Monday, March 31, 2008


Look everyone! Make-believe objectivity!

Before you get too excited, remember that the paper already endorsed McCain in the general. It gave McCain the nod three days after Mitt Romney quit the race. I guess three days is plenty of time to assess the qualifications of all of the candidates and isn’t a sign the paper was going to endorse a Republican — any Republican — and was waiting for a frontrunner to emerge. You know, like this guy did. And we all know about his credibility.

So the Trib is planning to endorse one Democratic candidate over the other. I’m not sure that the Trib has many “Democrat readers,” or that anyone cares which Democratic candidate a Republican mouthpiece paper endorses. I suspect one or more of the following: This is an attempt either to strengthen Clinton’s campaign heading into Denver to create “chaos” for the Democrats, Dick thinks Clinton is the more vulnerable candidate against McCain, or Dick is just nostalgic for the good ol’ days of constant Clinton bashing and wants to keep Clinton around to get his paper back to doing what it does best.

But Clinton’s visit bolsters the Trib, which doesn’t compete well with the other paper in town, the Post Gazette, because the Trib’s well-known and obvious conservative bias is just too much for the paper to maintain any kind of credibility. The paper endorsed Jim Clymer for senate in ’04 because it didn’t consider Arlen Specter conservative enough, and didn’t endorse anyone when incumbent Gov. Ed Rendell ran for re-election against former football player and wholly unqualified candidate Lynn Swann. I guess the edit board just couldn’t decide which candidate would be best for Pennsylvania.

The idea of the Trib “reassessing” Clinton is ludicrous. The entire conservative worldview requires a WWE mindset: Good guys are always good, and bad guys are always bad (at least until they take a folding chair to their tag team partners and form an uneasy alliance with the good guy with an apprehensive handshake in the middle of the ring). In a mind where the only colors are black and white, there’s little room, or interest, in nuance or reassessing beliefs. To reassess anything, let alone Public Enemy #2, would require way too much attention, self-analysis and critical thinking.

By the way, is it just me, or is the media’s (and the other candidates’) referring to Clinton by her first name kind of disrespectful? It’s the kind of treatment newspapers usually reserve for feel-good features or for children. But I guess in this case the headline is an echo of this one from last month.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Bet this came as news to all those who have lost loved ones in BushCo’s disaster in Iraq.
Noting the burden placed on military families, the vice president said the biggest burden is carried by President George W. Bush, who made the decision to commit US troops to war, and reminded the public that U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan volunteered for duty.
So that means, what, that they deserve to be sent to fight in a country that had nothing to do with 9/11? That they deserve to be stop-lossed so they can be sent back into the shitstorm over and over? That they deserve to have asshole chickenhawks with no military knowledge or experience playing Russian Roulette with their lives?
"The president carries the biggest burden, obviously," Cheney said. "He's the one who has to make the decision to commit young Americans, but we are fortunate to have a group of men and women, the all-volunteer force, who voluntarily put on the uniform and go in harm's way for the rest of us."
Obviously. See, I would’ve thought the biggest burden is being borne by parents who have buried their sons, children who will grow up without a parent, wives who have nothing left of their husbands but a flag folded into a triangle and the thanks of a grateful nation. I would’ve thought that those people were carrying the heaviest load. But I would be wrong. Obviously.

But I guess that burden Bush is carrying is Pretty. Heavy. Too.

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Opening day

The Sox earned a 6-5, extra-inning win against the A’s in Tokyo this morning. They were led by Manny Ramirez’s four RBI and a strong performance by a late addition to the batting order.

Manny tied the game in the sixth inning with a two-out double off of Oakland starter Joe Blanton. After David Ortiz fouled out with runners at first and second, Manny drilled the first pitch into the left-field corner, scoring Justin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis. Manny then scored the go-ahead run on a two-out single to right by Brandon Moss, who was added to the lineup at the last minute when J.D. Drew had tightness in his lower back.

The Sox 3-2 lead was brief, however, as Kyle Snyder relieved starter Daisuke Matsuzaka gave up a two-run shot to Jack Hannahan in the bottom of the sixth. But Moss hit a home run off Huston Street (L, 0-1) in the top of the ninth to tie the score 4-4 and send the game into extras.

In the tenth, with Julio Lugo at second base and two outs, Street intentionally walked David Ortiz, who went 0-for-4, to pitch to Ramirez. Manny doubled to center, scoring both runners.

