Saturday, February 19, 2005


JimJeff GannonGuckertGate

For a really funny look at the current JJGGGate situation, check out this post at The Poorman.

From Kevin Drum:

WAL-MART UPDATE ....Did Wal-Mart get a sweetheart deal the other day when they agreed to a settlement over charges of violating child labor laws? Or was it
just the standard set of conditions imposed in these kinds of cases?
You will be unsurprised to learn that the answer appears to be "sweetheart
deal." Nathan Newman, of course, has the details.

I think the only real surprise is just how blantant the facoritism really is. It should come as no surprise that BushCo has a soft spot for big business, and there's no denying that Wal-Mart is the biggest business there is. As Newman points out:

Read the whole analysis at the link. The bottom line is that no corporation
has ever been given this kind of "get out of jail free card" by the Department
of Labor. Essentially, Wal-Mart was free to violate the law at will and, if it got caught at any time, all it had to do was give the money stolen from its employees back within fifteen days. And anywhere the company wasn't caught, it could just pocket the money. And in no case would the company ever have to pay another fine.
Just another shining example of the "family values administration" at work.


Mouth-breathers Completely Out Of Touch

The "Conservative Political Action Conference" has reached a new low.

"America's Operation Iraqi Freedom is still producing shock and awe, this
time among the blame-America-first crowd," he crowed. Then he said, "We continue
to discover biological and chemical weapons and facilities to make them inside
Iraq." Apparently, most of the hundreds of people in attendance already knew
about these remarkable, hitherto-unreported discoveries, because no one gasped
at this startling revelation.

These morons still believe we're finding WMD's in Iraq, despite what everybody says.

Read the whole thing; it's flippin' unbelievable!

As Digby says:

This is not surprising, really. These people have grown quite accustomed to
the "you can believe me or you can believe your lying eyes" political leadership
and actually seem to prefer it. It makes everything so nice and simple.

They really do have "their own reality.


More later over most of these same Internets. Stay tuned.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

We Got Dean's Back...

Courtesy of the fine folks at Daily Kos, you too can help Dean and the DNC.

Any amount accepted (as far as I know)

Contribution amount:

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Miscellaneous Musings....

Misleading Ledes...

West Hollywood May Ban Cosmetic Surgery for Pets

When I first saw this headline, what popped into my mind was the image of a Bichon with a nose job (or maybe a Great Dane with silicone falsies).

Turns out West Hollywood is thinking about banning cropping tails and ears. That I can agree with.

More Bad Press for LAPD

Reaction Mounts to Calif. Teen's Shooting
LOS ANGELES - A 13-year-old suspected car thief was shot to death by police after he led them on a 3 1/2-mile chase and then backed into their cruiser, police said.
Friends and neighbors of Devin Brown said they could not understand why police opened fire on him early Sunday in South Los Angeles.
Well, let's see if we can figure out why the cops shot... (Remember, I was a police officer for 14 years, so this is nothing but a wild guess, unlike the expertise displayed by the media and public)... You have somebody -- and you don't know who, never mind how old -- screaming around LA in a 3000-pound guided missile, risking the lives of hundreds (if not thousands) of innocent passers-by. This person then attempts to kill you, using that same 3000-pound weapon, then tries to beat feet out of Dodge, while you're standing there yelling "Halt" (do any of you remember that wonderful episode of "Barney Miller" where Gregory Sierra -- disgusted at whatever Puerto Rican criminal he had that day -- affected a British accent to say 'Halt, I say, halt'?)

"I know he was wrong for stealing a car, but what I really don't understand is the police have had so much training," said Carmen Dorsey, who stopped by an impromptu memorial at the site where the teen died. "Why do they have to shoot to kill?"
Because, people, shooting someone in the hand or leg only works in the movies. Many years ago, after a shooting involving the NYPD, some sociologist was bitching about trigger-happy cops. One of the local TV stations got some police training tapes (Motorola's "Shoot - Don't Shoot" series), and invited the sociologist, a street cop, and the reporter to try their luck. The videos show numerous scenarios that cops encounter on a daily basis; the premise is does the officer shoot or not? The sociologist got 'shot' by the first two 'assailants', then shot everyone in sight. The reporter scored about 50%, and the cop scored 100%. BTW, it was a new series of tapes -- not released to the police departments yet -- so the cop did not have the advantage of having been through the scenarios.

Police academies (and the military) teach one style of shooting -- aim for the biggest body mass -- and shoot to kill... cause otherwise, the bad guy's gonna shoot you.

The police union said officers are required to make quick decisions in the field and a delay in judgment could cost them their lives and endanger the community.
That's one of the problems with "Monday morning quarterbacking". It's easy to sit in your easy chair, safe at home, and tell the cop he was wrong for a split-second decision, often made in a dark alley late at night, when some bastard is trying to KILL you.

At the crash site, some placards criticized the shooting. "LAPD ... Thank you for giving us yet another reason to dislike your services," one read. "You are a cancer to the community."
This, of course, is the same community that celebrates sports vistories by rioting....

Oh, and lest you think that, like their TV counterparts, cops go have a beer and get back to work, it ain't so. This is the part you don't see on "Cops"... the nightmares, the shakes (often the shitting the pants in terror -- and the city doesn't pay those cleaning bills), the countless trips to the pshrink, the way it affects every action thereafter... Oh, yes, and it's much worse if the dead body is a kid, regardless of what the kid did.

