Friday, October 31

And On That Happy Note...

Hoffmania! is on vacation until mid-November. Scroll down to the daily links in the left column for more liberal left-wing fun and antics, and I hope you'll be here when we return.

If things don't improve in my absence, I'm takin' names and posting 'em here.

Irie and respect. Gwan fi di fortnight, mon. (Hey...gotta use what little bad patois I know during the next couple of weeks...)

Fox News Lowers Its Own Bar

Cruising past the channels, I happened to hit Fox News yesterday as they were showing 1995 videos of the Iraq tortures. I had the pleasure of tuning right into blindfolded, bound and gagged guys being thrown off rooftops and crashing to the ground, along with someone getting their head halfway chopped off. Today, they had footage of a private plane crashing where the pilot was seriously injured.

They call it news. I call it porn for the criminally insane. And don't give me that tired old meme that "it needs to be seen." That's Hannity crapspeak. We all know people were horribly tortured in Iraq under Hussein and Sons. Showing it is just sick to the tenth power.

If you're going to show that, then also show the 7,784 deaths of other Iraqi civilians who were killed as a direct result of our goodwill mission over there.

You won't. Because you're "fair and balanced." Twisted lunatics.

God, I Love This Campaign

The Howard Dean Halloween fundraising is using the theme "Bush Frightens Me."

I'll be away for a couple of weeks, but if you'd like to do us (and yourself) a favor, flip a couple of bucks to Dean. We really have to get these jerks out of the White House and replace them with someone whose head is screwed on straight.

And I'd like to see us reach our months-long goal to raise $500. All I get out of it is ego - and a red bat. Thanks.

Hey, California - Still Thinking About Voting For Bush Next Year?

State: Bush ignored fire plea
CHARGES: Officials warned of 'tinder box'

Sacramento -- California officials accused the Bush administration Thursday of ignoring urgent pleas months ago for emergency help to remove beetle-infested trees that experts warned could fuel a catastrophic Southern California fire.

In April, Gov. Gray Davis requested $430 million to remove unhealthy trees on 415, 000 acres of forest, but the request for emergency funds went unanswered until last week -- and then was denied.

"There was a reason the governor requested the declaration,'' said Davis spokesman Steve Maviglio. "And I'm sure there are a lot of families without homes that are disappointed it wasn't approved.''

Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, speaking in the Senate during Thursday's debate on the "Healthy Forests'' bill, complained that President Bush had failed to act on the state's request for help and that now Californians were suffering.

"We named three of the four counties that are up in smoke, and we begged him to declare a disaster, we begged him,'' Boxer said before the bill passed 80-14. "We saw this coming a mile away.''
Trees? Saving trees? That makes 'em TREE-HUGGERS! No room for those wackos during the rule of the Crackhead Administration. Don't paint California red just yet, folks.

Why I Can't Be A Right-Winger

I just can't gather up enough fake gumption to get behind humorless curmudgeonly bullcrap websites like this giant steaming pile of preachy finger-wagging.

Thursday, October 30

Still Horny For Bill Clinton!

The latest right-wing obsessions with the guy they just can't stop thinking about:
David Limbaugh
Mona Charen
Jonah Goldberg
Jerry Bowyer
New York Post
Brent Bozell

Jumpin' Jesus On A Jet-Propelled Chariot-Driven Sidecar

How much longer are these crackheads going to get away with this? And don't tell me November 2004. This is immediately actionable. They recalled Gray Davis for a pantload less.

Study: Bush donors rake in contracts

WASHINGTON — Big givers to President Bush and companies with political and military connections are getting most of the reconstruction work in Iraq and Afghanistan, a watchdog group said Thursday.

The Center for Public Integrity has done the first detailed analysis of $8 billion in contracts awarded to 71 U.S. companies by the Pentagon, State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development.

"There is a stench of political favoritism and cronyism," says Charles Lewis, executive director of the center, a non-partisan group based in Washington.
If nothing comes of this, America has just given up. Disgusting.

Wednesday, October 29

Amazing But True

One of the talking heads on KABC-TV here in LA actually marveled about how governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger (who was in Washington to rally funds for fire relief), a Republican, was standing shoulder-to-shoulder at the microphone with the ultimate liberal Democrat senator, Ted Kennedy.

(We'll give those of you who don't get it another 30 seconds before we move on.)

"Mission Accomplished" Story Changes Again!

Utterly remarkable. In the last ten minutes, the headlines have gone from:

White House stands by Bush disavowal of "Mission Accomplished" banner

White House Admits 'Mission Accomplished' Banner

Wednesday, press secretary Scott McClellan admitted the White House had the "Mission Accomplished" banner made. But he said it was only to praise the Lincoln's mission -- not to herald a triumphant end to all fighting in Iraq.
Layers upon layers of lies. That's it. I cannot contain my earlier pledge anymore. This administration is infested with crackheads. I can offer no other explanation for their behavior.

Shameless. Just shameless.

Conason On Bush's Latest Lie

Joe on yesterday's performance:
When George W. Bush is prevaricating, he often utters a little wisecrack. At today's press briefing, when he was asked about that now-embarrassing "Mission Accomplished" banner on the USS Lincoln, he pinned that premature boast on the crew and then delivered his quip.

"I know [the banner] was attributed somehow to some ingenious advance man from my staff," said Bush. "They weren't that ingenious, by the way." Heh heh.

There's nothing surprising about this cheap little lie. The entitled always blame the enlisted. It's the American aristocratic way.

From the Pen of: David Horsey

From the Pen of: Tom Toles

Following The Fires

Everyone in L.A. is sitting in front of their TVs having anxiety attacks over the wildfires in the area mountains. Okay, good reason. The city is simply surrounded by blazes with the smell and remnants of charred brush and lumber wafting all over the area.

Amazingly, while the folks in the basin are freaking out, the displaced people from the firelines are a lot more grounded.

My friend Todd lives in Arrowhead. He and his family evacuated the town Saturday along with the rest of the residents. The smart ones anyway. I saw him today, and he was the picture of calm. He's pretty convinced his home will be okay, but the very idea of dropping everything and leaving your home - well, my brain would've checked out the minute the fire began. Todd's biggest complaint was that he's tired of wearing the shirt on his back - he forgot to pack more. He was also impressed with the fact that while his family found refuge 'way out in Palm Springs, it took him the same amount of time to drive to West LA.

I guess the point is that if you do the right thing in a dire situation, you rest easily with that knowledge and you deal with it. I'm certain that not everyone's reacting like Todd is, but most of the people I've seen and heard have the same behavior.

I guess that's why I live on the beach. The wind here just blows the aroma of decomposing sea lions into OUR homes.

Follow the story here:
...and help out here.

Tuesday, October 28

Amazing What You Read While Waiting For Chinese Food

I grabbed a copy of LA Weekly which had this article that asked a question so obvious, I'm pissed I didn't think of it.

Monday, October 27

A Little Down Time

Sorry for the lack of posts, pals. As any blogger can tell you, as soon as life gets in the way, the blog must take a back seat. Both my wife and mom landed in their respective hospitals so I've been the good husband/son by taking care of them (even though mom is 3000 miles away - it's always fun to talk to doctors and nurses of various accents over my cel phone when the towers out here are under the threat of conflagration).

So postings will be sparse until the weekend when they become nil for a couple of weeks. Yup. I'm pullin' an MWO as we say in the blogosphere. We're taking a much-needed respite to Jamaica's west end - the peaceful part mostly - and bask in the warmth of some amazing people while turning the brain off for a couple of weeks. It'll take that long to cough out the smoke and ash of SoCal and replace it with other smoke and ash.

Irie, baby.

Saturday, October 25

'Bout Damned Time

Liberals Get A Think Tank Of Their Own
New Shop Will Develop Ideas, Fight Conservatives

To most Washington think tank executives, $10 million or $12 million per year for three years would sound like a lot of money.

But then, they are not trying to do what former White House chief of staff John D. Podesta has in mind for his new Center for American Progress. Podesta's ambition is to update the liberal agenda while beating back the conservative tide. Also, to discover, train and promote a new generation of liberal spokesmen. In other words, he wants to give the left of the American political spectrum a think tank to match the Heritage Foundation on the right.

The seed money pledged by such deep-pocketed Democrats as financier George Soros and mortgage billionaires Herbert and Marion Sandler -- while serious dough -- is barely enough to make a beginning.

On the other hand, Heritage got started on less. Hatched amid the ruins of the post-Watergate Republican Party, Heritage has grown into a $30 million-a-year operation -- a hatchery of ideas, yes, but also a packager, promoter, expediter, wholesaler, matchmaker and orchestrator. It is the hub of a network of loosely aligned conservative brain barns with budgets totaling $100 million or so.

Liberals have been pining for many years for something similar on their side, Podesta said in an interview this week. "For as long as I can remember," he said, "people have talked about the rise of the Republican think tank machine with a powerful communications machinery really embedded inside it -- creating the ability not just to develop the philosophy but to sell it."

