Saturday, February 09, 2008


If you're interested, you can see real-time elections returns from the Gret Stet here; the low turnout might be a contributing factor in the site not least yet.

I'm curious this time about my own precinct, which is easy enough to view--it's the first one listed.

Mitch Landrieu is being interviewed by Noron.

Later on.
Saturday "What I Found on You Tube" Post

The web page says it's from the 1966 Stax-Volt European Tour. I saw Sam a couple of years ago on the Sprint Stage at that year's Jazz Fest...let's see...I think it was 2006 (yeah, it was). He's still got it.

Now, off to vote and then enjoy some gorgeous weather...what's not to like about Loosiana when it's 71 degrees and not a cloud in the February.

Friday, February 08, 2008

"A Minor Alteration"

Despite the ultimate cynical manipulation: a sorry, sickening parody, a perverted, depraved "coalition of the willing," featuring Team Bush itself, their wingnut/neo-con brownshirts, a half-baked Democratic "opposition" that can barely wait for Dick Cheney to sneer before rolling over, and a slobbering media that couldn't or wouldn't even do basic research...despite all the usual suspects playing all the usual roles, a significant number of people get it: Iraq is an obscene waste of lives and money.


Off topic, but: it's depressing to see, for the second time in barely three months, my berg making the national news for the wrong reason. Meanwhile, there's been no break in the December double-homicide case.

Finally, to close on a less depressing note, this is the local political story of this election cycle...Casino wars. For the record, I'm voting "no," not because I'm anti-gambling (personally I don't, but I'm not bothered by those who do), but I think the new "resort" would take away from what's becoming an almost functional downtown, which has only taken some 30 years to re-achieve...
Roberts: "The Brownshirt Party"

When a former Reagan administration official flat out calls them fascist, we might want to take a good, long look.
(note: the link is to Counterpunch's main page...looks like the dedicated page for Roberts' essay hasn't been posted yet.)

Possibly the neocons and their Brownshirt followers are so delusional that they do not realize that their glorious aims are not shared. Maybe they are no different from Americans, maxed out on credit and unable to make mortgage payments, who believe that next week they will win the lotto.

On the other hand maybe the Brownshirts have a plan.

What could the plan be?

They can steal the election with the Diebold electronic voting machines and proprietary software that no one is allowed to check. There are now enough elections on record with significant divergences between exit polls and vote tallies that a stolen election can be explained away. The Democrats have been house trained to acquiesce to stolen elections. The voters, whose votes are stolen, dismiss the evidence as "conspiracy theories."

Or what about a well-timed orchestrated "terrorist attack" to drive fearful Americans to the war candidate. False flag events are stock-in-trade. Hitler used the Reichstag fire to turn German democracy into a dictatorship overnight.

Roberts also points out something I've posted about a couple of times, namely, all the nonsense about FISA, and does so in one succinct paragraph:

The Bush regime's explanation for its violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act makes no sense. Bush's violation of the law is clearly a felony, grounds for impeachment, arrest, indictment, and a prison sentence. Moreover, no intelligence purpose was achieved by Bush's illegal acts. The FISA law only requires the executive branch to come to a secret court to explain its purpose and obtain a warrant. The law even allows the executive branch to spy first and obtain the warrant afterward. The purpose of the warrant is to prevent an administration from spying for political purposes. The only reason for Bush to refuse to obtain warrants is that he had no valid reason for the spying.

Well, there's maybe one other reason, and it's not particularly pleasant to consider--that the neo-con movement wants to destroy what's left of constitutional government and basic rule of law.
Yesterday's News

A Silver Medal for Mitt

Let the political post-mortem begin.

Come to think of it, you could call Mitt the New England Patriots of this election season...but no, not the 18-1 Patriots...more like the Drew Bledsoe-era version, except for lacking any class.
Rape Rooms Revisited

I saw this report yesterday at Rising Hegemon and Tbogg, the third instance I recall of someone alleging sexual assault by Halliburton employees (I posted about a different allegation here; Jamie Lee Jones has testified in Congress about her own horrific ordeal).

Even more outrageous is the reaction from Halliburton and US District Court Judge Gray Miller, the former demanding private arbitration instead of criminal charges, the latter blithely going along for the ride Alternet gets straight to the point:

The notion that sexual assault cannot be tried as a criminal matter but has to be arbitrated in secret arbitration and treated as a labor dispute is simply beyond belief.