Jonathan Papelbon pitched a shaky bottom of the tenth, walking the first batter he faced, Daric Barton, who came around to score on a one-out double by Emil Brown, making the score 6-5. Fortunately, Brown was thrown out trying to stretch the double into a triple, because the next two hitters, Bobby Crosby and Hannahan, each singled before Papelbon got Kurt Suzuki to ground out.

Dice-K gave up two hits in five innings, walked five and struck out six. He got off to a shaky start, giving up a home run and two walks, hitting a batter and throwing a wild pitch in the first inning, when Oakland scored two runs. He gave up a single and walked two more in the second inning, when he struck out Jack Cust with the bases loaded.

Dice-K settled down after that, giving up only a two-out walk in the third and getting the side in order in the fourth and fifth.

Hideki Okajima (W, 1-0) got the win, giving up only a walk in the bottom of the ninth.

Notes: Moss’ home run was the first of his career. Red Sox hitters faced three former teammates in Oakland pitchers Alan Embree, Keith Foulke and Lenny DiNardo.

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Monday, March 24, 2008


The tragic milestone was reached on Easter Sunday. The Times story I linked to has the stories and writings of several of the fallen. Reading them, seeing them deal alternately with everyday family issues and the absolute horror of hell on earth is a reminder that this is more than a statistic. These were 4,000 fathers and mothers and sons and daughters and sisters and brothers and boyfriends and fiancees whose lives touched hundreds of thousands more. Four thousand lives interrupted and, ultimately, ended by senseless violence. This is more than just “a number.” It’s 4,000 human tragedies. It will be generations before our country fully recovers, if it ever does.

And don’t forget Afghanistan, where at least 488 servicemembers have been killed. But even the appalling total of 4,488 dead doesn’t even count people like James McDonald, whose death isn’t counted toward the official total as part of the administration’s fuzzy math to keep this tragedy from looking so tragic, to keep its folly from looking so foolish.

If this sad occasion is a “sober moment” in the war, as the White House calls it, what does that make every other moment in this senseless war?

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

I hope everyone enjoys a great day with loved ones.


Friday, March 21, 2008

F the poor

As usual, BushCo’s policies hit the poor and working class hardest.
Inflation is walloping Americans with low and moderate incomes as the prices of staples have soared far faster than those of luxuries.

The goods and services Americans consumed in February were 4 percent more expensive than they were a year earlier. But there is a big divide in how much prices are climbing between the basic items people need to live and get to work, and those on which they can easily cut back when times are tight.

An analysis of government data by The Washington Post found that prices have risen 9.2 percent since 2006 for the groceries, gasoline, health care and other basics that a middle-income American family has little choice but to consume. That would cost such a family, which made $45,000 on average in 2006, an extra $972 per year, assuming it did not buy less of such items because of higher prices. For a broad range of goods on which it is easier to scrimp -- such as restaurant meals, alcoholic beverages, new cars, furniture, and clothing -- prices have risen 2.4 percent.

Wages for typical workers, meanwhile, have been rising slowly. In that same time span, average earnings for a non-managerial worker rose about 5 percent. This contradiction -- high inflation for staples, low inflation for luxuries and in wages -- helps explain why American workers felt squeezed even before the recent economic distress began.
Kudos to the WashPo for doing more than scratching the surface.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Douchebag of the Week

Some commenter at a Faux News site, with the quote of the day maybe the millenium.
I, for one, like my white race over that of any other, so does that make me a racist? I don’t thing [sic] so.
No, I will not link to it. You can click here to see it where I saw it.

UPDATE: The runner-up.

A proposed detention facility for suspected illegal immigrants was labeled a "holding pen for wetbacks" on a public meeting agenda written by a rural city council member.

Charles Laws, 75, apologized Thursday for using the derogatory term but defied calls from state lawmakers and officials in nearby Austin for him to resign as Mustang Ridge's mayor pro tem and as general manager of a local water supply company.
Click here to see the meeting agenda.


War Inc.

Conservatives like to espouse the virtues of the free market. In doing so, they like to talk about “incentives.” In the conservative worldview, everything people do is motivated (“incentivized”) by some personal gain. People, and companies, do everything they do — and don’t do what they don’t do — based on what’s in their own best interest. One Kool-Aid drinking friend of mine, a very smart person, once followed this logic right off a cliff when, during a discussion of taxation, argued against higher taxes for the wealthy because it would “create a disincentive to become rich.” (I won’t tell you what I said in response. You can judge that statement for yourself.)