Police work isn't easy, no matter what TV says. It takes a terrible toll on the individual, his/her loved ones, and even on society. 14 years turned me into a racist, violent bastard, too ready to hit first and ask questions later. It cost me a marriage and a subsequent relationship, and left me suicidal and alcoholic (my new wife has shown me that life is, in fact, worth living; she's truly wonderful).

If you have a friend who is a cop, ask him or her. If he/she is honest, you'll hear the truth.


NYC Mayor Faces Dilemma on Gay Marriage

NEW YORK - Mayor Michael Bloomberg staked out a compromise position in the gay-marriage debate: He would publicly support gay marriage, but challenge a court decision allowing it.

That stance has pleased almost no one. Fellow Republicans are calling him a Democrat in disguise, and gays are calling him a coward.

The furor illustrates Bloomberg's peculiar political dilemma as a moderate Republican running for re-election in November in this overwhelmingly liberal, Democratic city with an active gay community.
This is not surprising. Here we have someone who came into office on the coattails of the neocon wingnuts, and who now has to decide whether he will answer to his constituents -- who can leave him unemployed -- or to his political mentors -- who can leave him "untouchable" in terms of higher office. It's also a prime example of the current "weasel deal" school of political practice: proclaim one thing, do something else. BlunderBoy, of course, is the world-class expert at this.

Odds 'n' Ends

State of the State (Michigan)

I heard some of Gov. Jennifer Granholm's State of the State address last night (courtesy of the local university/NPR affiliate, of course). She made some interesting proposals regarding Michigan's future, in terms of employment, technology, and education. To me, the most interesting proposal was what she termed "college credit amnesty", in which Michigan's colleges and universities would accept virtually all college credits, regardless of age. To someone like me -- a proud member of the 30-year-plan community -- that's really good news. I hope the programs she discussed last night are all passed.

I did not listen to the rebuttal by the mouth-breathers.

From Kevin Drum:

BUDGET MAGIC....Imagine that. The administration's prescription drug bill isn't going to cost $400 billion, and it's not going to cost $534 billion. It's going to cost $1.2 trillion.

But it's not so bad. Honest. The White House says there are offsets that will make the real cost $720 billion, a mere doubling of the original estimate. Personally, my guess is that these "offsets" will turn out to be less than the White House is saying, but you know me. I have an irrational hatred of George Bush that causes me to distrust his numbers. I don't know where it comes from.

Kevin, it comes from experience. It comes from hearing the same tired old lame excuses from the campaignistration time after time after time after time.....

As Matt Yglesias points out, the worst part of this whole charade is being forced to listen to congressional Republicans who pretend that they're outraged at being duped. The clarification about costs (that is, today's clarification, not last year's) has a simple source: the White House is now using the first ten years that the prescription drug program actually exists (2006-2015) instead of the first ten years after the bill passed (2004-2013) — which included a couple of years in which the program wasn't even scheduled to exist.
In other words, once again, the Bush Cartel is lying. That is what they do. They are constitutionally incapable of telling the truth. In Rape of the A.P.E., Allen Sherman (the one who did "Camp Grenada") points out that 'lies are more valuable than truth'. Obviously, that may well be the only book Shrub has ever read (or had read to him at bedtime).*

This is childish, and no one can pretend to be astonished about tactics like this, especially since Republicans routinely use them on other programs as well. Dick Cheney, for example, uses estimates for the cost of Social Security privatization based on ten years starting right now, even though the program won't start up until 2009 at the earliest. The real number is at least 50% higher than the White House estimate, and everyone knows it.
Repeat after me: They are lying. They are lying. They are lying!

Tax cuts are treated the same way. Two years ago, for example, Republican Senator George Voinovich loudly insisted that Bush's 2003 tax cut be limited to $350 billion. How responsible! But the deal he cut only got to $350 billion by pretending that the cuts would be temporary, thus cutting their apparent 10-year cost. Everyone knew perfectly well that Bush would turn around and fight to make the cuts permanent, and that's exactly what happened. Voinovich knew it too.

The Bush White House is congenitally unable to produce honest figures for any of its programs, and the sleight of hand it uses is transparent to everyone. But Republicans pretend to accept it anyway and then pretend further to be shocked when the real numbers eventually can't be concealed any longer. I wonder if their constituents will ever wake up?
The constituents will never wake up. If they did, they would realize that all the rosy promises coming out of Twig's smirking little face were nothing but the baldest of lies. The neocon wingnut mouth-breathers couldn't handle that.

Best Name of the Year (So Far):

Bush's trips promoting his Social Security privatization/personalization/overhaul/dismantling:

Bamboozlepalooza Tour
Coined by (to the best of my knowledge) Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo.

From Atrios:
Above the Law
So, Republicans want to give the Secretary of Homeland Security the power to exempt itself and its contractors from all laws.
Can we hear a big "Indeed! Heh!"

...The Raw Story has more.

I don't know why anybody would be surprised. After TSA -- which was the first 'agency' designated to become a part of the Ministry of Homeland Security -- exempted its employees (and hence itself) from various troublesome laws like collective bargaining, it should have been obvious what was coming.

Another disturbing thing about the Ministry is the fact that it's broken into "directorates"... like the old KGB. Not to mention that "Homeland" is awfully close to "Fatherland" (Nazi Germany) and "Motherland" (Russia and the USSR) for my liking.

(Gawd, if I'm not careful, I'm gonna wind up 'disappeared'...)

* A propos of nothing, I found a great bumper sticker before the election: "Librarians for Laura: Because One Reader in the Family is Enough".

