Friday, June 30, 2006

Ghost of Elvis: "Who Let This Jackass In My House?"

Here it is... The Lisa Marie moment that's even more embarrassing than when she made out with Michael Jackson on live television.

The Beginner's Guide to NSA Detection

The guys over at the Wired Magazine blog have published a way of telling if your internet traffic is being routed to the NSA or not. The process is fairly simple, but interpreting the results is a little more difficult.

  1. Hit the Windows key + R to bring up a command prompt.
  2. Type "Tracert", space, then the name of your email host/ ISP, or website you're reading. For example, "Tracert".
  3. Click here and find out what it means, because I'm not 100% sure that I'm techie enough to understand all of it.

Good Article on the Stanton Jew-Baiting Push Poll

There's nothing I despise more than a narrowminded bigot. People like Ed Stanton are everything that's wrong with local politics today, and I plan to verbally kick him in the nuts every chance I get.

An anonymous comment on West Tennessee Liberal's blog pointed the way to a good article from The Forward about the Jew-baiting tactics carried out by the Stanton campaign. Whoever posted it, thank you.

Betsy Saslawsky, a lifelong resident of Memphis who, like Cohen, belongs to the Temple Israel Reform congregation, said that June 18 she participated in a telephone survey that included positive questions aimed at Ed Stanton and negative questions aimed at Cohen, including one that asked if she was aware that Cohen had challenged the chaplain of the Tennessee State Senate on the Senate floor after he delivered a prayer in Jesus' name.

Saslawsky said she was asked, "Are you more likely to vote for a born-again Christian or a Jew?"

"I absolutely was speechless" at that point, she said. "I thought for a second, and I said to the guy, 'You know, I'd really love to know who's paying you.'"

Will McGown, 37, a furniture maker and, like Saslawsky, a Cohen supporter, described a similar experience. According to McGown, when he asked who was financing the poll, the person conducting the survey said it was Ed Stanton.

In an interview with the Forward, Stanton acknowledged that his campaign had financed a telephone survey, which he said was "certainly within the framework of what's accepted and standard." Stanton declined to say if the survey included a question about whether respondents would rather vote for a Jew or a Christian or to provide a written copy of the survey. The candidate directed questions to Jefrey Pollack of the Global Strategies Group. Pollack did not return a call for comment.

The Ninth District

Okay, I should probably apologize about this post. Not to the people that I'm bound to offend with it--- But to the candidate that I'm backing in the Ninth District Congressional Race, State Senator Steve Cohen. I'd been holding off making this endorsement not out of ambivalence of any kind, but because I want to see a real fight for the seat Harold Ford Jr. will be leaving based on issues.

As it turns out, several of the absolutely feckless candidates that are in contention are annoying me to the point that this piece became necessary.

First, the race baiters. It started with Ron Redwing sending an alarmist email out to his supporters (Both of them) once Cohen entered the race decrying the fact that the Ninth District seat might be out of black hands for the first time in a very long time. No shit, Sherlock. It's called an election. And you can't blame this on thirteen black candidates splitting the vote--- If every black candidate but Ron Redwing drops out, Steve Cohen still wins simply because he's the right man for the job.

Then there's the other race baiter. I had high hopes for Ed Stanton. When I heard about his issues, I was pretty optimistic. He was the first candidate to mention the high infant mortality rate in the city and actually talk about doing something about it. Of course, then he put a race baiting push poll in the field. Democratic campaigns should never look like they're being run by Lee Atwater, particularly when part of the candidate's pitch is that he's a "nice guy". Add in a couple of obnoxious campaign staffers (Tell your canvassers that yelling at the people they're trying to convince to vote for you is never a smart thing to do. And rein in the semiliterate troll that's attacking David Holt on his blog. By the time these assclowns are through, you'll be left with about twelve supporters in this city), and Ed Stanton's true colors have been shown.

Nikki Tinker has finally decided that it's time to address issues. Of course, this comes on the heels of spending six months saying "I'm not prepared to talk about the issues". If you didn't want to talk about the issues, then why in the hell did you even file a petition? When you're running for office in the future (Because you're certainly going to fail this time), it's always a good idea to have something that you want to accomplish. An agenda is a GOOD thing when you're a candidate. When you don't have anything to contribute on the issues, you're simply wasting someone's money with a campaign.

Julian Bolton - No ideological problem with him, but after a whopping six terms on the Shelby County Commission, shouldn't he have some kind of record to run on? His campaign slogan is "Proven Leadership". Sorry, but I would like to see some proof.

The rest of the pack doesn't even stand out enough for me to comment on. This may change in the future, but right now, I see nothing pointing me in their direction or away from them. They're celery--- Their mere presence makes me want to look for something with more substance.

I'm quite enthusiastic about this race--- Let's get it done. Once the dust settles, Steve Cohen will be the Democratic nominee for the Ninth Congressional District. And the people of this city will have a true progressive champion walking the halls of the US Congress on its behalf.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Let's Hold a Military Recruitment Drive!

If you've seen the movie "Fahrenheit 9/11", you undoubtedly groaned when you watched the section where the Marine recruiters were coming off like a couple of used car salesmen when attempting to sucker kids in the "poor mall" (As they put it) to sign up. Yeah, I'm sure that the Marine Corps has been responsible for many successful music careers, as these guys tried to infer.

One of them, Staff Sergeant Raymond Plouhar, aged 30, was killed Monday in the Anbar province of Iraq.

By all accounts, besides his tote-the-note car salesman tactics demonstrated in the movie, he seems like a heck of a guy. The reason he was working as a recruiter was that he had to take time off from active duty after donating one of his kidneys to an uncle. He leaves behind a wife and two children, ages 5 and 9.

My sympathies go out to his family. I'm certainly not here to gloat over his death.

In fact, I'd say he had a quality rare among advocates of this war--- The testicular fortitude to go off and fight in it. We need more like him.

To quote Paul Begala, "When they attack our patriotism, we should challenge them to sign their kids up for the military: “Since when did the sons and daughters of working people corner the market on patriotism, Senator? If this war is so wonderful, so noble, so vital, why the hell is your son throwing up on his date at Ivy League frat parties?”.

At the very least, it's an interesting question, is is not?

So in honor of Staff Sgt. Plouhan, we need to do some recruitment of our own. We need to find a group of young people that are looking for a way to profess their love of country and happen to think this war is a swell idea.

I know just where to look--- The College Republicans.

Think about it--- They're the right age. They're the same age as the kids at the "poor mall" that the recruiters were willing to dump this war on the laps of. Considering the platform of their party, I'm sure they have weapons training that would be useful in Iraq.

And if that isn't enough, they're easy to spot, as they think the "Support our Troops" bumper sticker they paid a buck for at the convenience store somehow amounts to actual support of the troops.

So let's see if we can do right by our nation. Let's encourage the U of M College Republicans to hold a recruiting drive from within their own ranks. They support their president, they think the war is a swell idea... Then should they not do their part?

Democracy for Memphis Bush Protest

My good friend Brad Watkins asked me to share this with you:

DFM Bush Protest Primer

Please attend DFM Movie Night And Bush Protest primer on Thursday, June 29, 2006 at 7:00 PM. You can RSVP here.

Come join us as Democracy For Memphis, the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center and other local progressive groups as we join forces to plan a protest action to mark the arrival of President George W. Bush in Memphis this Friday, June the 30th. This action will highlight not only our concerns about the war in Iraq, but the war at home as well, and the cost of human life in this war.

Currently we are making arrangements for permits to protest across the street from Graceland from 10am until Noon Friday June 30th and wish to invite participation from any and all local progressives and like minded groups and associations. This Thursday night June 29th at 7pm at Reedmeisters at 3439 park ave, 327-1270, DFM will host a protest primer to make sure all those participating are prepared and aware of any important details in the way of location changes parking and how to protest within the law.

We also will be hosting a screening of the film STREET FIGHT which deals with a grassroots candidate for Mayor in New Jersey and his struggles with the local political machine.Several speakers will also attend to remind us of why we are progressives and why we are morally obligated to take action.So spread the word and come on out this Thursday night to prepare to give George Bush a warm Memphis welcome.

DFM Movie Night And Bush Protest primer
Thursday, June 29, 2006
7:00 PM
3439 Park Ave.
Memphis, TN 38116
Handicapped Accessible: Y
Google Maps
Contact Brad Watkins at 901-237-2563

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Another Day, Another Limbaugh Drug Bust

The Courtney Love of American politics has struck again. He was detained at Palm Beach International Airport for carrying Viagra without a prescription.

You know, there are a lot of places where you can carry your prescription drugs without a prescription. Unless you have a bucket of them, most police aren't going to run you in for illegal attempts to get a boner.

But if you carry illegal contraband of any kind to the airport, then you are clearly so dumb that you need to be locked up for your own protection. The odds are that one day, you will look at a key and an electrical outlet and think "Those would fit together pretty well", or simply say "Breathing? How do I do that?"

Ann-Marie James at The Medicine Factory, Opening June 30th

I got this from two lovely ladies at The Lantana Projects, a local nonprofit art residency program, and I'd like to thank them for giving me a heads up on what I'm certain will be a great art show. Lantana previously brought us the works of James Clar, whose works with light beautified South Main.

