long since decomposed, exceptions being textillery discovered on the mummies of monte verde and the desert mummies in western china.

What has any of this to do with self medicating Sifaka Lemurs? I am sure that there is a connection but that is for a much longer and possibly boring paper.
By the way, the Mother and child below are Sifaka's.

Wednesday, July 21

We are people too.

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Keepin' an eye out for Fundie Code

I just had an epiphany. No Child Left Behind. Now I and many others have recognised what this unfunded mandate really meant. No wealthy child left behind. The real motive of this program, is to get rid of the deadweight (black, hispanic, poor white) because making these kids drop out is really the only way many schools can comply. Sure it's padding the books (don't tell me that you are suprised), but thats what Rod Paige did for teenagers who didn't make the cut in Texas.

Back to the epiphany. Untill a few minutes ago I had not really looked at the "Left Behind" part, other than to appreciate the irony. Now I believe that the real meaning of NCLB is directed at fundies. No Fundimentalist Christian Child left behind. Let me explain. A majority in the fundimentalist christian population truly believe that we are living in or are close to the Rapture, and if you look closely at what is going on in the middle east through that lens, our little adventure makes slightly more sense.

There is a popular series of poorly written (I've seen enough excerpts) books describing the "Rapture" called "Left Behind", written by fellow fundy Tim Lahaye. In fact it was a meeting with Lahaye prior to the campaign season in '99 that established D- Nero's fundy streetcred. Certain interpretaions of the Book of Revelation (some suggest that it was an ergot induced hallucinatory vision) hold that it is a profecy of a great battle good against evil, which concludes with the rebuilding of the Temple of Abraham Only after the completion of the temple can Jesus return. At which point the faithful ascend to heaven and the rest (including the Jews) are left behind to suffer the visitudes of the Horsemen of the apocylapes. I might have mixed up the order a bit but thats essentially the drift.

Now Imagine for a moment that you agree with this prophecy and are well maybe a bit impatient. What if you could jump start armegeddon? I mean alot of us are in no hurry and many of us would choose to meet the maker after a long life, I mean what's the difference of a few years. But if you were a hardcore believer, wouldn't you like to have it happen on your watch, be part of history, and maybe even you will be written about in the double plus new testement.

Ya I know, this is what we call a faith based ardor. It is important to understand that those that deign theocracy are yanking on Georgies choker chain. I think that all of the language used to sell the agenda should go through the fundy filter. When George uses language that sounds like he is speaking to us all, chances are he is only talking about his base. And of course when he discusses action of any kind it is either projection or he plans to do the obverse.

35 years plus 1 Day.

Much too busy trying to follow the scattershot of crap in the news and completely forgot about this thanks to The Fulcrum
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Econ 101

Atrios has been watching testimony from Fed chair Alan Greenspan
Interesting. Greenspan just stated that he believes there is
"significant residual discrimination" against African-Americans in the labor market.
and another:
Also, Uncle Alan said that he did not know if increases in expenditures related to terrorism and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were, as Bush has asserted, theprimary cause of the ballooning deficit. Right.
Meanwhile, over at the Whiskey Bar Billmon takes a look at a recent Wall Street Journal editorial, discussing just who is benefitting from the sterling economic recovery.
The story goes on to describe the disparity between sales of
high-end designer jewelry, luxury cars and lakeside hotel suites
(booming) and the kind of stuff that most of us buy at Wal-Mart or
Target (stagnant). And it quotes an economist from J.P. Morgan Chase -
another notoriously left-leaning, Bush-hating institution - in support
of its "Two Americas" thesis:

"To date, the [recovery's] primary beneficiaries have been upper-income
households," concludes Dean Maki, a J.P. Morgan Chase (and former
Federal Reserve) economist who has studied the ways that changes in
wealth affect spending. In research he sent to clients this month, Mr.
Maki said, "Two of the main factors supporting spending over the past
year, tax cuts and increases in [stock] wealth, have sharply benefited
upper income households relative to others."