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Bits and Pieces From Around the World...

Like "THEY" Know ANYTHING About Intelligence...

A lot of the far-right-wing, mouth-breathin, Bible-thumpin’, sister-humpin, gun-rack-in-the-pick-em-up-window neocon wingnut MO-rons talk about “intelligent design” (and those twits talking about intelligent ANYTHING is like Michael Jackson talking about preventing child molestation). I ran across the following at – of all places – National Review.

First, a general remark. I like a good knock-down argument as much as the next person, but I must say, ID-ers are low-grade opponents, at least if a bulk of my e-mails are any indication. They are still banging away with the arguments I first heard when the whole thing first surfaced 10-15 yrs ago. "What use is half an eye?" "The odds against this are a trillion to one!" etc. etc. There is nothing new here. I understand why biologists get angry and frustrated with ID-ers. All the ID arguments have been patiently refuted many times over. The ID-ers response is to come back with... the same arguments.

Deficit Reduction, Moose-style

The Moose suggests a third way for the donkey. Democrats should move to the right of the Bushies on deficit reduction. Embrace the spirit of the betrayed Republican Revolution of 1994 and call for the closing of Federal departments. The Moose suggests two Federal behemoths to put on the chopping block - the Departments of Commerce and Energy.

Commerce and Energy are the targets because they are primarily conduits for corporate welfare. Along with these two agencies, the donkey should launch an "end corporate welfare as we know it" campaign. Then, Democrats can hold news conferences at the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute and urge Republicans to join them in this great cause to cut welfare for the comfortable.


BlunderBoy makes the eschews obfuscation of the inexplicable….

Because the -- all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculate, for example, is on the table; whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those -- changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be -- or closer delivered to what has been promised.

Does that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled. Look, there's a series of things that cause the -- like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate -- the benefits will rise based upon inflation, as opposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those -- if that growth is affected, it will help on the red.

Okay, better? I'll keep working on it. (Laughter.)

Moral Values, Mouth-Breathers, and Bush’s Corporate-Yet-Hypocritical Supporters

While its previous owners considered adult entertainment "immoral," Adelphia Communications Corp., the country's fifth-largest cable television provider, last week became the first to offer hard-core adult films on pay-per-view to its subscribers [...]

Viewers can watch such sexually explicit movies in the Hilton and Marriott hotel chains on video services like LodgeNet or on "On Command," which is owned by Liberty Media, formerly a part of AT&T; at home via DirecTV, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch's Newscorp; or via virtually every cable company, including Cox, Time Warner and Comcast [...]

While the corporations generate millions in profits from providing adult content, their political contributions are often given to those elected, in no small part, because of their stance on "moral values."

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Comcast Cable has given millions in political donations since 1998. The national Republican Party committees are its biggest organizational recipient, with donations totaling $851,000. President Bush is its biggest individual recipient with $109,000 in donations.

Adelphia has given $166,000 to Republican committees, $17,000 to conservative Rep. John Peterson, R-Pa., and $12,000 to Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., one of the most conservative members of the Senate.


More on the Moral Values of Mouth-Breathers:

Typical of the comments was this one from Arizona: "I do think the Democrat Party is identified -- justifiably -- with much of the vulgarization so prominently displayed by many celebrities, particularly those in the entertainment industry. Hey, we pick our friends."

"The people who run the Republican Party are elites just like any other elite, and they don't share the same cultural concerns as the center of the country," said Carlson. "They don't -- they're all pro-choice on abortion, they're all pro-gay rights, they're all thrice married, you know what I mean? And they summer in the Hamptons, too. And so they don't have anything in common, that's true, with evangelicals who make up the bulk of their party."

In this world of irony, corporate leaders at companies as diverse as News Corp., Marriott International and Time Warner can profit by selling red state consumers the very material that red state culture is supposed to despise. Those elites then funnel the proceeds to the GOP, which in turn has used the money to successfully convince red state voters that the other political party is solely responsible for the decline of the civilization.


From the New York Daily News:

...Dubya didn't let the Sabbath inhibit him Sunday when he and Laura Bush attended services at St. John's Episcopal Church near the White House. The frisky moment came shortly after the Rev. Luis Leon encouraged his flock to greet one another. Most congregants settled for a handshake and the salutation "Peace be with you."

But the Chicago Tribune's White House correspondent wrote in his pool report: "[President Bush] leans toward [the First Lady], gives her a quick kiss on the lips and then pats her behind - I am not making this up - before turning to shake hands with other worshipers around him." ...
Didn't Poppy Bush once give Bar a little love-tap on the butt in the middle of anationally televised interview a few years ago?
Dignity -- always dignity.
(From the fine folks at No More Mister Nice Blog)

Michigan’s own Juan Cole opening the giant economy-size can of whup-ass all over Jonah Goldberg:

[. . .] Let's see, Goldberg's remarks were about the relative virtues of the elections in Iran and Iraq. He declined my challenge, saying he would only debate me on US politics or US foreign policy. In other words, he thinks it is all right to sit up on a perch and snipe at me through his privileged access to the media (given to him why?) on Middle East issues. But he is afraid to debate me publicly on those same issues. I don't understand. If he thinks he knows what he is talking about in print, why wouldn't he risk talking about the same things verbally and in person? I'll tell you why. It is because when writing an op-ed, he can get away with only seeming to grasp the facts, whereas in person he can be busted and shown to be only a poseur. I'm not interested in a debate on why Steve Hadley overruled George Tenet to authorize the passage in Bush's 2003 State of the Union address falsely alleging that Iraq had attempted to buy Niger uranium.