Sarah, Elizabeth, remember how I told you that a lot of journalists are lazy and will copy and paste from your press release?

Well, I can only loosely be described as a journalist. But lazy fits me to a t.

Lantana Projects presents Mobile an exhibit of work from Ann-Marie James, current international artist-in-residence, opening June 30 at 6 pm at The Medicine Factory in downtown Memphis. James was selected for the residency in late 2005 by the international review board of Lantana Projects. She arrived June 6 and will be in Memphis until July 2.

Ann-Marie James graduated from Central Saint Martins College of Art (London) in 2004 with a degree in Fine Art. She has since begun to establish her practice as a photographer and filmmaker, with works including large-scale photographic installations and video projections.? She has exhibited across Europe, in countries including England, Ireland, France, Portugal, Germany and Spain.

This residency with Lantana Projects marks her first visit and exhibition in the United States. Mobile is the culmination of her month spent living in Memphis and her documentation of the Southern landscape.

Click here to visit Ann-Marie James' website and see some of her prior work.

I hope people will join me there for what promises to be an interesting evening.

Click here for a Google Map to The Medicine Factory. See? Now you have no excuse for not coming.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Gray Matter

By now, everyone's talked about the demise of The Leon Gray Show on WWTQ 680 AM. Of course, most have discussed it only in terms of speculating on why he was fired/quit, whether or not he slandered someone, etc...

So I'm going to do something kind of different here. Instead speculating on the reasons he's gone, we should think more about why he should have been gone a while back.

This is nothing personal against Leon. I've met him several times. In fact, during the runup to the 2004 election, I even played with his kids when he brought them to campaign headquarters. They're cute little guys, and it would be tough to find a better behaved pair of boys. Kudos to Leon and the Mrs.

Leon himself is a likable guy. He ran the transportation department for Election 2004. When someone called and said they didn't have a ride to the polls, Leon was the guy that dispatched a volunteer to go get them. He did a hell of a job on that. Again, my hat was off to him.

Of course, about a week and a half before the election, he had caused a pretty big stink that nearly led to a few people walking out of HQ.

The fellow that owned the property across from HQ on Poplar couldn't have been any nicer a guy. He was a Bush supporter, and across from his house, he had people protesting night and day, shouting, carrying signs, (At least in his mind) slandering the guy he supported. He was a great sport about it. The only thing he ever did about it was post a Bush/Cheney sign on the stone wall that he owned facing us on Poplar.

Leon, smart guy that he is, tore the guy's Bush/Cheney sign off of the wall. And if that wasn't dumb enough... He carried it into campaign HQ to throw it in the trash.

We that are "in the know" politically have a name for that. It's called "felony elections tampering" and can land you in the pokey, as felonies often do.

It took several people complaining to the not-yet-indicted chairwoman of the party to get him to go back and undo his felony. He grumbled. He cussed people out. But thanks to the very people he cussed out, Leon didn't have to face trial for felony elections tampering.

What do those people have in common? They understand politics and the electoral process. None of them got the Air America gig, though.

Now that we're through with the "inside baseball" portion of this, let's get to what he did on the air. After all, it's theoretically possible that he could have brushed up and taken a few classes between then and when he got his three hour show around May of 2005.

I was on a long car ride in May 2005 when I first heard the show. I remember it well because my father was dying in Harrisburg, Arkansas, and I was making the round trip nearly every day. I was on the way home, and I heard Leon. Leon was making the fair point that we're friends with many brutal dictators and chose to depose one. Of course, he made that point by insisting that France, Japan, and Russia were all dictatorships. When the caller correctly pointed out that was wrong, Leon insisted "Well they're all communists! It's all the same to me."

So how fitting is it that the very last time I listened to his show, he was still spouting misinformation? A right wing caller told him that any Social Security withholdings left over are applied to the government's general fund. That's not true. It's been illegal since 1991 to use Social Security accounts for general expenses. Reagan and Bush the Elected used it to make their deficits look smaller, and the late, great Daniel Patrick Moynihan stepped in and stopped them. The current administration has found a way around it by loaning the government money out of the Social Security Accounts--- But the money is still technically there.

Right wing radio hosts constantly misinform their audiences. They really know precious little about politics, instead praying to the cult of personality for a following. These people get a huge following by spreading misinformation on a regular basis, while corporate sponsors line their pockets for the misinformation. "Of course we don't need greater fuel efficiency! Now, a word from Chevron..."

When I first heard liberals were going to do talk radio, I had much higher hopes than anything that I've seen yet. I was hoping for competent people that knew what they were talking about.

I've been disappointed. If we're going to have people that don't know what they're talking about rambling for three hours a day, then how are we any different from them?

I'm not a perfectionist. And although I listed a few examples, I don't hold it against Leon that he didn't know those specific things (Although the dictatorship thing was humiliating). What I do hold against him is that every day, there was something he knew nothing about. And instead of saying "I don't know. Let me look it up", he faked his way through, pretending to know what he didn't.

He did do some things that impressed me. We did see what I believe to be a genuine shift in his beliefs as it related to homosexuality over the last year. I applaud that. We watched him grow up on that issue.

But the problem wasn't what he thought about anything--- It was what he knew about everything.

Or more accurately... What he didn't.

Illegal Immigration and Local Law Enforcement

A few weeks ago at the Bloggers' Bash, I met John Harvey, a candidate for Shelby County Sheriff.

I just checked in with his blog though, and I have to disagree with a position he's just taken.

From Crime In Memphis:

Today, Sheriff’s candidate John Harvey said if elected he would move to identify and arrest any illegal aliens within the jurisdiction of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.

Okat, I know the value of using a "red meat" issue to bring out Republican vote. But there are some serious problems with such a policy.

First, let's be honest--- It WILL drive down the crime rate--- But only superficially. All that you accomplish when you get local law enforcement involved with immigration issues is that you encourage underreporting of crime.

Let's say a young woman is here illegally. She's walking back to her home one night and gets raped. Will she report it? Not if it means being deported afterward.

This would create a trust issue within the illegal immigrant community. It's already tough enough to get an illegal immigrant to report a crime.

Even if you set a policy that ignores immigration issues for the purposes of reporting a crime, they're still not going to invite the law enforcement officer into their homes, knowing well that he could be knocking a week later and asking to see their green cards.

You don't end up solving any crime issue this way--- What you end up doing is creating a whole new class of "perfect victims"--- The criminal element of the city will target Hispanics in the hope that they're illegal and don't want to be deported.

The job of the sheriff is to create a safer environment for all who live within the county. When you create an environment where people are afraid to report crimes, you've made us an amusement park for the criminal element of the county.

Now, I'm hoping that you'll see this and adjust the course. I cannot support a candidate that doesn't acknowledge the problems with this policy.

Local law enforcement cannot and should not ever get involved in immigration policy. It's an imperative that anyone in Shelby County, regardless of race, class, or yes--- Immigration status be able to call the police when a crime has taken place. Are the people of Memphis any safer because the targets of a crime can't report it? No, the people of Memphis are safer when crime victims can call the sheriff and get criminals taken off of the street.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

An Inconvenient Truth

Sarah from Drinking Liberally had another great idea for a Drinking Liberally field trip--- Several of us will be going together to the 9:35 screening of "An Inconvenient Truth" at Malco's Cordova Cinema. We may be going out for dinner and/or drinks before or after, so watch this space for more details as I get them. I talked to several of my fellow bloggers last night about showing up, and I'm hoping to see several of both groups there tonight.

Click here if you need a map.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Der Fuhrer or Der Coultergeist?

It's actually more difficult than you think. I got ten right.

Ann or Adolf?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The New Bush Economic Plan

The president gave an address in the Rose Garden this morning laying out his new economic agenda going into the fall midterms.

"With this plan," he said, "we'll be able to guarantee the future of freedom and liberty for all Amurrkans."

"See," he said, pausing for dramatic effect, "this Nigerian fellow contacted me. He told me that his bank was looking after the accounts of a wealthy man that just died. His name was Bush too, so I gave him access to our accounts to launder it through."

At this point, Press Secretary Tony Snow stepped in and said "We will not be taking any questions at this time."

So there you have it.

*Satire... Kind of. It makes as much sense as supply side economics.

Senator John Warner Said The Most Ridiculous Thing Today On the Senate Floor...

Today was the vote on John Kerry's bill to bring the troops home by year's end. Warner showed his true colors by calling the measure "ill-timed" because of the death of the two soldiers that were kidnapped and killed last week.

Hey, braintrust... When would be a good week? Are we waiting for a cessation of American casualties in Iraq before we can bring this up? With the overall lack of strategy we've seen out of Republicans on Operation Infinite Occupation, that isn't too likely to take place in the next decade or so.

This is simply the Republican leadership doing all it can to avoid talking about the war in any substantive way.

It was the biggest foreign policy mistake we've made since Vietnam. And just like Vietnam, the guy in the Oval is sustaining it simply to avoid admitting its failure.

The measure was defeated, by the way. All but one of the Democrats that switched sides were the usual suspects--- I'm genuinely surprised to see Mark Dayton of Minnesota on the other side. Mary Landrieu, Mark Pryor, Ben Nelson, Bill Nelson, and of course, Joe Lieberman rounded out the pseudo-Democrat ranks. Lincoln Chafee voted with us, as he does every time it's not a close vote.

