Monday, October 31, 2005

Will we ever know?

As I continue to say, we're not going to know the whole story until we know who forged the Niger documents. Here's Philip Giraldi, a former CIA Officer, writing in American Conservative magazine:

The question remains: who forged the documents? The available evidence suggests that two candidates had access and motive: SISMI and the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans.


At this point, any American connection to the actual forgeries remains unsubstantiated, though the OSP at a minimum connived to circumvent established procedures to present the information directly to receptive policy makers in the White House.


The possible forgery of the information by Defense Department employees would explain the viciousness of the attack on Valerie Plame and her husband. Wilson, when he denounced the forgeries in the New York Times in July 2003, turned an issue in which there was little public interest into something much bigger. The investigation continues, but the campaign against this lone detractor suggests that the administration was concerned about something far weightier than his critical op-ed.

Forgeries Made in U.S.A? Wouldn't surprise me a bit.

Told ya

It is as I fearlessly predicted on Oct 7th. The Fundies would rather you get cancer, ladies.

A new vaccine that protects against cervical cancer has set up a clash between health advocates who want to use the shots aggressively to prevent thousands of malignancies and social conservatives who say immunizing teen-agers could encourage sexual activity.
Yeah, every teen girl I've ever known is only kept from a wildly promiscuous sex life by her fears of cervical cancer.

Fuck Alaska

No offense to all the wonderful people of Alaska, but your elected representatives are toads. Witness:

Capitol Report has learned about a provision tucked away in the Senate Budget Reconciliation Bill that would direct Medicaid money intended for Katrina affected states (Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana) to Alaska. The Budget Reconciliation package (PDF) contains $71.4 billion in new savings but it also spends $32.4 billion. Portions of that new spending were intended to be Katrina relief funds, but it seems Alaskan interests have once again succeeded in redirecting funds (PDF) to the state which has become famous for its "Bridge to Nowhere."

In addition to providing money for Katrina states, the provision also changes the way Alaska receives federal assistance for its Medicaid services. By changing the federal funding matching percentage for Medicaid in Alaska, the provision will provide an additional $130 million in federal Medicaid funding for Alaska. This additional $130 million is a direct result of tampering with federal matching percentages that results in Alaska being relieved of Medicaid related fiscal burdens that all the other 50 states face.

So, even though dozens of other states will face the same fiscal pressures as Alaska over the next few years, only Alaska is set to receive additional money.

Honestly, it's really not all about you, Alaska. Give it up.

Mental Image Alert!

From today's gaggle:

A question posed to White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan at this morning’s “gaggle” by CBS White House correspondent John Roberts has attracted quite a bit of chatter on the Internet. Of course, the topic of the day is the Supreme Court nomination of Samuel Alito, and the question from Roberts, was, “Scott, you said that – or the President said, repeatedly, that Harriet Miers was the best person for the job. So does that mean Alito is sloppy seconds, or what?”
John the non-supreme Roberts apologized later for his choice of words. But what about all of us who have to wash our brains out with soap after than unfortunate mental image? Huh? What about the chiiilllldrun?

What about Griswold?

The Clue Factory thinks the question to ask Alito is not Roe V. Wade, but Griswold.

And what was the decision in Griswold? Simply that the state does not have the right to forbid the sale of contraceptives to married couples. Miers opponents strenuously believe that the state DOES have the right to ban contraception.

This is the dirty little secret of the anti-abortion right, and it's time we dragged it out into the open for a good thorough airing. The anti-abortion movement is not just against abortion, any and all abortion. They are also against contraception. This has to be made clear to the public at large.

The Rude One

The Rude Pundit has an opinion on Supreme Nominee Alito! And it's surprisingly ... rude!

Probably not worksafe. Heh.

These three vampires walk into a bar...

Three vampires walk into a bar and sit down at a table. The barmaid comes over and says, "What'll it be, gents?"
The first vampire says, "I'll have a mug of blood."
The second vampire says, "I'll have a mug of blood, too."
The third vampire says, "I'll just have a glass of plasma, thank you."
The barmaid turns and yells out to the bartender, "Table six: Two bloods and a blood lite!"

Sunday, October 30, 2005

All-White New Orleans?

So I mentioned to someone here at the store that it looked like the Repugs were trying to ethnically cleanse N.O. - What, I wondered, would an all-white New Orleans even look like?

He said, "Makes as much sense as an all-Dutch Ireland." I thought it was a funny mental image, so I share it with you.

Fear Us!

Female science fiction fans now outnumber men for the first time.

Girls Rule!

Cue the revolution

From MoJo's Gentrifying Disaster - In New Orleans: Ethnic Cleansing, GOP-Style

New barriers, meanwhile, are being erected against the return of evacuees. In Mississippi’s ruined coastal cities, as well as in metro New Orleans, Landlords—galvanized by rumors of gentrification and soaring land values—are beginning to institute mass evictions. (Although the oft-cited Lower Ninth Ward is actually a bastion of blue-collar homeownership, most poor New Orleanians are renters.)

Civil-rights lawyer Bill Quigley has described how renters have returned “to find furniture on the street and strangers living in their apartments at higher rents, despite an order by the Governor that no one can be evicted before October 25. Rents in the dry areas have doubled and tripled.”

Secretary of Housing Alfonso Jackson, meanwhile, seems to be working to fulfill his notorious prediction that New Orleans is “not going to be as black as it was for a long time, if ever again.” Public-housing and Section 8 residents recently protested that “the agencies in charge of these housing complexes [including HUD] are using allegations of storm damage to these complexes as a pretext for expelling working-class African-Americans, in a very blatant attempt to co-opt our homes and sell them to developers to build high-priced housing.”

More, much more hideousness, at link.

Memo to a Democratic party that has hitherto had a fairly ... (looking for a kind word here)... lackluster response to the ongoing raping and pillaging: Please, for the sake of all you hold dear, wherever the Katrina evacuees have washed up, get those people registered to vote and mobilized to actually do so. Particularly those in Texas. It wouldn't take very many black voters to completely undo DeLay's careful gerrymandering. And wouldn't that be a consummation devotely to be wished?

"He works harder than God"

Time Magazine has a great big crush on Patrick Fitzgerald. A mag-crush?

Game Theory

I am such a geek - I think it's fun to see applied mathematics in the news. From James Galbraith in the HuffPo, on the subject of "A Few Very Simple Thoughts on Plamegate":

4. If you were Dick Cheney, how would you feel about this? You don't know, you can't know, how Libby's feeling right now; that information is locked up in Libby's head. But you do know that he doesn't know, for sure, whether he can expect help from you. And you can't tell him, can you? At this point, Libby is beyond your control. If you have something to hide that he knows, you have to take it on faith that he won't divulge it. That being so, exactly how do you plan to handle your testimony at Libby's trial? This is, well, the prisoner's dilemma. It's set it up so that if Libby delivers Cheney, he will be better off than if he doesn't. And Cheney knows this now.
Brush up on your game theory here.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Wish I'd found this sooner.

Cat Box Cake recipe.

Honor and Dignitude

Paul Begala nails it: The False Moral Superiority of the Bush White House

And yet George W. Bush campaigned on a pledge to "restore honor and decency to the Oval Office." He spoke of moms and dads on the campaign trail who showed him photos of their children and asked him to give them a president their kids could be proud of.

We all knew what he meant. With a wink and a nod he told us he wouldn't cheat on Laura... The Bushies even claimed moral superiority because of their punctuality. Everything was designed and marketed to stress the virtue of the Bushies and the vice of the Clintonians. And it worked. In the first year of George W. Bush's presidency, one major media figure told my wife and me to our faces that the difference between the Clinton crowd and the Bush team was that, "They're just better people than you are. They're more loyal to their President, more patriotic, less self-interested and ambitious. They're just better people."

Now we learn that these Better People have turned the White House into a criminal enterprise. And that the purpose of that enterprise was to mislead the country into going to war. 2,000 Americans killed. 15,000 horribly wounded. $200 billion gone. And a Muslim world -- and a non-Muslim world, for that matter -- that hates our guts. Al Qaeda is recruiting terrorists faster than we can kill them. And there is no end in sight.

But thank God there were no blow jobs. They really are Better People.

Must read

If you're tempted to drink the koolaid of 'everybody knew and it wasn't that big a deal', read Joe Wilson's account of how leaking his wife's CIA identity effected them both.

Friday, October 28, 2005

You ready for Halloween?

