Tuesday, May 30, 2006

DC: Finally Graft Free

Well, I'm certainly glad that Washington has been cleaned up to the point that even legal gifts to lawmakers are now under close scrutiny. The John Solomon article for AP does just that as he looks into boxing tickets that Harry Reid accepted from the Nevada Athletic Commission while he was pursuing legislation that was against their interest.

Reid broke no laws or ethic regulations as the Senate's rules allow lawmakers to receive gifts from federal, or state and local governments, but of course Solomon finds some ethics experts (3) to claim that Reid should have paid for the tickets.

The whole thing is crap.

Note: I don't exerpt from AP articles, but you can read the whole thing here.

John Snow to Resign

It will be up to Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson to replace John Snow as Treasury Secretary after attempts to reincarnate PT Barnum failed to produce results.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Insane If True

As you probably have already heard, woman reported seeing a gunman and gunshots were reported in the garage at the Rayburn Office Building which holds Congressional offices.

Raw Story is reporting that, "The aide also said that videocameras in the Rayburn garage often do not have tape in them and are not monitored."

Umm, they can't really still be using cameras that require videotape, can they? Also, why the hell wouldn't these be monitored?

3rd Open Letter To Rick Santorum

Senator Santorum

In the past, I've written to implore you to think of the safety of your children concerning your house located in Penn Hills. This time, I'm writing to ask that you consider the burden your house puts on the US Postal Service.

The courageous civil servants of the US Postal Service brave rain, sleet, snow, and your overgrown yard only to find that mail is not deliverable to this address. You also have left no forwarding address which means the Post Office must incur the cost of returning your letter to the sender.

It's truly unfair to these letter bearing patriots to burdens them with your indolence concerning receiving mail.

Also, I saw a Seinfeld rerun last night where Kramer attempted to drop out of the mail system. Apparently the Postal Service takes this sort of thing very serious.


Bush Seals Records

As long as you're not in Congress, you can pretty well be on whichever side of the debate over President Bush sealing the records of William Jefferson seized by the FBI and be disturbed over these actions.

Jefferson had filed a motion with the courts to have just that done. Bush stepping in to grant Jefferson's motion means he backed off of the toes of the Legislative branch only to put his feet directly on top of the Judicial branch. It's either constitutional or it isn't, let the courts decide.

Consider this statement by Jefferson's lawyer. From the Washington Post:

"It's not every day a lawyer has his motion granted by the president of the United States," Trout said. "We're obviously pleased with this decision."

Not every day? Try virtually never, and never is how often it should be.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Battle Lines Drawn

Well as I expected, the Jefferson affair has sided the CBC versus the activists. The Hill has the CBC's side right here. Steve Gilliard answers for the activists here. I happen to lean towards the activist's side in this disagreement. I think the least Jefferson could do is resign his committee position, and as far as the CBC goes, the likely recipient of that seat would be CBC member Arthur Davis.

As noted in the above referenced Hill article, Davis did not attend the meeting of the CBC where they expressed their displeasure with Nancy Pelosi, but the Hill Article contains this:

“Congressman Jefferson is a friend. [Davis] admires his work during his time in Washington and doesn’t feel it is appropriate to comment now,” the [Davis'] spokesman said.
Granted, this comes from his spokesman as Davis refused to comment, but this sounds exactly like the kind of thing you say right before you knife your "friend" in the back.

Skillings, Lay: Guilty

Ken Lay and Jeffery Skilling were both found guilty on a variety of charges in the Enron case, 19 counts for Skilling, 10 for Lay.

There's really nothing for me to add here.

A Short Stop Indeed

Yesterday, I wrote that on the slippery slope of civil liberties, from the raid of William Jefferson's office, "it is only a short stop down the slope to raiding offices for political means, probably under the guise of national security."

Roll Call is reporting today that the FBI wants to interview top House members from both political parties regarding the NSA surveillance leak. That is indeed a short stop, but both parties? Yea, right. Sounds like a witch hunt is about to start.

Although, I have to admit, I can wait to see Pat Roberts meekly utter, "Well, you have no civil liberties when you're dead." as Alberto Gonzales has him bent over a sawhorse with a speculum stuck up his ass looking for terrorists.

Found via Raw Story

2nd Open Letter To Rick Santorum

Senator Santorum

While I previously wrote about the interior of your Penn Hills house, I also must take issue with your lawn as well. As you may or may not know, the flea and tick season is rapidly coming upon us, and the knee high grass at your property as seen above is the perfect habitat for fleas and ticks, which have been known to carry lyme disease.

For the sake of your wife and children, whom you claim occasionally stay at this house, I implore you to have either one of your sham charities or your campaign take time away from buying you groceries or Starbucks coffee long enough to hire a quality lawn service to manicure your lawn. Proper landscaping is one of the precautions the CDC recommends as a safeguard against lyme disease.

Won't you please think of the children?


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

It's Just That Easy

During a speech at the Regency Hotel in New York, John McCain laid out his comprehensive plan for how he would win the peace in Iraq if he was president. From the New York Observer:

“One of the things I would do if I were President would be to sit the Shiites and the Sunnis down and say, ‘Stop the bullshit,’” said Mr. McCain, according to Shirley Cloyes DioGuardi, an invitee, and two other guests.

I see, that should definitely solve the multi-layered problems plaguing the war torn country. Actually, the fact that McCain gave this speech behind close doors to possible 2008 supporters, and not to George Bush make me think that McCain is putting politics above patriotism.

How many more US soldiers must die while McCain withholds this comprehensive approach to Iraq? How many could have been saved if he would have only let the current commander in chief this wisdom?

How does anyone take this jackass seriously?

Pelosi In No Win Situation

Nancy Pelosi is in a no win situation. She wrote the following letter to William Jefferson:

May 24, 2006

Congressman William J. Jefferson
2113 Rayburn House Office Building
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Congressman Jefferson:

In the interest of upholding the high ethical standard of the House Democratic Caucus, I am writing to request your immediate resignation from the Ways and Means Committee.