Why Is the Voting Rights Act Still An Issue?

I thought I had fallen into a time warp of some kind. Maybe it was because I read the story pre-coffee, but even the presence of a laptop on my lap was not enough to convince me that it was actually still 2006.

Why? Because the Voting Rights Act is up for debate in the House of Representatives.

A handful of Southern Republicans are trying to amend it so that it takes out the section of the law requiring that nine states (Georgia, Alabama, Texas, Arizona, Alaska, South Carolina, Virginia, Lousiana, and of course, Mississippi) seek the permission of the Justice Department or a federal judge before changing the voting rules.

"The pre-clearance portions of the Voting Rights Act should apply to all states, or no states," said Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA).

The sad part? He's right. It should apply to all states.

I don't think Georgia has earned a break yet. This is the state that elected a man governor who had accomplished nothing in his life before running except gaining notoriety by beating a black man with an axe handle. And he carried that axe handle with him on the campaign trail. Mississippi has a governor right now that hangs out with the Council of Conservative Citizens. His popularity went up when a picture of him appeared on their website and he refused to ask them to take it down.

Five of the nine states covered under the pre-clearance portions have done nothing to work their way out from under it.

But they're not what makes Westmoreland right. What makes Westmoreland right is that they're not the states where we have problems.

In 2000, Florida seemed to be making up election law on the fly. When they decided to cut felons (Which is their right--- Make no mistake), they also decided to cut people with similar names, people born on the same date, people with similar Social Security numbers, people that had successfully had their voting rights restored, people convicted of misdemeanors, and in at least one notable case, someone whose felony conviction date is still a year in the future (Check #2, Thomas Alvin Cooper, in the scrub list screen capture). The demographic that suffered the most--- Need you ask?

In 2004, Ohio assigned fewer voting machines to black precincts than white ones--- They learned the lesson of Florida--- There were efforts to nullify registrations (35,000 lost their rights through a technique called "caging"), but the biggest part of the effort was making black voters stand in line a lot longer than white voters. The message seemed to be "Yeah, we'll let you vote--- But you're going to have to jump through hoops to get it".

The Voting Rights Act did nothing to stop these states from applying cobbled together, improvised standards to decide who gets to vote and who doesn't.

Both parties want the Voter Rights Act this year. It expires in 2007, but both parties want it as an issue in the midterms. I propose a common sense solution---

Apply the pre-clearance portions to ALL states. Amend the law so that not just these nine have to preclear changes to their election standards. The Fifteenth Amendment guarantees the right to vote--- This is not a state by state issue. Voting law should be universal, federalized standard.

And once you do that, take the "sunset" provision out of the damn law already. Should the voting rights of American citizens really be something that has to be renewed every few years? I can't recall the last time that the right of white Americans to vote was debated in Congress--- It happens every few years to blacks. It's like saying "Let's give this whole black people voting thing a few more years and see if it works out".

It works quite well when no one is interfering with it, thank you. Make it permanent.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Need More Proof That NRA Members Are Morons?

Head NRA goof Wayne LaPierre wants to promote his new book called The Global War On Your Guns. So what does he do?

He convinces the braindead saps that hang on his every word that the UN is holding a special session on July 4 to "take your guns away".

A few fine points that seem to have escaped the notice of the total buffoons that have been sending mail to John Bolton:
  • The UN HQ is in New York City, and like all businesses except bars, big box stores and fast food places, will be closed July 4. Allow me to repeat that in case some NRA droolie did a Google search on "NRA dumbasses" and came across this blog--- THEY WILL BE CLOSED ON JULY 4TH.
  • They are planning a seminar to discuss guns--- Black market ones. You know, the kind that end up in the hands of organizations like the Janjaweed that are exterminating the blacks of Darfur and keeping crooked banana republics in power (As opposed to the gun lobby, which keeps banana Republicans in power).
  • Black market weapons on the international market always seem to find their way into the hands of terrorist groups... You know, like the insurgency in Iraq. But hey--- You guys support the troops, right? How does that square with making sure their opposition never runs out or AK-47s and Street Sweepers?

Just think... There are people out there that are stupid enough to buy into this... And they're armed.

Scary, huh?


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Drinking Liberally Trivia Team (Further Updated)

Is your head a warehouse of useless information? I know mine is...

Put it to good use tonight at 7 PM at the Flying Saucer downtown.


To all those who didn't show up last night... We could have used your help! Some of those questions were absurd. "Hibernation is dormancy in the winter. What is dormancy in the summer called?" (Estivation, if memory serves).

We didn't get much at all right in the first round. Particularly sad was the fact that we nailed the Gilligan's Island question but dropped the ball on A Tale of Two Cities.

We gained some ground in the second and third rounds, though, and we got some bonus points when I ordered a Sam Adams.

What did we accomplish? We proved the Buffalo Theory. It's a matter of natural selection. In a buffalo herd, there are always weaker, slower buffalo that slow down the rest of the herd. Once a predator picks off those slower ones, the herd moves more effectively.

So once I ordered that Sam Adams and a couple of Guinesses, I killed off the slower brain cells, allowing the ones remaining to move more effectively.

We didn't win. Afterward, I closed down two bars with Pam and Rebecca. We had a great time.


Pam, Sarah, Rebecca,

Fortune farts in our faces. TONIGHT I see the Burt Reynolds Miller Beer commercial...

Watch (Or Record) Frontline Tonight...

From WKNO's program description:

“The Dark Side” reports on Vice President Cheney's involvement with the war on terror and the Iraq War. Included: his working relationships with former CIA director George Tenet and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld; steps leading to the Iraq War.

I was already pretty interested in it and programmed my DVR to record it. Then I saw this in the Boston Globe:

To many, Cheney is the dark side of the Bush administration, and this program will only cement that judgment. ``Frontline" chronicles the brutal campaign by two consummate political in-fighters -- Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld -- to decimate the CIA, politically emasculate Secretary of State Colin Powell, and construct a near-limitless concept of executive power during war. While many of these strands are familiar, they have not been assembled as effectively before on television to present a coherent picture of what happened after 9/11.
Cheney didn't trust the CIA after it missed the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Iranian revolution, and Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, so he created through Rumsfeld's Pentagon his own intelligence network to suit his agenda. Powell and former CIA director George Tenet were no match for this pair, who have known each other for three decades. By the time that Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis ``Scooter" Libby, was indicted last fall, Powell and Tenet were long gone and the CIA was in shambles.
Tenet leaves as a thoroughly compromised man who first opposes some of Cheney's intelligence conclusions and then caves. He receives from Bush the Medal of Freedom -- the highest honor the president can bestow -- as he is pushed out. ``You've seen this episode of `I, Claudius,' you know?" says Steve Coll of the New Yorker. ``You put the knife in one side and the medal on the other side and that's politics."
``The Dark Side" is, in a sense, CIA payback for its treatment. The program is dominated by legions of former CIA officers, some of whom left over the agency's treatment by the White House, and they detail what they view as Cheney's efforts to find the intelligence to fit the war he wanted against Saddam. Virtually no one, in contrast, appears from the Cheney-Rumsfeld camp to defend the two men's actions.
The talking heads are excellent. Most of the ex-spooks are strong, as is David Kay, leader of the failed attempt to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. So are intelligence experts Ron Suskind and James Bamford and the inevitable Bob Woodward.
``Frontline" walks us through the bad intelligence that Cheney spouted in public, even after the CIA had challenged it, like an Al Qaeda -Saddam connection and Saddam's supposed purchase of enriched uranium from Niger. We hear that the president's first reaction to the WMD evidence was, ``Is that all we got?"

Monday, June 19, 2006

Flying Monkeys - The Life of a Right Wing Talking Point

“I promise, by the year 2008,” the president said with a straight face as he stared into the camera, “to make monkeys fly. They will flap the little wings on their backs and soar like the mighty eagle”

The Democratic response was swift. Senator Harry Reid (NV) and Representative Nancy Pelosi both gave addresses that reminded Americans everywhere that monkeys were not, in fact, born with wings and that there’s little that a government can do to change that. Reid took it a step further and called the promise “unrealistic and irresponsible”.

The next day, Rush Limbaugh took to the airwaves railing that “Democrats are obstructing the president’s plan to develop flying monkeys”. Several of his callers swear to have actually had flying monkeys at some point, and that Janet Reno confiscated them to deploy as a secret paramilitary against Randy Weaver.

Where Rush goes, his imitators are sure to follow. Michael Savage claims that flying monkeys did inhabit the earth until ten years ago, but they all turned gay during the Clinton years and were unable to breed the next generation. G. Gordon Liddy claims that Ron Brown and Vince Foster had figured out the Clinton’s secret plans involving flying monkeys and had to be silenced.

Armstrong Williams says whatever the hell we want as long as there’s a check in it for him.

Over on Fox News, Brit Hume claims that any Democrat opposing the Flying Monkey plan is actually a flip flopper because Franklin Delano Roosevelt actually intended for monkeys to fly all along. Sean Hannity quotes statistics from an organization funded by Richard Mellon Scaife called People Who Don’t Hate America And Want a Simian Aviary that state that 75% of all monkeys born into the world today actually have the capability for flight. Alan Colmes questions the credibility of that one, and is never heard from again.

