Wednesday, December 31

Trio/DirecTV Update

Well, DirecTV is still listing Trio in its programming guide for tomorrow. It's still no guaranteee it'll be there when we tune to channel 315, but at least it's some hope. Keep the pressure on.

The 2003 Hoffmania Year-End Family Wrap Up!

Whoa, Penelope. What a year 2003 was for us.

The kids are still shopping for a college.
Not they're not. We don't have kids.
We got a new HDTV home theater.
All our neighbors moved out.
We ran out of mosquito repellent on the last day of our Jamaican vacation.
We got a cranky Chocolate-point Siamese cat who hates us and our original cat.
But he became fast friends with our border collie.
We walked around our neighborhood every day.
Then we had pie.
If we didn't eat pie, we wouldn't need to walk.
So I tried Atkins. Then mad cow disease was discovered in the U.S.
Hello again, pie.

Oh yeah. I started a blog in 2003.
In the beginning, it was read by about three people.
Since then, our readership has more than doubled.
I think I'll celebrate by eating pie.

Now you know why we don't send these out with our Christmas cards.

Happy New Year. Stay safe.

Tuesday, December 30

The Plame Investigation: Plot Twist Of The Day

Sources: Ashcroft Bows Out of CIA Leak Probe

Washington -- Attorney General John Ashcroft will recuse himself from an investigation into who leaked the name of a CIA operative, Justice Department sources said Tuesday.

The investigation will be headed by the U.S. attorney in Chicago, Patrick Fitzgerald, who will report to Ashcroft's new deputy, James Comey, the officials said.

It was not immediately clear why Ashcroft made the decision.
Write your theory here: ________________________ (or leave a comment)

Terry McAuliffe Takes A Stand - Shows Backbone

Ha ha ha ha. Okay. Seriously...

Party Chief Won't Break Up Scuffles

DES MOINES — Democratic Party National Chairman Terry McAuliffe has no plans to play referee to what has become a vitriolic presidential primary, saying through a spokeswoman Monday that voters would decide whether the negative campaigning was good politics.

His comments came a day after Howard Dean, the Democratic front-runner, criticized McAuliffe for not stepping in to stem the growing attacks on Dean by other candidates — in particular Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, Massachusetts Sen. John F. Kerry and Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri.

Dean's call for a cease-fire to campaign hostilities sparked a new round of assaults.

"I've got news for Howard Dean: The primaries are a warm-up compared to what George Bush and Karl Rove have waiting for the Democratic nominee," Lieberman said. "If Howard Dean can't stand the heat in the Democratic kitchen, he's going to melt in a minute once the Republicans start going after him."
Okay, so let me get this straight, Joe. Your attacks on him are, uh...just to prepare him for Karl Rove? Pal, he's 'way ahead of you there. Stop doing us favors. You did enough in 2000 when you were Dick Cheney's bitch in the debates.

Lying: It's A Bush Family Tradition

Laura Bush, October 2003:

"We delight in great works of literature and especially in the works of budding new artists. President Bush is a great leader and husband - but I bet you didn't know, he is also quite the poet. Upon returning home last night from my long trip, I found a lovely poem waiting for me. Normally, I wouldn't share something so personal, but since we're celebrating great writers, I can't resist.

Dear Laura,

Roses are red, violets are blue, oh my lump in the bed, how I've missed you.

Roses are redder, bluer am I, seeing you kissed by that charming French guy.

The dogs and the cat they miss you too, Barney's still mad you dropped him, he ate your shoe.

The distance my dear has been such a barrier, next time you want an adventure, just land on a carrier.

I'm happy to be the inspiration behind this poem."
Laura Bush, December 2003:

The first lady also said that the "Roses are red, violets are blue" poem she read at a National Book Festival gala in October was not actually written by her husband even though it has been attributed to him. She did not say who wrote the poem.

"But a lot of people really believed that he did," she said. "Some woman from across the table said, `You just don't know how great it is to have a husband who would write a poem for you.' "
Sorry he passed his lying habit on to you, Laura. Hey, but as long as it means you'll be admired by America, what the heck!

Oh. Wait a minute...

Monday, December 29

Et Tu, Washington Post?

WaPo's profile of John Kerry: Hunter, Dreamer, Realist
WaPo's profile of Joe Lieberman: Centrist In Debt To JFK
WaPo's profile of Howard Dean: Short-Fused Populist, Breathing Fire at Bush

Jesus H. Christ in a chariot-driven sidecar, what the hell's going on with this crap? Someone captures the imagination and interest of a mass of voters, and so they trot out the ol' knock-'em-down-several-pegs style of "journalism." I'm getting pretty goddamned annoyed at this. News whores. THIS is why we're angry. Instead of focusing on the issues, they're just going after character misperceptions of the front-runner.

Call ME short-fused if you want - it sure as hell fits. But give the guy credit for firing up a lot of folks who have all but given up in participating in the process.

You Mean The Terry McAuliffe Who Handed New York City To The Republicans For Their 2004 Convention On A Silver Platter?

Yes, THAT Terry McAuliffe...the king of great moves.

Rivals hit Dean for criticism of Democratic Party boss

WASHINGTON (CNN) --Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean's rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination lashed out Monday at his criticism of party chief Terry McAuliffe for failing to exert the leadership needed to prevent a bloody primary battle.

Dean is the Democratic front-runner in recent polls nationwide and in New Hampshire, which hosts the party's first presidential primary next month. He has joked about "picking buckshot out of my rear end" in previous campaign appearances, but attacks from his fellow Democrats have begun to dominate headlines and overshadowed his recent policy speeches.

"If we had strong leadership in the Democratic Party, they would be calling those other candidates and saying, 'Hey look, somebody's going to have to win here,' " The New York Times quoted Dean as saying Sunday during a campaign swing in Iowa.

Wingnut Writing 101

Mona Charen. Makes point. Same column. Destroys point. I love when that happens.

But moreover, the name-calling attack on Dean is now in full force by Karl Rove and his lockstep gang of wingnuts. Mona is quite the good (and need I say, predictable) Rovian footsoldier here...

Despite what liberals always say about us conservatives (we're supposed to be the party of hate), I don't want to spend the year 2004 in a lather. I don't want to hate the Democrats' choice. If they nominate Dick Gephardt or Joe Lieberman, the country can have an honest debate, and bitterness need not reign in the land. Both candidates are honest, and even winsome.

Not Dean. His arrogance is so hot it throws off sparks. Speaking of hate, his campaign has so far been about little else. One searches in vain for any flicker of humor, and his relationship to the truth is showing signs of Clintonitis. The latest example: Last August, the Quad-City Times of Davenport, Iowa, circulated a questionnaire to the Democratic candidates for president. The paper asked the candidates to complete the following sentence: "My closest living relative in the armed services is …" Dean wrote: "My brother is a POW/MIA in Laos, but is almost certainly dead." In point of fact, Dean's brother Charles, whose remains have recently been returned from Laos, was not in the armed services. He was a tourist, visiting Laos as part of a one-year world tour. The Quad-City Times editorially expressed dismay at Dean's mendacity. Instead of apologizing for misleading readers, Dean dashed off an indignant letter to the editor.

What seemed so clear to outsiders -- that the Democrats' best bet was a war-supporting liberal like Gephardt or Lieberman -- did not seem to sway the nominating wing of the Democratic party. They are thirsting for a Bush-bashing, small America liberal -- someone who will genuflect before the United Nations. But Dean is more than a liberal, he is a liar and a narcissist. So if he is nominated, it's going to be long, long year.
Conservatives don't hate. They just resort to name-calling. There's a big difference and as soon as I figure it out, I'll call you.

They also would LOVE a candidate who is pro-war and who thinks like Bush. Because given a choice between Bush and Bush Lite, well, the election would be in the ag-bay for them. Ain't gonna happen, babe.

Oh, and according to Nora, Dean has no sense of humor. Or I think that's what she said - I was too much in the throes of laughter at her witty milk-shooting-out-my-nose zany writing here to catch all that.

A List We've Memorized During The Last 365 Days

L.A. Weekly presents the Top Ten Bush Outrages of 2003.

Well, SOMEONE'S Gotta Run This Railroad

It seems that Americans aren't the only ones getting impatient with the unwritten ending to the Iraq mess. Iraqis are, too. And guess who's taking the initiative?

Iraqi Council Flexes Muscles
The U.S.-appointed body is increasingly defying the coalition and pushing its own vision of a free and self-governing Iraq.

BAGHDAD — Seen by a distrustful public as a tool of the occupying powers, Iraq's Governing Council is coming of age on the job as it tries to define a leadership to take over from the United States and its allies.

But as the 25-member body steers Iraq toward sovereignty, promised in a mere six months, it is acting like a defiant adolescent, challenging the authority and wisdom of those who gave it life. And its bargaining position has been strengthened by the Bush administration's apparent eagerness to declare its mission accomplished before the U.S. presidential election.

No longer the passive instrument that U.S. civilian administrator L. Paul Bremer III used to carve the contours of a new Iraq, the council has become increasingly assertive, demanding control of the reconstruction purse strings and the authority to supplant Bremer's vision with its own.

