Monday, October 31, 2005


I love finding new blogs by clicking through other people's blogrolls. It's why my blogroll has grown so large - maybe even to the point of being unwieldy. But another name has made it onto my blogroll; something I almost never mention. But in this case I have to let you know about drifglass. I found this blog by clicking on the interesting name on Shakespeare's Sister's blogroll (another blog I highly recommend).

The blogger behind driftglass has a style very different from many political bloggers. Short, pointed posts are not his style. Long, well-informed essays full of passion and humor seem to be his preferred format. All the better for us.

So click on the link above. Add driftglass to your blogroll. You'll be very glad you did.

Good Question... Great Answer

When I was at West Point, General Andrew Bacevich was just coming in to join the Academy administration. Since then I've seen and read some of his writing and know that he's socially quite conservative - as you'd expect from a high ranking officer in the modern Army. With that foreknowledge and the following question below the headline in his article in today's NYT, I thought I knew what to expect.

In a post-9/11 world, what limits — if any — exist on the president's authority to use force?
I was wrong.

Make sure to read the whole opinion piece, it is, of course, well informed but also surprising considering its author's C.V. But the ultimate paragraph is what made my chest swell with pride at having known and served with this man, a fellow West Point graduate, a fellow traveller in "The Long Grey Line."

In the interests of national security today, we should curb presidential war-making powers. A hitherto compliant Congress must reclaim the institutional authority conferred upon it by the Constitution. When it comes to wars, the first responsibility of the legislative branch is not to support the commander in chief. It is to exercise independent judgment, an obligation that transcends party. Members of Congress who lack the wit or the moral courage to fulfill this obligation ought to be held accountable by voters.
He may be on the opposite side of the widening divide between Left and Right, but Andy Bacevich understands the dangers of the way we do the nation's business today.

The American Taliban Gets its Pick

I still have no insight as to why Bush would have picked Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court. However, I'm starting to lean towards the explanation advanced by some that it was a distraction leading exactly to where we are with today's expected announcement of Samuel "Scalito" Alito as his "do-ever" nominee. Alito seems perfectly fitted to the religious right-wing-nutjob faction of the Republican Party with the first reporting on his judicial past being that he was the lone dissent in a case that would have required married women to "notify" their husbands prior to getting an abortion.

If you have to ask why that's a bad thing, consider that most happily married couples would discuss the options and make a mutual decision. If the wife doesn't want to notify the husband, there has to be a very good reason; think spousal abuse, whether mental or physical. Of course, really, if you had to ask why that's a bad thing you've probably not been living in the real world for a long, long time.

Some Democrats are already vowing a fight. How much of a fight will the heretofore quiet Dems put up? Will they filibuster Alito who, at first blush, appears well to the right of most Americans? BushCo. is at its weakest point ever; now would be the time to go for the jugular. But will someone step up the difficult task at hand? Who will assume the mantle of leadership now and show us the way forward?

Friday, October 28, 2005

Scooter Gets Coal on Fitzmas

Details are still coming out... but looks like the Fitzmas Season has started!

UPDATE: Note the sub-head (circled) in this screenshot from MSNBC:

Scooter's gettin' nuthin' for Fitzmas!

Yep, business as usual; at least until Patrick Fitzgerald gets done with them!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Republicans Recommend That the Poor Burn Their Children for Winter Heat

Perhaps the title of this post is a little over the top. But not too much considering this:

The Senate decided yesterday the money was not there for a substantial spending boost for the federal home heating program, deflecting arguments that soaring energy prices could force the poor to choose between heat and food this winter.
Burning their kids would provide some heat and have the added benefit of reducing their food bills. It's a win-win solution!

The Coming Republican Apocalypse

Harriet Miers has withdrawn her nomination to the Supreme Court.

Indictments of major BushCo. players could be announced at any minute.

Bush's standings in the polls could not get much lower.

The Republican Congressional leadership is mired in legal and ethical problems.