DCeiver, who's been subbing for Wonkette lately, has his/hers all ready:

I'll be going as FEMA's Michael Brown -- which means I'll be coming to the party late, bringing no refreshments, offering no help, and ordering the National Guard to use lethal force if any poor people touch the toilet paper.

...Until then, just remember what our President always says: "9-11! 9-11! 9-11! Booga-booga!"

If you're not reading Raw Story...

... you really should be.

They have the latest leaks from the leak investigation here. Best bits:

In one of the boldest moves yet in the 22-month investigation into the outing of a covert CIA agent to a handful of top reporters covering the White House, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is extending his probe and pursuing much more serious charges against senior White House officials, specifically President Bush’s Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, lawyers directly involved in the case told RAW STORY Friday.


The lawyers said that in the past month Fitzgerald has obtained explosive information in the case that has enabled him to pursue broader charges such as conspiracy, and civil rights violations against targets like Rove. Specifically, the lawyers said Fitzgerald is focusing on phony intelligence documents that led to the outing of Valerie Plame Wilson’s identity: the documents that claimed Iraq was attempting to purchase yellow-cake uranium from Niger.

Have I, or have I not, been saying we won't know the whole story until we know who forged the Niger documents, and why?

Fun with wikipedia

Wikipedia (the encyclopedia anyone can edit) has an entry for 'fitzmas'. Wingnuts are lobbying that the term is too obscure and should be deleted; one commenter in discussions notes:

* Keep. Duh!! Not only are there now 161,000 hits in Google (for the record, that's more hits than Tallahassee, Florida has residents), but that's up from approximately zero less than three weeks ago. That's pretty amazing. Only time will tell if it remains relevant, but it's certainly relevant now.

Twelve Days of Fitzmas Sale

UPDATE: you missed it - post dropping back down to its sequential place. (Pinning this post to the top for the next 12 days.)

In honor of the Fitzmas season, Esoterica of Leesburg is having a 12 Days of Fitzmas sale in the online version of our store. Here's how it works - visit our online store and select your purchases and process them through our shopping cart in the usual way. Then send an email to, asking for the Fitzmas special. Ten percent of your merchandise costs (but not your shipping charges) will be refunded to you through Paypal (our shopping cart provider).

This special is only available for people who ask for it. Why? Because I don't feel the need to give great deals to people who do NOT know that Treason is the Reason for the Season, that's why.

And for those of you disappointed not to see Karl Rove indicted today, remember that Fitzmas is followed by St. Patrick's Day.

Thursday, October 27, 2005




Most Emailed Photo

I love Wonkette's description of this photo: Red States LOSE!

The Wonky One has been on a roll today. Other gems:

• Jeb Bush, talking hurricane relief and support, proves to be a less-than-traditional conservative: "If Wal-Mart can do it, why can't the government?" That's like digging up Barry Goldwater in order to kill him again!
• "Borked" versus "Miers". What the rest of the world calls "tops" and "bottoms."
Um. Which is which?

Brave Man!

Richard Cohen takes a break from providing oral services to the Bush White House to part company with them on one issue: he's against torture.

Courageous stand. Dick.

You bring the torches

I'll bring the pitchforks:

Exxon Mobil Corp. posted a quarterly profit of $9.9 billion Thursday, the largest in U.S. corporate history, as it raked in a bonanza from soaring oil and gas prices.

Record profits for Big Oil at a time when consumers are paying sky-high prices for gasoline have brought calls for a windfall profits tax or other penalties on oil companies.

I guess you can hardly blame them. They have to know they're not going to have Oil-Whores in the WH forever. Get while the getting's good, they say.

Reading tea leaves

Well, what else is there to do, really? This from the august New York Daily News:

While White House staffers were tense, Fitzgerald's team relaxed from their stoic, all-business demeanor. The cheery prosecutors shared an elevator ride with a News reporter and cracked up over a private joke.
Probably the one about Rove and McClellan getting into a catfight over Gannon. That's a good one.

Compulsively hitting 'reload'

Things you discover while hitting 'reload' on the CNN homepage:

The Detroit News reported Thursday that management at the company's Michigan Truck plant in Wayne, Mich., issued a memo in which it said too many of the factory's 3,500 hourly workers are spending more than the 48 minutes allotted per shift to use the bathroom.

The extra-long breaks are slowing production of the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator sport utility vehicles that are built there, the company said.

"In today's competitive environment, it is important that Michigan Truck plant immediately address this concern to avoid the risks associated with safety, quality, delivery, cost and morale," the memo said, according to the paper's report.

First, I can guarantee that there's nothing sure to improve my morale like timing me in the bathroom. Management cares!

Second, parse that last sentence. Break it down into its components. "Avoid the risks associated with safety?" Yeah, safety has always been a pretty risky business.

Screw that - Ford's problems aren't bathroom-related; their managers can't think.

Sucks to be you.

Take a moment (but only a moment - don't hurt yourself or anything) to feel a tiny amount of pity for poor Jeb Bush:

Florida's governor tried to take some of the blame off the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which many critics faulted for a slow response in the earlier hurricane.

"If anybody wants to blame anybody, blame me," the governor said. "Don't blame FEMA. This is our responsibility, and we are doing a good job."

You know, it must really suck to have to fall on your sword periodically to provide some pathetic amount of cover for your older, stupider, meaner brother.

Too bad your family is such a cabal of primogeniture-believing Tories, Jeb. Just think, if your folks had only embraced and believed in American principles, you might not have had to wait for the Dauphin to have his turn. Now it's too late - the Bush name won't play in Peoria for the next generation or three.

Working the clock

Waiting for Fitzmas. Wondering what the advantage is of 'running out the clock'. Ace, got any sports-metaphoric ideas on this?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

In Real Estate News...

The Office of the Special Counsel just signed a lease on more office space.

UPDATE: Apparently Untrue, alas.

Can't tell the players...

Howard Kurtz provides a handy comparison between the Clinton and Bush scandals here. Clip and save!


From PMBF Dan Froomkin's online chat today:

Alexandria, Va.: Dan:

I'm not sure I understand why the Republicans are in distress over the Harriet Miers nomination as it relates to whether she is an intellectual heavyweight. It seems they had no issues supporting Bush who was generally regarded as not being the sharpest knife in the drawer. What's really going on here?

Dan Froomkin: What an interesting way to look at it.

Granting you your outrageous premise just for argument's sake, I would say that they were confident that Bush would behave.

Isn't this a cute picture of Josh?

Josh Marshall is 'guest-blogging' on the WashPost's opinions page, and the photo they're using of him is much cuter (imho) than the one he's using on his blog. He looks both wonky and approachable on the Post's page; kind of aloof, maybe even intimidating on his TPM page.

Hey, Josh, suggest you switch pics!

Good versus Evil: surprise upset!

If you can cast your mind back as far as seven-eight weeks ago, you might recall the nation being shocked, SHOCKED to discover there were (*gasp*) poor people in New Orleans. And of course everyone was all motivated and damned if it didn't look like people were going to find their missing souls and everything.

And of course the first thing the WH did was to make it legal for companies working on rebuilding the Gulf Coast to pay less than the prevailing wage in the area. Yes, let's address poverty by slashing pay - that's always been such a crowd-pleaser for us before.

Well, today, Evil blinked, and the wage-cuts will expire on Nov. 8th rather than being made permanent. Thank you, Rep. George Miller, Champion of Good.

Finally! An explanation of the back bulge!

Okay, if you've been paying any attention at all, you know that rumors swirled when photos showed what appeared to be a suspicious apparatus on Bush's back during the '04 debates and at other times.

Now, at last, a feasible explanation: Remote Control Device 'Controls' Humans

I always wondered how the puppet was controlled.


How are you supposed to plan a party when you don't even know when the holiday is?

Don't hold back, Anderson.

Tell us what you really think.

You may or may not be aware that my TV Boyfriend Anderson Cooper has a monthly column in Details magazine. I only know this because CNN, in their ongoing Exploit Everything Anderson campaign, has been featuring them on their homepage. You can find them on the 360 show's archives.

They're actually quite good reading; Anderson has a very distinctive writing voice, whether he's being funny ('Talking Sex with Mom', 'Confessions of a Jeopardy Champion') or somber ('Covering the Tsunami', 'My Brother's Suicide').

So when people were passing around the current column on the Internets, of course I had to read it.

And I'm forced to wonder - when Details' first serial rights expire, will CNN put up the Unexpurgated Anderson? Anderson, Raw, as it were? Or will they use some five-second delay thing to blip the expletives?

