Friday, May 18, 2007

Friday Cat Blogging

From Jeffrey, I see that LSU mascot Mike the Tiger (the fifth "Mike") died last night. As a certified cat fan, I'm a little sad to hear/see this.

I'm of mixed opinions re: wild animals as school mascots. I can't say I'm overjoyed at the idea; on the other hand, every once in a while I like to go to the zoo/check out the tiger on campus. I'd guess Mike had a "habitat" as good as or better than average, as zoos go...which makes me think that before too long there will be another "Mike the Tiger."

Once I was walking past the cage just as the vet students who took care of Mike arrived for their nightly shift. They let me check out the interior space while they explained their routine.

I also recall the time Mike's immediate predecessor was liberated from his cage--a Tulane student thought it would make for a fun prank (IIRC, this was sometime in the early 1980's)--fortunately, the cat ran into the track stadium, which could be closed off...though he apparently frightened at least a few joggers into perhaps their fastest times ever.

Anyway...Rest in Peace Mike, from a genuine cat fan/admirer.
"Publicly Rebuked" is Just a Fancy Way of Saying "Bitch-Slapped"

The Harvard Law School Class of 1982 has a message for their less-than-esteemed alum Abu: has been with dismay that we have watched your cavalier handling of our freedoms time and have...used pretextual rationales and strained readings to justify an ever-expaning executive authority. Witness your White House memos sweeping aside the Geneva Conventions to justify torture, endangering our own servicemen and women; witness your advice to the President effectively reading Habeas Corpus out of our constitutional protections; witness you support of presidential statements claiming inherent power to wiretap American citizens without warrants...and witness your dismissive explanation of the troubling firings of numerous U.S. Attorneys, and their replacement with others more "loyal" to the President's politics, as merely "an overblown personnel matter." In these and other actions, we see a pattern. As a recent editorial put it, your approach has come to symbolize "disdain for the separation of powers, civil liberties, and the rule of law."
The Dick Who Would Be King

Vice-executive privilege.

h/t Rising Hegemon.
Profiles in Creepiness

What an arrogant, smug little fuck:

The friend who saw Mr. Wolfowitz’s term at the bank as a second chance said: “It was not that he was looking for a redemption from Iraq per se. But he was certainly looking for something to do as a great man in foreign policy, which is how he has always seen himself.”

Once Mr. Wolfowitz leaves the bank, friends say, he may join the legions of former colleagues, from George J. Tenet of the C.I.A. to L. Paul Bremer III, who led the post-invasion government in Iraq, who have written books and op-ed articles to defend their actions on the war.

Bank officials say, in fact, that when he arrived there in 2005, Mr. Wolfowitz wanted to write a book about Iraq and accept fees for speeches. That set off his first fight with ethics officers, who told him he could not do so.

Paul Wolfowitz needs a good, solid ass-kicking, followed by an extended stay in Mesopotamia, where he can observe first-hand the results of his "great man in foreign policy" decisions. In fact, I think EVERY wingnut who's too cowardly to serve in the military should instead LIVE in Iraq, where they can provide a constituency that supports the military effort and likewise witness first hand the joys of liberation. It's the least they could do.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Gee, Who'd Have Thunk It?

Rules and triplicate...if you wanna join Al Qaeda.
In the Bush Administration, Image IS Everything

"...our next number is "Singing in the Rain."

h/t First Draft

Why spend $700,000 for research when you can spend $4 million for promotion?

The federal government is spending millions of dollars on a publicity campaign while its hurricane forecasters are struggling with budget cuts, the National Hurricane Center's director said Thursday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is spending up to $4 million to publicize a 200th anniversary celebration, said Bill Proenza, who heads the hurricane center, part of the National Weather Service, which is a NOAA agency. At the same time, it has cut $700,000 from hurricane research, he said.

Of course, this isn't anything new: they've been running Iraq the same way for years now. And the latest is pure, undiluted GOP horseshit at its finest--a threatened veto of a bill to raise the military.
Noblesse F.U.

"Won't someone rid me of this meddlesome commoner?"
Fun With Fearmongering

A WaPo op-ed by two retired soldiers tries to inject a little reason into the GOP debate between the various Chicken Littles running for president: 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...

These assertions that "torture works" may reassure a fearful public, but it is a false security. We don't know what's been gained through this fear-driven program. But we do know the consequences.

Well, I'll tell you what's been gained: political power, pure and simple. The lust and greed that provides both motivation and payoff is decadent and depraved to the extent that 9/11 itself is, for these assholes, little more than a bloody-banner clarion call...not for justice but retribution (which specifically eschews justice, even as I think we've more than obtained our proverbial pound of flesh).

No lesson is, for these creeps, to simple to be ignored as they seek to outdo each other in rhetorical cries for blood-lust orgies of violence, matched only by the sheer ineffectiveness: bin Laden's re-established himself in Pakistan, Iraq is a chaotic quagmire.

Meanwhile, all the other REAL dangers don't merit mention at all: it sure as hell wasn't terrorists who built crappy levees that failed during what was essentially a large rainstorm. Islamofascists aren't the ones presiding over the gradual crumbling of the national infrastructure. Nor did they underfund/gut public education. And they didn't sow the seeds of rage, frustration, and dysfunctionality that generate the sorts of criminals whom we should really be worried/do something about.