2,000 deaths in Iraq. "Drownie" Brown. Hurricanes that won't stop coming. Afghanistan is reverting to Taliban control. The military can't make its recruiting goals. On and on.

It seems almost perverse to take such pleasure in watching the Republicans self-destruct. Certainly there is no pleasure in the damage being done to our country, our military and our international reputation. But seeing Bush and all his cronies squirm, well...

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Just about everyone, at one time or another, has heard "Taps." As a piece of music, heard without context, it is unremarkable although evocative. To me - and to anyone else who's been to a military funeral or memorial service - it is so much more than that.

As a soldier, and a pilot, I have lost my share of friends and comrades. But I'll never forget the first time I heard Taps played for someone I knew. He was a friend and company-mate at West Point. A year ahead of me, he was handsome, full of life and full of fun. He had a very bright future ahead of him. Except that one Saturday night, probably after a couple of beers, his Mazda RX-7 skidded on snow-slicked roads and flipped over the railing of an overpass on a winding, Hudson Valley road. A year and half from graduation and Mike Charbonneau was gone.

One evening a week or so later, at lunch the academy administration announced there would be a memorial service on "The Plain" - the large parade ground at West Point - that evening. At a little before 10:00, cadets started streaming out of the barracks; silently as only a group of soldiers can do. At 10:00 exactly all the lights went off throwing the entire area into darkness. And then there was that sound; a lone bugler standing in the middle of The Plain blowing the loneliest, the saddest sound in the world. Taps echoed off the grey stone buildings and off the grey stone mountains surrounding West Point.

When the last note had reverberated up and down the valley, the lights came on and we all filed back to our rooms in a silence that made our emergence seem raucous by comparison.

I had never heard or experienced anything like that before. Unfortunately I would hear Taps played many more times in my career.

Why this morbid trip into my personal past? In a recent piece in Times - other parts of which have been covered in the blogosphere - Anna Quindlen had a suggestion for Bush as we neared 2,000 deaths in Iraq. And it's a suggestion I'd heartily recommend that someone carry out.

At least Johnson had the good sense to be heartbroken by the body bags [of Viet Nam]. Bush appears merely peevish at being criticized. Someone with a trumpet should play taps outside the White House for the edification of a president who has not attended a single funeral for the Iraqi war dead. As I am writing this, the number of American soldiers killed is 1, 992. By the time you read it, it may have topped 2,000. Will I be writing these same things when the number is 3,000, 5,000, 10,000? If we are such a great nation, why are we utterly incapable of learning from our mistakes? America's sons and daughters are dying to protect the egos of those whose own children are safe at home. Again.
Does anyone know a good bugler?

Judith Miller to be Fired?

There's just too much good stuff going on right now...

New York Times reporter Judith Miller has begun discussing her future employment options with the newspaper, including the possibility of a severance package, a lawyer familiar with the matter, said yesterday.

The discussion about her future comes several days after the public rupture of the relationship between the Times and Ms. Miller, a 28-year veteran of the paper. Both the editor and the publisher of the Times have expressed regret for their unequivocal support for Ms. Miller when she spent 85 days in jail for refusing to testify before a federal grand jury investigating the unmasking of a Central Intelligence Agency operative.
I'd like to be first in line to drop a quarter in her tin cup on some Manhattan corner. Only to snatch it back.

Via The Raw Story.

Adding Insult to Injury

There are so many stories in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina that it can be almost impossible to know what to feel. In the case of this Knight-Ridder story, my immediate response is sorrow for the displaced. Yet I also know that somehow things have to return to normal in the business sphere as well.

A flood of legal battles is set to be unleashed Tuesday in New Orleans when Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco lifts a post-Hurricane Katrina ban on evictions and 8,000 to 10,000 absentee tenants face the losses of their homes and possessions.

Landlords are expected to begin filing eviction requests with the courts immediately. If they're successful, they can clear out abandoned apartments and move tons of molding, waterlogged belongings to the streets within five to 10 days. In some cases, the landlords alone can make the decision to evict.
I can only hope that at some time something good will come of all of this...

