Friday, October 05, 2007


If Obama not wearing a flag pin is that damn important, perhaps we should just go ahead and coronate this idiot king.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Thanks City

While I applauds the city's decision to replace handicapped ramps using third shift labor, I think it would be helpful if in addition to the jack-hammering, they set off a concussion grenade every twenty minutes or so, and it might help if they rented some klieg lights to shine in peoples windows as well.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Progress, Bitches, Progress

Oh Bush administration, is there anything in Iraq that you can't fuck up. From The New York Times:

An independent commission established by Congress to assess Iraq’s security forces will recommend remaking the 26,000-member national police force to purge it of corrupt officers and Shiite militants suspected of complicity in sectarian killings, administration and military officials said Thursday.

The commission, headed by Gen. James L. Jones, the former top United States commander in Europe, concludes that the rampant sectarianism that has existed since the formation of the police force requires that its current units “be scrapped” and reshaped into a smaller, more elite organization, according to one senior official familiar with the findings. The recommendation is that “we should start over,” the official said.

The report, which will be presented to Congress next week, is among a number of new Iraq assessments — including a national intelligence estimate and a Government Accountability Office report — that await lawmakers when they return from summer recess. But the Jones commission’s assessment is likely to receive particular attention as the work of a highly regarded team that was alone in focusing directly on the worthiness of Iraq’s army and police force.

As I wrote in March of last year this was pretty much inevitable because we have seen this sort of thing in the past, even in the US. From me:

In the Spring of 1980, Fidel Castro declared the port of Mariel an open port. That Summer, 125,000 Cubans made the trip from Mariel to Miami in what came to be known as the Mariel Boatlift. The influx of refugees into an already depressed economy ultimately led to a major crime wave, so the city of Miami did what any city would do in that situation, they rapidly beefed up their police force immensely.

The problem was that everyone from major drug cartels to street gangs sent their loyalists with clean records to the police academy, which resulted in a very corrupt police force. Eventually, 10% of the force ended up jailed, fired, or disciplined; and that's just the ones they had hard evidence against.

Fast forward to Iraq. We have just done the same thing that Miami did in the early eighties. We have built up roughly 240,000 security forces in just a couple years. If we are as lucky as Miami, that means about 30,000 corrupt forces, and I doubt we're that lucky.

If the absolutely clueless Rumsfeld would have let Shinseki prosecute this war we'd be home by now. In fact, my greatest opposition to the war at that time was simply that we can't let these fuck-ups do this because they are wholly incompetent and refuse to listen to people who aren't. There is really nothing we can do now to fix it because it was always a one shot deal.

Now these idiots want to attack Iran. The roll-out starts after Labor Day. As our feckless leader says, "Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again."

Found via Kevin Drum

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Don't Get Your Hopes Up

Muqtada al-Sadr has announced that he is suspending the Mehdi Army until further notice or six months whichever comes first. Dog fighting perhaps?

Anyway, don't look for this to make a great deal of difference. As the past has shown, the Mookie can have great effect when he wants to ratchet up the violence, but has had little effect when he wants to abate it. The Mehdi Army is too decentralized with too many different agendas for him to fully control.

Still, it's better than him calling for attacks.


Hilly Kristal, the founder of CBGB's has died at the age of 75. I never got the chance to visit the club, which is one of the few disappointing things on my list of things I never got to do, or will ever get to do. Hell, there is only one original Ramone still living. Getting old blows.

Two Days

I was wondering how long it would take for this to happen. From TPM:

One larger issue must be addressed. The Republican Party platform clearly rejects the agenda of homosexual activists. The Party, in the wake of the Mark Foley incident in particular, can no longer straddle the fence on the issue of homosexual behavior. Even setting Senator Craig’s situation aside, the Party should regard participation in the self-destructive homosexual lifestyle as incompatible with public service on behalf of the GOP.

No member of the Republican Party in the 1860s could represent his party and be a slaveholder at the same time. Nor can the Republican Party of today speak with authority and clarity to the moral issues that confront our society and at the same time send ambivalent messages about sexual behavior. It is time for the Republican Party to be the party that defends the American family in word, deed, and by personal example.

Hopefully there will come a day when the republican party can achieve such a level of purity that they can't get elected as dog catcher.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Gonzo Going

Alberto Gonzales is resigning, no doubt to spend more time lying to his family. The rumor mill has Michael Chertoff to replace him. At least Chertoff has experience cleaning up after buffoons.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Obama Receives Crucial Endorsement

I know we are awfully early in the presidential nomination process, but still, if you are undecided at this point, it is probably because you are waiting due to a lingering question in your mind. Who is Master P going to support for president?

Well, wait no more, because I received an e-mail today informing me that P has came out and fully endorsed Barack Obama for president. This is a extremely important endorsement. With it secured, Obama can surely expect a cavalcade of other B-list, C-list, and even D-list celebrities to follow suit, and that my friend would lead to a rash of bundled $14.00 checks from residuals.

Restoring My Faith In Humanity

Ah, virtually nothing can renew your faith in humanity like an early morning trip to a carry-out. This fine morning I stopped at one in one of the small towns I travel though on my way to work.

Inside, a mother was having a confusing conversation about which off brand cigarettes were the cheapest. The smokes were of course for her daughter who looked to be sixteenish. You know what they say, the family that smokes together.

Thursday, August 09, 2007


I had glanced at this University of Iowa poll earlier but missed this nugget. In a poll of registared republicans in Iowa, when asked who they would support in next fall's general election, Barack Obama finished third (6.7%) behind likely Caucus attendee favorite Mitt Romney (21.8%) and Rudy Giuliani (10%), ahead of Fred Thompson (5.2%), and John McCain (1.8%).

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Bush On The Minnesota Bridge Collapse

President Bush had this to say after examining the I35W collapsed bridge a couple of days ago:

"I do promise she's [Transportation Secretary Mary Peters] going to listen to the local authorities to find out what the folks here need," Bush said. "I do promise that when she sees roadblocks and hurdles in the way of getting the job done, she'll do everything she can to eliminate them."

Shortly thereafter, Peters was seen whispering into Bush's ear. Bush then immediately announced that he was laying off 6,500 border guards.

Sacrifice Bitches!

Mitt Romney was asked today why none of his sons are serving in the military. His response:

"One of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping me get elected because they think I'd be a great president."

I'll be the first to admit, the question is stupid and a little bit unfair. Mitt Romney is running for president, not his kids so I don't care if they're crack-heads, or Prius driving dopers, or look like they belong in a gay men's choir.

Nonetheless, you would think the Romney campaign would have seen this question coming at some point and would have a carefully scripted answer prepared. Preferably one that doesn't make Romney look like a total jackass. Makes you wonder, doesn't it? Are these guys ready for prime time?


Simply for the fact that I think the guy is a total tool, I bring you this Jim Cramer meltdown from last Friday while I was away.

Of Fed, won't you bail us out of our self made catastrophe?

I especially like the way he lectures Bear Stearns for panicking right before he goes into full blown panic mode himself.

Bonds Hits 756

Well, Barry Bonds now has the Major League Baseball home run record. Like him or not, and I tend to fall into the not category, you have to admit that steroids or not, Bonds is probably has to be considered the greatest hitter in the history of the game now.

I've heard a lot of people complaining today about the body armor Bonds wears when he bats, and while I agree that fifteen years is far too long for the medical exemption that allowed him too where it, if you're the pitcher facing him you have to find a way to back him off the plate regardless of his elbow armor. Either throw at his head, or stop bitching.

As an interesting side note to the event, the pitcher who gave up the record breaking home run was Mike Bacsik Jr. His father, Mike Bacsik Sr. faced Hank Aaron in 1976 as a member of the Texas Rangers when Aaron's home run total was 755. Mike Sr. got Aaron to fly out to right field before yielding a single in Aaron's next at bat. Aaron never homered again.


I spent last weekend up at JK & P's cabin at the lake in Michigan. It was quite fun and I discovered something that has been missing from my life for the past couple of years, the darkness that only comes with being away from the city.

For the past five years I have lived in a sort of perpetual Arctic summer solstice where even after the sun does go down artificial light continues to pour into my apartment from dusk to dawn, and most of my vacations tend to send me to other large American cities where the same thing occurs. The opportunity to wander around in actual darkness was very reinvigorating, and getting to see things like the Milky way again were great. I have got to get out of the city more often.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Ted, Just Admit It

It looks like Alaska Senator Ted Stevens is about to head down that road to nowhere, except that nowhere is the federal pen.

