Friday, June 16, 2006


Click to enlarge

AFTER his surprise trip to Baghdad this week, President Bush struck a hopeful tone. "I do think we'll be able to measure progress," he declared at a news conference on Wednesday. "You can measure progress in capacity of Iraqi units ... in megawatts of electricity delivered ... in oil sold on the market .... There's ways to determine whether or not this government's plans are succeeding."

Molly Ivins:

I think we need to stop President Bush from looking people in the eye. On Tuesday, he told the new prime minister of Iraq that he had come to Iraq to "look you in the eye."

Do we even know if the cultural significance of "looking someone in the eye" is known or accepted in the Middle East? Even if Middle Easterners are kindly disposed toward looking one another in the eye -- say it's not considered rude or worse -- would they know what to make of Bush's declaration to U.S. troops that he came to look at "Prime Minister Maliki in the eyes and determine whether or not he is as dedicated to a free Iraq as you are."

Who knows if Iraqis think this is determinable by the deep-eye look. Come to think of it, I'm not sure it is...

The trouble with Iraq is what keeps happening there. We haven't rebuilt the place -- in fact, it keeps getting worse in terms of basic services. You have to admit, leaving a place worse off than Saddam Hussein kept it is not a bragging point. Number of people killed keeps going up, signs of militias out of control, sectarian violence, spreading anarchy ... not good.

Years ago, Mrs. T. Cullen Davis, of tacky Texas murder trial fame, said as her husband tried to grab a fabulous necklace he gave her, "This ain't no takesie-backsie." (You may now take a deep breath while considering the depth of that comment.)

I feel that Iraq is also a "no takesie-backsie." It is a putrid human, social and political disaster, and getting worse, not better. The people who got us into this should not be forgiven - - they should not even get a "bounce" from it. There is only one thing I want from them -- to get us and our Army out of there, instead of cavalierly announcing that will be left to "future presidents."

H/T Cursor.
A Simple Solution to EVERYTHING: Just Declare War...

More than once, though I don't feel like rumaging through my archives, I've noted that Team Shrub fundamentally can't distinguish between leading and cheerleading...not that I have anything against cheerleaders, mind you: I like looking at pretty female cheerleaders as much as anyone, and in fact am quite impressed by their athleticism/gymnastic talents...but I'm digressing again. The point is that the GOP twitnuts in Congress have followed the Shrub/Rovian lead with their, well, latest masturbatory stunt--a pathetic infusion of greenhouse gases into the public sphere, and, adding insult to injury, soon to be chronicled using wasted trees.

While they piously hrumphhed their way through the motions in the august, hallowed halls of Congress before running off to more fundraisers or settling down on leather chairs in paneled salons, reality once again showed its contempt for the overfed, overpaid, waddling sacks of excrement--as if their triumphant "resolution" could somehow retrieve all the unleashed furies and securely lock them back up in Pandora's box.

What a bunch of dumbfucks...minus, of course, those like John Murtha--and, just to show this ISN'T strictly partisan matter for me, Walter Jones.

But, this sort of thing got me thinking--well, angrily thinking--of what OTHER issues our GOP twits believe could be solved by the simple matter of Congressional Resolution...and a few hundred thousand troops.

Why not a cure for cancer? (I'd also suggest AIDS, but this is Congress, after all)

Just equip our fighting men and women with THESE handy-dandy items. Of course, that might take a few decades when you consider how long it took to get them decent body and vehicle armor. Ah, what the hell? Don't even BOTHER with that fancy stuff. They'll cure cancer with M-16's. And if the patient can't handle getting blasted to bits in the course of "the cure," well, that's too bad: because, by their logic, if you DON'T think blasting a cancer patient with an M-16 is a good idea...then I guess you just WANT cancer to win. Which means you're nothing but a supporter of cancer.

Onec they've cured cancer, Congress can pass a resolution declaring our troops will develop the grand, unified theory, resolve the ultimate question of the fate of the universe, establish a precise measure of the Hubble constant...but, of course, also prove that God--OUR God, not the Muslim, Allah one--created the universe in six days, then rested:

And, once THAT'S taken care of, they can FINALLY get around to the whole "how-many-angels-can-dance-on-the-head-of-a-pin question. Here's something they can use for a visual aid:

See, it's all so easy: especially when your reality consists of chauffered, gas-guzzling SUV's, oak-paneled sitting rooms, comfy leather chairs (they think of it as "hard work")...and "resolutions." Easier than falling off a log.