Incentives also keep companies behaving as responsible citizens. After all, bad practices such as inattention to quality and product safety are prevented by competition, right? If Company A suddenly starts producing an inferior product, customers will take their business to Company B. If Company C injures customers with shoddy workmanship or cheaper but dangerous components, customers will run to company D.

So when company KBR kills people because it cut corners, company KBR is on the express train to out of business and probably will see the inside of a courtroom before too long, right? But what if company KBR is the recipient of a no-bid government contract? Where’s the competition that’s supposed to keep costs down, and where’s the incentive not to cut corners in vital areas such as safety?

What these fucking idiot conservative shitheads fail to mention is that money is a pretty powerful fucking incentive. If a company can cut a few corners and save a few bucks with little or no risk to its bottom line, what the fuck is stopping it? After all, the company would be acting in its own best interest, the only way it can possibly act in the conservative worldview. And if it’s a public company, it has not just an incentive, but a responsibility to its shareholders to save every dime it can. And if that means cutting a few corners when running some electrical wires, fine.

Unfortunately, Ryan Maseth wasn’t essential to KBR’s bottom line. And he’s only one of at least a dozen other U.S. servicemembers whose lives did not have a material impact on the financial results of the company BushCo hired to help administer its war.

In other words, there was no “incentive” for KBR to keep them from being electrocuted.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008


The day they are scheduled to fly to Japan to open the regular season against the A’s, the players have voted not to go in the wake of a dispute centering on a $40,000 stipend that was to be paid to coaches as part of the negotiated agreement to make the trip.

I realize it’s hard to feel sympathetic toward people who consider $40,000 a reasonable stipend. And Terry Francona’s assertion that $40,000 represents two-fifths of some coaches’ salaries doesn’t help on that score when you realize that means those coaches are making $100,000 a year. The financial chasm between players/coaches and fans is way too big, and teams should realize that whining to the press about $40,000 stipends isn’t going to generate a lot of sympathy among people scraping out a living on a lot less than what these guys stand to make — on top of their six-figure salaries — in roughly a week.

However, it’s not fair to agree to pay the stipend and then renege at the 11th hour. If these guys were promised the stipends in return for agreeing to go to Japan, they should receive them. If they don’t, they are right to refuse to go.

The players also voted not to play today’s exhibition game against the Blue Jays. But the players have taken the field at City of Palms Park in Ft. Myers and the game is under way, so it appears that some agreement has been reached. Details to follow.

UPDATE: The issue appears resolved, and the teams are going to Japan, though nobody is saying much about the details at this point.

UPDATE 2: The Red Sox coaches are getting the same $40,000 as the players.
In the end, the Red Sox's coaching and support staff received assurance that — as the players all along intended — they would be compensated for making the weeklong Japan trip, each earning roughly the same $40,000 the players are each receiving as an appearance fee.

"Everyone connected with the trip will be fairly compensated," Major League Baseball spokesman Rich Levin said.

The Red Sox then played the game after a 64-minute delay, and the trip to Japan for the season-opening series against the Athletics proceeded.

The players had believed since October that the coaches would be compensated, per their instructions in a conference call mapping out the trip's logistics. Somewhere in the intervening five months, the line of communication broke down, and only the players for both the Red Sox and A's were earmarked for compensation.

By essentially holding the exhibition game against the Jays on ESPN hostage, the players forced MLB to move from a stance of no pay, to half of the players' demand, to the final agreement, with the Red Sox fronting $600,000 to pay the stipend, with assurance from MLB that it would later defray the cost.

"We stuck to the number we thought was correct, which was equal pay [for the coaches and staff]," Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell said. "It was nothing until they found out we weren't going to play and we were serious about it.
Ah, the power of organized labor. Is it any wonder Republicans hate it so?

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Five years

Today marks the fifth anniversary of the launch of BushCo’s folly in Iraq. Five years later, at least 3,990 American service members are dead, tens of thousands critically wounded and untold hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed. And, five years later, there’s still no end in sight. Chaos and violence are rampant, the invasion has given rise to al Qaida in Iraq, a previously nonexistent terror group, while political progress in Iraq is, at best, insufficient.

Five years later, longer than American involvement in every war except Vietnam and the Revolutionary War, George Bush and Dick Cheney still look at the steaming shitpile they’ve cooked up and see caviar.