Wal-Mart Sucks


Hat tip to AmericaBlog.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Bush lied. They died.

My sincerest condolences to the families of all my fellow soldiers.

The Last Option?

Now I suppose a war with Syria is inevitable.

President Bush said military action was a last resort in dealing with Syria and he hoped Damascus would cooperate with a probe into the killing of former Lebanese premier Rafik al-Hariri.

Because we all remember this:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 20, 2003 -- Military action against Iraq is America's last option, President Bush told an audience today in Kennesaw, Ga.
Anyone feel a draft?


ABC News just on TV announced that the "official" death toll in Iraq has reached 1,999.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Trust Us!

Remember conservatives and BushCo. apologists assuring the rest of us that the PATRIOT Act powers to surveil citizens would not be abused? We were called unpatriotic - and worse - because we weren't willing to give up our rights so easily.

Who turned out to be right about these concerns?

The FBI has conducted clandestine surveillance on some U.S. residents for as long as 18 months at a time without proper paperwork or oversight, according to previously classified documents to be released today.

Records turned over as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit also indicate that the FBI has investigated hundreds of potential violations related to its use of secret surveillance operations, which have been stepped up dramatically since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks but are largely hidden from public view.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Wag the Dog - Syria

BushCo. is in dire straights.

Okay, that's really an understatement. The Republican Congressional leadership is in serious trouble, Plamegate is closing in on the VP and there is rumor of some evidence that points right at the Shrub. Harriet Miers' nomination has turned into a joke with several statements over the weekend indicating that there are not enough votes to confirm. Iraq continues to go horribly awry. Afghanistan is slowing sliding back to anarchy and Taliban rule. People still haven't forgotten about Katrina.

They need a distraction.

Could this be blown up into a large enough distraction?

The United States and Britain jointly criticized Syria on Sunday and called for international action to be taken over a U.N. investigation that implicated Syrian officials in the killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice didn't discuss any specific actions that the United States might push for when the U.N. Security Council considers the investigator's report Tuesday, but she said the matter "really has to be dealt with."
If you think this sounds a lot like the lead up to the Iraq debacle, go to the head of the class.

Friday, October 21, 2005

High Profile Republicans Distancing Themselves from Bush?

This was interesting to see this morning:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger rebuffed requests from leading California Democrats that he break from his special election campaign long enough to ask President Bush for more federal money.

The Republican governor said he was too busy before the Nov. 8 vote to meet with the president during Bush’s two-day stop in Southern California on Thursday and Friday.
Well, well, well... Bush has become a liability for Republicans during important campaigns. This is getting fun!

Is that popcorn I smell?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Compassionat Conservatism at Work

Increase minimum wage voted down twice.

Increased aid to the poor for heating costs voted down.

As I wrote in a post earlier this week, as the GOP starts to unravel, they are lashing out at the people least able to defend themselves from the monied power machine that the Republican party has become. We can hope that this is the beginning of the end of "movement conservatism," but we should not forget that dying animals are often the most dangerous.

Book 'em Dan-O!

Tom "The Bug Man" DeLay was booked, photographed and fingerprinted today. Too bad he was able to post bail; a night in the county lockup would've done his ego some good.

First round's on me!

Former Top Powell Aide in Scathing Attack on BushCo.

This is going to leave a mark:

In a scathing attack on the record of President George W. Bush, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to Mr Powell until last January, said: “What I saw was a cabal between the vice-president of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, on critical issues that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made.
Read the entire article, Wilkerson really takes a hard swipe at the cabal; revealing what many of us have been saying for a while: Bush is a figurehead, a facade of a president. The real power is behind the scenes.

It's in the Financial Times and I haven't seen it anywhere in the domestic press yet. As usual, we have to depend on the foreign press to do the work of our own SCLM.

Hat tip to Josh at Talking Points Memo.

Still Winning Hearts and Minds in Afghanistan

To quote the - of course - un-named pentagon official, "this doesn't look good."