Every night I interview politicians - proper, polite, plastic smiles, paper promises. They thank each other and say what good jobs they've done. It's hard to listen to when you're covered in shit and you know they're full of shit.


Many cops feel betrayed by nearly everyone. Their mayor, their chief, the governor, the president. Fucked from above, below and behind. Later we saunter down a dark, empty Bourbon Street, adrift and alone. A Louisiana state trooper stops us and demands our IDs.

"Fuck you!" one of the police officers yells, "You're in my city, telling me I'm violating curfew? Fuck that." We walk on, the trooper drives off, I feel like I'm on the edge of the world.

I do hope CNN lets the Unabridged Anderson shine through. But in case they don't, you have this post to refer back to for what he really meant.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Swords, swords, swords!

If I may descend from the sublime (incipient indictments) to the crassly merchantile...

My store just has a visit from our favorite Arms Merchant. And he's left us armed to the teeth with swords, knives, daggers and assorted sharp pointy things. Katanas, sabers, claymores, you name it.

We can't sell these online because they're only here for a limited time; he comes to pick up the unsold weaponry in a couple weeks. But for those of you in the DC area with armament needs, take a trip out to Leesburg tout suite (follow link above for driving directions) and outfit yourself.

Pirates, highlanders, hobbits, elves and swashbucklers of every description welcomed.

(For those of you not in the Wash-DC metro area, watch this space for our upcoming Fitzmas Special sale in our online store.)

64 thousand dollar questions

From my boy Dan:

But today's news raises even more questions than it answers, among them:

* Who told Cheney, and under what circumstances?
* Did Cheney acknowledge his own role when he spoke to prosecutors last summer? If not, could he be indicted himself?
* Did Cheney encourage Libby not to disclose their conversation?
* Did President Bush know about Cheney's role?
* Who leaked this latest development -- and what was their motivation?
* Does this mean the White House will stop blaming reporters for everything? (That one was rhetorical: The answer is no.)

What did the VP know and when did he know it?


As light breaketh over the planet, two Post columnists, Howie Kurtz and Terry Neal, are shocked, shocked to discover what the Left Side of the Blogosphere has been saying for years: It's Okay if You Are a Republican.

Same ol', same ol'

It should come as no big surprise to anyone that the administration continues to nominate know-nothing cronies:

Democratic senators Tuesday questioned whether President Bush's nominee to lead the State Department refugee program is qualified for the job.

Bush has nominated Ellen Sauerbrey, who twice lost bids for Maryland governor, to be assistant secretary of state for population, refugees and migration. If confirmed, she would manage a nearly $1 billion budget for refugee crises overseas.

"I don't think we see the requisite experience that we've seen in other nominees" for the job, said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California, at Sauerbrey's confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Planning ahead

White House Sets Job Fair

Mommmm, make him stoppppp!

Josh is teasing us again! His post, in its entirety:

Very explosive news out of Italy today on the Niger/uranium front. More soon.

Why Fitzgerald's investigation matters

Gawker cuts through the tangled motives, confusing cast of characters and arcana of legalisms to get right to why you should care about the leak investigation. In reference to the NYTimes interactive graphic on the matter, they write:

What’s more, the graphic features cute little headshot graphics for each of the major players, and we’re in love with the thumbnail graphic for Valerie Plame (AKA Ms. Wilson). The image is cropped from a Vanity Fair feature, but it’s certainly not the only available image of Plame out there. But the scarf-and-sunglasses look is so perfect, isn’t it? The image makes this whole federal investigation so glamorous, and the chart thus tells you exactly why you should care about this mess: Because trapped in the midst of the grimacing pusses of boring old white guys is the fate of a foxy and clandestine screen goddess!
So there you have it. It's still all about the blondes. Oh well, at least she's not missing.

Monday, October 24, 2005

How low can they go?

Pretty damned low, it turns out:

For the first time in decades, federal officials refused to make the announcement that they have always made after a disaster. Every recent administration, including this one after the Sept. 11 attacks, has announced for humanitarian reasons as well as for the success of the government's rescue operation that immigration authorities will not use the relief effort as an enforcement opportunity. Indeed, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff was quick to announce that his agency would not engage in enforcement against employers of immigrants.

But the customary announcement regarding immigrants themselves never came. Even as White House officials were assuring community leaders and the ethnic media that they wanted all of the storm's victims to seek help, DHS officials were refusing to provide the necessary assurances that it was safe to come forward, leaving my organization, the National Council of La Raza, and our allies with a dilemma: Do we encourage people to seek help knowing that the government might use it against the very people we are trying to reach? Refusing to give assurances is one thing, but would the government really spend its enforcement resources on hurricane victims?

Apparently, the answer is yes. The Wall Street Journal reported early this month that "police and the U.S. Marshals Service swept into a Red Cross shelter for hurricane refugees [in Long Beach, Miss.]. They blocked the parking lot and exits and demanded identification from about 60 people who looked Hispanic, including some pulled out of the shower and bathroom, according to witnesses."

The only people in the shelter subjected to this treatment were Latinos, including those born in the United States who were there to help; at least one shelter manager, a former Marine and a Vietnam veteran who happened to be Hispanic, was also temporarily detained and screened. This follows several reports of immigrants being placed in deportation proceedings immediately after being taken to safety by government authorities in Texas and West Virginia.

Moral: if you're brown in the USA, you better be able to show residency papers upon request.

Cleaning up after Tim

My PMBF Dan gives tips to Tim Russert on keeping guests honest:

"MR. RUSSERT: But the fact is perjury or obstruction of justice is a very serious crime and Republicans certainly thought so when charges were placed against Bill Clinton before the United States Senate. Senator Hutchison.

"SEN. HUTCHISON: Well, there were charges against Bill Clinton besides perjury and obstruction of justice. And I'm not saying that those are not crimes. . . . I think that it is important, of course, that we have a perjury and an obstruction of justice crime, but I also think we are seeing grand juries and U.S. attorneys and district attorneys that go for technicalities, sort of a gotcha mentality in this country."

For the record, there were two articles of impeachment against Clinton: One for perjury, one for obstruction of justice. No other charges. Hutchison, like most Senate Republicans voted "guilty" on both of them. And in a statement, she explained her vote this way: "If only the President had followed the simple, high moral principle handed to us by our Nation's first leader as a child and had said early in this episode 'I cannot tell a lie,' we would not be here today."

Needless to say, the last para is Froomkin, NOT Russert.

More on Rice

Anne Rice that is. Sunday's Something Positive. (Scroll back to Oct 23 if cartoon changes.)

Sunday, October 23, 2005

WTF, over?

Further signs that the End Times are Nigh? This from Newsweek:

In two weeks, Anne Rice, the chronicler of vampires, witches and—under the pseudonym A. N. Roquelaure—of soft-core S&M encounters, will publish "Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt," a novel about the 7-year-old Jesus, narrated by Christ himself. "I promised," she says, "that from now on I would write only for the Lord."


Rice knows "Out of Egypt" and its projected sequels—three, she thinks—could alienate her following; as she writes in the afterword, "I was ready to do violence to my career."

Career suicide? Probably not. I'm looking on the bright side. If anyone can find the homoerotic subtext in that particular story, it's Anne.

TANG on the menu

Democrats should do nothing to jeopardize the Miers nomination from going to actual, televised confirmation hearings. I don't care how unqualified she is - I want to see the hearings. Why? Because:

On one line of Miers's questionnaire, she wrote that she had simply worked for the "George W. Bush Committee" in the 1990s. In fact Miers's firm was paid nearly $160,000 in connection with Bush's re-election campaign for governor in 1998. The White House confirmed that her work for the campaign included coordinating research and collecting public records relating to Bush's National Guard service during the Vietnam War—the same records that proved so controversial during last year's presidential campaign.
Yes, by nominating his personal lawyer to the Supreme Court, the Boy King has put the Texas Air National Guard story back in play. The difference now is that there are some indications that at least part of the media has been recalled to their responsibilities and may actually, you know, report on it.

Bridge to Nowhere still on budget

Never try to come between a guy and his rack of babyback ribs. The famous 'bridge to nowhere' that will serve some dozens of Alaskans is still, apparently sacrosanct.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), a staunch opponent of pork barrel spending, tried to block $453 million for two Alaska bridges that had been tucked into the recent highway bill. Coburn wanted to redirect the money to the Interstate 10 bridge across Lake Pontchartrain, a major thoroughfare that was severely damaged during Hurricane Katrina.