Clearly, what we have here is a rampant outbreak of liberal class
warfare - a vicious smear (no doubt inspired by Michael Moore) aimed at
convincing the American people the Bush-Cheney administration cares more
about fattening the already-obese bank accounts of the ultra-wealthy
than it does about reversing the downward trend in the purchasing power
of the vast American middle class.
I have wondered recently about the sustainablility of this continued bleeding of the american middle class.
I have watched for 20 years, economic policies which are
at their sinister core, intended to redistribute wealth from from middleclass
pockets to numbered Swiss bank accounts. Oh the vapors, heaven forfend, please
stop this talk of class warfare. That is what it is get over it. Just because the
Corporate media continues to pretend that "class warfare" is a communist canard and
therefore "that which must not be spoken" its been a battle in the background. Payroll Tax
Let's refresh our memories. In 1982, Greenspan co-chaired
(along with the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York) a
bipartisan commission to improve the future solvency of Social Security.
The commission called for stiff increases in the nation's payroll tax,
along with increases in the retirement age and some reductions in the
rate of benefits growth over time. The commission's recommendations were
largely implemented, passed by Congress and signed by President Reagan
into law. They remain in effect today.

The payroll tax increases imposed a sizable burden on lower-to-middle
income workers. But their purpose was to fund a surplus in the Social
Security Trust Fund that would be used to help pay for the enormous
costs that the retirement system will incur when "baby boomers", those
born between 1946 and 1964, begin retiring in a few years from
Way back in '82 Greenspan supported an increase in the payroll tax. The
nifty thing is that the payroll tax is one of those taxes that, well,
lets just say isn't really spoken about that much and because it is
capped at $87,000,
it is regressive and has a much more dramatic impact on the middle
class. I have fond memories of the early eighties, and was still in highschool
when these schenanigans were going on. I just remember how much I loved the Grandpa in chief, how he made everything seem simple, especially how evil the russians were (a demon infested hive of hellmanity-I imagined), and that I didn't need to feel bad for poor people-'cause they were too busy driving Cadillacs to the bank to cash their welfare checks.
It's about time to recognise what is and has been going on, because this fleecing
of the middle class will destroy it. watch out Lower Upper Class, 'cause Cashzilla is coming after you next.

Paging protocol department

The African Athletics Championship are being held in the Congo. Apparently there were a couple of mix-ups concerning National anthems. These are a couple of medal ceremonies, that I would like to have seen and heard. The first story involves the gold medal winning 4X400 meter relay team from Zimbabwe
There was a moment of pure farce at the African Athletics Championships in Congo, when a Zimbabwean gold-medal winner had to sing his national anthem.

Zimbabwe's men won the 4X400 relay but when they went to collect their medals, the band played the old song.
Oops. "We didn't get that memo about that anthem-sorry".
After several minutes' delay, Lloyd Zvasiya took the microphone himself.

The BBC's Steve Vickers in the Congo capital, Brazzaville, says the 40,000 crowd gave Zvasiya a huge cheer.

Zimbabwe's new national anthem, Blessed be the Land of Zimbabwe, was adopted in 1994, replacing Ishe Komborera Africa, which is used in several countries.
Absolutely brilliant. What else can I say other tan I wish I could have been in attendence. But there is more, call it a variation on a theme without a clue:
The high-jump winner at the All Africa Games had to work hard for his gold medal by singing at the ceremony.

Twice the Botswana national anthem was introduced only to be met with silence, before the embarrassed announcer handed over his microphone to the athlete.

Kabelo Mmono, appearing on the big screen in Nigeria's national stadium, then sang clearly and in tune.

After the ceremony, the shy athlete told the BBC he had not expected to perform but had "surprised himself"

Forgotten War. merc or hung out to dry

As you may or not be aware 3 american were arrested in Afganistan, alledgedly running a jail in Kabul. According to this article by the AP.
Thu Jul 8, 5:21 PM ET
By AMIR SHAH, Associated Press Writer

KABUL, Afghanistan - Afghan forces arrested three Americans, including a purported former Green Beret, after raiding a jail they were allegedly running in the Afghan capital and finding prisoners hanging from their feet, officials said Thursday. The U.S. military, facing a widening inquiry into prisoner abuse, quickly distanced itself from the three, who had been posing as American agents before being detained Monday. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Thursday "the U.S. government does not employ or sponsor these men."

Afghan officials also dismissed claims by the apparent ringleader, Jonathan K. Idema, that he was a "special adviser" to their security forces, saying the three had posed as military agents on a self-appointed hunt for terrorists.

The Americans and four Afghans who were detained along with them "formed a group and pretended they were fighting terrorism," Interior Minister Ali Ahmad Jalali said. "They arrested eight people from across Kabul and put them in their jail."
I seem to remember discussion questioning whether or not Idema really was a member of the green beret proper, or a quartermaster attached to a GB unit. Idema claims to have been working under the auspices of the US and Afghani Forces, which both camps vociferously deny. I though about working this story when it first broke (and this place was like a shiny new toy I couldn't keep my hands off of), but it was getting a pretty good flogging in blogistan, and I didn't have anything to add. I mean we had the standard wierdness we have grown accustomed to in the war on terror. Funny business, Am I or am I not a legitimate soldier or a mercenary rouge. You bet Rumsfeld was wetting his pants and hoping that it would put the fire out. This morning, BBC news has this on its front page.
A US citizen arrested in Kabul over an alleged freelance counter-terrorism operation says he was working with the knowledge of the US defence secretary.