Nancy Pelosi
Democratic Leader

Jefferson politely declined, so what does she do now? It's a tough call. Any serious attempt to push Jefferson out will probably cost her the support of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), who is reportedly protecting Jefferson, in any future leadership races. On the other hand, party activists, who view Jefferson as a hindrance in the attempt to retake the House, are out for blood. If Pelosi isn't seen as being firm enough with Jefferson, they will probably exert enormous pressure on their Congressperson to vote for someone else when the next Congress is convened.

If we take back the House, I don't look for Pelosi to be speaker. She simply got caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, which is becoming exceedingly easy to do in the brave new world of the ever shortening news cycle. Jefferson will probably be indicted by the middle of June, but that's an eternity for the the now, now, now crowd. (Which I am certainly sometimes guilty of) In the old days she could have simply waited for this thing to run its course. Those days are gone.

Searching A Congressmans Office

Prominent republicans have now raised a furor over the searching of Congressman William Jefferson's office, which indeed was unprecedented. I found two of their statements especially infuriating.

First up is Newt Gingrich who said the raid was, "the most blatant violation of the Constitutional Separation of Powers in my lifetime." Newt has a remarkable vocabulary for somebody who must have only been born last Saturday. This is far, far, far from the worst violation the separation of powers that the Bush administration has perpetrated on this country. I could make a list, but you know the big ones.

The other comes from Dennis Hastert who was quoted as saying, "The actions of the Justice Department in seeking and executing this warrant raise important constitutional issues," House Speaker Dennis Hastert, an Illinois Republican, said in a statement last night. ''I expect to seek a means to restore the delicate balance of power among the branches of government that the founders intended.''

First things first, Hastert and the other republicans who are now running the country have no right to use the phrase founders intent, they have forfeited it. If the founding fathers could be resurrected to see how the current republicans are running the country, the first thing they would do is march on the Treasury Department to demand we take their faces off of our fucking money.

Secondly, Hastert, and everyone else in Congress has no one to blame but themselves. Civil liberties always sit on a slippery slope, and Hastert and the rest of the republicans have spent the last five years icing down the track for the Bush administration, so don't piss and moan to me when someone from the executive branch cock punches you as they race by you on a fast moving sled. Did you really think they were going to stop at the rest of our civil liberties? If you did, you're either awfully smug, or just plain stupid.

Sadly though, Hastert is also correct, this is a violation of the separation of powers. I'm sure it was meant as a wake-up call to Jefferson, who seems more plainly guilty than even Bob Ney, but it is only a short stop down the slope to raiding offices for political means, probably under the guise of national security.

And while I indulge in some schadenfreude watching these guys get pissy about suffering the same intrusions that we the people have for the last few years, I also do hope that this shakes the tree hard enough to get them to stand up not just for their rights, but ours as well. Of course, the odds on that are roughly the same as Barbaro coming back to win the Belmont. We must rid ourselves of these assholes come November.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Much Ado About Not Fucking

Countless thousands of words have been written today about the New York Times article by Patrick Healy in which he interviewed some fifty odd sources to determine how often Bill and Hillary Clinton either do or do not fuck. It's a yawner for me as I really don't care how often people entering their sixties fuck. Think about this then close your eyes. How often do your parents fuck? Ha ha, made you think about your parents fucking.

Seriously, what is the deal with how much fucking Bill Clinton is doing? It's as if the right is worried that if Hillary gets elected president there will once again be some sort of über-cock roaming the White House with the ability impregnate their hymen reconstructed born again virgin daughters from miles away, only for them to be abducted by teams of tactical abortion providers intent on harvesting fetuses for some future army of female (Bill only has girls) fuck toys only capable of longing for other future über-cocks.

Hollywood doesn't even dream up these kinds of movies, well there is a place in North Hollywood where they do the über-cock thing, but that's another story.

I have some sad news for the people pushing this story, which could even be handlers of other Democratic presidential hopefuls, in fact it probably is. The usefulness of the Bill Clinton über-cock meme is as stale as the old Wendy's Where's the Beef? ads of which we all know the answer. It's in Bill Clinton's über-cock.

Jesus, I just read what I wrote. Did I mistake my Marlboros for someone else's crack? Oh well, it takes a post as silly and stupid to respond to an article that silly and stupid, plus I spent some time today reading some old local entertainment guides to a town I don't even live in by Daria O'Neill so I was already feeling silly and stupid anyway.

Side note: Google's spellchecker doesn't recognize über-cock, huh.

Feel The Love, Damnit, Feel It

The local republican party, perhaps taking a cue from the state party, is trying to get independent candidate Charles Morrison stricken from the ballot in the OH-15 US House race. Morrison filed as an independent, yet the republican party apparently thinks they have some sort of dominion over Morrison. From the Dispatch:

"Charles Morrison was, is and remains a Republican," said Franklin County GOP Chairman Doug Preisse, who filed the protest along with his counterparts in Madison and Union counties.
I didn't know the republican party was a cult, where you can't leave. One other thing, if the republican party is worried that this clown is going to syphon off enough votes to cost Deborah Pryce her seat in Congress, they've got a lot bigger problems than Morrison whose name recognition is only slightly greater than mine.

To TEL The Truth

I don't like the TEL amendment and fully plan to vote against it in the fall. In fact, I don't like statewide initiatives in general. They've made a mess of the California ballot and we don't need that sort of thing here. That being said, the Ohio Constitution does allow for rights of petitioners, and those requirements have been met.

Speaking of the Ohio Constitution, one word that doesn't seem to appear in it is oligarchy, which is exactly how the state Republican Party is currently acting by deciding among them what can appear on the ballot. Whatever the back room deal they cut with the committee that filed the petitions for TEL, they are usurping the will of the voters with this unconstitutional legislation to remove it from the ballot.

What’s next, a Soviet style single party ballot?

That's the letter to the editor I just sent to the Dispatch in response to the republican's attempt to strip the TEL amendment from the fall ballot. But here I have the space to look at some other aspects of this.

I think the republican leadership is really screwing the pooch with this. They would have been a lot better off simply using their organization to defeat it much like some Cleveland area Democrats did with the redistricting effort last fall.

This is bound to not sit well with a portion of their electorate, and in this coming election they can't afford many more defections. Pretty bad idea all around.

Monday, May 22, 2006

God From The Barrel Of A Gun

These people are truly creepy.

