Saturday, December 31, 2005


What do you believe? which group are you more in sync with? Find out at the Belief-o-Matic.

My top five:

1. Unitarian Universalism (100%)
2. Liberal Quakers (96%)
3. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (96%)
4. Secular Humanism (88%)
5. Neo-Pagan (80%)

My bottom five:

23. Hinduism (24%)
24. Islam (20%)
25. Seventh Day Adventist (19%)
26. Eastern Orthodox (10%)
27. Roman Catholic (10%)


?? Which Natural Wonder Or Disaster Are You ??
brought to you by Quizilla

Friday, December 30, 2005

Surfing USA

Headline on HuffPo (links to Yahoo news): Survey: Male Internet Users Seek News, Porn; Females Go For Health, Religion...

I surf for news, porn, health and religion (well, alt-spirituality, at least). What does that make me? the Uber-Gendered?

Little Froomkins!

WashPost boyfriend Froomkin is spawning! Well, he had help, of course:

What a great way for Dan Froomkin to cap a year that ended with, well, a bit of controversy. Congratulations to both Dan and his wife Paige Fitzgerald, who welcomed 9 pounds, 7 ounces Max Fitzgerald Froomkin on Monday night.
I'm going to pretend the middle name is a nod to Patrick Fitzgerald and not his in-laws...

And no, this doesn't release Dan from his boyfriend duties of continuing to point out naked emperors (and come on, it's not as tho' it's hard or time consuming; there are naked emperors literally everywhere). Being a listed and official Prairie Angel Boyfriend is like a knighthood - a lifetime honor.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

White (House) Lies

So hard to say "Lie"... Today's WaPo: White House Prevarications

Here, journos - I saved you a trip to the Thesaurus:

LIE: aspersion, backbiting, calumniation, calumny, complete distortion of the facts, corker, deceit, deception, defamation, detraction, dishonesty, disinformation, distortion, evasion, fable, fabrication, falsehood, falseness, falsification, falsity, fib, fiction, fish story, forgery, fraudulence, guile, hyperbole, inaccuracy, invention, libel, mendacity, misrepresentation, misstatement, myth, obloquy, perjury, prevarication, revilement, reviling, slander, subterfuge, tale, tall story, terminological inexactitude, vilification, white lie, whopper

Courtesy of Expect to see the media talking about 'terminological inexactitude, obloquy and mendacity loooong before you will ever hear them utter the 'L' word.

More Thuglican Elitism

The 'conservative' assault on the constitution continues unabated. 'Birthright citizenship' is the target. Stratified, theocratic Saudi-esque society is the goal.

Compassionate Conservatism in Action!

From ChiTrib:

A proposal prohibiting defense contractor involvement in human trafficking for forced prostitution and labor was drafted by the Pentagon last summer, but five defense lobbying groups oppose key provisions and a final policy still appears to be months away, according to those involved and Defense Department records.

The lobbying groups opposing the plan say they're in favor of the idea in principle, but said they believe that implementing key portions of it overseas is unrealistic. They represent thousands of firms, including some of the industry's biggest names, such as DynCorp International and Halliburton subsidiary KBR, both of which have been linked to trafficking-related concerns.

Makes you quietly proud to be American, doesn't it?

Saturday, December 24, 2005

What's with all the cat killers?

Can someone explain to me the fear and loathing certain authoritarian types have about cats? Are they too independent for the average O-3? Seems the Army Navy Club has been home to a colony of feral cats for some years. This from the WaPo:

But now club officials have decided that the cats must go.

Although most of them have been trapped, vaccinated and spayed or neutered, usually at club expense, some board members fear that a new cat might move in, become infected with rabies and bite someone on the grounds, said Al Baker, the club's vice president.

Baker, who stressed that he was not speaking for the club and does not agree with its position, said he had heard the cats are to be trapped, beginning as early as Jan. 1, turned over to a shelter, and most likely euthanized, since strays that have never lived with humans are not easily adopted.

However, animal experts have warned the club that such a measure is unlikely to solve any problems. Without the resident cats, the club would soon begin hosting a new band of cats -- fertile, unvaccinated, and more feral than these.

Or worse. My sister tells the tale of Camp Smith, Hawaii, in the eighties. They too had a colony of feral cats. They too decided to trap and remove (read 'exterminate') all the cats. After the cats were gone, the rats moved in. But while cats were content to remain outside, the rats weren't. No, the rats not only moved in, they MOVED IN. As in inside all the buildings on base. The base became very familiar with the rat-catcher. I think feral cats are cheaper...

But wait, there's more...

The issue has caused a brouhaha at the venerable club, which is full of military families, senators, congressmen and diplomats.

Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.), a 20-year club member, said he is outraged.

"That's just terrible," he said. "It doesn't make sense to me, it doesn't meet the common-sense test."

Citing his work on behalf of animals, including writing language into bills to limit the use of cats in military experiments, and to allow a wounded veteran to keep the dog she had worked with in Iraq, Murtha said he plans to talk with board members about the cat removal.

"We can't let that happen," he said. "Let me get involved in it and see."

I'm looking forward to hearing the end of this story. And I'm opening up a whole new category on the Boyfriend List, just for John Murtha - the Congressional Boyfriend.