Bill O’Reilly adds to the résumé that already includes astronaut, pool cleaner, bikini model, Dallas Cowboys quarterback and cheerleader (At the same time), oil prospector, horse semen collector (Milk that prostate!), professional wrestler, ballerina, medium, Lotto winner, blackjack player, Jesuit priest, 70’s soul singer, shark fisherman, CIA agent, alpaca farmer, sherpa, aborigine tribal leader, encyclopedia salesman (Soon to evolve into encyclopedia writer), and his only verifiable job before Fox, tabloid TV reporter by indicating that he had participated in a program that unlocked a genetic sequence that made monkeys grow wings.

A new single hits record stores. It’s John Ashcroft’s reworked old single, newly transformed into “Let the Monkey Soar”.

Neil Cavuto reports on Fox that flying monkeys could conceivably be used as couriers, greatly reducing the cost of Fedexing packages around the world and indicates that he believes that George W. Bush will revitalize the sagging American economy with his flying monkey program. The entire right wing descends on Harry Reid for saying “He’s a partisan hack.”

In the Briefing Room, a male prostitute asks the Press Secretary “How are you doing? And if I may ask a follow-up question, how was your weekend?” Helen Thomas jumps onto her chair, turns her back to the Press Secretary, hikes up her dress and moons him while slapping her own bare buttocks in rhythm and singing “Babaloo”, and he still pretends not to have seen her.

On McLaughlin Group the following weekend, Tony Blankley insists that flying monkeys are the key to American air supremacy. Eleanor Clift gets annoyed with him and starts talking over him. Pat Buchanan speaks with quiet authority as he says “I’m not sure the United States government ought to be in the process of tinkering with animal genetics.” John McLaughlin implores him “But don’t you see the advantage of flying monkeys?”

The White House puts the president on a Flying Monkeys Tour of Congressional districts represented by Democrats that the president hopes to win over to the flying monkey cause. Despite sixteen staged town hall events with people reading talking point softball questions typed up by the White House Communications Department, support for the flying monkey program plummets another 15%. Even monkeys show up to voice their opinions by flinging poop at the presidential motorcade. Right wing activists immediately take out ads accusing them of supporting gay marriage and hating the troops.

In a Newsweek editorial, Joe Klein laments that the “President has lost… The nation has lost… And yes, the monkeys have lost.”

Best Liberal Songs? *UPDATE 1*

John J. Miller over at National Review just came out with a list of "the fifty greatest conservative rock songs", and I have to tell you... I think he reached a little bit.

"One" by Creed (47) - Instead of the song against racism that it is, he seems to believe it's a song against Affirmative Action.

"Won't Get Fooled Again" by The Who (1) - Does this tool think disillusionment is something only conservatives feel? "Meet the new boss/ same as the old boss" is hardly a conservative concept. UPDATE: Pete Townshend has written on his own blog about being picked for number one and why the song's inclusion on the list was totally wrong. Read it HERE.

"I Can't Drive 55" by Sammy Hagar (38) - He describes it as a song about the "nanny state". Does that mean red states don't have speed limits?

"Small Town" by John Mellencamp - (31) - If it was truly a conservative anthem, wouldn't there have been a line in it about how nice it would be if a Wal-Mart opened up and shut down all the independent businesses?

There are a few that I think he's right on the money with. "Sweet Home Alabama" was an angry reaction to Neil Young pointing out that there was racism in the South--- So I can understand a conservative being upset enough to see "Sweet Home Alabama" as an anthem.

It got me thinking about liberal songs with truly liberal concepts. And I'm working up my own list. It's a little bit harder since I'm actually trying to find songs that are overtly liberal, as opposed to theirs which... Well, appears to depend on interpreting the songs very narrowly.

1 - "American Idiot" by Green Day. This song screams for America to pay attention to what it's done to itself over the last six years. "Don't want a nation under the new media/ Can you hear the sounds of hysteria?/Calling out to Idiot America". It's the perfect song for the era of terror alerts, and a searing indictment of a media so complacent that its sole purpose seems to be terrifying a nation into getting behind... Well, an American Idiot.

2 - "Peace Sells, But Who's Buying?" by Megadeth. This song could have been written last week, as relevant as its lyrics still are today. "What do you mean I don't believe in God?/ I talk to him every day". "Can you put a price on peace?" Please allow me to check with Halliburton and get back to you.

3 - "The Way It Is" by Bruce Hornsby & the Range. Standing in line marking time- Waiting for the welfare dime/ 'Cause they can't buy a job/ The man in the silk suit hurries by As he catches the poor ladies' eyes /Just for fun he says "get a job". This song tackles it all--- Unemployment, class divisions, racism... It's a wonder Pat Robertson hasn't declared a fatwa on Bruce Hornsby.

4 - "Strange Fruit" by Billie Holliday. Lots of songs have dealt with racism. Few have dealt with it as starkly as this one. Southern trees bear strange fruit,/Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,/Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,/Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees. Anyone can talk about something--- It takes a true artist and visionary to hold a mirror up to society in the way Billie Holliday did when there was indeed "Strange Fruit" hanging from the trees.

5 - "War Pigs" by Black Sabbath. "Politicians hide themselves away/They only started the war/ Why should they go out to fight?/ They leave that role to the poor." This has to be the first time anyone in the human race has said this, so here it goes... Ozzy spoke wisely.

6 - "Jeremy" by Pearl Jam. Not strictly a political song--- But every time "Jeremy speaks in class today", and there's another school shooting, conservatives everywhere pretend that this is something that never happens.

7 - "Rockin' In the Free World" by Neil Young. Neil has done so much, that a top 50 list could really consist of saying "buy any six of his albums". But when he released this one, he had the Reagan/ Bush the Elected crowd pumping their fists in the air, singing a song that they thought was about comparing our lives to the lives of those behind the Iron Curtain... When in fact, he was talking about poor Americans.

8 - "In the Ghetto" by Elvis Presley. Hamfisted? Sure. Heavy-handed? You bet. But the Elvine heart was in the right place, and the message was a little risky considering that he largely had a southern fan base by the time this one was released.

9 - "Where Is the Love?" by the Blackeyed Peas. Yeah, I'm sure you don't really need to hear it again. But if you've got the album, hang on for a few seconds after it ends--- You'll be treated to "Third Eye". And how can you not love lyrics such as "If George Bush is Pinnochio, Pinnochio/ Then who the hell is Gepetto, Gepetto?"

10 - "Scarecrow" by John Mellencamp. I only know of two artists with the balls to write about a topic as unsexy as farms being foreclosed on. Mellencamp is one of them. And he put his money where his mouth is by forming "FarmAid" with Willie Nelson.

11 - "Foreclosure of a Dream" by Megadeth. Remember I told you only two artists had the balls to write about something as unsexy as farm forclosures? Dave Mustaine is the other one.

12. - "One" by Metallica. It's the sad tale of a soldier returning from war somewhat less than complete (Based on a novel by the McCarthy-blacklisted Dalton Trumbo). It's a reality that conservatives try to avoid facing when they talk about Iraq. It should have been the theme song to "Baghdad ER" when it ran on HBO. "Land mine has taken my sight/ taken my speech/ taken my hearing/ taken my arms/ taken my legs/ taken my soul - Left me with life in hell". Someone who has truly taken this song to heart can't lightly send someone else to be in that situation. In fact, I should go ahead and recommedn a Metallica double feature to conservatives, paired with "Disposable Heroes".

13 - "Vietnow" by Rage Against the Machine. This lovely little ballad is their tribute to Rush Limbaugh. It closes out with an interesting question. "Is all the world jails and churches?" I live in a city with more churches than gas stations, so I'm not sure how to answer.

14 - "We Shall Be Free" by Garth Brooks. First of all, I loathe country music. So you know a country song really has to be something to make a list of mine. "When the last thing we notice is the color of skin, and the first thing we look for is the beauty within," and "when we're free to love anyone we choose, when this world's big enough for all different views..." are definitely risky territory for a country artist to take on. My hat is off to him (If he can wear a cowboy hat without being a cowboy, then I should have my own ridiculous looking piece of headgear. How about my hat is a Viking helmet?). Now, we've just got to get him to quit doing Wal-Mart ads.

15 - "My Sweet Lord" by George Harrison. Some were quite offended that he would sing about God, and put in words of praise from other religions. But what better acknowledgment is there that there's one God with many names?

16 - "The End of the Innocence" by Don Henley. This one would have placed much higher based on the merit of its lyrics, but... Damnit, I hate the song. "O beautiful, for spacious skies/But now those skies are threatening/Theyre beating plowshares into swords/For this tired old man that we elected king/Armchair warriors often fail/And weve been poisoned by these fairy tales/The lawyers clean up all details/Since daddy had to lie".

17 - "America First" by Merle Haggard. What else can you say about this song? "Let's get out of Iraq an' get back on the track,/And let's rebuild America first. " Let's put him in a debate against Charle Daniels and see who's most coherent, shall we?

18 - "Fortunate Son" by Creedence Clearwater Revival. John Fogerty knew then, just as we know now, who gets sent to war.