Sen. Ted Stevens, the veteran Alaska Republican, was dramatic in his response. "I don't kid people," Stevens roared. "If the Senate decides to discriminate against our state . . . I will resign from this body."

If ever a bluff was begging to be called, this is it. Later in that same article:
And, there is a curious twist to the story: Many residents of Alaska appear to support forfeiting the bridge money for hurricane relief. "This money, a gift from the people of Alaska, will represent more than just material aid; it will be a symbol for our beleaguered democracy," reads a typical letter to the Anchorage Daily News.
Why can't the American people find representation that actually represents them?

Fact checking: Back in Fashion?

At the bottom of the current Newsweek article about Libby mischaracterizing classified info to help make the admin case for war lurks this oopsie:

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this report said that Libby and Miller had breakfasted at the Ritz Carlton. In fact, it was the St. Regis Hotel.
May they be as rigorous over details that matter.

Could be worse...

... Still... 30,000 to 50,000 of New Orleans houses will have to be demolished.

Waiting for New Yorker

Today's NYT has a preview of what's coming up in the Scowcroft interview in the upcomign issue of the New Yorker. Teaser:

Mr. Scowcroft, a self-described realist who prides himself on seeing what could go wrong in any course of action, argues against what he characterizes as the utopian view of neoconservatives within the administration that toppling Saddam Hussein would open the door to democracy throughout the Middle East. He also suggests that Mr. Cheney is a man much changed, and not for the better, from the policy maker he worked with closely during the Persian Gulf war in 1991.


"The real anomaly in the administration is Cheney," Mr. Scowcroft told Jeffrey Goldberg of The New Yorker. "I consider Cheney a good friend - I've known him for 30 years. But Dick Cheney I don't know anymore."

I bet Scowcroft is being dropped from a few Christmas card lists this year.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Ah, progress

Eye candy for all!

Male models will be used as ballboys at the 2006 WTA Tour Championships, officials announced.


Like their [female] counterparts, the males will be kitted out by an international clothing sponsor for their on-court duties during the women's end of season finale which will move to Spain from Los Angeles

A Clean Desk is a Sign of an Empty Mind

As a charter member of the messy desk society, I found this little 'human interest' tidbit in the NYTimes article on Patrick Fitzgerald encouraging.

"You'd open a drawer, looking for a pen or Post-it notes, and it would be full of dirty socks," recalled Karen Patton Seymour, a former assistant United States attorney who tried a major case with him. "He was a mess. Food here, clothes there, papers everywhere. But behind all that was a totally organized mind."
I used to have a little pseudo-sampler that said "Dull Women have Immaculate Homes".

Later in same article:

During his time in New York, Mr. Fitzgerald's hapless bachelor ways became legendary. For months he did not bother to have the gas connected to the stove in his Brooklyn apartment. Once, in a fit of domesticity, he baked two pans of lasagna, recalled Amy E. Millard, a New York colleague. Distracted by work, he left them uneaten in the oven for three months before he discovered them, Ms. Millard said. When he tried to adopt a cat, she remembered, he was turned down because of his work habits and only later acquired a pet when a friend in Florida had to give up her cat and had it flown to him to New York.
Pat... can I call you Pat? Now that you have your own website, a gentle hint. Cat blogging is a friday tradition. Oh, sure - indictments take precedence and I wouldn't want you to take on anything that might delay them in any way. But I think I speak for many when I say I'm expecting some pictures of this cat.

Friday Tai Shan (cubby) blogging

Okay, I'm late, but I didn't have a new cubby picture! Now I do, so you can look at cuteness and rest your eyes after the horrors of my previous post.

You'll note that his ears are starting to stand up.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Wow. Freaky.

"Does this skirt make me look fat?"

From the Department of Unspeakably Arrogant Insulting of One's Readers Intelligence comes this, from the (alas) ubiquitous Judith Miller:

Miller said this week that she never wrote a story about Wilson's wife because "it wasn't that important to me. I was focused on the main question: Was our WMD intelligence slanted?"
You mean, slanted even more than you were warping it, Judy?

Career advice in the Op-Eds

The Post's Gene Robinson:

The other is something everybody in Washington media circles knows: Judy Miller is a real piece of work.

And I mean that in a good way, because pieces of work make the world a far more interesting place. There's one at every workplace, a larger-than-life figure who gets away with anything, who inspires others to shake their heads in outrage or admiration, who causes bosses and underlings alike to mutter or scream: "That So-and-So is a real piece of work."

If you disagree with that sweeping statement -- if you're thinking there's nobody who remotely fits that description at your office -- then I'm afraid the piece of work is probably you.

Why's everybody looking at me? What do you mean, what do I mean?

Dan, my PMB*, comes through with this on the Special Proscutor's office:

Special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has just launched his own brand-new Web site.

Could it be that he's getting ready to release some new legal documents? Like, maybe, some indictments? It's certainly not the action of an office about to fold up its tents and go home.

Fitzgerald spokesman Randall Samborn minimized the significance of the Web launch in an interview this morning.

"I would strongly caution, Dan, against reading anything into it substantive, one way or the other," he said. "It's really a long overdue effort to get something on the Internet to answer a lot of questions that we get . . . and to put up some of the documents that we have had ongoing and continued interest in having the public be able to access."

OK, OK. But will the Web site be used for future documents as well?

"The possibility exists," Samborn said.

Quoth Wonkette (well, a reasonable fascismile wonkster, anyway):
No Cheney mug-shot T-shirts for sale yet, just a bunch of press releases and stuff. Also, they're having problems with "some document formatting issues that [they're] still resolving." So, indictments as soon as they learn HTML?
Hey, fitz - one word: Cafepress.

*Print Media Boyfriend

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Hearings are going to be fun, fun, fun!


"It's been a gradual descent into almost silence," says a second source of the calls. "The meetings with the senators are going terribly. On a scale of one to 100, they are in negative territory. The thought now is that they have to end....Obviously the smart thing to do would be to withdraw the nomination and have a do-over as soon as possible. But the White House is so irrational that who knows? As of this morning, there is a sort of pig-headed resolve to press forward, cancel the meetings with senators if necessary, and bone up for the hearings."


"Demoralization and pessimism?" the source continues. "That's been a constant. We're in the various stages of grief."


This guy doesn't post to his blog often enough, you ask me. You'd think he had, like, another job or something.

Here he's talking about how the right are Defining Deviancy Down, in the immortal words of Pat Moynihan, by calling the Plame Investigation 'criminalizing politics' etc.

I don't know what indictments, if any, are coming down the pike. But I promise you this: If there are high-reaching indictments from Fitzgerald's grand jury that threaten to rip out several vital organs of the Bush regime, the same milksop Machiavellis who extol "hardball" as the Beltway's favorite sport will suddenly start worming their fingers together in major fits of nervous handwringing and warning us these trials risk "tearing the country apart" and becoming a "terrible distraction" to more "urgent problems facing the nation."


If it looks as if Cheney has to resign and Bush himself enters the Nixon danger zone, we'll hear the same frets and cries from the pundit shows about the country being torn apart and Americans losing faith in their government. But it isn't the country that will be torn apart by Plamegate any more than the country was torn apart during Watergate (which provided daily thrilling news entertainment value that bound citizens together); it's the Washington establishment that will be torn apart. And it should be torn apart. It's failed the country, and it's played by its own rules for too long, and "criminalizing politics" is exactly what should be done when political criminals deceive a nation into a war with Judith Miller serving as the Angie Dickinson to their Rat Pack and Richard Cohen auditioning for the part of Joey Bishop.

The compassion is just astonishing

From FEMA emails:

Wednesday, August 31: Much of New Orleans is underwater when a FEMA official inside the Superdome sends an urgent BlackBerry message to his boss, director Michael Brown:

"...the situation is past critical... hotels are kicking people out, thousands gathering in the streets with no food or water... estimates are many will die within hours," writes Marty Bahamonde, who was sent to be Brown's eyes and ears within the city.

Bahamonde tells Senate investigators he doesn't remember getting a response to that e-mail, but later was forwarded this one, which shows Brown's press secretary fretting about Brown's dining plans for that evening.

" is very important that time is allowed for Mr. Brown to eat dinner," she writes. "Given that Baton Rogue is back to normal, restaurants are getting busy. He needs much more [than] 20 or 30 minutes."