What really drove home the need was the election of 2002, when Democrats found themselves out of power at every level of government. Podesta, a man with many admirers and few enemies despite 30 years in politics, agreed to take on the project.

Already more than half the anticipated staff has been hired -- 35 of what will become a staff of about 65. The center today plans to name its first nine fellows.

Reality Sucks

Doesn't it, Arnold? Here's what happens when one goes from public adulation into the unforeseen pile of dog crap he was elected to fix. Let the dancing begin:

Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger got a grim briefing on California's budget Thursday, and emerged appearing sobered and calling the state's financial condition "disastrous."

On his second day of meetings with state officials, the incoming governor met with state Treasurer Phil Angelides for a 35-minute morning tutorial. He said afterward that he was worried about the precarious status of billions of dollars worth of bonds used to balance this year's budget. Angelides warned that the bonds are vulnerable to a legal challenge.

The governor-elect, whose usual ebullience was dampened after the meeting, said, "The problem was created over the last five years, and so you can't expect that — even though I've played very, very heroic characters in the movies, but you can't expect me to walk into his office and all of a sudden come out with the answers."

"It will take a while to resolve those problems," he said. "They are very difficult problems, and we are really in a disastrous situation financially."

As Schwarzenegger campaigned to unseat Davis this fall, state officials warned that California's fiscal situation was worsening, and the GOP candidate himself acknowledged that the budget shortfall could reach $20 billion. Still, he projected a sunny optimism during the campaign that he would be able to resolve the budget crisis once he brought in experts to scour the books and curtail spending.

Thursday, October 23

The Miracle Of "The Filter"

Seems Dick Cheney took the George W. Bush Happyspin NewsFilter 2003® out for an early spin a little while ago.

How the Poll Results on Iraq Were Manipulated

Early in President Bush’s recent public relations campaign to rebuild support for the US war effort in Iraq, Vice President Cheney appeared on “Meet the Press.” Attempting to make the case that the US was winning in Iraq, Cheney made the following observations:

“There was a poll done, just random in the last week, first one I’ve seen carefully done; admittedly, it’s a difficult area to poll in. Zogby International did it with American Enterprise magazine. But that’s got very positive news in it in terms of the numbers it shows with respect to the attitudes to what Americans have done."

In fact, Zogby International (ZI) in Iraq had conducted the poll, and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) did publish their interpretation of the findings. But the AEI’s “spin” and the vice president’s use of their “spin” created a faulty impression of the poll’s results and, therefore, of the attitudes of the Iraqi people.

For example, while Cheney noted that when asked what kind of government they would like, Iraqis chose “the US... hands down,” in fact, the results of the poll are actually quite different. Twenty-three percent of Iraqis say that they would like to model their new government after the US; 17.5 percent would like their model to be Saudi Arabia; 12 percent say Syria, 7 percent say Egypt and 37 percent say “none of the above.” That’s hardly “winning hands down.”

When given the choice as to whether they “would like to see the American and British forces leave Iraq in six months, one year, or two years,” 31.5 percent of Iraqis say these forces should leave in six months; 34 percent say a year, and only 25 percent say two or more years.

So while technically Cheney might say that “over 60 percent (actually it’s 59 percent) ... want the US to stay at least another year,” an equally correct observation would be that 65.5 percent want the US and Britain to leave in one year or less.

It is disturbing that the AEI and the vice president could get it so wrong.
Disturbing, yes. Surprising, no.

From the Pen of: Jeff Parker

The George W. Bush Happyspin NewsFilter 2003® in operation...

From the Pen of: Doug Marlette


Rumsfeld: I'm Not Buying It

A lot of folks are praising Donald Rumsfeld for his refreshing candor in the memo that was leaked to USA Today recently. I was born a skeptic and I'll probably die as one, but I always believe something like this is orchestrated...especially in the context of his Iraq rebuilding plan being taken over by Condi Rice and his unpleasant reaction to that.

Taking those recent developments under consideration, his memo seems to display more of a vindictive nature rather than one of enlightenment - and I cannot help but go with the latter trait based on his past behavior. Isn't the war on terror his baby? He is, after all, the Secretary of DEFENSE. Although maybe after Iraq it should be Secretary of Military Offense. Come to think of it, his title underscores how the U.S. military has strictly been used as defense until we started the pre-emptive strike on Iraq. Nonetheless, if it's a failure under his role as SoD, it's therefore a failure of his ability. That's why I asked if maybe he should resign if he's that critical of his own work.

Although Hoffmania! reader Cadillac Jack rightly points out that if that happens, we should all run for cover over who Uncle Dick Cheney will pick as his successor. Jeezus, what I'd give to elevate our crossroads to win/lose rather than lose/lose all the time...

Just The Rantings Of Another America-Hating Democrat, Right?


Hagel Says Bush Has Too Much Leeway

Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) is strongly criticizing Congress, saying it gave President Bush too much latitude in conducting foreign policy after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Hagel voiced his disapproval Monday in a speech at the Gallup Organization World Conference in Omaha.

"When the security of this nation is threatened, Congress and the American people give the president great latitude," he said. "We probably have given this president more flexibility, more latitude, more range, unquestioned, than any president since Franklin Roosevelt -- probably too much. The Congress, in my opinion, really abrogated much of its responsibility."

Hagel, a senior member of the Foreign Relations Committee, voted last year to give the president the authority to attack Iraq but has frequently criticized Bush's execution of the war. Hagel has been especially critical of the lack of allies and United Nations support.

Memo To Cheney And Rumsfeld

This is how it's done:

British Patrols Making Strides in Basra
Soldiers have established solid relationships based more on services than security in a city whose residents have no love for the former regime.

First, there were worries about shortages of cooking kerosene and medicine for a sick child. Then came complaints about trash removal, clogged drains and an after-dark crime wave.

During the three-hour walk last week that included talks with residents, endless chatter with children in the streets and a 40-minute visit over cool orange sodas in the home of a worried father, patrol leader Sgt. John Battersby of Burma Company, from the regiment's 1st Battalion, carefully noted the concerns and promised to pass them on to superiors.

Although heavily armed American soldiers in central Iraq continue to fight a tenacious insurgency more than six months after the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, southern Iraq is relatively calm.

Battersby's men here in the nation's second-largest city wear soft berets and patrol neighborhoods at a leisurely pace, enjoying a level of contact and trust with residents that still eludes many U.S. units in and around Baghdad.

"If people saw us running around in helmets and body armor, they'd wonder what's going on," said the company's operations officer, Capt. John Harker.

Memo To Bush, Cheney And Powell

This is how it's done:

The Muscle of Diplomacy

Europe's "big three" split on war with Iraq but recognize that the threat of nuclear proliferation requires unity and deft diplomacy. Both were on display this week when the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany won Iran's agreement to allow more international inspections of its nuclear facilities and to suspend enrichment of uranium, a step needed for nuclear weapon production.

Britain backed the United States on war in Iraq and sent troops; France and Germany opposed the invasion. But they put those differences aside to persuade Tehran to exchange its nuclear weapons ambitions for good relations with Europe and potential technical assistance on nuclear power.

Washington has seen what the nations of scorned "old Europe" can do to advance interests they share with the U.S. The unified offering of potential rewards and punishments may not be enough to keep Iran from joining the nuclear weapons club. But if Iran is dissuaded, it will demonstrate that a willingness to flex diplomatic muscle can be as persuasive as the threat of military power.

Wednesday, October 22

Rumsfeld: "I Really Suck At This Job"

He might as well say that...

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld questioned whether the United States was doing enough to win the war on terrorism, citing “mixed results” in the fight against al-Qaida in a pointed memo to top Pentagon officials last week.

RUMSFELD SAID the U.S.-led coalitions would win in Afghanistan and Iraq, but not without “a long, hard slog.” He wrote that the United States “has made reasonable progress in capturing or killing the top 55 Iraqis” but has made “somewhat slower progress” tracking down top Taliban leaders who sheltered al-Qaida in Afghanistan.

On the battle against the terror network blamed for the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, Rumsfeld wrote: “We are having mixed results with al-Qaida, although we have put considerable pressure on them - nonetheless, a great many remain at large.” They include the group’s top leader, Osama bin Laden, and his right-hand man, Ayman al-Zawahiri.
So...maybe he oughta, I don't know...RESIGN?

Tuesday, October 21

Bush's Approval Ratings SKYROCKET!

Providing your skyrocket lands in a crater...

Pew Research Center for the People & the Press survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates. Oct. 15-19, 2003. N=1,515 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.

"Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president?" If "Depends": "Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president?"

Approve: 50% (down from 55% last month)
Disapprove: 42% (up from 36%)
Don't Know: 8% (down from 9%)

NPR Enters The Hall Of Shame

This is just plain nuts.