NOAA Way We're Gonna Say Global Warming

NOAA today released their predictions for the upcoming hurricane season with 13-16 named storms, 8-10 hurricanes, and 4-6 major hurricanes.

Just to be sure you don't get any ideas about global warming, NOAA's prediction contains the phrase multi-decadal signal six times in the release. I wonder which Bush appointed hack was responsible for its abundance. Anyway, get used to hearing that buzz phrase, you'll be sick of hearing about the multi-decadal signal by the end of year, especially if the number of storms once again outpaces the prediction.

Open Letter To Rick Santorum

Senator Santorum,

You published a letter on RedState.com today that you sent to the Casey campaign in which you claim that:

We are writing to express our outrage regarding the actions of your campaign, which have put our six young children at a serious safety risk. Last night, we learned with deep dismay that a Casey operative admitted on KDKA-TV to trespassing on our property and viewing the inside of our home. Further, your campaign issued a press release yesterday that falsely says that we do not stay in our Penn Hills home. This reckless statement is not only a lie, but alerts those who may want to enter the home illegally. Your despicable actions have greatly endangered our children's safety.

Mr. Santorum, if you do indeed allow your six children to stay in a three bedroom house with no curtains or furniture, you and your wife should immediately turn yourself into Children's Services for the sake of your children. No child deserves to spend their youth living in such squalor.

Children's Services is in a position to put your children into homes that contain not only curtains and furniture, but also the other amenities that your Penn Hills home is lacking.

Please, think of your children and act with haste.


Update: While my letter is snark, even the Red State commenters are unimpressed with Santorum's letter.

Let's Not Make A Deal

Monte Hall: Ok, Little Bo Peep, you can keep your civil liberties, or you trade them for what's behind door 641A.

Little Bo Peep: That's a tough choice Monte, you know, one time a few years ago, al-Queda managed to kill almost as many people as handgun violence claims every year.

Monte Hall: You want to be safe, don't you? As Pat Roberts says, those civil liberties won't do you any good when you're dead.

Little Bo Peep: I'll take the door!

Monte Hall: Jay Stewart, tell her what she's won.

Jay Stewart: Behind door number 641A, located in the AT&T building at 611 Folsom Street in San Francisco in cabinet position 060903.01 is a Narus STA 6400, which allows the NSA to spy on you and yours. Congratulations Little Bo Peep.

Monte Hall: Wow. It's no wonder the Bush administration sought to have the lawsuit that held this information quashed.

Jay Stewart: That's right Monte, and I guess that gag order in the case is no longer worth the paper it's printed on.

Little Bo Peep: I think I fucked up, Monte.

Monte Hall: You certainly did, Little Bo Peep. You certainly did.

Jefferson Has To Go

Now that the revelation has been made that the FBI videotaped William Jefferson of Louisiana receiving a $100,000 bribe from an informant, he has got to leave Congress. If not, the Democrats should be the leading force on removing him.

While I believe that everybody has a right to a fair trial, the bar has to be set higher for those serving as public officials. Jefferson took the money, then proceeded to hide it in his freezer in frozen food packages. That certainly merits expulsion from the US House of Representatives.

And if the Democrats want to run on a platform of reform, you have to prove that you have the resolve to actually follow through on that policy, and Jefferson's ouster would help provide that proof.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Republican Party: Tearing It Down

Arch conservative Richard Viguerie suggests that perhaps it is time to destroy the republican party to save the conservative movement. Here is a couple of key paragraphs from his op-ed in today's Washington Post:

The current record of Washington Republicans is so bad that, without a drastic change in direction, millions of conservatives will again stay home this November.

And maybe they should. Conservatives are beginning to realize that nothing will change until there's a change in the GOP leadership. If congressional Republicans win this fall, they will see themselves as vindicated, and nothing will get better.


At the very least, conservatives must stop funding the Republican National Committee and other party groups. (Let Big Business take care of that!) Instead, conservatives should dedicate their money and volunteer efforts toward conservative groups and conservative candidates. They should redirect their anger into building a third force -- not a third party, but a movement independent of any party. They should lay the groundwork for a rebirth of the conservative movement and for the 2008 campaign, when, perhaps, a new generation of conservative leaders will step forward.

Strangely, the immigration "crisis" seems to be the straw that broke the camel's back. I'm not sure how this became a crisis overnight, the situation has been the same for the last twenty years. I guess it's a case of fool me once, shame on you, fool me 2345 times, shame on me.

I often wonder how conservatives like Viguerie think that their positions could ever be pushed through an institution such as the US government. A lot of their ideas are simply not mainstream, no matter how many times they claim they are through various mouthpieces.

I think this presidency is about as good as they can hope for. Unfortunately for all of us, when they got their shot, they chose incompetents to try to implement those ideas, and even worse, they gave the idiotic neo-cons the keys to the hen house of our foreign policy.

There is a lesson in all of this for the kingmakers in both political parties, and it's not the point of Viguerie's op-ed that if you don't push the bases's ideology they will abandon you. The American people are never going to happy being governed by the far left or the far right.

It's far more important to put forth candidates based on ability to govern, not electability. In fact, I think that in 2008, the buzzword you'll hear a lot is proven, which makes me think our next president will once again come from the ranks of this nation's governor's offices.

I think that by 2008, mainstream Americans are going to be suffering from partisan fatigue, and simply be just looking for a person with a proven track record at the state level to run the country.

I'm happy to hear that those across the aisle from me are disgusted with the modern republican party, albeit for different reasons than me. They've horribly damaged the country and need to be replaced.

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Derb Likes Him Some Tiny Tail

John Derbyshire has a new article up at the National Review in which he reviews the fifty year old book Lolita as a way to lament the current state of affairs in society. What is it about this guy that everything must revolve around fucking little girls?

Amanda at Pandagon rightly dissects the Derb here.

Line Of The Day

When pressed by Larry King last night on the beliefs of Mormon fugitive Warren Jeffs, Marie Osmond retorted, "Well Larry, you've had eight wives, you tell us."

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Hmm, what are these so called civil liberties you speak of?

Stephen Cambone Tries To Beat The Check

Last year the Pentagon, which had totally screwed up the process for issuing national security clearances, decided to outsource the job to the Office Of Personnel Management. A cost plus contract was signed which would pay the OPM a 25% mark-up. (Jesus, even other governmental agencies rip off the Pentagon).