Bahamonde expressed his frustration about the "dinner e-mail," responding:

"OH MY GOD!!!!! Just tell her that I just ate an MRE and [went to the bathroom] in the hallway of the Superdome along with 30,000 other close friends, so I understand her concern about busy restaurants."

I like his epistolatory style

Now a catagory 5 meme

Latest Schadenfreude Meme: how many shopping days until Fitzmas?

The Niger Forgeries

Did Karl Rove have something to do with their creation? their 'discovery'? This guy thinks so.

I've been saying all along, we'll never understand the full extent of the administration's culpability in building a phony case to pursue the agenda they had on the table long before 9/11 until we understand how such blatant forgeries got into the policy-making process.

Good read

Everyone's quoting choice bits of this talk given by Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to Mr Powell until last January, so I thought I'd better put a link up. It's pretty choice stuff. Only bitch I have, and it's a biggie - why wasn't he telling us all of this last October?

More lists

One of these is not like the others. One of these does not belong.

He is in his 70s and first became known for his theory of transformational grammar - and now he is top of the thinkers' hit parade. Noam Chomsky, the linguistics professor who has become one of the most outspoken critics of US foreign policy, has won a poll that names him as the world's top public intellectual.

Chomsky, who was underwhelmed by the honour, beat off challenges from Umberto Eco, Richard Dawkins, Vaclav Havel and Christopher Hitchens to win the Prospect/Foreign Policy poll.

Give up? Okay, what's a pugnacious, supercilious, sot-soaked has-been doing on a list that includes world-class thinkers like Richard Dawkins?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Bunny that Roared.

My money's on the rabbit.

Opportunity knocking.

What you doing Saturday? Wanna be in TV?

The state of network television on Saturday nights has become so dire that ABC has essentially put a prime-time slot up for auction to anyone who has a compelling idea -- as long as it's done very cheaply.

ABC has put the word out to Hollywood producers that a Saturday night home is available to a program that can be made for no more than $500,000 an episode, which is about a quarter of what the traditional comedy or drama costs.

Hey, ABC! Over here! Got a great concept for you. All filmed on webcams. See, it's an ensemble kind of thing, like Cheers or Hill Street Blues, only it's LIVE. Filmed entirely on location at this wacky New Age Store. Cast will include Young Snarky Sales Personnel with complicated personal lives, psychic readers who constantly predict wonderful things while the world falls apart around them, the idiocyncratic Regulars who, like the barflies at Cheers, seem to have no home, and of course, the perpetually beleagered, yet valiant, owners, just trying to make a living peddling Aquarian Peace, Light and Love in an increasingly hostile world.

Working title: New Age! No, wait. The Bearable Lightness of Being. You hate it? Okay, we're not married to it. How 'bout Gettin' Metaphysical? Well, we can work on it. I can produce this show for a measly $100,000/week. ABC, call me. We'll talk.

From the SSDM files*

*Same Shit, Different... Month?

Here we go again.

Hurricane Wilma has strengthened into an "extremely dangerous" Category 5 hurricane, with sustained maximum winds of 175 mph, the National Hurricane Center said Wednesday.

The hurricane's minimum pressure is 892 millibars -- the lowest pressure observed in 2005.

Like, maybe we have to repeat this over and over until we get it right? Wouldn't that make a great movie premise??

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Fast and furious

Is the pace picking up a bit, ya think? From Raw Story:

Individuals familiar with Fitzgerald’s case tell RAW STORY that John Hannah, a senior national security aide on loan to Vice President Dick Cheney from the offices of then-Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, John Bolton, was named as a target of Fitzgerald’s probe. They say he was told in recent weeks that he could face imminent indictment for his role in leaking Plame-Wilson’s name to reporters unless he cooperated with the investigation.

Others close to the probe say that if Hannah is cooperating with the special prosecutor then he was likely going to be charged as a co-conspirator and may have cut a deal.

Developing, as they say... um, hard.

Diebold? Is that you??

From NYTimes:

The statement made no mention of the possibility of fraud, but said results were being re-examined to comply with internationally accepted standards. Election officials say that under those standards, voting procedures should be re-examined anytime a candidate or a ballot question got more than 90 percent of the vote.

Members of the commission declined to give any details. But one official with knowledge of the balloting said the 12 provinces where the "yes" votes exceeded 90 percent all had populations that were majority Shiite or Kurdish. Leaders from those communities strongly endorsed the proposed constitution.

Some of the provinces, the official said, reported that 99 percent of the ballots counted were cast in favor of the constitution.

Cronyocracy unveiled

Internal email within DHS at Katrina-landfall shows FEMA bush-cronies posturing and pouting:

President Bush established the White House Task Force on Hurricane Katrina Response a day later and Chertoff designated Under Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and Response -- FEMA chief -- Mike Brown the principle federal officer (PFO), putting him in charge of the relief effort.

Brown perceived it as a step down.

"Demote the Under Sec. to PFO?" FEMA press secretary Sharon Worthy wrote Brown on Sept. 30 (sic - I presume Aug. 30 is meant). "What about the precedent being set?"

"What does this say about executive management and leadership in the agency?"

Brown's one-word response: "Exactly."

A big flip?

New York Daily thinks a senior aide has flipped, and Cheney's in the crosshairs (metaphorically, I mean - please call off the secret service).

Cheney and Libby spend hours together in the course of a day, which causes sources who know both men very well to assert that any attempts to discredit Wilson would almost certainly have been known to the vice president.

"Scooter wouldn't be freelancing on this without Cheney's knowledge," a source told the Daily News. "It was probably some off-the-cuff thing: 'This guy [Wilson] could be a problem.'"

"Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?"... "Oh, I was taken out of context."

Any guesses on the flippee? I'm betting Karl, since he's such a toad. And really, when you've been in charge for so long with all the kudos going to the 'body' that you're 'braining' for, eventually payback has got to start looking good.

Monday, October 17, 2005

"Best-of" lists

... we love 'em.


Check out number 16. HA!

the 'No Duh' headline prize goes to...

The LATimes for "Bush Is in No Hurry on Katrina Recovery"

Put your hands together, folks. Aren't they great?

Wonkette is a mean tease

(I suspect I'm not the first person to have noticed this about her...)

I mean, come on. She starts a story like this:

Another missive from the humid hothouse of journalist-on-journalist love.
... and then it's about a Q&A between 'the cosy duo of Time's Matt Cooper and Time's Jim Kelly.'

Wonky... (Can I call you Wonky, dear? I'm sure I'm old enough to be your mother...) If you're going to use the phrase 'journalist-on-journalist love' in a sentence, it really should at LEAST be about the Cooper about whom we're already fantasizing.

How many of these have you read?

Time Mag ordains the 100 Best English Language Novels since 1923 (when Time was launched.)

I count a mere fifteen, some of which were school reading assignments.

I was surprised, yet pleased, to see one of my favorites, Snow Crash, included. Weirdly, there are two cyberpunk novels on the list, Snow Crash and Neuromancer.

What do you think the weirdest omission is?

Best. Blogname. Ever.

From Thesaurus Rex:

It's Tai Shan!

His name means 'peaceful mountain'. I suspect when he's pouncing on mama and generally being a toddler, the name is going to seem kind of ironic, but he'll grow into it.

One hundred days old today.

VPs can be indicted

The meme is in play that Vice Presidents can't be indicted; hence the term 'unindicted co-conspirator'. Guess what? Not true:

Nixon had quipped that Agnew was his insurance against impeachment, arguing that no one wanted to remove him if it meant elevating Agnew to the presidency. The joke took on reality when Agnew asked House Speaker Carl Albert to request that the House conduct a full inquiry into the charges against him. Agnew reasoned that a vice president could be impeached but not indicted. That line of reasoning, however, also jeopardized the president. For over a century since the failed impeachment of President Andrew Johnson, it had been commonly accepted reasoning that impeachment was an impractical and inappropriate congressional tool against the presidency. Agnew's impeachment would set a precedent that could be turned against Nixon. A brief from the solicitor general argued that, while the president was immune from indictment, the vice president was not, since his conviction would not disrupt the workings of the executive branch.

Heh. My favorite part is that about 'not disrupting the working of the executive branch'. Who's going to make the puppet dance and sing?

Bloomberg is reporting that people were being asked about Cheney's knowledge of, and possible activity in, the Get Joe Wilson campaign. Suddenly Bush and Cheney insisting on testifying without being sworn to 'tell the truth' takes on new meaning. It was widely joked at the time that Bush needed his puppeteer with him to make his mouth work. Now it looks like Cheney was hiding behind the Boy King's puny skirts like a Little Girl.