As you probably already know the FBI raided his home yesterday. What you might not know is that they also brought along some friends from the IRS, and when they pal along for the ride, let's just say you are about to get fucked in a very uncomfortable place, and I don't mean the back of a Volkswagen.

While it's true that Stevens is innocent until proven guilty, these guys don't make their move until they have you dead to rights.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Wait, You Mean We Have A Chance To Fuck It Up Even More?

Yes, we can. And yes, it looks like we're going to. In order to appease the Turks (I didn't think we did that appeasement thing) the US military is going to start fighting with the only remotely pro-American people in Iraq, the Kurds. From Juan Cole:

Liz Sly of the Trib reports on the tense Iraqi-Turkish border, made perilous by the safe harbor offered the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) guerrillas by the leaders of Iraqi Kurdistan. At the last checkpoint under Iraqi control, she is told, "There could be bombing, and there are terrorists everywhere."

This delicate problem, which could blow up the northern reaches of the Middle East, requires delicate diplomacy, right? Nope. Bush thinks all problems can be resolved with violence. Dark Prince Bob Novak says that Undersecretary of Defense Eric Edelman has briefed Congress on a covert US operation to help Turkey suppress the PKK. The quid pro quo would be that Turkey would not invade northern Iraq.

The problem? The Kurds are the only firm ally the US had in Iraq, and US special ops troops getting directly involved against the PKK might well alienate the Kurds in general. You can hear W.'s fingernails squeak as they dig into the face of the high cliff down which he is gradually sliding.

What will be the outcome should this come to pass? Well for starters we will succeed in making a relatively peaceful populous restive, which of course will require more troops. Also, that Kurdish division that is part of "the surge" will most likely pack up and go home, which of course will require more troops.

And as for the whole reconciliation prospects of Iraq, this very well could push the Kurds to declare their independence.

Fucking up is par for the course for the Bush administration.

Oh and by the way, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki wants super greatest ever General Petraeus replaced.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Red Rover, Red Rover, Send Karl's Fat Ass Over

Rove subpoenaed

Fred Thompson: The No Dough Show

It's no wonder Fred Thompson hasn't yet made his campaign official, he's not raising much money. From MyDD:

Sources close to the presumptive campaign tell NBC News that Fred Thompson's fundraising is down "markedly." One claimed it has "slowed down big-time." The pace is described as a consequence of the delayed announcement to enter the race.

"The Friends of Fred, Inc." will report to the IRS its revenue by July 31st. Sources reveal to NBC News that number will be in the range of about $3 million. Five million dollars had been the talked-about June goal. Sources describe an early burst of donations in June and say the summer fundraising has fallen off. While additional fundraisers are planned, sources say the scheduling of fundraisers was "frozen" for a time while the team was going through some internal strains.

That's pretty pathetic. In fact, given that some top level staffers have recently left the campaign, I'd guess they are running on fumes alone. Republican savior indeed.


It sure looks like the slow fizz of the housing bubble bursting is turning into a full blown explosion rather quickly. Countrywide, the nation's largest mortgage underwriter is now reporting that a whopping 4.56% of their prime mortgages are at least thirty days late, and their sub-prime mortgages are a whopping 23.71% behind.

During a conference call with Countywide earlier this week the following statement was issued: "Company is seeing home price depreciation at levels not seen since the Great Depression."

I believe it is only going to get worse throughout 2008 with the unbelievable amount of ARM resets due in that time period.

Update: More bad news from WAPO:

The Commerce Department reported that sales of new single-family homes dropped by 6.6 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 834,000 units. The decline was more than triple what had been expected and was the largest percentage drop since sales fell by 12.7 percent in January. Sales are now 22.3 percent below the level of a year ago.

The median price of a new home sold last month dropped to $237,900, down by 2.2 percent from a year ago. It was the biggest year-over-year price drop since a 6.5 percent fall in April. The median price is the point where half the homes sold for more and half for less.

The big drop in new home sales followed a report Wednesday showing that existing home sales dropped by 3.8 percent in June to a five-year low. The weakness reflects spreading troubles in the mortgage market as more borrowers are defaulting on their loans, dumping those homes back on an already glutted market. In addition, banks and other lenders are tightening their standards, making it harder for prospective buyers to qualify for loans.


Oh Alberto!

It is pretty clear now that Alberto Gonzales has perjured himself before Congress, which of course is a crime. He likely has committed many other violations as well during his term as Attorney General. So, what do we do?

I think it is obvious that the votes for impeachment are there. There are twenty-two republican Senators up for reelection next year and most of them would be a fool to vote against the impeachment of someone as incompetent, and plainly guilty as Gonzales. Do we give them that opportunity to show off their independent side to their constituents? There are other options such as appointing a special prosecutor to look into the very narrow aspect of his lying to Congress, thus a speedy trial could occur even though President Bush would surely pardon him.

Whichever way the Democrats decide to go, it is hard to imagine someone competent tarnishing their name by filling the spot for the final eighteen months of this failed administration, so things might not get any better. In fact, I have to wonder how much prodding it will take to get Bush to send a name up to the Senate for confirmation.

Friday, July 20, 2007

I Wouldn't Go There

Recently Mitt Romney has been attacking Barack Obama for a bill Obama voted for while in the Illinois Senate. Romney says the bill allowed for teaching kindergartners sex education. In reality, it allowed the kids to be taught about inappropriate touching to help protect them from pedophiles.

I'm not sure I would want to go there if I were Romney, who as a legal adult, met his current wife while she was only 15, and comes from a religious background with a reputation for marrying off girls at a very young age. It might help you score points against an opponent, but you talking about it also reminds people that you're, well, creepy.

Found via Americablog

In the interest of full disclosure, I have donated money to the Obama campaign.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Sorry for the extended hiatus, but I had a project dumped on me that has taken pretty much all of my spare time. I finished that project this morning just after five. I have to admit it felt pretty weird not having anything to due after spending every morning for the past few weeks working. Much to the chagrin of my neighbors, I spent the time shredding documents.

So, did anything happen while I was gone? Ha! I'm not going to go back and look at the things that happened because this medium is a here and now kind of thing. I should be completely back up and running tomorrow.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Oh No!

As I briefly check in from my hiatus which should end this coming weekend, I have received the worst possible news. It seems Takeru Kobayashi has developed jaw arthritis and may not be able to compete in the July 4th Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating contest. From the Daily Telegraph:

Takeru 'Tsunami' said he can only open his mouth to make a gap the size of a fingertip after being diagnosed with jaw arthritis.

In an entry on his blog entitled Occupational Hazard, Kobayashi said: "My jaw refused to fight any more."

The injury occurred only a week after the slender 29-year-old started training to win his sixth
straight title at the annual July 4 Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating contest on New York's Coney Island.

"I feel ashamed that I couldn't notice the alarm bells set off by my own body," he said. "But with the goal to win another title with a new record, I couldn't stop my training so close to the competition.

"I was continuing my training and bearing with the pain but finally I destroyed my jaw."

Gee, hard to believe scarfing down all those hot dogs has negative ramifications, isn't it?

Friday, June 15, 2007

And It's Not Going To Get Better Any Time Soon

A story in today's Washington Post tells the tale of the American housing market. Foreclosures are sky high. From the Washington Post:

The percentage of U.S. mortgages entering foreclosure in the first three months of the year was the highest in more than 50 years, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

As the association released its numbers, the Federal Reserve held a hearing to determine whether regulators could do anything to crack down on abusive lending practices, which have exacerbated the problem

The problems arose last year as the housing market softened, driving down home prices and making it more difficult for cash-strapped borrowers to sell their homes or refinance their way out of trouble.

The most dramatic fallout took place in the sub-prime market, which caters to people with blemished credit or other factors that make them a risk to lenders.

Those borrowers entered foreclosure at a rate of 2.43 percent, up from 2 percent the previous quarter. The percentages seem small, but they are far above norms, particularly in a healthy economy. The concern is that the mortgage industry's troubles could damage the economy if they are not contained.

This is a problem that isn't going away anytime soon. The following graph (shamelessly nicked from At These Levels) shows the volume of upcoming ARM mortgage resets. In the next 24 months close to a trillion dollars worth of these mortgages (4 - 5 million homes) are going to reset with at least 60% of those resets coming in the sub-prime market. A fair amount of these sub-prime mortgages have large penalties for prepayment, that and along with slumping home prices makes it very hard to refinance your way out of your loan. You're just stuck on the rocky road to foreclosure.

When that happens the economy is going to go south pretty quickly.