Bush will give a rah rah speech at the Pentagon today that’s fitting for a former cheerleader. But his prepared comments include one interesting sentence:
"We have learned through hard experience what happens when we pull our forces back too fast — the terrorists and extremists step in, fill the vacuum, establish safe havens and use them to spread chaos and carnage."
If I didn’t know better, I’d say he was talking about Afghanistan (which is about as fucked up as Iraq and approaching its seventh anniversary of our military involvement). That’s where Bush had Osama bin Laden (remember him?) on the run but let him get away by focusing on plans to disarm a dictator who, as it turns out, didn’t have weapons of mass destruction, just as UN weapons inspectors said.

But Bush couldn’t possibly be talking about that, because that would be admitting a mistake and Bush doesn’t make mistakes. Which explains why he has laid the groundwork for keeping his proud legacy secret.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The wall

Bill Frist. Embracing the America he helped create.


Monday, March 17, 2008


Yeah, things are going great in Iraq. So great that this trip, like every other trip a member of the Bush regime has made to Iraq in the last five years, was a secret.
Vice President Dick Cheney landed in Baghdad today on an unannounced trip for meetings with U.S. military commanders and Iraqi officials before a progress report on the war set for delivery to Congress next month.

Cheney, arriving just before the fifth anniversary of the U.S. invasion, scheduled meetings with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki as well as Army General David Petraeus, Ambassador Ryan Crocker and other leaders. Petraeus and Crocker are scheduled to brief Congress on progress in Iraq since President George W. Bush ordered the deployment of 30,000 extra U.S. soldiers a year ago.

Cheney flew by helicopter from Baghdad International Airport to the fortified Green Zone for talks. He told reporters it was “especially significant” that he was in Iraq five years after the March 20, 2003, invasion that toppled Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and ended “Saddam’s tyranny.”
Bullshit. What is really significant is that, five years later, he still can't announce his visits to Iraq in advance. I wonder if that fact will be included in the “progress” report.

It takes a lot of balls to sneak into a country unannounced and then declare from a heavily guarded “green zone” how much progress is being made there. But ignore Cheney’s empty words. Judge the situation in Iraq by his actions. Members of the Bush administration have a well-documented ability to ignore facts when it suits their ends. But when it comes to their personal safety, suddenly they’re not so dismissive of the truth. Bushies may have an enormous capacity to deny reality, but it ain’t that big.

By the way, John McCain’s visit to Iraq was unannounced, too. Kind of makes you wonder if he believes his own rhetoric about the success of the surge.

UPDATE: More signs of progress.
A female suicide bomber attacked a group of Shiite worshippers near a mosque in Karbala on Monday, killing at least 39 people and wounding 54, officials said.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Among thieves

What? A swift boater dishonest?
The former treasurer of a Republican Congressional fund-raising committee may have stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars by submitting elaborately forged audit reports for five years using the letterhead of a legitimate auditing firm, a lawyer for the committee said Thursday.

Robert K. Kelner, a lawyer with Covington & Burling, who was brought in by the National Republican Congressional Committee to investigate accounting irregularities, said a new audit showed that the committee had $740,000 less on hand than it believed. Mr. Kelner said it was unclear whether that amount represented money siphoned off by the former treasurer, Christopher J. Ward.


Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma, its chairman, briefed the Republican Congressional leadership on Thursday. In a statement, Mr. Cole said he had told them that “the information we have today indicates we have been deceived and betrayed for a number of years by a highly respected and trusted individual.”

Mr. Ward was named treasurer of the national Republican committee in 2003 after serving for several years as an assistant treasurer. He had also been a partner in a political consulting firm, Political Compliance Services, that worked in 2004 on behalf of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the group behind advertisements attacking the military record of Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, the Democratic presidential nominee.
The thing is, the traits that make a SBVTer “highly respected and trusted” in Republican circles are exactly the same traits that make him neither respectable nor trustworthy. GOP insiders must know that they’re dealing with basically dishonest people, so they shouldn’t act surprised when shit like this happens. Remember the lessons your parents taught you about the people you surround yourself with? Well, guess what? Thieves steal and liars lie. The only difference is now they’re doing it to you. That’s what you get for surrounding yourself with such marginal motherfuckers to help you play your dirty pool. That’s what you get for trusting a bullshit artist with your money.

And this is the party of “fiscal responsibility.”

