Saturday, June 16, 2007






MTP: US Amb to Iraq Ryan Crocker; roundtable of WaPo's E.J. Dionne, National Review's Kate O'Beirne, WaPo's Eugene Robinson, National Review's Byron York

FTN: Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY); Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI); Iraq Study Group member Lee Hamltion

This Week:
Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE); Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC); Martin Sheen; roundtable of Martha Raddatz, The Nation's David Corn, and George Will

Fox News Sunday: Gen. David Petraeus; NYT's Tom Friedman

Late Edition: Iraqi FM Hoshyar Sebari; Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX); Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI); Seymour Hersh; Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA); roundtable of Ed Henry, Donna Brazile (D), Terry Jeffrey (R)


If you want to check out a wonderful compilation of highlights from the week, click
on the Newsie8200 link. The man is a powerhouse.


As always, via the grace and hard work of Newsie8200


I'd put up with a damn Queen if our media did their jobs like this.

Blair knew US had no post-war plan for Iraq

Nicholas Watt, political editor
Sunday June 17, 2007
The Observer

Tony Blair agreed to commit British troops to battle in Iraq in the full knowledge that Washington had failed to make adequate preparations for the postwar reconstruction of the country.

In a devastating account of the chaotic preparations for the war, which comes as Blair enters his final full week in Downing Street, key No 10 aides and friends of Blair have revealed the Prime Minister repeatedly and unsuccessfully raised his concerns with the White House.

He also agreed to commit troops to the conflict even though President George Bush had personally said Britain could help 'some other way'.

The disclosures, in a two-part Channel 4 documentary about Blair's decade in Downing Street, will raise questions about Blair's public assurances at the time of the war in 2003 that he was satisfied with the post-war planning. In one of the most significant interviews in the programme, Peter Mandelson says that the Prime Minister knew the preparations were inadequate but said he was powerless to do more.


Nothing new, nothing we didn't know. But is really sad to finally find out for sure that Blair truly was a Bush's poodle.

The reason I italicized the one bit was something that I almost forgot about.
Do you remember the venom the press and the wingers had for the French and any other country that wouldn't line up for the "Coalition of the Willing".
So Mr Codpiece himself, in the midst of that whole brouhaha, is telling Tony Blair, "Nah, it's okay, just lend us a couple tanks." Oy.

From the "What Else Is New?" Department:

US Authority Accused of Ignoring Allies in Iraq
CPA Was Dysfunctional, says British Official
UK 'complicit' in failing to prepare postwar plan
The US-led administration set up to run Iraq following the invasion in 2003 was a "dysfunctional organisation" which almost completely ignored the British, according to its director of operations.

Andrew Bearpark, probably the Coalition Provisional Authority's central British figure, also revealed that when he asked for details of the plan to restore the Iraqi power supplies, he was given a one-page piece of paper with a list of a dozen Iraqi power stations and their potential output, amounting to what he describes as "a wish list". "That was the CPA plan", he said in an interview with the Guardian.

He described Britain as "being complicit in Iraq's current position as a failed state due to its the failure to prepare a postwar plan."

[snip]

Mr. Bearpark said British attempts to be signatories to the formation of the CPA as a joint occupying power under the Geneva convention were brushed aside by the Americans. "Throughout its entire existence, CPA was a US government department and no agreement was ever signed between the British and the Americans, because the Americans refused even to consider it."

He insists there was a window of opportunity in 2003, following the invasion in April, when the coalition had the support of the Iraqi people, but by the winter "we were losing them since we were unable to control security". By January, the people realised the situation would not improve.

Some Headlines Are More Fun Than Others

Danny DeVito launches alcohol line
The actor reportedly came out with his own brand of Limoncello after he embarrassed himself on ABC's "The View," still feeling the effects of another brand of the drink the night before. My guess is he personally taste-tests it, you know, to make sure it's done to his specifications.

Barr Shifts Stance on Gays in Military NPR - Sat Jun 16, 1:40 PM ET Former Rep. Bob Barr, who opposed admitting gays into the military when he served in the U.S. Congress, now says that the military can't afford to exclude this group of Americans. Uh-huh, Bob Barr, of "impeach Clinton" fame has shifted. I always thought he was a little shifty.


Via AMERICAblog.

Some Headlines Are More Fun Than Others
They just keep on comin':
Paper: Who committed 'caca caper' in Capitol hallway? Turds found in Capitol, but no 'blossoms' in sight.
"Usually, if a turd gets into the Senate, it’s because he or she was elected," Emily Heil reports for Roll Call. "But on Wednesday, several large piles of actual, nonmetaphorical 'No. 2' found their way into the Capitol, and the source isn’t yet clear."
[snip]
At first, the word circulating among the staff was that a visiting child had fallen ill while in the gallery. But then the prevailing theory was that the foul stuff had come from an adult or group of adults making a yet-to-be-determined political statement."