19 - "I'm Eighteen" by Alice Cooper. Not strictly a political message, but the song is iconic simply because it's the tale of a young man coming of age in the Vietnam era. He's only a boy, but he's old enough to die.

20 - "They Ain't Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore" by Kinky Friedman. This song was branded "racist" by people who heard the endless strings of epithets in the lyrics. What they didn't pay attention to--- He was making fun of the "cowboy nerd" slinging them. Kinky's running for Governor of Texas now. His campaign slogan--- "Kinky for Governor. How hard could it be?" Judging by their last couple of offerings...

21 - "Trickle Down" by Ani DiFranco. First, let me thank Sarah for recommending this one. I was not familiar with it, but it's a damn good one. "the president assured us/it was all gonna trickle down/like it'd be raining so much money/that we'd be sad to see the sun". That's a nice indictment of what our current president's father once referred to as "Voodoo Economics".

22 - "Bonzo Goes to Bitburg" by The Ramones. Again, thanks to Sarah for getting me thinking about The Ramones. In 1985, Ronald Reagan went to Bitburg, Germany and visited a German military cemetary where 49 members of the Nazi Waffen were buried. Among the people bothered by this--- The late, great, Joey Ramone who penned the lyrics "You're a politician/don't become one of Hitler's children/Bonzo goes to Bitburg then goes out for a cup of tea/As I watched it on TV somehow it really bothered me" and "Fifty thousand dollar dress shaking hands with your highness/See through you like cellophane you watch the world complain, but you do it anyway".

23 - "Christmas in Washington" by Steve Earle. It's a great song about his growing apprehension at the end of the Clinton years: "It's Christmastime in Washington/The Democrats rehearsed/Gettin' into gear for four more years/Things not gettin' worse/The Republicans drink whiskey neat/And thanked their lucky stars/They said, 'He cannot seek another term/They'll be no more FDRs'/I sat home in Tennessee/Staring at the screen/With an uneasy feeling in my chest/And I'm wonderin' what it means". If only America had listened to him...

24 - "Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore" by John Prine. We should all have a copy of this CD in our cars and blast it to earth-shattering volumes anytime we see someone who thinks they "support the troops" by buying a 79 cent sticker in a convenience store. ""But your flag decal won't get you Into Heaven any more./We're already overcrowded From your dirty little war./Now Jesus don't like killin' No matter what the reason's for,/And your flag decal won't get you Into Heaven any more."

25 - "War" by Edwin Starr. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing. Say it again... The song is so cool that it even survived Jackie Chan singing it.

26 - "Born in the USA" by Bruce Springsteen. The political content isn't overt--- It tells the story of a hardworking Vietnam vet who fought for his nation who's lost his job. Of course, the Reagan campaign didn't notice the lyrics where he lost his job, or the fact that the vet in question didn't seem particularly happy about fighting in Vietnam, and adopted it as their campaign song briefly. A similar misunderstanding of the meaning of a song earned Merle Haggard praise from Richard Nixon, George Wallace, and David Duke for "Okie From Muskogee".

27 - "Sun City" by (Little) Steven Van Zandt. Perhaps it's because I was only thirteen at the time, but I had never heard of Apartheid before this song. But I was acutely aware of it afterward, so the song did exactly what it was designed to do--- It called attention to the oppression of a people and shined a spotlight on it in a way nothing else could have. Incidentally, for a great literary take on it, read "The Power of One" by Bryce Courtenay. They made a decent movie of it, but the book was far better.

To Be Continued... And if you have any suggestions, hit me at .

Friday, June 16, 2006

Don't Bother To Knock...

That's what the Supreme Court just told police in a ruling issued this week.

The Fourth Amendment is very clear in banning illegal searches and seizures. Since a decision in 1914, that rule has been accepted as "knock and announce". If the "knock and announce" didn't happen, the evidence was tossed out of court because the search was not in accordance with the Constitution. It's not like a bar was placed absurdly high here--- How difficult is it to say "Police! Open up!"?

The sad part? It was a 5-4 decision. Had this case gone to the Supremes a year ago, Sandra Day O'Connor would likely have voted to uphold the Fourth Amendment. Instead, right wing "activist judges" decided that the Fourth Amendment means nothing.

Democrats were badgered during the confirmation hearings for "Sloppy Seconds Sammy (It's gotta suck, being second choice after a woman with no judicial experience, huh?)" Alito for not filibustering him, despite the well known threat by Senate Republicans to put an end to the filibuster if they did.

Personally, I think they did the right thing. The filibuster is a useful legislative tool, and it would have been stupid to give it up to keep Sam Alito at a lower pay grade for two hours while the Senate Republicans took away the only right a minority party has. Had the Democrats been shortsighted enough to blow it that way, the "Lose Your Benefits" bill that would have completely deregulated the health insurance industry and allowed for all manner of pre-cancer screenings to be suspended would have been a surefire winner.

The filibuster is not the answer here--- The answer here is to run strong candidates and put the Republicans on the fuzzy side of the lollipop. Quit relying on the filibuster--- Win some damn races and never need it again.

When Democrats run weak, "Republican Lite" candidates, we end up losing--- You can't out-Republican a Republican, and we give up home field advantage every time we play their game.

Run a progressive, and reconnect with the voters that are staying home on election day. When your candidates are two slight variations on the same right wing ideology, we end up with a Constitution that doesn't mean much.

Because He's Just What Our Party Needs, Huh?

It's nice to see that Joe Lieberman just got a key endorsement in his primary this year---

Unfortunately, it's from Bill O'Reilly. Crooks & Liars has it on video.

Video-WMP Video-QT

If the Democratic Party cannot reverse its decline and ends up disintegrating into a "Low Carb Republican" ideology (As my friend Brad calls it), we can thank clowns like Lieberman that vote with the Republicans every time an issue is even remotely contentious.

When I was at the Blogger's Bash last week, the conservatives at the table all had one thing in common--- They liked Joe Lieberman. Just like Falafel Boy.

We've made this mistake before. We lost our shirts in 2002 because we allowed conservatives to define what we should be. In 2004, we showed a hesitation to learn a lesson from that--- We let them tell us that Howard Dean was "too liberal" to be able to win when in fact, Howard Dean could have forced the war to be discussed in a way they weren't ready for.

They love Lieberman because he votes with the president every chance he gets. It's a habit he started when the president was polling at 90%--- Now that he's at 29%, Lieberman doesn't have the guts to break away.

Bye bye, Joe. Wish I could say it was nice to know you.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

An Open Challenge.

Several months ago, I decided to "go where the action is". I registered with the Red State blog, posted a few items politely disagreeing with the tools that write there, and was shown the door in a matter of hours.

Just a few days ago, I decided to try again. I had spoken with a Republican a few times over on Cracker's site, so I thought "This guy might have the guts for a real discussion".

Nah. When Chesty accused Democrats of keeping Murtha around so they could pretend to have "creds" with the military, I pointed out to him the outstanding service records of more than a few Democrats, and asked him about the "creds" of their right wing counterparts. He accused me of "muckraking" or something like that, then deleted the post where I asked him why he didn't seem to mind muckraking when John Kerry and the Dems were the target.

People do that for one reason and one reason only--- They know they're wrong, and they would rather shut you up than have to admit it. People that are right have nothing to fear--- They look forward to the opportunity to prove what a chump the other guy is. All this pathetic, snivelling jackass did was pretend that being in the military was required to read someone else's service records and say "Yep, they showed up."

Since I'm disappointed with the lack of testicular fortitude displayed by the right wingers when I go into their house, I'm issuing a challenge of my own.

I don't care if it takes place at your site, or if it takes place at mine (Just as long as you don't censor me for disagreeing like the others have so far). If you think this war was a good idea, I want to hear from you. I will prove to you that it was unnecessary. I will prove to you that it was a horrible idea. I will prove to you that it's so screwed up right now that we can't fix it by staying. And most of all, I will prove the bumbling incompetence of the commander-in-chief.

If anyone has the guts to take me on, I'm quite easy to find.

Republican Girls Gone Wild

You know, I'm not a fan of the "Go after the family too" school of politics. I still remember people all the way from Rush Limbaugh to the Saturday Night Live cast going after Chelsea Clinton for being "ugly" during the most awkward years of a kid's life.

But come on... You have to use some common sense if your old man is running for office. If you're the daughter of a president, you can't really have the wild, drunken nights out on the town that your friends can have. You don't have the level of anonymity required for that.

And when your old man is running for the US Senate, it's probably for the best if you take your "I kissed a girl" moment off of Facebook.

Wonkette has found pictures of Bob Corker's daughter kissing a girl and dancing with a girl in her panties and posted them online.

Part of me would like to look at Wonkette and say "These kids deserve some semblance of a normal life. Hands off." I've always thought Wonkette was a little bit overrated--- I'm old fashioned enough to care more about the issues than whether or not a politician is having an affair, and her blog is a political gossip column.

But to Julia Corker--- How about some common sense? Think your old man's opponents in the primary aren't ruthless enough to use this? One of them was the House Impeachment Manager during the Clinton years, ferchrissake. Think he's evolved so much in the last few years that he's no longer willing to use something salacious for political gain?

These pictures are not anything horrible. It's not like she did a lesbian porn film. She did something that a million other drunken college girls do every day.

But leaving it out there when your old man is running for the Senate? Stupid.