The Army tells NBC News its Criminal Investigation Division is looking into an Australian broadcast report with video that allegedly shows U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan burning the bodies of two Taliban fighters, then using the incident to taunt Taliban forces.


According to U.S. Army officials, if the bodies were burned and members of a psychological operations team then used the burnings to taunt the enemy with a broadcast message, that would be in violation of U.S. Army procedures and an apparent violation of military law.


They say the burning of the bodies would be an apparent violation of the rules of warfare regarding the desecration of bodies.
Soldiers will only do these things if the command climate allows it. We'll hear all the usual excuses about "bad actors," which might have worked once. But the pattern has become too broad. This problem goes all the way to the top. To the Commander-in-Chief.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

DeLay to be Arrested!

Yes! Sweet, sweet schadenfreude!

A Texas court issued a warrant Wednesday for former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay to appear for booking, where he is likely to face the fingerprinting and photo mug shot he had hoped to avoid.
And the walls come tumbling down. Who's next? Where's Patrick Fitzgerald?

Wilma Stronger Than Katrina?

Yesterday afternoon Wilma was upgraded to Category I hurricane. Fine, I thought, a smallish storm to finish the season then hopefully we can be done with this one. Not much chance of that now.

WTNT34 KNHC 191158
8 AM EDT WED OCT 19 2005



All of my immediate family is well within the land-fall prediction cone. Good thing BushCo. has assured us that there's no such thing as Global Warming.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Target Pharmacist Refuses Prescription

If you thought it was just the mouth-breathers at Wal-Mart, think again.

A 26-year-old Missouri woman was refused EC [Emergenncy Contraceptives] when she handed her prescription to a pharmacist at a Target store in Fenton, MO, on September 30. The woman was told by the pharmacist, “I won’t fill it. It’s my right not to fill it.” She was told that she could go to a local Walgreens instead.
Drop by Planned Parenthood, the originator of this story, and send an e-mail to a growing list of stores whose pharmacists have refused to fill contraceptive prescriptions.

Hat tip to John in DC over at AmericaBlog.

Baltimore Threat Another Attempt to Wag the Dog?

While there's no evidence that today's shut-down of two main tunnels through Baltimore was anything other than an anonymous threat, there were certainly plenty of things BushCo. might want to distract attention from today.

Miers' nomination remains an absolute mess.
Cheney is rumored to be thinking of resigning.
The rethugs have suddenly found out the joys of the circular firing squad.
Patrick Fitzgerald is tightening the noose around one or more necks.
Iraq continues to move quickly towards a peaceful democracy.

Well... you get the idea.

Welcome Salon Readers

Kick your shoes off and stay awhile. And if you just have to go somewhere else, click on one of those links to the left; great reading awaits you!

I had a nice spike in readers today. Turns out I got a mention for this post on Salon's Dauo Report. Thanks, Peter!

DeLay, Divert, Dissemble

Try as he might, Tom DeLay cannot avoid this:

DeLay will likely be booked in a Texas county jail this week despite attempts by his attorneys to bypass the fingerprinting and mug shot process.
That's one picture I can't wait to see!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Republicans Lash Out - At the Poor

With the chickenhawk leadership of the GOP in trouble, the fiscal conservatives in Congress are making themselves heard. And as we've come to expect from the so-called "compassionate conservatives," their first target is that group that in this time of rising energy prices and a stagnant wage and job market can least afford it.

Beginning this week, the House GOP lawmakers will take steps to cut as much as $50 billion from the fiscal 2006 budget for health care for the poor, food stamps and farm supports, as well as considering across-the-board cuts in other programs. Only last month, then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) and other GOP leaders quashed demands within their party for budget cuts to pay for the soaring cost of hurricane relief.
You can bet that those "other programs" will include proven programs like Head Start and other welfare programs.

As the Rethugs look more and more likely to implode, watch for them to lash out like the dying leviathan that it has become. There is nothing more dangerous than a wounded and cornered animal.