Last month though, OPM stopped issuing clearances. The reason? Stephen Cambone, who one active duty three-star general once said, "If we were being overrun by the enemy and I had only one bullet left, I’d use it on Cambone," balked at paying $40 million worth of bills, or roughly 4% of the Pentagon's daily budget. So, for the last month no nation security clearance have been issued. Of course when this became public yesterday, the Pentagon came up with enough dough to restart "Secret" level clearances, known within security circles as holy water clearances because you might as well just throw holy water of the subject and hope for the best.

Is there anything Cambone can do right? A vote for republicans is definitely a vote against national security.

Found via TPM Muckraker, which by the way, is doing some of the finest investigative stuff out there right now.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


The latest Rasmussen shows Ted Strickland leading Ken Blackwell 52-36 and Sherrod Brown leading Mike DeWine 44-41.

Ken Blackwell: The Irrelevant Candidate?

Ken Blackwell has repeatedly said he will not back away from his TEL amendment to the Ohio Constitution. Last Saturday, he did just that as now pretty much everyone opposes this poorly constructed constitutional amendment.

Now, republicans are scurrying in the legislature to come up with a replacement that will cap state spending. Of course, the Ohio Constitution already grants the governor a line item veto to limit spending in Article II, Section 16 which reads:

The governor may disapprove any item or items in any bill making an appropriation of money and the item or items, so disapproved, shall be void, unless repassed in the manner prescribed by this section for the repassage of a bill.

Are republicans worried that Ken Blackwell might lose? Is Blackwell concerned that he isn't competent enough to use the line item veto to limit state spending? There certainly won't be an overriding majority to push aside any vetoes he would enact.

More importantly, will the passage of this cap being proposed by the republicans in the State Senate make Blackwell an irrelevant candidate to fiscal conservatives who want to see state spending reduced, but have no stomach for his social policy? I think it does. It frees up moderate republicans to cross party lines to vote for Ted Strickland. With a cap in place, who needs Ken Blackwell and his band of religious zealots?

The TEL is disastrous, and Blackwell has to run from it, but I think he's stuck between a TEL and a cap place.

Baby Machines

American women, welcome to second class citizenry. New guidelines from the rightwing zealot led CDC say you should be ready to be with child at every moment from first menstruation to menopause. (Not satire yet). So, stop drinking, smoking, etc. From the Washington Post:

New federal guidelines ask all females capable of conceiving a baby to treat themselves -- and to be treated by the health care system -- as pre-pregnant, regardless of whether they plan to get pregnant anytime soon.

Among other things, this means all women between first menstrual period and menopause should take folic acid supplements, refrain from smoking, maintain a healthy weight and keep chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes under control.

While most of these recommendations are well known to women who are pregnant or seeking to get pregnant, experts say it's important that women follow this advice throughout their reproductive lives, because about half of pregnancies are unplanned and so much damage can be done to a fetus between conception and the time the pregnancy is confirmed.

The recommendations go on to say women should avoid lead based paint and cat feces, which, let's face it, are probably a good idea for anyone, not just women.

(Start satire)

In addition, the CDC announced that all women over 110lb and / or with a breast cup size below C shall be interned to procreation centers. The centers, called Friendly Uterus Camps: Kids Are Beloved Embryos (FUCKABLE), shall feature starvation diets backed with beatings for motivation. Women lacking certain features will also be subject to implantation surgery for the less than well endowed and / or hymen reconstruction surgery for the less than virtuous.

Graduates will be married off in parceled lots by groups, others discarded. Lots shall be divided by desirability with groups being assigned as follows:

Group A: Affluent White Male Group
Group B: Better Off Than Most Group
Group C: Can Be Taken Off Our Hands Group
Group D: Derbyshire Group (Girls 12-17)

Women who do not receive bids as well as those whose parents cannot meet dowry requirements will be discarded.

The CDC feel that America's new über-women will satisfactorily suit America's breeding necessities well into the 22nd century.

Seriously though, what the fuck is it going to take to get single women in this country to vote?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

US And Libya Renew Relations

Reunited, and it feels so good
Reunited, you've got light sweet crude

Sure, you shot down an airliner
But your barrels per day have never been finer

Hey, hey

Reunited, and it feels so good
Reunited, you've got light sweet crude

Sure, you sheltered Osama
It's also true you dress like your mama

Hey hey

But we're reunited, and it feels so good.


Two Weeks?

OK, I always thought that using the National Guard at the border was a dumb idea. If you want to build roads, fences, etc; hire a construction company. If you want to move the desk jockeys at ICE and the INS out to the field, hire secretaries.

Now that I have found out that the Guard is going to be serving two week rotations in these positions, I have to think this is the dumbest idea ever conceived. How the hell are you going to get anything done when your workforce turns over every two weeks? How do you begin to keep track of paperwork?

The Guard is going to end up being more of a hassle than they will be helpful. It will be a clusterfuck.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Bush's Speech

While I more or less agree with the plan that Bush laid out during his speech, I'm not the type of person Bush is trying to mollify. I also doubt this plan will ever be put into action. The National Guard will deploy until after the election and then fade away without any of the promised advances being put into place, yet somehow managing to cost a few billion dollars.

The one thing that I would change is that you might as well grant amnesty. How are you ever going to prove what somebody who works under the table owes in back taxes. I'd say fine them maybe $1,000, grant them some sort of new work visa so their status here cannot be held over them by their employer, and after five years or so, let them be able to move towards green card status.

It's Going To Backfire

This US troops on the border is really going to backfire on the administration. When the right sees the National Guard doing secretarial work, which I'm sure they didn't envision when they demanded troops be put on the border, they're gonna freak. They really want to see the Army out there shooting Mexicans dead at the border.

This, however, will never be tolerated though, even by people as nutty as the current group of elected GOP officials. That is how far out the group is that Bush is pandering to with this move. Hell, over at World Daily Net, some jackass actually wrote that extricating the Mexicans from the US would be easier than when the Nazis did in the Jews. He actually used that rhetoric.