NPR 'ref' sides with O'Reilly in 'Air' battle

The ombudsman for National Public Radio agrees with Bill O'Reilly that Terry Gross was "carrying Al Franken's water" when she interviewed O'Reilly Oct. 9 on "Fresh Air."

O'Reilly eventually hung up on the interview, charging that Gross was using it not to discuss O'Reilly's new book but to pelt him with charges from the liberal Franken, a frequent O'Reilly antagonist.

NPR ombudsman Jeffrey A. Dvorkin noted NPR received a number of listener responses, many agreeing with O'Reilly. Dvorkin himself found some fault with the conduct of both participants.

"Although O'Reilly frequently resorts to bluster and bullying on his own show," said Dvorkin, "he seemed unable to take her tough questions." But he laid most of the blame on Gross. She is "one of the best interviewers anywhere in American journalism," Dvorkin said, but this one failed.

"I believe listeners were not well served by this interview," he said. "It may have illustrated the 'cultural wars,' [but it] only served to confirm the belief, held by some, in NPR's liberal bias."

He particularly faulted Gross for reading a critical quote after O'Reilly had left. "That was wrong," Dvorkin said. "It's known in broadcasting as the 'empty chair' interview, and it is considered an unethical technique and should not be used on NPR."

Dvorkin also confessed he's puzzled by a larger question.

"O'Reilly often loves to use NPR as his personal political pinata, and NPR keeps helping him by inviting him to appear."
Because he knows he'll get an apology from you wimps after he slammed the phone down because he didn't like the questions. Boo-freaking-hoo.

Why are they scared of the liberal label? Does NPR think for one second that anyone outside of their liberal listener base will donate a stinkin' nickel to their network? Way to stand by your folks, Mr. Dvorkin. Now quit and go work for Fox News if that's what you're gunning for. Send him a job referral:

National Public Radio
635 Massachusetts Avenue N.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20001

Still Horny For Clinton, 10/21/03

Here's our occasional look at the wingnut press' obsession with Bill Clinton. Any time a word is spoken in his honor, these fine folks are quick to try to pound him down to Bush's level - even after almost three years after his leaving office to the drunk fratboys. In the last few hours:
NewsMax again (scroll to bottom)
Fox News
Town Hall
Hey! NewsMax!
The National Review
American Daily
Mychal Massie

Schadenfreude Is A Two-Way Street, Fox

Fox was betting that a lot of America wanted to see a bunch of women from our former allies in Europe get screwed over by a fake millionaire. Instead, America is delighting in Fox's failure today:

Fox Shows Flop Despite Heavy Promotion

NEW YORK - Even if you caught only a few innings of postseason baseball on Fox, you likely saw promos for "Skin" and the new season of "Joe Millionaire." Despite the heavy promotion, both series premieres flopped Monday, each drawing fewer than 7 million viewers.

"We're disappointed," said Gail Berman, Fox entertainment president. "I wish I knew what happened last night."

Despite many people considering the "Joe Millionaire" premise a one-shot joke, Fox ordered a sequel. It has the same twist, but this time features European women.

It was seen by an estimated 6.6 million people Monday, placing it fifth in its time slot, according to Nielsen Media Research. Even the WB, with "7th Heaven," fared better.

Fom the Pen of: Kirk Walters

Soylent Dean

From the official Howard Dean blog, some pretty wacky stuff.

Hey, They're Just Iraqis

If the United States and the coalition of the coerced are trying to convince us that the Iraqis are free people under our guidance, then shouldn't we be more accountable for the safety of their citizens as if they were our own? JUST ASKING...

Report slams U.S. for Iraqi civilian deaths
GIs overaggressive, rights group says

Human Rights Watch alleges that a detailed review of the cases "reveals a pattern by U.S. forces of overaggressive tactics, indiscriminate shooting in residential areas and a quick reliance on lethal force."

Very few civilian deaths by U.S. fire are investigated, Human Rights Watch says, and no one has an accurate count of civilian casualties. The U.S.-led coalition counters that the figures are "unknowable."

In Baghdad alone, the report estimates that there have been at least 94 Iraqi deaths under "questionable legal circumstances that merit investigation." Hundreds of innocent Iraqis have been killed at checkpoints or caught in the crossfire in clashes outside the capital, human-rights advocates say.

"Just the fact that the U.S. military doesn't track civilian deaths indicates that they do not seem to care," said Joe Stork, acting executive director of the Middle East and North Africa division at Human Rights Watch.

Yeah, We're Talkin' To You

Get well fast, Bobby.

The Frightening Americans

The right is constantly slamming Democrats for being the party of division, hate-mongering and enemies of freedom. But their most vocal tribe takes these traits to entirely new heights...and their hatred runs white hot against our side of the aisle.

They're the Freepers, the minions who are part of the manic teetering-on-criminally-insane right-wing organization called The Free Republic. Atrios found this post at the Freeper site by their founder, one Jim Robinson who posted this frightening missive yesterday.

If you never believed how deep the right's disdain for us can run, brace yourself for the chilling answer.

Monday, October 20

George W. Costanza

From Reuters:
"Fiercely proud of their son's achievements, former President Bush said his wife treated the president like any other member of the family, recently telling him after a run to get his feet off the table in their bedroom."
Feet off the their bedroom. Okay, uh...eyyew?

From the Pen of: Jimmy Margulies

Sunday, October 19

Garry Trudeau Hits His Threshold

It happens to all of us eventually.

Don't Forget "Human Speedbump," "Waste Of Oxygen" and "The Guy Who Makes The Airbags Deploy In My TV Set"

I'd really like to lock this guy in a room with Jim Carville for three days if it didn't have the potential to make his head implode.
Alan Colmes has been called an on-air punching bag, a runt, wishy-washy, a milquetoast and -- this one must really hurt -- a conservative at heart.

And these words are from people who usually agree with him.

As Fox News Channel's resident liberal and half of "Hannity & Colmes," Colmes must feel a kinship with Internal Revenue Service auditors, process servers or telemarketers.

"People say to me, `Why don't you fight fire with fire?"' he said. "You fight fire with water, not fire."

His liberal critics question Colmes' political commitment and demeanor, and suggest he's fighting a rigged battle.

FAIR has likened Colmes to the Washington Generals, the hapless basketball team hired to lose to the Harlem Globetrotters every night.

"Hannity gives no quarter," said Steve Rendall, a FAIR analyst. "Colmes is often giving points when he should be fighting. When the chips are down, Colmes often concedes."

Bush 41 Snubs Son - Gives Award To Ted Kennedy

This was kept pretty quiet - On November 7th, Ted will receive the George Bush Award for Excellence in Public Service:

Former President Bush will present the award, which previously went to former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

Kennedy has been one of President George W. Bush's harshest critics over the Iraq war.

Former President Bush has sole discretion on who receives the award, said Penrod Thornton of the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation.
Does this demonstrate a rift between 41 and 43? Cavernous, according to the Boston Globe's Georgie Anne Geyer, who suggests it's time for dad to publicly spank his son.

Spreading Goodwill And More Better Grammar Worldwide

President Tailhook during his Asia tour:

"The Philippines and the United States has seen the enemy on our own soil," Bush said in his speech, which was nationally televised.
Lest you think it's a misprint, it's also here and (God help us) here.

Saturday, October 18

Dave Barry's Real Estate Agents

At his blog, he's collecting the best names.
This lady
This guy
This one
And this one
This guy
This guy
And this guy.

Somewhere, John Ashcroft Weeps Knowing This Will Never Happen To Him

Dean Greeted Warmly by Arab Americans

An assemblage of politically active Arab Americans gave former Vermont governor Howard Dean repeated ovations Saturday at the windup of a two-day meeting that marked a clear shift of allegiance from President Bush to his Democratic rivals.

Dean got by far the warmest response of any of the seven presidential hopefuls who addressed the 300 people attending the national leadership conference of the Arab American Institute (AAI), a Washington-based advocacy group.

Got A Little Time To Read Something With Balls?

Good. Read this piece by a Vietnam veteran.

How America Thanks The Troops

Doubly noteworthy - UPI is owned by the Moonies who also run the neocon Washington Times. Their George W. Bush Happyspin NewsFilter 2003® must've crapped out...

Sick, wounded U.S. troops held in squalor
By Mark Benjamin
UPI Investigations Editor

FORT STEWART, Ga., Oct. 17 (UPI) -- Hundreds of sick and wounded U.S. soldiers including many who served in the Iraq war are languishing in hot cement barracks here while they wait -- sometimes for months -- to see doctors.

The National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers' living conditions are so substandard, and the medical care so poor, that many of them believe the Army is trying push them out with reduced benefits for their ailments. One document shown to UPI states that no more doctor appointments are available from Oct. 14 through Nov. 11 -- Veterans Day.

"I have loved the Army. I have served the Army faithfully and I have done everything the Army has asked me to do," said Sgt. 1st Class Willie Buckels, a truck master with the 296th Transportation Company. Buckels served in the Army Reserves for 27 years, including Operation Iraqi Freedom and the first Gulf War. "Now my whole idea about the U.S. Army has changed. I am treated like a third-class citizen."