And, gee, it'd sure be nice if THAT could be arranged: especially if the log happened to be straddling a thousand-foot deep gorge.
People in Glass Houses Shouldn't Throw Potatoes

From Wet Bank Guide and Suspect Device, it seems some Potato State elected officials hold a dim view of their Gret Stet colleagues and fellow citizens:

U.S. Sen. Larry Craig, an Idaho Republican, referred to New Orleans as Baghdad on the bayou. "Fraud is in the culture of Iraqis," he said in October. "I believe that is true in the state of Louisiana as well."

Now the governor there is maligning us, too. "Here in Idaho, we couldn't understand how people could sit around on the curbs waiting for the federal government to come and do something" after Hurricane Katrina, Gov. Jim Risch told a British newspaper last week. "We had a dam break in 1976, but we didn't whine about it. We got out our backhoes, and we rebuilt the roads and replanted the fields and got on with our lives," he said in The Guardian.

People in Idaho don't sit around waiting for the government to bring them drinking water, he said. "In Idaho there would have been entrepreneurs selling the drinking water." (Makes you wonder how he feels about crop subsidies.)

Gov. Risch's ignorance of what it was like in New Orleans after Katrina is matched only by his smugness. Does he really believe that if 80 percent of Boise were underwater, the entire metro area lacked electricity or running water and thousands of people had had to be rescued from their rooftops, there would be a water vendor hawking cool drinks on the street?

If the 25,000 Idaho residents who fled their homes when the Teton Dam broke in 1976 were able to recover quickly and easily, then they were fortunate. The communities below the dam certainly were fortunate that only 14 people died in the flooding.

How would those communities have fared if 100 times that many people had died in the rushing water? What if hundreds of thousands of residents had been forced to flee? What if many of them still hadn't been able to return home nine months after the disaster?

Gov. Risch is lucky not to have to bear the weight of that much loss and suffering. If only he had the grace to know it.

Aside from Senator Craig's (and, presumably, Gov. Risch's) support of wholesale GOP fraud and cronyism, exemplified by the oil tanker loads of money the usual suspects are shoveling into their pockets both from Katrina and war profiteering...did either one think I wouldn't notice the upstanding behavior of their fine constituent Alofa Time?

BOISE, Idaho (AP)--A man transporting his wife's severed head in a pickup truck collided with an oncoming car, killing a woman and her 4-year-old daughter, police said. The impact sent the head flying onto the road.

A Boise police officer was driving behind Alofa Time's truck on a busy road when he noticed the man's erratic driving and then watched him slam into the car, police spokeswoman Lynn Hightower said.

Time, 51, who was not injured, told officers he was involved his wife's death, investigators said.

After searching Time's house in Nampa, police found the decapitated body of 47-year-old Theresa N. Time in a car inside the garage, authorities said. She likely had been dead for several hours, Nampa Police Lt. LeRoy Forsman said.

I believe BEHEADING is also the culture of some Iraqis (as is using cars/trucks as lethal weapons). Maybe we should have one of OUR elected officials imply common cause with the Spud State.

Nah--maybe not. After all, we don't want to stoop to their level.
Bottoms Up

Hurricanes are sooo 2005. Sorry, no link--but if anyone knows who to credit, let me know and I'll update.

Mandatory Evacuation

1 1/2 oz. Absolute Ruby Red vodka
1/2 oz. vermouth
Prune juice
Combine vodka and vermouth in cocktail glass. Fill remainder of glass with
equal parts Clamato and prune juice. Stir. Drink. Ask next-door neighbor
whose ficus tree blew over and crashed onto your roof ­ even though you'd
warned him for months to uproot it ­ if you can use his bathroom. Repeat.