Council members complained that fledgling Iraqi security forces were not given the financial support or authority needed to combat insurgents. They prevailed in getting U.S. assurances that war crimes suspects — jailed former leader Saddam Hussein first among them — will be handed over to Iraqis for prosecution, despite pressure from some American circles to try them in an international forum.

On Monday, the council signed three mobile telephone service licenses, ignoring a Pentagon probe into allegations of corruption made by U.S. and Turkish companies that had been unsuccessful bidders.
"Can you hear me now? Good. Get your occupying asses out of our way."

Saturday, December 27

Breaking Endorsement News

E! has just reported that Hootie and the Blowfish are endorsing John Edwards for President. More details - when available - aren't really necessary.

Finally - The Unapologetic Democrat

From the L.A. Times:

Attacks on Dean Just Slide Right Off
The Democratic front-runner seems immune to criticism that would sink other candidates. Supporters admire his blunt talk.

When Howard Dean appeared on NBC's "Meet The Press," the reviews were scathing, with most pundits calling the interview earlier this year a disaster. But others saw it differently. Traffic on Dean's Web site soared, and he collected more than $100,000 in the next 24 hours.

When Dean suggested America was no safer with Saddam Hussein in custody, rivals in the Democratic presidential contest seized on his comments as a major gaffe. But days later, more than 30 New Jersey lawmakers — joined by Gov. James E. McGreevey — elbowed onto a packed stage to endorse him.

The former Vermont governor has millions in the bank, more than any Democrat running, and a legion of followers, linked by the Internet, who crowd campaign events from Manchester, N.H., to Yuma, Ariz.

But there is one advantage that has proved even more valuable for the impulsive and irrepressible Dean: a Teflon coating.

For weeks, frustrated opponents have attacked the Democratic front-runner on everything from his skimpy defense and foreign policy credentials to the secrecy he slapped on his gubernatorial records. Nothing has stuck.

Stumbles, such as Dean's remark about Confederate flag-wavers, and factual misstatements, such as his assertion that no other candidate was discussing race before white audiences, have not only failed to slow his momentum but redoubled the commitment of Dean supporters.

"It's about all of us saying [expletive] to all the pundits," said Michael Cannon, 49, a New Jersey state worker who attended a rally in Trenton with a Dean sweat shirt, T-shirt and button on the back of his cap.

"Whenever negative stories surface, that just proves to me that I should be behind him all the more," Cannon said.

There has always been a strong anti-establishment flavor to the Dean campaign. So whenever he fumbles in the eyes of so-called experts, it makes him all the more attractive to disaffected Democrats scornful of institutions like the major media.

The campaign even posts some of the harsher criticism on Dean's Web site to spur fundraising. When a mysterious political group called Americans for Jobs, Healthcare and Progressive Values began airing an anti-Dean ad earlier this month with images of Osama bin Laden, the former Vermont governor's camp amassed $552,000 in a three-day Internet fundraising push.

"It's a polite way of saying where you can take it," Dean said.

DirecTV Wants To Dump Trio

One of the crimes against humanity DirecTV plans is to drop the ever-improving Trio channel come the new year. Gone will be the Ernie Kovacs shows. Gone will be the NBC Letterman shows. Gone will be the failed (but huge fun to watch) pilot shows. Trio has finally found its niche, only to have it shut out of the DirecTV service.

What will remain are at least 5 24-hour shopping channels, 6 full-time Christian channels, and the fairly useless PAX, Fine Living, Soap, and dozens of "Coming Up On DirecTV" channels.

Trio has set up a site where you can let DirecTV know how you feel about this. Hey, if you're a customer (or will be), they gotta keep you happy. Go to Save Trio. And hurry.

Friday, December 26

Yeah, Yeah. France Sucks. We Know, We Know

When in doubt - blame France. It's become the American pastime. I'm waiting for Bush to triumphantly capture Jacques Chirac...

U.S. wrangles with France over terror alert

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - One or more terror suspects may have escaped due to a premature disclosure in France of the security concerns behind the cancellation of Christmas flights to Los Angeles, U.S. officials say.

Six flights between Paris and Los Angeles were cancelled on Wednesday and Thursday at the urging of Washington after U.S. officials spotted what they believed were suspicious names on lists of those due to board the planes.

Air France made clear at the time the cancellations had been ordered for security reasons.

U.S. law enforcement and intelligence officials had hoped all the suspects could be detained as they showed up for the flights, said a senior U.S. official familiar with the situation who did not want to be identified.

The official said "a chorus of groans" from the Department of Homeland Security to the White House went out when the French disclosed the reason for the flight cancellations.

Okay, People - Pay Attention. This Is Getting Serious

We knew it already was.

Leaks Probe Is Gathering Momentum

The Justice Department has added a fourth prosecutor to the team investigating the leak of an undercover CIA officer's identity, while the FBI has said a grand jury may be called to take testimony from administration officials, sources close to the case said.

Administration and CIA officials said they have seen signs in the past few weeks that the investigation continues intensively behind closed doors, even though little about the investigation has been publicly said or seen for months.

According to administration officials and people familiar with some of the interviews, FBI agents apparently started their White House questioning with top figures -- including President Bush's senior adviser, Karl Rove -- and then worked down to more junior officials. The agents appear to have a great deal of information and have constructed detailed chronologies of various officials' possible tie to the leak, people familiar with the questioning said.

The Justice Department has added a prosecutor specializing in counterintelligence, joining two other counterintelligence prosecutors and one from Justice's Public Integrity section.

Agents investigating the matter have been increasingly apparent at CIA headquarters in Langley over the past three weeks, officials said. "They are still active," a senior official said.

But sources said the CIA believes that people in the administration continue to release classified information to damage the figures at the center of the controversy, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV and his wife, Valerie Plame, who was exposed as a CIA officer by unidentified senior administration officials for a July 14 column by Robert D. Novak.

Wilson, a prominent critic of the administration over Iraq, has said that was done to retaliate against him for continuing to publicize his conclusion, after a 2002 mission for the CIA, that there was little evidence Iraq had sought uranium in Africa to develop nuclear weapons.
Once was a time when Karl Rove would have been given the bum's rush out the back door with a disgraceful discharge. But with these goons in charge, he gets a raise.

Crap In A Fedora

How many of you immediately said "Drudge"? Good for you. You're catching on.

This insufferable little boil on the butt of journalism has the following eye-catcher at his site today:

The big fat scary red text points to this story and refers to this passage in the Concord (NH) Monitor:

But wouldn't most Americans feel strongly that bin Laden should be tried in America - and put to death?

"I've resisted pronouncing a sentence before guilt is found," Dean said. "I still have this old-fashioned notion that even with people like Osama, who is very likely to be found guilty, we should do our best not to, in positions of executive power, not to prejudge jury trials. So I'm sure that is the correct sentiment of most Americans, but I do think if you're running for president, or if you are president, it's best to say that the full range of penalties should be available. But it's not so great to prejudge the judicial system."
This is the unmitigated crap that's being fed and processed into the right-wing propaganda machine. Note that Dean did not say in any context that Osama is good, or Osama is not guilty, or Osama is swell, or any variation of how this will be spun by the right. Dean stands by the primary notion of American justice, and he gets demonized for it. This is what America has turned into.

Take your red ink and stick it in your hat, Matt. Your hero Bush doesn't think Osama's capture is more important than that of a two-bit Middle East dictator who hasn't done (or had the ability to do) squat to mainland America. Red ink that, you gremlin.


Robbers Allegedly Steal Romper Room Host's Magic Mirror
Host Calls Thiefs 'Bad Bees'

LOS ANGELES -- The former hostess of the Los Angeles version of "Romper Room" was mugged last week -- and she wants her mirror back.

Mary Ann King, who hosted the popular children's show from 1966 to 1976, was mugged near the Hometown Buffet, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported Thursday.

King suffered a broken arm and a punctured lung, the paper said.

The assailants got away with King's "magic mirror," which delighted kids of all ages on the show, which ran from 1954 to the late 1980s.

"Like I always said on the television show, do be a good bee and don't be a bad bee," she said. "I guess I ran into a nest of bad bees."

Karl Say Dean Bad. Bad Dean, Bad.

If we haven't had enough lies from these fenderheads in the White House, here's their plan for the campaign, via the New York Times:

Bush Advisers, With Eye on Dean, Formulate '04 Plans

President Bush's campaign has settled on a plan to run against Howard Dean that would portray him as reckless, angry and pessimistic, while framing the 2004 election as a referendum on the direction of the nation more than on the president himself, Mr. Bush's aides say.

"Voters don't normally vote for an angry, pessimistic person to be president of the country," Matthew Dowd, a senior Bush adviser, said as he pressed the anti-Dean theme this week in an interview at Mr. Bush's re-election campaign headquarters. "They want somebody, even if times are not great, to be forward looking and optimistic."

As the second part of a two-part strategy, Mr. Bush's aides said, the president will set out upbeat themes and policy ideas, starting with the State of the Union address on Jan. 20. That would be part of a drive to buttress what polls show is a growing feeling among voters that the country is on the right track. The goal, Mr. Bush's advisers said, is to make the election more about the nation's success in confronting great challenges than about Mr. Bush personally.
Close your eyes for the next word if you're easily offended. Bullshit. Okay, open 'em.