Some Headlines Are More Fun Than Others
After waiting eight years for a second chance at the Republican presidential nomination, McCain and his famed Straight Talk Express - the moniker given his campaign bus - have officially hit the ditch.
[snip]
"McCain is sinking," says Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.
[snip]
But the growing ambivalence toward McCain has developed for reasons that go beyond his unpopular stands on two hot-button issues [Iraq and immigration], experts say.
[snip]
Now, however, McCain finds himself inextricably linked with an unpopular president and running as the de facto establishment Republican.
[snip]
McCain was embarrassed earlier this week with the leak of an internal campaign memo, written by senior media adviser Mark McKinnon, which hinted at the candidate's weakness. The longtime McCain supporter informed colleagues he would quit McCain's campaign if Barack Obama won the Democratic nomination, saying the Democrat had a better chance of changing the country.

McCain's best hope to win the Republican nomination may now hinge on his opponents blundering into an unexpected scandal.

Some Headlines Are More Fun Than Others

The Word Is 'Leakage'
MSNBC - 1 hour ago
By Raina Kelley June 25, 2007 issue - GlaxoSmithKline has a tip for people who decide to try Alli, the over-the-counter weight-loss drug it is launching with a multimillion-dollar advertising blitz—keep an extra pair of pants handy.
I don't even want to know.

Dolly Parton named Girl Scout for life "Dolly realizes the importance of a program that helps girls grow into young women of courage and confidence," said Glenda McCarter-Johnson, board chairwoman of Girl Scouts of Tanasi Council and Parton's childhood friend. Dolly? A Girl Scout? Well, she does have the requisite duo of ample...courage and confidence.

Barker says O'Donnell could replace him LOS ANGELES - Bob Barker endorsed his friend Rosie O'Donnell as a possible successor on "The Price Is Right," although the newly retired host isn't sure CBS wants a woman to take over the game show. Maybe they'll also hire
Elisabeth Hasselbeck as a model.

U.S.: 60 pct of Baghdad not controlled
BAGHDAD - Security forces in Baghdad have full control in only 40 percent of the city five months into the pacification campaign, a top American general said Saturday as U.S. troops began an offensive against two al-Qaida strongholds on the capital's southern outskirts.
[snip]
[Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno] said there was a long way to go in retaking the city from Shiite Muslim militias, Sunni Arab insurgents and al-Qaida terrorists. He said only about "40 percent is really very safe on a routine basis" — with about 30 percent lacking control and a further 30 percent suffering "a high level of violence."
Which brings me to today's
*Vote Republican!* snappy Campaign-omercial file:
Into nation building? Together, we can build nations just about anywhere! Soon, you'll be able to send away for a kit to build your own nation! Makes a great stocking stuffer! Humble foreign policy? Fiscal responsibility? Nah! Vote for big spenders, empire builders, and honest-to-goodness occupiers. We know how to dig in...forever! Vote Republican: The party of irreversible damage!

Here We Go Again:

VA hospital officials knew of problems, did nothing, Murray says
Officials inside the local veterans hospital knew some conditions were unsafe for suicidal or homicidal patients in February, but ignored recommendations in their own internal audit, Sen. Patty Murray said Friday.
[snip]

...Murray said, she was "very sad" to find uncorrected problems four years into the Iraq war. "It's deeply disturbing to me that the VA continues to be behind the eight ball."


An estimated 40 percent of those returning from conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are experiencing intense mental problems, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury, "and our country has to be ready for them," she said.
These are human lives that continue to be put at risk, or worse. What a great system: First, send them off to a disastrous hell hole of an occupation, and then, when they've risked their lives, are maimed, and/or come back mentally and emotionally damaged, abandon them.

Support our troops, my ass.

Good clip from coverage of this special screening of 'SiCKO' for Physicians for a National Health Program, Health Care for All etc.



Opens June 29th.


Romney says he wants 'big stick'

By Amy Lorentzen, Associated Press Writer | June 16, 2007
DUBUQUE, Iowa --Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney said Saturday that if he's elected, he wants "to carry the big stick" by increasing the size of the nation's military.

Too many jokes... brain exploding...

Leave your contribution in the comments.



As the saying goes....


YEAH! What Glenn said.

Wonder why this isn't getting any airtime?


Immigration bill offers a military path to US dream
By Bryan Bender, Globe Staff | June 16, 2007

WASHINGTON -- A little-noticed provision in the proposed immigration bill would grant instant legal status and ultimately full citizenship to illegal immigrants if they enlist in the US military, an idea the Pentagon and military analysts say would boost the Pentagon's flagging efforts to find and recruit qualified soldiers.