Category 5

1/2 oz. vodka
1/2 oz. tequila
1/2 oz. rum
1/2 oz. bourbon
1/2 oz. gin
Sweet-and-sour mix
Splash of fruit juice
Combine vodka, tequila, rum, bourbon and gin in a tall glass. Fill remainder
of glass with sweet-and-sour mix and splash of juice. Stir, then garnish
with an inverted drink umbrella. Drink during peak storm hours, and vow not
to believe anyone who tries to tell you the hurricane that flooded your
garage and destroyed your shed was just a Category 1.

Cone of Probability

1 oz. cinnamon schnapps
1 sugar cone
Pour the schnapps into the sugar cone. Every time you hear a TV weatherman
say, "cone of probability," bite off the end of the cone and down the shot.
If you hear Bryan Norcross say it, drink two shots consecutively.

Feeder band

2 oz. Midori
2 oz. rum
1 scoop vanilla ice cream
After your home loses power, combine Midori and rum in a cocktail glass. Add
a scoop of the vanilla ice cream that is melting in your freezer. Stir, and
drink through a straw.

Beach Erosion

1 1/2 oz. Goldschläger
1 1/2 oz. apple brandy
1 pack Sugar in the Raw
Combine Goldschläger, apple brandy and sugar in cocktail glass. As you
drink, seriously contemplate moving your ass back to New Jersey where it

Downed Power Line

1 1/2 oz. rum
5 oz. Jolt Cola
Combine ingredients in a cocktail glass. Drink while trying to figure out
how the hell you're supposed to go two freakin' weeks without television.

Flood Zone

2 oz. Kahlúa
2 oz. Baileys Irish cream
4 oz. rum
Serve in a 6-ounce glass and laugh-cry deliriously as the mess spills all
over the countertop.

Cold Shower

2 oz. Blue Aftershock
4 oz. Sprite
Combine in a cocktail glass with crushed ice you received after waiting in
line for three hours at a mall parking lot. Take a deep breath, sip and
scream like a little girl when the cold beverage hits your tongue. Repeat.

Looters Will Be Shot

1 oz. Jack Daniel's
Splash of sarsaparilla
Rock salt
Load both barrels of a shotgun with rock salt. Climb to the roof of your
house with gun, bottle of Jack Daniel's and can of sarsaparilla. Fill shot
glass with Jack and splash of sarsaparilla. Watch for looters. When you spot
one, blast his ass with rock salt. Drink shot. Repeat.

The Chain Saw

1 oz. Goldschläger
1 oz. Rumplemintz
3 oz. Jim Beam
Splash of vermouth
Combine Goldschläger, Rumplemintz and Jim Beam in an empty soup can. Add
splash of vermouth. Drink. Remove chain saw from garage and attempt to cut
up fallen tree limbs in yard. Ask neighbor to drive you to hospital when it
all goes horribly wrong.

Four-Way Stop

1 1/2 oz. vodka
1 1/2 oz. vodka and Midori
1 1/2 oz. vodka and Galliano
1 1/2 oz. vodka and grenadine
Pour each ingredient into a separate shot glass. Serve one to yourself and
three other people. The person with the clear shot of vodka drinks first.
The person to his right drinks the Midori shot, and so on. If somebody
drinks out of order, develop a quick case of road rage and beat the living
crap out of him.

Blue Tarp

1 1/2 oz. Hpnotiq
2 oz. pineapple juice
Splash of lime
Combine ingredients in a leaky paper cup and serve. Wait six to eight months
for someone to repair the cup. If you're impatient, hire an unlicensed,
out-of-state contractor to do the job for an exorbitant sum and pray he
doesn't hurt himself in the process.

FEMA Fizzle

1 oz. Southern Comfort
2 oz. sloe gin
Tonic water
One week after the storm has passed and your neighborhood is still in ruins
with no sign of help on the way, combine Southern Comfort and gin in a
cocktail glass. Fill remainder with tonic and add a dash of Angostura
bitters. Serve with a nut brownie. Before drinking, raise the glass and say
the toast, "Doing a heckuva job!"

Thursday, June 15, 2006

From The Department of "Well, Maybe We Can Sell 'Em a Bridge, Too"

So, the Iraqi "insurgency" is feeling gloomy. Yeah, that's it. That's the story.