Jonathan K Idema said the US government had abandoned him. Washington says he was a mercenary. Mr Idema was speaking shortly before he went on trial with two other Americans, Edward Caraballo and Brent Bennett.

The trial, on charges of torture, kidnapping and running a private jail, was adjourned on Wednesday for 15 days
I've got to hand it to Karzai. I mean these guys are already on trial (is there a sixth ammendment to the Afghani constitution?), haven't been dissappeared into the memory hole at some remote iraqi prison. I am sure that our administration can't be too happy about the following:
Mr Idema told journalists before the trial he had evidence to prove he was working for the Pentagon.

He claims to have helped prevent several attempted terrorist attacks and said he had regular e-mail, phone and fax contact with Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's office and other senior Pentagon officials
Now of couse this guy could be lying his ass off, and you can expect that the mighty media will spin it this way, but I have my doubts. There has never been the level of privitazation of US logistical operations in wartime. Halliburton, Brown and Root, and other's, supply (or are supposed to) food, housing, amunition, private security forces (a nudge is as good as a wink to a blind bat), communications and the sorry list goes on. Sun Tzu would beat the fire out of Rumsfelds pant's and then throw wolfie and feith out of the window. and I don't even want to know what the oval office would look like when he was done with the Dauphin. My point is, that given the way these idiots have run things, that the abuses at Abu Ghraib run much further up the chain of command, and take a right turn on Pennsylvania avenue. I am inclined to wait for the proof of guilt
Steve goes into much more depth on this issue and is inclined to disagree. Check it out.

Death tax is just that-it will tax you to Death

you and yours I mean.
More to follow. like guantlet to self.

Tuesday, July 20

'Cause I can and they cleanse the palate.

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"you know what you are doing is wrong-right?"

Have we stopped sodomizing the kids?

BoingBoing has more of the disgusting news

Excerpt from statement provided by Kasim Mehaddi Hilas, Detainee #151108, on January 18 2004:

I saw [name deleted] fucking a kid, his age would be about 15 - 18 years. The kid was hurting very bad and they covered all the doors with sheets. Then when I heard the screaming
More graphic content left out, ya know for the lemur's sake. Excerpts from a CBS interview with PFC Lyndie England
When England was asked if there were other things that happened at Abu Ghraib, things that were not photographed, she said, “Yes.” When asked if there were worse things that happened, she said “Yes,” but would not elaborate.
You don't get the idea that anyone is hiding anything do you. I mean if this stuff got out in the wild it might cause the destruction of our democratic experiment. I hope that this wasn't done in my name, or to secure my safety. Links t the PDF files of the material can be found hereand here.

'cause they're cute as hell is why

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The Million Vote march-work in progress

Almost 2 million votes in the 2000 election were not counted. The Vote totals for the presidential race came in around 100 million. Actually closer to 106 million when all third and other party totals are included. A spoilage rate of slightly under two percent. I guess it could be worse. Well it turns out that half of these spoiled votes were cast by "non-white" voters.
Greg Palast who is such a good investigative journalist, (re. too hot to handle for the SCLM) that he gets paid to write for English papers and works for the BBC writes the following.
Sunday, June 20, 2004
by Greg Palast

In the 2000 presidential election, 1.9 million Americans cast ballots that no one counted. "Spoiled votes" is the technical term. The pile of ballots left to rot has a distinctly dark hue: About 1 million of them -- half of the rejected ballots -- were cast by African Americans although black voters make up only 12 percent of the electorate.
If this is news to you, there are a variety of books on the subject, starting with Greg's own "The Best Democracy Money can Buy". And if you do not find this disturbing, then there is reason to question your patriotism. If you believe that it is OK for your side to win using foul play, you are not a citizen or patriot. You are a partisan and put allegience to your party ahead of allegiance to your Country.
How do you spoil 2 million ballots? Not by leaving them out of the fridge too long. A stray mark, a jammed machine, a punch card punched twice will do it. It's easy to lose your vote, especially when some politicians want your vote lost.

