Monday, December 31, 2007

Oil Dick

Mission Accomplished:

Oil prices ended the year near $96 a barrel, or 57 percent higher than where they began, and analysts expect rising demand and geopolitical instability to keep upward pressure on energy costs early in 2008.

Oh, but pity the poor oil companies, who "only" earned $50.3 billion dollars in the first three quarters of last year. Hell, I'm surprised Dick doesn't offer them a bailout package.

Then again, maybe he's too busy counting the profits on his Halliburton options, which rose in value some 3000% over the last couple of years (h/t Suspect Device for the link--scroll down to number 2)...

On the bright side, 2008 promises to bring an end to the Bush administration, which can't come soon enough. Of course, if there was any real justice, 2008 would see the conviction and imprisonment of most of the administration...but I'll settle at this point for their unlamented and permanent exit from the political stage.

Have a Happy New Year, y'all.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Saturday "What I Found on You Tube" Post

Appropriate for a solstice celebration.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Oxy and Contin

While Rush Lamebone was popping so much Oxycontin he destroyed his hearing, guess who handled PR for Purdue Pharma?

Rudy did.
But on Steroids

I already linked to the Juan Cole Salon article, but this observation is certainly worth more emphasis:

The question is whether President Musharraf now most resembles the shah of Iran in 1978. That is, has his authority among the people collapsed irretrievably?

If that IS the case, then things could go to hell in a handbag and in a real hurry. At least Iran didn't have nuclear technology then (despite the very foolish attempt by our country to provide him with it)...oh, and Pakistan is more than twice as populous.

And, dealing with this, is the Bush administration...which is sort of like having someone who failed basic algebra taking the calculus exam for you. Ouch.
"Down Goes Frazier Euthymius!"

I guess Gret Steters aren't the only ones with a somewhat unusual interpretation of the Christmas message (from AmericaBlog):

Greek Orthodox and Armenian priests attacked each other with brooms and stones inside the Church of the Nativity as long-standing rivalries erupted in violence during holiday cleaning on Thursday.

Tis the season.
Color Me Skeptical

Personally, I'm not buying the story that Bhutto accidentally killed herself. If you ask me, it sounds more like a crude, and somewhat clumsy attempt to calm, or at least confuse, things long enough to get a handle/put a lit on something that could blow up very easily.

If that's the best they've got, though, it sure as hell isn't good.
There's Slow, Then There's Bush Administration A.C.O.E. Slow *

You know, part of me is a little sympathetic to the request for more time to develop a coastal protection plan for Category 5 hurricanes...I mean, c'mon, any plan worthy of the concept will be neither cheap nor easy to implement. But any sympathy is tempered quite a bit by the fact that IF the Bush administration actually considered the needs of American citizens to be, you know, in the national interest, there WOULD ALREADY be a plan in the works.

It comes back to something Scout Prime wrote about at a TPM forum: what sort of government DO we want? One that responds to our needs, or one that doesn't give a shit (that is, doesn't give a shit about us--on the other hand, Dick Cheney and those connected to him are cackling giddily: government is certainly responsive to THEM). I mean, geez, every day I think about an astonishing array of things government could easily be providing--to all of us, regardless of location--instead of choosing to spend blood by the barrel and money by the billions, with plenty of the latter finding its way into Big Time's grubby fingers.

It's all a matter of priorities...and choices.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Shrub n' Huxley

What makes me think this is probably accurate is that Dear Leader didn't actually read the book...nor was it a book on tape:

In a new piece in Commentary magazine, Jay Lefkowitz -- who advised Bush on stem cells -- reveals how the President formulated his 2001 policy. While Bush heard from a variety of groups on both sides of the issue, the turning point appeared to come when Lefkowitz read from Aldous Huxley’s fictional novel, Brave New World, and scared Bush...

It’s unclear what passage Lefkowitz read, but Brave New World opens with a scene at the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre, where embryos are turned into full human beings -- often dozens of pairs of "identical twins" to ensure "social stability."