Alito confirmation

Anyone think the Alito nom is a shoe-in? SpyGate opinions may arise:

As a lawyer in the Reagan Justice Department, Alito said the attorney general must be free to take steps to protect the country from threats such as terrorism and espionage without fear of personal liability. But in a 1984 memo involving a case that dated to the Nixon administration, Alito also cautioned his superiors that the time may not be right to make that argument and urged a more incremental approach.
Yeah, I want Gonzales to have blanket immunity for anything he thinks is necessary to do. **Snort**

This thing is enormous

SpyGate? PoliceStateGate? Whatever it is, it's going to be huge. I said earlier:

So perhaps they didn't get court approval for the simple reason that rather than wanting to tap specific individuals' communications, they just tapped us all - putting a tap directly on the internet backbone and siphoning off anything that hit certain keywords for review?

If this proves to be the case, there is no end to the shit they just stepped in.

Turns out I was right, but it's not the internet backbone, it's the telecommunications switching network.

First, here's the NYT:

The volume of information harvested from telecommunication data and voice networks, without court-approved warrants, is much larger than the White House has acknowledged, the officials said. It was collected by tapping directly into some of the American telecommunication system's main arteries, they said.


The government's collection and analysis of phone and Internet traffic have raised questions among some law enforcement and judicial officials familiar with the program. One issue of concern to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which has reviewed some separate warrant applications growing out of the N.S.A.'s surveillance program, is whether the court has legal authority over calls outside the United States that happen to pass through American-based telephonic "switches," according to officials familiar with the matter.

One outside expert on communications privacy who previously worked at the N.S.A. said that to exploit its technological capabilities, the American government had in the last few years been quietly encouraging the telecommunications industry to increase the amount of international traffic that is routed through American-based switches.

The growth of that transit traffic had become a major issue for the intelligence community, officials say, because it had not been fully addressed by 1970's-era laws and regulations governing the N.S.A. Now that foreign calls were being routed through switches on American soil, some judges and law enforcement officials regarded eavesdropping on those calls as a possible violation of those decades-old restrictions, including the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which requires court-approved warrants for domestic surveillance.

Historically, the American intelligence community has had close relationships with many communications and computer firms and related technical industries. But the N.S.A.'s backdoor access to major telecommunications switches on American soil with the cooperation of major corporations represents a significant expansion of the agency's operational capability, according to current and former government officials.

Now here's the Boston Globe:
And some legal scholars have maintained that a computer cannot violate other Americans' Fourth Amendment rights simply by sorting through their messages, as long as no human being ever looks at them.

Alane Kochems, a lawyer and a national security analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said, ''I don't think your privacy is violated when you have a computer doing it as opposed to a human. It isn't a sentient being. It's a machine running a program."

But Yale Law School professor Jack Balkin said that Fourth Amendment privacy rights can still be violated without human contact if the NSA stores copies of everyone's messages, raising the possibility that a human could access them later. The administration has not revealed how long the NSA stores messages, and the agency has refused to comment on the program.

Balkin added that as technology becomes ever more sophisticated, any legal distinction between human agents and their tools is losing meaning. Under the theory that only human beings can invade people's privacy, he said, the police ''could simply use robots to do their dirty work."

I think what we're seeing is a case (not unprecedented) of technology leapfrogging existing laws. The capability to data-mine the types of electronic comms that these stories imply is potentially enormously valuable. Unfortunately, it's also enormously tempting. And I think it's clearly still illegal under existing laws. Modification to existing laws, dealing with the storage and use of information on US citizens, might make this technology usable in the current legal framework. But the people who are doing the spying don't think they need to explain or justify anything.

Do you want Dick Cheney to have the ability to snoop through the thought-processes of anyone he disagrees with? Because that's essentially what he's got now. And he doesn't think there's anything wrong with that.

Re-frame for Bush-Cultists: Do you think Hilary ought to be able to sift through the records of the Heritage Foundation, the Eagle Forum and the Concerned Women for American any time she takes a fancy to?

Friday, December 23, 2005

1984. A few years late.

A great idea:

We are told that it's better not to know what our government is doing in our name, for security purposes. Meanwhile, our government is becoming omnipresent, spying on us whenever it deems it necessary.

War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.

George Orwell was right after all.

In 1949, Orwell penned "1984," a dark, futuristic satire in which the totalitarian government used indoctrination, propaganda and fear to enforce order and conformity. His "Big Brother" — the face of this all-knowing regime — was never wrong, and to make sure of it, history was constantly being rewritten.

Orwell wrote his book as a cautionary tale to underscore the insidious danger of slowly eroded individual liberties. His Thought Police may not yet be on the march, but it's not hyperbole to point out the eerie parallels with today's America.

In America today, Big Brother is watching.


Orwell wrote of war without end; we're told the war on terror will last decades at least. Orwell wrote of a dumbed-down "Newspeak," and who could argue that our national discourse hasn't slumped? Orwell's "Ministry of Love" tortured dissidents real or imagined; our government decries Iraq's secret torture prisons while arguing over whether to ban torture. Meanwhile, we maintain our own secret CIA prisons.

Bush is unapologetic. The president believes he has the legal authority to spy on American citizens without a warrant, and he plans to continue to reauthorize the program "for so long as the nation faces the continuing threat of an enemy that wants to kill American citizens." But when the enemy is poorly defined, who determines when the threat is over? In this case, the same government that secretly taps our phones.

Turns out the truth is no stranger than fiction.

We think it's time for Congress to heed the warning of George Orwell.

