Friday, April 30


Since most of the old comment gang have gone on to start their own blogs, we just wanted to let you new guys know that your feedback, flames and fightin' words are always welcome here. Feel free to slap back at anything that triggers your synapses.

David D. Smith - Republican

Leave it to Atrios:

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pennsylvania)

August 17, 1996, Saturday, SOONER EDITION

David D. Smith, president and chief executive officer of Sinclair Broadcast Group, was arrested this week in his hometown of Baltimore and charged with a misdemeanor sex offense. Sinclair owns WPGH, the Fox affiliate in Pittsburgh, and programs most of WPTT.

The Baltimore Sun reported that Smith, 45, was arrested Tuesday night in an undercover sting at a downtown corner frequented by prostitutes.

On Thursday night, Sinclair issued a statement that Smith's arrest was unrelated to company business and ''The company will continue to operate under the direction of its current management.''
He also has a police account of the incident where Smith got his horn honked while he was driving his Mercedes, thereby putting other drivers in danger. Another bit of proof that when Clinton got HIS horn honked, lives were not in jeopardy.

If Smith didn't have to pay for it, Nightline would ride tonight on his stations. Instead, he's just another uptight morally bankrupt wingnut.

Say Hello To Our New Little Friend


Prosser student's art prompts overreaction

Prosser administrators are getting schooled on the First Amendment after disciplining a 15-year-old art student for his anti-war drawings.

Hundreds of calls and e-mails from free speech advocates have reportedly flooded school and city offices after the Herald's article on the controversy was picked up by news wires and retold nationwide.

As much as Prosser officials want to define the incident as a school safety issue, their handling of the case serves only to reinforce that the boy's drawings were political expressions, the sort of commentary the First Amendment protects.

The most controversial drawing showed what appeared to be a Middle-Eastern man holding President Bush's oversized head on a stick, along with a caption calling for an end to the war in Iraq, according to a family friend of the student.

That's a violent image, and the school had a responsibility to determine that it didn't signal anything more serious than a frustration with the president's policies. No one should ever mistake high school for a democracy. Legal forms of expression -- wearing gang attire for example -- are routinely banned in schools because of safety or other concerns.

But Prosser police went further than checking out whether the student was a threat to school safety. They called in the U.S. Secret Service, which investigates threats against the president.

School officials said they have taken "relatively low-level" disciplinary action against the boy, although they haven't said what.

Any discipline is troubling.

A true threat against the president deserves criminal charges, not an afternoon in study hall. Barring evidence of an actual threat, all this appears to be is a kid crudely exercising his First Amendment rights. That demands no correction.

The drawings may be disrespectful and the message upsetting, but lacking political sophistication isn't a crime. For 15-year-olds, it's more than common.

Dear XM Radio...

Please - PLEASE - keep me as a customer and carry Air America Radio 24/7 instead of breaking it up with these other hosts? Please?

Today, Ed Schultz (whose show pre-empts the first three hours of Randi Rhodes) reran a show where he asked listeners for ad ideas for Kerry. One caller said they should make an ad out of Bush's famous "Fool Me Once, Shame On You" speech. Schultz (on a RERUN, mind you, so this is the second time his audience heard this) said, "Oh, did Bush mess that up, did he?" It's like Schultz doesn't know anything that happened before 2003, making it painfully obvious that he's a newcomer to lib'rul politics.

And don't get me started on having to hear Alan Colmes on my way home from work.

Sirius has Air America on its own dedicated channel, and it's looking real good to me right now - not to mention the NHL, NBA and NFL channels. Whattya say, XM?

Sinclair's Lovely Partisan Past

Check out Sinclair Broadcasting's previous actions "in the public interest" at Center for American Progress. Extremely laughable. Some examples:

In September 2001, Sinclair Broadcasting required its affiliates to air messages "conveying full support" for the Bush administration. At a Baltimore affiliate, WBFF "officials required news and sports anchors, even a weather forecaster, to read the messages, "which included statements such as "[the station] wants you to know that we stand 100% behind our President."
In July 2003, Sinclair Broadcasting refused to allow WMSN TV - its FOX affiliate in Madison, WI - to air a DNC advertisement that featured a clip of President Bush making the false claim "Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa" in his 2003 State of the Union Address.
Sinclair Broadcasting has fired much of the staff for the local affiliates it owns, instead producing content for its local stations from a central facility outside Baltimore which it then airs on "local" news broadcasts. The centralized content features nightly commentary by Sinclair corporate communications chief Mark Hyman. Hyman regularly refers to the French as "cheese-eating surrender monkeys," the so-called liberal media as the "hate-America crowd," and progressives as "the lonely left" On one recent commentary, Hyman called members of Congress who voted against a recent resolution affirming the righteousness of the Iraq war "unpatriotic politicians who hate our military."

The U.S. Appointed Interim Government In Iraq Is Now Pissed At Us

Yeah, we can safely say the hearts and minds battle in Iraq has been lost, buried and kicked in the nuts over the prison abuse scandal. Now they're comparing us to Saddam...

Arab television stations led their news broadcasts today with the photographs.

One network said the pictures were evidence of the "immoral practices" of American forces.

Many Arabs are already angry about the US-led occupation of Iraq and violence has being worsening in the country in recent months.

"This will increase the sense of dissatisfaction among Iraqis toward the Americans," said a member of the Iraqi Governing Council, Mahmoud Othman.

"The resistance people will try to make use of such painful incidents."

Mr Othman, whose council is the interim governing authority of Iraq appointed by the US, added: "This is a shame on the Americans. We used to criticise Saddam (Hussein) regime regarding the beating of detained people."
On a much lesser scale, Hoffmania! gave an example of troops posing for pictures with prisoners back in July. What happened in that prison is simply put: horrible.

Outside of the individuals - not the entire Army, but the individuals who did this - the blame can also go to the spectator-sport mindset our government put on this whole war since day one. I remember vividly wingnuts pumping their fists and screaming "YEAH! KICK THEIR ASS!" at their TVs when Shock and Awe got underway. We saw the video-game brains at work, and you can bet some of the troops were whipped up into a feeding frenzy as they took over the country.

It's one thing to win. It's something of the polar opposite to humiliate. This is one big fat ugly stain...another, like it or not, on Bush's watch.

McCain: Sinclair Broadcasting Is Wrong, Wrong, Wrong

Spank away, Senator...

McCain Calls Nightline Nix 'Deeply Offensive'

The decision by Sinclair Broadcast Group to pre-empt tonight's Nightline show featuring a reading of the names of those killed so far In Iraq drew a new detractor today - Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona.

In a letter to the president of the group, Mr. McCain, who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam and is a leading congressional voice on military issues, called the decision to block the broadcast on the company's ABC affiliates "deeply offensive."

"There is no valid reason for Sinclair to shirk its responsibility in what I assume is a very misguided attempt to prevent your viewers from completely appreciating the extraordinary sacrifices made on their behalf by Americans serving in Iraq," Mr. McCain wrote. "War is an awful, but sometimes necessary business. Your decision to deny your viewers an opportunity to be reminded of war's terrible costs, in all their heartbreaking detail, is a gross disservice to the public, and to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. It is, in short, sir, unpatriotic. I hope it meets with the public opprobrium it most certainly deserves."

Officials of the group, one of the largest owners of television stations in the nation, have objected to the Nightline program, saying it was a veiled political effort to undermine the war. Mark Hyman, the vice president of corporate relations for Sinclair and a conservative commentator, told the New York Times' Bill Carter on Thursday that the Nightline broadcast represents biased journalism. "Mr. Koppel's reading of the fallen will have no proportionality," he said. The company intends to broadcast its own special on Iraq.

"I supported the president's decision to go to war in Iraq, and remain a strong supporter of that decision," Mr. McCain's letter said. "But every American has a responsibility to understand fully the terrible costs of war and the extraordinary sacrifices it requires of those brave men and women who volunteer to defend the rest of us."
Sinclair - via the PR newswires of course - responds to McCain rather tepidly, as if getting airtime on their stations is some kind of honor.

Dear Senator McCain:

I am writing to respond to your letter to me regarding Sinclair Broadcast
Group's decision not to air this evening's episode of "Nightline."

Let me begin by saying that no organization more fully supports our
military than Sinclair. In no way was our decision intended to show any
disrespect to the brave members of our military, particularly those who have
sacrificed their lives in service of our country. To the contrary, our
decision was based on a desire to stop the misuse of their sacrifice to
support an anti-war position with which most, if not all, of these soldiers
would not have agreed. [...]