UPDATE for Salon Readers: Welcome to the Fulcrum. The main site can be found here. Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, October 14, 2005

A Thousand Posts

This is my 1,000th post on The Fulcrum. It took me longer to get here than I thought it would, but it was a strange and wonderful journey. Thanks to all of you who have stopped by to read and to add to the discussion in the comments. I've learned so much over the past couple of years; I hope that I've helped at least a couple of you to learn or understand something I've written about. At the very least I hope I've entertained you.

On to the next thousand!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

AmericaBlog Declares Godwin's Law Dead

John in DC has not only buried Godwin's Law he's spit on its grave in this post on christian fundamentalists wanting BushCo to muzzle the ACLU.

Time to state the obvious: The religious right is filled with Nazis. You don't like the term "Nazi?" Well too bad. One good thing I got out of the Holocaust Museum this past weekend was an amazing lesson in how quickly Hitler consolidated power his first six months in office by banning the opposition and slowly (or quickly) whittling away at the rights of Germany's citizens in an effort to create a murderous totalitarian regime.
It was long past time for the death of this "law" anyway. While it might have been going (the tiniest bit) too far to paint all of BushCo as a bunch of Nazis, John gets it exactly right in describing the fundies that way. If they don't like it? "Too bad."

The Lessons of Abu Ghraib?

What did we, as a nation, learn from Abu Ghraib? Probably not what you'd hoped.

The System is Sick

With all the other things going on to blog about lately I haven't made time to write anything about healthcare in a while. This NYT article reminded me that it might be time again.

I believe that the first successful moves towards a single-payer system in the US will come from businesses, already reeling from the increases in insurance costs for employees. One major culprit in rising health care costs is duplication of administrative effort. The NYT says that thirty cents of every health care dollar is spent on administration. Imagine what cutting that cost in half or even down to one-third could save all of us.

How complicated does this duplication of effort make things for patients?

"I'm the president's senior adviser on health information technology, and when I get an E.O.B. for my 4-year-old's care, I can't figure out what happened, or what I'm supposed to do," said Dr. David Brailer, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, whose office is in the Department of Health and Human Services. "I can't figure out what care it was related to or who did what."
Even if you assume that some system that simplifies administration across the board and leaves intact the current patchwork of coverage could provide the same savings, there's little evidence that insurance companies or care providers would be willing to make the up-front expenditures to do so. Why? Because as it stands now, they don't pay the costs of duplication. Insured customers pay. Their employers pay. The government (i.e. you and I) pays when the patients can't.

But what's the cost of the status quo?

So overwhelming has the paperwork grown that Ms. Mayer has considered giving up and ceasing all treatment [for a rare type of gastrointestinal cancer] because of the bureaucratic hassle that accompanies it.
As it stands, some patients would rather give up their treatment, they'd rather stay sick - or die - rather than navigate the labyrinth of co-pays and paperwork. What does that say about the system? What does it say, setting aside the morality of leaving vast swathes of the country uninsured at all, that even those who have coverage would rather not seek the medical care they need because the paperwork is worse than the illness?

Poll Dance

It's no wonder Bush has been blinking and twitching. Maybe he had an advance look at the poll numbers just released:

For the first time in the [NBC News/Wall Street Journal] poll, Bush’s approval rating has sunk below 40 percent, while the percentage believing the country is heading in the right direction has dipped below 30 percent [28%]. In addition, a sizable plurality prefers a Democratic-controlled Congress, and just 29 percent think Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers is qualified to serve on the nation’s highest court.
What could make his second term worse? Oh, yeah... Anyone hear from Patrick Fitzgerald yet?

Worst. President. Ever.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Who Knows What About Miers?

Harriet Miers' nomination to the Supremes may or may not be dead-on-arrival. The Rethugs have fallen into near-civil-war over her nomination and most Senate Democrats seem happy to just sit back and watch the pending conservative implosion. But the dark lord, Karl Rove, has been talking up Miers to some interesting people including lots of folks in fundamentalist christian organizations.

In a private conversation designed to garner support for the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, White House aide Karl Rove told a key conservative Christian leader that the Texas lawyer had taken positions that "would not be supportive of abortion."