Scientists are not proposing such fictional experiments and recognize the need to balance ethics with scientific progress. In fact, the legislation expanding embryonic stem cell research (vetoed by Bush) -- actually proposed ethics regulations that were stricter than Bush’s. Additionally, a bill banning human cloning was blocked by conservatives in Congress in June.

Six years since the President’s misguided, outdated restrictions, the scientific community has come together in support of lifting this ban. Even University of Wisconsin Professor James Thomson, whose work isolating embryonic stem cells has been used by the right wing -- including Lefkowitz -- as vindication for Bush’s policies, has stressed that the administration’s restrictive stem cell policies are "counter to both scientific and public opinion" and are inhibiting potential treatments.

Too bad Lefkowitz didn't read Bush any passages referring to the effects of soma...that might've made stem cell research a national sacrament.
Something's Missing...

This picture looks familiar, but...

Oh, right.

As so many, including myself, have said, this administration really has the anti-Midas touch. Everything they grab on to turns to shit.
From the Department of the Blindingly Obvious

From Cursor a Chicago Tribune analysis piece headlined "Bush was big spender in early years."

Ya think?

Like a certain NOLA blogger pointed out a couple of YEARS ago, the article notes that "Bush spent at a pace that exceeded that of President Lyndon Johnson in the Great Society years" while further nothing his latest, highly selective hissy fits over earmarks are an indication "that Bush has applied a double standard during his presidency."

Next thing you know, the Trib will have a "breaking news" report that the sun will "set in a southwesterly direction" this evening.

Bush, like his conservative forebears, has NEVER actually wanted to CUT government. That would be so monumentally stupid that even he knows better. Their interest is not in cutting, but shifting: shifting spending as far as possible to the the economic elite, while shifting costs (i.e., taxes) as much as they can to the middle and working class. Which, when carried to perverse extremes, results in a $15 billion dollar a month budget for "war,", with no one really knowing how much of that is waste/graft/profiteering or whatever you want to call it (my personal guess is substantially more that 50 percent).

And, of course, it's not like things are getting any more stable in the Middle East or South Central Asia.

But hey, we're not talking about a $750 projection screen tv, so I guess there's no real outrage...
Another Wingnut Welfare Program

I'm sure the Sunni insurgency is happy to eliminate, with extreme prejudice, some if not most of the genuine religious whack-loons floating around exchange for resupply AND salary.

The deaths of four erstwhile insurgents in a house raid merely underscores what should be pretty obvious at this point--in Iraq, human life is cheap. What's astonishing, and not in a good way, is that Team Bush is applying that particular rule to our own soldiers in the field, while delivering what amounts to aid and comfort to the enemy. Oh, sure, they'll "ally" with us--for now. But alliances in Mesopotamia shift as quickly as desert sand dunes, and watching this latest example of this administration's floundering and stupidity while insisting that all is well SHOULD be infuriating to anyone who actually gives a damn about this country and our military.

Team Bush is literally passing out welfare to insurgents who've killed Americans...and that's a VERY, VERY bad idea.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Ten Seconds of Time That Speaks Volumes

The Senate remains in pro-forma session in order to deliver an emphatic "NO" to Bush on torture.
From One Monster, Many

As an Iraqi put it, "the United States got rid of one Saddam only to replace him with 50".
Deep in the Heart of Texas

Texas takes the term "death penalty state" literally:

For the first time in the modern history of the death penalty, more than 60 percent of all American executions took place in Texas.

That's one way of putting yourself on the map. Another way is to make a mockery of judicial procedure:

The last execution before the Supreme Court imposed a de facto moratorium happened in Texas, and in emblematic fashion. The presiding judge on the state’s highest court for criminal matters, Judge Sharon Keller, closed the courthouse at its regular time of 5 p.m. and turned back an attempt to file appeal papers a few minutes later, according to a complaint in a wrongful-death suit filed in federal court last month.

The inmate, Michael Richard, was executed that evening.

Judge Keller, in a motion to dismiss the case filed this month, acknowledged that she alone had the authority to keep the court’s clerk’s office open but said that Mr. Richard’s lawyers could have tried to file their papers directly with another judge on the court.