Sinclair's news coverage during the last year has reported on all aspects
of the war in Iraq, including the tragic loss of lives of military combatants.
In fact, we will be replacing "Nightline" this evening with a balanced report
addressing both sides of this controversy. It is worth noting that
"Nightline" and its host, Ted Koppel, have ignored repeated requests from
Sinclair to comment on their decision regarding the content of tonight's

It is "Nightline's" failure to present the entire story, however, to which
Sinclair objects. "Nightline" is not reporting news; it is doing nothing more
than making a political statement. In simply reading the names of our fallen
heroes, this program has adopted a strategy employed by numerous anti-war
demonstrators who wish to focus attention solely on the cost of war. In fact,
lest there be any doubt about "Nightline's" motivation, both Mr. Koppel and
"Nightline's" executive producer have acknowledged that tonight's episode was
influenced by the Life Magazine article listing the names of dead soldiers in
Vietnam, which article was widely credited with furthering the opposition to
the Vietnam war and with creating a backlash of public opinion against the
members of the U.S. military who had proudly served in that conflict. [...]

I hope that this letter has adequately addressed your concerns and
explained why Sinclair has taken this action. I would welcome the opportunity
to discuss this with you in greater detail. In addition, if you are
available, we would be delighted to provide you with a chance to be part of
our program this evening discussing this issue.

Sincerely yours,

David D. Smith
I think McCain can spot a political statement a mile away, Dave. And no bigger political statement is being made than your decision to not air this broadcast. If this is your idea of serving your audience, hand in your license. You're not. You're forcing your audience to put on the same blinders you're wearing, and it's insulting.

Man, if there's one thing that's got to be worse than someone seeing a political agenda that's not there, it's someone who imposes their own in its place. This is what they do. The SCLM.

If The Truckers Are Looking For Blame, Let Us Help You Guys Here...

A refresher course right after this late-breaking business story...

Surge in Refining Profit Helps Lift ChevronTexaco Net 33%

First-quarter profit jumped 33% at ChevronTexaco Corp. (CVX, news) (CVX, news) as refining profit soared from a year earlier.

The oil and natural-gas company Friday reported net income of $2.56 billion, or $2.40 a share, up from $1.92 billion, or $1.81 a share, a year earlier.

The latest results included what the company called "special" charges of $55 million and income of $34 million, or three cents a share, from assets that were classified as discontinued operations because of their pending sale. The year- earlier period included "special" charges of $39 million and charges of $196 million, or 18 cents a share, for the adoption of new accounting standards.

Revenue climbed 9.1% to $33.57 billion from $30.76 billion.

Profit from U.S. refining and marketing operations jumped almost fourfold to $ 276 million from $70 million last year. ChevronTexaco (CVX, news) cited an increase in refined-product margins, higher sales volumes and lower operating expenses.
And now...the insider who CheveronTexaco can thank...let's bring 'er on!

FLASHBACK: January 16, 2001:


SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 16, 2001 -- Condoleezza Rice, a Chevron Corp. director since 1991, resigned from the company's board, effective Jan. 15. Rice was named President-elect George W. Bush's national security adviser-designate.

"Condi is extraordinarily capable," said Chairman Dave O'Reilly. "Her leadership skills and breadth of experience in government, academia and business have been a tremendous asset to Chevron and will serve her well in the new administration."

For the past two years Rice chaired the board's Public Policy Committee.
Why don't y'all take a little drive on over to D.C. and let her know how ya feel? Hah?

Truckers Wreak Havoc In L.A. Over Gas Prices

Breakin', developin', unfoldin' news: As I write this, truckers all over Southern California are in the process of blocking highways and snarling traffic as a solidarity protest over the price of fuel. It came as a surprise to cops and local news (big fat surprise there), and it'll probably end up being national news by this afternoon. Hearing it on the local news station, it sounds like a major fustercluck in the making.


Why? Because We Said So

The clock is ticking to when Powell finally snaps and realizes how much his credibility has been smashed by the cokeheads he's surrounded by. Until then, he's forced to say crap like this.

American Support for Iraq War Will Rebound, Powell Says

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says declining support among Americans for the war in Iraq will rebound once U.S. forces stamp out the surge of armed resistance.

Mr. Powell says the recent increase in the number of U.S. troop casualties in Iraq is bound to be reflected in opinion polls. He says he is convinced that support for the Bush administration policies will revive once standoffs in the Iraqi cities of Fallujah and Najaf are settled.

Mr. Powell was responding to a new CBS television-New York Times poll indicating support among Americans for the war in Iraq has dropped in the last month by 11 points to 47 percent. Almost as many people -- 46 percent -- said the United States should have stayed out of Iraq.

One hundred and 20 American troops have been killed this month in combat in Iraq, making it one of the deadliest months for U.S. forces since the war began more than a year ago.

Thursday, April 29

From the Pen of: Tom Toles

Always remember that neither of these highly spiritual fine upstanding Christians had the balls to put their hand on a bible for this...

Jumping Jeebus, How STUPID Are These People?

Very, very, VERY stupid, obviously. Ladies and Gentlemen...these are your leaders:

Wolfowitz comes up short on number of troop deaths

Capitol Hill-AP -- The number-two civilian at the Pentagon was asked today how many U-S troops have died in Iraq. And his estimate came up short -- by about 200 soldiers.

During a House subcommittee hearing, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said the number of U-S dead is "approximately 500" -- and that about 350 of those were combat deaths.

In fact, there are 722 U-S deaths through today -- including 521 from combat.

A spokesman says Wolfowitz simply "misspoke."
Lives mean nothing to these jackasses. Insane. Just insane.

Good News, America!

Terror attacks worldwide are down! Well, one exception.

U.S. says terrorism down, excluding Iraq
State Dept. says line between insurgency and terrorism 'blurred'

WASHINGTON - The State Department reported Thursday there were fewer international terrorist attacks last year than any time since 1969 — but the figures don’t include most of the violence in Iraq.

Though Bush administration officials frequently refer to Iraqi insurgents as terrorists, most attacks in Iraq were not considered international terrorism because they were directed at combatants, the report said.

“Increasingly, the line between insurgency and terrorism has been blurred by anti-coalition attacks that have included suicide car bombings at police stations, an Italian military police base and the headquarters of the International Red Cross,” the State Department said in its annual report on terrorism.

The 181-page Patterns of Global Terrorism Report offered a country-by-country review of terrorist attacks and cooperation in fighting terrorism.
Well we know the U.S. is down from a high of four in 2001.

Wingnut Clinton Alert Is Elevated!

His book's coming out in June, so it's time to crank up renewed Clinton Bashing - aka: the right's horniness for the Big Dog.

World Net Daily!
NewsMax! (Cached from a year ago - will be trotted out again)

Bush And Cheney: Hour Three

They seemed confident as they entered the 9/11 commission today...

Update 9:47am PT: They're done. It's back to work to bash Kerry, Wilson, Bernstein, Clarke...

It's Shop Online Day In L.A.

We're under a terror warning for shopping malls on the Westside. But we're also told to go about our business. But we're also told to be vigilant. But we're also told they get about 4,000 of these uncorroborated threats a year. But we're also told we're safer now that we invaded Iraq.

I'll be in the closet in the fetal position if you need me.

Iraqis Turn Down Flag Design #2

Thanks, Andy

Independent: Wilson Will Out The White House Leaker This Week

Order right now from Hoffmania!
Damn. How busy is this week anyway? This is the next White House attack dog flypaper, and it's huge:

White House braced for latest assault by hardback
A former US ambassador will this week 'out' a government official who named his wife as a CIA operative. Andrew Buncombe examines the latest 'must-read' memoir tackling the Bush administration

The Bush administration is bracing itself for the latest memoir by a former insider. Joe Wilson, a former ambassador, will this week reveal the name of the government official who "outed" his wife - revealing her identity as a CIA operative in apparent revenge for his role in proving the White House made false claims about Iraq's efforts to develop nuclear weapons.

But in what has increasingly becoming the habit during Mr Bush's presidency, Mr Wilson will not make his claims on television, at a press conference or even in a newspaper column but between the covers of a "must-read" book. His memoir, The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity, is published tomorrow.

Tomorrow is going to be a busy day for Mr Wilson, a former ambassador to several African countries and a member of President Bill Clinton's national security council. For while the initial "scoop" will appear in his book, if precedent is any guide the revelation will quickly be devoured by all other media and Mr Wilson will likely be filling the airwaves and broadcasts that day.
Boom. Jeebus, just when one book about the crooks in the White House peaks, another one comes onto the radar screen. It's gonna take this kind of saturation to sink in. And it's far from over.

Wednesday, April 28

NY Times/CBS Poll: Bush's Momentum Drops The Anchor

It's ugly.

Poll: Growing Doubts On Iraq

One year after the declared end of major combat in Iraq, Americans have new doubts about the war and doubts about what the Bush Administration has said about it.

Just 32 percent, the lowest number ever, say Iraq was a threat that required immediate military action a year ago.