This is going to blow back so hard it might be the final straw to do in the republican party, not to mention motivate a hell of a lot of Hispanics to vote Democrat in the next several cycles.

MIA Border Agents

Number of new agents approved in the National Intelligence Reform Act of 2004: 10,000

Number of new agents funded by Bush's 2006 budget proposal: 210

I guess border agent is one of those jobs Americans just won't do.

Reporters: The New Terrorists

Now, the official line on the NSA's domestic spying plan is that they only are looking for calling patterns that terrorists might use. That is, unless you're a reporter for ABC News, The New York Times, or the Washington Post.

ABC News is reporting that a senior federal law enforcement official told them that the NSA is tracking reporters from the three previously mentioned news divisions in order to determine which security personnel are providing leaks to them. From the ABCNews blog:

"It's time for you to get some new cell phones, quick," the source told us in an in-person conversation.

We do not know how the government determined who we are calling, or whether our phone records were provided to the government as part of the recently-disclosed NSA collection of domestic phone calls.

Other sources have told us that phone calls and contacts by reporters for ABC News, along with the New York Times and the Washington Post, are being examined as part of a widespread CIA leak investigation.

Hmm, if they are doing that, I'm pretty sure we'll see the NSA do some frogmarching soon from somewhere along Pennsylvania Avenue, perhaps in the 1600 block. All they will have to do is check Robert Novak's phone records around July, 2003. Probably not though.

The real question is when are we going to find out they were using this program to spy on their political rivals. I find it hard these guys got the keys to candy store and didn't at least take a taste.

Medicare Part D: The Deadline

Well, today is the deadline to sign up for Medicare Part D. Can anyone tell me why there needs to be a deadline? Why if you don't sign up today, you have to wait until November? Why you have to pay a penalty for life if you don't sign up today?

None of this makes any sense to me. I'm sure it's a way to save a few bucks, but what kind of government policy works this way?

Update: NPR help me sort this out this morning. Apparently, not enough healthy seniors are signing up for a benefit they don't need yet. The deadline and penalty must be there as a carrot and stick incentive to get them to sign up. The insurance industry needs about 90% of seniors to sign up even with government subsidies, and the percentage of seniors that has signed up thus far is only about 75%. Could be a big problem for the insurance industry.

The Guard At The Border

This is going to be fun to watch. President Bush is expected tonight to announce that he is going to dispatch the Nation Guard to the southern border to help in the fight against illegal immigration. It might actually somewhat slow the tide of people illegally crossing, but that won't matter.

The problem here is that the people Bush is trying to appease are not going to be satisfied with the Guard doing clerical work to free up more border guards. They actually want to see tanks, and soldiers with rifles tracking down border crossers. They're not going to get that, which will lead to jackasses like the minutemen telling people they haven't seen the Guard. Eventually, Bush may have to march some soldiers around in the sand for photo-op purposes.

As far as the military goes, people are obviously concerned over how thin the military is stretched, however, I doubt any of the Guardsmen called up for this holiday in the Sun will complain, it sure as hell beats Iraq.

Also, Bush has reportedly told Mexican President Vicente Fox that the effort is temporary. I have a feeling when Bush says temporary, he means that the deployment ends November 8th, the day after the mid-term elections.

All in all, this is just another example of how this administration is the "Duct Tape Administration." Anytime substantial legislation is needed to solve a problem, or the administration is getting hurt by an issue in the polls, they simply slap some PR brand duct tape on the crack and hope the American people get distracted by something else. Too often, it's worked.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Stupid Like A Fox

Adam Nagourney has a piece in today's NY Times in which Tony Coelho says the Democrats would be better off not winning the House and Senate. What? That's idiotic, you always win every seat you can when you can win it. The next time around might not be as easy.

Yes, you can look at the state of the nation and think, "Who would want to try to repair this?" But it is extremely crucial to put people in office that actually govern with the people's interest in their mind. An end must be brought to governance at the behest of special interests, and the sooner the better.

Our nation cannot wait until it is politically convenient for Democrats to have a stake in that governance.

One other thing, does Nagourney intentionally seek out Dems who say dumb things about the Democratic party? Or do they seek him out? I dunno.

Friday, May 12, 2006


The FBI has raided both the home and office of Dusty Foggo, the number three man at the CIA. I hope he hid the hookers.

Free Carol Fisher

That's a picture of anti-war activist Carol Fisher who was arrested January 28 for posting the poster she's seen holding in Cleveland Heights, OH. The police proceeded to rough her up and then charge her with felonious assault.

Recently, she was convicted of those charges despite the fact that her defense was not allowed to introduce all of its evidence. Judge Timothy McGinty then ordered her to undergo a psychological exam as a part of the pre-sentencing investigation using the t-shirt she was wearing as proof of her mental instability.

For what would normally be a $100 fine for illegally posting posters on city property, Fisher now faces 36 months in prison for the two assault charges, and the judge told her that if she is not prepared to apologize at her sentencing, she should "bring your toothbrush with you."

It's ridiculous for the police to claim that a frail 53 year-old woman assaulted them. What do they do when they come across real criminals, piss their pants? This conviction is laughable and this woman certainly doesn't deserve to serve any time in jail. Free Carol Fisher.

You Have Consented

When you signed up for your phone and internet services, you consented to have not just your calling pattern given to the US government, but also all content contained within those calls and e-mails. Bet you didn't know that, but according to one of the government lawyers interviewed by the Washington Post, you did. From the Post:

One government lawyer who has participated in negotiations with telecommunications providers said the Bush administration has argued that a company can turn over its entire database of customer records -- and even the stored content of calls and e-mails -- because customers "have consented to that" when they establish accounts. The fine print of many telephone and Internet service contracts includes catchall provisions, the lawyer said, authorizing the company to disclose such records to protect public safety or national security, or in compliance with a lawful government request.

"It is within their terms of service because you have consented to that," the lawyer said. If the company also consents, "and they do it voluntarily, the U.S. government can accept it."[emphasis mine]

That's their response, you should have read the fine print. I don't think that is going to go over to well with the American people, and what about people like my parents who have had the same phone service for 40 years, well before this technology existed. Did they sign up for this?

Furthermore, notice the emphasized portion of the Post's story. Why would the fine print say that they could turn over stored content if they were not storing it?