Wouldn't want a life or death decision to get in the way of that evening's entertainment, I guess.
In the Reality-Based Community, It's Still Chickenshit

But in Bushworld, it's actually a tasty chicken salad! Mmmmm, delicious, says the media, especially with a little added surge.

I suppose it's appropriate, if not ironic, to sigh, "Jeeeesus H. Christ" when reading a this story at this time of year, particularly when a most inconvenient truth has been swept under the rug:

But tens of thousands of Baghdadis have found an antidote [to horrific traffic jams] in the venerable motor scooter. Often imported from China and bearing almost familiar names like "Yomaha" or "Mucati Classic," scooters have taken the city by storm, providing a nearly ideal way of getting about in a war-weary town riddled with checkpoints and bedeviled by car bombs.

Typical Pravda-Upon-Hudson: see--it's not so bad after all! Sure, their country is the trainwreck of all trainwrecks, but hey, take a spin on the scooter and feel the wind in your hair. Nevermind a FUEL SHORTAGE, no electricity or running water...or the suicide bombers that may still be active but I guess just don't count anymore or the VERY inconvenient fact that heretofore the one stable area in the country--the Kurdish region--isn't anymore. No, think about the scooters...and maybe give it another Friedman Unit.

Just don't let reality intrude upon the President and the modern conservative movement...that'd be rude.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Saturday "What I Found on You Tube" Post

And if I'm a little slow to post over the next few days, Happy Holidays and Merry Solstice everyone.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Working Class Heroes

Cat blogging from the New York Times--felines earning their keep in the Big Apple even as they're forced to step lightly or risk getting into trouble with the man.

The article links to this site devoted to their stories.

Having seen a couple of working class cats on visits to the city, count my vote in their defense...
One Thing I Learned This Week

Even though it's MILLIONS of dollars, it CAN'T be fraud, because there's no fancy teevee.

I mean, it certainly isn't because Ms. Jasper is elderly and black, right?
Happy Holidays

Something sure to cause rabid wingnuts to cackle while soulless bureaucrats chortle this holiday season:

A 17-year old died just hours after her health insurance company reversed its decision not to pay for a liver transplant that doctors said the girl needed.

Nataline Sarkisyan died Thursday night at about 6 p.m. at University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center. She had been in a vegetative state for weeks, said her mother, Hilda.

"She passed away, and the insurance (company) is responsible for this," she said.

Nataline had been battling leukemia and received a bone marrow transplant from her brother. She developed a complication, however, that caused her liver to fail.

Doctors at UCLA determined she needed a transplant and sent a letter to CIGNA Healthcare on Dec. 11. The Philadelphia-based health insurance company denied payment for the transplant.

On Thursday, about 150 teenagers and nurses protested outside CIGNA's office in Glendale. As the protesters rallied, the company reversed its decision and said it would approve the transplant.

Despite the reversal, CIGNA said in an e-mail statement before she died that there was a lack of medical evidence showing the procedure would work in Nataline's case.

I'll bet whoever issued the initial denial got a nice fat bonus check. Enjoy your blood money.
Race to the Bottom

In the nano-percentage range of public approval lies FEMA--no big surprise there--with numbers slightly BELOW the I.R.S., but, presumably, slightly higher than virulent staph and Dick Cheney, in that order...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Mitt-Ray Vision

"Far out..."

In the reality-based world, it's called making shit up.
Putting the "Gag" in Gaggle

Is there a more disgusting site--at least in areas NOT torn apart by conflict due to their meddling--than Shrub preening from a podium?

I've seen honest-to-god spoiled rotten brats who look the picture of mature and restrained behavior in comparison.
"Failed Public Housing"

Bill Quigley:

"This is the season of celebrating the most famous homeless man of all time, and now we are going to dramatically and drastically reduce the number of housing units in our community."

Dangerblond has more.
Holiday Greetings

Satan and Vice-Satan pass along their warmest wishes this winter season.
Sweeping the Dirt Behind the Curtain

More reality denying from not just wingnuttia but the cringing, soulless media as well. Yesterday I noticed a couple of blog posts about the Congressional testimony of Jamie Leigh Jones, who makes a pretty compelling case that she was brutally raped and assaulted by Halliburton co-workers...a story that the New York Times seems to think is only worthy of a couple of perfunctory wire service reports. Oh, and it turns out that at least ten other women have reported being assaulted (meaning it's likely there are even MORE victims who, for various reasons, decided to NOT file reports).