Bush Is Doing Wonders For Our Self Image

FOX News/Opinion Dynamics Poll. Oct. 14-15, 2003. N=900 registered voters nationwide. MoE ± 3.

"Do you think people living in other countries around the world generally have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the United States today?"

Favorable: 18%
Unfavorable: 62%
Mixed: 13%
Not Sure: 7%

The Older You Get, The Wiser You Get

Bush's Popularity With Older Voters Is Seen as Slipping

President Bush's support among older voters has dropped substantially in recent months, eroding recent Republican gains and highlighting the importance of this critical electoral bloc in 2004, political strategists and analysts say.

A poll conducted this month by The New York Times and CBS News showed that Mr. Bush had a 41 percent approval rating among the 65-and-older voters, his lowest among any age group. That was down from 44 percent in July and 63 percent in May.

Bill O'Reilly Just Made It Really Easy For Al Of Us

Thanks to Kevin for pointing this out. In O'Reilly's coulmn linked in the post below, he says the following. I urge all of you to quote him freely here:

My name is no longer Bill O'Reilly, it's "gasbag," "bully," "liar" and "blowhard."
Yeah, it's out of context. And if anyone should know better, it's O'Reilly and his ilk. Too bad, Gasbag.

The Wingnut Obsession With Bill Clinton

We're gonna do this once in a while...take a check on the right wing media and chronicle their horniness for Bill Clinton. In the just last few hours, we have:
The Washington Times
The Washington Times again
Bill O'Reilly
Fox News
The American Daily
The American Daily again
National Review
National Review again
Intellectual Conservative (13 Clinton mentions here!)
The Washington Times yet again
The Washington Times already
Frontpage (the Clinton counter broke on this one)
NewsMax has a few as well, but their server was down while compiling this list.

And we hope the crackpot press will continue their fine work of railing on the lies and deception of the previous president come January 2005.

UPDATE: Okay, here we go:
and NewsMax

Friday, October 17

CIA Leaker Revealed!

We knew it all along.

Franken Helps One See The Light

No, she hasn't made the complete segue out conservatism. But Becky Miller, formerly of Oregon Taxpayers United, at least has opened her eyes enough to read Al's book and see past the facade of her spokespeople...

The leaders we conservatives have trusted have taken advantage of our trust to line the pockets of the wealthy and powerful, and it's time we rose up and drove out these greedy liars. They've hijacked and distorted our belief system for their own gain, and in doing so are destroying our credibility.

And if we decent, honest, hard-working, patriotic, true-blue conservatives of this country neglect the duty we have to our children and grandchildren, we will never be able to work with those decent, honest, hard-working, patriotic, true-blue liberal Americans that these lying creeps have taught us to despise. We will never be safe to debate them or, when warranted, to listen to them and maybe even agree with them. We will never be safe to work out our differences or to work together. And we will never be able to build on the all-American sense of unity that burst forth following 9/11, only to disappear shortly thereafter in a cloud of lying, greedy partisan politics.

I'm still a decent, honest, hard-working, patriotic, true-blue conservative. But Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity and the rest of you lying liars -- I'm through with you!

The Noel Blanc School of Self-Aggrandizing

Noel Blanc is honoring his father with a limited-edition lithograph featuring Warner Bros. characters that Blanc helped make famous.

The poster-size "Passing the Baton: A Tribute to Mel and Noel Blanc" lithographs are numbered, signed and will be personalized by Noel Blanc. Produced by Warner Bros. for Great American Ink, they cost $495.
Hate to be the bucket of water here, but Noel Blanc really hasn't set the world on fire with his versions of the Looney Tunes characters. Warner has hardly used him (if at all) in any of their major projects.

If anyone deserves the baton-passing kudos, it's Billy West, Joe Alaskey, Greg Burson, Bob Bergen and the others of a small handful of voice actors who have nailed these characters with their dead-on talents.

Sorry, Noel. We love ya, but your tribute to yourself kinda smacks of self-serving.

South Africa, UK, Switzerland, India and Singapore

If you do a search at Google News, you'll see that these are the only countries which have reported on Bill Clinton's revelation that he told incoming President Flightsuit Osama bin Laden was a major threat to the United States. Flightsuit kept thinking it was Iraq.

No one in the U.S. picked up the story except the National Review and NewsMax who took the opportunity to attack, filet and fry Clinton through their George W. Bush Happyspin NewsFilter 2003®.

Aren't you releived that we're kept safe from news that shows Clinton in a positive light? The George W. Bush Happyspin NewsFilter 2003®! Get yours today!

Krugman Breaks It Down

"What we have here is a form of looting." So says George Akerlof, a Nobel laureate in economics, of the Bush administration's budget policies — and he's right. With startling speed, we've blown right through the usual concerns about budget deficits — about their effects on interest rates and economic growth — and into a range where the very solvency of the federal government is at stake. Almost every expert not on the administration's payroll now sees budget deficits equal to about a quarter of government spending for the next decade, and getting worse after that.

Yet the administration insists that there's no problem, that economic growth will solve everything painlessly. And that puts those who want to stop the looting — which should include anyone who wants this country to avoid a Latin-American-style fiscal crisis, somewhere down the road — in a difficult position.

George W. Bush is like a man who tells you that he's bought you a fancy new TV set for Christmas, but neglects to tell you that he charged it to your credit card, and that while he was at it he also used the card to buy some stuff for himself. Eventually, the bill will come due — and it will be your problem, not his.

The Yankees Lose! THUHHHHHHHH Yankees Lose!

At least that what Rupert Murdoch's New York Post said.

Vindictive? We'll Show YOU Vindictive

Another "coincidence." Sent by Barry Champlain:

Santa Cruz mayor's bakery visited by FDA

Santa Cruz Mayor Emily Reilly is warning her constituents in this liberal beach town not to jump to conspiracy theories about several unusual events involving her bakery in the days since the city council decided to challenge President Bush.

It was Reilly who, after a Santa Cruz City Council vote on Sept. 9, sent a letter to Washington asking the U.S. House Judiciary Committee to consider impeaching President Bush

Four days later, a sophisticated burglar pried moulding off a window at Emily's Good Things to Eat bakery, evaded a motion detector and stole an old computer hard drive and the hard-drive backup.

Then, on Sept. 17, Emily's Good Things To Eat bakery was visited by an agent of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, who introduced himself, showed his identification, and looked around. He asked if they used artificial coloring (heavens no!) or if they transported anything across the state lines (they've been known to mail cookie-grams).

Reilly isn't convinced there's any link between her recent council stance and the unusual events at her business.

Thursday, October 16

Yay, Red Sox! Yay, Cubs!

America still has its two lovable losers intact. Unfortunately, it's gonna be the Yankees and the Marlins battling for Major League Baseball's coveted Who Gives A Crap trophy.

WARNING: May Cause Shooting Pains Down Your Arms

"People, decent people, have hearts. They are loyal to their friends and steadfast in time of trouble. Our commitment should be standing by Rush Limbaugh. He has given us hope and help and a way of seeing the world. We are 20 million strong. We can do anything we set our minds to and have the track record to prove it. The operative word here is 'strong' and a healthy, productive Rush Limbaugh, who knows how grateful we are, is the goal."
- Lucianne Goldberg

The Stars And Stripes Troop Morale Survey

Hey, since President Marlboro doesn't like the mass media filter, well, you might as well read about the military's lousy morale from the Pentagon's mouthpiece itself.

America: The Pride Is Showing!

Kinda fills your heart with...something...

President George W. Bush and California Gov.-Elect Arnold Schwarzenegger met privately Thursday, then praised each other in a joint appearance.

For his part, Bush said he was glad to have met Schwarzenegger, then joked about "how much we have in common."

Both "married well," said Bush, and "some accuse both of us of not being able to speak the language."

Ha Ha Ha...Wait A Minute...

Yes, it's funny and ironic that President Pilotpants' directive to immediately stop all leaks was leaked to the press today by senior administrative officials.

Then the chilling reality hits you that he's telling his staff that he doesn't want to see any more of his administration's dirty tricks and smear campaigns revealed to the public...

Quote THIS

"These guys make Nixon's crowd look like a bunch of kids shoplifting candy at the local grocery store. They have taken the art of character assassination to the point where it is their number-one tool."

- Bob Beckel, Democratic Consultant on the Bush Administration at

Ball's In Your Court, Guys

Howard Dean has unveiled his economic plan. The four objectives:

Bring back high-paying jobs
Be a responsible steward of our nation’s finances
Relieve the crushing burdens on American families
Restore fairness as a guiding principle of American life.
And while a particular actor-turned-governor of a west coast state would stop there, Dean goes into quite a bit more detail. Check it out.

This Administration Is SO Screwed Up...