But discussion of the real issues facing this country requires a degree of maturity that's evidently anathema to wingnuttia. Ergo, the virtual cartoonish placating of them with promises that amount to little more than...well, American fascism.

No wonder they like Willard and Rudy. The perfect mix/match of evil and stupid.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Monarchist Nostalgia

You know, things didn't turn out all that well for the last of the czars.

Just sayin'.
Paul...You're Fired

If you need any more evidence of the moral depravity of your modern GOP assclown leadership, well:

Embattled World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz is negotiating an agreement to resign, according to an official familiar with the talks...

The negotiations were taking place as the bank's board resumed deliberations over Wolfowitz's fate Wednesday afternoon.

The article goes on to note that Mr. Most-Disgusting-Hair-Gel-Ever is pushing for an acknowledgement from the bank that "he doesn't bear sole responsibility for the controversy surrounding a generous pay package for his girlfriend..." I'm guessing they'll go along just to get him out of there.

Think about it--this shithead goes from massive, epic, monumental failure at DoD to the World Bank...where his sole "achievement" was bumping up Shaha's already inflated salary. Now he's acting indignant because his ass is finally getting fired, which is what he deserves.

Too bad his worldly assets can't be seized and measures taken to force Wolfie to get a real job for the first time in his life...Personally, I'd ship him over to Iraq, where he could earn Pfc. pay in a relief convoy driver capacity. But that assumes there's some justice in this world.

Geez: Wolfowitz makes Donald Trump look like a sagacious and astute businessman.
It's Not Just a Scrap of Paper

The Bush administration thinks they can ignore Congressional subpoenas.
I Can Hear You Now

Greenwald looks more closely at yesterday's testimony from James Comey.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Gonzales: McNulty Did It

Well, that took all the backbone of your average jellyfish.
The Life of Jerry Falwell
in the Jack Chick Manner
(partly inspired by this for the general concept...The Carpetbagger Report provides a written record)

Taxicab Nightmares

From Maitri, a link to John Barry's latest WaPo op-ed that explains why New Orleans--and the Gulf Coast--matter. Maitri notes it answers Chris Matthews' hypothetical last year about the "cab driver in Detriot."

Bayou St. John David and Oyster have more, while First Draft noticed a WaPo interview with Blanco:

When I asked the governor if she were as baffled as I by the level of resistance in Congress and in the White House to helping Louisiana with post-Hurricane Katrina recovery (the continuing refusal to waive the onerous 10 percent match required by the Federal Emergency Management Agency comes to mind), Blanco let 'er rip.

"It's all political," she began. "You know, this country's run on politics. But when a disaster comes that is not what you expect, you expect a human reaction, not a political reaction. And I will tell you, there's a void," Blanco drawled, "a total void of human response. And it's extremely discouraging as an American citizen. It makes me angry and extremely disappointed."

"...a human reaction, not a political reaction." That actually summarizes the difference between wingnuttia and the rest of us rather nicely. And not just with the hurricanes and federal flood of 2005: watch for a similar mix/match of pious pontificating and piteous whining when the reality-based community finally takes control of the epic mess in Iraq. Because, to them, lives really DON'T matter. It's all rhetorical gamesmanship.

No wonder the media loves them so goddamn much.
Playing With Fire

I missed this when it was published last month--Rising Hegemon notes that the author--a retired officer--had a son killed yesterday in Iraq:

The truth is that next to nothing can be done to salvage Iraq. It no longer lies within the capacity of the United States to determine the outcome of events there. Iraqis will decide their own fate. We are spectators, witnesses, bystanders caught in a conflagration that we ourselves, in an act of monumental folly, touched off...

Having plunged into a war he cannot win, Bush will not relent. Iraq consumes his presidency because the president wills that it should. He has become Captain Ahab: His identification with his war is absolute...

Monday, May 14, 2007

From 'Morning in America' to 'Twilight of the GOP'

Frank Rich has a post-mortem of last week's debate.
How the Grinch Rove Stole Christmas Tried to Steal the Election

It all started with a bogus list about "voter fraud."
Life Imitates, um, For Lack of a Better Term, "Art"

When I saw (via Cursor) the the headline and first paragraph of this story

Now that moderate Republicans have told President Bush that time is running out on his Iraq policy, he'll have to demonstrate real progress in a matter of months or face choices that range from the highly unpleasant to the nearly unthinkable. first thought was that finally they've managed to make the real news as unpalatable as the range of opinion on bobblehead/pundit talk shows. Well, continuity of product is normally considered a good thing, I guess.

Of course, given that this is, in contrast, the Middle East, I wonder if the patrons and mavens of conformity are still thrilled to death, no pun intended. Hmmm...maybe I should say thrilled to death for American soldiers and untold numbers of Iraqis, not to mention the figurative death of a somewhat rational and coherent policy. But I doubt they care all that much about anything short of their investment portfolios.
Scheduling Conflict

Ironic, isn't it, that our president has time for this:

but not for this:

Although, heaven knows how he might behave: