Saturday, August 30

Howard Dean Holds The Lead reports:

The 54-year-old Dean, an internist by training, is suddenly the one to beat. Polls show him tied for first in Iowa, site of the nation's first caucuses, and opening a big lead in New Hampshire, a vital early primary state.

His rise in New Hampshire has rocked the campaign of Sen. John Kerry of neighboring Massachusetts. A favorite of the Democratic elite, Kerry cast himself as the early front-runner and campaigned as if he had cemented the title.

"Kerry's campaign has been strange," said Greg Haas, a Democratic strategist in Ohio. "They haven't been very aggressive."
"Very aggressive" seems to elude many Democrats. That's why Dean scares them.

Well, too bad. Next November is going to be a streetfight because that's how Rove works. Dean knows it, and it's scaring more wingnuts than Democrats. So either join in or change parties. It ain't gonna be pretty.

CBS News Poll: Huh?

According to a CBS News poll, President Whistle Ass has a 55% overall approval rating.

Still, only 50% approve of how he's handling foreign policy, while a paltry 39% approve of how he's handling the economy.

What's left? The environment? Job creating? AmeriCorps? The way he dresses? I can't think of one single issue where he has succeeded that would warrant a 55% overall approval rating. It's um...fuzzy math.

In the same poll, in his dealings with Iraq, a dismal 17% says he told the entire truth, 61% said he hid some things and 19% say he's been mostly lying. There's a serious credibility problem with the Whistle Ass administration when the "mostly lying"s outnumber the "entire truth" faction.

Also for the first time, the poll shows less people believing we're in control in Iraq than not. Sorry, Whis'.

Hoffmania! Reader Gets Ink

'Way to go to John Siegel who writes: "Thanks to your link to the LAT piece on Toby Keith, I have a letter in today's paper. The only problem is, I can't see it online; the Calandarlive section is only linkable via real subscribers like you. I'm off to the store to buy a hard copy. Thanks for the tip."

John's e-mail was a nice change from the Re: Your Application, Re: Re: Your Reply, Re: That Movie, Re: Wicked Screensaver messages...which suspiciously were absent from the mailbox this morning.

Thanks for getting the word out, John. Here - I'll save you the half a buck...

I'm sorry to hear the war in Iraq didn't work out for Toby Keith, especially since he helped sell it to his fellow citizens. It also didn't work out for thousands of dead Iraqi civilians and more than 300 coalition troops, half of whom have died since President Bush's aircraft carrier celebration.

John W. Siegel

Hillary Still Says No

Oddly, I was kinda relieved to see this...she'd be shot through the mud horribly if she ran in 2004. If the Democrats can't get their act together in the next election, the Clintons will be welcomed back to the White House by a landslide on 2008.

A drop in President Bush's poll numbers has increased speculation about New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton jumping into the 2004 Democratic presidential race - a notion the former first lady rejected Friday.

"I am absolutely ruling it out," Clinton said during a visit to the New York State Fair in Syracuse, N.Y. She had insisted in recent months that she will not consider entering the race for president this year even if that is what some Democrats want.

Fueling the speculation has been talk of a fall visit to Iowa, site of the nomination's kickoff caucuses Jan. 19, but no confirmation yet from her staff on whether Clinton will go.

A meeting of her fund-raising team next month is expected to include at least some discussion of presidential politics - more likely the 2008 race, according to some familiar with planning for the session.

Friday, August 29

Repost: You Can Cut The Ambivalence With A Knife

So let me get this straight...

In the last 24 hours, Arnold Schwarzeggnegeggenegger has called in to several right-wing talk shows and said...

- He is pro-choice.
- He recognizes domestic partnerships.
- He supports gun control measures.
- He supports the continuance of many state-funded programs.
- He supports many liberal social issues.

Neocon candidate Sen. Tom McClintock said Arnold's comments..."have managed to blur distinctions" between those two?!?

"Schwarzenegger's appearances have gotten mostly positive, if not particularly enthusiastic, reviews from conservatives"?!?

And the right is still cheering over this? I'm laughin' my ass off! I'm envisioning the campaign slogans.

"Arnold, I Guess"
"Um, Well, Okay. Schwarzenegger!"
"Republican? Maybe! Arnold For Governor"
"What's On TV October 7th?"

Let's not kid ourselves over the original reasons for this recall. It had nothing to do with "the good of our people." Uber-conservative Darrell Issa started this whole thing because he wanted to overthrow Gray Davis while his popularity cratered so he can make a play for becoming California's neocon governor. The recall is happening, but his candidacy was a disaster. He's gone into hiding - no one has heard a blink from Issa since he withdrew. And now, the best the Republicans can hope for is the aging bodybuilder whose only political experience is by marriage and who has more liberal ideals than 80% of the politicians who call themselves Democrats.

Believe this: Many Repubs are mourning the failure of Issa, Simon, and eventually McClintock. They are desperately trying to rally behind Arnold, but their heart just isn't there. You can hear it. Hell, you can smell it.

As an attempt to overthrow an elected official without a high crime or misdemeanor, it can be called a success. But from a conservative standpoint, this is an unmitigated and total failure. And it's too late to close that box, Pandora.

Originally Posted 8/28/03

Schwarzenegger's Youthful Indiscretion

Atrios poses this very appropriate question about Republican Arnold's gang-bang history:

What Will We Tell the Children?

Back when Monica Madness was in full swing, our prudish press and right wing scolds kept wondering out loud how they would explain to their children what a blow job was, now that Bill Clinton made Ken Starr write his little book of pornography they kept putting on the front pages.

How will we explain "group sex" to them?

General Clark Makes It Clear

No, not about his bid for the presidency - but about how ill-sighted President Whistle-Ass' war on terror is. From the BBC:

The former commander of Nato forces in Europe, General Wesley Clark, says American policy has "created chaos" in Iraq.

General Clark said the fundamental problem was the US tendency to fight states to get at "terrorists", rather than take on the "terrorists" themselves.

"We may have given Osama Bin Laden the recharge he needed to rebuild his arsenal and his ranks," he told the BBC's World Today programme.

He said the war should have resulted in restored Iraqi relations with the UN and Nato, finding weapons of mass destruction and ensuring Iraq would "not become a hotbed of international terrorism".

"We are drawing in terrorists. We have created chaos in Iraq," he said.
We've created chaos everywhere we've laid our hands on since January 20, 2001...including our own country. Stay tuned.

Back To Reality

NAJAF, Iraq (CNN) -- A car bomb outside the Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf, Iraq, killed dozens of people including the Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Hakim, the Shiite leader of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, Shiite officials said.

Officials at the Najaf Teaching Hospital said the blast killed at least 75 people, burning many beyond recognition. The hospital was treating at least 142 wounded people, officials said.

Thursday, August 28

These Kids And Their Music And Their Fulfilling The Dreams Of The Hoffmania! Staff...

The MTV Video Oh Sweet Jesus in a chariot driven sidecar...

Ah bluh uh duh...uh er bluh abbrggh. And...

In conclusion, duh ghuuuhhh blblblblble.

Fun With Broadband

The State Of The Union message with honesty intact.

How Sad Is The Medical Situation In Iraq?

Very. has a heart-wrenching cover story on the horrible situations hospitals are facing in Iraq. And since the masterminds of their county's takeover still refuse to get any international help, kids are dying there. An excerpt:

Children in Baghdad hospitals are dying of highly curable ailments such as diarrhea because of Iraq's corrupt, bureaucracy-plagued, crime-ridden healthcare system -- and the failure of U.S. administrators to come up with a workable alternative more than four months after the fall of Saddam. Certainly, babies died under Saddam's rule, though the dictator blamed U.S. sanctions for medical supply shortages, and treated scenes of dead children as photo opportunities to try to shame Americans. In post-Saddam Iraq, though, the delivery system, at least, is far worse. And just as the U.S. is being blamed for failing to plan adequately for postwar chaos on other fronts -- from restoring power to keeping order -- a growing chorus is outraged about the medical crisis in Baghdad.

But doctors, government agencies and relief organizations point fingers in different directions when laying blame for the troubles. Iraqi doctors say not enough medical supplies are reaching their pharmacies. American and Iraqi officials in charge of distributing those supplies insist Baghdad warehouses are full and supplies are available to those who ask, but the Saddam-era health bureaucracy, combined with a history of passivity on the part of health officials, mean hospitals aren't getting what they need. American soldiers trying to guard the medical warehouses say that Iraqis have been pilfering the medicines to sell on the black market -- and that the U.S. military can't or won't crack down and make sure the medicines are secure. "It's layer after layer of bullshit that you have to get through to solve the problem," says Army Reserve officer John Padgett, a doctor who's helping do a needs assessment of the healthcare system. "But the public hospitals should have some recourse other than going to the black markets for their medicines -- which is what they're doing now."
Chalk this up as #6,903 in the growing list of things we didn't count on when we pulled the trigger on this war.

Dean Turns The Right And Lieberman (was there a diff?) Upside-Down

The right has gone from making dismissive derisions about Howard Dean to now being downright scared of him. Also, Lieberman attacks Dean...from the left? We're now living in the bizarro world, and it hasn't escaped the Dean Defense site. Good readin'.

The Party Of Utter Ineptitude

It doesn't get more thorough than what Michael Tomasky lays down when it comes to Republicans' claim of knowing how to run a country.

They've demonstrated otherwise. No one -- no one -- can name a single front on which today's Republicans have shown even the simplest competence. They don't know how to manage an economy. They sure don't know how to balance a budget. They have no idea how to create jobs (though they do have a pretty strong sense of how to make them disappear). Their domestic-security measures have consisted of the usual emphasis on show over substance, first stealing a Democratic idea (the Department of Homeland Security) and then underfunding the result in some crucial respects -- a mistake for which I pray we never pay a price.

They don't understand the Bill of Rights, and their shills in the media obviously don't understand the relationship between the First Amendment and trademark law, as Blah-Blah O'Reilly's laughable lawsuit against the great Al Franken shows. They've done nothing to protect the air we breathe and the water we drink, and have, if anything, done damage to those resources. They've done nothing for the minorities Mr. Compassionate Conservative was supposedly courting in 2000, his speeches to the NAACP and the like transcribed by a tremulous media.

And now, it turns out, they don't know how to do the one thing they've spent 50 years convincing Americans that they and only they know how to do: fight a war.
Oh yeah. One other thing for which they profess to be the torchbearers: HONESTY. The word has been rendered totally useless thanks to these schnooks, crooks and outright liars.

From the Pen of: Jeff Danziger

Giant Hot Steaming Bullcrap Alert

Our CEO president doing what his CEO pals do best. Screwing his employees.

CRAWFORD, Texas (CNN) -- Citing the "national emergency" created by the September 11, 2001, attacks, President Bush Wednesday exercised his authority to limit the pay increase for many federal workers next January to 2 percent -- well below the 15 percent some employees would have been entitled to receive.

The president exercised the same authority last year, as have other presidents in the past. In this case, Bush said the country could not afford to give civilian federal employees who are covered by what is known as the General Schedule the full raises they would get had he not invoked his authority.
Invoking the memory of 9/11 is disgraceful - when you factor in President Whistle-Ass' insistence on carrying out his tax cuts for the already-wealthy, and the amount of money those people are kicking back to his campaign as a big fat wet "thank you for the tax cut" gesture.

Failing That, Cheney Will Question All Gremlins, Fairies And Leprechauns In The U.S.

They're running out of room at the bottom of that barrel.

U.S. Suspects It Received False Iraq Arms Tip
Intelligence officials are reexamining data used in justifying the war. They say Hussein's regime may have sent bogus defectors.

WASHINGTON — Frustrated at the failure to find Saddam Hussein's suspected stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, U.S. and allied intelligence agencies have launched a major effort to determine if they were victims of bogus Iraqi defectors who planted disinformation to mislead the West before the war.

The goal, according to a senior U.S. intelligence official, "is to see if false information was put out there and got into legitimate channels and we were totally duped on it." He added, "We're reinterviewing all our sources of information on this. This is the entire intelligence community, not just the U.S."

The far-reaching review was started after a political firestorm erupted this summer over revelations that President Bush's claim in his State of the Union speech that Iraq had sought to import uranium from Niger was based on forged documents.
Here's a wacky idea to find the false cause for war. LOOK IN THE MIRROR.

Wednesday, August 27

Oh Yeah...Had To Share This With You

Here's yet another example of how booksellers hide Ann Coulter's book in the back because - according to Ann - no one wants to display right-wing literature. This was at a Costco in the valley today. As you can see, you can just barely make out a copy or two if you look closely near the middle of the picture.

What you don't see in the picture - or in the store - are Franken's and Conason's books. They must have had them piled up at the entrance of the store - according to Ann - and I missed 'em.

You go, Girlish!

Campaigning When He Should Be A President has a nice perspective here about President Brainfreeze...

"I'm not sure the role of the United States is to go around the world and say 'this is the way it's got to be'. I would be very careful about using our troops as nation builders." George W. Bush, Presidential Debate, Boston, Oct. 3, 2000

Ironic, isn't it? George Bush, reluctant nation builder, is now CEO of the mother of all nation-building projects.

At this stage, the president's most pressing challenge is selling the deal to wary stockholders. He's hampered by a self-created credibility gap and a tenacious refusal to abandon campaign-style jingoism in favor of candor and clarity.

This week, the administration launched a "stay the course" offensive highlighted by the president's speech to the American Legion convention in St. Louis.

What the president did was give a fine campaign speech.

What the president didn't do was address the substantive concerns about the administration's reconstruction policy directly. Nor did he level with the American people about the costs in blood and bucks.

I'm left wondering which is more important to President Bush, reconstruction or re-election?
Put your hands down, class. It was a rhetorical question.

Wonder Why He Didn't Say THIS On Hannity Today

Court TV's The Smoking Gun has this gem from a 1977 Schwarzenegger interview from Oui Magazine:

Arnold Schwarzenegger once told a magazine interviewer about participating in an orgy with other bodybuilders, noting that "everybody jumped on" the woman involved and "took her upstairs where we all got together." The California Republican added that not every muscleman participated in the gang bang, "just the guys who can f*** in front of other guys. Not everybody can do that. Some think that they don't have a big-enough c***, so they can't get a h***-on."
Well, f***in' A. No use going off half-c***ed over this. But I do love this h***-hitting journalism.

Where'd The Commandments Go? - as always - has the scoop.

Another New York Times Head-Scratcher

Jodi Wilgoren writes a puzzling piece in today's Times chronicling Howard Dean's New York leg of his summer tour. If you saw the event on CSPAN2 last night or the replay on CSPAN today, you saw Dean wade through the crowd after his speech. The crowd I saw was very New York. Lotsa different kinds of folks with lotsa different kinds of accents. Everyone who was there - including Tom Tomorrow and my friend Russ DiBello - saw the same thing.

But Ms. Wilgoren felt compelled to toss in this curious observation which alleged journalists (or journalist wanna-bes) cynically fall back on to make their editors happy:

But the presidential-style trip could increase the risk of Dr. Dean peaking too early - and revealed other potential pitfalls. Holding oceans of blue Dean placards at every stop were nearly all white hands, a homogeneity the campaign tried to counter with a rainbow of supporters on stage, which only drew more attention to the lack of diversity in the audience. The feisty crowds were filled with Birkenstock liberals whose loudest ovations always followed Dr. Dean's antiwar riff - there were few union members, African-Americans, or immigrants...people buying the "Doctor is in" buttons were mostly aging flower children and the tongue-studded next generation.
Oo. Edgy reporting there. Now Tom Tomorrow is still not sold on Dean, but he does come to his defense regarding this little bit of sloppy reportage:

I think the reporter accidentally wandered into a Phish concert and got confused. What I saw was a crowd full of normal people from various walks of life - there was no scent of patchouli hanging in the air, nor were there any drum circles or giant puppets. But that's the media narrative, and they have to stick to it: Dean, the outsider candidate running from the far-left fringe. And what puts him on the far-left fringe, in the media's eyes? The fact that he refuses to fit neatly into the other media narrative: that of the enormously popular wartime President, whose challengers must tread lightly or risk appearing "divisive" in these troubled times.

What I saw last night was a centrist candidate - too conservative for my tastes, honestly - who nonetheless has the cojones to take on the President of the United States.
And the media - including the "lib'rul" New York Times - have a very hard time with that.

Arnold Turns To The Dark Side

If you've recovered from the post below, let's all welcome Arnold to the world of politics. From this morning's L.A. Times:

The gubernatorial candidate who vowed to "clean house" in Sacramento, after what he suggested would be a campaign financed with his own millions, has hired professional fund-raisers who are soliciting money from developers and other donors with a stake in state business. And Schwarzenegger, who has pledged to run a positive campaign, has not only pounded Democratic rival Cruz Bustamante for his politics, but also made fun of his appearance.

"I am rich enough that I don't have to take anyone's money," he told CNN on Aug. 8. "I can go to Sacramento and I make decisions that are the wisest decisions for the people and not what is best for the special interests."

In Los Angeles last week, he said, "I am not taking money from anyone."

But Schwarzenegger has been raising money aggressively from donors with business before the state, including leaders of the agriculture, technology, wine and real estate industries, records and interviews show. The wealthy Brentwood actor has donated $2 million to his campaign, but has hired about half a dozen Republican fund-raisers to collect perhaps millions more. Among them is Kristen Hueter of San Francisco, a fund-raiser for President Bush.

Schwarzenegger spokesman Rob Stutzman said the actor was "not participating in the special interest game," as he said McClintock was. He also defended Schwarzenegger's statement Monday that Bustamante was "Gray Davis with a receding hairline and a mustache."
If you had August 27th in the "When Will Arnold Lose His Mind" pool, come collect your prize.


Arnold Schwarzenegger explains his stance on gay marriage with Sean Hannity today...Listen.

Tuesday, August 26

Franken At

Click to read "They can dish it out, but they can't take it" at Salon. At the very least, just go there for the artwork accompanying the piece. It's worth it.