Less than half, 47 percent, now say the U.S. did the right thing taking military action in Iraq, the lowest support recorded in CBS News/New York Times Polls since the war began.

There are growing concerns about the long-term impact of the war. 41 percent now think the war increased the threat of terrorism against the U.S. 71 percent say the Administration's policies have worsened the U.S.'s image in the Arab world.
The election matchups:

...when asked whom they'd support if the November election were held today (though it is still six months in the future) they divide almost evenly: Kerry 46 percent, Bush 44 percent. Should Ralph Nader join the race, it becomes Bush 43 percent, Kerry 41 percent, and Nader 5 percent.
Again we say: Kerry's got these numbers flying silently and flying solo. The White House has all their money and all their people fighting the ground war and this is all they can muster. Kerry has yet to get his message out and he will - and once he gets his team in place and mobilizing, it'll get very, very interesting.

Who Raised This Slob?

Man, there's just too much stuff today. Here's a video of Bush making an appearance on the Letterman show some time back. The cameras caught him during a break cleaning his glasses on the producer's sweater. He later blew his nose into her socks.

The Claims vs. Facts Database Launches

Wow. This is great stuff. The Center for American Progress has a searchable database of the GOP's claims - and compares them to the facts. Needless to say, it's a pretty huge site. Bookmark it.

Pushing Back - With Both Hands

Blah3 makes a find: The Bush wolfpack has been relentless in their attacks on their critics and Americans who dare to utter disagreement. Someone has been pushed to the brink of blue rage, and they have hit back with their best shot.

In this case it's the written word, and man, it's an instant classic. It should be printed, framed and mounted in every home of every caring American.

Here are the writer's creds:

Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma freelance writer and a former US Army Public Information Officer. She is a proud member of the Order of Saint Barbara -- the Field Artillery's Patron Saint.
Sheila fights back against the hammering being doled out by the White House Chickenhawks. Her words fly off the screen and hit you right in the gut.

Read it, email it to your loved ones and shout it - as she says - from the top of Echo Mountain.

Oh, Boo Hoo Hoo

Rummy was complaining today about the press coverage of the Fallujah mess...

At a Pentagon press conference, Rumsfeld complained of US press coverage that highlighted a US attack on a mosque in Fallujah, showing a news photograph of a crowd of fighters armed with rocket propelled grenade launchers in a mosque.

"The photo of terrorists using a mosque in Najaf as a base for attacks against our forces is an example of what we're finding. There have been additional attacks taken from mosques in Fallujah," he said.

"There are two ways, I suppose, one could inform readers of the Geneva Convention stipulation against using places of worship to conduct military attacks. One might be to headline saying that Terrorists Attack Coalition Forces From Mosques. That would be one way to present the information.

"Another might be to say: Mosques Targeted in Fallujah. That was the Los Angeles Times headline this morning."
Let's make a deal, Rummy...we'll show your pictures of the gunners in the mosques if we can also show the pictures of the U.S. casualties arriving home from Iraq. Whattya say, pal?

From the Pen of: David Horsey

From the Pen of: Jeff Danziger

Lautenberg Takes One For The Team

Sure, he'll be the flypaper for the next round of White House terrorism, but in Kerry's battle, maybe the cavalry has finally arrived...

Lautenberg Calls Cheney 'Lead Chickenhawk'
Says V.P. Shrieks Like A Hawk, Has Backbone Of A Chicken

WASHINGTON (AP) Tossing a verbal egg at Dick Cheney's military record, Sen. Frank Lautenberg blasted the vice president Wednesday as the "lead chickenhawk," who squawks about John Kerry's Vietnam War record despite never serving himself.

"The chickenhawk has no idea what it means to have the courage to put your life at risk to defend this nation," Lautenberg said on the Senate floor. "But they are quick to disparage those who did sacrifice."

In his speech, Lautenberg, D-N.J., defined chickenhawk "as having the shriek of a hawk but the backbone of a chicken."

"We know who the chickenhawks are," he said. "They talk tough on national defense and military issues and cast aspersions on others, but when it was their turn to serve, they were AWOL from courage."

If Only...

Three guesses where this is posted.

Bush To Iraqi Militants: 'Please Stop Bringing It On'

WASHINGTON, DC - In an internationally televised statement Monday, President Bush modified a July 2003 challenge to Iraqi militants attacking U.S. forces. "Terrorists, Saddam loyalists, and anti-American insurgents: Please stop bringing it on now," Bush said at a Monday press conference. "Nine months and 500 U.S. casualties ago, I may have invited y'all to bring it on, but as of today, I formally rescind that statement. I would officially like for you to step back." The president added that the "it" Iraqis should stop bringing includes gunfire, bombings, grenade attacks, and suicide missions of all types.

Tell The Truth, Get Your Audience Back

That's the lesson Howard Stern learned in the Arbitron ratings which just came out. From the L.A. Times:

Shock jock Howard Stern, instead of losing out in a feud with President Bush, the Federal Communications Commission and the nation's largest radio chain, has garnered audience figures he hasn't seen since 1995.

On his Los Angeles affiliate, KLSX-FM (97.1), Stern averaged 3.9% of Southland listeners over the age of 12 in February. When the FCC proposed slapping its maximum fine on a Detroit station for a Stern broadcast, Stern began an on-air crusade against the agency and the president in response, and radio chain Clear Channel Communications pulled the shock jock from six of its outlets, citing indecency fears. After that, in March, Stern's L.A. audience share leaped to 5.4%, making him No. 1 in the market.

He was also first among listeners ages 25-54, with a 5.7% share - the first time he's topped the L.A. ratings in that demographic since the summer of 1995, according to Infinity Broadcasting Corp., which distributes Stern's show and owns KLSX.

He saw similar gains in his home market, New York, and in Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia and elsewhere.

And Stern's effect worked in the other direction, as well. At KIOZ-FM (105.3) in San Diego - one of the Clear Channel-owned stations that pulled Stern's program at the end of February - the audience share for its morning show went from 8.9% in February to .7% in March, according to Infinity. The fall was even greater among listeners ages 18 to 34 - from 20.6% to .8%.
NOW can we get an Air America affiliate out here?

Someone Got To The Good Doctor

Dr. Fletcher Lamkin, president of Westminster college where Dick Cheney did his Kerry bashing speech Monday, was pretty torqued off Tuesday morning:

"I must admit that I was surprised and disappointed that Mr. Cheney chose to step off the high ground and resort to Kerry-bashing for a large portion of his speech."
Well, something happened between then and today, folks. Dr. Lamkin was a guest on Ed Schultz's show a couple of hours ago, and was apologizing for his bluntness and for his use of such strong language. He went on to say what a great leader Cheney has been in the past and in the current war on terror. All the while, though, he was glad that Kerry took him up on his offer for equal time on Friday.

It was a very bizarre pronouncement by Dr. Lamkin, and one can only assume that someone - either on the board or the student body or (place your bets) the Crackhead administration - got on the horn with him and scolded him for y'know, speaking his mind. Schultz naturally didn't press the issue while he was on the line with Lamkin - Ed's not noted for being very fast on his feet when it comes to interviews. But it would sure be interesting to find out what or who got to him.

Lamkin's original comments were particularly noteworthy when you consider his background:

Dr. Lamkin received a B.S. from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, an M.S. in Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley, and a Ph.D. from the University of Washington. His military education includes completion of the Airborne and Ranger Schools, the Command and General Staff College, and the Naval War College, where he was a distinguished graduate and winner of the Mittendorf Award for Best Student Research.

Prior to his appointment as Dean at West Point, Dr. Lamkin served in numerous command and staff positions in the Army, including battery command in Vietnam, battalion operations officer in Korea, and battalion command in Germany. While at West Point, he served as a department head and as Vice Dean prior to being appointed as West Point's tenth Dean. He retired from the Army as a Brigadier General to take his position at Westminster.
Yeah...I'm convinced now. He got a spanking from the White House. Collect your winnings.

Talking Point

Bush thinks he can lead because he was able to help his college comrades avoid getting busted for drinking and snorting. Kerry's got a lot more going for him. From Scot Lehigh in the Boston Globe:

I've talked to a number of the enlisted men who served under Kerry on the swift boats he commanded. Although they didn't share Kerry's privileged background, most speak well of him. They considered him a leader who genuinely cared about them, a commanding officer who was brave but not reckless with his men's lives. "It took two or three days after he came on board the boat to know we had somebody special," says Jim Wasser, second in command on Kerry's first boat.

Nor have I heard anyone credibly suggest that Kerry wasn't a legitimate hero. Certainly James Rassmann thinks he was. He's the Green Beret a wounded Kerry plucked from the Bai Hap River in March of 1969. Del Sandusky, Kerry's number two at the time, says the rescue took place during "an intense firefight."