I should be clear that I am not interested in wasting any more time on Goldberg's illogicality in print. If he will not agree to a debate this spring without any conditions or restrictions on subject matter, then I wash my hands of him.

(MUCH more at

Bush’s “Enemy List”

(*I* wanna be on this list. If I’m not already)

The whodunit mystery surrounding the do-not-admit list for President Bush's Fargo visit still hasn't been solved, but clues uncovered Friday indicate a worker with the White House advance team may have been the culprit.

This comes just one day after spokesmen for the White House and North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven said the list was the result of "an overzealous volunteer."

The list contained the names of 42 people who were not supposed to be given tickets to Bush's speech Thursday. Thirty-three of them belong to the local progressive group Democracy for America.

The White House advance team was comprised of several people -- some state and local volunteers; others White House staff people -- who came to Fargo ahead of time to prepare for the event.

White House spokesman Jim Morrell said Friday the overzealous volunteer could "very well be" someone from the advance team, but he doesn't know who it was.

The White House wasn't aware the list was being created or distributed and regrets that it happened, Morrell said.

The White House also is taking steps to ensure nothing like this happens again, by reiterating to volunteers that "this is not acceptable," he said.
Of course, given some of the things I've posted here (already), and some of the email rants I've subjected my friends to, I'm probably fairly near the top. I sorta expect the Ministry of Homeland Security to come a-callin'...*

*-This is NOT to imply in any way, shape, or form, that I am advocating personal harm to Bush. I want to see him serve his time, go back to Crawdad, and be fondly remembered as the WORST President. Ever.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Ignorance is Knowledge...

From the Washington Post:

The White House will brandish independent studies on program effectiveness, appeals for lawmakers to set priorities, and, on occasion, some rhetorical creativity. The deep cuts to community development, for example, have been titled the "Strengthening America's Communities Initiative."
Jesus, this is getting worse and worse every day. I think we all saw most of this crap back in high school, when we studeied Orwell's 1984.

Oliver Willis has another take on BlunderBoy's latest attempt to enrich the rich at the expense of the not-so-rich:

GWB Is A Crazy SOB
Submitted by Oliver Willis on Sun, 02/06/2005 - 2:46pm.
Economics | George W. Bush | Homeland Security | Hurting America | Republicans
We're fighting a global onslaught of terrorism.

American lives are in danger, every day.

But, our government is spending more than its taking in.

Soo.... he could roll back the insane tax evasion laws he's put in place for the Paris Hiltons, Bill Gates, and George W. Bushs of the world in order to actually pay for the things we need to keep America secure.

But not George.

He's going to screw the weakest among us to appease his masters.

"The budget seeks savings from about 150 programs, including Amtrak, environmental protection, American Indian schools, farmers' subsidies and Medicaid, the federal-state health program for the poor and disabled."

There's an opportunity for a brave Democrat here. We need to propose a bill called the America At War Act of 2005, that reduces or eliminates the tax evasion laws now on the books for the mega-rich and the corporations that they own. Those funds would then be used to, you know, kill terrorists and protect the country we love.
Willis has a good idea, there's no doubt about that. But I still like my idea: reminding those miserable little Congresscritters who they work for... and that they'd damn well BETTER listen to us if they want to keep their plush jobs.


Good grief, Charlie Brown.

Screwing with Class Action Suits

From Kos:
Senate Threatening to Demolish Consumers' Right to Recover for Injuries
by DavidNYC
Sun Feb 6th, 2005 at 12:43:51 PST

In a little-noticed move this week, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted, by a 13-5 margin, to approve the purposefully mis-named "Class Action Fairness Act" (PDF). (Three Democrats joined all ten Republicans.) What does this bill do, and why is it so harmful?

The CAFA requires that most class-action lawsuits be brought in federal, rather than state, court. On first blush, this might sound like a good idea: If you've got a truly national case with lots of plaintiffs from around the country, then your intuition might tell you the suit should proceed in federal court. And that's precisely what the bill's sponsors want you to believe.

The problem is this: The federal courts are already over-burdened and under-funded. This bill would force cases from fifty different state systems - which can better share the burden - into one jammed-up federal system. The delays for class actions would be enormous - long enough, quite probably, to serve as a deterrent to bringing worthy claims.

And in this cynical political environment we live in, that's exactly what CAFA's supporters are hoping for. Unsurprisingly, CAFA's backers include big companies like Ford and Intel, and, of course, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. This bill, in short, is designed to protect negligent companies and soak ordinary Americans.

Among the oppponents, you'll be pleased to know, are the NAACP, the AFL-CIO and the Sierra Club. Unfortunately, too few Senators are prepared to vote against CAFA. Back in the fall of 2003, this bill failed to pass by just a single vote (60 were required). This time around, Dick Durbin apparently thinks there isn't enough mojo to successfully filibuster, so instead we're going to try to attach a bunch of amendments.

Ordinarily, I'd be encouraging everyone to contact their Senators to vote against the bill, but that seems futile, given Durbin's stated strategy. It seems the better tactic is to encourage our Senators to vote for whichever amendments the Democrats put forward - but we won't know more about those until next week.