Just Another Day At Whistle Ass Headquarters

And another stonewalling. also runs this lovely pic of the little darling accompanying the story.

GAO: Cheney Hindered Probe

Congressional investigators say they were unable to determine how much the White House's energy policy was influenced by the oil industry because they were denied documents by Vice President Dick Cheney about his energy task force.

Investigators also came up short trying to find out how much money various agencies spent on creating the national energy policy, a General Accounting Office report released Monday said.

The unwillingness of Cheney's office to turn over records and other information "precluded us from fully achieving our objectives" and limited its analysis, the GAO said.

Walter Cronkite's New Column

Go here and settle back with Uncle Walter for a while. And before you do, let me tip off the last passage:

Incidentally, I looked up the definition of "liberal" in a Random House dictionary. It gave the synonyms for "liberal" as "progressive," "broad-minded," "unprejudiced," "beneficent." The antonyms it offered: "reactionary" and "intolerant."

I've always suspected those fine folks at Random House of being liberals. You just can't trust anybody these days.

Holy Crap - They're Gonna Do It

Howard Dean has landed in New York for the final stop in his Sleepless Summer Tour. His million-dollar challenge is close to their goal - all from web contributions. This is huge. Watch the NYC rally live.

Show our Grassroots Power

I Can't Find A New President Whistle Ass Story

I needed an excuse to post this whistle ass picture. Oh well. None needed. here it is.

Dirdy Birdy is a character created by the uber-talented John R. Dilworth

We're Running Out Of Cheeks To Turn...

...and pretty soon, we're going to go postal on you nudnicks. Nevada neocons are trying it now.

Group plans Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn recall effort

A statewide group of activists and conservatives angered by Nevada's record tax increases will notify the Secretary of State's office Wednesday of their intent to recall Gov. Kenny Guinn.

Members of the Committee to Recall Governor Guinn said Monday they have more than 600 volunteers ready to circulate petitions and collect the more than 128,000 signatures needed to recall the governor.

The committee is composed of Republicans and members of ultraconservative parties.
Here in California, the recall process will shake down to utter failure for the wingnuts who started this. Either Democrat Cruz Bustamonte or left-of-center Arnold Schwarznegeggenegger is going to win this thing. And it's all for nothing more than trying to shove a Republican in there. No matter. It won't be a wingnut either way.

Recall THAT.

What Possible Good Can Come Of THIS?


Some 9-11 families dread phone tapes

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- Leila Negron, whose husband was killed at the World Trade Center, dreads hearing the details of the emergency calls made from the twin towers that day.

"For me and my children, it's like being slapped in the face with it happening again,'' said Negron, 36, whose husband, Peter, worked at the trade center as an environmental specialist.

The impending release of the transcripts of the calls is evoking a range of responses from victims' families less than three weeks before the second anniversary of the Sept. 11 attack that killed 2,792 people.

A state judge ruled Friday that the transcripts must be released by the close of business Thursday, rejecting a bid by Port Authority, which owned the trade center, to back out of an agreement it made last month with The New York Times.

Even Toby Keith Is Questioning The War

After milkin' the chickens this mornin', I damn near keeled over into my grits when my eyes hit this like buckshot on a cornstalk. Okay, so I'm not a huge country fan. From this morning's L.A. Times (subscription required):

As he sang the lyrics to his celebrated patriotic hit Sunday at Staples Center, red, white and blue confetti rained down on the curled brim of Toby Keith's cowboy hat and rocket-red pyrotechnics shot up past a video screen showing the Statue of Liberty. This was the Toby the crowd wanted and expected, the roadhouse patriot.

But a few hours earlier, in a hushed dressing room, it was a different Keith — one who talked about the increasingly onerous challenge of playing the uncomplicated man in complicated times.

Away from the firepower of the stage, this fighting man from Oklahoma said that he has decided to call a cease-fire in his ugly feud with the Dixie Chicks ("We had fun with it, but I'm just done with it"), that he still has lingering questions about the necessity of the war in Iraq ("Honestly, I'm still doing the math on that") and that he wonders whether the hit song, "(Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue) The Angry American," has typecast him ("People think I bang the war drum, and that's not me").

"Look, my stance is I pick and choose my wars. This war here [in Iraq], the math hasn't worked out for me on it. But I'm smart enough to know there's people smarter than me. [National security advisor] Condoleezza Rice, [Secretary of State] Colin Powell, George Bush — this is their job, and I have to trust in them. I support the commander in chief and the troops."

Keith took a long pause to consider his words, and then added: "I was for Afghanistan, 100%. We got struck and the Taliban needed to be exterminated, but this war here, in Iraq, I didn't necessarily have it all worked out. It didn't work out for me. I know a tyrant is gone and all of that, but whether it was our duty to go do that, well, I haven't figured that out." us all a favor, Toby, and vote for Howard Dean next year.

Time To Pony Up, Darrell

It's only fair...but fairness has nothing to do with California politics anymore.

Darrell Issa, You Bought the Recall, Now Pay for the Special Election

Far from representing a grassroots volunteer tidal wave, the California governor recall election was placed on the ballot due to the unlimited cash and political ambitions of conservative Representative Darrell Issa (R). Mr. Issa wrote personal checks of nearly $2 million to pay for signature gathering and declared that he was a candidate to replace Governor Davis. The volunteer efforts to collect signatures had completely faltered, and the odds were dim the recall would qualify for the ballot -- just like every previous recall effort. But after an infusion of cash from Mr. Issa, signatures were obtained at $1 a pop and the recall was certified by the Secretary of State.

After press reports of youthful indiscretions involving car theft, the entry of Arnold Schwarzenegger into the race and pressure from national Republican officials, Mr. Issa withdrew from the race.

Now all of us are paying the price of Mr. Issa's thwarted ambitions. With the recall election anticipated to cost $50 to $60 million -- money the state of California doesn't have and that will have to be taken from crucial programs and services -- Mr. Issa should do the right thing and pay for the election himself. With a personal fortune of around $100 million, he can afford it. The people of California should not have to cut vital programs to pay for this election.

Urge Representative Darrell Issa to foot the multi-million-dollar bill for California's recall election.

Any Whistle Asses In The House?

Howard Dean continuing his Sleepless Summer Tour in San Antonio last night.


'Peace' in Iraq as deadly as wartime

For U.S. troops, the "peace" in Iraq is on the brink of becoming more deadly than the war.

On Monday, the number of GIs who have died in Iraq since May 1 - the day President Bush proclaimed that major combat was over - reached 138.

That equals the total number of war deaths that occurred during the fiercest fighting of the war, from the March 19 start of combat until Bush made his pronouncement, on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier off the coast of California, that hostilities were largely over.


Again, so many of this saw this coming like standing on the finish line at the Talladega 500. We ignored and circumvented the U.N. We lied to them over our reasons for starting a war. We aggressively took over a country in the Middle East. (I'll give you a few moments to let that one sink in.) So natch, this item will short-circuit the minds of the neocons who still think we're gold in the eyes of the U.N...

U.S. Backing Lacking in U.N. for Troops
Not Much U.N. Support for U.S. Appeal for More Troops, Officials Say

The Bush administration, encountering U.N. Security Council resistance, may not seek a resolution giving the U.N.'s blessing for the deployment of additional foreign forces in Iraq, U.S. officials say.

Four days after Secretary of State Colin Powell made a pitch for council backing of his call for more forces, U.N. Ambassador John Negroponte acknowledged on Monday, "We're nowhere near a resolution on Iraq."

Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said the administration had not yet determined whether to seek a resolution.

A State Department official, asking not to be identified, said it was a difficult sell for the administration, given that many council members believe Washington is to blame for continuing security problems in Iraq.

President Whistle-Ass Was AWOL During Economics Class Too

Obviously, he skipped a few dozen classes at Harvard. Our MBA president is paving a road to nowhere...

Deficit seen at $500 billion next year
Pessimistic analysis from CBO expected Tuesday

The federal deficit, already at record levels this year, will almost certainly get worse next year, congressional budget analysts are expected to say in a report Tuesday. But House Democrats said Monday that the Congressional Budget Office analysis would understate the gravity of the fiscal crisis.
The nonpartisan CBO, which has estimated the federal deficit at $401 billion for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, is likely to project red ink approaching or even surpassing $500 billion next year, said Rep. John Spratt, D-S.C., top Democrat on the House Budget Committee.
But Spratt said the actual deficits next year and in the subsequent years could be substantially higher because the CBO generally does not take into account future policy changes such as increased defense costs or new tax cuts.
Well, one is an inevitability and the other will be a last-ditch attempt to buy votes. Conclusion: The Farce In A Flight Suit (FIAFS) is toast.

Monday, August 25

From the Pen of: Jack Ohman


15,000 people had nothing better to do than to show their support for someone who wants Bush out as much as they do. Howard Dean hits Seattle big time.

Photos by the Howard Dean blog / Composite by Hoffmania!

Take a look at more photos at the Dean site, then read the comments that follow. While you're at it, hear him speaking to 5,000 in Portland. I can't remember hearing this much hope among people in the last several years. At the very least, it's impressive. At best, it's indicative of how fed up people are of President Shock'n'awe and how this guy can plaster him in the debates.