Then, also reported as sort of an afterthought, is the tragic, ugly story of Private Steven Green, accused (with strong evidence) of brutally raping a 14 year old Iraqi child, then just as brutally murdering her AND her family. Four others have been already been convicted for their roles in this. Green's trial is now set for...April of 2009.

Finally, this morning I noticed this article about a real-life situation somewhat loosely akin to the Vincent D'Onofrio character in Full Metal Jacket: a clearly disturbed young soldier killed himself (he did NOT shoot a drill instructor or anyone else) after repeated and loud signals that he was clearly NOT suited for Army life...yet the military continued to carry him, even as they deliberately did all they could to make his life miserable.

Now maybe it's just me, but I don't think these articles are unrelated: they point to the VERY obvious reality that--DUH--war IS an extraordinarily ugly endeavor, ergo, an ABSOLUTE LAST RESORT. Wingnuts seem to lack the understanding that a MAJOR consequence of war is A. TOTAL. BREAKDOWN. OF. SOCIAL. ORDER...either that, or they welcome it. Neither is particularly pleasant to consider, and both point to very serious issues among that crowd. Referring to them as socio- or psychopaths is NOT mere rhetorical hyperbole, particularly when their response to the stories above tends, as often as not, towards even more perverse crudity, at least in their verbiage.

Some "Good" Germans eventually had to take a LONG look at themselves when the truth, inevitably, came out. Are we ready to do the same?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

You'd Be Better Off Giving Your Credit Card to the Town Drunk

Congress votes to waste another $70 billion dollars and lord knows how many more lives...
Through the Roof

Things are going soooo well in Bush America that upwards of one in five will be borrowing money or using the credit pay the heat bill:

For perhaps as many as 27 million American adults, keeping warm this winter will mean borrowing money and 20 million will use credit cards to be able to afford their heating bills, according to a poll.

Nearly 12 percent of Americans say they will need to borrow money to pay winter heating bills; 9 percent will need to use credit cards to be able to afford their heating bills. The poll, commissioned by and conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media, surveyed 1,004 randomly selected American adults by telephone Dec. 7-9, 2007 to gauge their attitudes about energy costs in 2008. A majority say they expect oil and gasoline prices to get worse in 2008.

Like a third world country but on steroids...
And The Winner Is, Redux

My initial post was supposed to be a mix and match of satire and condemnation (of a VERY cynical and ugly government decision to possibly deport the foreign national wives of US soldiers serving overseas).

Looks like I wasn't all that far off from genuine "news," though. Weird.
Life in the Slow Lane

Not that anyone with a few functioning brain cells should be all that surprised, but Team Bush only seems to whine about bureaucracy when it gets in the way of their wholesale looting of treasury funds (e.g., the war of choice in Iraq)...turns out they CAN'T GET ENOUGH bureaucracy when it comes to abandoning entire regions of the United States:

A week after Hurricane Katrina, a senior official with the Federal Emergency Management Agency in charge of streamlining the flow of disaster aid issued a directive that would have helped a staggering 1,029 rebuilding projects and $5.3 billion in funds cut through the agency’s infamous red tape.

But in a decision critics say led to losing precious time in the post-storm recovery, her three-day deadline to clear projects through a final bureaucratic hurdle was rejected. The rebuilding of schools, roads, hospitals, firehouses and other desperately needed infrastructure was stalled for months of interagency reviews that ended at the White House Office of Management and Budget.

If you've got the time, read the entire article. It really captures the essence of Team Bush indifference, and again, is worth contrasting with their tantrum-like behavior when it comes to things like warrantless wiretapping (and retroactive immunity), Terry Schiavo, the wars, tax cuts for the rich, etc. Talk about hypocrisy.