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Get ready to see a lot of signs like this one. But by the end of the year, you’ll look back fondly on the days when gasoline was this inexpensive.
Mike Sweeney recently moved to this idyllic island from Denver and was hit with the other side of living in paradise with his first visit to the gas pump: Maui is also No. 1 in gas prices.

"After seeing the total, I won't be smiling," Sweeney said as he watched the numbers on the Chevron pump spin faster than a slot machine.

The pump finally stopped at $97.20, which put 24.5 gallons in his Chevrolet Avalanche.
A weak dollar, turning a blind eye to price gouging, weakening environmental regulations, a partisan Supreme Court and, of course, Iraq. George Bush is better than Big Oil’s wildest wet dream.

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Telcos’ advocate

George Bush wanted to get out in front of a House vote on an eavesdropping bill that doesn't give his telecommunications executive friends immunity for their lawbreaking.

The bill addresses the fake concern that allowing the lawsuits that have been filed against telcos to proceed would make public classified information that would help terrorists by allowing “phone companies to present their defense behind closed doors in federal court, with the judge given access to confidential government documents about eavesdropping begun after the September 11 attacks.”

But it doesn’t give Bush and his co-conspirators buddies co-conspirators what they want, so Bush decided to (or was told to) malign the bill publicly before it is even voted on. But all he had to offer the gathered press were the same old bullshit talking points. Ho hum.
"This litigation would undermine the private sector's willingness to cooperate with the intelligence community, cooperation that is absolutely essential to protecting our country from harm," Bush said.
"Unfortunately, instead of holding a vote on the good bipartisan bill that passed the United States Senate, they introduced a partisan bill that would undermine America's security," Bush said.
He called the House bill "unwise" and said it could lead to public disclosure of highly classified information that could help terrorists.
Getting sleepy.
Bush said the litigation against the phone companies was "unfair" because they had been assured by the U.S. government that their cooperation was "legal and necessary" to fighting terrorism after the September 11 attacks.
Nodding off.
"Companies that may have helped us save lives should be thanked for their patriotic service, not subjected to billion dollar lawsuits that will make them less willing to help in the future," Bush said.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Pentagon study: No Saddam-Osama link

It seems that when all those DFHs accused the Bush administration of lying us into war, they were right.
An exhaustive review of more than 600,000 Iraqi documents that were captured after the 2003 U.S. invasion has found no evidence that Saddam Hussein's regime had any operational links with Osama bin Laden's al Qaida terrorist network.

The Pentagon-sponsored study, scheduled for release later this week, did confirm that Saddam's regime provided some support to other terrorist groups, particularly in the Middle East, U.S. officials told McClatchy. However, his security services were directed primarily against Iraqi exiles, Shiite Muslims, Kurds and others he considered enemies of his regime.

The new study of the Iraqi regime's archives found no documents indicating a "direct operational link" between Hussein's Iraq and al Qaida before the invasion, according to a U.S. official familiar with the report.
In other not-at-all-surprising news, after originally planning to post the report online, the Pentagon has decided not to post it online, and not to e-mail to reporters. The Pentagon is only releasing it by snail mail to those who request it. A press release announcing the report has been canceled.

You sure it was press reports that made the report's findings "politically sensitive," not this (scroll down) and this and this and this?

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Troops should 'just drink bottled water'

And let them eat cake, too.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Fallon resigns

The biggest roadblock between BushCo and war with Iran has just been removed. And just days after White House mouthpiece Dana Perino said she “never heard anything of that sort, except for in rumor mills that don’t turn out to be true.”

And it happened one day before this article hits newsstands.

Just another one of those coincidences, I’m sure.

I have no crystal ball, but wait until you see the yes man who takes over Fallon’s post. I have no idea who it will be, but I have no doubt about his ideological leanings.

And if you think $4 a gallon is expensive, and if you think we’re hated around the world now, wait until the bombs start hitting Tehran.

This is bad bad bad bad bad.

This would be a great time for the Democrats in Congress to develop some spine and do whatever it takes to prevent the atrocity these incompetent fucks are planning.

UPDATE: The AP reports that “Defense Secretary Robert Gates says it would be "ridiculous" to suggest that Fallon's resignation signals that the United States is planning to go to war with Iran.”

Is there anyone who is relieved to hear Gates say that?

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‘No quick fix’

Not that you were expecting any help from the White House on this, but
The White House says that soaring oil prices are "not going to be solved overnight" and that "it would be wrong" of President Bush to promise otherwise.