Concerned about the appearance of disarray and feuding within his administration as well as growing resistance to his policies in Iraq, President Bush - living up to his recent declaration that he is in charge - told his top officials to "stop the leaks" to the media, or else.

News of Bush's order leaked almost immediately.

Yay Me. Woo Hoo. (SFX: My Own Horn Tooting) I Rock. Whee!

Joe Conason noticed the WaPo/ABC News disparity in reporting their poll numbers on President Crackpot (I didn't say "Crackhead") in his column yesterday. We noticed it the day before.

Toot toot. Honk honk. Tooot. (Someone's gotta do it.) Toooot.

(Actually, I'm reveling in the fact that sometimes I have the same brainwaves as smart people like Conason.)

Wanna Read Some Unmitigated Crap?

Read this.

What We've All Been Trying To Tell You, Chapter XXXIV

Clinton warned Bush of bin Laden threat

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former President Bill Clinton says he warned President George W. Bush before he left office in 2001 that Osama bin Laden was the biggest security threat the United States faced.

Speaking at a luncheon sponsored by the History Channel on Wednesday, Clinton said he discussed security issues with Bush in his "exit interview," a formal and often candid meeting between a sitting president and the president-elect.

"In his campaign, Bush had said he thought the biggest security issue was Iraq and a national missile defence," Clinton said. "I told him that in my opinion, the biggest security problem was Osama bin Laden."
Bill, sometimes you're too polite. Sorry you waited so long to defend yourself, but it finally had to be said.

UPDATE: So far, the only domestic releasing of this story comes from the jackasses at NewsMax who immediately grabbed the story by the throat, slashed it to pieces, then shot it through their George W. Bush Happyspin NewsFilter 2003®.

Now You Have A Scary Story To Tell The Kids This Halloween

The Pentagon Unleashes a Holy Warrior

In June of 2002, Jerry Boykin stepped to the pulpit at the First Baptist Church of Broken Arrow, Okla., and described a set of photographs he had taken of Mogadishu, Somalia, from an Army helicopter in 1993.

The photographs were taken shortly after the disastrous "Blackhawk Down" mission had resulted in the death of 18 Americans. When Boykin came home and had them developed, he said, he noticed a strange dark mark over the city. He had an imagery interpreter trained by the military look at the mark. "This is not a blemish on your photograph," the interpreter told him, "This is real."

"Ladies and gentleman, this is your enemy," Boykin said to the congregation as he flashed his pictures on a screen. "It is the principalities of darkness It is a demonic presence in that city that God revealed to me as the enemy."

This June, at the pulpit of the Good Shepherd Community Church in Sandy, Ore., he displayed slides of Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and North Korea's Kim Jung Il. "Why do they hate us?" Boykin asked. "The answer to that is because we're a Christian nation We are hated because we are a nation of believers."

Our "spiritual enemy," Boykin continued, "will only be defeated if we come against them in the name of Jesus."

Who is Jerry Boykin? He is Army Lt. General William G. "Jerry" Boykin. The day before Boykin appeared at the pulpit in Oregon, the Pentagon announced that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had nominated the general for a third star and named him to a new position as deputy undersecretary of Defense for intelligence.
File this under "fustercluck."

Final Word To The Cubs And Their Fans About Game Six


I really wanted the Cubs in the series. It ain't gonna happen. But don't blame the foul ball guy. Put the blame where it belongs. Now go back to your lives if you have one.

C'mon, Ted! Say It! SAY IT!

In his closing thought on Nightline tonight, Ted Koppel told President Tailhook that if he wants the news filter to start reporting the good news, he must start leveling with the American people - then and only then will we believe the White House's claims of happiness and success.

Between the lines - Ted's saying Bush is a liar. Right on, Theodore.


Murdoch puts off retirement plans 'forever'

Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corporation, said yesterday he had no intention of stepping down from the global media empire he has spent more than 50 years building.

The 72-year-old said he would have to be "carried out" from the company, which he has developed from a single newspaper into a giant spanning television, film production and publishing companies across the world.


'Shooting the bird' rude, crude but legal
Appeals court overturns conviction

Using the hand signal rooted in ancient times and popularly known today as "shooting the bird" may be rude, but it's not necessarily disorderly conduct, a Texas appeals court has ruled.

At issue for the 3rd Court of Appeals in Austin was whether Robert Lee Coggin incited "an immediate breach of the peace" when he allegedly gestured at a motorist with his raised middle finger two years ago as the former Lockhart resident tailgated a slow-moving vehicle in the left lane of U.S. 183.

Coggin was charged under an obscure state law that says "a person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly makes an offensive gesture or display in a public place, and the gesture or display tends to incite an immediate breach of the peace."

A jury last year convicted Coggin, 34, and fined him $250 for making "an offensive gesture by raising his middle finger in a public place," a finding that the appeals court reversed.

Wednesday, October 15

Okay. Okay. Enough Of The Foul Ball Guy

It was stupid to compete with Moises Alou for the foul ball. That's a given. But the Chicago Sun-Times, Drudge and The Smoking Gun all have the guy's name, where he lives and where he works this morning, and frankly that sucks.

The Cubs (and anyone else in the majors) are paid tremendously to be pros on the field. That means not taking it out on the fans of the ball goes into the stands (which it did), and not letting something as trivial as a foul ball (and folks, that's all it was) make the wheels of your team fall off.

Yeah, the guy prevented an out, but folks - IT WAS A FOUL BALL. Nothing more. If the Cubs can't recover from what was nothing more than a foul ball, then maybe they don't deserve to be where they are now. And no, I won't accept that the foul ball was the cause of Alex Gonzalez' enormous choke at shortstop. Or Dusty Baker's decision to leave Mark Prior in there after 7+ sensational innings before the Marlins tied the game. Or the decision to have Farnsworth load the bases (pitchers really hate working with loaded bases).

It's easy to blame the guy for all that happened last night. But the real responsibility goes to the guys on the field. The Cubs choked and the Marlins took advantage. That's baseball.

Tuesday, October 14

The Most Feared Words In The Alternative Web

"MWO will return next week"
This is week two.

UPDATE: Never mind. The horse hath returneth.

Not A Billy Goat

A jackass.

From the Pen of: Ann Telnaes

Dean Kicking Butt In New Hampshire

The latest Granite State Poll shows Howard Dean opening up a huge lead among the Dems:

30 percent of likely Democratic primary voters say they will vote for Dean
17 percent say they will vote for Massachusetts Senator John Kerry
10 percent say they will vote for General Wesley Clark
6 percent support Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman
5 percent support North Carolina Senator John Edwards
5 percent support Missouri Congressman Dick Gephardt
3 percent favor Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich
1 percent favor former Illinois Senator Carol Mosely-Braun
1 percent favor Reverend Al Sharpton
2 percent favor some other candidate.

In the June 2003 Granite State Poll, Kerry held a slim lead over Dean, 18 percent to 16 percent.

Same Story - Different Source

INTERESTING. The post below is the Washington Post's Bush-positive version of the latest poll. Here's the same story by the WaPo's partner in this poll,

Poll: Bush Slipping
Iraq, Economic Problems Level the ’04 Playing Field

Oct. 14— Persistent criticism on the economy and his Iraq policy alike are clouding President Bush's political standing, creating vulnerabilities that combine to lock the incumbent and an unnamed Democrat in a dead heat for the 2004 vote.

An ABCNEWS/Washington Post poll finds that nearly six in 10 Americans — a new high — call U.S. casualties in Iraq "unacceptable," more than double its level when Baghdad fell last April. Bush's approval rating for handling terrorism more broadly, while still high, now matches his career low. And most continue to disapprove of his handling of the economy, a critical election-year benchmark.
Uh-oh. ABC News didn't receive their happy-news filter yet from the White House...

If This Terminology Were Used In A Hospital, It Wouldn't Be Great

Bush’s Approval Rating Stablizes

Heartened by opinion polls indicating President Bush's six-month slide may have ended, the White House has launched steps to reassure supporters before the 2004 campaign becomes fully engaged.

Bush aides expressed relief at several polls this week, including a Washington Post-ABC News poll released today, that found the president's approval rating stabilizing after a steady drop since Iraqi president Saddam Hussein was ousted in mid-April. Bush's approval rating in the Post-ABC poll was 53 percent. That's statistically unchanged from the end of last month, and 5 percentage points down from mid-September.
Great reaction by an administration that doesn't govern by what polls say. Even more interesting is despite this hoopla of wonderful vibes for the White House, we see this paragraph much further down in the story:

Among other troubling signs for Bush: 46 percent said they would reelect him if the election were held today, while 47 percent would vote for the yet-to-chosen Democratic nominee. The percentage that thinks the war in Iraq was worth fighting dropped to 54 percent, from 61 percent a month ago. Majorities said they do not believe the Bush administration has a clear plan for handling the situation in Iraq and said they consider the number of U.S. military casualties in Iraq to be unacceptable.
Filters on, WaPo.