RECKLESS? Bush's goosesteppers were tripping all over themselves to put together a slapdash war based on fraud, lies, and the reckless (hey! there's that word) killing of Iraqi citizens. Reckless is doing all that, then not having any idea whatsoever on how to end it. Reckless is not knowing what to do about a governmental infrastructure. And the very definition of reckless is going after a boogeyman (although an evil boogeyman) instead of the guy who's masterminding attacks on the United States - who's still apparently trying to do it again. Reckless is the Bush Administration.

ANGRY? You're damn right we're angry. See the previous paragraph. I want angry. I like angry. We've been given a ton of reasons to be angry. And it's because of a hostile and cynical Bush Administration who thinks Americans are witless, forgetful and just plain stupid enough to trust them with the future of this country. I'll take angry over hostile, cynical and reckless with our future any day.

PESSIMISTIC? Excuse me again. Bullshit. The Dean campaign has energized a sleeping giant in this country. For the first time since these alleged patriots took over, the Dean campaign has given people enough hope to get off their asses and do something to stop the recklessness of the Bush Administration. The last three years have been an utter nightmare. An almost complete disaster. And don't give me the crap about how great the economy is. It was better before this guy and Team Crackhead came in and screwed it up. These people lied before they even took over by bitching about the fictitious vandalism that the Clinton staff never did. And the lying hasn't stopped since. Dean's folks got the word out: HOPE. Try looking it up sometime, George. It's something you've steadfastly refused to give us every step of the way, you greedy, wrong-way cokehead.

It's this sort of dark thinking that will make me one proud American to see these jerks yanked of the office they never should have been awarded, as a margin of over a half a million voters will attest. If it's Dean, GREAT. If it's a bottle cap, GREAT. If it's anyone but Bush, GREAT. It's time to get rid of these insults to humanity.

Yeah. I'm angry. And for damned good reason.

Wednesday, December 24

Merry, Happy, Blessed, Etc.

This post colorized by Homeland Security!

If you have broadband, enjoy these little Flash flicks from the fertile mind of Bob Rivers. If you don't have broadband, then we hope you get it for Christmas. Happy Holidays, readers!

Twisted Chipmunks
White Trash Christmas

Tuesday, December 23

Gather 'Round The Christmas Tofu

U.S. Cow Positive For Mad Cow?

The first-ever U.S. case of mad cow disease is suspected in a single cow in Washington state, but the American food supply is safe, Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman said Tuesday.

"We remain confident in the safety of our food supply," said Veneman.

She told a news conference that a single Holstein cow that was either sick or injured — thus never destined for the U.S. food supply — tested presumptively positive for the brain-wasting illness.

Mad cow disease, known also as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, is a disease that eats holes in the brains of cattle. It sprang up in Britain in 1986 and spread through countries in Europe and Asia, prompting massive destruction of herds and decimating the European beef industry.

"This incident is not terrorist-related," Veneman said Tuesday. "I cannot stress this point strongly enough."
But the recent spate of cow-tipping in the Pacific Northwest might be. Stay vigilant.

Code Ernie: Just A Couple Of Things

One - Those of us who have been banging the drum over not invading Iraq took a lot of crap. A LOT of crap. Our contention was that we had a unified international coalition who wanted to fight al Qaeda which we squandered because the Bush administration wanted to go after Iraq. Playing the terror card and using questionable evidence, they sapped the energy out of the hunt for bin Laden and poured it into a made-for-TV war.

There better be some people in the White House now slapping themselves on the forehead - saying, "Damn, we should have gone after al Qaeda." But you didn't, and now we're facing the scariest Christmas/New Years in memory.

Two - Where is Bush? Scant seconds ticked by after the capture of Saddam before he jumped in front of the cameras. No sooner did Tony Blair say the word "Libya" than the image of a victorious Dubya flood our screens. But now that his Homeland Security Department has ratched up the terror warnings "for real," this guy is nowhere to be found. Where are the words of encouragement? Where's the bravery? Where's the comforting advice from our leader?

Where the hell is George W. Bush NOW?

Viewer Mail: Well, Team Dean?

Barry Champlain sends along this from today's NY Times:

Dean Rebuked for Statement Implying Brother Served in Military

Howard Dean came under criticism from an Iowa newspaper last weekend for an answer to a questionnaire in which he implied that his brother was serving in the military when he disappeared in Laos 29 years ago. His brother had been traveling in Southeast Asia as a tourist.

Asked by The Quad-City Times, which is based in Davenport, Iowa, to complete the sentence "My closest living relative in the armed services is," Dr. Dean wrote in August, "My brother is a POW/MIA in Laos, but is almost certainly dead."

The brother, 23-year-old Charles Dean, whose apparent remains were recovered by a military search team last month in Laos, was classified as missing in action, along with other civilians captured or killed in the area during the Vietnam War. But Charles Dean never wore a uniform, and while some family members at times suspected that he was working as a spy, Dr. Dean said he never believed that.

His answer to the newspaper's question, published on Dec. 14 as part of a regular feature on The Quad-City Times's editorial page in which the Democratic presidential candidates respond to questions intended to probe their persona, drew complaints from readers and a rebuke from the newspaper's editorial board on Sunday. The editorial was circulated to a handful of reporters on Monday by a rival campaign.

Dr. Dean was asked about his answer by a reporter after a town hall meeting here on a day when he took aim at President Bush for what he called a "callous" refusal to press Congress for an extension of unemployment benefits.

"The way I read the question was that they wanted to know if I knew anything about the armed services from a personal level," he said. "I don't think it was inaccurate or misleading if anybody knew what the history was, and I assumed that most people knew what the history was. Anybody who wanted to write about this could have looked through the 23-year history to see that I've always acknowledged my brother's a civilian, was a civilian."

Mark Ridolfi, editor of the paper's editorial page, noted that the question had specifically asked about the armed services and said of Dr. Dean's reply, "It certainly is not an accurate response."

...This is the latest in a string of incidents in which Dr. Dean, the former governor of Vermont, who has drawn support with his blunt remarks, has attracted controversy with imprecise statements.
Sure, this is a classic case of parsing words to create a story. Here's Barry's concern - and it's a good one:

So let me get this straight: right-wing editor parses a statement, spins it to make Dean look like an asshole, writes an editorial about it, uses it as an opportunity to slam Dean's dead brother; Dean objects, New York Times' Jodi Wilgoren picks it all up and cites it as "the latest in a string of incidents in which Dr. Dean, the former governor of Vermont, who has drawn support with his blunt remarks, has attracted controversy with imprecise statements.".

You only have one little blog, BUT... this really needs addressing. One more thing: how in hell do we beseech the Dean people to stop answering all these charges with an EXPLANATION, and start using them as an opening for an ATTACK? They must know they're not gonna stop, for the duration? I thought Dean "gets it"?
I've forwarded this to - we'll see if anything comes of it. Otherwise, it does raise a good point. Dean's really trying hard to keep the discourse civil, but it's getting tougher and tougher.

Monday, December 22

Are These The Right Steps?

I'm just ruminating over why they're setting up surface-to-air missles around D.C. during this alert. Don't get me wrong...we're always asking for better measures when it comes to security against terrorists 'n' all. But hasn't their M.O. always been low-tech attacks? Their horrific deed over two years ago was carried out with box cutters, and our mindset back then was that a hijacking meant the flight was not going used as a missle. Now passengers will kick the snot out of anyone who tries to do that again, for certain.

I'm wondering what they're aiming for here. And if they're really looking out for the comparatively small stuff which is making a mess in Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

Joe Conason On Code Ernie

While we await our fate, I would like to hear the president explain how the bloody $200 billion invasion of Iraq improved our defenses against terrorism -- and also why, a week after Saddam's capture, the United States is confronting the worst threat from al-Qaida since the disaster of September 2001. Over the past several days, Washington's great minds have mocked Howard Dean for daring to say what the White House now more or less acknowledges: War in Iraq has made us no safer than we were last spring.

They've GOT To Be Testing The Gullibility Of The Dittoheads

We're not sure if his webmasters meant this to be there for this long, but has a prominent link at the bottom of this page which plays this sound file of Howard Dean which...well, turned out to be too true.

As Long As You're Doing It For All The Right Reasons, Joe

Lieberman makes a move in New Hampshire, into an apartment

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- In a move believed to be unprecedented in New Hampshire primary history, Joe Lieberman took temporary residence in the state in a last-month push to win over voters.

The U.S. senator from Connecticut, who is seeking the Democratic nomination, greeted reporters Monday at his new, furnished, two-bedroom apartment in the state's largest city.

He called the move "another turning of the corner."

"Obviously, I've said for a long time I was going to start my quest for the White House here in New Hampshire ... we we're going to do better than expected with that typical feisty, independent-minded, surprise-the-pundits-and-pollsters attitude of voters of New Hampshire, and then we we're going to go on the next week and do well in the other states that have primaries," he said.