Presidential spokeswoman Dana Perino said Tuesday on Air Force One that "there are some things we cannot do." Her comments came as oil prices rose above $109 a barrel for the first time. They are up from $87 a barrel in January.

She said that the White House is concerned about the impact on consumers and small businesses. But she said, "It would be wrong of the president to provide false hope to people to think that we are going to be able to have an immediate impact to reduce gas prices. This is something that we're all going to have to work through."
By “overnight,” she means “before January 20.”

By the way, here’s the extent of the problem the White House can’t solve overnight, or at all:
The cost of filling up the family car climbed to a record high Tuesday, adding to the challenges consumers already face with falling home values and rising food prices.

Gas prices at the pump rose overnight to a record national average of $3.2272 a gallon, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service. That's a tad higher than the previous record of $3.2265, set last May.

Soaring gas prices worsen the financial plight of consumers already suffering through a downturn in the housing market that has sharply reduced home prices in many markets and limited Americans' ability to tap home equity for spending. Food prices are also on the rise, partly due to rising fuel costs.
You might be interested to know that the previous record was set May 24, 2007, the Thursday before Memorial Day Weekend.

Just a coincidence, I’m sure.

When asked about analysts’ predictions that gas soon will reach $4 per gallon at a recent press conference, Bush said
Q What's your advice to the average American who is hurting now, facing the prospect of $4 a gallon gasoline, a lot of people facing --

THE PRESIDENT: Wait, what did you just say? You're predicting $4 a gallon gasoline?

Q A number of analysts are predicting --


Q -- $4 a gallon gasoline this spring when they reformulate.

THE PRESIDENT: That's interesting. I hadn't heard that.
I’m guessing that’s not confidence you feel swelling up inside you.

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In case you were wondering what it takes for Republicans to support impeachment proceedings.
Pressure mounted Tuesday on Gov. Eliot Spitzer to resign because of a prostitution scandal, with a top state Republican threatening to push for impeachment proceedings if the governor doesn't step down in 48 hours.

State residents "cannot have this hanging over their heads," said Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco.
So it’s not lying the nation into a war that makes Republicans see the need to remove a corrupt officeholder, not breaking the law to violate Americans’ civil rights, not holding prisoners without charges for years at a time. The crime that moves them to action is being a Democrat.

This from the party that gave David Vitter a standing ovation after he did the same thing. I guess it’s OK for the people of Louisiana and the U.S. Senate to have this hanging over their heads.

Fucking hypocrites.

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Fenway alterations

I almost called this post “Fenway upgrades,” but I stopped myself, as I’m not sure all of the changes are upgrades.

The Coca Cola corner adds seats to the ballpark, which is good for those of us who have found getting tickets a challenge. But I’m not sure that “a sign nearly 43 feet long and just over 12 feet high,” with “1,059 light-emitting diodes” is going to enhance the atmosphere at the ballpark. However, it will be nice to see those ridiculous Coke bottles come off the light tower above the Monstah. So maybe that’s a push.

The Bleacher Bar and Grill is the latest in the trend of freestanding restaurants leasing space in major-league ballparks. I’m basically ambivalent about them. But the reality is that, with teams’ expenses going up, they have to do what they can to generate revenue, and I guess this is better than raising ticket prices or placing ads on uniforms, on the bases or in the grass.

Of course, these changes keep the team from building a new ballpark, which is something I don’t think anyone wants. But I would hate to see Fenway become more of a revenue center than a ballpark. I’d prefer to see it maintain its charm and avoid becoming like some of the circuses around the league that just happen to house major league teams.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Client 9

Gov. Eliot Spitzer has been caught on a federal wiretap arranging to meet with a high-priced prostitute at a Washington hotel last month, according to a person briefed on the federal investigation.

An affidavit in the federal investigation into a prostitution ring said that a wiretap recording captured a man identified as Client 9 on a telephone call confirming plans to have a woman travel from New York to Washington, where he had reserved a hotel room. The person briefed on the case identified Mr. Spitzer as Client 9.

Mr. Spitzer today made a brief public appearance during which he apologized for his behavior, and described it as a “private matter.”
Now I’ve said before that I don’t give a rat’s hairy ass about the sex lives of public officials, except when their behavior is inconsistent with their public positions on issues. Larry Craig’s opposition to the gay hate-crimes bill is a perfect example. And so too is this, because Spitzer’s previous job was NY state attorney general, where his job was to enforce the law. That included prosecuting prostitution rings.