Picking Your Sources Wisely

Look, I can't speak for everyone. But when it comes to hearing news out of Iraq, I can choose between the cheery happy gee-whiz updates from Karl Rove's Safe Haven Of Denial, or I can get the real story from someone who's in Baghdad trying to stay out of harm's way.

I'll take the guy in Baghdad. In this case, reporter Patrick Cockburn:

Paul Bremer, the US civilian administrator for Iraq, said in a statement that the Iraqi people were "succeeding in the reconstruction of Iraq", adding that "the terrorists will do anything, including taking the lives of innocent Iraqis, to draw attention away from the extraordinary progress made since liberation".

President George Bush and his senior officials launched a high-profile campaign in Washington last week to promote the view that life in Iraq was returning to normal.

Yesterday's explosion in the heart of the capital, in a street crowded with shops, left those claims looking hollow.

Filters On, Everybody

Attach the Don't-Worry-Be-Happy filter on the news out of Iraq. President Flightsuit doesn't like this kind of reporting.

For the third time in a week, suicide car bombers struck in Baghdad, this time outside the Turkish Embassy in yet another blow against those who would help the US occupation of Iraq.

Witnesses said the driver and a bystander were killed, and hospital officials said at least 13 people were injured.

"This is the act of those who want to turn Iraq into a terror paradise," said Turkish Ambassador Osman Paksut, whose government has offered peacekeeping troops to reinforce the US military presence, a move strongly opposed by Iraqis.

When Right Wingers Attack

They occasionally go after each other. Drug veteran Don Imus talks about Rush:

"Rush is a fat, pill-popping loser and an undisciplined slob who was turning his maid into a drug pusher, and she's the one who's gonna go to prison, and - as soon as he gets caught - he starts whining. He's going to rehab because he can't get any more pills and he's gonna go to prison. Suck it up, fatso, and stop taking 100 pills a day or whatever . . . and employ some discipline in your life."

This Gallup Poll HAS To Be Wrong

The headlines yesterday were screaming how Bush's popularity is soaring again (reality: they notched up 6 points after dropping 8). So...what gives here?

Gallup Poll. Oct. 6-8, 2003. N=1,017 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.

"Next, I'd like to get your overall opinion of some people in the news. As I read each name, please say if you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of this person -- or if you have never heard of him or her. George W. Bush."

Favorable: 60%
Unfavorable: 39%
No Opinion: 1%
Now, before the neocons pop the champagne, that 60% is his worst rating since August, 2001...and worse than during most of his 2000 campaign.

So how's the Republican-run congress doin'?

"Do you approve or disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job?"

Disapprove: 51%
Approve: 41%
No Opinion: 8%
Not everyone is buying the PR campaign.

From the Pen of: Jeff Danziger


There's something about the mindset of those in the blogosphere that no matter what adversity befalls them, they still need to get the word out.

Don of got the sad news of the passing of one of his sisters late yesterday. In spite of that, he still penned a couple of important entries about the press re-discovering its inner lapdog and new information about the Valerie Plame scandal before joining his family.

Take a short sideroad to his site. His thoughts are important enough to post in the midst of all this. Ours are with him today.

Missed Opportunity

The post below reminds me of how the newspapers in Southern California missed a chance to show their inner Onion. I would've paid ten bucks for a legit newspaper to have as their October 8th headline:

Headline continued on Page 13A

Get Me Rewrite

I forgot a lot of our readers are as old as I am. The fonts are back to their old readable size.

Okay? Fine.

Monday, October 13

Howard Dean Public Relations

The best kind - the kind that's not manufactured. From the New Haven Register:

"He was just somebody, and it remains true, that people liked to be around. You sort of feel good about yourself around Howard. I think it has something to do with his unpretentiousness," said David Berg of New Haven, his good friend from Yale's Pierson College.

Dean was at Yale from 1967 to 1971, as the war escalated in Vietnam, the civil rights movement advanced, the National Guard patrolled New Haven on May Day and the first women came to the Ivy League campus.

"He was seldom, if ever, a loner. He was always the guy who was getting a group of people together, and he was very inclusive," said Bill Kerns, who is now a family physician in Virginia.

Dean was also the guy who invited you back to his room to finish off the keg that was left over from those socials he helped organize, said good friend Richard Willing, a national correspondent for USA Today.

Classmates, contacted across the country, remember his stamina and the intensity he brought to those late night bull sessions on Old Campus during freshman year and later at Pierson."
Presidentially speaking, this sure beats the hell out of this underachiever:

Bush entered Yale University in 1964, a third-generation legatee, and found himself floundering in yet another highly intellectual environment. Although he was an enthusiastic athlete, he lacked the natural gifts to distinguish himself in any sport. But he did have a gift for winning people. It looked as if it all came so naturally, but he worked hard at it. By studying the student registry and memorizing the names of his classmates, he was able to roam around campus in the first few days of his freshman year and forge many quick friendships.

"George coasted academically," acknowledges Roland Betts. "He didn't work his tail off to get C's." Hannah agrees that Bush devoted the maximum amount of time to doing whatever he wanted to do: "He was in the fraternity and Skull and Bones, and that's a whole lot more fun to do than to have good grades."
And is this (scroll to bottom) the most distinguished picture and best anecdote his alma matter could find of this guy?

White House "Public Relations"

That's what they're calling it. I call it desperately trying to save your failing sinking ass. It starts by President Pilotpants blaming the press which - up until now - has been his bitch:

"There's a sense that people in America aren't getting the truth. I'm mindful of the filter through which some news travels, and sometimes you just have to go over the heads of the filter and speak directly to the people."
Then you put on the front of taking responsibility for the quagmire you just a second ago denied you created:

"If the people don't think I'm doing my job they'll find somebody [else]. That's my attitude. Look, I just don't make decisions on polls and I can't worry about polls."
You instead let Karl Rove worry about he polls, and he'll come up with more "public relations" - the euphemism for attention diversion. Don't believe it? It's happening right now.

QUESTION: Whatever happened to the Valerie Plame scandal?

ANSWER: In the last 24 hours, only one brave little newspaper is keeping the question alive: The Modesto Bee. And it's a reprint of a Newsday column.

ADD still runs rampant in the "filtered press."

The Redesign

I've been futzing with this site since day one. The left column has been a sore spot for me. On lower-res screens, the content would just disappear. Over the weekend, it dawned on me that some of the polititoons I've been posting were too wide for the page - and they were squeezing the left column out of sight (or more specifically, to the bottom of the page).

This is a long explanation for what I hope is now an improved and friendlier site (aesthetically speaking). Hope ya like it. I'm sure you'll hammer me if ya don't.

Graven Image Sighting At Yahoo! News

What the...I never...How could...But...?

Okay, uh...barf?

More Quotes From Chairman Limbaugh

We keep finding magnificent blasts from the past. Here's Rush shortly after the death of Jerry Garcia:

"When you strip it all away, Jerry Garcia destroyed his life on drugs. And yet he is being honored, like some godlike figure. Our priorities are out of whack, folks."
And these gems:

"Drug use destroys societies. Drug use, some might say, is destroying this country. And we have laws against selling drugs, pushing drugs, using drugs, importing drugs. And the laws are good because we know what happens to people in societies and neighborhoods which become consumed by them. And so if people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up."

"Too many whites are getting away with traficking in this stuff. The answer to this disparity is not to start letting people out of jail because we're not putting others in jail who are breaking the law. The answer is to go out and find the ones who are getting away with it, convict them, and send them up the river, too."

"Ted Kennedy, whose liver is said to be shaped like a Chivas Rigas bottle..."
These and more (including some e-mail addresses where you can send get-well wishes) can be found at the Italy/Indymedia site.

So What Was He Doing At The Debates Until Now?

Guess it kinda slipped his mind. Glad he took care of that.

Fun With nature

Okay. This is just plain wrong.

CNN's White House Press Creds Must Be Up For Renewal

On both CNN-TV and, they're proudly proclaiming "Bush approval rating moves back up", but at the same time, they're mumbling that only 38% would definitely vote for him again.

By the way, he went from 58% in August to 50% in September and is now at 56% in October.

Not exactly hot steamy sweaty monkey love there...

Siegfried and Roy Update

Doctors give injured Las Vegas animal trainer and illusionist Roy Horn a 95 percent or better chance of surviving last week's tiger mauling, former boss and casino entrepreneur Steve Wynn says.
This is indeed good news, which takes the sting off this alleged video of the attack.

(Admit it. You're going to send it to everyone.)

Once Again, As In 2000, The Majority Speaks

Newsweek Poll conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates. Oct. 9-10, 2003. N=826 registered voters nationwide. MoE ± 4.

"In general, would you like to see George W. Bush reelected to another term as president?"