In fact, about the only thing they've shown less enthusiasm towards (if not more bureaucratic indifference) has been the anthrax attacks. Hmmm...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Laying it on Pretty Thick, I See

The polymers that make up Trent Lott's rug must have a toxic effect on anyone close enough to inhale the fumes:

In a speech on the Senate floor today, Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR) paid tribute to Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS), who recently announced his resignation. Smith remembered Lott’s "warm slap on our backs" and the "steely look in his eye." He also defended Lott’s comments in 2002, which heralded the segregationist platform of former senator Strom Thurmond...

Former attorney general John Ashcroft remembers Lott as "Lincoln-esque."

My own theory is that Lott's, um, "hair" must've been manufactured in China and coated in lead-based paint...
Another Day, Another Case of Wingnut Cruelty to Animals

Today's example is "courtesy" of Blackwater International, but comes on the heels of revelations that Mike Huckabee's son David took delight in hanging, then slitting the throat of, a supposedly mange-infested dog that happened to cross his path.

And let's not forget "Seamus, you ride on the top" Romney, Bill Frist, cat adopter from hell, or Shrub's own fascination with inflicting pain, suffering, and death.

By the way: a large number of serial killers were animal abusers first. Something to think about.
Healthcare ABC's

"It's actually quite simple, really"

Browsing around Pravda's Science Times, I came across a story about Health Insurance Counselor Frederic Riccardi, certainly an individual engaged in heroic effort...while the article itself is an equally damning indictment of the byzantine labyrinth that defines "care" these days.

You really do have to wonder if anti-reformists are expressing mere bureaucratic indifference (i.e., the Banality of Evil) or are genuine sadists...
Dies Irae

Pravda on the now more or less permanently exiled New Orleanians: the accounts from people who left New Orleans after the storm, the missing or ruined physical landscape is barely half of it. Even more absent now is the human landscape -- the network of friends, relations and acquaintances that often, in New Orleans, helps compensate for fragmentary families and neighborhoods that can be dangerous. Life in the city takes place outside the home as much as inside; now, that would not be possible.

"It’s not New Orleans to me," said Ms. Shanklin, the retired bus driver in Terrebonne Parish. "And I find myself asking, Where are all the people? I see all the empty houses, and I knew once there was people in all those houses."

"Where are the people, you know? Where are the people?" Ms. Shanklin said. "It’s like somebody threw a bomb on it."

To his credit, Nossiter doesn't sugar-coat things--New Orleans can be a pretty rough city. But nonetheless it was home to literally hundreds of thousands of folks who were forced out, thanks to federal government neglect before AND after the flood. Contrast this with the steps they're now taking in attempting to forestall the home mortgage disaster that also occurred on their watch. Whether too little, or too late, at least they're doing something, unlike their response to the largest forced diaspora of American citizens since I'd guess either World War II (the internment camps) or the Civil War...

Monday, December 17, 2007

But Minus the "Slack"

Tbogg's commentors notice an eerie resemblance between the latest Mittwear and Bob Dobbs.
Scientists Stumble Upon Cheney's "Secure, Undisclosed Location"

It's in Indonesia--who knew?

Scientists believe they have found...a pygmy possum and a giant rat -- in the jungles of a remote mountain range in Indonesia's Papua province...


"The giant rat is about five times the size of a typical city rat," said Kristofer Helgen, a scientist with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. "With no fear of humans, it apparently came into the camp several times during the trip."

The possum was described as "one of the worlds smallest marsupials."

Yep, must be the place.

Bonus rat sighting
"You Want Fries With Your Economy?"

Good grief--President Dipshit, looking more and more like the pathetic used-war salesman he is, shows up "unannounced" (yeah, right) at--I shit you not--a "Yak-a-Doo's" Holiday Inn restaurant in Fredericksburg, Virginia, to insist that, facts nothwithstanding, the economy is "safe and sound."

Aside from resembling the equally cheesy circumstances of his being "saved" religiously, his appearance at a Rotary Club gathering really demonstrates how low they've sunk, reduced to pitching their ideas before a group that, if nothing else, will maintain a sense of decorum if only to be polite.