The Talking Points Memo

John Kerry's bill regarding withdrawing from Iraq by year's end is about to come up for a vote.

Not that we'll see anything surprising out of the Republicans on this, but John Boenher's memo spelling out the talking points for any debate in the House has been leaked. As spectacularly uncreative as the Republicans tend to be when working from a set of talking points, it will be interesting to see just how many of these quotes end up verbatim on the Sunday morning talk shows and the floor of the House.

Confidential Messaging Memo

It would be interesting to see the memo that they'll brief Dubya with.

Talking points:

  • Remember 9/11?
  • You're the Decider, Mr. President.
  • "There is no presence of Iraqi insurgents in Baghdad" (Also known as the Baghdad Bob/ Baghdad Bush defense).
  • Say the WMD were found. The 29% that still back you don't know any better.
  • Remember 9/11?

Monday, June 12, 2006

WTF are These Five States Thinking?????????

Okay, fair warning--- We're about to go to an ugly, ugly place.

Imagine this for a moment: Some disgusting bastard has just given into one of the sickest impulses found in the human condition--- He has just raped a child.

He looks down at the young girl, wondering what to do about it. He can run like hell and hope she doesn't recognize him. He could get 25 years if he's caught, though, and less if he pleads out. But if he kills her, he could get the death penalty.

See, he stands to lose something if he kills her.

See, this is one of the beautiful things about our criminal court system--- Murder is an island unto itself in the hierarchy of crime. The worst punishment that can be meted out is reserved for those who take a life.

Not anymore, though. At least not in Oklahoma, Florida, South Carolina, Louisiana, and Montana.

See, those five states have all passed laws extending the death penalty for a variety of sex crimes, mostly involving minors.

So now, let's walk through that scenario again.

A disgusting bastard in Oklahoma has just given in to the sickest urge in the human condition. He has just raped a thirteen-year-old girl.

He looks down at her, wondering what to do about it.

The choice is easier--- Because he's in one of the five states so shortsighted that they made the penalty for raping a minor the same as killing her. He has absolutely nothing to lose.

The legislatures and governors of these five states have done something so remarkably stupid that they should all be kicked out of office, and I don't give a damn what party they're in.

For in their states, the life and death of young sex crimes victims is now dependent on the conscience of people that rape children. There's no other disincentive for killing them.

Has the Justice Kennedy Been Reading My Blog?

Yeah right... Nice dream.

But it IS kind of a neat coincidence.

Justice John Paul Stevens told Florida's lawyer that their procedure would be banned for use to euthanize cats and dogs.

Clumsy writing aside, that sounds remarkably similar to...

Let’s put this in perspective. Our standards for euthanizing animals are actually higher than our standards for executing the condemned.

Regardless, I'm quite pleased to see the Supreme Court looking at whether or not the needle constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

To quote myself:

The goal of lethal injection is not to be easier on the person being killed. The goal of lethal injection is to be easier on the person doing the killing.

First, you’re strapped to the gurney. Then the executioner inserts a catheter into each arm and flushes them with a solution to keep them from getting clogged. If you’ve ever been in the hospital and had a clumsy nurse try to start an IV for you, think about that and then imagine what care she might have shown if you’d been convicted of murder and would soon be too dead to sue her.

In one arm, they give you 5000 milligrams of sodium thiopental, which puts you to sleep for about thirty seconds. In the other arm, they give you 100 milligrams of pancuronium bromide, which paralyzes your respiratory system.

Finally, they give you a dose of sodium chloride, which induces cardiac arrest. Within two minutes, the state is declaring you dead.

The British medical journal The Lancet reported on the results of forty-nine autopsies from Georgia, Arizona, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Medical examiners found that in 43 of those executions, the condemned had lower levels of thiopental in their bloodstream than what is required for surgery--- Low enough that they were awake and aware as they slowly suffocated. Without enough thiopental, you remain awake and alert. The pancuronium stops you from moving, but leaves all of your higher brain functions intact.

So in fact, they went through excruciating pain, but since their bodies were crippled, they gave no outward indication.

Let’s put this in perspective. Our standards for euthanizing animals are actually higher than our standards for executing the condemned.

Perhaps it’s simply the origin of the procedure shining through. It was created by Dr. Karl Brandt, personal physician to Adolf Hitler. How concerned with humanitarianism do you think he was?

So no--- I’m afraid that the question over whether or not lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment is far from a silly one.

I'm looking forward to seeing the Supreme Court's answer to that question.

See? Dubya DID Learn a Lesson From Katrina...

You see, that's why this one is called "Alberto". Because Americans know one thing--- He will always be glad to send the National Guard when someone with a Hispanic name is trying to get into the United States.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Take Them at Their Words

Gee, I Wonder Why Republicans Are Regarded As Racist…

“Probably nothing.”
- Jeb Bush when asked during his failed 1994 campaign for governor what he would do for Florida’s black population.

“Conrad, how can you live in Washington with all the n***ers?”
- Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT) telling a newspaper editor about a question he was asked by a rancher from his home state. He told the rancher it was a “hell of a challenge”.

“[Little Joe, the gorilla that escaped from Franklin Park Zoo was] probably a METCO gorilla waiting for a bus to take him to Lexington.”
- Talk radio host John Dennis. METCO (Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity) is a desegregation program that buses Boston’s inner city children to suburban schools.

“They are 12 percent of the population. Who cares?”
- Rush Limbaugh, responding to a caller that said that black people need to make their voices heard.

“Headline: Orangutan escapes at zoo, runs for county executive. [Cues jungle music with monkey sounds] Freakin’ monkeys loose up at the zoo again. That’s really fine, really fine. Yeah, yeah, and he’s running for county executive. What is with that?”
- Talk radio host Bob Lonsberry, commenting on the campaign of African-American Mayor William A. Johnson for Monroe County Executive.

“Just turn Ashley [Lowndes County Sheriff Ashley Paulk] loose and let him arrest every Muslim that comes across the state line.”
- Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)

“If I see someone who comes in that’s got a diaper on his head and a fan belt wrapped around the diaper on his head, that guy needs to be pulled over.”
- Rep. John Cooksey (R-LA)

Quit looking at the symbols. Get out and get a job. Quit shooting each other. Quit having illegitimate babies.”
- State Rep. John Graham Altman (R-SC) commenting on African Americans who supported the proposal of Governor David Beasley to remove the Confederate flag from all state buildings.

“Because I’ve got the greatest physique in the world, I’m sharp, I’m super talented.” Then he stood up, walked down the hall, looked over his shoulder and said “And I’m white.”
- Black bodybuilder Rick Wayne, recalling a conversation with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“That’s right. I thought he [Schwarzenegger in his first debate] did a good job. I--- California is not Mississippi. And you’re not going to get the kind of people that I really like.”
- Bob Novak

“Head Start is a godsend for Mississippi. Some of those kids would be better off sitting up on a piano bench in a whorehouse than where they are now.”
- Then candidate for Governor of Mississippi Haley Barbour, former Republican National Committee Chairman

“My picture is in the public domain. It gets published in newspapers every day.”
- Haley Barbour again, this time commenting on why he would not ask the Council of Conservative Citizens, a racist and anti-Semitic organization, to remove a picture of him with some of their members at a CCC cookout from their home page.

“Does the C of CC oppose racism? The word racism was concocted by a communist ideologue in the 1920’s. The purpose of racism was to instill guilt and shame in the minds of white people and to stir racial hostility among blacks.”
- From the website of the Council of Conservative Citizens. In addition to Haley Barbour, Trent Lott and Bob Barr have addressed this group.

“I want to say this about my state. When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over the years, either.”
- Senator Trent Lott (R-MS) at Strom Thurmond’s one hundredth birthday party

“If you want to know what America used to be--- And a lot of people wish it still were--- then you listen to Strom Thurmond.”
- Rush Limbaugh

“His patriotism, courage, and lifetime dedication to South Carolina and his nation will always be remembered.”
- George W. Bush, Thurmond’s one hundredth birthday party

“I applaud the Supreme Court for recognizing the value of diversity on our nation’s campuses.”
- George W. Bush, praising the Supreme Court for handing down a decision he had lobbied against upholding Affirmative Action

“As long as he can fuzz it up just enough, he is OK.”
- Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute, advising Bush on how to spin the Affirmative Action decision

Yellow monkeys.”
- Talk radio host J.R. Gach commenting on Japanese fishermen that were accidentally killed when a submarine resurfaced under them.

“Slant Eye to Slant Eye”.
Talk radio host Rich Michaels referring to Connie Ching’s “Eye to Eye” program.

“Jane, come here. Me Tarzan!”
- Boston Immigration Judge Thomas Ragno, addressing a Ugandan woman in his courtroom to hear her petition for political asylum.

“Aside from doing a rain dance and making it rain--- We’ll assign that to Senator Campbell--- I’m not sure what we can do.”
- Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) suggesting that Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, the only Native American in the Senate, might help alleviate the drought of 2003

“The NAACP should have riot rehearsal. They should get a liquor store and practice robberies.”
- El Rushbo again.