Yes 44%
No 50%
Don't Know 6%

Support The Grocery Workers' Strike

More than 70,000 Southern California grocery clerks went on strike late Saturday after lengthy negotiations ended between union representatives and grocery store officials. Both sides failed to reach a compromise over several key issues, especially proposed changes by the companies to the scope and cost of employees' health care coverage.

From The Pen Of: Jimmy Margulies

A Standing Ovation To A 17" Monitor

Or whichever size your screen is. That's what you'll give to Bill McClellan of the St. Louis Post Dispatch for his piece, If Bill Clinton Were An Addict, Here's How Rush Might Spin It.

Sunday, October 12

How The Right Wing Treats A War Veteran

Michael Ramirez is the L.A. Times' house neocon. Here, he dutifully slimes a four-star general:

How The Right Wing Treats A Wingnut Drug Addict

Matt Drudge stops just short of making a marriage proposal in his love letter to Rush Limbaugh.

"[Rush's addiction] is a great tragedy."

"Ah, nobody knew, or nobody was willing to admit in the big media business how interesting, or how big Rush Limbaugh is in this country -- until this story broke! How he is the companion to millions, how he is America's top voice. This makes it all the more painful."

"But it is a heartbreaking story because many of us, again, consider him family and I know it rips us. Because he is so clearly in pain. But the ability to do today's show knowing all this is swirling shows you he really is a pro, and a professional as far as this craft, the medium, goes."

"I think he is being sent up the river and I think we'll see him paddle back down. On this, there's no law against being a hypocrite a few times in your life. And this industry is built on hypocrisy!"

Saturday, October 11

Limbaugh Just Keeps Digging Himself Deeper

Rush claimed his debilitating back pain was the reason he was put on painkillers. The same back pain was his excuse for continuing to take handfuls of the stuff.

Now anyone who has played the game of golf can tell you it's not for the weak of back - it puts you in positions that the back simply can't do if you're even slightly tweaking there. Believe me. I know. My L5 reminds me of that whenever I hit the driving range (yes...I spank the occasional bucket, as it were).

So imagine everyone's surprise to see this at Golfserv just before his ill-fated stint at ESPN:

No slouch with the sticks himself after only playing for the past six years, Limbaugh is visiting Lake Tahoe for the American Century Championship this year for the first time. Limbaugh has played in the PGA Tour's Bob Hope Chrysler Classic three times and the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am twice, making the cut in 2003 and playing on the weekend with PGA Tour professional Tom Pernice. Nevertheless, Limbaugh strikes an unusually humble pose when describing his chances this weekend.

Iraq Civilian Casualty Count is keeping track of civilian casualties in U.S. occupied Iraq. Here's the latest tally:

Minimum: 7377
Maximum: 9180

Editors Flooded By Cheery News From Iraq

BULLETIN: We found a newspaper whose editorial board actually scrutinizes the letters it receives. The Olympian in Olympia, WA busted a form letter writing campaign praising the fabulous success of the Iraq invasion.

Six soldiers reached by GNS directly or through their families said they agreed with the letter's thrust. But none of the soldiers said he wrote it, and one said he didn't even sign it.

Marois, 23, told his family he signed the letter, said Moya Marois, his stepmother. But she said he was puzzled why it was sent to the newspaper in Olympia. He attended high school in Olympia but no longer considers the city home, she said. Moya Marois and Alex's father, Les, now live near Kooskia, Idaho.

A seventh soldier didn't know about the letter until his father congratulated him for getting it published in the local newspaper in Beckley, W.Va.

"When I told him he wrote such a good letter, he said: 'What letter?' " Timothy Deaconson said Friday, recalling the phone conversation he had with his son, Nick. "This is just not his (writing) style."

Friday, October 10

From the Pen of: Tom Toles

The Rush Into Rehab Tour Is On

Click to read the confession.

For a decade and a half, Rush Limbaugh has been known to say that drug abusers deserve no sympathy - that when they take that first dose, they're making a choice, and they continue to make that same choice each time they do it again.

Rush is saying the painkillers were prescribed by a doctor for his back, which led to his addiction - thereby conveniently negating the "making a choice" part of his theory.

His recent hearing loss drew an outpouring of pity from many people, both pro- and anti-Rush. It's now known that Vicodin addiction can cause the very malady he suffered. Tragic, yes. But now his minions face an ethical dilemma.

Do the right-wing robots muster up even more sympathy for him, even though he spent a lot of it with his "mysterious" hearing loss? It's easy to say yes. But eventually, these people are going to wise up and demand they stop being lied to by the people who they regard as their moral leaders.

I hope Rush gets help. But I also hope that while the rabid listeners of his daily fairy tales say the prayers he asks of them, they have two epiphanies:

1) That drug addicts need help and not scorn.
2) That not everything said on right-wing talk radio is 100% true.

Amazon Bestsellers: No Wingnuts In Top Ten

Wow. What's happening? I thought we're riding this huge tidal wave of conservative Republican ideology! But the highest-ranked wingnut book at Amazon right now is O'Reilly's at #14. Michael Moore's new one is at #2 and Franken's is still hanging strong at #4. Krugman's riding O'Reilly's butt at #15. Molly Ivins' at #17.

Interestingly, the second-highest ranking book from the right, 'waaaaay down there at #71, is former disk jockey Glenn Beck's big book o'jingo with Laura Ingraham at #77...both still well below #51: Michael Moore's PREVIOUS book, Stupid White Men.


Outgoing California governor Gray Davis:

He might try to find a post with a nonprofit organization working on education or environmental issues or providing mentors to young people, he said.

Thursday, October 9

From the Pen of: Steve Benson

How Much Is $87 Billion?

Click here and see.

Iraq: It's Time To Make Something Clear

Just about every day, we're seeing reports out of Iraq like this one. It's easy to shrug these stories off as the day-to-day trials and tribulations of a chaotic undisciplined Middle East country where this sort of thing happens all the time.

Please - do not be lulled into that mindset. It's a far away place, but it's no longer a rogue state or a banana republic with their respective oddball governments. This country has been invaded by, occupied by and is now supposedly governed by THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

So when you read, watch or hear stories like this, wrap your mind around the fact that this is happening in a place which is being run by THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA...and filter these reports through your mind knowing that this place is now primarily OUR responsibility:

Iraq's capital erupted in violence again today when suicide bombers crashed an explosives-laden sedan into a police station in the city's worst slum and a Spanish diplomat was gunned down gangland-style outside his home.

Earlier in the morning, an American soldier with the 4th Infantry Division was killed in a rocket-propelled grenade attack near Baquba, northeast of Baghdad.

The three attacks -- which killed at least 11 -- marked the deadliest day in Iraq since August and threatened to reignite tensions in the nation's Shiite community, which has exploded in violence repeatedly in recent months under the U.S.-led occupation.

Stupid Governor Tricks: An Eyewitness Account

You just shouldn't do this when you're under the microscope...

A good friend of mine has kids who go to the same school as the Schwarzenegger's kids near the Brentwood area of L.A. There's a strict rule that the cars can't make a left turn into the school from a major street; that they must drive to - and wait in - a long line to drop their kids off. Any variation from this rule receives a reprimand from the school.

Is it necessary to tell you who they made an exception for? The man of the people drove his Hummer right into the restricted area this morning to the delight of the faculty, and to the consternation of the other parents.

Yeah. He's right in there with the common folks. No special privileges for the Arnold.

Did Someone Say They Liked Straight Talk?

From the same Times story...

State Sen. John Burton of San Francisco, now the capital's most powerful Democrat, said he spoke to Schwarzenegger on Wednesday morning and warned him: "It's going to be pretty goddamn tough."

"I'm not sure he knows how complicated and screwed up it is to run a state this size, especially not understanding that there were a lot of cuts made already," Burton said in an interview. "There's not a hell of a lot of soup left in the pot to ladle out."

Call Your Bookie - Make A Fortune

Bet the house on President Flightsuit suddenly finding loaves and fishes for California now that a Republican's running the state. From the L.A. Times...

Even as national Republicans rejoiced at the ascension of one of their own to the governor's office, Schwarzenegger — facing an $8-billion budget gap — said Wednesday he would pressure the president for help.

"He promised me that he will do everything possible to help California, so I'm looking forward to working with him and asking for a lot, a lot of favors," Schwarzenegger said.

In the news conference, he held off on substantive announcements, not venturing beyond his broad campaign promises.
And in return for those favors? (3 second pause to shudder) Well, at least we've finally found the special interest he'll be beholden to...

Meanwhile, Back In Iraq

324 U.S. troops and still counting...

Wednesday, October 8

Recalling The Recall Part II

There's a spirited conversation going on at the original post where I insist on NO, NO and NO to a recall of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The main reason I cannot support such a thing is that we have a much bigger problem we need to address before even entertaining the notion of a recall: the quality of our candidates.

Sure, a recall of the recall would display our unwillingness to "roll over and play dead," but we've got to face the truth: defending Gray Davis was a hard sell at best. We needed to mobilize voters and get their asses into the voting booths. Instead, they stayed home in droves. Why?