The wobbliest Dems are Schumer (NY), Feinstein (CA) and Kohl (WI), all of whom voted for CAFA in this week's committee vote. Other Democrats who voted for the bill two years ago include Bayh (IN), Carper (DE), Lieberman (CT), Lincoln (AR) & Nelson (NE). Jeffords (VT) was also in this group. (I don't know where Salazar (CO) or Obama (IL) stand, so you may want to ask them.) We will need to politely keep up pressure on this group to make sure they're good team players when Durbin hits the floor with his amendments.

P.S. Richard Shelby of Alabama was the lone Republican to vote against CAFA last time it came up. He might be amenable to playing ball with us.
This is one of those issues where we can make a difference now. We can write to our Congresscritters, and tell them how we want them to vote. We may have to remind the aforementioned Congresscritters that they work for us, not the other way around. We may also need to remind them that, if they continue to ignore us, they may wind up unemployed. And your average Congresscritter, faced with the possibility of having to actually work for a living like the rest of us, would rather die than lose those gummint perks.

Get your friends and relations... hell, get anybody you can... and let the critters know who their bosses are. Hint: it ain't the K Street lobbyists. At least, it shouldn't be.


A friend emailed this to me last week....

A magazine recently ran a Dilbert quotes contest. It asked people to submit quotes from their real-life Dilbert-type managers.


1. As of tomorrow, employees will only be able to access the building using individual security cards. Pictures will be taken next Wednesday and employees will receive their cards in two weeks. (This was the winning quote from Fred Dales at Microsoft Corp. in Redmond, WA.)

2. What I need is an exact list of specific unknown problems we might encounter. (Lykes Lines Shipping)

3. E-mail is not to be used to pass on information or data!! It should be used only for company business. (Accounting manager, Electric Boat Company)

4. This project is so important, we can't let things that are more important interfere with it.(Advertising/Marketing manager, United Parcel Service)

5. Doing it right is no excuse for not meeting the schedule! (Plant manager, Delco Corporation)

6. No one will believe you solved this problem in one day! They've been working on it for months. Now, go act busy for a few weeks and I'll let you know when it's time to tell them. (R&D supervisor, Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing/3M Corp.)

7. My sister passed away and her funeral was scheduled for Monday. When I told my Boss, he said she died on purpose so that I would have to miss work on the busiest day of the year. Then he asked if we could change her burial to Friday. He said, "That would be better for me." (Shipping executive, FTD Florists)

8. We know that communication is a problem, but the company is not going to discuss it with the employees. (Switching supervisor, AT&T Long Lines Division)

9. One day my Boss asked me to submit a status report to him concerning a project I was working on. I asked him if tomorrow would be soon enough. He said, "If I wanted it tomorrow, I would have waited until tomorrow to ask for it!" (Hallmark Cards executive)

Your Mission...

(And no, you don't have any say-so in accepting it)...

A few days ago, I ran across a blog here on Blogspot trying to convince the various state Democratic parties to establish blogs of their own. The full list is available at the site I linked to above.

Of course, being me, I found the site, asked for permission to use one of the letters I saw... and then promptly lost the site info. Fortunately, one of their members found this blog and got in touch (Thanks, Biggreen80!).

Anyway, go check out the site, and see what you can do to help. Maybe we can get everybody energized enough to force some changes.

If we don't take the time to motivate our party to do better, we deserve to be "represented" by the mouth-breathing Rethug morons we now have in DC.

You know, I really liked Joe Lieberman, when he was AG in Connecticut. I had the chance to meet him a few times (we patronized the same diner on occasion), and he took the time to discuss some of the (then-)latest legal decisions with a lowly street cop. Even as a Senator, I had great pride in him... until he became Bush Lite. Now, I'd rank him with Zell Miller, as far as reliable Democrats go. I mean, voting to confirm Alberto "Lissen to 'em shriek" Gonzalez?!?

Now for the BIG question: how do we fix this? I say "we" because it's becoming more and more obvious that the party "bigwigs" are, in many cases, more interested in "reaching out" to the campaignistration than they should be. After all, Twigster said at one point, "We will reach out to those who agree with us" (may not be an exact quote, but it's close enough). I see no need to reach out to an administration which will not reach back.

As several of the more-established bloggers have pointed out (Kos, Atrios, Oliver Willis, etc), we need to become a party of opposition. Since our plans and proposals would be dead in the water from the get-go, why not go whole-hog and say what needs to be said, and screw reaching out? If Junior's Social Security "plan" is bullshit, say so, and come up with a proposal that would work. No, it won't pass... it wouldn't even make it out of committee, but it might just open some eyes.

Howard Dean, whatever other shortcomings he might have had, energized a large part of the Democratic party with his campaign strategy, especially his use of the Internets (as BoyWonderPreznit said). We can harness this same energy to make some serious changes.

But we all have to work together. One person -- even one so wonder and all-powerful as yr obt svt -- cannot do it alone. You folks in the red states have a special burden: you have to convince enough of your fellow citizens -- even if they are gun-rack-in-the-window, toothless, hooker-humpin, Bible-thumpin, sister-marryin idjits -- to actually think for themselves, instead of letting LordGodKingBoyWonderPreznit Georgie-and-"He Whose Name Cannot Be Spoken" do it for them.

Let's take back our party. Then we can take back Congress in 2006, and the White House in 2008.

Ripped from the Headlines...

Much truly disturbing news from the wire services today...

Twigster's Budget

AP is reporting:

WASHINGTON - Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday the budget going to Congress this week was not prepared with a "meat ax," but that the administration found roughly 150 federal programs it believed can be cut or eliminated.

[. . .]