The real question the American people need to ask themselves is, "Do I trust these people with this information?" The same people who have repeatedly lied to us about this program, the same people who have lied about virtually everything since they took office, from the Iraq War to catching fish (President Bush recently told a German newspaper that he caught a perch at his ranch that would have dwarfed the previous world record.)

No, we don't trust them.


We have the first poll out showing President Bush's approval ratings in the twenties. The latest Harris Interactive poll shows Bush at 29%. Sounds like a lot of airport fundraisers this campaign season for Mr. Bush as nobody actually wants to be seen with him.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Polar Opposites

One of these president never told a lie, the other one is getting ready to tell a whopper.

Peak Copper: A Preview Of Peak Oil

In my line of work, I have to watch the price of metals very closely. This year has been very interesting, indeed, for this year has brought us Peak Copper. This is a preview of what will happen with oil by the end of the decade.

Copper closed yesterday at $3.784 per pound. Thanks to overnight trading abroad, it opened this morning at $3.885 per pound and is currently trading at $4.035 although it went as high as $4.16. That's a quarter in one day in a metal that usually moves less than a penny a day. This is due to the fact that demand is outpacing supply and global inventories are down to a three day supply. Traditional inventories have run approximately seventy-one days supply.

According to Citigroup, demand for copper will climb 5.7% this year and production will decrease by 155,000 metric tons. Of course, that forecast for demand assumes that enough copper will be available to meet it. That's a bad assumption, there won't be. By the middle of June, we will encounter supply disruptions in finished copper products due to shortages. The question won't be, "What do I pay for it?" It will be, "Can you get it?"

This will cause construction globally to stall. It's the only way to correct the problem. Hold on to that existing house you're thinking about selling, in a few months it will seriously be a seller's market.

Now, think about this problem in terms of oil. Why aren't the oil companies building new refineries? Because they will set empty when peak oil hits. A refinery with nothing to refine is also known as a warehouse. We're talking about good ole fashion 70's style gas rationing, forever. Think $3.00 a gallon is bad, try imagining five, six or even seven dollars a gallon, hitting you virtually overnight.

The difference between oil and copper is that a pause can be taken in construction for global inventories to recover, that's not possible currently with oil. A multi-faceted approach to the coming Peak Oil must be started immediately. E85 alone is not the answer, although every car produced in the US starting with next year's models should be flex fuel vehicles, and a massive E85 movement needs to follow.

Like I said though, other forms of transportation need to be developed, and that development needs to happen today, not tomorrow.

Hey Ladies!

The NY Times reports today that the FBI currently has over 2000 ongoing public corruption investigations. Throw US Rep Jerry Lewis on the pile. The FBI has opened an investigation into Lewis' role in the Duke Cunningham bribery case. Lewis goes way back with Cunningham briber Brent Wilkes.

Now, Josh Marshall points us to this passage from the LA Times. From the Times via TPM:

If the official didn't cooperate, Cunningham was to say his next calls would be to two high-ranking Pentagon officials. The script called for Cunningham to add: "This is very important and if you cannot resolve this others will be calling also" — two names in this passage are blacked out in the memo. Despite Cunningham's threats, the Pentagon manager was unmoved, according to grand jury testimony.

A week later, Cunningham and Lewis called a Washington news conference to announce that they had slashed $2 billion in funding for the F-22 Raptor fighter jet, one of the Pentagon's prized programs, citing cost overruns. Both congressmen had been key supporters of the project, and their comments shocked Pentagon officials.

Within days, the same Pentagon manager who had been resistant to Cunningham's appeals sent the congressman a list of other programs where money could be "reallocated" to Wilkes' firm, according to court documents. "The Defense Department spends $1 billion a day, so the [Wilkes] contract was like a rounding error. It just wasn't worth putting our big programs at risk," a senior Pentagon official said on condition he not be identified.

On Friday, Lewis said "there was no connection whatsoever" between his position on the F-22 program and Cunningham's effort to pressure the Pentagon on Wilkes' behalf. "If I knew about it, I would have stopped it," Lewis said.

The Pentagon agreed to send $5 million more to Wilkes' firm, according to court documents. The F-22 funds were later restored. In subsequent years, Cunningham and Lewis supported full funding for the warplane.

Perhaps Lewis didn't know of the Cunningham's pressure on the Pentagon, but I doubt it. Lewis' participation in the "don't fuck with us or we'll slash your budget" move strikes me as more than just doing a favor for a fellow committee member. Lewis switched his position on the F-22 twice that year, and every other year he supported fully funding the project.

We Are All Al-Queda

Apparently, that's what the government thinks. USA Today has revealed that the NSA's illegal spying program isn't just targeting international calls as the White House has previously claimed, instead, they are tracking nearly every call made in the United States.

With the exception of Qwest, all the major telecommunication companies have been turning over the information without warrants to NSA for them to use God knows how. If you don't think it's illegal, consider what they told Qwest while trying to get them on board. From USA Today:

Unable to get comfortable with what NSA was proposing, Qwest's lawyers asked NSA to take its proposal to the FISA court. According to the sources, the agency refused.

The NSA's explanation did little to satisfy Qwest's lawyers. "They told (Qwest) they didn't want to do that because FISA might not agree with them," one person recalled. For similar reasons, this person said, NSA rejected Qwest's suggestion of getting a letter of authorization from the U.S. attorney general's office. A second person confirmed this version of events.

That's the Bush administration in a nut shell. The rule of law only applies when it is convenient. I mean really convenient, the FISA court is about as much of a rubber stamp court as you find. If you're worried they might reject your request, you probably crossed the line a few miles back.

Sidenotes: It's gotta suck to be scooped by USA Today. How far has journalism sunk? Oh, and kudos to Qwest for telling the NSA to fuck off.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


The lead investigator in the Duke Cunningham investigation gives us a juicy tidbit today in the North County Times. From the NCTimes:

"This is much bigger and wider than just Randy 'Duke' Cunningham," he said. "All that has just not come out yet, but it won't be much longer and then you will know just how widespread this is."

I do find one thing odd though, so I'd like to take this time to do some speculation. Not wild speculation, but the garden variety type. Cunningham was given an eight year sentence, and for a man his age, in his condition, that's pretty much a death sentence. He could get time taken off his sentence for cooperation, in fact, his plea deal mandates that he do so.