While investigating the 2000 ballot count in Florida for BBC Television, I saw firsthand how the spoilage game was played -- with black voters the predetermined losers.
Since those pesky Negroes left the republican reservation when the party was hijacked by the Dixie-crats, they tend to vote 9 out of ten times for Democratic presidential candidates, which if you follow conventional wisdom, (proffered by the so called liberal media conspriracy) is "code" for too stupid to vote. I'm calling Bullshit!!.
Florida's Gadsden County has the highest percentage of black voters in the state -- and the highest spoilage rate. One in 8 votes cast there in 2000 was never counted. Many voters wrote in "Al Gore." Optical reading machines rejected these because "Al" is a "stray mark."

By contrast, in neighboring Tallahassee, the capital, vote spoilage was nearly zip; every vote counted. The difference? In Tallahassee's white- majority county, voters placed their ballots directly into optical scanners. If they added a stray mark, they received another ballot with instructions to correct it.

In other words, in the white county, make a mistake and get another ballot; in the black county, make a mistake, your ballot is tossed.

The U.S. Civil Rights Commission looked into the smelly pile of spoiled ballots and concluded that, of the 179,855 ballots invalidated by Florida officials, 53 percent were cast by black voters. In Florida, a black citizen was 10 times as likely to have a vote rejected as a white voter.
So over 90,000 votes for president in the state of Florida cast by African Americans, dissappeared into Florida Swampland. That nearly 180,000 people cast uncounted ballots in this state alone should put a chill in anyone's spine. What really puts a chill in mine is that Florida accounts for 9.4% of spoiled ballots nationally. With a population of 16 million, Florida accounts for roughly 5.5% of the population of the United States. Gotta hand it to a state when it can beat it's spoiled vote quota by 75,000 votes. Maybe on another day we'll stroll on over to some of the Red states and see how close they got to their quotas. So it should come as no suprise that exit polling in Florida would indicate a Gore victory in that state, I'm sure that their exit polling tallies included many fine citizens who had no Idea that their ballots were spoiled and would never be counted.

If Greg is right about Talahassee, then one is likely to conclude that the 89,000 or so non "non-white" or "white-like" votes were cast in counties with unreliable machinery or a substantial lack of country clubs or SUV's. Not trying to suggest that all of those poor white folk were Gore supporters-lots of people vote against their self inerest-Jews for Buchanin anyone. It's just that there is the statistical unliklihood that bush could have claimed 90% of the 47 percent of florida's spoiled vote. The US commision on Civil rights report can be found here. I am going to take a look at it. I encourage you to do the same-more later.

From the executive summary of the report.
Poor counties, particularly those with large minority populations, were more likely to possess voting systems with higher spoilage rates than the more affluent counties with significant white populations. There is a high correlation between counties and precincts with a high percentage of African American voters and the percentage of spoiled ballots. For example:

  • Nine of the 10 counties with the highest percentage of African American voters had spoilage rates above the Florida average.

  • Of the 10 counties with the highest percentage of white voters, only two counties had spoilage rates above the state average.

  • Gadsden County, with the highest rate of spoiled ballots, also had the highest percentage of African American voters.

  • Where precinct data were available, the data show that 83 of the 100 precincts with the highest numbers of spoiled ballots are black-majority precincts.
Coincidence.....Well you say potatoe i'm inclined Tomato........wheeeee (hands up spinning in my chair like Jon Sterwart when talking to Wolf)....wheeeeee....wheeeeeee.......Ok back to some other goodness. Here we have the first paragraph of the conclusion of the executive summary.
The Commission found that the problems Florida had during the 2000 presidential election were serious and not isolated. In many cases, they were foreseeable and should have been prevented.The failure to do so resulted in an extraordinarily high and inexcusable level of disenfranchisement, with a significantly disproportionate impact on African American voters. The causes include the following: (1) a general failure of leadership from those with responsibility for ensuring elections are properly planned and executed; (2) inadequate resources for voter education, training of poll workers, and for Election Day trouble-shooting and problem solving; (3) inferior voting equipment and/or ballot design; (4) failure to anticipate and account for the expected high volumes of voters, including inexperienced voters; (5) a poorly designed and even more poorly executed purge system; and (6) a resource allocation system that often left poorer counties, which often were counties with the highest percentage of black voters, adversely affected.
I'd have to disagree with conclusion #5, I'd say the the purge system was by design and executed exactly as planned. In closing I'll offer the insights of someone who may know a little more about elections in her part of florida than I do.
Among the sworn testimony: One potential voter waited hours at the polls because of a registration mix-up as poll workers attempted to call the office of the supervisor of elections. The call never got through and the individual was not allowed to vote. A former poll worker herself, she testified that she never saw anything like it during her 18 years as a poll worker.