Money Quote:

In an interview yesterday, Wilson said that once the criminal questions are settled, he and his wife may file a civil lawsuit against Bush, Cheney and others seeking damages for the alleged harm done to Plame's career.

If they do so, the current state of the law makes it likely that the suit will be allowed to proceed -- and Bush and Cheney will face questioning under oath -- while they are in office. The reason for that is a unanimous 1997 U.S. Supreme Court decision ruling that Paula Jones' sexual harassment suit against then-President Bill Clinton could go forward immediately, a decision that was hailed by conservatives at the time.

Insert obscene yet rich and juicy metaphor about petards here.

Wonkette says Wednesday

Wednesday. We hear that a White House source says that Patrick Fitzgerald drops whatever bombs he has and the White House ducks for cover on Wednesday. We admit, however, don't know if the specificity of the date stems from actual knowledge or perverse wishful thinking. In any case, we're crossing our fingers that George Bush survives being the world's first living brain donor.

What? You think we didn't READ Wonkette?

Edith Bunker LIVES!

In Japan.

" 'This is it,' I remember thinking. 'I am going to have to divorce him now,' " Terakawa recalled. "It was bad enough that I had to wait on him when he came home from work. But having him around the house all the time was more than I could possibly bear."

Concerned about her financial future if she divorced, Terakawa stuck with their marriage -- only to become one of an extraordinary number of elderly Japanese women stricken with a disorder that experts here have recently begun diagnosing as retired husband syndrome, or RHS.


...Within a few weeks, she said, he was hardly leaving the house, watching television and reading the newspaper -- and barking orders at her. He often forbade her to go out with her friends. When he did let her go, Terakawa said, she had to prepare all his meals before leaving.

After several months, she developed stomach ulcers, her speech began to slur and rashes broke out around her eyes. When doctors discovered polyps in her throat but could find no medical reason for her sudden burst of ailments, she was referred to a psychiatrist who diagnosed stress-related RHS.

A little arsenic will usually clear that right up.

Strong words

And yet, not too strong. From today's WaPo, on a bill that would require companies to fully fund their pension plans, rather than pass the problem of underfunded pensions off to taxpayers:

... So it turns out that legislation that had once been close to passage does the opposite of what's intended. Nobody in Congress was told this until it was almost too late.

This, unfortunately, says a lot about the Bush administration: about its incompetence in handling economic issues and its cowardice in dealing with Congress. At some point in the past fortnight or so, the administration must belatedly have done enough analysis to understand that the Senate and House bills were going in the wrong direction, but it didn't breathe a word. The idea of publishing numbers that would have forced it to veto a bill written by Republican committee chairmen appears to have been too much for the Bush team. Remember, Mr. Bush is the first president since John Quincy Adams to have completed a full term in the White House without vetoing a single bill.

The result is that the nation is ducking a clear challenge. Defined-benefit pension plans in companies nationwide are underfunded to the tune of $450 billion, and ultimately taxpayers may be on the hook for some of that. It's obvious that globalization is putting huge competitive pressure on old-line corporations -- the type most likely to have defined-benefit plans -- and that many of these may go bankrupt. It's also obvious that, with the coming baby bust, past pension promises can't be swept under the carpet anymore. And yet, however obvious, politicians are too corrupt and cowardly to tackle the problem.

Throw in a few expletives and that's an editorial I would have been proud to write.

You say that like it's a BAD thing!

School 'willing to sponsor a prom, but not an orgy'

Got my candidate

Right here.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

...da fuh?

Follow-on to post "huh??" below, in which I ask what the heck Libby is doing discussing classified info with a reporter, any reporter.

In case you missed it, turns out that at some point, when she was in bed, I mean embedded, with the military, Ms Miller had a security clearance.

Yes, I know. In what universe is this ever a good idea? A reporter with a clearance is a PR flak. Here's how she describes it (via TPM Cafe):

During the Iraq war, the Pentagon had given me clearance to see secret information as part of my assignment "embedded" with a special military unit hunting for unconventional weapons.
You'll note that the Iraq War is, in her mind apparently, over - not sure what's going on over there now but it's clearly no longer the Iraq War. Be that as it very well may, why does she think she still has a security clearance and has no qualms discussing classified information with the people she's flakking for?

Here's someone who calls the whole clearance of reporters issue the 'hidden scandal'.

I can think of no reason why a working journalist should even want a clearance. Because typically that means that you are subject to government censorship when you write on that topic. Who'd willingly accept those chains?

Other, I mean, than a total tool like Judy.

A Nice Story

Read it. Ninth Ward family adopted, changes attitudes in high-rent Dallas area

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Busy, busy man...

From Sunday's WaPo: Rove Cancels Appearance at Fundraiser for Kilgore

You gotta wonder where Karl keeps his passport these days. I'm thinking in his jacket pocket.


From Judy Speaks:

Miller also wrote: "Mr. Fitzgerald asked if I had discussed classified information with Mr. Libby. I said I believe so, but could not be sure."

The reporter said Fitzgerald asked "how Mr. Libby treated classified information. I said, 'Very carefully.'"

Excuse me? How is discussing classified information with reporters 'treating classified information very carefully'??

This simply does not compute.

What it's all about

Sigh. From the little moron today:

President George W. Bush vowed on Saturday that the United States "will not run" from Iraq as it did from Vietnam, as he welcomed voting on a new Iraqi constitution and called it step forward for democracy.
This is really all about those people who felt emasculated by not 'staying the course' in Vietnam getting their hard-on back. A pretty expensive, painful dose of Viagra, you ask me.

Great Thread

There's a great thread on Shakespeare's Sister that's about to scroll off the front page, so I link it here. Topic: What movies made you cry?

Here's one for you - what books made you cry, and why?

My pick: in The Amber Spyglass, book three of His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman, when Lyra and Will have to go thru the 'valley of death' kind of place and it becomes clear that Lyra's daemon spirit Pantalaimon won't be able to come with her and they don't know if they'll ever find each other again. Oh, WAHHH. (HDM series linked in sidebar.)

Playing the Hitler card

Holy Godwin's Law, Batman! Virginia candidate for governor Kilgore gets a Two-fer! Works Hitler into ads claiming his opponent is soft on crime:

The Republican candidate for Virginia governor is drawing fire for campaign ads that suggest his Democratic opponent is so averse to the death penalty he would have spared Adolph Hitler from execution.

The radio and TV ads feature victims' relatives who tearfully recount the crimes that killed their loved ones and say they don't trust Democrat Tim Kaine to administer the state's death penalty.

Kaine, who says his moral objections to capital punishment are rooted in his Roman Catholic faith, responded with an ad pledging to carry out death sentences "because it's the law."

One of the ads supporting Jerry Kilgore, Virginia's attorney general, cites a Richmond Times-Dispatch column that said Kaine had "suggested he would not favor sending even Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin or Idi Amin to the gallows."

Loser argument, Jerry - look it up.

What we deserve?

From Friday's WaPo:

The current atmosphere is not what Bush envisioned as a candidate in 2000. Coming off the Clinton years, which were dominated by seven independent counsel investigations and the impeachment of the president, Bush vowed to run a cleaner and more ethical Washington. "In my administration," Bush told voters in Pittsburgh in October 2000, "we will ask not only what is legal but what is right, not what the lawyers allow but what the public deserves."
How do you like the Republican version of What We Deserve?

Friday, October 14, 2005

Where am I going to get 4 million?

Okay, looks like I need four million dollars. Help a girl out. Heh.

Oh, dear.

I fear I am doomed:

In more than 80 clinical trials, Dr. Glenn Wilson, a psychiatrist at King's College London University, found that workers distracted by phone calls, e-mails and text messages suffer a greater loss of IQ than if they'd smoked marijuana.

The IQ of those juggling messages and work fell by an average of 10 points -- equivalent to missing a whole night's sleep and more than double the four-point fall seen after smoking pot. The drop in IQ was even more significant in men.

No word on compulsive blogging tho'. Or checking your hitcounter every ten minutes after John In DC links to you.

Still, there is this...

Finally, a decade of research at the W.M. Keck Laboratory for Functional Brain Imaging and Behavior led by neuroscientist Richard Davidson found that choosing specific thoughts and emotions can permanently change the working of the brain.