As if there IS a single, monolithic "insurgency" in Iraq. Good grief.

More lies, and more bullshit.

And given that neither Congress nor the administration cares all that much about dead soldiers, I can only imagine how quickly they--and their twitnut minions--dismiss Iraqi deaths. I'm sure they consider THOSE bodies little more than annoyances.

Too bad there really is no such thing as true justice: because otherwise, Dennis Hastert and his colleagues in Congress would be busy digging graves in the 110+ degree afternoons...that is, when they weren't crawling around on their knees begging the Iraqi public for forgiveness.
The 'Dumb as a Box of Rocks' 109th Congress

Actually, I'd vote for the rocks. Couldn't be any worse.

Time to bring in Leonard Pinth Garnell to introduce today's "truly dreadful" episode of "Bad 'Representative' Government," because it "really bit the big one" today...

I'll let you link over for the sordid details, but I'm struck by the monumental--or, when I'm feeling a bit more hopeful, dinosaurean--levels of stupidity embodied by GOP officials, who are also playing, if not Kabuki theater (like their top clown--see below), then, at the very least, going through enough ritual to make a Japanese tea ceremony seem like a night at the improv.

And, when they're not engaged in this truly sick spectacle, they act as if we're a bunch of children.

I've got news for Congress: this ain't Little League, and neither we nor the soldiers they've allowed to be sent off to die are little kids--though, in punting away THAT particular responsibility--that is, declaring war--Congress as a whole made a statement about THEIR relative level of maturity.

At this point, Congress would be doing the country a favor if it stuck to things like "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin." Because that's pretty much their connection to reality at this point.
Introducing: The All-New 2006 Object of Hate

This one comes fully loaded. The picture's deliberately fuzzy, so as to facilitate true, Emmanuel Goldstein-esque fits of fury. This year's model also has several other advantages, beginning with the fact that last year's model, is, well, dead:, directing your attention BACK to Abu Ayyub al-Masri (Continental, Mark IV), you'll notice the requisite dark, but, at the same time, almost Europeanish complexion...with just enough touch of French to infuriate all you NASCAR dads! But, there's still plenty of good old Middle Eastern smarminess...I mean, look at those clothes! Those beady eyes, riveted and revealing, yet, cold and distant, too. Take this one around the block once or twice and figuratively whack him upside the head with a baseball bat. That'll help take your mind off your lousy, low-paying job, the awful milestone of 2500 soldiers killed in Operation Deny Reality, the epic incompetence in dealing with the Gulf Coast storms and floods last year...not to mention the ongoing NON-pursuit of mass murderer Osama bin Landen, um, I mean Laden. After all, who cares if your rights are crumbling away faster than a car bomb can be detonated in Sadr City?

Yep, this one should get quite a bit of mileage...provided the media goes along (see: sucker, one born every minute...and probably employed by The New York Times).

Yep...the all new, all improved, 2006 Object of Hate®. Look for it today on Faux News.

And remember: "From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August."
If It's Not One Thing, It's Another

Wouldn't you know it--the deluge of 2005 is followed by the drought of 2006:

After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita blew through the New Orleans area, dumping nearly 1 1/2 feet of rainwater, many prayed for drier days to make work easier for rescuers and give their submerged city a chance to dry out.

"Be careful what you wish for," said state climatologist Barry Keim.

In a ironic twist after most of New Orleans sat submerged in water for weeks, the eight months since Oct. 1 have been the driest south Louisiana has seen in the 111 years that the state has kept rainfall records, he said.

Since October, most of the southern half of the state has averaged just 21 inches of rain, down from the usual 40-inch average, Keim said.

What's worse, other than a minor spike in rain chances beginning Friday and continuing into early next week, the rest of the month looks like more of the same, a National Weather Service forecaster said.

"We're in what's called extreme drought," Keim said of the state's record-breaking dry spell. "We've really been suffering here, especially since Katrina."

Then again, prior to the Katrina-Rita one-two punch, 2005 had been dry by Gret Stet standards. Shoot, I remember walking down by the river at some point last summer--probably right around the time I was reading Rising Tide--and thinking, nope, not this year...but there's more than one way to be inundated, I guess:

Southern Louisiana had been abnormally dry for about five months before the storm made landfall Aug. 29., Keim said.