Tears Of A Clown

Damn those mean Democrats for pointing out that interim U.S. Attorney Tim Griffin got his job through abject cronyism. From TPM Muckraker:

Former interim U.S. Attorney Tim Griffin tearily announced Thursday that public service is, "not worth it."

Griffin was named to replace Bud Cummins after Cummins was fired by the Bush administration along with seven other U.S. Attorneys.

Griffin addressed a lunchtime audience at the Clinton School of Public service Thursday, sometimes crying as he said he had no plans to return to politics.

Poor little guy, never even got a chance to abuse his power to disenfranchise African-American voters.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Scooter Libby

I wouldn't get too excited about the prospect of Scooter Libby being hauled off to jail anytime soon. He will appeal the decision to go directly to jail. Time to do some judge shopping, white shoes required.

The Art Of The Con

In case you haven't noticed, a new sort of gambling hall has been popping up all over Ohio, featuring what are being termed games of skill. That is, the games are at least 51% skill based. These games should be outlawed.

I don't make this judgement based on the fact that Ohio voters have turned down gambling on the ballot three times, these games are not gambling. Instead, they are con games dressed up as gambling. Let me explain.

If you go to any state that allows electronic gaming, there is a state law that governs the minimum rate of return that those games pay out. For instance, in Nevada the minimum rate of return is 75% and in New Jersey it is 83%. Competition for players of those games though generally drives up the rate of return to the high nineties. The games populating Ohio have much, much lower rates of return, but are dressed up to look like the games players are used to playing in states that have regulatory control of the rate of returns.

What this generally means is that if over a period of time in Nevada you inserted $100,000,000 into an electronic game, at the end of play you would have roughly $75,000,000 left over and the house would keep the rest. In Ohio, you might only be left with half that, if anything.

To put it quite simply, legalizing gambling in Ohio would be the equivalent of legalizing pot, keeping games of skill legal in Ohio is the equivalent of legalizing crack.

As a test, I recently went to one of these parlors to see how long it would take me to lose $100. The game I played offered me nine ways to win each hand. I played a dime each way for a total of ninety cents a hand. The hundred dollars was gone in just over an hour. Imagine how fast a hard core gambling addict, or drunk, would lose his money.

We are currently getting all of the pitfalls of gambling, with none of the benefits that scrupulously run casinos would bring. The legislature needs to close the door on this loophole by making them illegal, or vote to allow legalized gambling in Ohio. I really don't care which way they go on this issue, but to do nothing is a criminal in itself.

The 2007 Comfest Schedule Is Out

Click to enlarge

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Great Grift

Wow, I knew the economic outlook in Albania was bleak, but getting the whole country together pretending to like Bush just to nick a watch, that's beyond bleak.

Seriously though, why did the White House lie about the watch getting stolen? Oh yea, it's the Bush White House, it's all they do.


I find this hilarious. Jonah Goldberg prints a letter from one of his readers which ends:

Conservatives need to turn off the money spigot. We can turn it back on in plenty of time for the general election next year, but right now we need to stop writing checks to any GOP organization and to any candidate who is not explicitly supporting a conservative agenda. If money is the lifeblood of politics, we need to apply a tourniquet and NOW if we're going to get our so-called elected representatives to pay any attention to us and get their heads out of the D.C. bubble. (He said, being charitable.)

I don't find this funny because the GOP base is angry, nor because they think their small donors matter. No, I find this funny because a letter talking about turning off the spigot was printed by a guy who has spent his entire adult life drinking from the hose it fills.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Soprano's Finale

************************Spoiler Warning*****************************

Well, I watched the finale of the Soprano's and I found it to be intriguing at the very least. I thought the episode was alright over all, but the last scene is really all there is to talk about. I admit it, I was DVRing the episode and when the screen went black, I thought that because the show went long, it had screwed up the ending until the credits rolled.

Now as to the final scene, which I watched several times, was left up to interpretation. My interpretation is this: Tony was shot dead when the scene went black. Not by the guy who went to the restroom in a Godfather reference, but by the two African-American men who were shown entering the restaurant. If you watch that last shot where Tony's eyes look powerfully into the camera, while your eyes are looking into his eyes, there is something else going on in that scene. If you watch carefully, and you might have to watch it in slow motion, it appears Tony was going for a gun. His left hand drops off the jukebox into his waistband and starts to jerk back up when the screen goes black, although it is his left hand and Tony is a rightie. Tony is looking toward the door, but that isn't a look you give your daughter, and the only two people between him are the two African-Americans who might have been hired by the Brooklyn underlings in an off the books hit since with Phil dead, killing Tony would leave it all to themselves.

Who knows though? Could be something else.

It was also good to see The Noisettes got a song on the final episode.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Sopranos Prediction

Since it is the topic de jour this week, I guess I should make a prediction about the final episode of The Sopranos. So, here it goes.

I believe that in the wake of nobody showing up for his mother's funeral, Paulie Walnuts has become a sort of double agent for the New York mob. As such, he intentionally gave the cousins from Italy the wrong address for the hit on Phil Leotardo. Probably someone he had a beef with in the past. This gave Phil extra time to pull off the decapitation of the New Jersey mob, which Paulie would inherit after the decapitation.

In fact, I think the fed who tipped off Tony will soon know that the info they picked up on the wiretap was actually Paulie talking to Phil about it. Did you notice how fast Paulie bugged out of town once it became known that the hit on Phil was a failure?

Anyway, before Phil's gang can find Tony, the feds do, and they take him into custody. Perhaps the information Tony provided on the Middle Easterners panned out or maybe just because Tony's situation is so dire, the inform Tony that his gang is decimated and they offer him witness protection to prosecute Phil as it is his only way out.

Tony takes the deal. As I heard earlier this week, they are the Sopranos, and what do Sopranos do? They sing. Then Tony's life becomes something similar to the dream sequence after he got shot in which he is that sad sack of a salesman. Forced to live his life out of the game, a fate worse than prison save one thing. Tony actually knows where Junior hid all the money.

That or the set breaks open and all the characters fall into a pool where they perform some sort of Ethel Merman aqua-ballet number.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Bluff Called

Vladimir Putin has called George Bush's bluff of Bush's call for cooperation with the Russians on a missile defense plan. I have to admit I was pretty shocked when Bush went so far out on a limb yesterday when he called for such cooperation. Today, Putin said sure, why don't you install one in Azerbaijan. Neither man can let this happen, and here's why.

Bush cannot install one of these Interceptor missiles in Azerbaijan because if the Russians get hold of it they will reverse engineer it and find out that it is a complete and total fraud. This thing most likely doesn't work at all in a real world situation and we can't let the Russians know that. We have to make them think that it is a possibility that it will work.

As for Putin, he can't really let it be installed in Russia because on the off chance that it does work, he certainly knows that hidden somewhere deep in the code is what we would refer to as an off switch which would put him at a distinct disadvantage. Putin must take the threat of these seriously and develop technology to overcome them which is hard to do while they are not only your defense, but your enemies too.

Putin is simply saying this because he knows he has just made George Bush the fool. George Bush is right about one thing though. The Interceptor is not a threat to Russia, it's a threat to the American taxpayer's wallet.

Paris Liberated!

Paris Hilton has been released from prison due to medical concerns. Is this giving you any ideas Scooter?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

New Low

Not only is the President's approval ratings in the toilet, Rasmussen is reporting a new low for the number of Americans that identify themselves as republicans. From Rasmussen:

A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of 15,000 adults in May found that just 30.8% now say they’re Republicans. That’s down slightly from last month and down more than six percentage points from the GOP peak of 37.3% during Election 2004. The number of Republicans has been falling fairly steadily since the middle of 2005.

George Bush, killing the republican party one voter at a time.

How To Fix School Funding

Not really, I'm just responding to the tripe Dick Armey is currently churning out over at Swampland. From Swampland:

Not once [during the Republican debate], was retirement security addressed. It did not rear its head in the form of a question nor as an answer. We heard a great deal about the American family, but no candidate talked about education, or more importantly, the decay within our nation's schools. This month millions of kids are out of school for summer break. If only we could break the stranglehold of union control over the classroom. [emphasis mine]

Yea, I'm sure Armey's friends still in government would rush out to pick up the additional operational costs that year round education would incur. Wait, maybe they would, maybe they would.

What we really need in public education these days are uniforms. Not for the students mind you, but for the educators. After all, police and fire departments have quite strong unions in their own right, but you never hear a conservative bash a cop or fireman over their unions, do you? And they pretty much get whatever funding they want, don't they? The answers to those questions are obvious and the reason is that they are so photogenic for campaign ads. So I say uniforms for teachers!