The unusual contact between Rove and James Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, a Colorado evangelical group staunchly opposed to abortion, came two days before President Bush announced Miers' nomination.
But here's what I want to know: did Rove tell Dobson, or anyone else in the movement, things that the administration and Miers will keep from the Senate during her confirmation hearings? If so, would interfering in the Constitutional duties of the Senate to "Advise and Consent," constitute a criminal offense?

Both Dobson and Rove have said that they did not discuss Roe v Wade or any other case likely to come before Miers should she be confirmed, but come on...

Dobson said Rove described Miers as "an evangelical Christian from a very conservative church, which is almost universally pro-life," who had "taken on the American Bar Association on the issue of abortion and fought for a policy that would not be supportive of abortion." She had also been a member of the Texas Right to Life, Dobson said.
What the hell else would that conversation refer to? Rove continues to skate on very thin ice here as he scrambles to save his sock puppet's presidential legacy - or what remains of it. I wonder if Patrick Fitzgerald can just add another item to his already growing list?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Oh... THOSE Stocks!

Seems Mr. Conflict of Interest wasn't so unaware of what was happening to stocks he owned. Besides the dubious blind trust, seems Bill Frist had other stocks in HCA:

Outside the blind trusts he created to avoid a conflict of interest, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist earned tens of thousands of dollars from stock in a family-founded hospital chain largely controlled by his brother, documents show.

"Sneezy, You're Doin' a Heck of a Job!"

If the federal response to Katrina and Rita impressed the hell out of you, this should send a chill down your spine:

If the nightmare of an avian flu pandemic emerges from the dark chapters of doomsday scenarios, it will fall to the Department of the Homeland Security, not the medical establishment, to manage the crisis, according to federal documents and interviews with government officials.

A Quick Question

Anyone notice how quickly our government was able to get helicopters with relief supplies into Kashmire? Anyone remember New Orleans?

Just asking.

Friday, October 07, 2005

What BushCo Learned from the Hurricanes


FEMA is trumpeting putting out $400 million in contracts out for bid that were originally awarded without competition like it's a big deal. What paltry percent is that of the billions awarded? But buried at the end of the NYT article was this little gem:

Mr. Paulison's appearance before the Senate came the same day the House voted, 347 to 70, to approve on the Department of Homeland Security's 2006 fiscal-year budget, which reduces financing for the Federal Emergency Management Agency by 12 percent, to $2.6 billion. The Senate is expected to vote on the department's overall $31.9 billion budget soon.


That evoked immediate criticism from emergency management experts.

"It's difficult to understand the logic behind another round of budget cuts to FEMA at the same time Congress is questioning their ability to respond to future disasters," said Trina R. Sheets, executive director of the National Emergency Management Association.
Absolutely un-fucking-believable.

Has Peace and Democracy Flowered in Iraq Yet?

Not so much.

Bomb blasts killed six Marines in western Iraq, and U.S. forces killed 29 militants in U.S. offensives aimed at uprooting al-Qaida insurgents ahead of the country’s vote on a new constitution, the military said Friday.

The American deaths brought to 1,950 the number of U.S. troops who have died since the beginning of the war in 2003, according to an Associated Press count.
And if all of this sacrifice in lives and money is supposed to keep us safer here at home, what's up in New York? And Oklahoma?

But really, why would you believe anyone who invades countries because a voice in his head told him to? (SO not kidding.)

Nobel Peace Prize a Smackdown to BushCo?

IAEA Director General Mohammed ElBaradei was awarded this year's Nobel Peace Prize for the yeoman's work he's done as head of that agency. I'm not sure whether or not there was an explicit message for the Bush maladministration, but one could certainly be excused for thinking that there might be an implicit one.

This portion of the article was hidden at the bottom but is telling:

Norway’s outgoing Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik said it was “gratifying” that IAEA and ElBaradei won the peace prize.


“Mohammad ElBaradei is an outstanding leader with great integrity. He has always sought to achieve results by negotiations. We saw this clearly during the period before the Iraq war, when he all the way to the end requested that the international weapons inspectors continue their work.”