The budget seeks savings from about 150 programs, including Amtrak, environmental protection, American Indian schools, farmers' subsidies and Medicaid, the federal-state health program for the poor and disabled.

Left untouched, of course, is the campaignistration’s primary objective: maximizing the income for themselves and their butt-buddy sycophants.

Bush designed the roughly $2.5 trillion spending plan for 2006 as a response to a string of record federal deficits. Many proposals face an unclear fate in Congress, where members of both parties are sure to defend favorite initiatives.

The deficits, obviously, are not Twiggy’s fault: after all, he had his “moment of accountability”, so he’s golden. At least in his own mind.

"It's not something we've done with a meat ax, nor are we suddenly turning our back on the most needy people in our society," Cheney told "Fox News Sunday."

[. . .]
"I think you'll find once people sit down and have a chance to look at the budget that it is (a) fair, reasonable, responsible, serious piece of effort," Cheney said.

“After all,” said “He Whose Name Cannot Be Spoken” (aka the dickless one), “We couldn’t very well ask Halliburton to give up any of it’s profits, so we had to make cuts elsewhere. And who really cares if our cuts have a disparate impact on the poor? They didn’t vote for us, so they can go Cheney themselves.”

Twigster, "He Whose Name Cannot Be Spoken" and Social Security

From Reuters:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Vice President Dick Cheney on Sunday acknowledged trillions of dollars in future borrowing may be needed to cover the cost of private retirement accounts under President Bush's plan to retool the Social Security retirement system.
Cheney told Fox News Sunday that "it is important to manage the fiscal impact of these transitions in an intelligent fashion, and we're well aware of that."

“And as long as that impact doesn’t fall on US, who cares? Screw it, my kids – even that pervert daughter of mine – won’t have to worry, cause they’ll have my Halliburton stock to support them.”

Under Bush's plan, Cheney said the administration would borrow roughly $754 billion over the next 10 years to set up the private accounts.

"We think that's a manageable amount," he said in the interview.

Asked about estimates that trillions of dollars in additional borrowing would be needed in subsequent decades, Cheney said: "That's right. Trillions more after that."

"But the personal accounts will themselves provide a significant return for those who hold them," he added.

“Of course, if the stock market tanks, they’re screwed, but hey, it’s not me or my friends, so they can Cheney themselves.”

Many estimates have pegged the 10-year cost of Bush's plan at $1 trillion to $2 trillion.

But the Bush administration gave a lower estimate of those estimates, at $754 billion. That number includes $90 billion in debt service costs.

The reason that estimate is lower than others is that the Bush plan is phased in, reducing the cost of the private accounts in the first few years.

The other reason the campaignistration’s estimate is lower is because they’re lying about it… as they ALWAYS lie about estimates.

Cheney brushed aside suggestions that the administration, instead of borrowing, raise taxes to cover the transition costs. He said a tax increase now would "do serious damage to the economy."
“The billionaires have already set their budgets for the next four years; they’ve ordered their new yachts, their new private jets, everything. Increasing taxes would put an impermissible burden on the overworked wealthy.”

"The real cost over time is doing nothing. Because if we do nothing, then the system is going to go belly up. It's going to go broke. It won't be there for today's younger generation," Cheney said.

Bush has conceded that he faced a battle in Congress to win over skeptics of his plan to remake the system.
Yeah, like he’s having a hard time getting Republicans to sign on, never mind Democrats.,

Thank God for Small Favors Dept.

WASHINGTON - Dick Cheney says he won't be running for anything after finishing his term as vice president, except maybe to the river with his grandchildren.

"I've got my plans laid out," Cheney said Sunday. "I'm going to serve this president for the next four years and then I'm out of here."

Cheney said he made it clear when he became George W. Bush's running mate that he would never run for president and nothing could change his mind.
He did not rule out, however, continuing to serve if BlowMonkeyPreznit decides to cancel elections… in the interest of Halliburton – err, national security.

Cheney tried to put the question to rest in the starkest terms possible. "Not only no, but hell no," Cheney told "Fox News Sunday." He quoted Civil War Gen. William Sherman, who answered similar queries in 1884 by saying, "If nominated, I will not run. If elected, I will not serve."
“I’m just happy being the man in charge with Junior taking all the flack.”

"By 2009, I'll be 68 years old," Cheney said. "And I've still got a lot of rivers I'd like to fish and time I'd like to spend with my grandkids, and so this is my last tour."

Go now. Your grandkids need you. They really, really need you… right now. Go, please, do us all a favor.

Of course, if "He Whose Name Cannot Be Spoken" (aka the dickless one) really does retire, that leaves the Rethuglican field wide open in 2008. Some of the names I've seen bandied about include:

  • Jeb Bush (which would lead to the first father-son-son presidencies in history), who's even worse than his brother, even though Jeb does speak more better English
  • Lizardboy GinGRINCH, the immoralist-in-chief
  • Bill ("My last name actually rhymes with Jesus' last name) Frist
How are those for scary thoughts?

Saturday, February 05, 2005

This has the potential to become a tremendous wedge issue in Colorado.

From MyDD

Colorado Dems are goddamn geniuses

by Colorado Gringo

Colorado Dems made Republican legislators choose between family and business. Any guesses on which one they picked? The idea is essentially that parents should be allowed to take a certain amount of unpaid leave from their jobs in order to attend activities their children are taking part in. More family time, better families, and the effect on general productivity would be slight if any. In other words, a great idea.