So far, it has not worked. Lieberman has been stuck in the middle of the pack of nine Democrats in single digits in the polls, though he said the polls had nothing to do with his move before the earliest state primary Jan. 27.
Dean, Clark, Kerry and Gephardt have all been seen in Iowa stealing Apartments Unlimited magazines from racks at local supermarkets in an effort to stay a step ahead of this great strategy.

The Nation On Ernie Alert

Courtesy (aka stolen from) Atrios:

Now This Is Marketing

Amazon takes the direct approach to selling new books to the likes of me. Got this introduction to a pitch for Eric Alterman's new book:

As someone who has purchased books with a critical view of the current administration, you might be interested in "The Book on Bush: How George W. (Mis)leads America."
I'd like to see what e-mails InstaPundit gets. "As someone who has purchased books which squirt love all over this deceitful little bastard, you might still be interested in buying a fifth copy of 'Treason...'"

Check out Eric's new book coming out in February.

Sunday, December 21

Tracking The Visitors

Had to go to the Jamaica Gleaner to get this story...

US moving to track visitors
Fingerprinting on entry, exit 'immigration' planned

COME WEDNESDAY, December 31, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will be implementing its 'US-VISIT' programme to enable it to effectively track visitors to the country.

Officially stated, the programme will enable the U.S. Government to more accurately verify the identity of incoming visitors and confirm compliance with visa and immigration policies, thus enhancing its entry and exit system.

Specifically, "The goals of US-VISIT (for Visitor and Immigration Status Indicator Technology) are to:
Enhance the security of our citizens and visitors
Expedite legitimate travel and trade
Ensure the integrity of the immigration system
Safeguard the personal privacy of our visitors."


The US-VISIT capability which U.S. law requires be implemented at airports and seaports by December 31, 2003, will involve collecting travel information and 'biometric identifiers' (such as fingerprints, using a simple, inkless device) from visitors to assist the border officer in making admissibility decisions. The identity of visitors who need a visa to travel to the U.S. will be verified upon their arrival and departure.

You Mean Saddam Was Held By Kurds Before He Was...WHOA! LOOK OVER HERE! ORANGE ALERT, EVERYONE

Too late, Mr. Ridge. The story's out there from that left-wing lib'rul Bloomberg Network:

Hussein Was Held by Kurds Before U.S. Capture, AFP Reports
Dec. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Saddam Hussein was captured by U.S. troops only after being held prisoner by Kurdish forces, who had had drugged and abandoned him, Agence France-Presse reported, citing a Sunday Express newspaper report.

The Kurdish Patriotic Front, which fought alongside U.S. forces during the Iraq war, held Hussien until it negotiated for more political advantage in the Middle East, AFP said, citing the paper, which quoted an unidentified Iraqi intelligence officer.

Hussein, who had been in hiding since April, was captured a week ago about 9 miles south of his hometown of Tikrit in northern Iraq, Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq, said at a press conference then.
This'll no doubt be discredited since it came from a French news organization. Anyway, folks. There it is. And the rest of the world is covering this story while we keep an eye on Michael Jackson.

UPDATE: An e-mailer gave us another version of the story at Veterans For Common Sense. Check it out.

Viewer Mail

RC's idea here:

" about a silly thread in which we come up with the ideal Christmas gifts for folks we think about a lot and not necessarily with great charity? Examples:
John Ashcroft: Burkas for his female staff.
George Bush: The Muppets Reader.
Michael Jackson: My limited imagination fails me on this one.
Saddam? Go for it.
Rick Santorum: A Kennel Club membership
Wanna play?"

Sure, we need a nice diversion. Go, readers.

Your Christmas Gift From Tom Ridge Has Arrived


Saturday, December 20

CBS News/NYT Poll: Hmmmm

The latest CBS News poll shows some interesting results. Yeah, Dean is pulling ahead of the Dem pack with 23% with Clark and Lieberman a distant second at 10% each. But here are the noteworthy parts:

When asked if they would consider voting for Dean, 42% of all voters said yes. 67% yes for Democrat voters. And 14% of all Republican voters also said yes.

After Saddam's capture, ALL voters said the terror threat is:
Increased: 17%
The Same: 61%
Decreased: 18%

Yeah, Howard Dean was WAY out of line saying what 78% of America knows.

If We Don't Hand These Guys Their Asses Next November...

...we can only blame ourselves when this crap continues. From tomorrow's WaPo:

They're Taking Slash-and-Burn to Extremes

Congress's minority parties have suffered indignities for decades, but few could top the insult that Republicans dealt to Democrats this fall. When House-Senate negotiators began a series of closed-door sessions to craft an ambitious Medicare overhaul, GOP Rep. Bill Thomas summarily announced that he would allow not a single House Democrat -- and only two Senate Democrats -- in. His edict was a jaw-dropper, given Congress's long history of letting each party appoint its own representatives to these all-important "conference committees." To add injury to insult, the banned lawmakers included the Senate's Democratic leader, Tom Daschle.

What's taking place is more than bare-knuckled partisanship, though there's plenty of that. A potent confluence of events and personalities is changing Congress. Will that matter beyond the Beltway, or even Capitol Hill? Republicans say the Medicare bill would have come out the same even with a semblance of greater Democratic input. But some congressional scholars see tactics that, while perhaps ruthlessly expedient in the short run, seem destined to generate future animosity and retribution. "I honestly believe that policy suffers when enacted in this way," says Thomas Mann, who monitors Congress for the Brookings Institution. "There really is something to be said for a more open, deliberative process where you give full airing to issues and you try to build a larger majority. I don't believe major social changes are sustainable with margins like this."
Future retribution? Damned straight. Like next election, you freaking creeps...if the election's not rendered crippled by your voting machines.

Wow. And From UPI No Less

The total number of wounded soldiers and medical evacuations from the war in Iraq is nearing 11,000, according to new Pentagon data provided in response to a request from United Press International.

The military has made 8,581 medical evacuations from Operation Iraqi Freedom for non-hostile causes in addition to the 2,273 wounded -- a total of 10,854, according to the new data. The Pentagon says that 457 troops have died.

The Pentagon's casualty update for Operation Iraqi Freedom listed on its Web site does not reflect thousands of the evacuations.

It is a toll the country has not seen since Vietnam, said Aseneth Blackwell, former national president of Gold Star Wives of America, Inc., a support group for people who lose a spouse from war. "It is staggering," said Blackwell.

Lieberman, However, Is On Clinton's 'Don't Call' List

From this morning's L.A. Times again:

On Thursday, Howard Dean called attention to Clinton's declaration in 1996 of the end of "big government." Dean said his election would "represent the era of fairer government." On Friday, Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut pounced on Dean's remarks as an attack on Clinton's centrist policies.

By the end of the day, Dean and Clinton had spoken, as they have throughout the campaign — but this time amid swirling debate.

It was a "very friendly conversation," Dean spokesman Jay Carson said. He provided no details but said Dean and Clinton spoke for 10 to 15 minutes.

Suddenly Clinton Is Lieberman's Buddy? Guess Again

American Stranger posed a pretty good question to us in our recent Lieberman post: Wasn't Lieberman one of the most critical Dems back in the Clinton impeachment days?

Yep. He sure was. In his speech during the impeachment proceedings, he was quite the good soldier in voting against it. But he still took the opportunity to spank Clinton several times (presented in small type since there's so stinkin' much of it):

As I have stated previously on this Senate floor, I have been deeply disappointed and angered by this President's conduct--that which is covered in the Articles, and the more personal misbehavior that is not--and like all of us here, I have struggled uncomfortably for more than a year with how to respond to it. President Clinton engaged in an extramarital sexual relationship with a young White House employee in the Oval Office, which, though consensual, was irresponsible and immoral, and thus raised serious questions about his judgment and his respect for the high office he holds. He then made false or misleading statements about that relationship to the American people, to a Federal district court judge in a civil deposition, and to a Federal grand jury; in so doing, he betrayed not only his family but the public's trust, and undermined his moral authority and public credibility.


...I conclude that the appropriate question for each of us to ask is not whether the President committed perjury or obstruction of justice, but whether he committed a high crime or misdemeanor...


I have no doubt that under certain circumstances such offenses could demonstrate such a level of depravity, deceit and disregard for the administration of justice that we would have no choice but to conclude that the President could no longer be trusted to use the authority of his office and make the decisions entrusted to him as Chief Executive in the best interest of the nation. It is because I hold this position that I found reaching a decision in this case such a difficult matter.


I am puzzled by the President's including in his prepared grand jury testimony the statement that `I regret that what began as a friendship came to include this [inappropriate] conduct.' (Grand Jury Testimony of President Clinton p. 9.) As the House Managers pointed out, according to Ms. Lewinsky, she and the President engaged in `this conduct' on the first day they met.


I am, of course, profoundly unsettled by President Clinton's irresponsibility in carrying on a sexual relationship with an intern in the Oval Office and by the disregard for the truth he showed in trying to conceal it from his family, his staff, the courts and the American people.


My disappointment and anger with the President's actions were reawakened as I listened to the evidence the Managers have presented.