Sunday, August 24

The Long-Awaited Recall Essay

Some folks related to me (not my side) were waxing conservatively to us on the phone the other day about the California recall mess. From a safe distance away from the borders of this state, they were lobbing in verbal grenades about how Gray Davis ripped off the state for billions of dollars and that we needed a fiscally-responsible (read that "Republican") replacement and soon.

Now, I love all my relatives both in-laws and outlaws, and I always refuse to get into any political falling out with them because I'm one of those peaceniks. I'd rather keep the peace in the family rather than not have a place to crash during the holidays. But they were trying to sell us the same exact storyline that Rush Limbaugh (whose home base in Palm Beach, FL is also far from the action) is propagating on his show. Yeah, they get their news and opinions from Rush, and it bothers the hell out of me.

Ironically, it's the Limbaugh lifestyle that got California into huge financial trouble. Tempting as it may be, I'm not blaming him, but I am blaming the opulent consumption of his minions which is transforming this state from the environmentally aware outpost it was to the energy-choked Jabba the Hutt it's become.

The story, simply, is that Gray Davis bowed to a ton of pressure from the entire state, and in his quest to keep everyone happy, we all got screwed. But not by him. Not intentionally, anyway.

When California was faced with rolling blackouts to conserve energy almost three years ago, the hue and cry here was to do anything possible to keep the lights on. That was paramount. Gray Davis was evil for allowing this to happen and he must do anything and everything to feed the electricity machine.

Enter Enron, Williams Energy and all the other utilities who smelled blood, and went on one of the biggest fraud rampages in history. Enron alone willfully took advantage of California's desperation by charging for imaginary flow congestion (like sending 2900 megawatts over a 15 megawatt line in a 16-hour period - do the math), manipulated the energy market for profit, and fraudulently drove up prices while making farm-out deals with other utilities.

Williams didn't deliver on its promises either. But it was too late. The deals were made and California got screwed. Not by Gray Davis. But the energy companies who are/were shamelessly pals, business partners and major contributors to Bush and Cheney.

That was 2001. In May 2002, the New York Times reported:

On Tuesday, Gov. Gray Davis and the state's senators, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, asked Attorney General John Ashcroft to open a criminal inquiry into Enron's trading practices. Enron is already under federal criminal investigation for its accounting practices.
Ashcroft recused himself from the inquiry because he received $57,000 from Enron. End of that.

The bills have now come in. And the same people who screamed for Davis to keep the electricity on are now screaming for his head.

But the story the rest of America is getting from Rush and friends is simply that Davis spent all that money and now he must be canned in favor of a more responsible Republican. Gee, it seems so simple when it's put that way, doesn't it?

So as I sit here looking over the Pacific from my third-floor perch, watching a hummingbird repeatedly climb and dive-bomb for whatever reasons hummingbirds do that, I'm proud to be living in California. I've had more opportunity here than anywhere else I've lived. In one short decade, I've worked my ass off to be fortunate enough to live a good life here. And I object when people with loads of money simply try to buy a way to overturn the decisions we helped make (or even the ones we rallied for and didn't succeed) when we went through the proper process - like voting.

Somehow, I get the feeling that California will continue to be screwed as long as it's a Democratic stronghold. We keep hearing how much better things will be if we had a Republican governor. And you know what? With Bush at the helm of this country, it would not surprise me one bit if that were true. We'd magically receive all the federal help and support we needed.

Unfortunately, some people still have to lie to get the political power they want. They too work their asses off - but to lie and cheat - not to earn it through constructive behavior and honesty. Sometimes they get the results they want, evidenced by the 2000 elections. But when the game's over, they leave with no trust and no respect. It happened in Florida. It almost seemed as if it were going to happen here. Happily, California might luck out in 2003.

Democrat Cruz Bustamonte is trouncing Arnold Schwarzenegger in the latest L.A. Times poll. Sweet.

New Yorkers WILL Be Heard At The Republican Convention

Don't lie to New Yorkers. Don't lie to Jimmy Breslin. If you do, you're in big trouble, capisce? It did my heart proud to see this post at by fellow New Yorker Don Waller. The scribe Breslin and the rest of his townsfolk are circling the wagons and demanding answers on the White House lie which threatened their health - the clean air assessment by the EPA after the collapse of the World Trade Center. It's great Sunday reading. It'll be even better next August when the liars hold their convention at MSG.

Saturday, August 23

A Woman's Last Request: Remove Bush

When you make it your final wish, it's serious. Yet heartwarming. Especially the "whistle-ass" part. From the Madison WI Capitol Times:

Obituary backs 'removal of Bush'
Woman 'thought he was a liar'
By Lee Sensenbrenner

When Sally Baron's family wrote her obituary, they described a northern Wisconsin woman who raised six children and took care of her husband after he was crushed in a mining accident.

She had moved to Stoughton seven years ago to be closer to her children and was 71 when she died Monday after struggling to recuperate from heart surgery. Her family had come to the question of what might be a fitting tribute to her.

"My uncle asked if there was a cause," her youngest son, Pete Baron, said.

Almost in unison, what her children decided to include in the obituary was this: "Memorials in her honor can be made to any organization working for the removal of President Bush."

"She thought he was a liar," Baron's daughter, Maureen Bettilyon, said. "I think his personality, just standing there with that smirk on his face, and acting like he's this holy Christian, that's what really got her."

Bettilyon, who lives in Stoughton, said her mother didn't trifle with petty neighborhood squabbles but was attuned to significant policy-making at all levels.

"She'd always watch CNN, C-SPAN, and you know, she'd just swear at the TV and say 'Oh, Bush, he's such a whistle ass!' She'd just get so mad," Bettilyon said.

The decision to put the line in about Bush came easily, although after several family members thought of it, there was some "how can we really say this" kind of laughter. "It should be impeachment, not removal," Pete said, laughing. "That can mean a couple of things."

Joe Baron has no question that his mother would approve.

"She just didn't trust that a big corporate guy was going to be doing what was best for her. She just really didn't trust him," he said.

A memorial service for Sally Baron will be held at Covenant Lutheran Church in Stoughton at 1 p.m. Friday. Graveside services in Hurley are scheduled for Sept. 20.
Let's make Sally's wish come true, and may she rest in peace.

Bill Simon Quits For Arnold? Don't Believe It For A Second

Simon, who lost to Gray Davis in the real gubernatorial election last November has stepped aside, saying:

"Fellow citizens, I come before you today to announce that I am withdrawing as a candidate for governor of California. This recall election has been about bringing profound and substantial change to our state, and I strongly believe that the desire of Californians must come before the aspirations of any single candidate."

"There are too many Republicans in this race. And the people of our state simply cannot risk a continuation of the Gray Davis legacy."
If you read the stories, it seems obvious that Simon is stepping aside to throw party support to Arnold Schwarzenegger. This is impossible. Simon is a rip-snorting neocon - hardly the kind of guy who would rather see Arnold in power than himself. He's stepping aside so he doesn't split the neocon vote with Sen. Tom McClintock. If he ends up supporting Schwarzenegger, believe this: it's going to be VERY reluctantly.

An essay is brewing here about how anyone who isn't Republican - Gray Davis or not - does not stand a chance as long as President Cuecard is in charge. Stay tuned.

New Recall Tactic: Grassroots Lying?

This morning, my wife was horrified to see someone who set up shop by the beach to register voters. A nice gesture, but what was horrifying was this guy was telling passers-by that they must re-register as a Republican in order to vote in the recall election on October 7th. If anyone can find this as a strategy or talking point online, pass it along.


More White House Insanity: EPA Told To Lie

This is just getting sicker and sicker...

At the White House's direction, the Environmental Protection Agency gave New Yorkers misleading assurances that there was no health risk from the debris-laden air after the World Trade Center collapse, according to an internal inquiry.

President Bush's senior environmental adviser on Friday defended the White House involvement, saying it was justified by national security.

The White House "convinced EPA to add reassuring statements and delete cautionary ones" by having the National Security Council control EPA communications in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, according to a report issued late Thursday by EPA Inspector General Nikki L. Tinsley.

"When EPA made a Sept. 18 announcement that the air was 'safe' to breathe, the agency did not have sufficient data and analyses to make the statement," the report says, adding that the EPA had yet to adequately monitor air quality for contaminants such as PCBs, soot and dioxin.
How in the depths of hell does lying to New Yorkers about the air they breathe affect national security? Somebody please explain this to me.

Not only does the he Bush White House lie, but they order federal agencies to lie right there with them. My God, how many more lies about the health and well-being of Americans do we have to endure from these thugs?

NOW do you miss Bill Clinton? Christ, at this point, I miss Bush 41. Clinton lied once about oral sex. Bush 41 lied once about no new taxes.

This distant relative to mankind occupying the White House (until January 20, 2005 if there truly is a God watching over us) has made lying policy. And aside from Yahoo's AP stream, nobody wants to report any of it.

"Journalists." Gutless wonders. A disgrace to their profession.