Make it something zippy, with badges and epaulets, and oh yea, throw in an American flag on the sleeve. It will instantaneously change teachers from evil socialists to great American heroes with their new photogenic garb. Public education would be impossible not to fully fund otherwise you might be depicted in ads for your next election by your opponent as someone who hates America for not funding these great public servants. And your opponent will have ads with folks in uniform to tell your constituents exactly that.

Sure, it's ridiculous, but so is Armey.


The above photo is the proposed design for the new Franklin County Courthouse. I only have one question. What is up with all the glass?
Given the security threats federal and local courthouses have faced from Timothy McVeigh to recent courthouse shootings, does anyone else see a fatal (literally) flaw in this design? Is there going to be a bell tower across the street for potential snipers?
I'm truly baffled by this.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Great New Product

Oh, fuck it. I tried to get this video to embed, it wouldn't work. Go view it here.


Scooter really got creamed today. Thirty months in prison and a $250,000 fine. Oh, and MSNBC is really doing some fabulous coverage of Paris Behind Bars, Day Two. Apparently she got to keep her hair extensions. Absolutely riveting, huh?

Concert Review: BRMC

Last night I caught Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at the Newport. All in all it was a pretty good show. The sound was great and the band played a wide representation of their repertoire ripping through twenty-some songs. I do have some nits to pick with the show though.

First of all, seriously, ditch the strobe lights. If you have epilepsy, do not go see this band. After two hours of staring at blinding strobe lights, I thought I was a Japanese cartoon character. Also, cut the smoke back by about 75%. It was a little tough to see the show unless you were in the front, although the smoke did help mute some of the strobe lights. At one point I turned to the guy next to me and asked, "Who is playing harmonica?" We couldn't tell because we couldn't see it.

One other thing, the three song acoustic set in the middle of the show caused the show to lose momentum, at least for me.

Outside those things, well worth the money.

Monday, June 04, 2007

William Jefferson Indicted

About time. If you are wondering why he is still in Congress, here is a reminder.

Just Thought You Would Like To Know

If you're unfamiliar with the geography, Tropical Cyclone Gonu, a category 5 strength hurricane, is heading directly toward the Straits of Hormuz and shipping lanes that transit 20% of the world's oil daily. Here is the advisory.




Ah, The Clusterfucks That Could Have Been

With men as stupid as Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, Steven Cambone, John Bolton, and Donald Rumsfeld spending considerable time in the last six years at the highest levels of government, I suppose we should be happy, no, overjoyed that the worst they managed to do was create the clusterfuck that is Iraq. God knows they tried hard to create ones far greater. From Congressional Quarterly:

Lawrence B. Wilkerson, the U.S. Army colonel who was Powell’s chief of staff through two administrations, said in little-noted remarks early last month that “neocons” in the top rungs of the administration quietly encouraged Taiwanese politicians to move toward a declaration of independence from mainland China — an act that the communist regime has repeatedly warned would provoke a military strike.

The top U.S. diplomat in Taiwan at the time, Douglas Paal, backs up Wilkerson’s account, which is being hotly disputed by key former defense officials.


“The Defense Department, with Feith, Cambone, Wolfowitz [and] Rumsfeld, was dispatching a person to Taiwan every week, essentially to tell the Taiwanese that the alliance was back on,” Wilkerson said, referring to pre-1970s military and diplomatic relations, “essentially to tell Chen Shui-bian, whose entire power in Taiwan rested on the independence movement, that independence was a good thing.”

Wilkerson said Powell would then dispatch his own envoy “right behind that guy, every time they sent somebody, to disabuse the entire Taiwanese national security apparatus of what they’d been told by the Defense Department.”


“They are dangerous men who will lie about almost anyone or anything,” Wilkerson angrily responded by e-mail, singling out Feith, DiRita, Cheney and Rumsfeld for scorn.

He called back-stage encouragement of the Taiwanese “even more serious” than the alleged manipulation of Iraq intelligence, because it could provoke China to attack the island, triggering a U.S. response and the world’s first nuclear shooting war.

Thank God these men are as incompetent as they are idiotic. Even President Bush could be talked into going along with this and told the men to knock it off.

As for our actual policy with respect to Taiwan, I've always suspected that our real policy is all show, no go. I can't imagine any American president risking a nuclear confrontation with China over Taiwan, but you never can tell what some people will do. I know the American people would not be supportive.


As I sat in my living room this morning in the pre-dawn darkness trying to raise the amount of nicotine in my body to self-prescribed levels, I heard a number meander out of my television. Seventeen. "Seventeen?" I thought, my God, we have already lost seventeen members of our Armed Forces this month. After all, it's only the fourth of the month.

A flip to the New York Times confirmed what most of us knew all along. The surge, is only accomplishing to pad the butcher's bill that Bush's fiasco has become. From the New York Times:

Three months after the start of the Baghdad security plan that has added thousands of American and Iraqi troops to the capital, they control fewer than one-third of the city’s neighborhoods, far short of the initial goal for the operation, according to some commanders and an internal military assessment.

The American assessment, completed in late May, found that American and Iraqi forces were able to “protect the population” and “maintain physical influence over” only 146 of the 457 Baghdad neighborhoods.

One third of one city, that is all the surge has managed to pacify. And for these gains, we are now averaging the loss of over four servicemen a day.

As I told people at the time of this invasion, once we went in, we went through the looking glass. There would and could be no second chances because once we lost control in such a heavily armed country, it was over. The Bush administration has done nothing but attempt second chance after second chance each a Friedman long, forever to be followed by another.

It's over, the guys in charge of this war fucked it up, and we can never fix it. End it.

Hey Kids

Sorry for the lack of posts, my Internet connection has been anywhere from non-existent to intermittent for the last week and a half. I guess Time Warner is doing some sort of an upgrade and understandably, there have been outages in that coveted three AM to six AM time slot. Not much I can do about it as Time Warner is my only choice where I live.

Anyway, it seems to be back working again although I am still losing the local ABC affiliate and the radar channel. What are you going to do?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Well, They Do Say Washington Is A Cesspool

Nobody in Congress was dirtier than Duke Cunningham, but this is beyond the pale (pail?). From TPM Muckraker:

...even [Brent] Wilkes drew a line on what he would do for the congressman. For one thing, Wilkes was totally disgusted by the hot tub Cunningham put on the boat's deck during the autumn and winter. What repelled Wilkes -- and others invited to the parties -- was both the water Cunningham put in the hot tub and the congressman's penchant for using it while naked, even if everybody else at the party was clothed. Cunningham used water siphoned directly from the polluted Potomac River and never changed it out during the season. "Wilkes thought it was unbelievably dirty and joked if you got in there it would leave a dark water line on your chest," said one person familiar with the parties. "The water was so gross that very few people were willing to get into the hot tub other than Duke and his paramour." That was a reference to Cunningham's most frequently seen girlfriend, a flight attendant who lived in Maryland.

Fitting, no?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

When The Obvious Becomes, Well, Obvious

There has been a shocking, shocking I tell you, revelation made by military commanders in Afghanistan. Apparently they now believe, after five years in country mind you, that the Taliban may be making money off the poppy trade. From CNN:

Profits from Afghanistan's thriving poppy fields are increasingly flowing to Taliban fighters, leading U.S. and NATO officials to conclude that the counterinsurgency mission must now include stepped-up anti-drug efforts.

This year's heroin-producing poppy crop will at least match last year's record haul and could exceed it by up to 20 percent, officials say, meaning more money to fuel the Taliban's violent insurgency.

"It's wrong to say that you can do one thing and not the other," Ronald Neumann, who recently stepped down as U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, said of the link between anti-drug and anti-terrorism efforts. "You have to deal with both at the same time."

Afghanistan accounts for more than 90 percent of the world's heroin supply, and a significant portion of the profits from the $3.1 billion trade is thought to flow to Taliban fighters, who tax and protect poppy farmers and drug runners.

Gee, you're fighting an insurgency in a country that provides 90% of the world, WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU EXPECT?

Now look, I understand that this is a little more complex than simply burning the fields down. Initially, we looked the other way when it came to poppy production because it is impossible to fight an insurgency with a restive population. Where we made the mistake was allowing the poppies to reach the heroin production process.

Right now, the simplest and most effective way to stop this is to burn down the fields, and pay the poppy farmers for their trouble as it is too late in the growing season for the farmers to grow something else. Then we must inform the poppy farmers that next year we will burn them down again with no payment to be made, however, if the farmers choose to grow food crops we will subsidize those crops. It would probably cost us about a half a billion a year.

When you consider how much money is spent worldwide on heroin interdiction and treatment, it is the cheapest half a billion we could ever spend. I'm sure we could even get other countries to pick up the tab.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Fat Farm

Ah, it's always good to see key members of the Iraqi government doing their part to stabilize the country. From The Gulf Daily News:

BAGHDAD: Tired and battling obesity, Iraqi President JALAL TALABANI flew to the US yesterday for rest and help in tackling his weight problem. Talabani, in his early 70s, left from the Kurdish city of Sulaimaniya in northeastern Iraq for a trip that could take several weeks.

His office denied local media reports that Talabani was suffering from any specific illness and said he was in general good health apart from his weight.

"I don't have any health problems except my obesity and I will treat it, God willing," Talabani said.

I once saw a show on rock climbing where the host advised people to train before they climbed. "Every pound you lose is a pound you don't have to drag up the mountain," the host said. Iraq is a little different, every inch you lose is an inch they can't shoot.

Seriously though, at $2 billion a week, couldn't we afford to throw in some fucking Jenny Craig Tuscan Beef Florentines?

Found via Juan Cole

Recess Is Canceled

Back in November, shortly after the election I wrote about the possibility of mass recess nominations to various positions that required Senate confirmation. From Me:

In fact, I really don't believe a single nominee for any post will go through the confirmation process for the duration of this administration. I could be wrong, and I hope I am, but that is the way I see it.

That has indeed been the Bush administration's modus operandi since the 110th Congress came into session. Harry Reid is having no more of it. From TPM:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has a little trick up his sleeve that could spell an end to President Bush's devilish recess appointments of controversial figures like former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton. We hear that over the long August vacation, when those types of summer hires are made, Reid will call the Senate into session just long enough to force the prez to send his nominees who need confirmation to the chamber. The talk is he will hold a quickie "pro forma" session every 10 days, tapping a local senator to run the hall.

Senate workers and Republicans are miffed, but Reid is proving that he's the new sheriff in town.

Now I have to wonder if any positions will be filled for the last two years of the Bush presidency.

The Immigration Bill

While I think that comprehensive immigration reform is the way to go, I have some serious problems with some of the details of the Senate's version of this bill.

First of all, dump the merit system. We already have a way for those immigrants to come to the US, the H1B visa. Adding a merit system to the new Z visa seems to me simply a way to subvert the prevailing wage requirement of the H1B. Why bring someone in on a H1B, when you can hire someone on a Z visa and pay them half their worth? No, add more H1Bs if these are the people we wish to attract. This portion of the bill would have terrible ramifications for the middle class in this country and should be stripped. These visas should be for lesser skilled immigrants who are currently doing the work Americans will not do.

Next, dump the "tag up" portion of the bill. Who the hell is going to do all of this work while these people are in their home country "tagging up" to return to the US? It strikes me as undo-able and will disrupt the country's growth while making the transition.

Instead, I would like to see current illegals to sign up for the Z visa, which in my mind should be issued in six month increments for a period of five to ten years. This would help us keep track of any immigrants that get off the track, and weed out those who do not meet these standards. After which, the immigrant would be able to apply for green card status, and from there get on the traditional path to citizenship. This would instill continuity during the transition period in the labor pool that most illegal immigrants fill.

Yes, I'm aware that most conservatives would cry amnesty at that, but to be honest, I think some of those conservatives would call anything short at them getting a free shot at departing immigrants with a baseball bat at the deportation station amnesty.

Also, I would like to see the fines lowered. I would say $1,000 for an individual, and an additional $3,000 for that individual to bring their immediate family into the country. At that point, everyone in the family would be able to work if these are over the age of sixteen. If we are going to bring in immigrants, their families should be allowed reunification, and if that family wants to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, they should be allowed to try.

Oh, and while we are at it, if we are going to have comprehensive immigration reform, let's get rid of the dumbest immigration policy we have: Wet foot, Dry foot. Either set a quota on the number of Cubans that we will allow into the country as political refugees or don't allow in any.

Finally, we have to finally get serious about enforcement in both border security and on the employer side.

As a side note, Brian Bilbray (R-CA) had the funniest line about this debate on CNN's Late Edition over the weekend. After noting that both Tom Tancredo and Maxine Waters both supported the bill he was in favor of, he said, "That's not bipartisan, that's bipolar."

Silent Justice

While I have always thought that Clarence Thomas simply waited to ask Scalia how to vote after each case, I didn't know it was this obvious. Since the beginning of the October, 2004 term, when transcripts began identifying justices by name, Thomas has uttered a grand total of 281 words from the bench.

Perhaps Tom Coburn will buy him a crossword puzzle book.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Delusions Of Grandeur

A few weeks ago, I got a pretty good laugh reading about the National Day of Prayer put on by James Dobson's wife, Shirley, on the White House lawn. From The Washington Post via Jesus' General:

Organizers put out 600 folding chairs on the lawn -- the spot where presidents are inaugurated -- and set up a huge stage with powerful amplifiers. But at 9:30 a.m. yesterday, not one of the 600 seats was occupied. By 11 a.m., as a woman read a passage from Revelations, attendance had grown -- to four people. Finally, at 1 p.m., 37 of the 600 seats were occupied, though many of those people were tourists eating lunch.

Lest you think DC is a godless town, the atheists protesting across the street only drew six people themselves. Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that the event's spokesperson was former male prostitute and former member of the White House Press Corps Jeff Gannon.

But now I understand why they thought they needed so many chairs. In their minds, virtually everyone in the United States is a fan. From CNN:

Dobson's organization says his daily radio program is heard by as many as 220 million listeners over 3,500 stations in the United States. He's also seen on 80 television stations, and 10 Focus on the Family magazines have 2.3 million subscribers, the group says.

As for those listener numbers, they represent a full two-thirds of the American population. That's not surprising, how do you get away from hearing the program because apparently his radio program appears on one out of every three radio stations in the United States. How have I never heard it? To be fair, it appears CNN screwed this up.

Found via TPM, follow this link to learn of Christian feats of strength.

Taming The Appetite Of Blogger

Blogger has a new feature where it automatically saves your posts as you go which should be a great help to me. As you can probably tell, I write these posts on the fly, with no editing, spellcheck them and post them. As a result of this I've had blogger eat quite a few of my posts when I tried to upload them to the blog.

For instance, I though I lost the post I wrote yesterday about torture and the right when I attempted to post it and received the Google error message. I was fortunate that I was able to recover it. You, on the other hand were not fortunate because you had to read that drivel, ha!

Running Wolf

It's official, Paul Wolfowitz is gone, or at least he will be by the end of June. The bank has accepted his resignation and added that he acted "ethically and in good faith." Whatever.

Let's take a look at where Wolfowitz screwed up. It was when he took the job. If you are offered a job where your girlfriend is going to have to report to you, there are only three things you can do. You either pass on the job, or you make the board reassign her before you come on to the payroll, or she quits. That's it, period. There is no other ethical way to handle the situation.

Wolfowitz went another way and it came back to haunt him. For that reason alone, he is entirely to blame for what happened to him.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Sam Herd Update

Hey, did I mention that I haven't ran into Sam Herd in the last week?


Former Marine Corps commandant Charles C. Krulak and former CENTCOM commander in chief Joseph P. Hoar jointly pen an op-ed in today's Washington Post on torture. From reading this piece I get the feeling that they were as appalled at the republican presidential debate as I was. From the Washington Post:

The American people are understandably fearful about another attack like the one we sustained on Sept. 11, 2001. But it is the duty of the commander in chief to lead the country away from the grip of fear, not into its grasp. Regrettably, at Tuesday night's presidential debate in South Carolina, several Republican candidates revealed a stunning failure to understand this most basic obligation. Indeed, among the candidates, only John McCain demonstrated that he understands the close connection between our security and our values as a nation.

What they don't mention in the op-ed is that the republican crowd viewing the debate also not only failed to understand that basic obligation, they reveled in it. Mitt Romney received one of the loudest cheers from the crowd when he suggested that he would be the strongest in using enhanced interrogation techniques on captured combatants. This got me thinking, did Romney go far enough for this crowd. Would they have cheered even louder if he would have said the T word? I'm not sure they wouldn't.

Now, the question that prompted these responses was very specific and extremely improbable. This may make you somewhat uncomfortable, but given the situation described, there is no person currently running or about to be running on either side of the aisle who would not authorize these techniques given the short time frame allowed, save perhaps Dennis Kucinich. Would it work to save American lives? Maybe, maybe not.

And that may have been what the republican candidates were saying, but it certainly wasn't what the crowd was hearing. No, the authoritarians in the crowd were hearing was what to them were dog whistle phrases that they took to mean as Romney and the others were perfectly content with wide scale torture. They've been trained, much like a cult to hear these things and believe they mean something else. It is very troubling.

So, what causes the authoritarian right to not only endorse but crave torture? Is it fear? No. Fear is the reason the sheep might wobble from side to side, but sheep don't attend republican primary debates a year before the primary. These are not sheep. I can only conclude one thing. These are people who simply do not believe in the basic tenet that all men are created equal. This is what allows them to disallow rights to minorities and gays in this country, and if you're a foreigner, you can only imagine what they think of you.

And I don't believe they do this out of a sense of superiority, but rather a sense of entitlement. Seeing this, it is no wonder that republicans regularly run up victories in the South, which has a distinct history of not treating all men as equal. When someone tries to infringe on their sensed of entitlement they must be stopped whether they are trying to gain equal rights or just being a little too stingy with their natural resources. How many times have you heard one of them say, "Why don't we just nuke them and take the oil?"

It is because they do not value anyone's lives but their own little clique. Everyone else, including the troops, including firemen, including policemen, are simply seen as lubrication for their lifestyle to be discarded in various Walter Reeds when that lubrication becomes a little too gritty.

I'd like to mention one other thing about the above referenced article. Several of the commenters to that article on the Washington Post website have asked why we should afford enemy combatants protections they don't offer us. It is simple really. When you are fighting an enemy and you're troops know they have to fight to the death to avoid torture or worse, and the other side knows that it will be okay if they give up, that is a hell of a force multiplier, one which we have lost. And to those who say they never give up, we sure have captured a lot of them, haven't we?

Who Wants To Bamboozle?

So, which right wing hack is going to be the first to cite this New York Times article as proof that Saddam had WMD when the current Iraq War started?

What the article actually says is that we may have inadvertently exposed our own troops to sarin gas after the first Gulf War when we demolished some old Iraqi arms. In fact, we may have exposed as many as 100,000 troops to low levels of sarin. The story looks at a study which may explain Gulf War Syndrome.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

He's Going The Distance

Nope, he's going home. Wolfowitz set to resign this afternoon. Bye-bye Wolfie. Hope he didn't get that bonus check.

Also not going the distance, Prince Harry will not serve in Iraq.

Dinosaurs Must Die

Ah, some really good news for those of you that are into buying your music digitally. is going to start selling digital downloads, and they're selling the good ones, the one with no DRM so you can use the tracks you buy any way you want. From the NY Times:

Amazon, the Internet’s most successful seller of physical CDs, today announced plans to introduce a music download store later this year, selling songs and albums in the MP3 format without the anti-copying protection used by most online music retailers.

Selling songs as MP3 files means that customers can transfer their music without limits to any computer, cellphone or music playing device, including Apple’s iPod and Microsoft’s Zune.

The music will be from a major label, EMI, and 12,000 independent music companies that have chosen not to use the copy-restricting software known as digital rights management, or D.R.M.“We are offering a great selection of music that our customers love in a way they clearly desire, which is D.R.M.-free, so they can play it on any device they own today or in the future,” said Bill Carr, Amazon’s vice president for digital media.

David Card, an analyst at JupiterResearch, said Amazon’s store would immediately position Amazon as a serious rival to Apple and its popular iTunes service. “We’ve been waiting for Amazon to be a serious player in digital music for some time,” he said. “They know how to sell music and this is a powerful endorsement of the MP3 strategy.”

The other major labels have so far balked at selling their catalogs in this manner. They will only offer their music with copyright protections that limit the actual tracks usage.

I don't find it shocking that the other labels are not willing to go along with this at this time. They have been lagging behind the curve for a long time when it comes to digital music.

I do have a warning for them though. This is just the first step for Amazon. It isn't going to take them long to figure out that they don't need the major labels. After all, why throw them some money when you're doing the heavy lifting. After all, why can't Amazon become the label and guarantee the artists and themselves for that matter a larger share of the money.

The majors can hang on for a while, of course, they have large catalogs and already signed artists. But those labels have drug their feet for too long. Kill them. Kill them now.

Abu Gonzales' Classmates Write A Letter

This appeared in today's Washington Post. Click to enlarge.

The Circular Ineptitude Of Bush's Middle East Policy

Ah, remember Yasser Arafat and his Palestinian group Fatah. Declared a terrorist group by the Bush administration, Bush refused to negotiate with him nor allow the Israelis to do any real negotiation either. Well, the old man died, but the movement continued on with Mahmoud Abbas.

Since Abbas was new blood and the Bush administration figured he could consolidate power, they cheered on the free elections which, much to the Bush administration's surprise, were dominated by the immensely popular Hamas. Even though Hamas attained a clear majority in the Palestinian parliament, Abbas managed to get elected President of the Palestinian territories.

Shocked by the results of the election, the Bushies moved to cut off funding to the Palestinian territories and urged others to follow suit, which they indeed did. This lack of funding led to societal divisions among the Palestinians.

So now, as these divisions deepen and the territories drift toward civil war, what do you think the Bushies are going to do now?

If you guessed sending arms to Fatah through proxies in Jordan and Egypt, ding, ding ding! Give yourself a pat on the back because that is exactly what the Bushies are doing even as you read this.

So, in the eyes of the administration, Fatah has gone from a group we won't talk to because they are a threat to Israel to a group that we are arming to fight a civil war for the right to oppose Israel. I'm sure none of these arms will end up in the wrong hands and be used against Israel, aren't you?

I believe the neocons call this synergy.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Jerry Falwell Dies

Nothing to add. Just passing it on.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Friday, May 11, 2007


I went to a fundraiser last night for Jerid from Buckeye State Blog who is raising money to spend next summer following the presidential candidates around New Hampshire. I'm not sure how much he raised last night, but it seemed pretty well attended. I threw a couple of fifties on the pile. If you are interested in finding out more about this project or helping out follow this link.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Jesus, It's Freaking May

IT's more than three weeks until the official start to hurricane season and we already have out first named storm. It's subtropical storm Andrea with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph. No threat to anyone, but what the hell?

This Is Scary

Check out this exchange between Charlie Rose and Condi Rice. From Think Progress:

ROSE: I sense — and you can tell me this is absolutely wrong — that the Administration and you as the point person are looking for a strategy for the United States to exit from Iraq.

RICE: No, we’re looking for a strategy that is going to do what we went there to do, which is to help the Iraqis create a more stable environment, lay a foundation for democracy and national reconciliation to evolve in Iraq, and to leave an Iraq or to have an Iraq that is able to defend itself and secure itself.


RICE: So our friends in the neighborhood need to know and the Iraqis need to know that we are not looking to leave Iraq. That’s not why this President went into Iraq and it’s not how –

ROSE: Ever?

RICE: Charlie, we are not going to leave an Iraq that is not capable of defending itself and with a foundation for future reconciliation.

ROSE: Do you believe you’ll have the support of the American people to do that?

RICE: I think that the American people are looking for progress and so are we.


ROSE: But nobody can answer the question: If it doesn’t happen, what?

RICE: Charlie, because as the President said to you, we’re focused on having it happen.

Yea, don't worry Charlie, We've got the number one fuck-up in the free world, George Bush, on the case, and nothing he ever touches turns to shit.

To make a baseball analogy, if George was the manager of the '27 Yankees, he could have brought that team in for a last place finish, and that would have been hard to do. But George Bush understands that things are hard to do, I've heard him say so.

So, no Charlie, we're never leaving, but we did just get a great deal on body bags.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Terror! Terror! Terror!

Oh no, how could this be! Apparently the FBI has broken up a terrorist cell in New Jersey. But I don't understand. Dear Leader told me that if we were not fighting them over there, that they would follow us here. But we are fighting over there and apparently it has nothing to do with their ability to come over here. I'm so confused.

I thought that there was no way they could get out from under our thumb in Iraq, where we have them pinned down. Clearly, the Iranians smuggled them out of Iraq, put them on a drone aircraft where they rode to the Jersey shores ala Slim Pickens in Dr. Strangelove. It is the only way possible, because we're fighting them there, so they can't come here!

Seriously, kudos to the FBI for stopping these guys, although at this time it is unclear that they had any operational abilities.