I have observed that roughly two-thirds of the public consistently expresses its opposition to the President's removal. But I do not think we can leave this proceeding, especially those of us who have voted against the Articles, without also noting that roughly one-third of the American people have consistently expressed their belief that this President is unfit to lead this nation. That is a startlingly large percentage of our people who have totally lost confidence in our nation's leader.
And that was after THIS little stampy-feet tirade Joe had on the floor of the Senate as he cried about Clinton's morality. Some friggin' friend. I gotta think Clinton remembers as well, and must be seething every time he sees Joe invoke his name against another Democrat for political gain.

Can someone find this guy a job in the Bush administration?

DirecTV: FCC Approves Murdoch - And Even Does His Lobbying For Him

I'm a DirecTV customer, and I'm just wondering if anyone finds this as appalling as I do.

FCC Approves News Corp.'s DirecTV Bid

Federal regulators Friday narrowly approved News Corp.'s $6.6-billion takeover of DirecTV but imposed conditions aimed at limiting the ability of the nation's largest satellite TV provider to dominate media markets.

In a 3-2 vote along party lines, Federal Communications Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein joined fellow Democrat Michael J. Copps in opposing News Corp.'s purchase of a controlling stake in DirecTV. They said more stringent conditions were needed to prevent News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch — whose empire includes Fox Broadcasting, two dozen cable channels and 35 television stations in 26 cities that reach 44% of U.S. households — from squeezing or retaliating against rivals that don't play by his rules.
Here's the part I'm having trouble with:

On Friday, FCC Chairman Michael K. Powell began negotiating with Adelstein, who hadn't yet voted, in hopes of winning a bipartisan majority.

The talks lasted late into the evening, with Adelstein pushing for conditions that would require DirecTV to offer local stations in all its television markets by the end of next year. Powell rebuffed that suggestion and stuck with allowing News Corp. a longer timetable.

Still, several conditions imposed Friday had some analysts wondering just how significant a victory Murdoch had won.
This never happened to me before, but this passage deployed a set of airbags which apparently had been installed in this morning's L.A. Times. That's how much impact it had on me.

Powell negotiating with Adelstein? How much of "a victory Murdoch had won"?!? Why the HELL is the Chairman of the FCC negotiating and lobbying on behalf of Rupert Murdoch? Powell is really getting on my nerves. First, this wingnut (who mostly makes his dad look like me on the political scale) wants to give Clear Channel more power to buy more stations, now he's Murdoch's foot soldier in getting federal approval to buy out a home satellite service.

The FCC - as annoying as it's always been - at least used to make sure the little guy had a voice on the airwaves. Now it's making sure its corporate pals get (screw slices of the pie) the whole damned bakery.

Friday, December 19

We're Outraged! Or We Think We're Supposed To Be. We're Not Sure...

Okay, the Joe Lieberman part of this is his usual yada yada. But I kinda chuckled at the rest of it:

Lieberman contended that Dean had criticized President Clinton's economic record in a domestic speech Thursday. Advisers for Wesley Clark also used the Dean remark to lash out at the front-runner, although they acknowledged Friday they were not entirely clear of the affront.
Heh. Okay. On with the story, and the saga of Desperate Joe...

Dean referred Thursday to a State of the Union address by the former president: "While Bill Clinton said that the era of big government is over, I think we have to enter a new era for the Democratic Party, not one where we join Republicans and aim simply to limit the damage they inflict on working families."

Dean has denied that he intended the remark as criticism of the former president, and the campaign said Friday that Dean believes Clinton had a "great record of success" and wants to build on it.

But Lieberman said Friday, "If you look at the language, it sure looks like he's being critical of the Clinton idea that the era of big government is over."
Man. I wish Joe would go back to his old job as the guy who played the dad in ALF...

Take Back The Media: Back With A Vengeance

American Stranger brings us his first Flash animation in a long time - and of course it kicks serious ass: "Blood And Treasure"

Another "Holy S---" Story

Rumsfeld Visited Baghdad in 1984 to Reassure Iraqis, Documents Show
Trip Followed Criticism Of Chemical Arms' Use
By Dana Priest
Washington Post Staff Writer

Donald H. Rumsfeld went to Baghdad in March 1984 with instructions to deliver a private message about weapons of mass destruction: that the United States' public criticism of Iraq for using chemical weapons would not derail Washington's attempts to forge a better relationship, according to newly declassified documents.

Rumsfeld, then President Ronald Reagan's special Middle East envoy, was urged to tell Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz that the U.S. statement on chemical weapons, or CW, "was made strictly out of our strong opposition to the use of lethal and incapacitating CW, wherever it occurs," according to a cable to Rumsfeld from then-Secretary of State George P. Shultz.

The statement, the cable said, was not intended to imply a shift in policy, and the U.S. desire "to improve bilateral relations, at a pace of Iraq's choosing," remained "undiminished." "This message bears reinforcing during your discussions."

The documents, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the nonprofit National Security Archive, provide new, behind-the-scenes details of U.S. efforts to court Iraq as an ally even as it used chemical weapons in its war with Iran.

An earlier trip by Rumsfeld to Baghdad, in December 1983, has been widely reported as having helped persuade Iraq to resume diplomatic ties with the United States. An explicit purpose of Rumsfeld's return trip in March 1984, the once-secret documents reveal for the first time, was to ease the strain created by a U.S. condemnation of chemical weapons.

The documents do not show what Rumsfeld said in his meetings with Aziz, only what he was instructed to say. It would be highly unusual for a presidential envoy to have ignored direct instructions from Shultz.
So as Buzzflash puts it, the Reagan administration was willing to turn a blind eye to Iraq's use of chemical weapons if they would be our pals. No, folks. It's NEVER been about the oil...

Let's See...Axis Of Evil...Axis Of Evil...Hmmm...Nope. You're Not On The List.

Blair: Libya Will Dismantle WMD Program
U.K. Leader Backs Libya Rejoining International Community

The Associated Press

LONDON -- Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi confirmed that his country sought to develop weapons of mass destruction but plans to dismantle all such programs immediately, Prime Minister Tony Blair said Friday.

Britain and the United States have been talking with Libya for nine months, Blair said.
CNN's Wolf "Dear Sweet Jeezus, We're Live On Every Inch Of The Planet With This Dramatic News Bursting Wide Open Like A Cheap Water Balloon" Blitzer is visibly shaking.

What's dramatic is that this was negotiated through diplomacy, not war. No wonder Bush looked more bewildered than usual just now.

The Numbers Are Up, But Still A Minority

Pew Research Center for the People & the Press survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates. Dec. 15-17, 2003. N=815 adults nationwide. MoE ± 4.

"All in all, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way things are going in this country today?"

Satisfied 44% (up from 38%)
Dissatisfied 47% (down from 56%)
No Opinion 9% (up from 6%)
And when the glow dims, the bottom line is almost 500 U.S. soldiers got killed to get a bad guy. And not THE bad guy.

From the Pen of: Jeff Danziger

Here's a shocker: I can't completely agree with Jeff on this one. Clark, Kucinich, Sharpton and Mosely-Braun have mostly stayed above the fray and stayed on their own message, rather than trash others on theirs. But Lieberman, Kerry and Gephardt deserve it:

So Much Backpedaling, The Chain's Breaking

In spite of Thomas Kean's sweat-filled backpedaling of his original claim that people in Bush's White House could have prevented the 9/11 attacks, there's still a lot of denial going on (the following via so you can bet it's fair and balanced)...

White House Disputes Claim that 9-11 Could Have Been Prevented

In refuting claims by the chairman of the commission investigating the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the White House responded by saying there is nothing the administration has seen that leads them to believe that September 11th could have been prevented.

White House Spokesman Scott McClellan dismissed the comments as not being critical of the Bush administration and said, "[T]he best way to prevent something like September 11th from ever happening again is to take the fight to the terrorists. And that is exactly the kind of decisive action that this president is taking to protect the American people."
Inference: "This administration" that Kean refers to must be - oh, the CLINTON administration? Couldn't be US...WE'RE fighting terra. Pssheww. Here we go again.

I'm Awake. They Weren't.

Got my crack out of the sack at 9am - just in time to turn on CNN and Wolf "Great Mother Of God, I'm Being Splattered From All Sides By Dramatic Developing News!" Blitzer. We're still here.

Thursday, December 18

If I Go To Bed Now, Maybe The Last Three Years Will Be Just A Bad Dream

Tapes Show Abuse of 9/11 Detainees

Hundreds of videotapes that federal prison officials had claimed were destroyed show that foreign nationals held at a New York detention facility after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were victims of physical and verbal abuse by guards, the Justice Department's inspector general said yesterday.

The report concluded that as many as 20 guards were involved in the abuse, which included slamming prisoners against walls and painfully twisting their arms and hands. Fine recommended discipline for 10 employees and counseling for two others who remain employed by the federal prison system. He also said the government should notify the employers of four former guards about their conduct.
Being an American is something I'm still proud of, despite all this embarrassing, deceitful, dishonest, monolithic, pre-emptive, crackheaded, abhorrent behavior that has become the trademark of the USA in the eyes of the rest of the world (and for that matter, about half of America). I just wanted to say that if I wake up tomorrow and it WAS a bad dream.