Friday, August 22

TiVo Alert

The triumphant Al Franken co-hosts with Tucker Carlson on CNN's Crossfire this Monday and Tuesday. 4:30pm ET, 1:30 PT.

Gee, Ya THINK?

U.S., U.N. May Face Many Enemies in Iraq
Associated Press Writer

A fired cop, an unpaid Iraqi soldier, a band of black marketeers whose dealings were disrupted by pesky police patrols. A terrorist cabal or two - or maybe 20 - with differing goals but similar tactics. A drunk with a grudge and a grenade.

The bombing of U.N. offices in Baghdad on Tuesday, which killed at least 23 people, appears on the surface to be a classic attack by what is often characterized as a monolithic resistance campaign against the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq.

But the array of assassins and their abundance of agendas go far beyond Washington's short suspect list of Islamic warriors and Saddam sympathizers, say aid workers, law-enforcement experts and ground-level military officials.
Those of us who opposed this war had this figured out from the start. Why it never occurred to the Bush regime is baffling even to the most simple of minds.

Sit down and listen. We went into a country which has spent decades convincing its citizenry that the United States is evil. Some of that citizenry didn't buy it. Those are our friends there. But so many more DID buy it - either by loyalty or downright fear of disagreeing with Saddam. With all those years of hammering that message under the threat of death, yes - we still have some very dangerous enemies in Iraq. Many, many, many more than what is in that deck of cards.

What gave us oppositionists a huge sigh of relief was that they didn't unleash those horrific weapons of mass destruction which Bush convinced us of on our troops as they made their way to Baghdad. It was our biggest fear going into the operation. In our next breath, we realized that if they ever did have a reason to use those weapons, this was it.

For those who still don't understand it, this is the crux of The Big Lie which was a blessing on one hand, but a sharp swath right through the heart of what little trust we had in our government on the other.

We were told they had those weapons. Not PLANS. Not MANUALS. Not BLUEPRINTS. Not TRUCKS. But nerve gas. Nukes. Small pox. And they were going to sell it to terrorists to use on us.

So if there are some pissed-off people in Iraq, we might do ourselves a favor to ask why. And ask for some outside help to get the damn thing fixed as soon as humanly - and humanely - possible,


(CBS/AP) Chief Justice Roy Moore was suspended by a judicial ethics panel Friday for his refusal to obey a federal court order to remove his Ten Commandments monument from the Alabama Judicial Building rotunda.

Moore was automatically suspended with pay when the nine-member Judicial Inquiry Commission referred the ethics complaint against Moore to the Court of the Judiciary, which holds trial-like proceedings and can discipline and remove judges.
This case has brought out some of the most ridiculous arguments in the history of arguing. One argument is that God is everywhere in legal documents ("Year Of Our Lord"), currency, the Declaration of Independence, etc. etc. etc. Therefore, the Ten Commandments have every right to be in the entry of the Alabama Judicial Building.

No. They don't. It was the work of one man: Judge Roy Moore. Invoking God's name on/in all those other examples is more tradition than absolute law.

I can spend hours about the theological implications here, but the bottom line is that it's Judge Moore's job as a judge to uphold and carry out the law. And if he defies a court order, that makes places him fairly and squarely on the wrong side of the law - which in my opinion, is something judges AREN'T SUPPOSED TO DO!

Wanna build monuments? Fine. Put 'em in your living room since you can't plunk them on public property. Period.

Judge Gives FOX News The Bum's Rush

Showed 'em the door. Gave 'em the boot. Kicked their sorry asses out of the courtroom. The case has been thrown out.

NEW YORK (CNN) -- A federal judge, saying, "This is an easy case," Friday ruled against Fox News in its lawsuit asserting that a new book by liberal satirist Al Franken violates their trademarked slogan, "fair and balanced."

Fox was seeking an injunction to halt distribution of Franken's book, "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right."

U.S. District Judge Denny Chin, after listening to about half an hour of oral arguments, said the lawsuit was "wholly without merit, both factually and legally."

If Just Ten Million People Contribute Just One Dime...

Show our Grassroots Power

All right. I'd rather reach out to you guys with some real pocket change. Ten bucks, twenty-five bucks, whatever. President Puffpouch is raising a million dollars at a fundraiser of his rich tuchas-smoochers. Gov. Howard Dean is going to raise at least that much by Tuesday from folks like us. As a continuous contributor, I see it as an investment, and as doing something to get rid of the slobs who are running the country into an extremely dangerous future.

If you feel the same way, click the bat to kick in some good karma. Damn, we need it.

So...How's The Schwarzenegger Campaign Going?

Let's see:

An aide to California gubernatorial candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger said on Thursday the movie star would consider boosting taxes to mend the state's battered finances, but later said he had misspoken.

The Republican actor, who is running to replace Gov. Gray Davis (news - web sites) in an Oct. 7 recall vote, said on Wednesday he opposed tax hikes except to possibly deal with something like a natural disaster.

But his spokesman Sean Walsh told Fox News that huge budget shortfalls and protecting the state's credit could warrant such increases.

By nighttime, Walsh said he had misspoken and said Schwarzenegger's position was clearly to cut spending rather than raise any taxes. "I was not clear about it in the television interview I did today," he said.
Two "misspoken"s in one story. Yes, it's just as chaotic as we all imagined.

CALL TO ACTION: It's Flood The Zone Friday

It's here. It's the day to show the new Bush-Cheney website who rules the web. Click here and follow the instructions.

Don't forget to leave a comment there.

Thursday, August 21

Use The Power Of Pre-Fab To Speak Your Mind!

Well, they ARE suggested writing points. And they DO urge you to modify it to mirror your own true feelings. A comment left two posts below by MCF on writing to your local newspapers via the new Bush-Cheney official site:

Click here. Point and click your way to send the message of compassionate conservatism (about National Security) to your local newspapers.

President Bush understands the leadership needed for a Mad Libs(R) approach to free you from the repression of thinking for yourself.

Thankfully, the website lets you change the content [for accuracy] before sending the email.
Here are the other agendas with pre-fab writing points which can be modified (to match your real feelings, of course):
Health Care!
Homeland Security!

So let your local paper hear it, America! Use the click-and-compose technology! Then re-write it so it matches your TRUE feelings! Tell 'em how you really feel! And THANK YOU, President Helmethead!

Viva democracy!

President Flightsuit's Numbers: Look Out Below

Worst numbers since pre-9/11. Get it through your skulls. This man is no longer riding a wave of unprecedented popularity:

Zogby International America Poll and Reuters/Zogby Poll Aug. 16-19, 2003. 1,019 likely voters nationwide. MoE ± 3.2

President Bush -- Job Rating:
Fair/Poor: 48%
Excellent/Good: 52%
Not Sure: 0%

"Do you think President Bush deserves to be reelected or do you think it is time for someone new?"
Deserves Reelection: 45%
Someone New: 48%
Not Sure: 8%

"If the election for president were held today and the candidates were Republican George W. Bush and a Democrat, for whom would you vote?"
President Bush: 43%
Democrat: 42%
Other: 2%
Not Sure: 13%

Now, WAIT A Minute...

For a few weeks, we've been flogging the parody site Bush-Orwell '04, Its design has basically been the same since we told you about it. Here's a screenshot:

Now comes the new Bush-Cheney official site which debuted Tuesday. The design is...well...familiar:

Bush-Orwell has a lead story addressing this phenom, and frankly its design is a notch better than the real one. Still, I gotta know the answer to the obvious question. Anyone?

UPDATE 8:20am: Leave it to Atrios who responds to my digging and scratching:

Some of the beta version of the Bush official site was found by Tim Noah of Slate and others before it was ready to go primetime. Probably the parody site got it from there.
I have so much to learn if I'm gonna be a world-class blogger...

FLOOD THE ZONE FRIDAYS - Courtesy of President Nutsack's Website

ANOTHER CALL TO ACTION HERE! Yes. Another. has taken note of Bush/Cheney's new "grassroots" website (the real one). That's sweet and all, but we HATE sweet.

SO...Hoffmania! is hopping on a new bandwagon, and this one looks like more fun than the oversized Jackass shopping cart. Let's let the Not Geniuses tell the story so you can climb aboard too.

We want to get a coalition together -- every influential and non-influential lefty site with the ability to direct readers and members over to the Bush action tools. And every Friday, we want to use those tools to write letters and make calls highlighting a different part of the Bush disaster. This Friday will be fiscal irresponsibility day -- where we blanket the media with calls and letters about Bush's absurd fiscal policies. We're even going to get you the info, for instance, behold the Bush Record (if you're not a Dean supporter, just ignore the stuff about Dean).

But this week, we have to pull together the players. That's where you all come in. This needs to move through the blogosphere in much the same way that the "Fair and Balanced" day did. Matt and I can get to a lot of people, but we don't know everybody and we don't have the manpower to do it on our own. So E-mail this around, or simply E-mail your favorite blog-owners and ask them to be part of "Flood the Zone" Fridays, brought to you by Karl Rove and the good folks running the Bush Campaign.