Halliburton and Miller would have gotten along just fine in Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Armor's Looking a Little Light There

From The Sideshow, a story of how supporting the troops doesn't get in the way of the bottom line and how that's not really a big deal to the Justice Department:

A North Dakota manufacturer has agreed to pay $2 million to settle a suit saying it had repeatedly shortchanged the armor in up to 2.2 million helmets for the military, including those for the first troops sent to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Twelve days before the settlement with the Justice Department was announced, the company, Sioux Manufacturing of Fort Totten, was given a new contract of up to $74 million to make more armor for helmets to replace the old ones, which were made from the late 1980s to last year.

I guess $2 million dollars is just the cost of doing business...and who says crime doesn't pay?
You're Riding High in April, Shot Down in May

Turn in your superdelegate badge at the door, Joe.
Mitt Takes One for the Team

And the Romney sons' financial future remains secure, leaving them free to view the war on terror...from the luxury box.
The Doctor Will See You Now

Yer private health care system:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will open its first in-store medical clinics under its own brand name after leasing space in dozens of stores to outside companies that operate the quick-service health stops., full disclosure here: living in the Deep-Fried South, I can hardly NOT shop on occasion at Wal Mart-o, and, believe me, I always look to go elsewhere or, better still, ask myself if I really need whatever it is. But, that said, Wal-Mart is both reasonably close AND usually has the lowest price...

Still, at least half of the things I've bought there in the last, oh, six to twelve months--in my case, a coffee maker and a CD player--turned out to be utter crap...likewise when I moved into my house a couple of years ago, it took three tries before I got an air mattress that didn't immediately spring a leak (to be fair, this was just after Red Stick's population rose in the aftermath of Katrina, Rita, and the flood).

Still, it was a lesson learned: low prices aren't the only determinant of a good deal, and crap merchandise is, well, crap.

And does anyone think they'll treat health care any differently?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Your Tax Dollars at Work

Fred Kaplan desconstructs the "defense" budget.
Don't Forget To Say Your Prayers Redux *

"Bravenewfilms" sees the similarity between Buck Turgidson and Johnny Mac...funny enough, I noticed it too a while back

But I don't think McCain as Popeye was on the internets at that time...otherwise, it might've looked more like this

See No Evil, Speak No Evil, Hear No Evil

I wonder if Colin had a Five Year Plan to render himself useless and irrelevent.
Pork Barrel

I see I wasn't the only one who noticed that Haley Barbour is about as sad a sack of shit as ever waddled into public office. What a lard-o.

"You gonna eat those fries?"

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The National Doormat

Well, Mission Accomplished as far as getting a modest number of beads at Zulu...then I watched a bit of Rex after lunch in the Quarter until, alas, circumstances forced a measure of responsibility: I was doing the driving myself, there was the threat of weather (yet to arrive, but they say big storms are approaching), etc. etc.--I can drink tonight while watching Super Tuesday returns with Tigger.

Still, sigh. For all its troubles, New Orleans is...delicious. And damnit, even though I hate driving (and who wouldn't, with all the lunatics on the road?), I've got to make a point of getting to the city more often. There's a certain je ne sais quoi that's unlike anywhere else I've ever been.

Anyway, as I rolled up Airline and WWOZ faded, I tuned to NPR for Some Things Considered and heard reports about "record voter turnouts," complete with selected interviews. Almost to a person, and in places you'd never think, people talked about how tired they were of the fearmongering, the criminal cynicism, the shame and embarrassment of the last eight years (mixed in was a report that CIA director Hayden confirmed the needless use of waterboarding).

Maybe, just maybe, enough people in this country have decided enough is enough. And the "legacy" of one George W. Shrub Bush will be "just go away." Leave. Don't come back, and we don't really give a damn if the door hits you on the way out.

Of course, there's the unbelievable mess, some of which will take a lot of work to clean, some of which can never be cleaned: the obscene waste of lives, the needless squandering of money, the sheer petty, third-world "el presidente"-like ineptitude. But the first step is admitting there's a problem, and it appears that the public finally realizes that, despite his media enablers, and a Democratic Party "opposition" that's the equivalent of lukewarm mush on soggy milquetoast...the public realizes that the problem is George Bush, and the sooner January 20, 2009 rolls around, the better.

In the meantime, good heavens, let's hope that enough roadblocks can be put in place to keep him from, well, fucking up anything else he touches.

Years ago, I used to wonder how badly things would get in a Dan Quayle presidency. Well, I think we now know the's been like a Quayle administration on steroids.

Anyway, happy Mardi Gras, and happy Mardi Super. Time to me to hit the bottle, and for Tigger to enjoy some canned food.