"The drought was interrupted, if you will, by Katrina, and we went back into the drought pattern. Then we got that deluge from Rita. And as soon as that storm left, we went right back into the drought pattern," he said.

Normally, humidity rises into the sky, forming a cloud and then rain. But Keim said a stable structure of atmosphere is hanging over the region, preventing the moisture from rising, similar to the atmospheric conditions in normally arid states.

"For whatever reason, this dome of upper pressure in the atmosphere seems displaced east by a few hundred miles," Keim said.

The National Weather Service predicts that rain in the area will return to normal levels over the next three months. But Keim said such predictions typically can be way off.

"We're crossing our fingers," forecaster Tim Destri said. "We can't say for sure, but we see some hope of getting back to the typical summer pattern."

And let's hope 'typical' doesn't mean two monster hurricanes. I'd settle for a few middling afternoon showers, even if the subsequent heat DOES give everything kind of a parboiled feel. That's just a normal summer in the Gret Stet. I think my azaleas and tomatoes wouldn't mind it either...

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Meet a Few of Your Upper Class Congressional Twits of the Year

Triplets of Twit: Dent, McCaul, and Uber-Twit Shays

Scout and Suspect Device both posted links already, so hopefully you've seen this. If not, here's the short version:

Yer three twitnut GOP congressmen got themselves all, ahem, atwitter over fraud, real and imagined, resulting from emergency funds disbursed by FEMA after the deluge...but haven't produced so much as a peep--or tweet--about the wholesale feeding at the federal trough, via no-bid contracts, from the usual pigs like Bechtel, Halliburton, or Blackwater. Captain Renault would be proud.

When Shays, McCaul, and Dent are finished waxing indignant over their tempest in a teapot, maybe they can work on lyrics for a song: It's Hard Out There for a Twit.
Playing the God Card

So, Ray Nagin's the latest to claim an "in calling" connection the almighty, or at least "in messaging." know, one thing that bugs me about that sort of stuff, besides the fact that I'm, at best, agnostic, is that it serves to justify the rantings of dingbats who claim catastrophes are some form of "God's will/just desserts."

Oyster has some excellent observations about this sort of weirdness, then concludes:

The mayor was right about two major points, however.

1. In the important months and years ahead, there WILL be an economic boom in New Orleans (while the rest of the country flirts with recession.)

2. Katrina did expose America's "soft underbelly". America watched masses of desperate poor people, waiting for days while no one helped them. This searing episode became a political Rorschach test: the Left saw racism, and gross incompetence in the Bush administration's response . The Right saw a lack of "personal responsibility" on display, as well as the corruption and incompetence of Louisiana politicians.

Luckily, a national discussion about poverty, race and govt policy was narrowly avoided.

That would have been uncomfortable.

Yeah, would've been a real shame...

Also a hat tip to Suspect Device, where I also saw a link to the Trib article. Don't forget to take a look at his latest effort, too.
I Can Write a Memo Too, Congressman Boner

And I'm entitling it "Why Don't You Shove It Up Your Ass."

First, yeah, I know you WANT people to pronounce your last name "BAY-ner," but...fuck you.

No, it won't happen, but I just wish someone would look these GOP assclowns in the eye come their Thursday debate on "national security" and point out the glaring, deer-in-the-headlights obvious fact: when you've proven to the world that you can't handle an ANTICIPATED a can forget about trying to deal with something like a sneak attack.

And, Congressman Boner, you can bark 9/11 until you lose your voice, but...that wasn't exactly a bolt out of the blue either...was it?

You and your fellow wingnut numb-nuts flitted off into Iraq thinking it was going to be a jolly good fireworks show (Shock & Awe, anyone?) and now it's turned into a potential $2 trillion dollar sinkhole, not to mention the equivalent of a fully loaded Cadillac Escalade for THEIR wingnut numb-nuts. Nice work, dipshit.

Oh, and let's not forget the Ursa Minor of your program, Afghanistan...or should we just go ahead and rename it something more descriptive, like Failedstateistan?