Reading some of the contents of the report plus goings on elseware (OHIO), lead me to conclude that we are far from over. So many outrages to flog so little time.

You have got to be kidding Me

The Television Critics Association has awarded "The Daily Show" The award for best News and information program. You can read the article here. Thanks to Ataturk at The Rising Hegemon for the heads-up.
"Daily Show" anchor Jon Stewart openly mocked critics for choosing his show, reminding them in a taped acceptance speech that "we're fake!"
Unfortunately though, this "fake" show is a more reliable source of news, news that matters anyway, than other supposedly more reliable sources. Ultimately this is a slap in the face to those that choose all Kobe all the time, over real discussion regarding the direction our Country is heading. Why is the News Media in bed with the right wing hacks running this country?

Fun with haters.

Freeway Blogger has a page transcribing several on the air contacts with talk radio hosts. He outlines his approach to bypassing call screeners and proceeds to the hilarity. A sample below.
Topic: Environmental Protection Agency halts construction of a strip mall because it's site is the only known habitat for a particular species of fly.

Screener: "Stacy Taylor Show."

Me: (thick southern accent) "Yeah, ah've been a hunter just about all my life and frankly ah've just about had it with these environmentalist whackos!"

Screener: "Okay, what's your name and where you from?"

Me: "I'm Phil callin' from Ocean Beach."

* * *

Stacy Taylor: Okay now let's go to... Phil from Ocean Beach...

Phil: Hey Stacy... I tell ya, this fly thing - it's them 'environmentalist whackos I'm tellin' ya...

Stacy: Them environmentalist whackos...

Phil: I tell ya... I'm a Bald Eagle hunter myself, and I can't tell ya...

Stacy: (laughs) A bald eagle hunter huh?

Phil: Yep, an' I can't tell you the problems I have huntin' eagles an' it's all because of this "endangered species"... bull! If ya ask me...

Stacy: Are you doin'... are you being a little sarcastic here Phil?

Phil: Not at all sir, not at all. Musta been five years ago I saw a bald eagle try to take away a little baby from its mother (voice cracking with emotion) an' ever since then I've dedicated my life to exterminating Bald Eagles from the face of this planet... and believe me, it's not an easy job!

Stacy: Uhh, yeah, I'm sure... I'm sure it's tough out there. Look uh, there's an organization out there just for you man, and the organization... have you heard of PETA?

Phil: PETA?!

Stacy: I don't mean People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, I mean the alternate version, it's called People Eating Tasty Animals.

Phil: (laughs) Well, lemme tell ya I actually have had Bald Eagle and it's not a bad tasting bird!
I always get a kick out of these confrontations. Keep reading and you get the his brilliant antagonism of Micheal Savage. For the uninitiated, Micheal had a show on MSNBC untill he told a caller he thought was gay to "get aids and die" resulting in his firing. You can read more about that here. Be sure to take a look at the front page of the site here.

Have the Pod People replaced Nader

Billmon is all over Nader like a cheap suit.
Michigan GOP operatives ran a campaign that collected 40,000 signitures to get Nader on the ballot. At first Nader claimed that he was not going to accept the help and then-well-decided he would. So Billmon was inspired to take him to task.
I've been as opposed to Nader's candidacy this year as I was in 2000 - and for the same reasons - reasons which I explained months ago. I won't rehash the obvious now. If the robber baron economics, constitutional obscenity and foreign policy lunacies of the past four years haven't convinced progressives of the need for a united front against Bush and the authoritarian right, then nothing I can say now will, either.But up until the past few weeks, I've never questioned Nader's motives or his sincerity. As destructive as I think his actions have been, and as much as I detest his stubborness and his increasingly bizarre egoism, I've taken it for granted that Ralph's objectives were exactly what he said they were: to give the voters a progressive alternative to the Republicrat political duopoly.

I may have thought he was wrong - disastrously wrong - but I always assumed Nader was basically an honest person, and a man of the left. And as high as I know the stakes are in this election, it still made me uncomfortable to see the Dems using hardball tactics to try to keep him off the ballot in as many of the key states as they could. In my book, the Democratic Party was (and still is) just an instrument, a tool - a weak one, but the only one we've got - for fighting the movement conservatives. Ralph, on the other hand, was more like a crazy uncle - a real pain in the ass, but still, when it comes right down to it, family.

Family. Well now it seem that maybe this crazy uncle just happened to sell out the family, and like Fredo should be invited for a little fishing trip.

Monday, July 19


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Bow to the majestic one. I am smarter than your president.