Ultimately a U.S.-led coalition invaded Iraq and no weapons of mass destruction were found. An international occupation force remains in the country.
Emphasis is mine.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Is Southwest Airlines a Major Republican Contributor?

They must be, based on this:

Lorrie Heasley, of Woodland, Wash., was asked to leave her flight from Los Angeles to Portland, Ore., Tuesday for wearing a T-shirt with pictures of President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and a phrase similar to the popular film title "Meet the Fockers."
You've got to be kidding...

Squeal Like the Pig You Are

Please, oh please...

Federal prosecutors have accepted an offer from presidential adviser Karl Rove to give 11th hour testimony in the case of a CIA officer's leaked identity but have warned they cannot guarantee he won't be indicted, according to people directly familiar with the investigation.
Either Karl is going to take a plea deal and send a bunch of "friends" to the slammer, or he's going to take the fall himself. Actually, most likely is that both will happen.

Please, oh please...

Bush to Have Mental Breakdown at 10:10 am

What else could he do?

Obviously, with all the troubles brewing for BushCo, including likely indictments for Uncle Karl, he'll try to distract us with talk of freedom arising in Iraq. He'll talk about final throes and how the world is better off without Saddam. He'll spin a mighty spin.

But perhaps, just maybe, Americans are waking up.

The most recent Associated Press-Ipsos poll showed only 37 percent of Americans approve of Bush's handling of Iraq, with 62 percent disapproving
And then of course there's this:

Two suicide car bomb attacks in eastern Baghdad on Thursday killed a total of 12 Iraqis and wounded 15, police said.


The attacks came a day after 25 people were killed and 87 wounded in a bomb explosion at the entrance of a Shiite Muslim mosque in Hillah, south of Baghdad.
No matter how much he tries, there just is no way to spin the situation in Iraq as anything other than - as we used to call them in the Army - a "cluster fuck."

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

How F***ed Up Are Conservatives?

According to Shakespeare's Sister (new to my blogroll, BTW), really, really fucked up:

[Indiana] Republican lawmakers are drafting new legislation that will make marriage a requirement for motherhood in the state of Indiana, including specific criminal penalties for unmarried women who do become pregnant "by means other than sexual intercourse."

According to a draft of the recommended change in state law, every woman in Indiana seeking to become a mother through assisted reproduction therapy such as in vitro fertilization, sperm donation, and egg donation, must first file for a "petition for parentage" in their local county probate court.

Only women who are married will be considered for the "gestational certificate" that must be presented to any doctor who facilitates the pregnancy. Further, the "gestational certificate" will only be given to married couples that successfully complete the same screening process currently required by law of adoptive parents.
Seems that not only are single women who want to be mothers out of luck, but seems these folks also (not surprisingly) include lesbian and gay couples in their ban. As with all of these types of bans, I'm sure it wouldn't be too difficult for heterosexual couples with enough money to buy their way around the law. But the others, the real targets of conservative hatred will have no such luck. Of course this law has absolutely no chance of surviving a consitutional challenge at either the state or federal level; but it's particularly revealing of their fundamental hatred of everyone not "them."

Shakespeare's Sister is new to my blogroll, but I'll be reading her blog regularly now that I've discovered it. Head over and check it out, you'll be glad you did.

Molly Ivins

Do I really need to say any more?

Via Steve at Yellow Doggerel Democrat, I found Molly's recent opinion piece about Shrubby-boy's Supreme Court pick Harriet Miers. She lays out some pretty good evidence that Miers is classic BushCo.: uber-Loyal to Bush and a true late-to-the-party, holier-than-thou fundamentalist.

Molly, after discussing the increasing intrusion of religion into politics, then closes with a great quote usually attributed to James Madison:

"The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe with blood for centuries."

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

BushCo.: Mortally Wounded or Dangerously Wounded?