To that end, we're asking for your help: Mail us or drop off your tattered copies of "1984." When we get 537 of them, we'll send them to every member of the House of Representatives and Senate and to President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

Feel free to inscribe the book with a note, reminding these fine people that we Americans take the threat to our liberties seriously. Remind Congress that it makes no sense to fight a war for democracy in a foreign land while allowing our democratic principles to erode at home.

Remind President Bush that ours is a country of checks and balances, not unbridled power.

Perhaps our nation's leaders can find some truth in this fiction and more carefully ponder the road we're traveling.

Bring or mail your books to the Oakland Tribune, 401 13th St., Oakland CA 94612. Doors are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Thanks to the Space Ace for the tip.

Friday AnderBlogging

Because whatever the occasion...

Anderson Cooper. Always Appropriate.

OH! Canada!

Yet another reason to love our neighbor to the North:

Group sex among consenting adults is neither prostitution nor a threat to society, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled on Wednesday as it lifted a ban on so-called "swingers" clubs.

In a ruling that radically changes the way courts determine what poses a threat to the population, the top court threw out the conviction of a Montreal man who ran a club where members could have group sex in a private room behind locked doors.

"Consensual conduct behind code-locked doors can hardly be supposed to jeopardise a society as vigorous and tolerant as Canadian society," said the opinion of the seven-to-two majority, written by Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin.

Expect the GOP to start scheduling workshops and junkets to Ottawa in the near future. (There's no one hornier than a prude.)


*blink* Say what again?? This can't be true.

The ghoulish body parts for sale ring stole the bones of "Masterpiece Theatre" host Alistair Cooke just before he was cremated, the Daily News has learned.

The celebrated broadcaster and actor died March 30, 2004, of lung cancer that spread to his bones.

The next day, without permission of any family members, body snatchers surgically carved out the 95-year-old's diseased bones.

The bones were sold for more than $7,000 to two tissue processing companies for eventual transplant procedures, sources told The News.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Le Bon Mot

Wonkette better watch out if she doesn't want to find herself playing Aaron Brown to substitute wonk DCeiver's Anderson Cooper. DCeiver is really coming up with the wonkiest quotables today. A pleasure to watch him/her in action. To wit:

On Robert Novak's scheduled last appearance on CNN: "Poor guy. He may be a "douchebag of liberty," but no one should have to spend their last day of work in the Situation Room. Worst. Retirement party. Ever."

Then there's this, on the reports that Abramoff has flipped: "Sweet Judah and the Maccabees, Washington! Time to get ready for Abramoffukkah!"

It's fun to say Abramoffukkah. Try it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

I'm torn

While I'm usually libertarian on matters of dress, this story intrigues:

The Dutch immigration minister says she will look into the legality of banning the burqa, the robes worn by some Muslim women to cover their bodies.

Rita Verdonk made the pledge after a majority in parliament said it would support such a ban.

The proposal was put forward by independent politician Geert Wilders.

"That women should walk the streets in a totally unrecognisable manner is an insult to everyone who believes in equal rights," he said.

"This law is a comfort to moderate Muslims and will contribute to integration in the Netherlands," he added in a statement.

It's kind of like saying, yeah, you can bring your slaves here, but you can't put chains on them. They might get away, you say? Oh, too bad.


Check out the vote: " Do you believe President Bush's actions justify impeachment?"


From the big Dick:

It is good solid sound policy. It is, I'm convinced, one of the reasons we have not been attacked for the last four years. It's absolutely the right thing to do.
I'd like to point out that my camel-repellent, which I have used faithfully for the past, like, decade, has kept my home and yard completely camel-free! If that's not proof of its efficacy, I don't know what is.

Snappy comeback

Sen. John Cornyn: "None of your civil liberties matter much after you're dead."

John-in-DC from AmericaBlog: "Apparently they don't matter much when we're alive either."

Worried about home invasion?

Have roommate problems? Here's the product for you!

Seemingly an innocent bedside table:

At a moment's notice, it becomes:

A handy shield and club to beat up on the punk that just thought he could creep in and help himself to your belongings. Oh, the punk has a gun? Sorry about that, chief...

More products here.

All the familiar tropes

The Imperial Presidency, the obsessive secrecy, boundless executive privilege, the outraged honorable insiders leaking...

Next stop, the Saturday Night Massacre? See WaPo's Spy Court Judge Quits In Protest

And where's Howard Baker when you need him?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Return that penguin!

Oooh, this makes me mad!

A baby penguin thought to have been snatched from a zoo as a quirky festive gift is unlikely to survive until Christmas Day, his keeper warned Tuesday.

Toga, a three-month old jackass penguin, was stolen from Amazon World on the Isle of Wight in southern England on Saturday.

Zoo manager Kath Bright said the bird, who was taken from a compound where he lived with his parents and four other penguins, would probably die of malnutrition if not urgently returned.

"Toga is very, very vulnerable. The penguin is still being fed by his parents and we don't believe it could survive more than five days," she told The Associated Press.

What kind of jerk would steal a baby penguin??

Well, I certainly feel safer, don't you?

Identity thieves are always looking for new ways to pry out personal information, from trolling through trash cans to phishing for bank accounts online. But here is one method they may not have tried: using fake fingers made from Play-Doh and gelatin, or taking digits from a cadaver's hand.

In a study, researchers at Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y., tested 66 fake fingers to see if they could outwit biometric devices, which identify individuals based on the physiological properties of their fingerprints or other body parts. The fake fingers went undetected more than half the time.