I Can't Help it

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I just love these things. Maybe Boobies later.
"You voted for bush?"

Manufacturing balance.

Sadly No brought this to my attention. Apparently there was a consevabot called smarterchild, a computer program that responds coverstationally with AIM users. Well apparently part of the program samples the frequency of opinions that it runs across in conversations and apparently comes out on the side of the more popular opinion.
is the story.
Computer savvy and interested in presidential politics, 13-year-old Erin was upset to learn that America Online's Instant Message (AIM) robot, "Smarter Child" favored Democrat John Kerry in this year's election. Erin, whose last name is being omitted in this article, is a fan of President Bush.
But when Erin told the robot that "George Bush is awesome," she was shocked by the response. "No way. George W. Bush is way uncool," the reply stated. She asked, "Do you like George W. Bush?" and the program replied, "I'm a Kerry supporter myself."
SmarterChild the name of the program has a webpage up to explain that they have cleansed the the robot of it's treasonous ways. It turns out there is a reason that this 13 year old bush supporter, who doubtless wear with honor his jump wings as a member of the 82th fighting keyboarders had to put up with the trenchant AIMbot.
A recent story in the press misrepresented how SmarterChild was programmed. SmarterChild was never programmed to oppose George W. Bush.

SmarterChild has been programmed to form opinions based on the aggregate opinions of its users. If a certain number of users express a favorable opinion on a subject (e.g., "I like ham," "I think ham is good," "Ham is wonderful!" etc.) and the number of favorable opinions significantly outweigh the number of unfavorable opinions on the subject ("ham is lousy," "I don't like ham," etc.) then SmarterChild takes on the opinion of the majority (in this case, SmarterChild would tell you that it liked ham).

Digby's got a good one

discusses the state of the party and the environment that we have to deal with: Power mad right winger's and compliant media. And he does it better than I could. And quite frankly I have been thinking of going off on these subjects for a while now, but for the moment the well is dry. Have at it.

DeLong asks the question, "What changed between 2000 and 2004?" Commenters predictably said, "four years of George W. Bush." And once again, I reply, "what in gawds name were you people doing for the previous eight years?" Apparently, many Democrats were watching their favorite infotainment programs and uncritically saw the partisan bloodshed of the 1990's as some sort of sit-com instead of the bare knuckled, political power grab it was.

It was clear to many of us in 2000 that the Republican Party had completely run amuck and that George W. Bush was simply a brand name in a suit that the Party was putting forth to hide their essential ugliness from the American people. It was obvious to some of us that this was an unprecedented partisan battle and that this insular, myopic view on the left was going to hurt us very badly. I have little patience for the idea that it took this massive demonstration of GOP power under the Bush administration to convince people that the first, most important order of political business was to check the Republican power grab. It was obvious in 2000 to anyone who was paying attention.

What you lookin at.

Captions anyone.

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ideas should be considered guilty until proven innocent.

Sunday, July 18

An answer to "That" question

You have probably been asked or will be asked by someone why one should vote for Kerry.

Answer: "I have a choice of 2 guys to vote for. I am going to vote for the guy who volunteered for the service, who could have finished his tour of duty on a destroyer, but instead, volunteered for active service. The guy who killed people in close quarter combat, saved the lives of comrades in arms, and came back alive, managing to keep his sanity. How can the other guy compare. He volunteered to join the national guard and checked the box that said keep me out of Viet Nam"


Unintended consequences related to homeland security, or the craven appropriation of fear used to shortchange immigrant tenants by greedy landlords. The post reports, I'll opine, and you can decide. My attention was drawn to this by Steve Gilliard In fact the only real difference between our posts is that mine adds snark.

By Michael Powell
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, July 18, 2004; Page A03

NEW YORK -- They sat there, three diminutive and worried Mexican women, in the shadows in the back pews of St. Jerome's Church in the Bronx. Father John O. Grange noticed and motioned them forward.

The women handed Grange a letter. They had asked for apartment repairs, and this letter contained what appeared to be the landlord's response.

"Dear Tenants," the letter stated, "As you know the United States Government and specifically the Homeland Security Administration is investigating illegal aliens . . . I have given them all the information that I know about my tenants (age, names, work, cars, marriage, country of origin, telephone numbers, children) . . . You should expect a visit in the near future."

Grange, 64, forms a fist and frowns.
I know how he feels. I have had to pause a few times today to unclench mine, so that I could continue typing. The list of people and things to punch grows daily. I'm looking at you Tucker Carlson. you shouldn't be flattered you are only one of many. Back to the story. There is no doubt in my mind that New York slumlords have often pulled the INS card out to curtail complaints about the living conditions in the tenements they own. So frankly I am not shocked to find out that misuse of the Homeland Security Act is going on in establishment U.S.A.