"Rassmann was bobbing up and down every 30 seconds," Sandusky says. The Viet Cong "would shoot at him and he would go back down and swim under water." Kerry, who had taken shrapnel in his left buttock and was suffering from a bruised right arm, directed Sandusky to steer the craft back to Rassmann, who grabbed a cargo net hanging from the bow.

"Rassmann couldn't pull himelf up -- he was too heavy, loaded with water and the flak vest -- so Kerry lay down on the deck and pulled him up," Sandusky says. "This is in the middle of a firefight. . . . He saved Rassmann's life."

That is the context that's missing -- and that demands consideration as the Republican campaign tries to paint John Kerry as a shifty, irresolute politician who simply can't be counted on in tough times.

Alienating More Former Allies

...but this time, it's not France, Germany, the people of the UK, Spain or anyone else in Europe. We're losing friends in Iraqis who were completely on our side. That is, until we had no idea how to end this thing.

From Allied to Alienated
A Shiite cleric who fled Iraq for the U.S. returned, euphoric, after American troops invaded. Today, he just wants them gone.

Ayatollah Sayed Mortada Al-Qazwini should be one of America's best friends in Iraq.

A tall, turbaned man with a candid manner and commanding presence, Al-Qazwini was one of the first Shiite Muslim religious scholars to speak out against Saddam Hussein. He lost 15 relatives to Hussein's brutality, and in 1971 he fled Iraq to escape a death sentence.

He settled in Diamond Bar [a suburb of the L.A. area] and built Shiite religious, cultural and educational centers in Pomona, Irvine, San Diego and Detroit over the next 18 years. All the while, he marveled at the freedom he enjoyed to practice the faith of his persecuted sect. After U.S. forces toppled Hussein a year ago, Al-Qazwini was ecstatic and went home to help.

"Ninety-nine percent of the people are so happy that Saddam has been put down. The coalition forces saved us," he said then.

Now, a year after his emotional homecoming, Al-Qazwini, 75, is deeply disillusioned. U.S. forces have worn out their welcome by failing to fulfill their promises for democracy, political empowerment and reconstruction, the ayatollah said. He wants them to leave Iraq as soon as possible.

Prices have soared, the streets are filled with trash, gasoline lines remain long and blackouts are still common, he said in a recent interview at his son's home in Rowland Heights.

"The coalition forces are not doing anything about it," he fumed. "With all their power and authority, they're staying silent.

"If the U.S. doesn't improve the situation soon, it's possible that powerful Shia scholars might tell people to resist," Al-Qazwini said. "Right now the Shias are choosing to cooperate, but patience has a limit."

There's Just No Making The Music Industry Happy

First they fight online music swapping tooth and nail, saying they're being cheated out of sales. Fair enough. Then they control online music sales where people pay 99c for zeros and ones - with no labor or material overhead such as CDs, cassettes, etc. out of their pockets. Now they're bitching about THAT.

Customers at three of the leading online services - iTunes, Musicmatch Inc.'s Musicmatch Downloads and RealNetworks Inc.'s Rhapsody - buy about 10 times as many singles as they do albums. Offline, people buy 50 times more CDs than singles.

The shift to online shopping could be lucrative for the music industry if the flexibility and convenience lead people to spend more on tunes than they do today. But some industry executives and analysts fear the opposite result, with music lovers buying a few 99-cent singles instead of $15 CDs.

And, some industry veterans worry, moving to a singles-oriented business could lead to fundamental problems for artists and labels.

"There's no money to be made from singles," said entertainment attorney Gary Stiffelman, whose clients include hit rapper Eminem. "Unless you can sell an album you can't really afford to launch the artists. The whole economics are driven by some sort of critical mass of product."
Add this to the fact that Universal, EMI and others are suing the investors of Napster version 1, and it makes this even more nertz.

Suggestion To Kerry

John - Stop challenging Bush and Cheney on Vietnam and start challenging them on Iraq and national security. That's it. Have a nice day.

Tuesday, April 27

It's Reached Obnoxious - It's Approaching Insane

The big controversy brewed up by the Bush campaign over ribbons vs. medals...enabled of course by Fox News' #1 Botox candidate, Brit Hume.

By the way, an alert reader tells us on today's episode, Brit and Fox are beginning the new storyline: Karen Hughes isn't saying anything that needs approval from Bush because she's technically not a member of the administration.

In other words - in so many words - she's been hired by the Bush-Cheney campaign to be an independent Kerry-basher and character assassin.

The last 24 hours (and likely the next 48) have pushed us to the breaking point with these criminally insane jackasses. We really, really don't like them. Not a bit. And we don't want our future in their hands.

Over A Million Hits

No, not Hoffmania!, but this eBay item. If your pals haven't sent you at least 4 e-mails about this, you need to make more friends.

In A Nutshell

The military experiences of Bush, Cheney and Kerry.

Big Stinkin' Waste Of Our Time

Bush and Cheney in front of the 9/11 commission Thursday.
They'll testify in private?
Without any recordings?
Without a stenographer?

Man, after making Clinton go though that televised embarrassment over Monica's blue dress (which he did UNDER OATH), how in the name of God can anyone condone these two testifying with a license to lie with no record of what's being said?

Infriggingsane. I'm not pleased today. For example...

You Bald Fat Pink Oily Yellow-Streaked Pile Of Crap

But I digress.

First, let's see the "foreign policy speech" Cheney gave at Westminster College ysterday:

From the beginning of his career in the U.S. Senate 20 years ago, Senator Kerry has repeatedly called for major reductions or outright cancellations of many of our most important weapons systems. In 1984, the middle of the Cold War, while we were confronted with an aggressive, well armed Soviet Union, the Senator issued a white paper on the defense budget during his first campaign for the Senate. He called for cutting up to $53 billion from the Reagan defense budget. And these cuts included the following: The MX missile, cancel; the B-1 bomber, cancel; anti-satellite system, cancel; strategic defense initiative, cancel; the AH-64 Apache helicopter, canceled; the Patriot air defense missile system, cancel; the F-15, cancel; the F-14A and F-14B, cancel; the Phoenix air-to-air missile, cancel; the Sparrow air-to-air missile, cancel.
Quite the little military wonk...spending half his speech trashing Kerry's record on defense. Funny how Cheney didn't mention his OWN screwed-up record on military cuts:

As former Secretary of Defense, Vice President Cheney bragged about cutting defense spending. In February 1990, Cheney told Congress" since I became Secretary, we've been through a fairly major process of reducing the defense budget." Cheney stated that during his the first year of his tenure, he "cut almost $65 billion out of the five-year defense program" and that subsequent proposals would "take another $167 billion out."

Vice President Cheney tried to cut troop strength in the 1990's and cut pay for troops currently in Iraq. An August 4, 1991 New York Times article shows that Cheney tried "to reduce active-duty troop strength" from 2.2 million to 1.6 million while making "deep cuts in the Reserves and National Guard." And after criticizing opponents on military pay increases, the Bush administration last year tried to cut pay for 148,000 troops in Iraq by rolling back increases in monthly imminent danger pay and family separation allowances, according to the Army Times.
Westminster's president, Dr. Fletcher Lamkin, was not pleased with the veep's performance...

"Frankly, I must admit that I was surprised and disappointed that Mr. Cheney chose to step off the high ground and resort to Kerry-bashing for a large portion of his speech. The content and tone of his speech was not provided to us prior to the event - we had only been told the speech would be about foreign policy, including issues in Iraq.

"I want to make it clear to the Westminster community that, in the interest of balance and fairness and integrity, we will strongly encourage Senator Kerry to take advantage of this venue to make his views known as well. In fact, I have already stated this invitation publicly via members of the media immediately after Mr. Cheney's speech."
Kerry has accepted and will be there Friday.

Cheney. That fat lazy sneering bastard. Everyone in this White House subscribes to this law: Accuse Kerry of everything you've done wrong and scold him for it - even if he never did it.

That laundry list of defense cuts Cheney blasted Kerry for was all from Kerry's first run at the senate in 1984, during Reagan's drunken military spending spree. Not the 20 years since, but that one year. That's Kerry's $53 billion in 1984 vs. Cheney's proposed $232 billion military cuts in 1990.

Any questions, or do I have to spell it out for you?

J-A-C-K-A-S-S. A manipulative sneering jackass. Man, these people piss me off.

Wonder If Blair Will Turn His Administration Loose On TV As Revenge

If this happened here, there wouldn't be enough Condis, Dicks, Rummies and Scotts to fight this back. Here's what having guts looks like, in case you forgot (Okay, stop giggling at the headline and read the story, dammit):

British diplomats turn on Blair

More than 50 former senior British diplomats have denounced Tony Blair's "doomed" policies on the Middle East and Iraq and criticised his close alliance with US President George Bush, in an unprecedented assault on the British Prime Minister's standing.