NYT has the story.

Red Hat Society, look out!

From NYT:

Counterterrorism agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation have conducted numerous surveillance and intelligence-gathering operations that involved, at least indirectly, groups active in causes as diverse as the environment, animal cruelty and poverty relief, newly disclosed agency records show.

"Intelligent Design" just another name for Creationism

Gosh. Who knew??

In one of the biggest courtroom clashes between faith and evolution since the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial, a federal judge barred a Pennsylvania public school district Tuesday from teaching "intelligent design" in biology class, saying the concept is creationism in disguise.


Jones decried the "breathtaking inanity" of the Dover policy and accused several board members of lying to conceal their true motive, which he said was to promote religion.

A six-week trial over the issue yielded "overwhelming evidence" establishing that intelligent design "is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory," said Jones, a Republican and a churchgoer appointed to the federal bench three years ago.

The school system said it will probably not appeal the ruling, because the members who backed intelligent design were ousted in November's elections and replaced with a new slate opposed to the policy.

I love that last sentence.

whoa again.

Conservative Scholars Argue Bush’s Wiretapping Is An Impeachable Offense - Think Progress has it.

QUESTION: Is spying on the American people as impeachable an offense as lying about having sex with an intern?

NORM ORNSTEIN, AEI scholar: I think if we’re going to be intellectually honest here, this really is the kind of thing that Alexander Hamilton was referring to when impeachment was discussed.

I see gay people!

Americablog: Pentagon anti-terror investigators labeled gay law school groups a "credible threat" of terrorism

Next on the terror watch - The Red Hat Society. Hey, it's the new status symbol; the geekiest sci-fi club's most earnest ambition now is to be on the Pentagon watch list.

Monday, December 19, 2005


A reader at TPM speculates:

But it fits together if what was being proposed was to look, either prosepectively or retrospectively, at everyone's E-mail -- which the NSA is reportedly capable of -- and then filter it for certain key words. Presumably, those messages which meet certain search criteria would then be culled for further study, or longer-term monitoring might be done of both the sender and recipient.

That sort of dizzying effort would raise both technical and legal issues, such as: what technical capabilities and safeguards are possible to implement; what is the legality of read-and-discard searches, and so on. Indeed, since I believe that retrospective searches could be done, the Administration might be seeking to look at all prior communications as well, once a hit was found. No FISA authorization would be possible, since this sort of activity was not contemplated by that law.

So perhaps they didn't get court approval for the simple reason that rather than wanting to tap specific individuals' communications, they just tapped us all - putting a tap directly on the internet backbone and siphoning off anything that hit certain keywords for review?

If this proves to be the case, there is no end to the shit they just stepped in.

Wow, they think you're stupid.

Today's WaPo:

Gonzales said that while FISA prohibits eavesdropping without court approval, it makes an exception where Congress "otherwise authorizes." That authorization, he said, was implicit in the authorization for the use of military force in Afghanistan following the Sept. 11 attacks.
You know, I think the ability to confiscate all private property in the US was probably inherent in the authorization to use military force in Afghanistan. Oh, and the authority to arrest anyone who admits to have voted for a Democrat. I mean, doesn't it just follow??


From AmericaBlog: Senator Barbara Boxer asks four presidential scholars whether Bush committed an impeachable offense

From Fahrenheit 911 to Fahrenheit 451

It has come to this:

NEW BEDFORD -- A senior at UMass Dartmouth was visited by federal agents two months ago, after he requested a copy of Mao Tse-Tung's tome on Communism called "The Little Red Book."

Two history professors at UMass Dartmouth, Brian Glyn Williams and Robert Pontbriand, said the student told them he requested the book through the UMass Dartmouth library's interlibrary loan program.

The student, who was completing a research paper on Communism for Professor Pontbriand's class on fascism and totalitarianism, filled out a form for the request, leaving his name, address, phone number and Social Security number. He was later visited at his parents' home in New Bedford by two agents of the Department of Homeland Security, the professors said.

The professors said the student was told by the agents that the book is on a "watch list," and that his background, which included significant time abroad, triggered them to investigate the student further.

Yeah, these are sure the guys I want to have carte blanche privileges to wiretap anyone they want...

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Important Question

For those of you who don't get what the big deal is on the domestic spying issue, David Sirota at HuffPo spells it out:

And that gets us right back to the most important question: why would the President deliberately circumvent a court that was already wholly inclined to grant him domestic surveillance warrants? The answer is obvious, though as yet largely unstated in the mainstream media: because the President was likely ordering surveillance operations that were so outrageous, so unrelated to the War on Terror, and, to put it in Constitutional terms, so "unreasonable" that even a FISA court would not have granted them.
Um, yeah. Someone in an oversight capacity better find out just who domestically was getting tapped. Don't everyone stand up at once...



Taking on the blowhard

Nicholas Kristof points out O'Reilly's inherent hypocrisy:

"So I have a challenge for Mr. O'Reilly: If you really want to defend traditional values, then come with me on a trip to Darfur," Kristof concluded. " I'll introduce you to mothers who have had their babies clubbed to death in front of them, to teenage girls who have been gang-raped and then mutilated - and to the government-armed thugs who do these things.

"You'll have to leave your studio, Bill. You'll encounter pure evil. If you're like me, you'll be scared. If you try to bully some of the goons in Darfur, they'll just hack your head off. But you'll also meet some genuine conservative Christians - aid workers who live the Gospel instead of sputtering about it - and you'll finally be using your talents for an important cause.