C: All Of The Above

It looks like Multiple Choice Mitt's failure to raise his hand to deny he believed at the debate the other night has set off some of the alarms bells from the conservative purists. When pressed on the issue by conservative Christian David Brody, Romney issued a statement through a spokesman that said, "Governor Romney believes both science and faith can help inform us about the origins of life in this world."

In other words, Romney chose "all of the above." This has to be a particular slap in the face to conservative Christians who opened up their checkbooks in the first quarter of this year to a tune of $23 million, only to have one of their pet issues thrown back at them like a used towel.

Brody, isn't impressed with Romney's clarification. From CBN News:

With all due respect, what does that mean exactly? It leaves me with more questions. I have asked for further clarification which I assume will be forthcoming here at the Brody File. I have now asked the Romney campaign specifically if he believes in Darwin's theory of Evolution or does he take the Creationist view? The answer above suggests that he may believe in both. I'm not saying he does. I'm just saying I'm a tad bit confused by the answer.

Here's the key point. The majority of Born Again Evangelicals take the Creationist viewpoint. Some Evangelicals already have concerns about Romney's Mormon faith. He needs support from Evangelicals to win. That's why this issue is an important one that needs to be cleared up. I don't think this is an issue that Romney can avoid. I believe his views need to be clear.

Get used to it Brody, this guy views strictly adhere to "what will get me votes today?"

And to be honest, at least he isn't talking about Mormons in space today.

Found via TPM

Monday, May 07, 2007


ABC's local DC affiliate took a look at the DOJ Civil Rights Division's hiring practices and the results are in. From TPM Muckraker:

The I-Team has learned that since 2003...the criminal section within the Civil Rights Division has not hired a single black attorney to replace those who have left. Not one.

As a result, the current face of civil rights prosecutions looks like this: Out of fifty attorneys in the Criminal Section - only two are black. The same number the criminal section had in 1978 - even though the size of the staff has more than doubled.

I could go on and on about this but I think I'll let Kanye West field this one.

Oh, and laughably note this: The Justice Department responded to WJLA-TV's story by saying that the Civil Rights Division as a whole is the most diverse office in the Department of Justice.

Women And The Base

Today, Atrios points to a Tom Schaller article in the Baltimore Sun from last week. Schaller confirms a lot of what I have been saying on this blog for the last couple of years. First, that the actual number of swing voters is very small. Second, that single women are the greatest number of unmined voters for the Democratic party. However, I do think that he gets one part of his message wrong. That is, how to get your soft support to show up. Schaller writes:

For starters, the major parties' appeals to centrist voters will become less effective and efficient, and should be de-emphasized in favor of a strategy that favors identifying and mobilizing base voters.

Republicans figured this out years ago. Before the 2000 recount had concluded, Bush campaign pollster Matt Dowd wrote Karl Rove a game-changing memo in which Mr. Dowd marveled that the center of the American electorate had disappeared. They had expected split-ticket voters to account for about one-quarter of the electorate, but the figure was closer to 6 percent.

Mr. Rove promptly announced he would target for mobilization millions of evangelicals who did not turn out to vote in 2000.

After the 2006 elections, one might expect Democrats to respond in kind. Their victories were fueled by votes from their base: union families and households, women, nonwhite voters and younger voters.

Indeed, if Democrats are looking for their counterpart to the evangelical vote, they should turn to unmarried women: They are a majority of American women, they will soon be a majority of female voters, and when they vote, they vote overwhelmingly Democratic. But millions remain unregistered.

Schaller says the number of swing voters is six percent, I've been saying seven, but I'm not going to split hairs about that. He is right about single women, but there are not many institutions out there that they participate in to get our message out to them and mobilize them, so another route must be taken.

One way to do that is through television, and there are two ways to reach them. One, is through Oprah. With her guy, Barack Obama running in this coming presidential election, I expect her to push voting on her show to help in registering women voters. She may or may not openly campaign for Obama, but she knows that in the general election these women will vote for him if he is chosen the nominee.

An overlooked way to reach women voters is through advertising on the Lifetime network and its sister networks. If I was a Democratic contender I would run ads there right now. Specifically, if I were Obama, who has the lowest name ID, I would be running one minute introduction ads right now. You get hits nationally, and as far as advertising goes, it's relatively cheap.

Where I think Schaller gets it wrong though, is when he talks about mobilizing the vote. A look at the last three even numbered year elections here in Ohio can be very instructive when thinking about this. In 2002, the Democratic Party gave the republicans a gift in the name of Tim Hagan. It was a blowout. If you look at the number of votes Hagan got, it gives us a fairly good idea of how many Democratic base voters there are. That number is 1,236,924. We will bump that number up a little bit to 1,400,000 because the Ohio Democratic Party is far more engaged today than it was then.

Now, in 2006, the republican party returned the favor in the name of Ken Blackwell. Blackwell received 1,474,285 votes. That is an accurate reflection of the republican base.

In 2008, it will take around 2,900,000 votes to win Ohio's delegates for the presidential election. That means both sides will have to come up with another 1,500,000 voters to win. Granted, because it is a presidential election, probably 70% of the number needed will show up for the fact that they always vote in presidential, but getting that last 30% is the trick to winning. We will call them tier II voters. The problem with Schaller's logic is that while most of the remaining voter to tend to stay on one side of the aisle or the other, they are not motivated by the same things that the actual base is motivated by.

These people tend to be motivated by what we call kitchen table issues such as the how the economy is treating them. If you want to win you need to craft a message that gets them off their seats and into the voting booths. Luckily, in 2008, the kitchen table issues appear to be on our side. They are ripe for the plucking, you just need to adjust you message to get them. The base will always vote, the tier II voters are the ones you need to work on.

George Bush The Uniter

Well, it looks like George Bush and the modern republican party have succeeded in uniting the American people on one thing. That being the hatred of George Bush and the modern republican party. In the latest Newsweek poll, only 24% of registered voters identify themselves with the republican party. If you look at the public in general, that number drops to 22%. The Democratic numbers are 36% and 35% respectively.

And if you look at the way Independents have been breaking lately towards the Democrats, the republicans are in real trouble. All this occurs with the deck stacked against us, but if we can keep this momentum to the end of the decade, our gains at the state and local level should allow us to redistrict a lot of districts to make them more winnable. The bottom line is that there are at least another 25-30 seats out there in the US House that we can pick up.

Friday, May 04, 2007

News You Can Use

Here in Ohio, there is a statewide crackdown on speeding this weekend with City Police, County Sheriffs, and the State Highway Patrol all getting in on the act. A County Sheriff has pulled over three people in front of work in just the last hour.

Don't say you weren't warned.

A Message To You, Rudy

Although I didn't watch the republican debate last night, all I've heard about today is that Rudy is A-OK with abortion, well that, and if Zombie Reagan could drag his old bones out of the ground he would totally win!

Anyway, I got the opportunity yesterday to listen to Richard Viguerie, the legendary conservative activist, on the radio yesterday. His take on the candidates was that he really didn't care much for any of the republican candidates, but was open to some, but said in no uncertain terms, if Rudy Giuliani win the republican nomination he would tear the republican party to the ground. (Not exact quote, but close)

So, Rudy has managed to piss off the theocrats, as well as the staunch traditional conservatives, yet he leads in the polls. That leads me to believe that his supporters are among the less active republican voters. In other words, he leads on soft support, and soft support gets you one thing in a primary. Killed.

Grumpiest Old Man

You kids get off my lawn!!! And I'm keeping your Frisbee!!!

Tightening Noose

The steam kettle that is the US Attorney's scandal is now well past whistling, it seems it's ready to blow. Somebody is going to roll, and right now my money is on former Counsel to the Attorney General and White House Liaison Monica Goodling. The Justice Department seems to know this as well. They have initiated their own investigation into Goodling.

Goodling and her attorney, John Dowd, found out about the investigation from a press release from the DOJ, and they are not happy about it. Dowd fired a letter off to express their displeasure. Here is the last paragraph. From TPM:

What disturbs us most is that the Department chose to make its announcement about Ms. Goodling in the midst of Congress's ongoing investigation into the Department's affairs, and less than two weeks after the House Judiciary Committee passed a resolution authorizing the House General Counsel to apply for an order of immunity for Ms. Goodling. The timing of your release smacks of retribution and intimidation.