Spitzer doesn’t get a pass from me just because he’s a Democrat, so I hope he understands if I don’t give him a standing ovation when he returns to work.

Public officials should not break the law. Period.


Douchebag of the Week

It’s only Monday, but we have a "winner.” From the state of ... Oklahoma!

State Rep. Sally Kern, R-84, informing her audience about the dangers of Teh Gay Agenda.

Who knew a Baptist minister’s wife would be such an expert on homosexuality? And I wonder when and why sons Jesse and Nathan were removed (link — scroll down for it) from her official bio page.


Saturday, March 08, 2008


Remember, we do not torture. So this is just about keeping our options open, right? Because Americans would never actually sink to the level of its enemies, right?
President Bush said Saturday he vetoed legislation that would ban the CIA from using harsh interrogation methods such as waterboarding to break suspected terrorists because it would end practices that have prevented attacks.

"The bill Congress sent me would take away one of the most valuable tools in the war on terror," Bush said in his weekly radio address taped for broadcast Saturday. "So today I vetoed it," Bush said. The bill he rejected provides guidelines for intelligence activities for the year and has the interrogation requirement as one provision. It cleared the House in December and the Senate last month.

"This is no time for Congress to abandon practices that have a proven track record of keeping America safe," the president said.

Supporters of the legislation say it would preserve the United States' ability to collect critical intelligence while also providing a much-needed boost to country's moral standing abroad.

"Torture is a black mark against the United States," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California. "We will not stop until [the ban] becomes law."

The bill would limit CIA interrogators to the 19 techniques allowed for use by military questioners. The Army field manual in 2006 banned using methods such as waterboarding or sensory deprivation on uncooperative prisoners.
If only there were other ways for chickenhawks to feel like real men.

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Friday, March 07, 2008

Why do they call him McSame?

And what do they mean by “third term”? It appears that John McCain exhibits some personality traits that we have become all-too familiar with over the last eight years.
And you've heard, no doubt, about McCain's stubbornness. "No dissent, no opinion to the contrary, however reasonable, will be entertained," says Larry Wilkerson, a retired army colonel who was former Secretary of State Colin Powell's top aide. "Hardheaded is another way to say it. Arrogant is another way to say it. Hubristic is another way to say it. Too proud for his own good is another way to say it. It's a quality about him that disturbs me."
Sound familiar? In case you’re still unclear, click here.

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Thursday, March 06, 2008


Call me an alarmist, but this seems relatively important.

And yet people will keep voting for Republicans. For these people, there is no sense of community, compassion or responsibility for their fellow man. It’s all about economic self-interest. But at this rate, that self-interest probably will make most of them abandon the GOP before too long.

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008


Can someone explain to me how this helps McCain?

He's got the GOP nomination locked up. So how does the endorsement of the Worst President in American History help him? Who is this endorsement supposed to sway in McCain’s favor? Who still thinks George Bush is capable of sound political judgment when every single thing he has touched has turned to shit?

Oh, I’m exaggerating? Name one thing Bush has done in eight years as president that can reasonably be called a success. OK then.

Given Bush’s ongoing popularity problem, I think this hurts McCain more than it helps him. I can only assume McCain wants access to the BushCo fundraising machine.

For his part, by waiting until after the nomination was locked up to endorse, Bush is clearly sending the message that he would have endorsed whomever won the GOP nomination. And Bush endorsing a Republican whose only opponents are Democrats isn’t exactly shocking, or even noteworthy.

If Bush really wanted to help McCain (and this assumes he believes that his endorsement helps McCain), he would have endorsed him a month ago, when McCain was getting the shit kicked out of him by Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney. But then Bush might have risked backing a losing horse, and no way were Bush’s handlers about to expose Junior to the possibility of having his infallibility bubble pricked.

So Bush supports a Republican for president? No shit. He held a rose garden press conference to announce the “news”? Big fucking deal.

UPDATE: Looks like the McCain campaign is wondering about the value of Bush’s endorsement too.
As of this writing, there's no mention of it on the home page of McCain's Web site. There's no mention of it all on the Republican National Committee's home page. In fact, I can't find any mention whatsoever of the event on either Web site at all.
Kinda makes you wonder why McCain even bothered showing up.


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Packing it in

Brett Favre retires from the NFL.