When participants practiced feeling love and compassion, their brains went into action -- connecting and building new circuitry at high speed.


From the Clue Factory:

Is anyone else sort of hoping Harriet shows up at her confirmation hearings with a little chihuahua in a tote bag, a la Legally Blonde?

Sometimes the comments are the best part

Okay, Kevin Drum wins the Best Commenters award hands down, week after week. (And I don't say this just because I have a tendency to comment there.)

Today Stepan offers this, in comments on Kevin's post on the THE ZAWAHIRI LETTER

Just wait till the CIA triumphantly unveils Zawahiri's hacked Sidekick messaages:

> my dear bro wot r u up to?

> not much just chillin plannin 4 global jihad hey r u hungry?

> yeah lets go get food inshallah

> not pakistani im sick of it how bout chinese?

> do they deliver?

> god willing yes

> ok hit me later in the name of the prophet bye

> the prophets blessing n mercy on 2 u your loving bro

What did Harriet know and when did she know it?

Josh Marshall points out (via a reader's prompt) that Harriet Miers was quite involved in the day-to-day business of the WH when the Get-Joe-Wilson (and his little wife too) plot was launched. So. Has she had her turn in front of the Grand Jury?

Another question that should be asked - are there any Dems with the stuff to ask her about this during her confirmation hearing??

Big Hi-hi to Americablog readers.

Scott McClellan is a fascist fucking pig

Pardon my 'french', but really... From the gaggle. Thomas is Helen Thomas, Grand Duchess of the White House Press Corps.

THOMAS It has nothing to do with -- Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.

McCLELLAN: Well, you have a very different view of the war on terrorism, and I'm sure you're opposed to the broader war on terrorism. The President recognizes this requires a comprehensive strategy, and that this is a broad war, that it is not a law enforcement matter.


TERRY MORAN On what basis do you say Helen is opposed to the broader war on terrorism?

McCLELLAN: Well, she certainly expressed her concerns about Afghanistan and Iraq and going into those two countries. I think I can go back and pull up her comments over the course of the past couple of years.

MORAN And speak for her, which is odd.

Huge big red-lipstick smooches to ABC's Terry Moran for calling the little pig on it. Terry wins a spot in my Boyfriend Training Program.

Friday Cubby Blogging

Time to check in with the National Zoo's newest star again:

The Zoo's Panda Page reports that he's up on four feet more often, and taking a few steps, mainly when Mama Mei isn't around to make him feel all self-conscious about his explorations.

They'll be announcing his name on Monday, so I can start calling it "Friday Qiang Qiang blogging" (or whatever).

Thursday, October 13, 2005


Three down, three to go.

Greenspan replacement identified!


President Attempts to Blunt Charges of Cronyism

Still smarting from criticism of his nomination of Harriet Miers to the United States Supreme Court, President George W. Bush today nominated a man he described as “a guy I met at the mall” to succeed Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan.

At a White House ceremony, a beaming President Bush stood at the side of the guy he met at the mall and explained how he came to choose a total unknown to replace Mr. Greenspan, who has served at the Fed since 1987.

Mr. Bush said that the two men met while they were waiting in line at a David’s Cookies store: “I was very impressed with the way he counted his change, and I am confident he will bring that same understanding of money to his new role as head of the Federal Reserve.”

Hat tip to Craigie.


From comments at Kevin Drum's place:

It's also hard work talking in code to your base all the time - eventually you're bound to slip up. It's like you're at a party with both your wife and your mistress. You know you're supposed to keep your arm around your wife and wink at your mistress, but eventually you're bound to accidentally put your arm around your mistress and wink at your wife.
Brooksfoe, you're a hoot.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Harriet End Game

Newsweek speculates on whether or not Harriet will ever sit on the Supremes here.

Meanwhile, Plamegate is metastasizing. People are searching for the Grand Unified Scandal Theory (GUST, heh):

It’s really possible that right now, before our eyes, unfolding in slow motion, is a sordid, jaw-dropping story that connects everything from Bolton to Dobson, GannonGuckert to HannityO'Reilly, Florida in 2000 to Ohio in 2004, Enron to Halliburton, lies about the Texas Air National Guard to lies about WMDs.
My theory - Harriet's going to end up being first female President of the United States. How? you ask?

Via a modified Agnew/Nixon scenario.

Scooter flips for Fitz, yields up Cheney; Cheney quickly resigns for 'health reasons', is given a blanket, admit-no-guilt pardon by the Puppet. The Boy King, realizing his days are numbered, appoints Harriet VP, as a consolation for a no-longer possible Supreme seat. As impeachment looms over the question of who forged the Niger documents, Bush resigns 'for the good of the country', takes another one of those admit-no-guilt blanket pardons from New Prez Miers, and vanishes to Crawford, where he drinks himself to death in deserved obscurity.

Miers can't make a worse President that the one who's there now.

Cubs a-plenty!

The crop this year from the Wolong panda breeding center in China:

(click pic for larger version.)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

You. Are Number Six.

"I am not a number, I am a Free Man."

Okay, how many Number Two's does Al Qaida have, really?

Be seeing you.

Wanted: Rich Person to Adopt Me

Or at least fund a trip to NYC so I can see this exhibit.

Get 'em while they're hot

Fine Line of Impeach Cheney Gear here:

Yay! Dan's Back!

My OTHER boyfriend is back! (I think I'm going to have to start calling Dan my Print Media Boyfriend, to distinguish him from my TVBF...):

And unless I dreamt it, I'm pretty sure I caught a clip of Bush on CNN International actually criticizing Osama Bin Laden for being a child of wealth and privilege who sends young people to their deaths but never offers to go along with the ride.
**sniff** I missed you, Dan.

Oh, Santa, I've been SUCH a good girl!

From HuffPo:

The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg are working on stories that point to Vice President Dick Cheney as the target of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation into the leaking of CIA operative Valerie Plame's name.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Impossible to describe...

You're just going to have to follow the link and see this 'christian' comic book for yourself.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Bombing SMURFS?

BRUSSELS - The people of Belgium have been left reeling by a public service commercial featuring the Smurfs, in which the blue-skinned cartoon characters' village is annihilated by warplanes.

The 25-second commercial is the work of UNICEF, and is to be broadcast on TV across Belgium next week as a public fundraiser. It is intended as the keystone of a drive, by UNICEF's Belgian arm, to raise about $145,000 for the rehabilitation of former child soldiers in Burundi.


Belgian television viewers were given a preview of the commercial earlier this week, when it was shown on the main evening news. Reactions ranged from approval to shock and, in the case of small children who saw the episode by accident, wailing terror.

UNICEF and IMPS, the family company that controls all rights to the Smurfs, have stipulated that it is not to be broadcast before 9 p.m.

The ad pulls no punches. It opens with the Smurfs dancing, hand-in-hand, around a campfire and singing the Smurf song. Bluebirds flutter past and rabbits gambol around their familiar village of mushroom- shaped houses until, without warning, bombs begin to rain from the sky.

Tiny Smurfs scatter and run in vain from the whistling bombs, before being felled by blast waves and fiery explosions. The final scene shows a scorched and tattered Baby Smurf sobbing inconsolably, surrounded by prone Smurfs.

The final frame bears the message: "Don't let war affect the lives of children.''

[Insert gratuitous purple dinosaur joke here.]

Now this is just cool

Four vehicles finish in $2 million robot race

Note these are autonomous vehicles, not remotely-piloted ones. And whatever they may say about the military applications (and of course you have to claim a military application to get funding), the real reason to pursue this is for space exploration. With current technology, there's no reason why remotely-piloted vehicles wouldn't be good enough for any conceivable military use. It's only the time-lag of getting signals back and forth in space that make autonomous vehicles necessary. So this is cool.

This is outrageous

Here's a guy who lost his job (and subsequently his insurance) because of Hurricane Katrina who can't get his chemotherapy.

Under the present rules for Katrina victims, if you are destitute, the government will pay your medical bills. Ditto if you are severely disabled or have children. But if you're an adult who had a job that included health benefits and you lost that job because of the storm, the government can't seem to help.
Hello? You have to start destitute before we can help you??

Saturday, October 08, 2005

All your children are belong to us

No point in breeding the little cannon fodder if you make it hard for us to get to 'em, is there? Story:

Buried within the federal No Child Left Behind Act is a provision that requires school districts to give personal information about students to military recruiters. Parents can choose to keep that information private but some local groups say school districts make that too difficult.