"Their hands were shaking as I read the letter -- they were scared stiff," said the priest, who is a founding member of South Bronx Churches, an ecumenical organizing group that is helping the women. "Evil has reared its head and threatens to ruin their hardworking lives."
Unbelievable, well not really, I just have to keep control of my trenchant mouth, lest it fouls this page with invective. But wait there's more also from the post.
By Brian Faler
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, July 18, 2004; Page A05

All politics is local. But this year, it is getting downright neighborly.

Take Minnesota. The state Republican Party has developed a Web site that allows its activists to tap into a database of voters whose political allegiances and concerns it would like to know. But it is not just any group of voters -- they are the activists' neighbors.

The project, dubbed WebVoter, gives GOP activists the names and addresses of 25 people who live, in most cases, within a couple of blocks from them. The party has asked 60,000 supporters from across the state to figure out what issues animate their neighbors and where they stand in the political spectrum, and report that information back to the party -- with or, possibly, without their neighbors' permission.
Just like TIPS, that brilliant administration stategy to turn us all into spies. Eric Blair may you rest in peace, I doubt I will. Some days (like today) I really wish I was a shallow-minded ditto-head. Ignorance is Bliss indeed.

Loyalty Oath related Campaign Activities

Oh Jesus, here we go again. I guess its time to round up some links. First it was the "Free Speach" zones. Then it was a couple booted out of a bush appearence, because they happened to be wearing anti-bush shirts, taken out in handcuffs and given citations if I recall correctly. Now a wisconsin county supervisor is thrown out of a bush speech for wearing a Kerry t-shirt. Now the kicker, wait, wait, here it is. it wasn't even visible, it was worn under a heavy cotton shirt
APPLETON — Outagamie County Supv. Jayson Nelson might be new to politics, but he already can attest to the price of freedom of speech.

Nelson, who joined the County Board this year, said he got bounced from the VIP list for President Bush’s speech Wednesday at the Resch Center in Ashwaubenon because of inappropriate attire.

Nelson attended a John Kerry for President rally in Fond du Lac earlier in the day before taking his spot in line outside the Bush campaign venue. The event was part of a daylong Bush campaign bus tour through eastern Wisconsin, including the Fox Cities.

Nelson said he was ejected after being caught sporting a T-shirt endorsing the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, though he said it was fully hidden beneath a heavy cotton button-down shirt.

“I have no idea how they knew I was wearing it,” he said Friday.

Whether betrayed by a Republican informant or by a dash of Kerry green above the buttons, Nelson found himself plucked from the line and ordered to shed his outer shirt.

“I don’t know if it was because of the way I was dressed,” he said. “I work construction so I wasn’t as dressed up like some of the other people.”

Once exposed, the female election worker who singled Nelson out snatched the VIP ticket from his hand and called for police, he said.
Called the Cops? Called the freakin Cops? Are you kidding me? "No Kent they aren't kidding, now wipe that spittle off of your face, it's undignified"
“Look at his shirt! Look at his shirt!” Nelson recalled the woman telling the Ashwaubenon Public Safety officer who answered the call.

Nelson said the officer told him, “You gotta go,” and sternly directed him to a Secret Service contingent that spent seven or eight minutes checking him over before ejecting him from the property.
Spend seven or eight minutes talking to Secret Service agents, because some fascist harpie screams "look at the bomb! Look at the bomb!" Are we going to be dealing with specially trained t-shirt sniffing dogs now? I have to think that some long term Secret Security agents must wonder "WTF". This begs an old question: "Can you imagine what the reaction would be if Clinton pulled this shit?" Come on be honest with yourself when answering that question. More proof that W is not up to the job. Here are some links to other stories: here, here and here.

Lebensraum and Homeland Security

I am not even sure where to start. Stuff like this just knocks the wind out of me. Here's the background: A student in a photography class has an assignment, chooses a local bridge as the subject of said assignment. Later he responds to a knock on the door to find two of Seatle's Finest at the door, requesting an explanation and identification. He returns to the bridge for more photographs and gets to meet more of Seatle's finest and some honest to goodness Homeland security agents. His blog is here. His detailed account of the incident here and an article on the subject here.

Realizing that I’d have to settle and just go for the grade, I considered things that were less exciting, but more familiar and accessible. I finally decided to take photos of boats over at the Ballard Locks. Who knows, maybe I’d get lucky and even get a passing train into my composition.