Meanwhile, in the real world, people are beginning to realize that eight years of prosecuting war the way a sailor pursues alcohol and whores on shore leave does come at a price. And, to cite Hullabaloo again, yes, when the new president takes office, presuming she or he is a Democrat, the noise machine will commence to roar while its media chorus will, quite suddenly, rediscover at least a smidgen of capacity for critical, adversarial "thought."

I guess the only real question is whether it will be too late, or waaay to late. I think we'll know the answer as it registers in our wallets...
The Kiss, Redux

Holy Joe says he ♥'s Crazy John.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Saturday What-I-Found-on-YouTube-Post

Songs of freedom...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Mass Graves On Our Watch Don't Count

Funny how wingnut "concern for the Iraqi people" has dwindled down to pretty much absolute zero now that their safety is their responsibility...
A New Overseer for the Huckabee Campaign

Welcome aboard, Ed!
...And German is the Language You Speak to Your Dog In

Bill O'Rielly declares victory in this year's "Storm Troop for Santa and the Baby Jesus" nonsense fest.
Not Exactly How to Get on the Map

Except for college football, a refinery or chemical plant explosion, or the odd inflated statewide political ego, Red Stickburg doesn't usually make the national news...ergo I was a little surprised to see a report on CNN and Yahoo News. Unfortunately, it's not exactly a ringing endorsement:

Two students were found shot to death in an apparent home invasion at their Louisiana State University apartment, and officials decided to keep the campus open Friday while police searched for three suspects.

The victims, Chandrasekhar Reddy Komma and Kiran Kumar Allam, both international Ph.D. students, were found inside an apartment at the Edward Gay complex late Thursday night after authorities received a call seeking medical attention.

Both men had been shot once in the head, said Charles Zewe, an LSU system spokesman. Three men were seen leaving the area, and police were searching for them.

"From what we're being told, Komma was bound with a computer cable and shot," Zewe said. "The other man was found near the door."

The call to 911 was made by Allam's pregnant wife, who returned home and found the men dead, said Srinivasa Pothakamuri, a friend of Komma. Komma, a biochemstry student, was visiting the apartment at the time. Allam was in the chemistry program. Both men were from India, Zewe said.

Sad to say, my first thought was the possibility of redneck rage/all ferriners look alike/let's kill all the moooooslims; however, the location suggests home invasion/robbery. In fact, I didn't even know the complex was still open. I assumed it had been shut down due as it's literally on the border of a massive slum and the fact that LSU has been on quite a building spree of late, constructing large numbers of apartments.

That said, the fact that LSU borders a massive slum is significant: you'd think housing near a college campus would be, oh, a little less depressed, but that's not the case...or at least it hasn't been for a while. Certain areas, like the Bottoms (called because it's on bottom-land bordering the natural levee) have been impoverished for some time, other spots, while never the high life, hit hard times during the 1980s depression down here, and never really recovered.

You know, like with a lot of things, neighborhoods can VERY easily fall apart...but they're not nearly as easily restored. That might be worth considering on a larger level. In the meantime, I certainly hope they catch whoever did this, and I feel terrible for the families who lost loved ones...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Rape Rooms

Another Halliburton/KBR employee reveals she was raped while in Iraq. The case is now in private arbitration, which sounds to me like something Saddam Hussein would do...and makes me think that all the wingnut fury directed towards the Iraqi thug was based, in the end, on...envy.
Is Your PODS Container Harboring Terrorists?

It's refreshing to see that the citizenry, or at least a panel of twelve jurors, is capable of rendering a sober judgement based on real evidence, as opposed to Team Bush's constant opting for the batshit insane, sky is falling approach. Maybe there's a shred of hope after all...
Al Gore Completes Home Renovations

Actually, it appears that Gore really DID significantly reduce his carbon footprint on a structure that's more than a mere residence (it also functions as a office and is likely a focal point for any number of initiatives)--good for him.

Of course, wingnuttia's mind is made up, so there's no chance of confusing them with factual data, although perhaps they can offset any sort of typical tantrum behavior by repeating to themselves, over and over, like a mantra, that Michael Moore is...still fat.
"They Can Always Just Go to the Emergency Room"

"As long as, you know, they don't miss any work."