The 52 former envoys, including former ambassadors to Syria, Iraq, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Nations, sent a joint letter to Downing Street condemning Britain for "abandoning" peace efforts between Israel and the Palestinians and for invading Iraq without an exit strategy.

The diplomats, many of whom are likely to still reflect thinking at the British Foreign Office, called on Mr Blair to re-consider his recent support for Israel's plan to keep settlements on the West Bank while withdrawing from Gaza, despite US backing.

They described the new Israel-US plan as "one-sided and illegal, which will cost yet more Israeli and Palestinian blood", and attacked Britain's apparent abandonment of the so-called "road map" towards a peaceful settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.

"This abandonment of principle comes at a time when, rightly or wrongly, we are portrayed throughout the Arab world as partners in an illegal and brutal occupation in Iraq," the diplomats wrote.

"The conduct of the war in Iraq had made it clear that there was no effective plan for the post-Saddam settlement.

"We feel the time has come to make our anxieties public, in the hope that they will be addressed in Parliament and lead to a fundamental reassessment."

Here Goes Nothin'...

It's the long talked-about site redesign. I've gone off the Blog*Spot template and rewrote this sucker in FrontPage. Mozilla and Safari users - fire away. Can you hear me now?

The only headache for me is the bookstore. Any way I can get the books back 2-3 to a row in Internet Explorer? Go, webgeeks. Thanks for your patience...

Conason vs. Hughes

Here's your Joe (abridged, but still on target):

For George W. Bush's surrogates to question John Kerry's war record, as they have continued to do in recent days, requires a special Republican brand of super-high-octane gall. Why would the president want to draw additional attention to the most unflattering contrast between him and the Democratic challenger?

Perhaps Bush and his strategists believe that offense is the only way to play defense on his spotty National Guard record. Perhaps they think that with enough money and enough noise, they can erase Kerry's medals and heroism. And perhaps they expect the mainstream media to assist in defacing Kerry's character -- just as important media organizations smeared Al Gore four years ago with Republican spin points.

Whatever plan the White House is pursuing, Karen Hughes proved last Sunday that the highly personal attack on Kerry is coming directly from the top. No one can doubt that Hughes speaks for Bush, sometimes quite literally, as she did in "A Charge to Keep," the Bush "autobiography" she ghosted for him in 1999. She claimed to be "very troubled" by comments Kerry made in 1971 about atrocities he witnessed during the war and urged the press to "follow up some line of inquiry" about whether he was inventing and exaggerating those concerns -- or whether he might even have committed war crimes himself. "I wish we knew a little bit more about that," said the troubled Hughes, as if deeply concerned whether Kerry tossed his ribbons or his medals over a fence at the Pentagon during a 1971 demonstration.

She deserves to be challenged, however, about her own role in the concealment of Bush's actual service record. Although she is currently peddling her new bestseller, the most pertinent questions concern "A Charge to Keep," that slim promotional volume with Bush's name and likeness on the cover.

The gripping but brief account of Bush's training and service ends vaguely, with this sentence: "I continued flying with my unit for the next several years." That's false; he quit flying after less than two years. He and his ghostwriter don't mention that he quit flying no later than August 1972, after he missed a flight physical and was suspended. His disappearance into Alabama to work on a Republican Senate race, when he was supposed to be pulling duty, is also left out.

On that chapter's concluding page, Bush proclaims: "I am proud of my service. Yet I know it was nothing comparable to what our soldiers and pilots were doing in battle in Vietnam." Having written those words, Hughes should remember them whenever she feels the urge to demean Kerry, who still carries a piece of shrapnel in his left buttock. And should she open her mouth about this subject again, someone should ask her what the president did with his medals.
And the Freepers call Hillary "PIAPS." Hughes is nothing more than a smear technician who's more than happy to wallow in the mud more than anyone else on the planet. Her Sunday equation of abortion rights with terrorism was nothing short of spectacular chutzpah.

Forget "PIAPS" - she's just another jackass.

Monday, April 26

From the Pen of: Jeff Danziger

Caption Contest

aka - Pictures we like to post just 'cuz.

Cue The Throwing Flowers. CUE Them. People, Where's The Throwing Flowers? Dammit, CUT!

Under Clinton, it's an "aspirin factory." Under Bush, it's a "chemical weapons plant."

Explosion levels suspected chemical weapons building in Baghdad; fighting erupts in Fallujah

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) A suspected chemical weapons warehouse exploded in flames Monday moments after U.S. troops broke in, killing two soldiers and wounding five. Jubilant Iraqis swarmed over the Americans' charred Humvees, waving looted machine guns, a bandolier and a helmet.

In Fallujah, U.S. troops battled insurgents in the latest violation of a tentative cease-fire for the besieged city. One Marine and eight insurgents were killed. [...]

Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt did not say what sort of chemical munitions were believed to be produced at the Baghdad warehouse. After the blast, there was no sign of precautions against chemicals. ''Chemical munitions could mean any number of things,'' including smoke grenades, he said.

The cause of the blast was unclear. Kimmitt said a large number of explosives were in the building in the northern neighborhood of Waziriyah.

Asked about reports that the search team included members of the Iraq Survey Group the U.S. team looking for weapons of mass destruction Kimmitt said only: ''The inspection was by a number of coalition forces.''

He said the owner of the site was ''suspected of producing and supplying chemical agents'' to Iraqi insurgents, but did not elaborate.

What's That Choir Of Voices Singing "PLEASE Don't Help Us"?

Why, it's North Korea after looking at our resume'. But in this election year, the Bush gang is trying something new: diplomacy. A little too late, you jackasses...

U.S. Offers to Help N.Korea with Train Blast

The United States on Monday offered to help North Korea cope with a train blast that killed at least 161 people, despite a standoff over the communist state's suspected nuclear weapons programs.
Secretary of State Colin Powell said the United States, already a major food donor to the impoverished nation, was coordinating with the United Nations to provide financial and possibly other support.

Any goodwill gesture while North Korea is in the spotlight over last week's explosion could take on diplomatic overtones as the United States tries to coax North Korea to soon hold working-level talks on ending its nuclear ambitions.

"We will be making an offer, some financial assistance, and we are waiting to see what the need is and what else we might be able to do," Powell told reporters. "We are making the United Nations aware of our willingness to participate in whatever relief efforts it might be appropriate for us to participate in."


Try 1.1 million. 1,100,000 voters joined the abortion rights rally in D.C. yesterday. That doesn't includes the millions who couldn't make it to Washington that day.

This was no Freeper "call to action." This was real. Get used to it.

Sunday, April 25

Lookin' For Some American Idol News?

'Idol' favorite takes high road in explaining her ouster

The nation may have been shocked when Jennifer Hudson got the boot this week on American Idol. But Hudson has her own theory.

Hudson and the other top contenders, LaToya London and Fantasia Barrino, were the bottom three on Wednesday's elimination show. Viewers were stunned. Immediately, fans were rushing to put the blame somewhere. Bad weather in Hudson's Midwestern fan base? Racism? Sabotage?

"I think people just take it for granted because it's Fantasia, Jennifer and LaToya, and we are the divas," Hudson said on AI host Ryan Seacrest's other TV show, On Air. "They just assume we'd be fine so they decided to help out somebody else . . . and just left us hanging."
Now, here's that American Idol news: I haven't seen a single episode of this thing since the first couple of shows of the first season. I guess this thing with Jennifer Hudson is a big deal with AI's viewers. I just don't like talent shows on TV for one, and for another, I call the show "American Lounge Singer." Watching people judged on singing with a lush orchestra behind them just doesn't connect with me.

When Fox puts on a show with someone who can fix the code on this blog so people with Mozilla and Safari can view it without problems - THAT is must-see TV for me.

Sponsors! Boon or Hinderance?

Now that my BlogAds sponsors have dried up (I'm enjoying my Bush voodoo doll), it's time to put it to you guys. I know those of you who use some Mac browsers have had issues with the ads appearing in the middle of your window (I know, the same thing'll continue with the Buzzflash headlines - deal with it).

Should I keep offering a fine and affordable way to get advertisers' messages to the smart and loyal readers of Hoffmania! The Chronicle of the American Condition? Or should I stop being a greedy li'l bastard?

Vote now. You have 10 seconds. GO!

Sponsors: Boon or Hinderance?
Doesn't matter
I'm going to waste everyone's time and say "No Comment"

Free polls from
DISCLAIMER: Any advertiser or progressive candidate who decides to hop on the Hoffmania! juggernaut will render this poll null and void. Kinda like buying an election, but much better. You won't find THAT kind of honesty at InstaPundit, dammit.