Cunningham has, instead, decided to clam up. What's his motivation for that. Well it could be that when you party with guys named Nine Fingers (Brant Bassett), you shut the fuck up and do your time. Is Cunningham being threatened by personnel from the CIA or some other black agency to keep quiet? Cunningham might not fear for his own life, but his wife is still trying to live on the outside.

I'd have to believe that Cunningham believes that some sort of threat does exist, whether real or not. It's really the only incentive he has not to cooperate, unless he has found a very special sort of shower buddy on the inside.

I'm Back

I've been working on a project and haven't had time for this blog lately, but I just finished it.

Monday, May 08, 2006

They're Getting Closer

Bob Ney's former chief of staff has plead guilty, he'll cooperate with the prosecution.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Effective Immediately

Let me make one thing perfectly clear, you don't resign effective immediately from the head of the CIA effective immediately because of a turf war with the newly created director of national intelligence without staying on to smooth over your replacement's take over. This is about the whores, period!

Porter Goss is knee deep in the Duke Cunningham sex scandal and therefore is a national security risk as the head of the CIA. That's why he's gone, yet CNN hamstrings the story online by narrowing Bob Barr's comments to this. From CNN.com:

Former Georgia Rep. Bob Barr agreed with Turner's speculation and added, "I think there's going to be more coming out; we don't know the whole story."

"This is a devastating blow, the importance of which really cannot be overestimated," Barr told CNN. "It indicates again a continuing downward slide in the intelligence capabilities of our government, it indicates again the disorganization on the part of our intelligence agencies at a time when we can ill afford to see that happen."

CNN knows the whole story, we all do. Barr said as much on the air. Stop protecting these assholes.

More On Goss

Actually, I think the Bush administration handled the Porter Goss resignation pretty well. While the nattering nabobs are busy on TV talking about Patrick Kennedy's drunk driving escapade, (And from what I'm hearing he had been drinking) why not try to sneak this through?

Of course, Left Blogostan isn't going to let that happen. We're going to push this story until we have all the names who traded God knows what for sex. The FBI must be pretty close for Goss to resign.

He should go ahead and set up that legal defense fund, or even better, throw his name in some race, say the Florida Senate race, so he can use his campaign funds to pay for attorneys and avoid that nasty tax liability that a legal defense fund generates.

It's good that he resigned for national security reasons, but the bottom line is that there are still possibly members of Congress out there who also participated in the Shirlington Limousine provided sex parties and sit on some of our most sensitive committees. The FBI must have a good idea who they are, and these members should immediately have their security clearances pulled, at least until this matter is resolved.

Atrios said earlier today that he wanted more on the hookers, I doubt he's disappointed.

Porter Goss Resigns

Wants to spend more time with his hooker's children.

We Shall Greet Them

Donald Rumsfeld had better get used to the treatment he received yesterday at a speech in Atlanta. Ray McGovern, a retired CIA analyst, confronted Rumsfeld about the lies he has told in the run-up to the Iraq War. The public's mood has sufficiently soured to the breaking point and we're just not going to take it anymore.

This administration can run, but they can't hide. Where ever they go, we shall greet them with a brilliant beacon shining truth upon their lecherous lies. Oh, we shall greet them.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Good Morning Richard Cohen!

The Washington Post's Richard Cohen on Stephen Colbert's performance at the White House Correspondent's Dinner:

In Washington he was playing to a different crowd, and he failed dismally in the funny person's most solemn obligation: to use absurdity or contrast or hyperbole to elucidate -- to make people see things a little bit differently.

Bruno Kirby on Robin William's performance in the movie Good Morning Vietnam!:

Comedy? No, no. This is not comedy. Comedy is fun, it's antics, hysterical-type things. Antics, damn it. Comedy of errors, like the Keystone Cops falling down. General wackiness like that.

Sounds like the same twit, doesn't it?

I'm Surprised

I never thought in my life that Zacarias Moussaoui wouldn't get the death penalty. Not that I care because either way, he's no longer a threat.

Also, sorry about being away yesterday.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Primary Day In Ohio

It's primary day here in Ohio, and since we're in Ohio and there is an election going on, it is of course raining. How does it manage to rain every election day?

While on the Democratic side most races are already decided, you should vote anyway to make yourself with the new voting machines. As you can expect, there appears to be a lot of unnecessary steps to insure maximum bamboozlement.

Don't forget your ID as well.

The New Social Security Numbers

Hidden behind the immigration hoopla yesterday, the Trustees of Social Security and Medicare released belatedly their annual report. According to them, the Social Security trust fund will now run out one year than previously stated, in 2040. The Medicare trust will be depleted two years earlier than thought, in 2018.

I guess it's time again to throw some more wood on the funeral pyre and strike up the band to play a somber dirge as we march both funds to their death.

Of course, none of this really matters, right? The Bush administration has famously stated that Reagan proved that deficits don't matter. Why should we worry?

Naturally, the privatizers are going to return to television to say that their way is the only way to save Social Security. It will probably need some tweaks as we move along, but don't you believe today's privatizers. These aren't your father's privatizer's who simply don't think that government shouldn't be involved with socialized retirement. They have a different agenda.

They don't see Social Security as a safety net for the elderly, but instead as a safety net for the investor class. You see, 401(k) accounts have been around now for twenty some years, and a lot of people during their peak earning years have put a lot of money into them, and through that vehicle, the stock market.

As the baby boomers retire, they aren't just going to drain Social Security down, they are going to withdrawal vast sums of money from the stock market. For the investor class, and for that matter, the youngest baby boomers who are behind the age curve, to keep making money in the market, that money has to be replaced. That's where the Social Security trust comes into the picture. You have to have buyers to replace cashing out sellers. (Who knows, with the way the republicans have screwed up the economy, it might be necessary to do it to avoid another depression.)

That's why last year, this bamboozle was sold as a chance for people who wouldn't normally be able to invest in stocks as a way to do so. In reality, those investors are unlikely to do any better than the current system, but they do add cash flow to the system. That's what the current crop of privatizers want.

Consider yourself forewarned.