"So, Bill, what'll it be? Will you dare travel to a real war against Christmas values, in which the victims aren't offended shoppers but terrified children thrown on bonfires? I'm waiting to hear."

Nick, I hate to be a pessimist, but I really think loudmouth Bill would rather bleat about how victimized he is rather than confront real victims and be made to realize how truly pathetic he is.

Random AnderBlogging

Hmm. I see I've been discovered by the boys at Datalounge. Just for you, guys:

Anderson Cooper explains the 'unbutton jacket for sincerity' move to Stephen Colbert

If you missed the (all-too-brief) Colbert interview with Anderson, you can watch it in its entirety here.

Saturday, December 17, 2005


The Times tries to justify holding a story for over a year to curry favor with an Imperial Government.

NYT Good

On Sept 7, I posted on the subject of the cause of death of the Katrina casualties thusly:

Our press will not be doing their jobs if they accept raw numbers without a breakdown (killed in collapsed building, drowned in attic, drowned on streets, died on rooftop awaiting help, etc).
Today's NYT actually follows through with Louisiana's Deadly Storm Took Strong as Well as the Helpless. Read it and weep; three pages of details on who survived the storm only to succumb to the delay in receiving assistance/rescue.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Someone likes us?

Serendipity that the so-called Patriot Act comes up for review the day after reports of domestic spying? Or Synchronicity?


I think Josh Marshall captures the Novak-to-Fox story best when he says: "After decades in captivity at CNN, Robert Novak will now be allowed to return to his natural habitat."

Science News

White Folk are Mutant Freaks!

Friday Gorgeous Blogging

(Since that bitch Wonkette has moved in on my panda franchise...)
Proof, if you need it, that beauty and brains can coexist.

Anderson Cooper interviews Iraqi voters in Baquba

Anderson Cooper reporting from Forward Operating Base Warhorse, north of Baghdad

Damn, the news never looked so good.

Screencaps courtesy of the lovely and talented Stillife.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Death to Democrats.

Who knew?

I haven't been using REAL wasabi! And I never even knew! Changing the face of sushi.

In a bad mood?

Here. Now you're feeling better, aren't you?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

They so know me

You Are Japanese Food
Strange yet delicious. Contrary to popular belief, you're not always eaten raw.

Thanks to Thesaurus Rex for the link.

Spaceports! Yes!


Virgin Galactic, the British company created by entrepreneur Richard Branson to send tourists into space, and New Mexico announced an agreement Tuesday for the state to build a $225 million spaceport.

Virgin Galactic also revealed that up to 38,000 people from 126 countries have paid a deposit for a seat on one of its manned commercial flights, including a core group of 100 "founders" who have paid the initial $200,000 cost of a flight upfront. Virgin Galactic is planning to begin flights in late 2008 or early 2009.

I'm ready.

Anyone who would name a company Virgin Galactic is to be cherished.

Boyfriends Embattled Edition

Man, the Post is clueless. (Imagine my surprise!) Their new 'ombudsman' (and I use the term loosely, in fact practically fallaciously), who found no problem with Woodward proving to be a covert Court Historian to the Imperial White House, says my Wash-Post Boyfriend Dan Froomkin's White House Briefing column 'dilutes the Post's credibility'. What credibility?

Froomkin is the only thing that keeps the Post from being Pravda. Dan was pointing out the White House Bubble and its unfortunate results months before the rest of the MSM caught on; now that they're reporting on it at last, is Dan a clear-sighted example to his peers? No, according to the 'ombudsman', he's hopelessly liberal. Say what? It's now liberal to notice the emperor has no clothes, apparently.

If that wasn't enough anxiety, now my TV Boyfriend Anderson Cooper is spending the week in Iraq. Oh, I know - if you love someone, set them free, and I'd never dream of wanting the poor boy penned up in studio settings and GQ suiting when he so clearly yearns to be where the news is, but still. I worry.

And I'm finally going to acknowledge a fait accompli and add Time Magazine's dashing Michael Ware as an Emergency Backup Boyfriend. I can't imagine anyone I'd rather have around in an emergency. He of the attractively broken nose and the slightly-dangerous-roughneck Aussie accent moves from embedded with our troops to infiltrating insurgent strongholds, just to keep us informed of the true state of affairs on the ground outside the Green Zone. Ooh, give me danger, little stranger! He was on 360 last night, and will probably appear every night this week. Check it out - the phemerones are practically visible to the naked eye.

Monday, December 12, 2005

From the Unfortunate Metaphors Department

Um... I hate to be the one to point this out...

President Bush Monday compared Iraq's struggle to the birth of the United States, as he delivered the third installment in a four-part series of speeches designed to bolster support for the war.
In this scenario, we are the redcoats, George. And, well...

Fair, Balanced

From TVNewser:

> headline: "Bush: 30,000 Iraqis dead in war." First mention of the 30,000 figure: paragraph #1.

> headline: "Bush: 30,000 Iraqis killed." First mention of the 30,000 figure: paragraph #1.

> headline: "Bush: Challenges Face Iraq." First mention of the 30,000 figure: paragraph #36. It is followed by this quote from Bush: "We've lost about 2,140 of our own troops in Iraq," he added.

Ha ha ha ha ha...

Embattled US President George W. Bush denied that living in the White House "bubble" of security, policy advisers and political strategists had left him out of touch.