Come Friday, Matt or I will post up some talking points and sample letters, and then watch the fun begin. Lets show Rove who owns the 'net. in or out? If you're in, bookmark their site and check in Fridays.

Wednesday, August 20

Mission Accomplished in Iraq

Wolf Blitzer poll at

Did the war in Iraq weaken or strengthen al Qaeda?
Weaken 6% 375 votes
Strengthen 94% 5659 votes
Total: 6034 votes

Time for another dress-up photo op from President Pilotpants.

Space 2003 - August 14

Let's See...May, June, July August...

It took Bill O'Reilly three months to come up with this response to Al Franken's ambush on him at the May 31st BookExpo in Los Angeles. It mirrors his on-air intervention last week when he invited a group of his allies to join him on his radio show and talk about how FOX News is being criticized by nasty people who don't like them. It was a shameless pity party - not much different than this, what seems like the 4th step of his 12-step program. He ought to make an appointment with Stuart Smalley.

Using liberal-leaning newspapers and publishing houses, the critics of Fox have unleashed defamatory personal attacks on me and other Fox news analysts and have attempted to denigrate the entire network. If Fox News crashed and burned tomorrow, these people would toast marshmallows in the flames.

Now Fox News is striking back by putting the demonizers on notice that they will be held responsible when they violate trademarks or launch defamatory personal attacks on Fox personnel.

It is simply a sorry joke to see a political activist like Al Franken labeled a satirist by The New York Times. Attempting to smear and destroy the reputations of those with whom you politically disagree is not satire. If that were the case, Richard Nixon's Watergate plumbers would all be writing for "Saturday Night Live."

Fox News has become the highest-rated news network on cable because we feature lively debate and all honest voices are welcome.

By all accounts, Joe Conason's a pretty honest guy. And he'd love to promote his book Big Lies on the O'Reilly Factor. But it would mean O'Reilly would have to be on the defensive again. That's why you won't see Joe on the Factor anytime soon.

Garofalo Kicks Ass!

Janeane Garofalo continues to fill in on the left on CNN's Crossfire this week - 4:30pm ET, 1:30 PT. She possesses an attribute very few pundits have: the ability to go with the flow of the conversation to make her point rather than making 180 degree turns to do so. The jingomeisters at FOX News have spent so much time inviting her on, putting her down and shutting her up that they just refused to see her terrific abilities.

Huge props to CNN. If you agree, let 'em know.

Tuesday, August 19

If You Have An Anti-Virus Program, Update It NOW! And Read This!

Illustration by Kakarat at

The W32.Sobig virus is really making the rounds right now. Do NOT open any mail that has an unknown RE: in the subject. These are mostly being propagated unwittingly by large corporations' emplyees opening them. Most notably:

Re: Your Application
Re: Approved
Re: Wicked Screensaver
Re: Your Details (or Re: My Details, or Re: Details)
Re: That Movie
Re: Thank You!

Or ANYTHING Re: that you don't know.

Another is the Mail Delivery Subsystem "Returned Mail, Service unavailable " e-mails. I got five at work and eight at home. DELETE 'EM.

And for GOD'S sake, disable the preview pane if you use Outlook! It automatically opens any e-mail you select.

A message in the public paranoia by Hoffmania!

Clinton Rails Against The "Supine Media"

Michael Wolff writes another great piece in the new New York Magazine as he covers Walter Isaacson's (former CNN honcho and rather good at the "supine" thing himself) Aspen Institute conference. The guy who stirred the drink with anger and fast-thinking was none other than the Big Dog himself:

Clinton kept referring to the media as (contrary to Kinsley's view) the "supine" media, pointing out that when Bush insulted Helen Thomas (who, by asking a rough question in the infamous prewar press conference had, Clinton said, "committed the sin of journalism"), no "young journalists" stood up and walked out.

The media, the supine media, was going to have to "go to the meat locker and take out its brains and critical skills."

Everybody seemed to love this. Clinton was not just the beloved former president, but he had become some sort of sassy oracle.

There was a party on the second day for Clinton at the Aspen version of Nobu, and then, later that evening, a discussion between Clinton and President Kagame, hosted by the William Morris Agency, at Whiskey Rocks Bar in the St. Regis Hotel (Michael Eisner, the Disney CEO, while not a conference attendee, slipped into the room).

This turned out to be the pivotal moment of the conference - even the primal one. When Clinton took questions, a young man from a technology company who identified himself as chairman of Bush-Cheney 2004 in California said he was offended by Clinton's partisanship. To which Clinton, without hesitation, and with some kind of predatory gleam in his eye, said, "Good!" From there, Clinton went on, with emotion and anger, at a level seemingly foreign to most everyone here, to rip to shreds the motives, values, and legitimacy of the Republicans.

It was all anyone could talk about the next day. People seemed genuinely taken aback (some people kept offering that since it was late at night, in a bar, it didn't quite count) that one of their own might have violated the accepted codes of lofty liberal behavior. There was a little current of fear at the sudden recognition that testosterone could fuel politics. It was a shock, apparently, that we might be this close to real feelings. That politics could actually be personal.

That's because with Clinton, the art of politics IS personal. His political life wasn't a flight of fancy or a late-life afterthought. As I said over and over, Clinton rehearsed for the presidential gig all his life. This is who he is. This is what he does. And since he does it so well, yes - he does take it very, very personally.

What drives the right absolutely CRAZY is that he delivered his campaign promises ("It's the ECONOMY, stupid"), he has an amazing charisma that no Republican can ever achieve no matter how many Karl Roves they hire, and that he's intensely fast on his feet. Granted, his major awkward stumble was when his private life was dragged out of the alley and paraded in front of a world which couldn't care less (except for the horrified neocons and their shrieks of outrage). Otherwise and almost without exception, he meets every hard question head-on, unlike President Khakipackage whose "press conferences" are pre-screened horsecrap charades.

He knows the game and plays it well. And since the 90s are still fresh in our mind, the right is doing everything they can to trash that memory - by virtually destroying and dismantling everything in sight - striking a subtle and harmful fear in Americans, the likes of which must be reversed as soon as humanly possible. Their hatred of Clinton and all he was able to accomplish rings loud each and every day in their books, their talkshows and their columns. Not a day goes by when the name "Clinton" isn't invoked by any of these jealous petty pundits who - after almost three years - cannot get this guy out of their craw.

He's that good a politician. Something they never will be. The only things the right has mastered are anger and cruelty - and they're getting really old really fast.

Janeane Garofalo On CNN Crossfire All This Week

Janeane's co-hosting from the left all this week with Tucker Carlson on the right. From today's show:

GAROFALO: Tucker, you're deliberately misunderstanding what he is saying.


CARLSON: The Bush administration is mean and no one likes them because they're a bully. Let's have an adult conversation here.


GAROFALO: No, don't marginalize what he just said.

CARLSON: That would be hard.

GAROFALO: First of all, this administration has been nothing but condescending, nothing but belligerent, nothing but obnoxious, in every way.

CARLSON: You're arguing about attitude.


GAROFALO: Diplomacy is an art form. Diplomacy has been ruined. The axis of evil speech is so responsible for so much of this mess.


GAROFALO: There was an opportunity to handle this completely differently. And the axis of evil speech was one of the biggest bonehead blunders in


GAROFALO: It was a terrible speech.



ANDREWS: Let me understand. You think it would be a better and safer world now if Saddam Hussein was still ruling out of his palaces and if Osama bin Laden was still ruling in Kabul.


GAROFALO: And, yes, we would be safer and the Mideast would be more stable. And I'm saying he was a completely half-assed dictator.

She's stealing the show. No wonder the right hates her. Tune in this week at the ridiculous time (it should be on during their horridly-rated evening hours) of 4:30pm ET, 1:30 PT on CNN.

Publishing Of Franken Book Moved Up To Friday

NEW YORK (AP) -- Oral arguments have been scheduled for Friday for the Fox News Channel's lawsuit against humorist Al Franken. U.S. District Judge Denny Chin set the date after a brief hearing Monday.

Last week, Fox sued the former "Saturday Night Live" performer and his publisher, the Penguin Group, to stop them from including "fair and balanced" in the title of his upcoming book.

So far, the legal action has only helped sell the book, which for the past week has been in the top 10 on Penguin originally planned a print run of 250,000, but announced Monday that it had ordered an additional 40,000 copies.

Penguin also moved up the publication date from September 22 to the end of this week, meaning books will likely be on sale by the time of Friday's hearing.

Order it now! Click the link in the left (ahem) column or just click here.

It Just Gets Sadder And Sadder

A follow-up on the story of the shooting of the Reuters cameraman:

The American army admitted yesterday that its soldiers killed an award-winning Reuters cameraman. Mazen Dana, a Palestinian, was shot dead by a US tank crew at close range while trying to film outside Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison on Sunday, after a mortar attack on the prison.

The Americans claimed that the soldiers mistook the camera Mr Dana was holding for a rocket-propelled grenade launcher - a claim that was immediately rejected by journalists who witnessed the killing.