I Think I Broke Haloscan

Each day for the last three days, I tried responding to readers in the comments. Each time, Haloscan went down when I wrote my comments and hit "OK."

So I'm obviously the guy who's screwing up Haloscan on a national level. My deepest apologies. (/sarcasm)

Any commenting services out there that're a little more dependable? I think you'd better e-mail your reply...

Saturday, April 24

Wrapping Up The Week In Iraq - Comics Style

Doonesbury by Garry Trudeau

Get Fuzzy by Darby Conley

Hoffmania! Is Always On The Lookout For New Ways To Creep Out The Kids

Bozo was "The World's Most Famous Clown."
Emmett Kelley, Jr. was "The World's Saddest Clown."
Ronald McDonald is "The World's Most Recognizable Clown."

Meet Buffo.

And yes, we know about Ouchy.

Pat Tillman

The guy truly was a hero - dropping his NFL career and answering a personal calling to serve on September 12, 2001. People like Pat are a rare breed, and in his case, it was almost genetic. Pat used to talk about how the men of his family in previous generations answered the call. For him to do what he did is nothing short of heroic.

I only wish that loyalty was rewarded with the support in Afghanistan Pat needed - but was severely curtailed due to Iraq - maybe not ensuring his safe return home, but stacking the odds a little more in his favor.

The White House can heap the platitudes on Pat all it wants - but back up your praise by doing the right thing, okay?

Friday, April 23


Put a gap in the front teeth of the Laura Bush bobblehead here, and she looks like...

...Class? ...Anyone?

Weekend Broadband Corner

Enough politics. It's time for some Sushi Racing.

More About The GOP's Military Hatchet Man

Joe Conason tells us additional stuff about John O'Neill, better known these days as G.I. Jackass:

Houston attorney John E. O'Neill, the Navy veteran who has emerged recently as a harsh and ubiquitous critic of John Kerry's military service, tells reporters that he has never really been interested in politics and isn't motivated by partisan interests. In the media, O'Neill is often described simply as a Vietnam vet still enraged by the antiwar speeches Kerry delivered more than 30 years ago. That was when O'Neill first came to public attention as a clean-cut, pro-war protégé of the Nixon White House's highest-ranking dirty trickster (aside from the late president himself), Charles Colson.

Colson, who went to prison for Watergate crimes, saw O'Neill as a perfect foil to Kerry, whom Nixon and his aides feared as a decorated, articulate and reasonable opponent of the war and their regime. Indeed, O'Neill was perfect -- a crewcut officer who had served on the same Navy swift boat that Kerry had commanded, although their stints in the Mekong Delta didn't overlap. In June 1971, Colson brought O'Neill up to Washington for an Oval Office audience with Nixon. His impressions live on in a memo filed later:

"O'Neill went out charging like a tiger, has agreed that he will appear anytime, anywhere that we program him and was last seen walking up West Executive Avenue mumbling to himself that he had just been with the most magnificent man he had ever met in his life."

Now O'Neill has emerged from those decades of silence, roaring denunciations of the man who will become the Democratic nominee for president this summer. "I saw some war heroes," he told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday. "John Kerry is not a war hero." [...]

Three years after Colson first brought him to the White House to meet with Nixon, who encouraged the young O'Neill to "get" Kerry and the protesters in Vietnam Veterans Against the War, he launched his legal career with a coveted clerkship in the United States Supreme Court. No doubt it was mere coincidence that O'Neill clerked with William Rehnquist, the controversial conservative who was Nixon's favorite justice and who went on to be appointed chief justice by President Reagan.

Nixon is gone, but his political heirs possess the White House -- and no doubt the disgraced politician would be pleased and proud that they are harassing Kerry with the same zeal that first brought Karl Rove to the attention of Watergate investigators. The young veteran he once showcased is now 58 years old, but O'Neill seems just as eager to battle Nixon's old enemies as he was back then.
As Jon Stewart would say, "A real douchebag for liberty."

April 29th: A Night Of Crackheads and Drunken Slobs!

Yes, kids! It's National Party for the President Day! Across the nation, Bush supporters will be throwing parties to show their support for America's president-select. The country's lampshade and tequila supply will be in short supply, you betcha.

I notice no Muslims are allowed to throw parties...but the "W Stands For Women" group smacks of intrigue...

If You're Visiting A Mosquito-Rich Area, You'll Need This

After our excursion to Jamaica last November, I promised to let you know when Avon has a sale on their unbelievably effective Bug Guard Excursion repellent which keeps the little bastards away and won't knock you out in the process. I dare say this worked better than 100% deet for us.

Well, the sale is now. What is normally 12 bucks a can is now just $4.99. I don't make a red cent here, but your well-being is enough for me.

Shee-hyah. Anyway, stock up. The green can stuff is what you want. A can a day for two people in Jamaica's cliffs does the trick. You're welcome.

The L.A. Times Is Worth Buying Today

In other words, you won't do what Steve Martin did in "Roxanne" - drop a quarter in the newspaper machine, open the door, take the paper, scream at the front page, drop another quarter into the machine, open the door and throw the paper back IN.

Today's front page has a four-column wide top-of-the-page shot of the flag-draped caskets from the Memory Hole and a huge story (with additional pic) about the posting of said photos.

Just beneath that, still above the fold, is this:

Bush Approval Hits a Low Point in State
His handling of Iraq gets poor marks. California would back Kerry, even with Nader in the race.

President Bush's popularity in California has dropped to the lowest level of his presidency amid rising public concern over his handling of Iraq and the economy, according to a new Los Angeles Times poll that found dislike of Bush driving support for his Democratic rival.

At a time of mounting American casualties in Iraq, the survey found a sharp turnaround in attitudes toward Bush's management of the war: 56% of California voters disapprove, up from 44% in July.

Most say the war is worth neither the lost lives of U.S. troops nor the cost to taxpayers. A solid majority of California voters believe Bush has no clear plan for Iraq. Two-thirds are concerned it will become another Vietnam.

The surge in public dissatisfaction with the Republican president on Iraq is among the starkest findings of a survey that illustrates the difficulties that Bush faces in trying to win California in the contest with Massachusetts Sen. John F. Kerry in November.

The poll affirmed the state's continuing tilt toward Democrats at a time when the country as a whole is almost evenly split between the two major parties.

Capturing the breach between California and Bush was poll respondent Roger Sack of Palo Alto, a Democrat who described himself as "uniformly negative" on the president.

"He represents a cultural kind of strain that I don't like — call it Texas, call it born-again, call it Southern — while at the same time, coming out of a country-club Republican background, and I think he's incompetent on top of all of that," Sack, a 62-year-old computer marketer, said in a follow-up interview.

Overall, the survey found, 54% of California voters disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job, while 44% approve.

On the economy, 53% disapprove of Bush's performance and 42% approve.

Bush's best showing came on his handling of terrorism — there, voters were split, but as in the other categories, his approval ratings slumped from past polls.

If the election were held today, the poll found, California voters would choose Kerry over Bush, 53% to 41%, in a two-way race. [...]

If Bush's news conference on Iraq last week was meant to buttress his position, it did the opposite among California voters, the poll found. Nearly two-thirds caught Bush's presentation, but 59% of them say he did not clearly explain his reasons for going to war. Also, 38% say the president's remarks made them view him less favorably, 14% say more favorably, and just under half say it made no difference.
Yes, I know it's a poll a full six months before the election, but if perception is reality to the casual reader, I'll take this wisdom of the California voters any day, thanks.

Spread the word.

Thursday, April 22

Iraq On The Comics Page: Friday Edition

Looks like Doonesbury claims another first in the payoff panel...

And here's Friday's "Get Fuzzy"...

Have A Good Laugh At Ann Coulter's Expense!

April 30, 2003: Ann declared total victory over us lib'ruls and our whining over the successful Iraq war. This is friggin' hysterical.

Liberals Meet Unexpected Resistance

THOUGH MANY had anticipated a cakewalk for the media in undermining the war on terrorism, instead liberals are caught in a quagmire of good news about the war. Predictions that liberals would have an easy time embarrassing President Bush have met unexpected resistance. They're still looking for the bad news they said was there. Experts believe the media's quagmire results from severely reduced troops. The left's current force is less than half the size of the coalition media that undermined the Vietnam War.

It's been a tough few weeks all around for the anti-war crowd. On Sunday, the London Telegraph reported that documents had been discovered in Baghdad linking Saddam Hussein to Osama bin Laden. Hussein and bin Laden had a working relationship as far back as 1998, based on their mutual hatred of America and Saudi Arabia. As we go to print, it's Day Four of the New York Times' refusal to mention these documents.

Government documents have also been found in Iraq showing that a leading anti-war spokesman in Britain, Member of Parliament George Galloway, was in Saddam Hussein's pay. Scott Ritter, former U.N. arms inspector turned peacenik turned suspected pederast, immediately defended Galloway in a column in the London Guardian. With any luck, Tariq Aziz will now step in to defend Ritter.