"I feel like I'm getting some really good advice from very capable people and that people from all walks of life inform me and inform those who advise me," he said. "I feel very comfortable that I'm very aware of what's going on."

Man, laughed so hard I've got tears running down my face. Wait, I'm not laughing...


Sunday, December 11, 2005

Peonage and serfdom making comeback

Scary shit:

GOP Faction Wants to Change 'Birthright Citizenship' Policy

For nearly 140 years, any child born on U.S. soil, even to an illegal immigrant, has been given American citizenship. Now, some conservatives in Congress are determined to change that.

A group of 92 lawmakers in the House will attempt next week to force a vote on legislation that would revoke the principle of "birthright citizenship," part of a broader effort to discourage illegal immigration.


The principle at issue rests on the first sentence of the 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868 to guarantee the rights of emancipated slaves: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside."


[and here's the scariest, shittiest part - ED]
Still, opinion polls suggest that many Americans consider it a major problem. A November survey by independent pollster Scott Rasmussen found that 49% of those surveyed favored ending birthright citizenship, while 41% were opposed to any change.

While other countries dream of emulating the US, we dream of emulating... Kuwait. Nice role model, GOP.

NYT nails it for once

Death of an American City

We are about to lose New Orleans. Whether it is a conscious plan to let the city rot until no one is willing to move back or honest paralysis over difficult questions, the moment is upon us when a major American city will die, leaving nothing but a few shells for tourists to visit like a museum.

We said this wouldn't happen. President Bush said it wouldn't happen. He stood in Jackson Square and said, "There is no way to imagine America without New Orleans." But it has been over three months since Hurricane Katrina struck and the city is in complete shambles.

There are many unanswered questions that will take years to work out, but one is make-or-break and needs to be dealt with immediately. It all boils down to the levee system. People will clear garbage, live in tents, work their fingers to the bone to reclaim homes and lives, but not if they don't believe they will be protected by more than patches to the same old system that failed during the deadly storm. Homeowners, businesses and insurance companies all need a commitment before they will stake their futures on the city.


Total allocations for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the war on terror have topped $300 billion. All that money has been appropriated as the cost of protecting the nation from terrorist attacks. But what was the worst possible case we fought to prevent?

Losing a major American city.


Maybe America does not want to rebuild New Orleans. Maybe we have decided that the deficits are too large and the money too scarce, and that it is better just to look the other way until the city withers and disappears. If that is truly the case, then it is incumbent on President Bush and Congress to admit it, and organize a real plan to help the dislocated residents resettle into new homes. The communities that opened their hearts to the Katrina refugees need to know that their short-term act of charity has turned into a permanent commitment.

If the rest of the nation has decided it is too expensive to give the people of New Orleans a chance at renewal, we have to tell them so. We must tell them we spent our rainy-day fund on a costly stalemate in Iraq, that we gave it away in tax cuts for wealthy families and shareholders. We must tell them America is too broke and too weak to rebuild one of its great cities.

Our nation would then look like a feeble giant indeed. But whether we admit it or not, this is our choice to make. We decide whether New Orleans lives or dies.

Friday, December 09, 2005


Disney gives sex change to child under the age of consent!!

POOR Christopher Robin. For 80 years there has been an enchanted place on the top of the forest where a little boy and his bear would always be playing.

But though Winnie the Pooh became a hugely successful brand, Christopher Robin just wouldn’t sell.

“There’s only one thing to be done,” said the executives at Disney, and replaced him with a six-year-old girl.

What will we tell the chiiillllldren???

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Ford not only sucks, they're stupid

Heh. This is getting priceless. First Ford caves to the fundie-bigots and stops advertising in GLBT publications. This draws the attention of My Hero, John in DC, of Americablog.

So they try to post something exculpatory, anonymously, on Americablog's comments. John catches them. Heh heh heh.

Read it

The storm that keeps killing: In post-Katrina New Orleans, despair is the enemy

Monday, December 05, 2005

Save that panda

Wonkette points out that "the Sichuan Wolong Panda Protection and Breed Center now has SIXTEEN BABY PANDAS". This is the group to which we must send back our very own Tai Shan.

WHY DO THEY WANT HIM BACK? We have one baby panda. His name is Butterstick. Not only do the Chinese clearly have more than they need, but in two years, the Stick will be an xBox-playing panda teen (Six fingers! He'll totally dominate.) in baggy shorts, playing the Strokes on his iPod so loud he won't listen to instructions on how to use chopsticks or honor his mother and father. Keep the American panda in America. Already he complains that "no one gets my Arcade Fire references." Imagine how lonely he'll feel if no one else around can quote the first season of "Arrested Development."
You know, I think a case can be made that Tai Shan, having been born in the US, is a US citizen under the Fourteenth Amendment..


FEMA, Round Two


This just in:

Coffee and tea may reduce the risk of serious liver damage in people who drink too much alcohol, are overweight or have too much iron in the blood, researchers reported yesterday.

The study of nearly 10,000 people showed that those who drank more than two cups of coffee or tea per day developed chronic liver disease at half the rate of those who drank less than one cup each day.

I'm saved!

Sing it, sis

Just wanted to affiliate myself with these remarks from Shakespeare's Sister:


No no no no no.

It’s just not possible I live in a country where 19% of the population is so fucking stupid that they believe there are WMDs in Iraq now. Good lord.

Hard to believe, isn't it?