Might post a bit later...but right now I'm hoping for ok weather, traffic and Zulu beads.

Am thinking of cutting over to Airline Hwy somewhere around LaPlace, which might make it easier to get into the city.

Happy Mardi Gras or Super Tuesday, as the case may be.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Not Just An Olive Oil Salesman*

"Have you decided who to vote for, Signor Roberto?"

De Niro speaks out in favor of Obama.

Update: Meant to link to this VF profile of Obama--it and the slide show are worth a look.
CEO Expense Account Preznit

Put it on the charge card:

Mr. Bush’s proposed budget, the first in the nation’s history to exceed $3 trillion, foresees near-record deficits just ahead -- $410 billion in the current fiscal year, on spending of $2.9 trillion, and $407 billion for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1 -- before the budget would come into balance in 2012.

You know, it'd be nice if a journalist would, oh, I don't know, actually research and report on just where $515 billion dollars in "defense spending" (which doesn't include the actual costs of war in Iraq and Afghanistan) goes. I doubt seriously it's going solely to the troops; otherwise, they and their vehicles could afford titanium armor.

And I'll be interested to see how much of Shrub's budget is devoted to Gulf Coast recovery and/or coastal restoration.
Oops--Our Bad

Stuff Happens:

The U.S. military said Monday it accidentally killed nine Iraqi civilians during an operation targeting al-Qaida in Iraq--the deadliest known case of mistaken identity in recent months.

Meanwhile, Patrick Cockburn provides some perspective on the "success" in Iraq:

Iraq is less violent than a year ago, but the country is still the most dangerous in the world...

For all President George Bush's claims of progress, cited in his final State of the Union address last week, Baghdad looks like a city out of the Middle Ages, divided into hostile townships. Districts have been turned into fortresses, encircled by walls made out of concrete slabs. Police and soldiers check all identities at the entrances and exits.

"People say things are better than they were," says Zainab Jafar, a well-educated Shia woman, "but what they mean is that they are better than the bloodbath of 2006. The situation is still terrible."

There are checkpoints everywhere. I counted 27 on the road from central Baghdad to Fallujah, 30 miles west of the capital. These guard posts provide protection, but they are also a threat because there are so many of them that it is easy for kidnappers, criminals and militiamen to set up their own checkpoints in order to select likely victims.

Cockburn also confirms what I'd suspected about our newfound Sunni allies:

Asked what he was doing immediately before becoming chief of police, Colonel Feisal replies engagingly: "I was fighting against the Americans." He volunteers that the worst day of his life was when Saddam Hussein was overthrown in 2003.

This is a very different picture of Iraq from the one President Bush gave to Congress in his State of the Union address, just after I left Fallujah. He claimed that "more than 80,000 Iraqi citizens ... are fighting terrorism", but did not mention that most of them are the "terrorists" of yesterday who have switched sides.
Keystone Kondi or "Closest Confidante"

Not that anyone should be surprised by this, or by the general ineptitude of then Nat'l Security Advisor now Secretary of State Rice...personally, I've thought for a while now that one of the big answers to the whole 9/11 tragedy's been essentially hiding in plain sight, namely Rice's own sworn testimony before the commission:

Let me read you some of the actual chatter that we picked up that spring and summer: "Unbelievable news coming in weeks," "Big event ... there will be a very, very, very, very big uproar," "There will be attacks in the near future."

Troubling, yes. But they don't tell us when; they don't tell us where; they don't tell us who; and they don't tell us how.

In other words, they were either waiting for the attack...or, hell, I don't know, hoping to get a calling card/RSVP from Osama, conveniently indicating the time, place, method, and individuals. What they DIDN'T do was...get off their sorry asses and do some investigating...or direct their staff to do so.

Talk about the soft bigotry of low expectations.

A very humble thanks to Blue Gal and the Rude Pundit for the Amnesty Day links.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

The Hell With Goodwin's Law

Neal Boortz, American Nazi

Sometimes the comparison is absolutely appropriate, as is the case with Boortz's latest spew of toxins, right down to his blanket description of the entire city of New Orleans as "parasites."

I put in a comment at YRHT noting this, and also pointing out that most of the time such stuff--that is, mass hatred--is pretty common (it's amazing what people will forego for the dubious "privilege" of hating), and annoying as all hell but mostly harmless...however, at times this defect of character is capable of producing a perfect storm with appalling results...and that's why, if you ask me, you do everything you can to stop this sort of ugliness before the flames are fanned any further.

And I'd like to think Nazism is still one of those things that's anathema to the United States.