Good night...

Think, John! THINK!!!

When the question of fiscal responsibility comes up in the next debate, someone's going to crawl under his podium. C'mon, John. Think. You used to be so good at it. From the WaPo:

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) announced yesterday that he is putting $850,000 of his own money into his presidential campaign and will put more in as soon as he gets a mortgage on his home on Beacon Hill in Boston.


You want corrupt? You need not look any further than the GOP's pals at Diebold - who are supposed to handle the 2004 election voting machines.

#1: San Jose Mercury News:

Secretary of State Kevin Shelley said Tuesday that Diebold Elections Systems could lose the right to sell electronic voting machines in California after state auditors found the company distributed software that had not been approved by election officials.

The auditors reported that voters in 17 California counties cast ballots in recent elections using software that had not been certified by the state. And voters in Los Angeles County and two smaller counties voted on machines installed with software that was not approved by the Federal Election Commission.

In an appearance before a state voting panel, Shelley said the report represented a ``deeply troubling'' violation of state election law.

The audit is likely to feed growing concerns about the security of electronic voting as states rush to update voting equipment before the 2004 presidential election.
Can it get worse? It already has.

#2: Wired News:

At least five convicted felons secured management positions at a manufacturer of electronic voting machines, according to critics demanding more stringent background checks for people responsible for voting machine software.

Voter advocate Bev Harris alleged Tuesday that managers of a subsidiary of Diebold, one of the country's largest voting equipment vendors, included a cocaine trafficker, a man who conducted fraudulent stock transactions and a programmer jailed for falsifying computer records.
Okay so it can get worse. And it does - again. And this one's the head-spinner.

#3: The U.K. Register:

The archive of internal correspondence from the politically-connected ATM giant Diebold - which is bidding for many electronic voting contracts across the US - is a gift that keeps on giving. Diebold has its own answer to critics who want a verifiable paper trail. Incredibly, the e-voting terminals don't leave behind such information.

It plans to make the modifications so expensive that city and state officials balk at the cost.

Steven Dennis at the Maryland Gazette last week unearthed correspondence from a Diebold engineer who advised that "any after-sale changes should be prohibitively expensive."
Spread the word. This is one of the ways the Crackhead Adminstration plans to stack the deck next November. Be outraged. You're entitled.

"Democracy" in "Free" Iraq

Teaching freedom by shooting dissenters. The ultimate in mixed signals.

Tanks roll into Tikrit

TIKRIT, Iraq (Reuters) - Tanks have rolled out on to the streets of Tikrit, as a message that the U.S. army will not tolerate shows of support for Saddam Hussein in the captured president's home town.

U.S. troops forcibly broke up at least four attempted pro-Saddam demonstrations and three soldiers were wounded when a bomb went off as their Humvee patrolled the streets.

An hour later, a handful of military vehicles returned, one carrying the U.S.-backed regional governor Hussein al-Jaburi, while a recording of his voice boomed a warning to would-be Saddam loyalists.

"Any demonstration against the government or coalition forces will be fired upon," Jaburi's voice said, according to an army interpreter. "This is a fair warning."

I Want My Day Off Back

I finally get to stay home sick to watch "Crossfire," and CNN is wall-to-wall Michael Jackson with their panel of 5,902 experts until 2pm PT - right up to Wolf "Holy Crap There's News Breaking EVERYWHERE!" Blitzer.

Exactly when did Wolf become this alarmist carnival barker?

Want To Help The Troops? Here Are Two Ways

Many soldiers on R&R leave must purchase high-priced last minute airfares to connect to their hometowns once their military flights land at the airports in Baltimore, Dallas or Atlanta. Soldiers on "Emergency Leave" must still pay the full cost of their domestic travel when they are rushed home for the family death, birth, illness or other emergency. The military does not pay the cost of their travel in the United States..."
Here's a great way to help the troops - donate those unused frequent flyer miles so they can get home at

If you'd like to send a care package to a random soldier to let them know we're thinking of them, go to Read the page to see what they need and how to send it to them.

More info - visit the Dean campaign's Blog for America.

"What's The Difference?" Part II

When confronted with the lack of evidence of WMDs or threats to the United States used as the reason to invade Iraq, President Toughguy asked Diane Sawyer, "So what's the difference?"

Here's the difference, you lying sack of stupidity: 460 U.S. soldiers dead. 2637 wounded. And over 3000 people crying from their graves asking why you picked a fight with the wrong guy. Just so you can strut your peacock ass in front of the TV cameras to say "We got Saddam." Wretched. Just wretched.

Back To The History Books, Mr. President

The 2nd Circuit Federal Court of Appeals on the ruling on Jose Padilla:

"As this court sits only a short distance from where the World Trade Center stood, we are as keenly aware as anyone of the threat al-Qaida poses to our country and of the responsibilities the president and law enforcement officials bear for protecting the nation. But presidential authority does not exist in a vacuum, and this case involves not whether those responsibilities should be aggressively pursued, but whether the president is obligated, in the circumstances presented here, to share them with Congress."
This, along with Bush's cooked-up reasons for invading Oilraq - labeling Hussein as an imminent threat to the United States - point out the one basic tenet of American justice that this administration refuses to accept:


Wingnut Vs. Wingnut!

This is fun - a vicious slapfest between Matt Drudge and Bill O'Lielly.

Nice Try

Well, the L.A. Times has tried their hand at playing "gotcha" with Howard Dean this morning (it's now officially gotten old). They tried to nail his ass on this: an appearance on CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sept. 29, 2002, Dean said, "There's no question Saddam is a threat to the U.S. and our allies."
But in an "infobox" right in the very same story, we have the entire quote:

On whether Saddam Hussein was a danger to the U.S.:

• "There's no question Saddam is a threat to the U.S. and our allies. The question is, is he an immediate threat? The president has not yet made the case for that." — Face the Nation," Sept. 29, 2002

LA Weekly: Why Lieberman Must Step Aside

Joe...and're an embarrassment to Democrats. Everyone's noticing.

“Howard Dean seems to believe if you are just against everything, that’s enough,” Lieberman said in a speech his campaign had billed as a major address. “Against removing Saddam Hussein. Against tax cuts. Against knocking down walls of protection around the world so we can sell more products that are made in America, by Americans. Dr. Dean has become Dr. No.” At which point, Lieberman put himself forward as the candidate of unity. “The decision before you is as direct as this: Are we going to bring this country together and move it forward? Or are we going to keep it divided and take it backward?” In Lieberman Land, the way to bring the country together is by dividing his own political party...

Lieberman may have nothing to lose by his attack, but his party has been bloodied big time by his assaults. Dean is clearly the front-runner for the nomination, and his followers, now close to a third of the party, are vastly more committed to their candidate and campaign than any other candidates’ backers are to their own. On Sunday, Lieberman crossed a line. He now threatens to marginalize the most likely nominee, or blow the party asunder should he succeed.

(Lieberman’s not alone: A group called Americans for Jobs, Health Care and Progressive Values — whose funding sources are not yet publicly known — has taken to the air in New Hampshire with an ad that features a picture of Osama while blasting Dean on security issues. The group’s president and treasurer have longstanding ties to Gephardt.) has a unity pledge stating that we'll support whoever the candidate is (and the polls show it won't be Lieberman, Gephardt or Kerry after their abhorrent behavior this week). It's a step in the right direction, which never occurred to these guys.

Wednesday, December 17

Time To Pull bin Laden Out Of His Hole

Man, with all that's happened today, it's gotta suck to be George Bush. In fact, BEFORE today, it still must've sucked, having to be George Bush and all. At least Clinton got oral sex for his troubles. All Bush does is blow.

I'm gonna go home and nurse my cold. Sleep well, all. The White House of cards is still just that.

David Kay Wants To Go Home

After months of "smoking guns" and "definite proof," it seems the good Dr. Kay is throwing his hands up in failure. See ya.

Kay Plans to Leave Search for Iraqi Arms

David Kay, the head of the U.S. effort to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, has told administration officials he plans to leave before the Iraq Survey Group's work is completed and could depart before February, U.S. military and intelligence officials said.

The move comes as more of Kay's staff has been diverted from the weapons hunt to help search for Iraqi insurgents, and at a time when expectations remain low that any actual weaponry will be discovered.

Kay requested the change for personal and family reasons, officials said. When he accepted the job in June, they said, he expected to quickly find the expansive evidence that the administration had claimed as its primary reason for going to war. Rather, Kay's preliminary report in October said the group had so far discovered only that Iraq was working to acquire chemical and biological weapons, had missile programs under various stages of development and possessed only a rudimentary nuclear program.

The 9/11 Commission Chairman's Comment: Reaction

William Rivers Pitt chimes in with some insight to the 9/11 story:

It has been two years and three months since America absorbed the horrific attacks of September 11. A fight has been waged since then to determine the facts behind that terrible day: How did it happen? Why was it not stopped? The Bush administration has fought the official investigations into these attacks every step of the way, going so far as to nominate master secret-keeper Henry Kissinger to chair the investigation. They failed in this nomination, and wound up with former New Jersey Governor and fellow Republican Thomas Kean. Today, Kean has fired an incredible broadside across the bow of the White House, stating bluntly that the attacks of September 11 could have and should have been stopped, and that blame for this failure rests squarely on the shoulders of the Bush administration.