New boyfriend

Okay, I'm having to add a new category to the Boyfriend Files: the Buddhist Monk Boyfriend. Of course the Dalai Lama is my BMB-emeritus, but the current title holder is now abbot of the world-famous Shaolin Temple:

At 40, Shi is one of the youngest leaders in the history of the 1,500-year-old shrine. Perhaps because of his youth, he has presided over some of the boldest moves at the birthplace of Zen Buddhism.

Among his innovations were setting up the country's first temple-based website back in 1996, when few in China had heard of the Internet. The next online move was more of a head-turner: He revealed some fighting sequences previously considered top secrets passed only to true disciples.

Shi flung open the doors of Shaolin further by sending cloistered monks all over the world to perform and promote the temple's Zen-inspired martial arts.

He knew physical prowess was not enough. He set up a corporation to defend the temple's "brand name." He was also among the first to send yellow-robed monks to take MBA courses and get doctorates.

Read the whole article. When this guy showed up at the Shaolin Temple when he was sixteen, there were twelve monks left.

Saturday, December 03, 2005


FBI Is Taking Another Look at Forged Prewar Intelligence

I guess it's safe, now that knowing who forged the Niger docs couldn't, you know, influence a Presidential election or anything.

Bigotry back in style II

I've always said, if you elect a Bush, you can expect two things, 1.) a war and 2.) a recession. I will have to add 3.) an increase in world bigotry. It's a mystery to me how internal US politics can influence the hate-mongers in other countries - it's probably some kind of gestalt thing. But now we have the Vatican:

Thirty years ago the Catholic Church accepted the view that some were definitively gay. Church teachings said that "they do not choose their homosexual condition." Nevertheless, the new document doesn't just ban gays who "practice" homosexuality, breaking the vows of celibacy. It bans all those with homosexual "tendencies."

In the strange new backsliding language of the Vatican, homosexuality is a "tendency." The church doesn't define tendency, nor does it say whether such a tendency is biological. Voluntary or not, it marks a man permanently. As Matt Foreman, a gay activist who was raised Catholic, says, "Doesn't matter what you do or believe or practice. If you are gay there is no making that better in the eyes of the church."

Ironically, the only exemptions are offered to men who were not "real" homosexuals but "transitory" ones. They're given a pass, in the words of a Vatican cardinal, for "some curiosity during adolescence or accidental circumstances in a state of drunkenness or particular circumstances like someone who was in prison for many years." A drunk or ex-con is okay; a chaste gay seminarian is not.

If we elect Jeb in '08, I think we can get the planet all the way back to the Plague Years. Won't that be fun?

Bigotry back in style I

WHO are you? (said the caterpillar):

As of Dec. 1, all vacancy notices include a line stating that the U.N. health agency does not promote tobacco use or recruit smokers, Simpson said. Applicants are asked if they smoke or use other tobacco products, and if they answer "yes," the application process is terminated.


The ban on recruitment of smokers is legal under international law, which governs operations at WHO and other U.N. agencies regardless of location, Simpson explained. The ban, therefore, applies across all the agency's sites, including offices in New York, he said.

When asked whether WHO would soon stop hiring obese people or those drinking alcohol, spokeswoman Fadela Chaib said the agency was aware that its new rules "may seem discriminatory or even politically incorrect" to some. But she stressed that WHO needs to align its own employment practices with its principles.

"WHO tries to encourage people to try and lead a healthy life. There is safe sex, one can drink alcohol in a reasonable way and one can attempt eating in a balanced fashion," Chaib said. "But with tobacco, there is no middle ground, it is black and white and it kills half of those consuming it."

Expect WHO to start testing new-hires to make sure they know correct condom etiquette next?


From Friday's Dan:

For some reason, the White House refuses to provide a straight answer to this question: Did President Bush raise the idea of bombing the headquarters of the al-Jazeera television network in an April 2004 conversation with British Prime Minister Tony Blair -- and if so, was he serious or was he joking?

Reporters who have asked press secretary Scott McClellan to respond to the claim first published in the British Daily Mirror almost two weeks ago have gotten two crude non-denial denials.

The first one was delivered last week, in an e-mail to the Associated Press: "We are not interested in dignifying something so outlandish and inconceivable with a response," McClellan wrote.

The next day, I predicted in my column that "nothing arouses White House reporters more these days than a non-denial denial." But I apparently overestimated the mainstream press corps' baloney detectors.

um... Press corps? Why aren't you all over this like a pack of slavering dogs?

Deja Vu All Over Again?

From ChiTrib:

The Federal Emergency Management Agency pulled all its workers out of New Orleans' Lower 9th Ward on Friday after threats of violence and planned to request additional police or National Guard support, a FEMA spokeswoman said.
The local police, meanwhile, has received no reports of any threats. Sound sort of the like the 'fired on helicopter' that turned out to be Urban Legend?


From Shakespeare's Sister:

A 17-year-old girl went to police at the urging of her friends after she was allegedly gang-raped by three men, including her boyfriend. The men testified that the act was consensual. After reviewing all the information and statements, prosecutors decided they didn’t think they could prove a rape allegation, and so declined to prosecute the case.

Instead, they prosecuted the victim for filing a false police report. Yesterday, she was found guilty.