It's creeps like you, Boner, who've managed to fiddle while the Gulf Coast suffers.

Damn, it sure would be nice if hell really DID exist. Because you'd have a permanent reservation once you've finished up here.
Dude, You Can Do It...Home Depot Can Help

Can help with the project...or the after-project party.

Here's to doing-it-yourself:

Large quantities of drugs were found inside merchandise from at least two Home Depot stores in Massachusetts, and authorities are investigating, police said Wednesday.

A contractor late last week discovered two 50-pound "bricks" of marijuana wrapped in plastic bags inside a bathroom vanity he had purchased at a Home Depot store in Tewksbury, said Chief of Detectives Lt. Dennis Peterson.

The estimated street value of the marijuana is around $145,000, Peterson said.

Similar incidents have occurred in other parts of the state.

A plumber purchased a vanity in western Massachusetts on Monday in which he later found 3 kilograms of cocaine and around 40 pounds of marijuana, with a total estimated street value of $250,000, according to the Southwick Police Department.

Hey dude, wake up. Your bathroom vanity just arrived.
The Kabuki Administration

Fool me...won't get fooled again.

While I was watching Countdown's coverage of Dear Leader's smoke and mirror road show, I was struck by the level of snide glee administration officials seemed to take in "fooling" if the need for such secrecy itself isn't a damning indictment of present policy.

What's next? Decoder rings for those with the right connections?

Adrastos accurately described it yesterday: the Beavis-Duce administration. Clearly, the top of the slag heap has issues, beginning with the fact that, mentally, they don't seem to have matured beyond early adolescence...although, they're presiding over an administration that's managed to not merely perfect the art of ineptitude, but also achieve dizzying heights of corruption to boot.

Billmon, discussing Operation Mesopotamian Black Hole (and Shrub's not so triumphant stop over), linked to this Dave Lindorff op-ed re: the missing $21 BILLION dollars from our Arabian Nightmare. (which, by the way, makes a mockery of Shrub's statements about Iraqi corruption and/or exhortations for more foreign aid).

You know, wingnuts, in their own gleeful, zealous rantings about why the Gulf Coast should be abandoned, consistently allude to "corrupt local and state officials." While, deep down, this is merely coded racism, it's also interesting to note their blissful ignorance, or at least ignoring of, official corruption on the national level. Corruption that dwarfs anything even the outright worst "local and state officals" ever so much as dreamed of.

I mean, c'mon--$21 BILLION dollars just up and missing? That's as much as the ENTIRE state budget of Louisiana. And I'm sure that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Consider: Shrub has clearly played fast and loose with insider trading laws. Big Time's connections to Halliburton should front page news every day (and the fact that they aren't speaks volumes about our lapdog press).

Evidently, the "example" they've set is being followed by the rest of the GOP controlled national government.

So, we had Shrub's elaborately staged peek-Kabuki yesterday in Iraq. And, I see that Karl Rove, having been released back into the lake by Patrick Fitzgerald, donned the makeup too:

This time, Karlo seems to think, like Shrub, that HE'S been to war, unlike known draft-dodgers John Murtha and John Kerry.

Which, of course, makes me think Rove's managed to get his hands on Limbaugh's stash.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Look For The Union Label


From the online Pic:

The AFL-CIO, a national labor federation based in Washington D.C., said it plans to invest $700 million in affordable housing and mixed-use commercial developments in the New Orleans area.

The union’s funds will come from its Housing Investment Trust, which is comprised of union members’ pension funds.

The trust expects the investment to spark $1 billion in investments in housing and economic development activity in the region over seven years.

The project will be officially unveiled by AFL-CIO President John Sweeney at a New Orleans press conference scheduled for Wednesday.

Library Chronicles has more, with links to WWL and USA Today--and Jeffrey reminds us that "anything [local developer] Pres Kabakoff hates is bound to be good for New Orleans."
Fishing With Fitz

The buzz around Blogaea today seems to be Rove managing to weasel out from under the proverbial hand of far.

Speculation is that the fat pig, or good-sized, if not trophy fish, discovered his singing voice, and is doing his best canary--or, if you prefer, rat--imitation.