That Bump Is A Pimple

CBS News/New York Times Poll. Dec. 14-15, 2003. N=525 registered voters nationwide.

"If George W. Bush runs for reelection in 2004, do you think you will probably vote for George W. Bush or probably vote for the Democratic candidate?"

Bush 44% (up from 42% pre-Saddam)
Democrat 40% (down from 41%)
Can't Say Until Chosen 8% (11%)
None/Won't Vote 1% (2%)
Don't Know 7% (4%)
With a sample of 525, the margin of error is about ±4.2%. Still, not the gigantic bump everyone's been expecting.

Right Now At The White House, Coffee Is Shooting Through Nostrils

Forgive the sacrilege, but God DAMN...

9/11 Chair: Attack Was Preventable
NEW YORK, Dec. 17, 2003

For the first time, the chairman of the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks is saying publicly that 9/11 could have and should have been prevented, reports CBS News Correspondent Randall Pinkston.

"This is a very, very important part of history and we've got to tell it right," said Thomas Kean.

"As you read the report, you're going to have a pretty clear idea what wasn't done and what should have been done," he said. "This was not something that had to happen."

Appointed by the Bush administration, Kean, a former Republican governor of New Jersey, is now pointing fingers inside the administration and laying blame.

"There are people that, if I was doing the job, would certainly not be in the position they were in at that time because they failed. They simply failed," Kean said.

The First American To Orbit Earth: Dean's Right, Bush And The Dem Dipwad Triplets Are Wrong

CNN's Wolf "News Is Bustin' Out All Over" Blitzer interviewed John Glenn this morning on the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers' flight. Blitzer of course shifted the focus on current events - two items which didn't seem to get the response Wolf was digging for.

BLITZER: Senator Glenn, what about the moon? We're now getting indications the president is seriously thinking of approving another mission to the moon and let the men and perhaps women stay on the moon for some prolonged period of time. Is that a good idea?

GLENN: Well, I think if it's part of a bigger plan only. To just go back to the moon to say we can do that, with no further plan beyond that, that would be a very expensive thing to do. And with the budget situation the way it is now, I don't know why the president would call for that or not. We're $500 billion additional debt this year that the deficit we're going into.
Now I gotta wonder if John Kerry, Joe Lieberman and Dick Gephardt are going to gang up on - and trash - Mr. Glenn for this exchange:

BLITZER: In terms of the war on terrorism, is the American public safer today now that Saddam Hussein has been captured?

GLENN: The American public? Well, I'd be hard pressed to say that, that the American public. I didn't see Saddam Hussein as being quite the danger that some other people did. We haven't found any weapons of mass destruction yet. I'm glad we have him. He was a bad man, there's no doubt about that.

But as far as, do I feel safer because he's been captured? Well, I'm glad he was captured. But do I feel safer? No, I guess I don't feel that much safer.
Joe? John? DICK? Where are you guys?

"What's The Difference?"

DIANE SAWYER: But let me try to ask — this could be a long question. ... ... When you take a look back, Vice President Cheney said there is no doubt, Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction, not programs, not intent. There is no doubt he has weapons of mass destruction...Again, the intelligence — the inspectors have said they can't confirm this, they can't corroborate.


DIANE SAWYER: — an active —


DIANE SAWYER: Again, I'm just trying to ask, these are supporters, people who believed in the war who have asked the question.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, you can keep asking the question and my answer's gonna be the same. Saddam was a danger and the world is better off cause we got rid of him.

DIANE SAWYER: But stated as a hard fact, that there were weapons of mass destruction as opposed to the possibility that he could move to acquire those weapons still —

PRESIDENT BUSH: So what's the difference?
DIANE SAWYER: Well --- Uh --- (sputter) Uh, my line please?


Say it, Diane, you wuss. SAY IT. You drill the Dixie Chicks, but you let this guy get away with admitting he was lying. What a pitiful timid excuse for a journalist.

Tuesday, December 16

I'm Going To Need A New TV

I'm about to put my fist through this one. CNN's Paula Zahn closed out a segment with Molly Ivins telling her that people may not agree with her, but she's always good for some humor.

That's what we liberals are good for. Big laughs. Forget that she also had a message, you blithering twit.

Hey! Wait A Minute...

If Saddam Hussein was threatening the United States with WMDs (the reason for the war according to Bush yesterday), why isn't he going to be tried here?

Oh, big fat stupid me. No evidence. Never mind.

Add One More Name To The List

Well, let's all slap our foreheads, yell "D'OH" and cross Dick Gephardt off our list. It pains me to repost it here. Just go read it.

Mr. Gephardt's Reform Values

So Bad, It's Funny

I sure hope these folks aren't serious about their action figures. We're still trying to find out if the Onion's behind it.

Desperate And Desperater

Look, I'm very impressed by and grateful for the work and sacrifices these guys have done in the past. But their current behavior is atrocious.

No, they don't have to march in lockstep to Howard Dean.

No, they don't have to agree with him on anything if that's their position.

But if they're at all concerned about the future and public image of the Democratic party - NO, they should NOT go publicly blasting anyone with a shot at becoming Bush's opponent - which in the final analysis doesn't seem to be either Lieberman or Kerry.

In implementing the poorest judgement in recent political history, they're killin' us. They've forgotten the fine art of letting their own ideologies speak for themselves, and instead have embarked on desperate and ugly smear campaigns against Dean. To make matters worse, they've actually taken to siding with Bush in a lot of their rhetoric.

Didn't these guys stand for something? Don't they understand that (and DAMN I'm tired of saying this) capturing Saddam Hussein was not the mission? That the mission was to DISARM him of WMDs? Instead of asking why we went in there, they're using the capture of Hussein as a gotcha on Dean.

Moreover, Dean is being accused by both Dems and wingnuts of wanting to do a wholesale pull out of Iraq. I wish to hell someone would find the quote where Dean said that. They can't. Because it's Dennis Kucinich who said that. Dean's position - in all the times I've heard/seen him speak - is that we're there and we have to finish the job. But Dean would rather do it with the help of repaired ties with what once were our allies. What a silly silly man, huh?

CNN reported today that Lieberman campaign workers are going to be asked to take a voluntary pay deferment because the money hasn't been rolling in as solidly as Joe claims. There's got to be a reason for that. Not only does the emperor have no clothes, the closet's empty, too.

Let me ask these guys one simple but important question: Would a Lieberman or a Kerry presidency fare any better than Dean vis a vis Saddam?

NO. They know it. And we know it. And the more they make an issue of it, the more they're making themselves and the Democrats look petty and ridiculous.

It's time for them to shut up. Karl Rove couldn't possibly have planned this implosion any better. End of this discussion.

(Well, not quite. Don't completely blame me for the pictures of Joe and John here. This is exactly how CNN is portraying them at their website. Perception is everything.)

Dean In L.A.

We scraped together a couple of hundred bucks and saw a sellout show at LA's House Of Blues tonight - a fund/roofraiser for Howard Dean. See? I put my money where my mouth is - and got a damned fine show for it, too. It was more than Bush or Cheney can deliver for ten times the money, and the entertainment contained not one single word of GOP jingo by a country music has-been. That alone was worth the bucks. So as promised, here's what I was able to snap with my trusted Casio Exilim.

The Bangles opened. They're still hot, and having Clear Channel ban "Walk Like An Egyptian" post-9/11 gave them an even more desirable edge.

I always had a crush on Susanna Hoffs. And if she married me, her last name wouldn't change. Much. My wife would be pretty pissed, though.

(l-r) Harry Shearer, Michael McKean and Christopher Guest. The Folksmen. Yes, Shearer appeared in full female form - with heels. Read on...

A better look at Shearer. The Folksmen with Rob Reiner.

The man the crowd came to see. The place went ballistic when he came out. Anyone who thinks the wind has gone from the sails of this guy's campaign better think again. He lit the place up with an outstanding talk. He's a thousand times better than when I first saw him at UCLA several months back. And no - he didn't trash his Democratic opponents. A class guy.

This was seconds after I shook his hand. Yes, pals. I shook the guy's damned hand - the second guy in the crowd to do so (a CA state senator was first). The same hands that're typing these words shook the guy's damned hand. So no matter who you are, you're two degrees of separation from the next president.

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy wrapped up the night. I couldn't shake their damned hands - too busy playing their damned songs. And that was that. Killer night - proud to be part of it.

Monday, December 15

News Conference Plant Revealed

The lapdog we've been trying to out who dragged Howard Dean into today's lovefest with the prez is Bill Sammon of (drumroll please) The Washington Times.

So the house that Karl Rove told him to bring this up despite President Humility's waving off any political questions. This was a true Rovian setup plain and simple. Thanks to reader Michael W (not pronounced "dubya") for that info.