Siegelman blackout update

Looks like someone isn’t buying the story that an Alabama television station had a 12-minute technical problem while a 13-minute investigate story about the GOP’s railroading the former Democratic governor of Alabama all the way to prison.
A U.S. Federal Communications Commission official is seeking an inquiry into the blacking out of a politically charged segment of the CBS News magazine "60 Minutes" by a local television station in Alabama.

FCC Commissioner Michael Copps said he had asked the chairman of the FCC to open an inquiry into the February 24 incident at WHNT, a CBS affiliate in Huntsville, Alabama, in which civil rights footage from the 1960s was blacked out.

"The FCC now needs to find out if something analogous is going on here," Copps said at a luncheon with media watchdog groups. "Was this an attempt to suppress information on the public airwaves, or was it really just a technical problem?"
And what about the odds that the FCC chairman will initiate such an investigation?
Copps is one of two Democratic appointees on the five-member FCC. The chairman of the agency, Kevin Martin, is a Republican.

Martin responded by saying he would look into the matter but has not indicated yet whether he would issue a letter of inquiry to the station, a source close to the commission said.

So what do we know about FCC Chairman Kevin Martin? According to his online bio, before joining the FCC, Martin was a special assistant to the president for economic policy. A donor to Bush during the 2000 election cycle, he was deputy general counsel for the Bush campaign and served on the Bush-Cheney transition team. He also was a lobbyist for media conglomerates Gannett, Viacom and AH Belo.

Is Martin is just another Republican public servant who has no interest in serving the public? Just another hack crony doing the bidding of the worst administration ever to foul this great country? Sure sounds like it. But let's allow his actions on this matter to answer those questions.

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Monday, March 03, 2008


Remember, guns don’t kill people, people kill people. But it’s uncanny how often they use guns to do it.
A gunman wearing a jacket and tie wordlessly and randomly opened fire inside a Wendy's during the lunchtime rush Monday, killing a firefighter who'd gone back to fetch his child's toy and wounding five other diners. He then turned the gun on himself.

"This was not a robbery. He didn't demand anything...," said Paul Miller, a Palm Beach County sheriff's spokesman. "Looks like this was just another random shooting like we've seen around the United States."

The 42-year-old victim, a Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue lieutenant, had met his wife and child at the restaurant, Deputy Fire-Rescue Chief Steve Delai said. The family had just left, but the man returned to retrieve a toy his child had left behind and was shot in the back as he stood at the counter, Delai said.

"Our officer probably didn't even see him," Delai said, adding that the man's wife and child were still in the parking when the shooting broke out.

Three of the survivors were in critical condition, sheriff's spokeswoman Teri Barbera said. Two others had minor injuries, including one person who was injured while running away.

Motorists at the drive-thru window fled, some leaving their vehicles running. Several people were carried from the restaurant on stretchers. Authorities did not identify the shooter or the other victims.

"I just saw a lady with a little boy in her arms come running out screaming, 'Somebody's shooting!'" said Sandra Jackson, who had been getting gas across the street. The woman said her husband was still inside, said Jackson, 43, of Palm Springs.

The mayhem unfolded just after noon during the lunch hour rush at the eatery on a major suburban road lined with strip malls, car dealerships and fast food restaurants, about five miles from downtown West Palm Beach. A billboard advertising an upcoming gun show stands just behind the Wendy's.
Don’t forget, folks, the ability of any mental defective to acquire a gun is what makes this country the safest place in the world.

I really hope I don’t find out this shooter was off his medications because his insurance company canceled his coverage and that the insurance company employee who canceled his policy got a bonus for doing it. Unfortunately, that’s entirely possible.

Insane gun policies and the lack of universal healthcare is not a good combination.



Time to contact your representatives and remind them that the reasons we sent them to Washington have nothing to do with enhancing their personal career prospects or fund-raising capability. Because it looks like they may have forgotten.
The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee hinted Sunday that a battle over an expired eavesdropping law might be moving toward a conclusion that gave phone companies the retroactive legal protections long sought by President Bush.

The chairman, Representative Silvestre Reyes, Democrat of Texas, said in an interview on CNN that the committee had been talking to the companies “because if we’re going to give them blanket immunity, we want to know and understand what it is we’re giving immunity for.”
Let me shed some light on that for Rep. Reyes: You are considering giving them immunity for helping the Bush administration to illegally and without warrants eavesdrop on our private communications.

Crooks and Liars has more, including these links to an online petition urging the House not to fold like the Senate did, as well as this link to contact information for your representatives.

Remember, they work for you. Tell them what they have to do if they want to continue working for you.

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