“It is time to face the reality that, according to no particular plan, America is being degraded, disunited, and endangered by a powerful flow, wave after wave, legal and illegal, of poor, unskilled, and uneducated people into our country, many of whom have no interest in becoming Americans or learning the English language. Unable to join the American mainstream, they will fester in ethnic ghettos, work for sub-standard wages, reproduce, vote the straight Democratic ticket and provide cover fire for the terrorists. As they say down Mexico way, “loco, completamente loco.”
- Linda Bowles, Border Blowback, Townhall

“Two things made this country great: White men & Christianity. The degree these two ingredients have diminished is in the direct proportion to the corruption and fall of the nation. Every problem that has arrisen [sic] can be directly traced back to our departure from God’s Law and the disenfranchisement of White men.”
- State Rep. Don Davis (R-NC) emailed this in a letter to every member of the North Carolina House and Senate, having received the letter himself from “the administrator of an internet site that asserts that Christianity is a White religion and that the Western world is made up of Christian white nations.” Davis defended the mailing: “There’s a lot of it that’s truth, the way I see it. Who came to this country first--- The White man, didn’t he? That’s who made this country great.”

“As late as 1959, 78 percent of all black families were intact and less than 2 percent of black children were reared in households where the mother was not married. This was before civil rights legislation, before the Voting Rights Act, and before the war on poverty. Blacks were still being lynched in the South, but black families were mostly together and provided a strength for their children that is no longer there.”
- Cal Thomas, The Things That Matter Most

“Black ministers should not be involved in politics. I thought there was separation of church and state.”
- Talk radio host Bill Cunningham, who has no such criticism of Pat Robertson, Focus on the Family, et al

“If they didn’t observe Martin Luther King Day there’s be trouble from the savages. They’re not satisfied with every third street being MLK Boulevard, named after that scumbag Marty.”
- Talk radio host Bob Grant

“We have in our city… in our nation, not hundreds of thousands but millions of sub-humanoids, savages, who would really feel more at home careening along the dry deserts of eastern Kenya, people who, for whatever reason, have not become civilized.”
- Talk radio host Bob Grant

“His kind do have that problem [of forming words]. Maybe they weren’t intended to speak a civilized language.”
- Talk radio host Bob Grant commenting on a black caller

“On the evolutionary scale, you’re about 25 generations behind me.”
- Bob Grant again, talking to a black caller

“It’s hard to imagine now, but by the late 1980’s AM radio was nothing short of a dying medium… Sure, there were a scattering of great stations and great personalities out there-among them people like Barry Farber and Bob Grant in New York whom I listened to avidly. But they were the exceptions.”
- Sean Hannity, Let Freedom Ring, p. 259

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Stray Thoughts Volume I


  • If you take money out of the public schools and put it into private schools in the form of vouchers... Haven't you simply created another public school, but with no accountability whatsoever?
  • If conservatives argue using facts and liberals argue using emotion... Then what's with rightwingers' reliance on op-ed pieces? Couldn't they argue using something that's sourced and fact checked?
  • Thinking back to 2004... How many times do you have to get shot in the ass in a rice paddy before you're considered as "rough and tumble" as a cheerleader from Andover?
  • No one doubts the sheer barbarism of beheading when it's done by an Iraqi insurgent. Yet there are four nations in the world that still use beheading as a means of capital punishment--- Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Yemen, and Iran. Why are we friends with two of them?
  • Who watches the Tony Awards?
  • Conservatives complain about movie stars getting involved in politics. Barbra Streisand and George Clooney are the targets of verbal attacks any time they donate to a Democrat. Which party is it that ran Ronald Reagan, Arnold Scwarzenegger, and Sonny Bono, ferchrissake? At least we have the sense to keep our movie stars on the sidelines.

Jersey Girls...

And no, this isn't a treatise on hairspray and acid washed jeans...

I've been holding out on commenting on Coultergeist's attacks on the "Jersey Girls", the handful of 9/11 widows that lobbied for an investigation into the attacks that killed their husbands and had the temerity to criticize a president whose domestic security policies are rivalled only by his diction in terms of sheer sloppiness.

Not any more. I've been holding out because the more people talk about that skank, the more they publicize her book. No more. The same dozen idiots that would have bought her book anyway will still go to the bookstore, their mouths rimmed with red koolaid, and plop down thirty bucks on a book that should have gone straight from the binders to the remainder shelf.

Maybe the "let's not talk about it and give them any more publicity" idea is what has allowed idiots like her to get a foothold in America to start with--- By not firing off at them as often as we should, we're allowing their claims to go unchallenged. For example, see "Kerry, John", whose inept campaign manager asked him to ignore the Swift Boat Veterans for Sale until it was already too late. Let their claims go unchallenged for a couple of months, and they become part of the accepted "wisdom".

Let her and the droolies that hang on her every word call me an angry liberal--- I really don't give a flying shit. Brassmask wrote on this subject very recently, and I have to give him proper credit for firing me up.

Coultergeist accused the Jersey Girls of enjoying their husband's deaths... Of using them for political gain.

We can cast aside this ridiculous argument on one simple set of grounds--- The only reason these ladies have a bully pulpit is that the Bush White House, which lacks the competence to hold a drunken pissup in an unlocked brewery, managed to make a priority of everything but national security in the opening months of their term. Of the eight months he had spent in office, 35% had been spent on vacation. He had spent so little time in the White House that I'm not sure he could have found the men's room on September 10th. But there was plenty of time for Cheney's Energy Task Force to pass around maps of the Iraqi oil fields.

If not for the work of the Jersey Girls, our government would have spent more time and effort investigating a jizz stain left on a blue dress than on the brutal attack that killed 3000 on American soil.

What did Dubya want to do with the investigation? Think back... His original choice for chairman was Henry Kissinger. On the one hand, that's a good idea--- Who better to investigate a terrorist attack than the guy responsible for more than a few (Including, incidentally, a coup in Chilé that just happened to have taken place on another 9/11 decades earlier)? But Kissinger isn't the guy you bring in off of the bench when you want the truth to come out. He's the guy you bring in when you want the truth buried so deep that it can't ever be found.

If not for the Jersey Girls, The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight would still be walking around, trying to tell the nation that no one could have foreseen a terrorist attack despite President Commodus getting a briefing in the middle of his vacation (Also known as the month of August) called "Osama bin Laden Wants To Strike Inside the US".

And what of their later criticisms of him? What has he done to tighten up domestic security? He restored air marshalls (On about 1% of flights), restoring a security protocol that was taken away by Republican deregulation from the Reagan White House. The same number of shipping containers coming through our ports are inspected--- Almost none. Our customs inspectors fail their occasional tests just as spectacularly as before. But hey, it's okay--- Because while Ahmad and Mohammed are flying into JFK on Saudi and Emirati passports, we're trying to stop Juan and Felipé from coming in to work for $3 per hour. I'm looking into the crystal ball and seeing Haliburton getting the no-bid contract to build the wall--- And using cheap Mexican labor for it.

Criticizing the Bush Cartel on domestic security? All that means is that the Jersey Girls have functional brain stems (If their brain stems weren't functional, Bill Frist would be diagnosing them on videotape).

Simply put--- Jersey Girls rule.

Anne, take that book, turn it sideways, and stick it straight up your Cheney.

The Bloggers Bash Wrapup

First, I want to thank Mike Hollihan over at Half-Bakered for putting this together. We really should do this more often.

It's always great to see the lovely Serrabee again. I had the pleasure of meeting her at a Drinking Liberally event, and she's a pleasure to be around.

Some of the guests are longtime friends of mine. West Tennessee Liberal and Polar Donkey are great guys and terrific allies in the battle for the soul of Memphis politics.

And it was really great to be able to attach a face to newer friends and allies, such as Leftwing Cracker, Wintermute, Autoegocrat, Pesky Fly, and the magnificent Kibitzer.

I also had the pleasure of meeting Tom over at Leanleft, as well as a few fellows from the other side of the fence. Tom and I had a spriited, though never angry discussion with Alphapatriot on issues ranging from Iraq to vouchers. We didn't agree, but it was a damn good discussion.

Brock over at BattlePanda has posted a complete list of the attendees. I had a notepad, and he had a pen. Put us together, and we almost look prepared for something.

I also made the acquaintance of a couple of very lovely young ladies from a local arts group that I have sadly already forgotten the name of. Blame it on your charm--- I was too dazzled by the company I was in to actually remember the name of the organization. They both told me their mission, so I'm hoping to have enough information to be able to promote their fine work in the days to come. Thank you Sarah and Elizabeth.

Ladies, gentlemen, it was a very nice evening. Thank you all.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Elvis: "Who Let This Jackass In My House?"

That's what the King is undoubtedly out there somewhere saying...

The Japanese Prime Minister is a big Elvis fan. So rather than following his father's example and vomiting on his lap, our president will put on his floppy red shoes and show Koizumi around Graceland.

Really, we should give them a proper welcome.

Be There!

This is a great chance for all of us bloggers to meet people that are just as rude, crude, and socially unacceptable as we are.

So I'm hoping that all --- both of our fans make it out tonight.

Buh-Bye, Hot Tub Tommy.

At approximately 4PM CST today, a great burden will have been lifted off of this nation. Today is Tom DeLay's last day in the House of Representatives.

I've been following his corruption for more years than I care to count. And finally, finally... He's going.

I just hope that the people in the House office building have the good sense to count the silverware.