The Timing

Funny how when Clinton went after terror, it was shrugged off as a deflection of his really really big problems with getting oral sex. Let's take a quick look at what was going on when Saddam was paraded before the TV cameras.

A congressman wanted to open an investigation of Halliburton stealing over $60 billion.
Bush signed a bill allowing the FBI to demand financial records of businesses.
Bush's job ratings had fallen to their lowest levels.
One Democrat was emerging as the front-runner.
And overall, the situation in Iraq wasn't going very...

Hiding Or A Captive?

You decide. Kinda conspiracy-theory-ish, and doesn't really explain why Saddam was packing heat, but interesting to read.

What Saddam Looked Like

Bad Santa
Jerry Garcia
Al Goldstein
Ted Kaczynski
Tommy Chong
Captain Lou Albano

These are a few I've received. Leave more in the comments.

Kerry Attacks Dean From Both Sides

William Saletan asks, "Senator, have you no shame?"

By the way, what in HELL was Kerry thinking yesterday? Apparently, he's shifting his own message to soothe the FOX News audience. Again, thanks a load, John.

Who's "Big Stretch"?

Whoever it is, that's who Bush called on to ignite this ridiculous exchange which you can bet Karl Rove set up:

THE PRESIDENT: Stretch. Big Stretch. I'm sorry. (Laughter.)

Q I know you said there will be a time for politics. But you've also said you wanted to change the tone in Washington. Howard Dean recently seemed to muse aloud whether you had advance knowledge of 9/11. Do you agree or disagree with the RNC that this kind of rhetoric borders on political hate speech?

THE PRESIDENT: There's time for politics. There's time for politics, and I -- it's an absurd insinuation.

Q In that case, sir, can I follow up on something unrelated? (Laughter.)

White House Video Crew Goes Channel Surfing

If you watch the video of the White House news conference this morning, about 3/4 into it someone starts fiddling with the DirecTV. Oddly, this is right about the time in the press conference when one of the lapdogs asks Bush about Howard Dean (see four posts down), and more oddly, it's video of Tom Brokaw introducing the news conference, followed by two women discussing costume design on SNL.

I'm chalking this one up to incompetence, rather than a vast right wing conspiracy.

A Ray Of Hope Emerges From Michael Moore

Got Michael Moore's latest missive, "We Finally Got Our Frankenstein," and one paragraph jumps out:

Stay strong, Democratic candidates. Quit sounding like a bunch of wusses. These bastards sent us to war on a lie, the killing will not stop, the Arab world hates us with a passion, and we will pay for this out of our pockets for years to come. Nothing that happened today (or in the past 9 months) has made us ONE BIT safer in our post-9/11 world. Saddam was never a threat to our national security.
Agreed. But also interesting that he appears to be cheering on the Democrats here. We'll see if it holds up after Nader decides his political future, but there's hope.

Timing Is Everything

It's worth wondering what we all might be paying attention to this particular Sunday morning were it not for this "triumph of American intelligence." Most of us, of course, would be going about the course of our normal daily lives – holiday shopping, hangover nursing, child-minding, church, work. But at least some would have been riveted by a lower-profile but no less interesting news item, one that surely would have been a hot topic on "Meet The Press": the Halliburton overcharges.

News Conference II

Am I the only one a little bit concerned that President Turkeytray, during his news conference, made a point of letting us know he's in charge and he's going to do what he thinks is right - no matter what anyone says?

Hand over my heart, I thought he was going to flash dual victory signs over his head after saying that. Pure Nixon. (Or pure American Hussein if you will.)

News Conference

I missed the graphic - who was the lapdog who asked for Bush's opinion on Howard Dean saying Bush had prior knowledge of 9/11? Leave a comment if you know...

Sounded like a plant - the non-vegetative variety.

Okay. One More Thing, Then It's Good Night

I made the pic. You make the comment. I'm outta here.

Sunday, December 14

One Last Time Before I Say Good Night

Capturing Saddam...


Now get some sleep and we'll see you in the morning.

This Can't Be Good For Kerry

When someone opens a blog to support you, then does this, you know it's time to rethink your career path.

William Pitt: Okay...And?

Here's what we've been saying all day:

Former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter, reached at his home on Sunday, said, “It’s great that they caught him. The man was a brutal dictator who committed terrible crimes against his people. But now we come to rest of story. We didn’t go to war to capture Saddam Hussein. We went to war to get rid of weapons of mass destruction. Those weapons have not been found.” Ray McGovern, senior analyst and 27-year veteran of the CIA, echoed Ritter’s perspective on Sunday. “It’s wonderful that he was captured, because now we’ll find out where the weapons of mass destruction are,” said McGovern with tongue firmly planted in cheek. “We killed his sons before they could tell us.”

Indeed, reality intrudes. The push for war before March was based upon Hussein’s possession of 26,000 liters of anthrax, 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin, 1,000,000 pounds of sarin gas, mustard gas, and VX nerve gas, along with 30,000 munitions to deliver these agents, uranium from Niger to be used in nuclear bombs, and let us not forget the al Qaeda terrorists closely associated with Hussein who would take this stuff and use it against us on the main streets and back roads of the United States.

When they found Hussein hiding in that dirt hole in the ground, none of this stuff was down there with him. The full force of the American military has been likewise unable to locate it anywhere else. There is no evidence of al al Qaeda agents working with Hussein, and Bush was forced some weeks ago to publicly acknowledge that Hussein had nothing to do with September 11. The Niger uranium story was debunked last summer.

Conventional wisdom now holds that none of this stuff was there to begin with, and all the clear statements from virtually everyone in the Bush administration squatting on the public record describing the existence of this stuff looks now like what it was then: A lot of overblown rhetoric and outright lies, designed to terrify the American people into supporting an unnecessary go-it-alone war.

Meanwhile, Back At Taliban Central

There was an attempt at Pakistani President Musharraf's life today. Pakistan is a nuclear power. If Pakistan's leadership falls, guess who has nukes? But we've been too busy in Iraq to worry about crap like this.

From the Pen of: Jeff Danziger

Folks, It's A Small Piece Of The Convoluted Puzzle

Yes, it's great news that a murderous tyrant has been captured. Predictably, there'll be a lot of premature dancing on our graves by the Bush gang.

One problem: the graves are empty. We're not dead.

You'll see a lot of finger-wagging and hear a lot of hubris about how the capture of Saddam Hussein has taken all the wind out of our sails over here on the left, and more specifically in the Howard Dean Camp. But that's false bravado hard at work.

Finding Saddam was one of MANY problems that've been angering us. Moreover, what we thought was a done deal back when we bombed the snot out of Baghdad turned out to be an eight-month long ordeal. And this was all out of a pre-emptive strike we initiated over intentionally false evidence tied to the war on terror - a campaign which alienated too many countries who originally wanted to help us go after the REAL terror threats.

When you get right down to it, it's an event. A formality. A hooray-for-us sidebar to a much bigger problem - one which the Bush administration started itself. The American public was lied to by the president to get to this point. The world was manipulated and lied to as well. And we're shutting many of our allies out of the rebuilding process - extorting military aid from them if they want any of the action.

Above all, try as they did to make this square peg fit a round hole, none of this had any tangible link to the 9/11 attacks.

Saddam's capture is a triumph of our troops. It is they who deserve the credit and honor. But it is not the conclusion of the Iraq episode or the hostile nature of this administration. Not by any standard.

By the way, that link above - OpinionEditorials - has opinions from a regular team of wingnut writers. They do have a stable of "guest" and "op-ed" folks who are...surprise...more wingnut writers. Guess it depends what your definition of "op" is.

When Foolish People Say Foolish Things...

...the most foolish websites pick up on it. Thanks to Joe Lieberman's ill-timed rant against Howard Dean, NewsMax is feeding it right into the wingnut propaganda machine. Way to go, Joe.

John Kerry - Come Pick Up Your "Saying Something Extremely Stupid" Award

Just saw a crawl on CNN which had John Kerry saying that Howard Dean is not fit to be President of the United States. Thanks, John.

Nobody's sabotaging the 2004 election more than Dean's opponents. Gee, I'm SO freakin' proud to be a Democrat with these numbnuts around.

Now That It's Sinking In...

I know. I'm going to be a little nit-picky (sarcasm alarm goes off) here.

Still no WMDs found.
Still no ties to 9/11 made.
Still no evidence of supplying weapons to the animals who attacked us.
Still no ties to Osama bin Laden.
Still no evidence Iraq was going to attack the United States.
All these were reasons for attacking Iraq. All of them are still lies.
Saddam has been rendered irrelevant since April. His capture is a formality.

Now Bush speaks.
Bush is warning of further terror attacks in Iraq.
He's still lumping Iraq together with the war on terror.
And he ends his speech with "God Bless the People of Iraq."
(I literally slapped my head repeatedly when he said that.)

See the problems we have here?

Now That We Have Him...Will He Tell Us Everything?


Somebody Saying Something Extremely Stupid

That didn't take long. Joe Lieberman does the honors at his own website:

If Howard Dean had his way, Saddam Hussein would still be in power today, not in prison, and the world would be a more dangerous place.
Thanks for calling, Joe. You're our winner.