At least Tariq Aziz knows he lost the war. American liberals are still hoping for a comeback. But the war was so successful, they don't have any arguments left. They can't even sound busy. In their usual parody of patriotism, liberals are masters of the long-winded statement that amounts to nothing. They can't go on TV and say nothing. But all they have are some broken figurines to complain about.
The moving hand writes, and having writ, prays and hopes we'll all forget what the hell she writ. Unless it's writ on the 'net.

Weasel With Fedora Found Stuck In Time Machine

Can you believe this putz went back to 1972 and 1975 to "catch" Kerry in a supposed flip-flop today? Of COURSE Hannity made a stink about this on his show today, too. Looks like the RNC fax machine's back in the talking point business.

Yeah, changing your mind since 1972 on abortion is far more dangerous than flip-flopping on Baathists and caving to "suiciders."

Nice To Know The DNC's Not The Only One With Bad Flash Animation

It's a lie! It's a game! It's both! It's the RNC's Tax Evaders! (Oops...that's "INvaders." Sorry.) The only problem is that Bush doesn't blow up when he's hit.

Not Enough Counties For My Liking

But it's a start...

Voting panel recommends that California stop using touch-screen machines

California should ban the use of 15,000 touch-screen voting machines in the November election because the equipment malfunctioned in last month's primary, an advisory panel said Thursday.

The state Voting Systems and Procedures Panel said that the machines made by Diebold Election Systems did not perform well last month and that many voters in San Diego County were turned away.

The panel cited a litany of other problems, including fears that the systems are vulnerable to security breaches.

The decision affects machines only in San Diego, Solano, Kern and San Joaquin counties. If Secretary of State Kevin Shelley goes along with the recommendation, those counties will have to revert to paper ballots.

Machines made by Diebold and other manufacturers in 10 other counties were unaffected by the recommendation.

Bremer: The Enemy Of My Enemy Is Still Kinda My Enemy...

...but if I don't make nice with my enemy, my enemy can really bust my ass. SOOOO...


Policy easing to bring Baathists into new Iraq
From John King
CNN Washington Bureau

(CNN) -- The White House confirmed Thursday that the administration is moving to change a postwar policy that blocked members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party from Iraqi government and military positions.

The sweeping ban was put in place by civilian administrator Paul Bremer, but he now wants to change the policy as part of an effort to convince Sunnis, who dominate the party, that they are welcome members of the postwar political transition in Iraq.

There also have been complaints that the ban has kept teachers, engineers, well-trained technocrats and experienced military officers out of the difficult postwar transition.

Saddam headed the Baath Party in Iraq for decades, and its members were allowed educational opportunities and to hold key posts.
Does this qualify as the Mother of All Flip-Flops? Man, it sure comes close...

In Our Hearts, We Know This Is Right

Stop Bush NOW. Give to Kerry.

Crush the nut. Contribute.

Thanks, Jer.

The Troops' Coming Home Pictures Posted

Reader NYUAlum sends over a very busy site right now: The Memory Hole's gallery of the military coffin pictures from Iraq, taken by the now-fired employee of Maytag Aircraft, Tami Silicio.

I think the only thing which would be as powerful and disturbing would be to see the injured returning from this quagmire. I can probably only handle what's being done in the comics page, thanks.

John O'Neill - Douchebag Extraordinaire

Kos dug up some background on John O'Neill - the Vietnam vet who's been making the rounds trash-talking John Kerry over his military record, claiming he didn't earn his Purple Hearts ("John Kerry is not a war hero. He couldn't tie the shoes of some of the people in Coastal Division 11"). As you may have guessed, the guy has a political stake in all this. Kos finds these nuggets in O'Neill's resume:

Member, President's National Advisory Counsel on Supplemental Services and Centers, 1973-1974. Member, Federal Regulation of Securities Committee, Section of Corporation, Banking and Business Law, American Bar Association, 1978-. Law Clerk to Justice William H. Rehnquist, U.S. Supreme Court, 1974-1975.
Yeah, he worked for Nixon and Rehnquist. And one of his partners, Margaret Wilson was:

General Counsel to Governor George W. Bush, 1998-2000
Kos also has an update here.

Guys like John McCain can rise above the political bullcrap and defend Kerry's war record. That's what true soldiers do. That's the basis of the friendship and admiration Kerry and McCain have for each other. This hack - who has Karl Rove's fingerprints all over his back - just cannot bring himself to either do the same or just keep his mouth shut. O'Neill is a little man in a band of giants, and has no business calling himself a veteran. Disgusting.


I read the story in the paper this morning of Kim Jong-Il having a very friendly meeting with the Chinese officials about nuclear talks, and found it interesting that the story mentioned he took the train back home. This is the very thing I wondered about.

Up to 3,000 Casualties in N.Korea Rail Blast-Report
Thu Apr 22, 2004 10:11 AM ET

SEOUL (Reuters) - Up to 3,000 people were killed or injured in a huge explosion on Thursday when two goods trains collided in a North Korean station hours after leader Kim Jong-il had passed through, South Korea's YTN television station said.

Yonhap news agency also said there were thousands of casualties. Both Yonhap and YTN did not give a breakdown of deaths and injuries.
UPDATE: CNN has an update, but doesn't have a casualty count.

L.A. Times: It's A "Full-Scale Insurrection"

This editorial underscores how Bush is even pissing off his fellow Republicans:

'Rough' Is Only Half of It

April 22, 2004

President Bush said to an annual meeting of newspaper editors Wednesday that the last few weeks in Iraq had been "really rough." That is a start on a realistic assessment, but the administration has to offer Congress and the public far more detail about U.S. difficulties and costs in Iraq than that vague statement.

As bombings grow more lethal and additional troops are ordered to Iraq, Congress is beginning to rouse itself to examine a war it never properly debated. The White House should pay sharper attention. It sent no one to testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday.

Angry committee Chairman Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.) read out loud a series of questions that he said the administration must answer in order to persuade Congress and the people that a transfer of power in Iraq could and would actually take place June 30. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) rebuked the failure of any official to appear as an "arrogant mistake."

The House Armed Services Committee, generally a bastion of hawks, proved little more friendly Wednesday. Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.) denounced the White House's refusal to acknowledge the growing fiscal costs of Iraq as "immoral" after Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified that the Iraq war probably would cost hundreds of millions more than already budgeted. Weldon estimates that at least $10 billion more will be needed for military costs in the next five months alone. The White House insists that it is not required to make a funding request that would put a dollar cost on the occupation until next year — after the election.

Scarcely more encouraging was Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul D. Wolfowitz's appearance before the committee. Pressed for how the administration envisioned a transition, he declared: "Some say we have no plan. We have a plan." But he could not explain what it was.

The most hopeful sign for a transition is Bush's appointment of United Nations Ambassador John D. Negroponte to become ambassador to Iraq. Negroponte enjoys close relations with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. If given a clean slate, he could begin to reverse occupation head L. Paul Bremer III's foolish decision to dissolve the entire Iraqi army. He could follow the recommendation of U.S. generals to allow some former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party to occupy government jobs. As in postwar Germany and Japan, such ex-party members are usually the ones who have experience in running a government.

But no matter how skillfully Negroponte performs, he can hardly turn Iraq around on his own. Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) had it right Wednesday while speaking on NBC about how much the occupation was really going to cost: "Be honest with the Congress, be honest with the American people."

The anger evident across Iraq is more than a "really rough" moment. It is tipping toward full-scale insurrection, with no publicly delineated plan for stopping it — and no accounting of the cost of the attempt.

Wednesday, April 21

Iraq In The Comics: Thursday Edition

Doonesbury by Garry Trudeau

Get Fuzzy by Darby Conley

From the Pen of: Tom Toles

It's Really Gone

I kept hoping it might be back to fight another day, but it looks like Media Whores Online has really been put to sleep. The site is completely gone. We'll miss the Horse.

Forget Bush's Latest Stupidities! The Big Diversion Has Finally Arrived!

CNN has breaking news:

Grand jury indicts pop star Michael Jackson on charges that he molested a boy in February and March 2003. Details to come.
ABC has more. The circus is comin' to town.

From the Pen of: Steve Benson

Filtered News? What Filtered News?

This filtered news. The story of 68+ dead by suicide bombers in Basra is being covered continuously by the foreign press, while the last update from an American source was over ten hours ago. Check it out for yourself.

Staying The Course

68 dead in Basra.
At least 10 dead in Riyadh.

Nice work, Mr. Bush. What else do you and your crackheads have planned for the Middle East?

You Bastards Wanted 'Em - You Bastards Got 'Em

So to these jerks, these jackasses and these you are.