In addition, Billmon surmises that "straight arrow" Fitzgerald is likewise unlikely to go for all the marbles and call for Big Time to stand tall before the man. Oh well.

I'm not a fisherman--but it seems tarpon is pursued only for sport ("Somebody once described eating tarpon as akin to eating an old sock full of bones")--and, while a largemouth bass sure would be fun to get on the line, I guess we'll just have to settle for a fathead minnow.

Wonder if my cat'd eat it?
What's With This Guy and Storms?

You can come out from under the porch now, George.

I mean, geez, he's worse than a housepet.

Tropical Storm Abu Alberto's coming ashore, and thank heavens for Florida's sake, doesn't appear to be serious...but Shrub still hightails it to a desert...again.

Maybe it has something to do with losing his nerve as a pilot all those years ago.

Anyway--the latest surprise visitor to the Green Zone was such a secret that the Iraqi Prime Minister was among those much for all the trappings of a state visit. No, this was more of a "don't move while we're deplaning or I'll blow your fucking brains out/heavily armored, slip in and out of the Green Zone" sort of trip. I suppose, coming on the heels of Operation Let's Try to Make Him Look Presidential yesterday, Operation Let's Try to Make Him Look EVEN MORE Presidential Today was planned in advance...but it still looks like Operation Chicken Out in the Face of a Storm to me.

Well, at least there was a tad of good news for the Gret Stet today--The U.S. House passed the spending bill that includes significant amount of hurricane relief funds. It also includes yet another boatload of cash destined to be fruitlessly dumped into the twin black holes of Afghanistan and Iraq--minus, of couse, whatever Halliburton, The Lincoln Group, and assorted GOP hacks can siphon off.

Yer gubmit at work...
Required Reading

Thanks to Scout for writing and FDL for posting. Have a look.

Monday, June 12, 2006

We Have All Been Here Before...

The deja vu of Thomas Friedman. Six months...just enough ensure everyone forgets.

...Could Be Bad for Your Image, Dr. Frist

The Tennessean weighs in on Bill's strange obsession back in his medical school days.

Good. Because, if nothing else, it proves that the guy will lie through his teeth if he feels like it--not to mention kill small, helpless animals. Yeah, some compassion to balance out the conservatism...

Geez--too bad we couldn't introduce him to Jack.

A Senate Majority Leader/potential candidate for president black bear picked the wrong yard for a jaunt, running into a territorial tabby who ran the furry beast up a tree — twice.

Jack, a 15-pound orange and white cat, keeps a close vigil on his property, often chasing small animals, but his owners and neighbors say his latest escapade was surprising.

"We used to joke, 'Jack's on duty,' never knowing he'd go after a Majority Leader/possible candidate bear," owner Donna Dickey told The Star-Ledger of Newark for Friday's editions.

Neighbor Suzanne Giovanetti first spotted Jack's accomplishment after her husband saw a bear climb a tree on the edge of their northern New Jersey property on Sunday. Giovanetti thought Jack was simply looking up at the bear, but soon realized the much larger animal was afraid of the hissing cat.

After about 15 minutes, the bear descended and tried to run away, but Jack chased it up another tree.

Dickey, who feared for her cat, then called Jack home and the bear scurried back to the woods.

"He doesn't want anybody in his yard," Dickey said.

Bear sightings are not unusual in West Milford, which experts consider one of the state's most bear-populated areas.

Maybe we could send Jack the cat to Iowa and/or New Hampshire come primary season...
Team Bush and Syncophants: Taking on the Terrifying, um, Straw Man

ComSympcrow...or a "demoralized terrorist lover"

Some of All Fears

Back in 1971, Russell Baker, the legendary Times columnist, devoted one of his Op-Ed columns to an interview with Those Who — as in "Those Who snivel and sneer whenever something good is said about America." Back then, Those Who played a major role in politicians' speeches.

Times are different now, of course. There are those who say that Iraq is another
Vietnam. But Iraq is a desert, not a jungle, so there. And we rarely hear about Those Who these days. But the Republic faces an even more insidious threat: the Some.
The Some take anti-American positions on a variety of issues. For example, they want to hurt the economy: "Some say, well, maybe the recession should have been deeper," said President Bush in 2003. "That bothers me when people say that."