Monday, May 01, 2006

You Have Got To Be Fucking Kidding Me

Ok, what do you do with a guy who pilfered a Jordanian bank, fed you false information on Iraq, and sold the code to intercept our military transmissions to Iran. Well, if you're our current administration, you hire him as a liaison between our Iraqi ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, and the Iranians.

Yes, that's right, Ahmed Chalabi is back in the employ of the US government according to Raw Story. It's not that the administration doesn't learn from its mistakes, it actively seeks to repeat them. Doesn't anyone understand that this guy is basically an Iranian agent?

Even worse, the administration has also brought back on board Manucher Ghorbanifar, an Iranian arms dealer who isn't trusted by any intelligence agency in the world, including ours. But of course, he won't be reporting to the CIA, he'll be once again stovepiping intel straight into the Vice President's office.

It's happening again.

Law Day, USA

For those of you who don't know, May 1st is actually Law Day, USA. Each year on Law Day, the President issues through proclamation a theme to celebrate on Law Day. Are you ready for this? This year's theme is Separation of Powers. I kid you not.

The man the Boston Globe reported as claiming the right to violate over 750 different laws passed by Congress thinks we should celebrate the separation of powers our founders envisioned. From WhiteHouse.gov:

Law Day, U.S.A., 2006

A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America

America's legal system is central to protecting the constitutional principles on which our Nation was founded. As we observe Law Day, we celebrate our heritage of freedom, justice, and equality under the law.

This year's Law Day theme, "Liberty Under Law: Separate Branches, Balanced Powers," honors the wisdom of the separation of powers that the Framers of our Constitution established for the Federal Government. Delegates to the Constitutional Convention recognized the risks that accompany the concentration of power and devised a system in which the Federal Government's authorities are divided among three independent branches. James Madison highlighted the importance of our Constitution's separation of powers when he wrote, "the accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands . . . may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny."

Throughout our Nation's history, we have been reminded repeatedly of the wisdom of the Framers' design. Our system of separation of powers has safeguarded our liberties and helped ensure that we remain a government of laws. Law Day is an occasion for us to celebrate our Constitution and to honor those in the judiciary and legal profession who work to uphold and serve its principles.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, in accordance with Public Law 87-20, as amended, do hereby proclaim May 1, 2006, as Law Day, U.S.A. I call upon all the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities. I also call upon Government officials to display the flag of the United States in support of this national observance.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty eighth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirtieth.


I would say they are doing this to prove that the president can do biting satire as well as Stephen Colbert, but this was actually issued before the White House Press Correspondent's Dinner.

Iran And You: What You Need To Know

If the administration decides to attack Iran, it's important to know what the ramifications will be for the average American. This will not be like the Iraq War where most of the burden of the war is being borne out by a very few. Let's take a look.

It's really all about the cost of oil. If you think gas prices are high now, you haven't seen anything like what an attack on Iran would cause. When Iran says it will attack US interests world wide, what they are really saying is that they will use their power to shut down oil getting to the United States.

It's not just the price you pay at the pump, everything you buy is priced based on the cost of oil. Consider this, the average distance food travels before you buy it is 1500 miles, and is moved by vehicles that at best gets eight miles to the gallon. At $3.00 a gallon, that cost is $562 per truckload. At $5.00 a gallon it's $938. You might want to start a garden.

It's not just that you'll have to pay more, they're be shortages. Will modern Americans accept rationing? I don't know, but we will certainly face such measures whether they are implemented by the government or simple supply and demand.

At best, we will face an economic death spiral as fuel costs shuts down our economy. At worst, we face WWIII. It could play out like this, We bomb Iran, they shut down the Straits of Hormuz or launch missile attacks into Ghawar. Who knows what Chavez will do in Venezuela, he could shut down oil shipments to the US. There is lies the rub, if we can't get oil, strategically we can't let China get oil and they buy theirs from Iran. We'd have to bomb the Iranian oil fields.

This would have the effect of finding a man bleeding to death, then shooting some more holes in him to ease the pressure of the blood squirting from his previous wounds. Eventually, we'd have to decide whether to stand around and throw rocks at each other, or lob nukes. I think we all know which way this administration would go.

Even if Iran doesn't use oil as a weapon, speculation on such will still drive the price up. As much as our nation has stockpiled oil, we still only have a sixty day supply in our Strategic Petroleum Reserves.

I guess the question is how much discomfort is the American public willing to endure to solve a problem that probably doesn't need to be solved for at least a decade. We should use this time to get our own house in order in the form of alternative energies before any military options are used. That's the one good thing that may emerge from this crisis. Whether or not we engage militarily, the focus this will put on our addiction to foreign oil will push alternative energy sources like never before.

Concerns about oil are precisely the reason I believe George Bush will not attack Iran. Voters are angry about the cost of oil now. Sending them higher would simply be a death knell for the republican party. But then again, who knows what the neocons are telling him.

Stephen Colbert

On Saturday night, Stephen Colbert stood at the podium at the White House Corespondents Dinner and spoke truth to power using his brand of comedy. He skewered both George Bush and DC press. You have to watch the video here, because I've not seen any major media outlet even mention Colbert's performance, and why would they, he torched them.

Still, the press blackout on this is amazing. I figured part of Colbert's routine would find it's way into the Sunday Funnies portion of ABC's This Week. It did not. The Washington Post barely mentioned he was there. No Laura Bush type write up from last year as she playfully teased the president. The New York Times offers only a couple of the tamer comments. Perhaps Keith Olbermann will pick up the video tonight.

I have to tell you, this performance took guts. To stand a few feet away from the President of the United States and ridicule him for twenty minutes covering pretty much all of his failures takes some major chutzpa.

The crowd at times simply looks shocked at the things Colbert is saying, and I have to admit, there are times while watching the video that even I sat here thinking, "Did he really just say that?" Others in the blogosphere have called Colbert's performance an indictment, I'd say that's apt.

I've read where some conservatives say that liberals don't understand Colbert, and that he isn't lampooning the right, but actually makes fun of the left. That's probably how he got invited to speak at this event. I don't think many of them believe that anymore.

I'm not going to excerpt any of the transcript, you really need to see the video to get the full effect. If you do one thing today, go to DU and watch this video.