Nice to know that providing health care to the sick won't get in the way of Shrub's "principles," although the only "principle" I see here is his
not-giving-a-shit-about-anyone-but-himself. Well, that and perhaps a bit of sadistic glee.

(h/t Rising Hegemon)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Still Worth Less Than a Loonie--or a Loon

Click here, if the embedded code doesn't work.
(I came across this at AmericaBlog)
Fully Cooperative

Is this really what we want "freedom" to look like?

(via Cursor)
And Get Off My Lawn, You Damned Kids!

Sounds like Hollywood Fred forgot to take his Metamucil...well, either that or his Depends are all in a knot:

In today’s GOP presidential debate in Iowa, Fred Thompson refused to answer whether or not global climate change is a "serious threat and caused by human activity." When the moderator asked to see a show of hands from the candidates, Thompson became combative and declared, "I’m not doing hand shows today." At least four other candidates raised their hands.

When the moderator refused to give him a full minute to answer the question, he replied, "Well, I’m not going to answer it." While McCain and several other candidates followed up and outlined their energy plans, Thompson stayed silent.

Hey everyone, make sure to save some of the cream-style corn for the former senator, ok?
Bond: Waterboard, Boogieboard--What's the Difference?

Kit Bond is no James fact, Kit Bond isn't even a tinpot Torquemada wanna be. As Ray McGovern points out, the Spanish didn't trifle with euphemism:

The 15 & 16 Century Spanish inquisitors were not squeamish, and had little need for "alternative set of procedures" that are part of President George W. Bush's lexicon. The Spanish called this procedure, quite plainly, "tortura del agua." Lacking cellophane, they inserted a cloth into the victim's mouth, forcing the victim to ingest water spilled from a jar starting the drowning process. Four centuries later, the Gestapo put out several technically improved releases of this operating system of torture, so to speak.

No, we should call Kit Bond and all the others like him what they are: vicarious sadists, loathsome enough, but utterly lacking the courage of their creepy convictions...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

Turn enough corners, and eventually you'll find yourself back at square one:

Has the US turned the tide in Baghdad? Does the fall in violence mean that the country is stabilizing after more than four years of war or are we seeing only a temporary pause in the fighting?

American commentators are generally making the same mistake that they have made since the invasion of Iraq was first contemplated five years ago. They look at Iraq in over-simple terms and exaggerate the extent to which the US is making the political weather and is in control of events there...

American politicians continually throw up their hands in disgust that Iraqis cannot reconcile or agree on how to share power. But equally destabilizing is the presence of a large US army in Iraqi and the uncertainty about what role the US will play in future. However much Iraqis may fight among themselves a central political fact in Iraq remains the unpopularity of the US-led occupation outside Kurdistan. This has grown year by year since the fall of Saddam Hussein. A detailed opinion poll carried out by ABC News, BBC and NTV of Japan in August found that 57 per cent of Iraqis believe that attacks on US forces are acceptable.

Nothing is resolved in Iraq. Power is wholly fragmented. The Americans will discover, as the British learned to their cost in Basra, that they have few permanent allies in Iraq. It has become a land of warlords in which fragile ceasefires might last for months and might equally collapse tomorrow.
Color Me...Skeptical

About the only thing John Kiriakou says that I'll consider valid is that he's now of the opinion that waterboarding is torture, is unnecessary...and was ordered from the very top people within the Bush administration.

The assertion that they got ANYTHING useful from Abu Zubaydah is dubious at best...besides, what idiots would trust them NOW after some seven years of lies? Nope, I call bullshit, particularly given that they willingly and deliberately destroyed evidence.

My guess is that Shrub, regardless of his true feelings, was told to maintain deniability for his own good...Cheney almost certainly was in on it, the sadistic creep, along with Rumsfeld. Asscrossed might have had a general idea, no pun intended, but was probably insulated for the same reasons as Shrub. NSA Rice? Who knows?

As for the myriad underlings and/or fall guys? Well, given Democratic complicity in some of this, I doubt any are in danger, and certainly none have become John Dean-like figures. Besides, when you've got people getting away with this, I doubt seriously that anything will happen to those who, in wingnut/pinhead "thought", are merely "interrogating the wogs."