"We were all there, for at least half an hour. They knew we were journalists," said Stephan Breitner of France 2 television. "After they shot Mazen, they aimed their guns at us. I don't think it was an accident. They are very tense. They are crazy. They are young soldiers and they don't understand what is happening."

It's going to take a special breed to inherit this sh--storm from the Bush Brats in next year's election.

And 'Way In The Back Of The Room - Hey! It's Afghanistan! How Ya Doin' These Days?

President Flightsuit's dad was chided for not finishing off Saddam in the first Gulf War. Today, it seems like a major success by comparison. Afghanistan is on its way to being worse than ever thanks to our lack of foreign policy, pissed-off allies and rampant incompetence in the White House.

KABUL, Afghanistan, Aug. 19 (MSNBC) — Taliban militants killed 10 policemen, including a police chief, in a province south of Kabul in the latest incident in a spate of violence that has claimed more than 90 lives in the past week, police said on Tuesday. The expanded attacks put more pressure than ever on a fragile U.S.-backed government struggling to rebuild a country following the ouster of the Islamic militia in late 2001.

If You Need More Proof, We've Got Pantloads

Bernard Weiner gives us very compelling reasons why President Ranchhand must be shown the door next year - if not sooner - at the Democratic Underground.

Things we could only speculate about a year ago have taken place - to name just three: an invasion and occupation of Iraq (based on misleading intelligence and outright lies), an administration that may have committed the treasonous act of deliberately revealing the identity of a CIA agent, and shocking revelations about the computer-screen voting system now being put into place around the country for the 2004 election.

The abbreviated list (see the article) can be used both as a reminder to all of us why we're fighting this good, oppositional battle, and as a place to start from when organizing and talking to others about why you will be voting for someone other than George W. Bush in the presidential vote next year.

Read the list. Bookmark it. Go back to it again and again to remind yourself how low we've gone. And do something about it next November.

The U.N. Offers To Help. The U.S. Says We Can Handle It Ourselves. Then This Happens.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A large truck bomb ripped through the U.N. headquarters in Iraq on Tuesday killing at least 13 people and wounding dozens, U.N. officials said.

We're just swimmin' in that goodwill, aren't we? Dear God, make it stop.

Let's Dress Him Up In A Flightsuit, Have Him Announce This In Front Of The 101st Airborne, And Watch As They Kick His Ass

Bush Revises Views On 'Combat' in Iraq
By Dana Milbank and Bradley Graham
Washington Post Staff Writers

President Bush, revising his earlier characterization of the fighting in Iraq, said in an interview released yesterday that combat operations are still underway in that country.

In an interview with the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service given on Thursday and released by the White House yesterday, Bush interrupted the questioner when asked about his announcement on May 1 of, as the journalist put it, "the end of combat operations."

"Actually, major military operations," Bush replied. "Because we still have combat operations going on." Bush added: "It's a different kind of combat mission, but, nevertheless, it's combat, just ask the kids that are over there killing and being shot at."

17 Months From Now, This Will All Be Over

I just keep saying that over and over whenever I read stuff like this:

A former US diplomat who resigned over the Iraq war described US President George W. Bush as a "very weak" man led by the hand into battle by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Brady Kiesling, who was political counsellor at the US embassy in Athens at the time of his resignation in February, said in an open letter published by Greek daily To Vima that Rumsfeld exploited the war to increase his own power.

Kiesling -- whose warning that US aims in Iraq were "incompatible with American values" struck a chord with the predominantly anti-war Greeks -- described Bush as "a politician who badly wants to appear strong but in reality is very weak."

He said Rumsfeld led Bush by the hand into war, marginalized the secret services who had doubts about the war, and emerged as the top politician in Washington.

"Easy to convince, (Bush) blindly believed in Rumsfeld's assurances that the occupation of Iraq would pay for itself," Kiesling said.

Monday, August 18

Well At Least SOMEONE'S Taking The Blame

The World Tribune (where you send the stories you can't sell to Weekly World News) reports al Qaeda is finally claiming responsibility for Thursday's blackouts.

A communiqué by the Abu Hafs Brigades made reference to Operation Quick Lightning in the Land of the Tyrant of this Generation.


It's A Perfectly Good Question

John Dean carries on the quest to find out why it's okay for the White House to name a CIA operative to Robert Novak...

On July 14, in his syndicated column, Chicago Sun-Times journalist Robert Novak reported that Valerie Plame Wilson - the wife of former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, and mother of three-year-old twins - was a covert CIA agent. (She had been known to her friends as an "energy analyst at a private firm.")

Why was Novak able to learn this highly secret information? It turns out that he didn't have to dig for it. Rather, he has said, the "two senior Administration officials" he had cited as sources sought him out, eager to let him know. And in journalism, that phrase is a term of art reserved for a vice president, cabinet officers, and top White House officials.

Why is the Administration so avidly leaking this information? The answer is clear. Former ambassador Wilson is famous, lately, for telling the truth about the Bush Administration's bogus claim that Niger uranium had gone to Saddam Hussein. And the Bush Administration is punishing Wilson by targeting his wife. It is also sending a message to others who might dare to defy it, and reveal the truth.

No doubt the CIA, and Mrs. Wilson, have many years, and much effort, invested in her career and skills. Her future, if not her safety, are now in jeopardy.

After reading Novak's column, The Nation's Washington Editor, David Corn, asked, "Did senior Bush officials blow the cover of a US intelligence officer working covertly in a field of vital importance to national security--and break the law--in order to strike at a Bush administration critic and intimidate others?"

The answer is plainly yes. Now the question is, will they get away with it?

What have we been saying here? The press simply has lost its heart and ambition. The media's ability to think for themselves and do some investigative work has completely vanished. Dean has noticed as well.

While this case is a travesty, it won't be the first one that this administration has managed to get away with. Given the new the nadir of investigative journalism, this administration has been emboldened. And why not? Lately, the mainstream media has seemed more interested in stockholders than readers. If Congress won't meaningfully investigate these crimes - and, indeed, even if it will - it is the press's duty to do so. Let us hope it fulfills that duty. But I am not holding my breath about that, either.

This is NOT a job for the alternative media. This is a job that's supposed to be done by the mainstream press. Lazy, lazy, lazy. They're a disgrace to all the journalists who preceeded them.

The Media Are Hearing The Alarm Clocks

Jon Carroll at the San Francisco Chronicle peels yet another layer of veneer off President Pilotpants:

People with something to hide usually try to hide that something. Not a remarkable leap of logic, but lots of people are refusing to make it. The Bush administration doesn't have anything to hide, it's just, let's see, behaving prudently, or protecting executive privilege, or refusing to speculate.

That last excuse is used for the question, "How much is the occupation of Iraq costing?" The Defense Department refuses to speculate. I mean, the Pentagon brass could look at the invoices and the pay stubs and get a rough idea, but they're unwilling to do that.

Why? Because they want to protect the president. Why? Because he has something to hide. He has consistently lied to the American people about how much the war would cost -- and how long it would last, and why we were fighting it, and, gosh, just about everything.

The Bush administration is now thoroughly devoted to its black-is-white strategy. We save the forests by cutting down the trees. We preserve the wilderness by building roads into its heart. We keep the air clean by lowering vehicle emissions standards. And we always, always, stay on message.

Here's a problem that people with something to hide always have: The lies get so complicated that they get real hard to keep straight. The solution to that is to say as little as possible. When President Bush was finally embarrassed into holding a news conference, he managed to spend almost an hour saying nothing at all.

More and more, individuals in the media are pulling their heads out and beginning to ask the important questions - the kinds of questions you will not hear at President Helmethead's future press conferences. But they're still in need of serious answers.

Another Great Bush Idea He Never Had

Media Whores Online did their homework and uncovered even more massaging of the truth by President Flightsuit - which as usual will go unnoticed by the major news conduits because they're SO out of practice in thinking for themselves:

"Of course, we'll have time to look at it and determine whether or not our grid needs to be modernized," Bush said in reply to a reporter's question. "I happen to think it does, and have said so all along."

"Said so all along"?

Since Bush stole his way into the White House, responsible scientists and engineers have pleaded with his Administration to pay more attention to power grid modernization. The problem became especially urgent in the wake of the Enron-spawned California energy crisis and the September 11, 2001 attacks.

And the White House response? Both Bush and his Republican allies and henchmen ignored the advice -- and actually killed modernization proposals.

The most egregious obstructionism occurred in 2001, when Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA) tried to offer an amendment to an appropriations bill that would have channeled $350 million in federal loans and loan guarantees to public and private-sector firms toward electric power grid improvements. Not grants, not subsidies, but badly needed loans and guarantees.

But the Bush Administration lobbied heavily against the measure and the Republicans voted it down on three separate occasions -- on a straight party-line vote in the House Appropriations Committee, on a straight party-line vote in the House Rules Committee, and on a party line vote in the full House of Representatives.

Since 1996, two-thirds of all reported electric utility corporation campaign contributions (totaling, in all, more than $60 million) have gone to Republicans.

And in 2000, George W. Bush received 86% of all reported electric utility corporation presidential capaign contributions, compared to the 14% that went to Al Gore.

The mind boggles at what's worse -- the fanaticism or the gross corruption?