This is where it gets sticky. The House Judiciary Committee authorized Goodling's immunity, but the DOJ must approve it, and Dowd asserts that they may not block it with a parallel investigation. They may however delay it for 20 days. The bottom line is that Goodling is going to tell the Justice Department to go pound sand and will assert the Fifth in their investigation. What she will tell Congress, is quite another thing however, it could be anything.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Orin Hatch: Complete Moron

I haven't had much time to blog lately as our company is running at about 195% capacity, but I just heard Orrin Hatch on Washington Post Radio and it pretty much made me want to throw the speakers out the window.

First Hatch complained and complained about the how Washington has gotten too damn partisan. Tough luck. It sure didn't seem to be a problem for the last few years when the republicans were in charge. No, Hatch and the others all bellied up to the trough to get their fill.

Secondly, Hatch paraded about that tired old story that if we leave Iraq, the terrorists will follow us here. That is simply bullshit. It isn't like we have these people pinned down in Iraq. In fact, the opposite is true. Damn near ten percent of that country have simply left it, just walked out the door. Do you really think anyone there who wishes to do us harm here can't simply do the same thing.

This brings me to a question. Did Hatch say these things as a partisan talking point? Or is he totally bereft of any knowledge of fighting terrorism?

Look, you don't stop terrorism with a large scale military incursion. In a way, the war on terror is a lot like the war on drugs, that is, it's not a war at all. It is a police action. Yes, you may need some small task forces of special operation types to go to some nasty places and do nasty things to nasty people, but large scale uses of force don't work because along the way you get bogged down by the numerous distractions that those uses of force bring.

It is also fought through interdiction, and the intelligence that allows you the chance to do so. These are things the republican party has woefully neglected though not securing neither our borders nor our ports, not to mention the fact that we our used a good deal of our intelligence assets to prepare for and a few to conduct the unnecessary Iraq War.


Just in case you are wondering why in the world Paul Wolfowitz thinks he can keep his job, you're not alone. In fact, I believe Wolfowitz himself doesn't believe it.

What Wolfie does believe is that he can hang on for another month. Reportedly, if he makes it to June 1st, he is due a $400,000 tax free bonus. I think that after he gets the cash, he'll slink off into the night, hopefully never to be heard from again.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Idiot, Perhaps

Heh, while perusing who voted for or against the supplemental funding bill, I got a kick out of how Joe Lieberman is listed in the role call.

Lieberman (ID-CT)

It's not too much of a stretch of the imagination to see it spells idiot, is it? Of course, at least he did show up to vote unlike war apologists John McCain and Huckleberry Graham.

Great Line

Barack Obama had a great line after the Senate's passage of the supplemental spending bill. He said, "We are one signature away from ending the Iraq War. President Bush must listen to the will of the American people and sign this bill so that our troops can come home.”

On a day when new poll numbers show that Americans agree with the Democratic position, this puts the war squarely on Bush's back, and with it, the republicans back.

So simple, yet so damning.


In this video, Laura Bush explains to Ann Curry how President Bush and her have suffered the most from the Iraq War. No, you haven't. In fact, you haven't suffered at all. Neither have I. I saw the Tillman's give testimony before Congress the other day. They are the face of suffering. So are the others who have lost a father, or a mother, or a sister, or a brother, or a son, or a daughter.

In fact, this war was, by design, prosecuted as to make the few bear the burden of suffering. That is the real reason that we sent too few troops in the beginning, to compartmentalize the suffering and separate it from the general public. That way, they reasoned, the war would never become unpopular.

But something amazing happened. They didn't give the American public enough credit. Quite frankly, neither did I. Without having to suffer, the American people got the chance to look at the war objectively, and despite the fact that the media actively cheer leaded the war, they came to one conclusion. Why the fuck are we there? And why the fuck did we go there?

Thus the President now gets terrible numbers because the war is unpopular and so is he, but being unpopular is a long, long way from actual suffering.

Even Tim Russert gets it now, though he has a little trouble spelling it.

Breakin' 3: White House Jamboree

Damn, and me without my cardboard.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I Need A Drink

No, I need ten. This takes clapping louder to a whole new level.

Time To Walk The Plank For The Leader

After reading the investigations of three republican congressmen at TPM the past few days, I have to think that it isn't a coincidence that the heating up of these seemingly backburnered cases comes right in the heels of the US Attorney scandal.

Think about it, various claims of the politicization of government agencies occur, especially the DOJ and all of the sudden these cases are making news again. It looks to me like Tom Feeney, John Doolittle, and Rick Renzi are getting thrown over the boat by the White House as some sort of sacrificial lambs to take the heat off the White House. Sure, the administration was willing to protect them before, but now that the heat is on, they have to go. Remember, as I've said before, with the Bush administration loyalty is a one way street.

Of the three, Renzi seems the most resigned to his fate as he has resigned his committee positions and asked to be left out of the GOP's incumbent re-election program, while the other two have done no such thing.

And speaking of Renzi, can I really mention him in a post without bringing back that great video of him canoodling with Katherine Harris on the House floor as Rob Simmons gave a floor speech?

Will you wait for me Katherine? Oh well, we will always have that Simmons speech.

Oh My

I'm glad I put off any birthday debauchery until later in the week, it looks like a pretty target rich environment today.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Shut Up And Go To Jail

Why do I still have to hear this fool? Delay's investigation has to be the slowest moving in America.

A Read On Polling

Media Matters has a post up on a James Pinkerton story in Newsday where he says the following:

"If [President] Bush is falling apart so dramatically that he is in danger of simply vanishing, how come he's hanging in there in the polls?"

Bush has been in the low to mid-thirties for a very simple reason. In presidential polling, hard core partisans make up about 25% for each party. That is, in this case 25% of republicans are going to approve because Bush is a member of their party, and 25% of Democrats are going to disapprove because he isn't.

So, if we throw both those groups out as unable to be swayed, Bush gets about a 20% approval ratings from the remaining swayable respondents. That isn't exactly hanging in there.

Found via Atrios

Red Rover, Red Rover, Send Karl's Fat Ass Over

Well, well, well. It looks like the Office of Special Counsel is going to conduct a thorough investigation of Karl Rove's dealings into the US attorney's firings, the lost e-mail, and possible violations of the Hatch Act, which disallows the politicization of civil service positions. From the LA Times:

But the Office of Special Counsel is preparing to jump into one of the most sensitive and potentially explosive issues in Washington, launching a broad investigation into key elements of the White House political operations that for more than six years have been headed by chief strategist Karl Rove.

The new investigation, which will examine the firing of at least one U.S. attorney, missing White House e-mails, and White House efforts to keep presidential appointees attuned to Republican political priorities, could create a substantial new problem for the Bush White House.

First, the inquiry comes from inside the administration, not from Democrats in Congress. Second, unlike the splintered inquiries being pressed on Capitol Hill, it is expected to be a unified investigation covering many facets of the political operation in which Rove played a leading part.

"We will take the evidence where it leads us," Scott J. Bloch, head of the Office of Special Counsel and a presidential appointee, said in an interview Monday. "We will not leave any stone unturned."

Now, it is true that this office doesn't have the ability charge Rove criminally, it can only decide whether or not Rove's dalliances are worthy of dismissal of a federal employee. And we know that no matter what they recommend the boy king isn't going to dismiss him. Who knows, it may even be a sham by the administration to take the heat off Rove by saying everything he did was kosher. CREW thinks this might be the case.

Anyway, it does give me a chance here to take a look at Rove's legacy. It's pretty simple really. Karl Rove is simply the most inept person in policy at the White House in the history of the United States. Sure, he might be good at winning elections, but that is all he has in the bag. When it comes to governing, he stinks.

He has taken an approach to federal government similar to what you might see from a corrupt mayor of a small town. Jobs for the bootlicks, and for the lame brain kids of major donors. That and always attack the other side. Oh, and in a brilliant move, they outsourced foreign policy to the Vice President's office. How did that go?

And of course while they say they don't look at polling, they live and die with every twenty-four hour news cycle. Fearful always of losing even one day of spin. What this does however is cause them to go in circles instead of making progress on any issue. Instead they pressed on with their delusional dream of a permanent majority. Sorry, you have to get something done for that to happen.

Thanks to Rove, Bush has had to endure the burning of Iraq and the drowning of New Orleans. And lest you think this was intentional as some have said it comes from their disdain of government, think again. When they came into office they were going to shrink the size of the federal government, it swelled. They were going to get rid of Social Security, they failed. They have made no movement on any substantial republican positions except making the Supreme Court more conservative and they damn near screwed that up too.

Lastly, as for that permanent majority, even Karl "the numbers" Rove can't keep getting elected when you govern that poorly. As a partisan Democrat, I guess I should say thanks, asshole. As an American, all I can say is asshole.