"If passed into law, Senate Bill 21 would require any employer with 10 or more employees to permit an employee to take up to 40 hours of unpaid leave a year. Employers may require that the leave be taken in a maximum of 2½ -hour segments."

This bill hasn't been passed by the full Senate yet, only by the Business, Labor and Technology Committee; but the point is that it was passed there on a party line vote: Democrats for families, Republicans for business. Absolutely beautiful.

As points out, this is a clear indication that if made to choose, Republicans are going to defend business against absolutely everything: Soccer moms, Nascar Dads, 5-year olds with lolly-pops, whatever.

This is great legislature and an example that should be emulated by Dems from states across the country, as well as by the national party. Yet another great idea from Western Dems.

Anybody know of some other good, Dem wedge legislature, particularly in the category of families against business?
Shouldn't be any great surprise that once again, the Rethugs are placing the interests of big business ahead of the family. After all, they only care about the wealthy; those of us making less than a million a year can go pound sand.

MyDD also has another interesting post... on converting a limited republican government into an unlimited hereditary one.

This essay is from 1792.
Looks like maybe we weren't so crazy by referring to "Lord God King Preznit Georgie-boy-and "He Whose Name Cannot Be Spoken" (aka the dickless one). Seems an awful lot like what is going on now...

Comparing Myself to the "Big Boys"

Okay, I'll admit right up front that I borrow a lot of information from various sources (especially Joshua Marshall's Talking Points Memo, Kevin Drum's Political Animal in Washington Monthly, Markos and his crew at Daily Kos, and Atrios at Eschaton). I try to credit sources whenever I can, and if I can't find a reputable source, I say so. I don't have the resources -- or the readership -- that they have. But I believe I share their passion for getting the facts out there, and doing what they can to keep the current campaignistration from making matters worse than they already are (which is plenty bad enough). Being new to the fine art of blogging -- although I've driven friends crazy with a barrage of e-mailed rants and raves over the years -- I will probably make mistakes: I'll forget to credit somebody, I'll forget to create a link, or whatever. I will probably even misinterpret what someone else says. If you spot anything like that, please bring it to my attention, so I can try to make it right.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Friday Pet Blogging

It's my understanding that somewhere -- buried in the minutia of blogging regulations (33 USC 928, et seq) -- there is a requirement that every blog must participate in "Friday Pet Blogging". Unfortunately, having set this up on a Friday, and being without benefit of a digital camera, I will have to throw myself on the mercy of the court. Or maybe I'll borrow the camera from the office tomorrow.

Instead, a pet update.

Emily (the Lab) is still chewing on pig's ears, shoes, toes under blankets, and me. She also enjoys sitting across the top of the armchair... a trick she learned from the cat.

Jenna the cat (as opposed to Jenna and NotJenna) has developed a new game with the dog. For lack of a better term, we call it "Lick and Slap". Emily licks Jenna, Jenna slaps Emily, Emily licks Jenna, and so on... for 20 minutes at a stretch. There is no blood drawn because Jenna was declawed (a procedure I don't agree with).

Oh, and Linda and I try to share a queen-size bed with both of them. Jenna and Emily are totally comfortable, Linda has about 12" on one edge, and I have 3" on the other edge. Oh, well.

Soylent Security

From Josh Marshall at TalkingPointsMemo
Ohhh ... and W falls back 5 yards.
From CNN/Money: "Bill Gross, manager of the world's largest bond fund, is criticizing President Bush's plan to privatize part of Social Security. Gross, managing director at Pimco, called the argument about the solvency of Social Security "silly" and said it was an example of the president not focusing on more important issues, such as the budget deficit."
Now, as I recall, the bond funds would be selling and/or servicing the private/personal/whatever accounts... and raking in fees for doing so. For the managing director of a bond fund to be critical of Twig's Social Security "plan" is quite a kick in the teeth for Shrubmeister.

Plus, a couple of blogs have pointed out Junior is having a hard time getting Republicans to sign on. Yes, he already has Joe Lieberman, (who I used to be very proud of when he was Connecticut's Attorney General, but now that he's Bush-lite, NFW), but few if any Republicans.

Oh, and the title for this post is also from TPM.

[Update: The title actually came from a posting at Political Animal. Oops...]

I think I yanked this from the Yahoo news feeds...
By BEN FELLER, AP Education Writer

WASHINGTON - The way many high school students see it, government censorship of newspapers may not be a bad thing, and flag burning is hardly protected free speech.

Yet, when told of the exact text of the First Amendment, more than one in three high school students said it goes "too far" in the rights it guarantees. Only half of the students said newspapers should be allowed to publish freely without government approval of stories.

"These results are not only disturbing; they are dangerous," said Hodding Carter III, president of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which sponsored the $1 million study. "Ignorance about the basics of this free society is a danger to our nation's future."

The students are even more restrictive in their views than their elders, the study says.

When asked whether people should be allowed to express unpopular views, 97 percent of teachers and 99 percent of school principals said yes. Only 83 percent of students did.

Can you see it starting already? The neocon wingnuts have indoctrinated their offspring with the thought that it is perfectly okay to control speech. Next thing you know, thought will be controlled (see next section). This is the legacy of the Bushie neocon wingnuts. This is the first step toward their utopia – an 8th century Christian theocracy. Orwell is rolling in his grave.