Mainly, however, the Some are weak on national security. "There's Some in America who say, 'Well, this can't be true there are still people willing to attack,' " said Mr. Bush during a visit to the National Security Agency.

The Some appear to be an important faction within the Democratic Party — a faction that has come out in force since the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Last week the online edition of The Washington Times claimed that "Some Democrats" were calling Zarqawi's killing a "stunt."

Even some Democrats (not to be confused with Some Democrats) warn about the influence of the Some. "Some Democrats are allergic to the use of force. They still have a powerful influence on the party," said Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution after the 2004 election.

Joe Klein, the Time magazine columnist, went further, declaring that the Democratic Party's "left wing" has a "hate America tendency."

And when Senator Barack Obama told The New Yorker that Americans "don't believe that the main lesson of the past five years is that America is an evil hegemon," he seemed to be implying that influential members of his party believe just that.

But here's the strange thing: it's hard to figure out who those Some Democrats are.

For example, none of the Democrats quoted by The Washington Times actually called the killing of Zarqawi a stunt, or said anything to that effect. Mr. Klein's examples of people with a "hate America tendency" were "Michael Moore and many writers at The Nation." That's a grossly unfair characterization, but in any case, since when do a filmmaker who supported Ralph Nader and a magazine's opinion writers constitute a wing of the Democratic Party?

And which Democrats are "allergic to the use of force"? Some prominent Democrats opposed the Iraq war, but few if any of these figures oppose all military action. Howard Dean supported both the first gulf war and the invasion of Afghanistan. So did Al Gore. To all appearances, both men opposed the Iraq war only because they thought this particular use of force was ill advised and was being sold on false pretenses.

On the other hand, maybe appearances are deceiving. Shortly before the invasion of Iraq, The New Republic accused those who opposed the war — in particular, the editorial page of The New York Times — of hiding behind a "mask of nuanced criticism" when their real position was one of "abject pacifism."

But Peter Beinart, who was The New Republic's editor at the time, now seems to concede that the war's opponents were right. "Worst-case logic became a filter," he writes in his new book, "which prevented war supporters like myself from seeing the evidence mounting around us."

So what's going on here? Some might suggest that the alleged influence of the Some is no more real than the problem of flag-burning, that right-wing propagandists are attacking straw men to divert attention from the Bush administration's failures. And they wonder why people like Mr. Obama are helping these propagandists in their work.

Some might also suggest that Democrats who accuse other Democrats of closet pacifism are motivated in part by careerism — that they're trying to sustain the peculiar rule, which still prevails in Washington, that you have to have been wrong about Iraq to be considered credible on national security. And they're doing this by misrepresenting the views and motives of those who had the good sense and courage to oppose this war.

But that's just what Some Democrats might say. And everyone knows that Some Democrats hate America.
But He Plays One on TV

"Looking pResidential"


Reality Check

I'm sure the media will dutifully transcribe--with appropriate solemnity--the latest telenovela devoted to Iraqi war strategery...shoot, if we're lucky, we might be treated to yet another waste of trees, promising that, as long as we think/clap really hard--and maybe tap our heels together--we can emerge soon as they figure out just what exactly "victory" is supposed to mean.

That or maybe they're trying to figure out just how much lipstick they'll need on the pig to convince the public that it's actually a lovely young ingenue.

I wonder if Shrubleroy will insist on everything being "Meghan-ized" (aside: jaysus, Ms. O'Sullivan looks almost as creepy as what's-her-name on The Apprentice)...

Or maybe they'll just linger over the details of Zarqawi's death with the glazed, drooling expressions more commonly found on the faces of teenage boys with skin mags...

Meanwhile, welcome to Hurricane Season 2006. Don't know about y'all, but two things about Alberto (Abu?) don't exactly have me breathing a sigh of relief as it bears down on the Florida peninsula: I keep seeing things like "surprised forecasters in how quickly it intensified" or words to that effect. On the other hand, firefighters in the region are hoping the rains will make their jobs a little easier, so maybe it's a case of good news/bad news.

Anyway...time to cross our fingers...sort of like how I do now every time I try to post something on Blogger.