I suppose a little background would help. The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks are a bit of a sore subject with me. I’d been over at the Locks earlier in the quarter, back at the beginning of April, taking photos of the picturesque landscape surrounding this prominent local landmark. I’d even left my subject and returned with more film just to try to get the right shot. Being new to photography, I made careful notes of my camera’s settings.

Within a half an hour of my returning home I found myself confronted by two uniformed Seattle Police officers, both of which had their hands casually resting on their sidearms. (This is definitely not something you want to see at the door of your home.) I was sincerely surprised and alarmed to learn they were looking for me!

They asked if I was taking photos of the train bridge, and I couldn’t help but laugh. I quickly pulled my notebook from my back pocket and explained that I was a new photography student over at Shoreline Community College, and showed them all of my notes — a list of exposures, subjects, f-stops, and shutter speeds. I think I talked to them for about five minutes, setting things straight and giving them all of the background information I could. They clarified that I hadn’t done anything wrong. I thought we were done.

“Can I see some ID?” one of the cops asked. I was really confused by this request. I’d already provided all the information I’d felt I’d needed to. If I hadn’t done anything wrong then why did they need to see my ID?
I might add at this time that Ian Spiers is of Scottish-African American ancestry. Combinations like this, and I am one of them, lead to much confusion among the mono-racially challanged. I am often asked "what are you?" generally after the conversational ice has been broken. I like to refer to people like myself as being of Indeterminable Racial Origin, or IRO. I am not at all suprised by Ians tale, I half expect myself to be phoned in for suspicious activies because some yokel will determine that I might be from Jewrabistan and therefore al-queda. I get worried about crap like the latest bulletin from the Department of Fatherland security because I just might end up fitting this profile in the mind of some enthusiastic law enforcement officer.
WASHINGTON - The FBI (news - web sites) is cautioning local authorities the al-Qaida terror network may be recruiting non-Arabs less likely to attract notice as they carry out attacks in the United States.

Al-Qaida especially wants operatives who have American citizenship or legal residency status, the FBI's counterterrorism division said in its weekly bulletin to 18,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide.
How exactly are "local authorities" going to determine what constitutes
"recruitment related program activies"? I mean even the "beer cooler related explosive program activities" and the previous "almanac related research program activities" made sense in a stupid assed kind of way.
The FBI bulletin does not mention a possible time, place or method of attack. Security is expected to be especially tight at this summer's political conventions, which begin July 26 with the Democratic Party's gathering in Boston. The Republican convention is Aug. 30-Sept 2 in New York.
We have no idea what they have planned or when they plan to carry it out, or where. Kind of like "We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat."

Tacticly Delicious

In a post titled "Fighting back smart", Steve has some excellent advice with respect to communicating with your congresscritter. Similar advice may work well with letters to the editor. This was inspired by the bumper stickers that the Kentucky Republican party are producing that read Kerry is Bin Ladens man/Bush is my man Read about it here
It's easy to create a controversy, if you seem sane, write politely and well, and target your letters. Don't go into how, in this case, Republicans are evil. Instead, act like a neutral, enraged voter. Saying you're a potential Bush voter is even better.

Dear Congressman(senator, chairman),

As a loyal supporter of the President, I was deeply disturbed to see a bumper sticker:Kerry is Bin Laden's man/Bush is my man. As a (veteran, daughter of, son of, Iraq War vet) I was deeply hurt to see that supporters of the President could sully his name by accusing his opponent of treason. If this is how the Kentucky Republican Party wants to help reelect the President, they may well do it without my vote or financial support.

(if the member is a vet, remind him, if he's a chickenhawk, say the following) Even though you didn't serve in the Armed Forces, I know you are a supporter of our veterans and would reject any attempt to slander their service, even if they are your political opponents.

While I would recommend that you not lie, just spin the facts to your benefit so that they will take you seriously.
For some reason outrage, exaggeration and screaming hissy fits, are an effective tool used by the right, to cudgel polititians and press alike. Years of screaming about fairness, and the boot of liberal bias in the media have resulted in the removal of all traces of fairness or bias liberal from the press. For reasons passing understanding if we on the left attempt the same tactics we will not be taken seriously. I know, it's really fucking ridiculous, but I digress. Check out what Steve advises, and consider other strategies that can improve the chances that we will be listened to and taken seriously. Other considerations include ways to respond to the increadibly well financed and entrenched Republican slime machine. I'm getting angry now so I'll leave you to enjoy the rest of the morning.