The victim has never recanted her story. Instead, the decision was based on the judge’s opinion that the three men were more credible, in part because a police detective and the victim’s friends testified she did not “act traumatized” in the days after the incident.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Friday Tai Shan Blogging

(I don't know what I'm going to do in less than two years when my darling TS gets sent back to stay with the rels in China...) But here he is, in all his cuddly glory:

Wonkette, who's in a custody battle with me over TS (I saw him FIRST, Wonky), posted this pic:

... with the amusing headline 'Cancer Stick'. (She calls TS "butterstick".)

And the bloggers at the National Zoo's panda-page, fortunately unfamiliar with the concept of Too Much Information, tell us:

We are now handling Tai Shan without gloves and gowns. He has received all his vaccinations and is very healthy. Tai's hair is very coarse and dry, like the worst case of split ends. However, the hair is mostly one length—about four inches—and there is no undercoat. Minerals from Mei Xiang's saliva, especially iron compounds, leave Tai's hair with a pink tint. Despite his protests, she still manages to lick him!

The Other Novak

This one (Vivica) from Time Magazine. Today's NYT reports:

People involved in the case said that at a minimum Ms. Novak communicated to Mr. Luskin that Mr. Rove might face legal problems because of potential testimony from Mr. Cooper, her colleague. They said Ms. Novak had told Mr. Luskin that Mr. Cooper might have been in contact with Mr. Rove about Ms. Wilson in the days before her identity became public. Mr. Cooper helped write an article on Time's Web site in July 2003 that was among the first, after Mr. Novak's column, to divulge Ms. Wilson's identity, using her maiden name, Valerie Plame.
Clubby little profession, isn't it? The list of journalists fatally compromised by insider loyalties grows longer.

Oh noes!

Found unattributed on the 'net. Would credit if I knew the origins:

Subject: Presidential Library

Crawford, Texas -- A tragic flood this morning destroyed the personal library of President George W. Bush. The flood began in the presidential bathroom where both of the books were kept. Both of his books have been lost. A presidential spokesman said the president was devastated, as he had almost finished coloring the second one.

The White House tried to call FEMA but there was no answer.

Okay, maybe it's silly but I laughed.

More tax-funded propaganda

Last night's 360, in addition to an interview with the Big Dog, had an intriguing little expose of some US-taxpayer funded propaganda being produced and aired by FEMA - the Recovery Channel.

FOREMAN: This is the "Recovery Channel," produced by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and airing around the clock via satellite and the internet.

DIANNA GEE, RECOVERY CHANNEL ANCHOR: It could be the best day and the worst day. The day you finally get to go back to your storm- damaged home.

FOREMAN: FEMA conceived the channel years ago to spread important information after disasters. Following Katrina, it was on in shelters, a plain display about rebuilding, financial aid, help and more. But now, with FEMA accusing the mainstream media of failing to provide enough of that info, the "Recovery Channel" has undergone a makeover.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay with us. Together, we can build a bright future.

FOREMAN: And at the Annenberg School of Communication, Professor Joe Turow says it's turned into propaganda.

JOE TUROW, ANNENBERG SCHOOL OF COMMUNICATION: Most of the information was really not the specific kind of factual information one might think, but rather feature and fluff pieces that seemed designed to aggrandize FEMA, and actually the Bush administration, too.

They ran several Recovery Channel pieces about how great everything is going. But apparently when FEMA learned that CNN was interested...
FOREMAN: When we contacted FEMA, a spokesperson defended the channel, but after reviewing the questions CNN raised, sent this statement: The agency, it says, is taking immediate measures to ensure that all programming is unmistakably labeled as an official FEMA resource. And it's eliminating any editorial content.


I spoke to FEMA today, that this thing somehow got a little bit away from them. How ever they started off, with a simple a simple sort of screen that just had some information on it, it grew and it grew until it became this big production number where they're saying all sorts of great things about the president and all sorts or great things about FEMA, which they may have liked. But they certainly didn't like the idea of it being exposed to this kind of scrutiny. Nonetheless, Anderson, I think neither you nor I will be on their Christmas card list this year.

COOPER: That is probably true. If somebody at home wants to try to see this, where they can logon, maybe they can see it online?

FOREMAN: Yes, you can try to track it down by doing a couple of search words on this thing. If you just look for "Recovery Channel." Although, I have to tell you, a couple hours ago -- I had been watching it all day, and all of a sudden it just went to a black screen and they started just putting up the words Discovery -- or excuse me, "Recovery Channel," and stay tuned for programming. And the person I spoke to at FEMA today told me they are reworking this right now so that if they watch it, they should not be seeing almost immediately what we had in our report and what was on most of the day today.

For the record, I think the concept of a Recovery Channel is a great idea. Like so many things, it's all in execution. Rather than self-aggrandizing pieces on how great things are going, due to the wonderful leadership of our 'Commander in Chief' (and why a non-military organization is even using that phrase is beyond me), they might try producing pieces that walk you thru the process of, say, getting a FEMA trailer on your lot to live in during rebuilding, or how to get your utilities hooked back up, or something of direct use to disaster victims.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Anne Coulter's Penis

Curious about Anne Coulter's penis? Americablog has the scoop.

It's Raining Boyfriends

Tonight on AC360:

Exclusive: What would Bill Clinton do about Iraq, Katrina, and the Supreme Court? Anderson gets the former president's take. Tune in at 10 p.m. ET.
To paraphrase local girl Mary Chapin Carpenter, Hey Andy, hey Bill... boys, you don't have to fight. (Hot dog, I feel lucky tonight).