The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, or DREAM Act, is part of the stalled package of proposals that many in Congress are seeking to resurrect.

The proposal, applicable to an estimated 750,000 undocumented residents of military age, stipulates that those who arrived in the United States before age 16, graduated from high school, and meet other qualifications could immediately enter the path to citizenship in exchange for at least two years' service in the armed forces.

(snip)

The prospect of recruiting foreigners to defend the United States has been a charged issue in the past. The Pentagon, for example, has opposed several proposals from leading defense specialists to recruit troops overseas -- a move critics liken to hiring mercenaries.

Using the military service option for select illegal immigrants, however, appears to have widespread support as one way to deal with the burgeoning illegal immigration problem.




750K more soldiers for Bush's wars. Huh.


My nominee for "Headline of the Week".


St. Helens dealing with gnomelessness problem

Posted by The Oregonian June 14, 2007 20:28PM
Categories: Breaking News
ST.HELENS -- Searching for your stolen garden gnome? St. Helens police officers want to hear from you.

Students at St. Helens High School got to school Monday to find their campus decorated with garden gnomes and figures.

"An investigation by school officials and the school resource officer determined that the gnomes were placed around the school as part of a prank committed by several recently graduated seniors," the St. Helens Police Department said in a press release.

"It appears that the yard ornaments were taken from residences all across Columbia County and as far away as Astoria and Portland."

The police department is holding nearly 60 gnomes for return to owners.


Oh, the sad stupid irony.
Bush says he'll use his veto pen on excessive spending bills

June 16, 2007
BY DEB RIECHMANN Associated Press
CRAWFORD, Texas---- President Bush warned Congress on Saturday that he will use his veto power to stop runaway government spending.
''The American people do not want to return to the days of tax-and-spend policies,'' Bush said in his radio address.
(snip)

When they ran the House, Republicans larded legislation with these pet projects. But on Thursday, they were the ones forcing Democrats to be more open about Congress' pork barrel ways.


US launches new offensive around Baghdad
By LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press Writer
BAGHDAD - The U.S. military, which just days ago completed its latest troop buildup in Iraq, has launched a large offensive operation in several al-Qaida strongholds around Baghdad, the top U.S. commander said Saturday.

Gen. David Petraeus said the operation began in the last 24 hours, and will put forces into key areas surrounding Baghdad that, according to intelligence, al-Qaida is using to base some of it car bomb operations.

(snip)

Underscoring the challenges ahead, Gates arrival Friday night for his unannounced visit, brought him to a city all but shut down by a security lockdown. Iraqi leaders imposed a strict curfew this week after a bombing of an important shrine north of the city.

Meet the new offensive, same as the old offensive.

Revising History

Over at Daily Kos, the big man himself is once again taking on Democrats, their consultants and their lack of "leadership." He was inspired by how the public seems to be moving at a faster pace over gay marriage than the leaders of the Democratic Party.

Gay rights is an obvious example. There have been a few politicians that have taken a lead, like SF fallen mayor Gavin Newsom, but the party in general, especially at the federal level, has been scared shitless of the issue. The war in Iraq is another. Remember -- it took Lamont's primary in victory to finally send the message to national Democrats that the Iraq War could make or break the election.

Many Democrats, especially its pathetic consultant class, still believe that the way Democrats show "strength" is by huffing and puffing and threatening to bomb the "f" out of Iraq, Iran, Venezuela, or whatever the latest boogeyman of the moment might be.

In reality, Democrats are seen as weak because they are afraid to stand for those things they believe in. And if they won't fight for what they believe in, how can voters trust them to fight for anything that truly matters, whether it's national security or anything else?

Dean was truly going to sink the Democratic Party because of the "civil unions" issue. Instead, his leadership and lack of fear over the issue appears brilliantly prescient given that it is now the default position. And can anyone doubt how right he was on Iraq, even while the know-nothing pundits hyperventilated over his "gaffes"? (Saddam's capture didn't make us any safer.) But Dean was a lonely voice, now muffled by the party lest he "gaffe" the truth some more.


Kos has some very good points here. Too often, Democratic consultants try to force their candidates to be something they are not (Al Gore anyone). We need our people to be comfortable in their own skin.

But his diatribe is also way off base. First of all, commending Gavin Newsom for being out front on the gay rights issue simply doesn't make sense. If Newsom opposed gay marriage, it would be committing political suicide. He was constantly challenged from the left, so supporting gay marriage was the easy political move.

Second, stop revising history regarding Dean's 2004 campaign. It's not like the Democratic establishment killed his campaign. Dean raised money, ran a campaign, and got crushed. People heard his message and voted against him. Kos can romanticize his campaign, but part of being a "leader' is getting people to follow you. Dean couldn't, end of story.