I'm not buying the complaint of the changes in polling places. I'm not buying the long lines gambit. I'm not buying any other excuse, because the Republicans had the same obstacles.

What happened was we didn't send the right message, and we sent in the wrong messengers. Plain and simple. This was a horrible campaign all around, and it went to an empty flak jacket with more charisma, presence and clever banter than the other 134 candidates - all of which refused to take it seriously enough.

And don't tell me Peter Camejo was doing all the right stuff, either. He was unkempt, shrill and had the stage presence of spackle.

Until we come up with someone who can rise above the fray and shine brightly, a re-recall will be nothing more than vindictive. And folks, we simply have enough image problems without adding that one to the repertoire.

Recall: Live Outside Of California?

Listen to what we'll have to put up with for the next three years.

Recall: The Ethnic Group Which Got The Bashing

Nobody got slimed more than the Natives. Arnold's hammering of the Indian Casinos and their contributing to his rivals was relentless. He acted as if they were freeloaders on our God-given land...and reduced them to mere special interests.

Guess it's easy to forget we rounded 'em up and shuffled them off to plots of unusable desert land ("reservations") - and now we're miffed that they found a way to profit by it by building casinos there.

Those bastards.

Recall The Recall?

A quick perusal of the blogosphere shows that a lot of folks are calling for a recall of last night's election. One word kind of sums up my feelings about that prospect:


It was an ugly, desperate and polarizing episode by the right, which we argued was usurping a legitimate election. For us to do it makes us no better. We can't do the same and expect any respect from the rest of the country which is already looking at California as a joke. We simply cannot afford to alienate any more voters. Especially for next year's election.

The best strategy will be to let this Governator thing play out. If it fails as much as it looks like it will, we'll have all the momentum. And we'll win it legitimately.

This recall left a huge stain and a lousy taste. And a majority of California's voters didn't bother to show up at all (see post below).

Let's carry that on as the Republicans' legacy. Not ours.

Recall: Surprise Voter Turnout - LOWER Than '02

After following the news all day yesterday, you'd think there was a stampede of untold billions heading to the polls. So imagine my surprise when I read this:

THE FIELD POLL estimated Tuesday that as many as 10 million California voters, about two-thirds of all those registered, would vote in the election on recalling Democratic Gov. Gray Davis.
But with 7.6 million voters casting ballots, turnout ended up being 49 percent of registered voters which was less than in last year’s election in which Davis beat Republican Bill Simon.
Seems the recall pissed off more voters than they thought it would. Again - when the voting got tough, California stayed home. What a waste. What a shame.

Tuesday, October 7

Do We Need To Point This Out?

Republicans in the White House.
Republicans in the Senate.
Republicans in the House.
Now a Republican will run California.

And starting tomorrow, California talk radio will still bitch about Clinton.

Recall: The Cult Of Personality Will Rule California

Apparently, California will not learn the lessons of Minnesota. KCBS/KCAL, KTTV and many others are declaring Schwarzenegger the winner.

If you are within earshot of L.A. talk radio, you're hearing that this is a great triumph for conservative Republicans. Nonsense. If that were true, Tom McClintock would be the new governor, but he's pulling a dismal 12% with 14% reporting. Neocons still represent a small minority in this state, thank God, and McClintock is acknowledging that as I write this by conceding.

Unfortunately, 52% of the recall voters bought into the big tough movie star who has not said word one about what he'll do to save the state. He said nothing more than about eleven well-rehearsed lines over and over and over. He has no plan and no visible governing abilities. He's just famous.

This cartoon by Ed Stein sums it up beautifully.

From the Pen of: Mike Thompson

RIP: Wally George

Yeah, his politics were over-the-top abysmal - it cost him his relationship with his daughter Rebecca De Mornay. His arguments were baseless and shameless. His show was a cacophany of boorish behavior.

And it was great TV.

In its heyday in the 80s, there was always an indication that Wally George truly believed in what he was saying, but he was always aware that it was just a show. His guests and his in-studio audience never took anything seriously. If a guest did, the verbal gasoline would be doubled on their burning. Thanks to Channel 56's lousy production values, there would invariably be a shot of Wally laughing totally out of context with his guest. Accidentally. Or maybe not.

My Wally George story was during the summer of 1984. In a fit of boredom, I called him up during his short-lived phone-in show as Dave from Venice Beach. When he asked me how the KDOC-TV signal was coming in (the cable system didn't carry KDOC), I said that I only needed four coathangers on the antenna to see him. I killed with that stupid comment. Wally and his crew cracked up and I was "outta here."

In the carnival and wrestling business, "breaking kayfabe" is suddenly jumping out of character to deal with a situation as yourself. Wally broke kayfabe a lot, which gave his show a much-needed wink. Moreover, he continued a genre which was given up for dead in the 70s - rambunctious political discourse on the tube. And his uber-conservative shrieking was custom-engineered for KDOC's Orange County core audience.

His show sucked. That's why we watched. And the best part was, he knew that.'re outta here.

Recall: Voting

Folks, I did it this morning. Don't let the reports of long lines deter you. With only four choices to make, it's a 20-second operation, tops. The lines move quickly. And with support for the non-candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger waning, you must make your choice known if you're against this recall.

Remember the circumstances. Davis has never been accused or charged with a high crime or misdemeanor. His only crime was not being liked by the right when this thing was launched.

It's a no-brainer in so many ways. If you haven't done so, vote. Now.

Monday, October 6

Recall: All Kidding Aside

I cannot stress how important it is to get out and vote tomorrow.

Too many people think either
- someone else will vote like-mindedly.
- my vote doesn't matter.
- I have two friends whose votes outnumber mine.
or worse:
- I'm not for the recall, so I don't have to vote.

Yes...I have actually heard that one. I almost slapped the guy to death when he told me that.

You MUST vote if you're against the recall. That is the unmitigated truth. And no one's going to do it for you. This election is just too simple. Recall, yes or no. If no, who? Prop 53. Prop 54.

That's it. 20 seconds and you're done. Vote. The future of the state depends on it.

And at the very least as an incentive - if you don't think Gray Davis had the crap scared out of him by this recall, guess again. Vote no. He'll be under the microscope and better do the right thing.

Recall: Gee. Wonder What He Said Here To The Utter Delight Of His Supporters

a) "Ve're going to clean house!"
b) "Ve're going to sveep Gray Davis out of office!"
c) "How about a hand fo' my friend Bill Simon?"
d) "I vill debate dis broom anytime, anywheeya."
e) "What da hell is DIS ting?"
f) "Dis is Gray Davis. Chust a big skinny broom looking doofus guy and all dat stuff."
g) Other

Recall: How Business Just Picked Up

SF Gate:
A poll conducted by Elway-McGuire Research for Knight Ridder from Wednesday through Saturday found the percentage of people saying they would definitely vote to oust Davis dropped from 52 percent Wednesday to 44 percent Saturday. Pollsters surveyed 1,000 registered voters, including 284 people on Wednesday and 200 on Saturday. The poll had an overall margin of error of 3 percentage points, but the margin of error for individual days was not given.
Is California waking up to the fact that Arnold has no plan for the state or is it just the sex allegations?

If you're a registered voter in Collie-foo-nya, you MUST vote no on the recall. But if you don't, you must NOT vote for Schwarzenegger.

Quote THIS

Elton John:
"Americans are always asking why the rest of the world hates them. Well, the reason is Dennis Miller."

Recall: A Vast Democratic/Liberal Media Conspiracy Indeed

Sacramento's KXTV reports on one prominent candidate's reaction to Arnold:
State Senator Tom McClintock called on Arnold Schwarzenegger to withdraw from the race for governor if allegations of improper sexual advances prove to be true.

Recall: The Chicago Tribune Editorial

Governor Gropinator

This is what the Founding Fathers worried about, that the masses would be moved by some slick-talking demagogue or lured by fancy tricks instead of substance in making their decisions. The founders planned to control this by severely limiting who could vote.

That, of course, wasn't exactly the "equality" America represented. And so sometimes elections in this country are textbook affairs, based on debates and issues and reasoned opinions. And lots of times they're stranger than fiction.

Californians are moving toward putting Arnold Schwarzenegger, admitted (and contrite) groper, into the governor's mansion. The muscle-bound Austro-Californian conceded he had "behaved badly" in the past after several women accused him of various levels of grabbing, groping and humiliation. Sorry, he says. If he wins, he promises to be a "champion of women."

Is this enough to keep him from being elected? Let's see, first we heard he was smoking pot in a weight-lifting movie and made some references in a magazine interview to group sex and the benefits of sex before competition. Then there was a campaign based essentially on a refusal to face any unpleasantries about plans to solve California's abysmal financial troubles. Then there was that chuckle about sticking a woman's head in a toilet in a movie. And he's still the front-runner. The Gropinator now approaches Election Day. If he wins, the people of California will get exactly what they deserve.