From Kevin Drum, Washington Monthly:

DELINEATING DISSENT....Andrew Sullivan is right to point with dismay to the final paragraph of Fred Barnes's recent diatribe in the Weekly Standard:

Senate Democrats have enough votes to block major Bush initiatives like Social Security reform and to reject Bush appointees, including Supreme Court nominees. They may be suicidal, but they could undermine the president's entire second term agenda. At his news conference last week, Bush reacted calmly to their vitriolic attacks, suggesting only a few Democrats are involved. Stronger countermeasures will be needed, including an unequivocal White House response to obstructionism, curbs on filibusters, and a clear delineation of what's permissible and what's out of bounds in dissent on Iraq.

Say what? The White House should tell us what kind of dissent on Iraq is permissible and what isn't? Is that really how these guys think?

Yes, Kevin, that really is how these idiots think. They believe that because Dubya got his great man-date (51%? Puh-leeze!), they now have a God-given right to force their nasty little prejudices down everyone’s throats. “You’re either with us or you’re with the terra-ists”, is the way Twigster put it.

These creeps have done things Stalin, Lenin, Dzerzhinsky, Hitler, and Goebbels could only dream of.

More charm and grace from those arbiters of class, the neocons (John Podhoretz, in this case… and isn’t that a “furrin”-sounding name?)

Yesterday was a day for Democrats and opponents of George W. Bush to swallow their bile and retract their claws and join just for a moment in celebration of an amazing and thrilling human drama in a land that has seen more than its share of thrilling human drama over the past 5,000 years.

But you just couldn't do it, could you?


That’s the thing about neocon wingnuts that makes it sooo much fun to be a neolib. I can sit here and say the rudest, crudest, nastiest things to those frickin losers and they can’t say squat. It’s called “fair play”, a concept with which most neocons are even less familiar with than they are with their mothers.

Your average rethuglican these days is nothing more than a mindless, dumb, racist, homophobic twit. Every last one of them.


From Jesus’ General:

The Great Leap Backward
Tonight, Our Leader gives his first major speech since the official launch of the Glorious Conservative Cultural Revolution. I'm sure that it will be a speech that will be remembered long after we're gone. It will a speech that will be required reading for generations of history students. It will be a speech that will be forever compared to such stemwinders as Calvin Coolidge's' Remarks to the Akron Rotary and Brigham Young's Great Tirade Against the Evils of Dominoes.

That said, I think I have a few ideas to make it even better.

The Theme

Every great speech has a theme. Our Leader should shape his speech in a way that reminds us of his glorious victories and urges us forward in pursuit of his goals. In the last four years, he implemented a foreign policy based on the values of the McKinley Presidency and gave us an economy reminiscent of Hoover's America. The domestic agenda he will outline tonight will also hearken back these golden eras of Victorian puritanism and social Darwinism. Indeed, it will be a return to earlier values, a Great Leap Backward if you will. That should be his theme.

Social Security

Our Leader's plan to undermine the New Deal is faltering. He needs to inject his Social Security initiative with the tonic of fear to nurse it back to health. With that in mind, I've created the following talking points.

1. Social Security will kill you. Nine out of ten people will die within twenty years of the time they start collecting it.

2. Social security supports terrorists. Somewhere, a member of the Weather Underground is waiting for his check to arrive so that he can buy groceries and maybe even the parts for a bomb.

3. There were social security checks on the planes that hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

4. Social security has weapons of mass destruction. Sure, logic tells us that social security is a concept and is therefore incapable of possessing anything, but Ahmad Chalabi tells me it has them.

5. Social Security is trying to homosexualize our children by promoting its pansexual philosophy.

6. Yes, my efforts to sell my plan to Congress are failing. I've fired the person responsible. Donald Runsfeld will now take over. I'm sure he'll repeat the many successes he had at the Pentagon.

Family Policy

1. I'm a virgin. My twin daughters, Jenna and Jenna's sister, are both virgins. And my wife became a born again virgin after she ran over the last guy who had sex with her. We want all of you to be virgins too.

2. We need to build strong family relationships. I come from very close family. In fact, we're so close, we all look alike (except the brown ones in Florida). My mother looks like Barney and my daughters look like my brother, Neal.

3. Abortions should only be available for your Honduran maid.

4. If you're ever in Thailand, don't open your hotel door.

5. Ny-Quil and aspirin will give you a buzz.

6. Porking your Secretary of State doesn't count as sex. It's one of those diplomatic liaison thingies.

Foreign Policy

1. Our mission is still accomplished in Iraq.

2. Iran harbors terrorists, possesses weapons of mass destruction, and hates freedom. We should invade and torture them.

3. Massachusetts harbors terrorists, possesses weapons of mass destruction, and hates freedom. We should invade and torture them.

4. Cartoonland harbors terrorists, possesses weapons of mass destruction, and hates freedom. We should invade and torture them.

5. Spongebob Squarepants hates America.

Economic Policy

1. Welcome to the ownership society. If you have not been assigned an owner yet, please report to Iran for duty.


It’s time for all good Americans – that means DEMOCRATS, cause the rethugs are useless mouth-breathers – to take back our country. We can start with the 2006 elections, and make sure we regain a majority in Congress. After that, we can win the White House in 2008. And then…


Since the rethugs have shown their disdain for all things American, it is incumbent upon us to us their tactics against them. The high road doesn’t work with these retarded hillbilly losers. They like trench warfare? Well, we’ll give it to them:

• Deride their stupidity
• Denigrate their beliefs
• Drown them out when they try to speak.
• Insult their parentage (or lack thereof)
• Question their patriotism, sexual orientation, and fondness for the French
• Call them idiots and losers
Be as rude and nasty as possible (after all, they’re subhuman animals)

See if this works?