It's All Our Fault. Uh huh.

Roscoe asked us to pray and fast for him. But did we listen? Noooo... I had my pasta, and you had your whatever.

Okay, maybe he could have helped us by skipping a meal or two himself, which looks like it might have last happened when he was about six.

Are you happy now?

Actually... Yes. I am. All that we can ask of our justice system is a fair trial. And when you're caught on video taking the money, it's a hard sell trying to convince a jury you did nothing wrong. They're very fickle that way.

Roscoe will be going away for a while.

How we as a party react to this defines us. I keep thinking of a line from "Batman Begins" - Bruce Wayne's father made it clear to his son at an early age that you fall so you can learn how to get back up.

I'm proud that we don't reaqct to scandals as Republicans do. Think of the way they circled the wagons around Tom DeLay--- There's really not too much to Texas election law. It's notoriously hard to break, as there's simply not much of it. Yet supporters of his have managed to delude themselves into thinking that the case against him is an attempt to attack conservative politics.

No such thing in the Democratic Party. About as close as we get is electing the sibling of an indicted state senator to take his place.

My hope for the other Waltz defendants is the same as my hope for Dixon--- A fair trial. And if wrongdoing is established in a court of law, let justice be done.

Catchy. VERY Catchy!

I'd like to thank PeskyFly for posting this last night.

What do you do when you hear some cool music? The same damn thing you do when you taste a really awful drink--- You say "Here--- Try this."

"Rush Limbaugh - Evil Blimp"

I'm hoping for a sequel along the lines of "Ann Coulter - Unpleasant Crack Ho".

Now allow me to return the favor--- This is a song I downloaded right before the 2004 election. When I burned a copy of "American Idiot" for my car, I added this as a bonus track, and it's simply phenomenal.

Green Day - "Life During Wartime"

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Zarqawi is Dead.

At a moment like this one, words don't come easily. In fact, I can only think of two---

Hell yeah. With any luck, you're in hell now. Your only company is the Carpenters box set playing in the background.

And I hope you've found out where the ripoff is in the whole jihad thing. You're with your seventy virgins now--- All of them overweight, pimple-faced Trekkies.

The world smells a little better now with Zarqawi gone.

Had Your Boiled Egg Yet?

So I heard yesterday that Roscoe Dixon was going to be interviewed on Action News 5 at 5. I was off yesterday, so I was playing my weekly game of "What the %$#* is That Smell in My Refrigerator?" and decided to listen to it.

What I heard was simply astounding. I wish I had been recording it. It was bizarre enough that I went in the other room, picked up my DVR remote, and rewound just to make sure I was hearing it right. I really wish i had recorded it--- I half expect it to end up on YouTube in the next few days, and it surely would have if I had.

By this time, a jury had been deliberating his fate for seven hours. A jury in a trial where he had been caught on tape taking money from fake businessmen, and his defense consisted of saying "No, it wasn't a bribe. I thought they just really, really liked me."

And what did he do? He asked people to pray... And fast on his behalf.

I don't know how many of you have seen Roscoe Dixon. He's not Fat Bastard or anything, but it sure doesn't look like he fasted himself too much in preparation for this trial. If I was in trouble, I sure couldn't imagine him skipping a meal for me.

Yet there he was, asking people to stick to "Water, soda pop, or maybe a boiled egg" on his behalf so he doesn't go to jail.

So in Roscoe's honor, I ate spaghetti last night. I didn't go to the trouble of making my special "from scratch" marinara, as that's entirely too much trouble when I'm eating alone. But I can certainly say that Ragu was the best tasting jar I've ever opened.

I was also thinking "How would a prayer for Roscoe go?" Here's what I came up with.

Dear Lord,

Roscoe isn't very smart. When most legislators are taking a payoff for their vote, they have the sense to funnel it through their campaign funds with the legitimate donations, but that's simply not Roscoe's style.

And now he's so narcissistic that he believes I should be asking you for mercy on his behalf. In fact, he seems to think I should go on some type of hunger strike until you intervene with the jury for him.

So Lord, I thank you for this meal which I am about to eat. If Roscoe manages to get acquitted despite being caught on videotape taking the money, I'll know you have a sense of humor. In fact, that sense of humor is probably what Roscoe should pray for too.

Far be it for me to ask you for anything for me, but I wouldn't be horribly upset if you sent Scarlett Johansen and Jennifer Connelly into my shower, or at least that cutie I keep seeing at mass. You know the one I'm talking about. Then I would know that you not only have a sense of humor, but you're an all around swell guy, and I'll sing "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" at top volume in your honor.

I am forever your sometimes surly servant, which if you help Roscoe get away with this, will mean that I'm Jeeves and you're Bertie Wooster.


PS: Thank you for leading me to that bag of meatballs that was stinking up the fridge. I had quite forgotten they were in there.

You da man.

The New Sixty Percenters

I was at the grocery store earlier and overheard a black man complaining about gay people. Overheard might be too mild a word--- He seemed to be talking at a level that was clearly meant for others to hear. He was talking about how he was going to kick a guy's ass if it was true that he was gay. My words are much milder than his were.

And it got me thinking about two groups that should be able to find more common ground than they are--- African-Americans and homosexuals. It's not exactly a stretch to believe that the same people that want a constitutional ban on gay marriage also happen to be the ones that will build a new house in Eads rather than have a black family living a couple of blocks over.

I don't understand homophobia at all, but damnit, I understand it even less in the black community. I've heard black people speaking that were genuinely offended that their struggle fifty years ago could be compared to the struggle that homosexuals face today.

I doubt anyone would ever consciously choose to face the struggles that a homosexual faces. They can't marry the person they love, which closes them off from health plans, visiting rights in the ICU ward, adopting children in most states, and a nasty social stigma from a vocal minority of the population. So I think we can safely put to bed the notion that they somehow have more choice over being born the way they are than anyone except Michael Jackson has over their skin color.

"If he's a faggot, I'm gonna kick his ass". That's what the guy said. In this day and age, a white man wouldn't go out in public and say "I'm going to kick his ass because he's black". He certainly wouldn't have used the n-word the way this black man saw fit to drop the f-word. That's simply because white Americans have finally got the message: If you're ignorant enough to subscribe to such notions, at least have the common sense not to broadcast it.

We haven't reached that point with gay people yet. Too many people are too busy trying to gain political ground by making them the one group that you can legally discriminate against. And it's nearly impossible to get common citizens to quit discriminating when you have legislators trying to codify discrimination into law. Had it not been for Brown vs the Board of Education and a handful of civil rights laws, we would still have the "coloreds" bathrooms.

Maybe by connecting the ignorance of yesteryear to the ignorance of today, we can give our gay friends, family, and neighbors the long overdue gift of equality.

Next time some political hack tells you that you should support a gay marriage ban, tell him you'll do it--- On one condition. This phrase has to be slipped into the Constitutional Amendment:

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of heterosexual Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all homosexual Persons.

Recognize that? It's a slight paraphrase of Article I, Section 2, Clause 3 of the United States Constitution. It's better known as the Three Fifths Compromise. According to our Founding Fathers, black people were worth roughly 60% of what the rest of us were.

After all... Aren't the people that are trying to keep gays from having the same rights as the rest of us trying to send the same message? The message is "You may have some of the rights human beings have--- But not all."

The Three Fifths Compromise was disgusting back then, and it's disgusting now.

I'll never forget the first night that I really saw firsthand the impact that these gay marriage ballot initiatives have on the people involved. I've always hated them--- They're an attempt by right wingers to bring out the evangelical vote and cash in on the "angry white man" contingent that Republicans have had to find slyer ways to pander to since public racism finally went out of vogue.

I don't know that many gay people. I grew up around a gay couple that have been together over thirty years now, and I always thought it was a shame they couldn't marry. But I don't have that many gay people in my everyday life now.

So on Election Night 2004, I was at campaign HQ talking to a gay volunteer as the results came in. As we watched the results come in, we kept noticing the gay marriage ban passing in state after state after state...

He looked to me like he was on the verge of tears. I couldn't tell whether it was sorrow, anger, or both. He looked over at me and said "Eleven states just said I'm less than human."

As I write this, I wonder... How much of a human would they have said he was?

Three Fifths, maybe?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Paddleboats, Anyone?

We're about to see a torrent of bullshit unleashed that is unlike anything the earth has seen before. A flood so big that even 40 days and 40 nights won't be enough to clear it out.

The guy that fabricated the story about Jews in Iran being forced to wear yellow ribbons has been invited to the White House as an "expert".

The company behind it is Benador Associates, a NY-based PR firm that has brought us such great hits in the past as "Saddam Unplugged Babies' Incubators In Kuwait" and "Saddam Puts People Into Giant Paper Shredders". Their strategy is always the same--- Plant a ridiculous story in a newspaper not known for factchecking, then let media outlets that are afraid of being scooped repeat the story.

Make no mistake--- This guy is not an expert on Iran--- He's an expert in how to flood a nation with bullshit.

But I SWEAR It's Only For Charity...

Ain't this a pisser?

Someone came up with a way to honestly say "But I was only looking at those breasts for charity" and make it legit--- And I managed to not hear about it until the day before the site is taken down.

Oh well. Thanks for the mammaries.