Over at AmericaBlog, Rob from Baltimore has written a well-thought out post claiming that with the nomination of Harriet Miers, the Bush presidency is "over." While I agree with Rob's list of all the constituencies that have now abandoned Shrubby-boy, I tend to be more pessimistic about what that means for the next three years. Here's part of Rob's post:

See, they had been waiting. Waiting for The Moment. The moment when they would finally enshrine their ideology into the Supreme Court for at least two generations. The Moment came. And it passed. They didn't get what they wanted. So why should they stay. Really, why should they stay? It's not going to get any better. Republicans have it all, and Conservatives got screwed again.

So, of these 30s, let's take a conservative estimate that half are Movement Conservatives. They, clearly, have now walked from him as well. Where will that leave Bush? With something just shy of 20% of the American public actually supporting him. That means roughly 4 in 5 Americans don't support this President.

Less than one year after being reelected, this Presidency has failed. It's over.
But rather than thinking this leaves BushCo. mortally wounded and impotent, I think we should perhaps be thinking of this administration as a wounded water-buffalo. Here's how I put it in part of my comments to Rob's post:

I'm afraid what we'll see for the next three years is this administration, cast adrift from any anchoring constituency, flailing about in its death throes. What that means is completely unknown, although their past actions might give some hints. Iran, Syria, North Korea. Declaring some sort of national energy emergency and gutting all protections for public lands and the environment. Declaring a national security crisis (see above) and declaring an "emergency, short-term" draft.
On most days, the water-buffalo, uninjured and unmolested, is one of the most dangerous large mammals in the world. Injured, backed into a corner with no escape, it is even more dangerous.

An Early Christmas Present to Us All

This made me so happy!!

Calvin & HobbesIn celebration of the anniversary of Bill Watterson's strip, "The Complete Calvin and Hobbes" – a three-volume collection of the duo's adventures – is set to be released on Tuesday. Reprinted "Calvin and Hobbes" comic strips began reappearing in newspapers nationwide in August in a four-month run-up to the book's release.
I will definitely be buying the collection. I had most of the previously released books but, between my daughter and I, we read the ink right off the pages...

I'm disappointed that my local rag didn't reprint any of the strips. But then I'm almost always disappointed in my local rag.

Be (Almost) All You Can Be

Seems that at least some people are paying attention to the toll on our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is NOT a good thing:

Army Secretary Noel Harvey and vice chief of staff Gen. Richard Cody said Monday that the Army was using looser Defense Department rules that permitted it to sign up more high school dropouts and people who score lower on mental-qualification tests, but they denied that this meant it was lowering standards.
The article also states that the Army hasn't been so far behind its recruiting goals since 1979. Can a draft be far behind?

One Thousand Nine Hundred and Forty-One

Lost amid all the Miers news and the legal and moral lapses that continue to accrue to top Republicans is this:

The deaths raised to at least 1,941 the number of U.S. military members who have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to a count by The Associated Press.
You can be sure that when the toll passes the 2,000 mark it will be dutifully buried by a still-compliant press after the news is released late on a Friday afternoon by a still-criminal administration.

Don't forget.

Monday, October 03, 2005

DeLay Indicted Again

How much schadenfreude can one take?

"Brownie-ism" Run Rampant

I suppose this answers the question of whether or not Shrubby-boy learned anything from appointing political hacks to important jobs:

President George W. Bush has chosen Harriet Miers, White House counsel and a loyal member of the president's inner circle, to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the U.S. Supreme Court, a senior administration official said Monday.


Miers, who has never been a judge, was the first woman to serve as president of the Texas State Bar and the Dallas Bar Association.
Emphasis, as if it's needed, is mine.

Now the question is whether the Senate Democrats can reach down far enough to find the testicular fortitude needed to fight this nomination. Because, as they've done in the past, the Rethugs will cast any opposition to Miers as bias - in this case as misogyny. Is there anyone from the left side of the aisle who can make a cogent case for why a Supreme Court pick should have experience from the bench? Doesn't seem to be that difficult a job. This is so far beyond "mere" nepotism... this is cronyism at its absolute worst.