Duval County notifies parents at the beginning of the school year about its policy for giving out personal information. Parents have three options. They can approve the release of student information, restrict it to the military and colleges and universities only or they can prohibit the release of any personal information whatsoever.

But the last option has meant students would also be kept out of the yearbook, sports programs and listings of honors and awards.

It apparently never occurred to these people that while most parents might welcome college recruiters interest in their underage children, military interest in your teen is a little less welcome.

Best argument yet for intelligent design


You take the panda. Could blind, dumb, bio-chemical processes have come up with something so cuddly and so cute? Somebody had to invent the panda. Intelligent design.


Now consider the giant squid, a horrible animal recently captured on film by the Japanese. (What is it with their fascination with monsters? They should get over it.) The giant squid is one disgusting, nightmarish creature like those eighty foot long worms they discovered lurking around thermal holes at the bottom of the ocean.

No intelligent anything, person, spirit, god or universal who-who, would design an eighty foot worm. Why would an intelligence design something so disgusting and icky-poo? They, it, him, her wouldn’t. Anybody or anything that would do that is obviously un-intelligent. So what do the scientists say is unintelligent? Evolution.


An exception to the theorem. Avian flu comes from neither intelligent design nor evolution. CNN gets the credit for that. Hurricanes are started by MSNBC. Earthquakes come courtesy of FOX.

By George, I believe he's Got It!


All's the Plamegate situation needed was a 200-dollar-hour hooker to morph into a planet-eating Meta-Scandal. Perhaps we have one?

Fear Factor: Christian Style

And the little children shall lead them:

FLORENCE, Ala. - The First Assembly of God Church has a Fear Factor ministry that lets youths swallow live goldfish in order to teach them about fear.

"We need to be realistic about what the Bible says about fear and not be afraid to share our faith in school," youth minister Anthony Martin told the TimesDaily in a story Thursday. "We can't let that fear rule our lives."

Martin said the ministry's participants are between the ages of 14 and 21 and that they had to get their parents to sign a waiver to be involved.


"Through this ministry, kids are surrendering their lives to Jesus and developing a deeper relationship with Jesus," Martin said. "The method of the ministry that we use to bring people is going to change, but the message is going to stay consistent."

For adults ages 21-25, there's a special program where they are required to put brown-skinned people in 'stress positions' for lengthy periods to teach them 'fear of the other' - all in good fun, of course. No parental waivers required!

Tipped off by Blondesense.

Pursuit of Happiness

Jeanne at Body and Soul isn't your typical blogger; rather than innumerable posts during the day on a plethora of topics, she lets a subject that catchs her attention simmer for a while and then posts a thought-provoking essay on it. Read her latest on the 'ownership society':

At some level, I think most people understand that once you have food, clothing, shelter, and a few personally important luxuries (for me -- books and music), the things that add the most to your life -- schools, health care, a clean environment, pleasant surroundings, museums, etc. -- are things that either you can't provide for yourself, or things that function best when everyone shares in them.

So the problem with focusing on making more and more people part of an "ownership society," isn't just that it's a scam, but that even if you really tried to make it happen, society wouldn't necessarily be better off.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Culture Corner: C. S. Lewis

Book recommendation time, boys and girls. I just finished C.S. Lewis' "Till We Have Faces" and thought it worth mentioning here. It's his last book, and his own personal favorite of his books. Many reviewers consider it his most mature work.

The subtitle is "A Myth Retold" and the storyline is that of Cupid and Psyche. The POV character is one of Psyche's 'ugly stepsisters', who, in this version, is actually motivated by what she believes to be Psyche's best interests.

The POV character is also the narrator, and Lewis does a good job with a female narrator. (Trust me, not all writers can narrate across gender lines.) The setting is much more pagan than is usual for his fiction, and any Christian allegory so subtle as to be entirely invisible, although themes of love and faith, of course, cross pagan/Christian lines.

I found this in a thrift shop in an old "Time magazine books" edition from '66 (back when media companies thought they had some sort of responsibility to the public), and for a 40-year-old paperback, it's in astonishingly good shape.

Since you probably won't be similarly lucky, it's still in perpetual print. Amazon link provided in sidebar.

Friday Cubby Blogging.

From Sept 19 - Bin'o'panda, or 1001 things to do with tupperware, #1001:

From Oct 4 - Cubby watching the birdie.

Seriously, is that cub a camera-magnet or what?

Some good news

For a change:

The first major study of an experimental vaccine to prevent cervical cancer found it was 100 percent effective, in the short term, at blocking the disease and lesions likely to turn cancerous, the drugmaker Merck & Co. said Thursday. Its shares rose nearly 6 percent.


"You have to get students in grammar school, middle school, high school (vaccinated) before they become sexually active," she said.

Expect the Usual Suspects to try to block the vaccine as 'encouraging sexual activity' or some such crap... Seriously. Wait for it.

Earth to Vatican

Shut the fuck up:

ROME - Italy's first experiment with the abortion pill RU-486 is sparking controversy in this overwhelmingly Catholic country, with the Vatican paper condemning the experiment this week as an "act against life."

As if we didn't have enough to worry about

Now there's this:

President George W. Bush wants to pick a replacement for retiring Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan as soon as possible, the White House said on Friday.
So. Who ya think? Laura? One of the twins?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Harry Potter gay?

Film at eleven?

I keep trying to break away from the blogging machine, but every time I hit reload, there's something else... Now this:

LONDON, England (Reuters) -- A British cleric turned top-selling author of supernatural children's novels was thrown out of a school where he was delivering a talk after he told pupils that Harry Potter was "gay."

Reverend Graham Taylor, who penned the novel "Shadowmancer" which, like the tales of the famous boy wizard created by J.K. Rowling, centers on witchcraft and battling evil, got his marching orders after teachers accused him of homophobia.

"As for Harry Potter, well, he's not the only gay in the village," the former Anglican priest told children at Penair School in Truro, southwest England, referring to a catchphrase from the popular British comedy TV show "Little Britain."

This is, of course, not news to anyone who reads fanfic...

Mannequin sex!

I can't believe Wonkette's not all OVER this story:

Tongues were wagging. E-mails were flying around PTA message groups and church listservs. People who heard about it came by to take a look for themselves. The issue was tiny underwear -- women's fine lingerie, to be exact-- and how it should be displayed on lifelike mannequins in the newest wing of one of America's biggest malls.

"Little Shop of Whores," huffed one woman standing outside the new Victoria's Secret in Tysons Corner Center. "Slut wear," declared the father of a teenage girl, looking at a feathery-thong-clad mannequin bent over as if she were adjusting her spike heels.

Follow link for full story and a pic! The only problem I have with the photo is that the mannequins are all built like Anne Coulter. And now with the mental image of Anne Coulter in a feathery thong... excuse me while I go wash my brain out with bleach.

Thanks to Praxxus for the link.

Best. Cartoon. Ever.

Well, at least this week's best...

Thanks to Athena for the great find.

That didn't take long...


A controversial proposed bill to prohibit gays, lesbians and single people from using medical procedures to become pregnant has been dropped by its legislative sponsor.

State Sen. Patricia Miller, R-Indianapolis, issued a one-sentence statement this afternoon saying: “The issue has become more complex than anticipated and will be withdrawn from consideration by the Health Finance Commission.”

Translation: Shit, I thought I could sneak this through before anyone noticed.

Take THAT, Sperm Queen.

Handy scorecard

... without which you can't tell the players, etc.

21 Administration Officials Involved In Plame Leak

But it's not all bad news...

I was pleased to see that 90% of the Senate believes torture is bad.

Bush, of course, threatens a veto; since he's never vetoed anything, it's hard to take the threat seriously. (Someone must have told him once that using the veto was a 'sign of weakness'.)

I'm breathlessly awaiting word - will he exercise this use of Presidential Power for the first time ever to save his precious torture prerogative? You know he's going to hate to lose it...

Alternate History speculation - if this bill had come up two-three months ago, do you think the Pro-Torture faction would have been larger than the nine 'no' votes that remain today?

Uh-oh II

End times a-coming?

Portions of Montana, the Dakotas and Wyoming were hit by a slow-moving snowstorm that knocked out power, closed roads and dumped up to 2 feet by Wednesday night.

... "It is, on our records, probably one of the earliest ones, as far as our recorded history goes, in 126, 130 years," said Sam Walker, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Bismarck, North Dakota.

The storm came just a few days after North Dakota had temperatures in the 90s. Warmer weather was forecast to return in the coming days.