John Kerry's Military Records

But be warned...there's more to these than a page of dental records and a page of pay stubs. It's going to take some serious reading.

UPDATE: Here's something a little more substantial than a drunk driving citation.

Iraq In The Comics Page - Wednesday Edition

Doonesbury by Garry Trudeau

Get Fuzzy by Darby Conley

Tuesday, April 20

Air America: Back In L.A.?

Good news posted today at the Air America website...

Air America Radio to Announce New Stations in Chicago and Los Angeles Shortly

We are in discussions to broadcast Air America Radio on strong signal stations in Chicago and Los Angeles. We'll have an announcement on these developments shortly.

In addition, Air America Radio will continue to add stations around the country. In fact, in the three weeks since our launch, we already have added 11 stations.

Air America Radio can currently be heard on the web at, XM Satellite Radio, Channel 167, Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 125, and the following stations: WLIB 1190 AM in New York; WNTD 950 AM in Chicago; KPOJ 620 AM in Portland, OR; KCAA 1050 AM in the Inland Empire, CA; WMNN 1330 AM in Minneapolis/St. Paul; and WCHL 1360 AM in Chapel Hill, NC.

Air America Radio recently announced new affiliations with KVT0 1400 AM and KVVN 1430 AM in the San Francisco Bay Area; KSQR 1240 AM in Sacramento, CA; WMTW 870 AM in Portland, ME; KBZC 1300 AM in Colorado Springs, CO; WJNO 1290 AM in West Palm Beach, FL; WTWK 1070 AM in Plattsburg, NY & Burlington, VT; and WKIZ 1500 AM in Key West, FL.

Listen to Air America Radio

The Iraq Mess Hits The Comics Page


...and "Get Fuzzy"

In "Doonesbury," B.D. - a character since day one - will be losing a leg in that storyline. It's also fascinating that the "Get Fuzzy" story makes the point that the casualties arrive home in the cloak of darkness.

These are sure signs that the general feeling is that this cakewalk has turned into an American tragedy. Bravo to Garry Trudeau and Darby Conley for tackling the dark side of this supposed patriotic spectator sport.

How Wingnuts Show Gratitude

As we predicted...they're gonna call that aphrodesiac "Freedom Fly." Michael Ramirez, the L.A. Times' neocon cartoonist, starts the Spain-trashing - thereby continuing the wingnuts' campaign to piss off the entire planet. Forget that they put up with our crap for the last year-and-a-half before getting fed up.

Monday, April 19

DAMN The Liberal Media! DAMN them!

They just don't give our president a break. He should have FOUR times the coverage of Kerry. Poor poor Bush.

In TV Coverage, Kerry Runs a Deficit
Bush Airtime Is Triple His Rival's

A review by The Washington Post, using a video monitoring service, finds that the cable news networks have covered more Bush events and stayed with them longer. From March 3, the day after the senator clinched the nomination, through Friday, they have devoted 12 hours and 11 minutes to live appearances by Bush -- including Tuesday's prime-time news conference, which was also carried by NBC, CBS and ABC. Kerry's live cable coverage during this period: 3 hours 47 minutes.

The Nader Factor Begins To Loom Large

The new WaPo/ABC News poll has Bush leading Kerry 47% to 42% with Nader getting 7%.

Now the interesting part: They asked Nader supporters who they'd vote for if Nader wasn't in the race. 21% said Bush, 64% said Kerry.

See the whole deal here.

The bottom line? Kerry's got to get the message out there and KEEP it out there. Voters still don't know much about this guy and worse, he's still running solo against the Bush-Cheney-Rice-Rumsfeld machine. Not having a running mate picked may also underscore the incomplete-ness of Kerry's status right now. There are a lot of things happening - or more specifically, not happening yet - that will become a lot more clear as the campaign gels. Hopefully, Kerry will overcome the recognizability problem he has against Bush AND Nader. Until then, it's gonna be a very, very chaotic ride.


From Atrios: George and Condi sittin' in a tree...

The Kind Of Rhetoric That Doesn't Talk Me Into Anything

Forget that this airtime hog took 45 minutes of cable news time to show his flopping face and rumblin' bumblin' stumblin' folksiness to as many people as he could with this nonsense. President Prayerpants tried to sell the Patriot Act today by saying this:

And there's only one path to safety and that's the path of action. Congress must act with the Patriot Act. We must continue to stay on the offense when it comes to chasing these killers down and bringing them to justice -- and we will. We've got to be strong and resolute and determined. We will never show weakness in the face of these people who have no soul, who have no conscience, who care less about the life of a man or a woman or a child. We've got to do everything we can here at home. And there's no doubt in my mind that, with the Almighty's blessings and hard work, that we will succeed in our mission.
Let me say first that I'm not in any way siding with terrorists or anyone who harms innocent people. Anyone.

That said, who the hell is this man to decide who has souls and who doesn't? And how does he reconcile asking for the Almighty's blessings when he's trying to nation-build in a Muslim stronghold? This jackass simply DOES NOT THINK. The more he talks, the more he falls face-first into the belief everything is a mission from God. He sure doesn't speak for most of my Christian friends and he sure as hell doesn't speak for me as some kind of moral religious leader. I have a rabbi, thank you. If I want guidance on who has souls and who doesn't, I'll seek his advice, not yours.

I'm really REALLY sick of Bush throwing us in front of the bus - putting us in harm's way - every time he opens his trap. Especially when he claims to do it in the name of the Almighty. Shut the hell up, Mr. Morality. You've been pissing off everybody on the planet since you walked into the White House, and you're continuing to piss them off. Including the Almighty Himself.


The Fear Season Opens

Tom Ridge kicks off the festivities.

U.S. Sees Terror Threats, Aims to Boost Security

The U.S. government believes it is vulnerable to a terror attack during this year's presidential election, party conventions and national holidays, and has launched a plan to beef up security, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said.

While there is no intelligence of specific threats, the number of high-profile political events this year are considered potential targets of a terrorist attack, and in a speech in Las Vegas on Monday Ridge vowed to increase vigilance and improve security.

"We soon enter a season that is rich with symbolic opportunities for the terrorists to try to shake our will," said Ridge, whose department is charged with trying to prevent another day like Sept. 11, 2001, when hijacked airline attacks left about 3,000 people dead.

Events viewed by the government as potential targets include national holidays like Memorial Day and Fourth of July, the G-8 summit in June, the Republican and Democratic party conventions this summer and the November presidential election.

Meanwhile, In Jamaica...

We love this place. So did Johnny Cash and apparently, so does Hillary Clinton. But my favorite vacation place has its share

Clampdown on 'bus sex'

THE MINISTRY of Transport and Works is threatening to revoke the licences and sub-licences of operators of public passenger vehicles which it said condoned sexual activity among school children and adults travelling on buses.

Minister of Transport and Works, Robert Pickersgill made the disclosure at the launch of World Health Day held at the Excelsior Community College yesterday.

"The issue of adults and school children engaging in sexual intercourse in public passenger vehicles is a matter of concern. This issue is once again in the news and various proposals have been made with a view to terminate the practice," said the Minister.

"I have given particular instructions and licences and sub-licences will be revoked if illicit sexual practices are conducted on the buses."

Mr. Pickersgill explained that the Transport Authority is working with the Island Traffic Authority and the police to catch offenders particularly on Route 82 ­ Cross Roads to Waterhouse, which has generated the greatest number of complaints.

"As a result of operations carried out by these entities, tints were removed from 17 buses and musical equipment was removed from 11 buses. The public should know that investigations have revealed that the buses that are heavily tinted and feature loud, lewd music are the ones that tend to facilitate these illicit sexual activities," said Mr. Pickersgill.

NOW What?

GIs Battle 'Baghdad Boil'

Sgt. Eric DiVona didn't notice the small bumps on his face and left earlobe until he returned from serving nine months in Iraq. Nothing much, he thought, probably just a spider bite.

But soon those bumps erupted into open sores, one growing to the size of a half dollar. The left side of his face puffed up, a swelling that wouldn't go away. And he noticed he was not the only one in his unit with such symptoms.

"A lot of people started coming down with sores," he said, sitting at Walter Reed Army Medical Center with an IV taped to his right arm. "It was like, 'You ain't cool unless you got it."'

What DiVona thought was a spider bite was actually caused by a tiny sand fly with a fierce parasite stewing in its gut, an organism that causes stubborn and ugly sores that linger for months.

Scientists and doctors refer to the disease caused by the parasite as cutaneous leishmaniasis. But soldiers serving in sand-fly rich Iraq call it, with little affection, the "Baghdad boil."

The sores are not painful or contagious, but left untreated they can last up to 18 months and leave permanent, burn-like scars. Since the flies bite exposed areas, many soldiers have sores on their necks, faces and arms.