It boggles even more at the news media's virtual complete silence over this one.

Because this one is plain as day -- but the Media Whores are completely in the dark.

Call Me Freakin' Nostradamus

It took several weeks, but I finally nailed one. Dubya's "press conference" was suspiciously devoid of any hardball questions, and one particular segue blatantly tipped his hand - I mentioned this in a post made while it happened - that all the questions were screened and the reporters were pre-determined.

US News and World Report last week confirmed my suspicions:

President George W. Bush says he isn't interested in spin or stagecraft. But that doesn't mean he won't try to outfox the White House press corps as often as he can--as he did at last week's press conference in the Rose Garden, his first solo run in nearly five months. Bush and senior aides, including new press secretary Scott McClellan, had been planning the encounter for weeks, and Bush had gone over possible questions the day before in the Oval Office. (His staff predicted nearly every one.) To leave nothing to chance, the team decided in advance which journalists Bush would call upon and created a crib sheet of their names. And White House officials gave reporters only 90 minutes' notice--a ploy to prevent them from preparing their questions too carefully and generally to keep them off balance. Bush seemed to enjoy the give-and-take, aides say, but America shouldn't expect a repeat performance anytime soon, and certainly not in prime time. Bush thinks those events tend to become media spectaculars in which reporters preen for the television audience and try to play "gotcha" with him.

The guy is just plain scared of his ability to think on his feet. And Karl Rove - the man who is desperately trying to make him look good through the looting of this country's resources and psyche - is afraid too. The wheels are falling off, folks. The emperor has no soul, never mind clothes.

Sunday, August 17

Good Warning for Fellow Dean Supporters

John F posts this message at DEANfilter which is good advice for the online Howard Dean Machine to heed...

Dean-supporters growing too cliq-ish?

I actually came across a good deal of people online today that didn't know much about Howard Dean, his stances, and still believed the old adage that Dean is "Too liberal" because of his anti-Iraq stance.

It's starting to bother me that more people are hanging out on Blog For America than spreading out online and spreading information about Dean. There are thousands of web sites that have political discussion as an after-thought and these are the people that need to be reached out to. It's one thing to 'preach to the choir" continiously about things you don't like and things you do - it's another to spread that information to those who debate what is right and wrong.

I had an opportunity to see a cliq-like group of supporters for a public-group in the past. These supporters were rabid and loving.... Yet they would not spread out and inform the masses of their cause, they would not show support for what they supported in person.. . I fear BlogForAmerica is going to turn into this if they don't watch it.

By the way - that group of supporters? They were Montreal Expos fans on The Old version of

On a small scale, if you see a blog which is on the fence and there's an entry which shows ambivalance or paints Dean as an extremist, leave a comment under that post. Set the record straight. On a large scale, send a link to The Howard Dean Website (right-click link and copy the URL to a new e-mail) to your swing friends, click "On The Issues" and show them where he REALLY stands.

FOX News: Bush Wins '04!

Another sweet scoop from!

Saturday, August 16

And If We Made Daffy Duck Secretary Of State And The Powerpuff Girls The Heads Of Homeland Security...

This has got to be the dumbest poll this year - pitting Bush against two people who said they're not going to run.

FOX News/Opinion Dynamics Poll. Aug. 12-13, 2003. N=900 registered voters nationwide. MoE ± 3.

"In the 2004 presidential election, let's say the Republican ticket is President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney versus a Democratic ticket of former Vice President Al Gore for president and New York Senator Hillary Clinton for vice president. If the election were held today, which ticket would you support?"

Bush/Cheney 50%
Gore/Clinton 39%
Neither 5%
Not Sure 6%

So respondents said they won't elect a fairy tale. Bush beats a fairy tale. Whee.


The FOX News website published a picture purported to be NYC plunged into darkness Thursday night. What you'll see is the most careless use of archival material EVER - a photo from the 1977 blackout. The two large buildings on the right are the tipoff.

Thanks to the venerable

Weapons of Mass Self-Destruction: The Vultures Are Circling

Michael Wolff writes an incredible article in New York Magazine on the vultures circling George Bush - that the behavior of this administration vis-a-vis Iraq is so abhorrent, so wrong-headed, that only two conclusions can be drawn:

•This postwar (or post-postwar) querulousness is just a blip for the president, and, as so often before, the Bush political and communications experts will make the necessary adjustments (or do the requisite bullying) and, with relative media quiescence, charge on.

•The war and its aftermath—which is unfolding pretty much exactly as the antiwar forces said it would—have created a situation of great vulnerability for the president, which the media, goaded by the Democrats, will poke and prod with mounting pleasure. The president and his men will become more and more defensive and, as the bullying becomes more brazen, prone to greater and greater mistakes. Hence the stage is set for political calamity.

But which is it? It can’t be both.

And the media, which has grown so dependent on the White House writers, is now uncertain where to go on its own (it’s part of the problem—the media expects that the Bushies will come up with some great new plot twist).


The extent of the screwup in Iraq is nearly as great as it could possibly be. Nothing works in the country, a war of attrition continues and grows, and the U.S. bears all of the responsibility. It isn’t just a bad situation, but if, having so grandly assumed this gargantuan and imperial task, we don’t make it into a good situation, we’ve failed. The Bushies promised nothing less than Democracy in the postwar raj. What were they thinking? They didn’t, obviously, plan an exit strategy. (In Afghanistan, we were able to simply pack up and go.) Nobody left any wiggle room—there’s no graceful fallback.

Now the president’s men are caught with their mouths open.

The recent pictures of Wolfowitz in Iraq were priceless: Standing in the rubble at the conjunction of fantasy life and real life, there was a dazed-looking man with a quizzical expression.

The self-destruction?

Blame is in play.

It’s on the CIA now. It’s hovering near Condi Rice (who hovered near the president during his press conference). It keeps moving and spreading. The inevitable effect of reassigning the blame is that you start to really piss people off. Indeed, you piss off vast and powerful parts of the bureaucracy itself. And the bureaucracy, loyal only to itself, inevitably turns on you.

There's not a wasted word in the entire article. Go. Read. Now.

Friday, August 15

So Why IS California Going Through This Recall?

The Observer's Greg Palast writes a magnificent article on how the utility companies - mainly Enron - gamed the market, inspired by yesterday's blackouts. Within the article is the California story, and a very concise summary on how our state fell into an economic abyss.

If you don't know why the recall is happening - or if you're a Californian - you ABSOLUTELY MUST take a minute to read this:

California fell first. The power companies spent $39 million to defeat a 1998 referendum pushed by Ralph Nadar (sic) which would have blocked the de-reg scam. Another $37 million was spent on lobbying and lubricating the campaign coffers of the state's politicians to write a lie into law: in the deregulation act's preamble, the Legislature promised that deregulation would reduce electricity bills by 20%. In fact, when in the first California city to go "lawless," San Diego, the 20% savings became a 300% jump in surcharges.

Enron circled California and licked its lips. As the number one contributor to the George W. Bush campaigns, it was confident about the future. With just a half dozen other companies it controlled at times 100% of the available power capacity needed to keep the Golden State lit. Their motto, "your money or your lights."

Enron and its comrades played the system like a broken ATM machine, yanking out the bills. For example, in the shamelessly fixed "auctions" for electricity held by the state, Enron bid, in one instance, to supply 500 megawatts of electricity over a 15 megawatt line. That's like pouring a gallon of gasoline into a thimble -- the lines would burn up if they attempted it. Faced with blackout because of Enron's destructive bid, the state was willing to pay anything to keep the lights on.

And the state did. According to Dr. Anjali Sheffrin, economist with the California state Independent System Operator which directs power deliveries, between May and November 2000, three power giants physically or "economically" withheld power from the state and concocted enough false bids to cost the California customers over $6.2 billion in excess charges.

It took until December 20, 2000, with the lights going out on the Golden Gate, for President Bill Clinton, once a deregulation booster, to find his lost Democratic soul and impose price caps in California and ban Enron from the market.

But the light-bulb buccaneers didn't have to wait long to put their hooks back into the treasure chest. Within seventy-two hours of moving into the White House, while he was still sweeping out the inaugural champagne bottles, George Bush the Second reversed Clinton's executive order and put the power pirates back in business in California. Enron, Reliant (aka Houston Industries), TXU (aka Texas Utilities) and the others who had economically snipped California's wires knew they could count on Dubya, who as governor of the Lone Star state cut them the richest deregulation deal in America.

Californians have found the solution to the deregulation disaster: re-call the only governor in the nation with the cojones to stand up to the electricity price fixers. And unlike Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gov. Gray Davis stood alone against the bad guys without using a body double. Davis called Reliant Corp of Houston a pack of "pirates" --and now he'll walk the plank for daring to stand up to the Texas marauders.

And ladies and gentlemen, this is exactly why, without exception, every single human being who signed the recall petitions should be forced to vote on October 7th - repeating - WITHOUT EXCEPTION. If ANY SINGLE ONE of these frothing-at-the-mouth nitwits don't bother to show up, the entire process should be declared null and void.

It's only fair to those of us who bothered to vote last November.