Finally, maybe it was best that the issue of gay marriage advanced through the courts, not through the political process. People overwhelmingly opposed the idea of gay marriage (how many ballot proposal banning gay marriage passed again?). But the courts allowed the issue to go forward and people got used to the idea, and saw through the GOP talking points on this subject. It stopped being a political football because of judicial rulings. Does anyone believe that would be the case if Democrats rammed the issue down the throats of a reluctant public (and yes, they were reluctant)?

Friday, June 15, 2007

Ran For The Border

Hey boys and girls. Will be heading back to my humble abode in the great state of Ohio tomorrow. It has been an interesting stay in Arizona, as the immigration bill in Congress is even more of a hot potato out here (that whole on the border thing). The right is fracturing, with the corporate right and the paleo-conservative right at each other's throats.

But I can also tell you, from meeting with anti-war vets and progressive activists here, that there is as much anger with the Democrats on Iraq as there is among Republicans at their party over the immigration bill.

That ridiculous cave in to Bush may be in the process of costing our party a larger majority. Although, if they can't do what is both morally right and politically smart, because they are afraid of their own collective shadow (and this is not everone, mind you, just the cowards who caved to Bush)...I'll let you finish the sentence.

On a very different note, I have really enjoyed my visit here. Great people. Fantastic food. Beautiful scenery outside the cities. I even got to see Mel's Diner from Alice. Oh that Mel, so angry....

Oh, and I learned one other thing. The "it's not the heat it's the humidity" thing. Yeah, um, when it's 111 degrees, it's the freakin heat.

Through the magic of our illustrious gimmeabreak, I give you the staid Brian Lamb saying, "Dickhead."



It doesn't get any better kids.



After seeing this yesterday.......
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Overwhelmed by the number of soldiers returning from war with mental problems, the Army is planning to hire more than 25 percent additional psychiatrists and other medical workers.


It makes me wonder.....

You'll ignore existing mental problems and then hope to cure them once they've blown up all to hell? Well, that is what tonight's disclosure seems to say.....

Pentagon may drop mental health question
By PAULINE JELINEK and ROBERT BURNS, Associated Press Writers
20 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - U.S. troops would no longer be asked to reveal previous mental health treatment when applying for security clearances under a proposal being considered by the Pentagon.

The idea stems from the finding that service members avoid needed counseling because they believe that getting it — and acknowledging it — could cost them their clearance as well as do other harm to their careers, The Associated Press has learned.


You know the way to remove the stigma of getting mental help??

STOP DISCRIMINATING AGAINST PEOPLE WHO GET MENTAL HELP.

Pentagon, my bill is in the mail.

Some Headlines Are More Provocative Than Others

Yawn, it's Friday. Nobody's around. School's out. So I went headline surfing and came up with these:

Unacceptable:
Mail Undelivered at Walter Reed

The Army said Friday that it has opened an investigation into the recent discovery of 4,500 letters and parcels - some dating to May 2006 - at Walter Reed that were never delivered to soldiers. And it fired the contract employee who ran the mailroom.

Pretty soon we'll find out that they forgot to feed them for the past two years, too.

Reading about Mike Elston, makes me all nostalgic for the antics of yesteryear.
With that in mind, let's take another peek into our
*Vote Republican!* snappy Campaign-omercial file:
Love hospitals? Forget about health care! Focus on what really counts: Visitation! Our motto? Stealth, not health! Take advantage of your D.C. buddies in the ICU! Get instant illegal wiretap approval right there, smack dab at the bedside of the barely conscious! It's so much more intimate that way, almost like a sleepover! Participate in exciting midnight jaunts to heavily medicated pals in critical condition. Nobody will ever find out, honest! Vote Republican: The party that's always there for sick friends!

Ooops

AP

June 15, 2007, 4:47PM
Official close to attorney firings quits

By LARA JAKES JORDAN Associated Press Writer
© 2007 The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — A senior Justice Department official who helped carry out the dismissals of federal prosecutors said Friday he is resigning.

Mike Elston, chief of staff to Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty, is the fifth Justice official to leave after being linked to the dismissals of the prosecutors.

(snip)

As McNulty's top aide, Elston's duties included overseeing the government's 93 U.S. attorneys nationwide. He was closely involved in the firings of seven of the eight prosecutors who were dismissed in 2006. In addition to helping plan those firings, he called several of the U.S. attorneys afterward trying to quell the growing outcry.

At least four of the prosecutors Elston contacted said they felt threatened by his calls, which they interpreted as demands to stay quiet about why they were fired. Congress is investigating the firings, which Democrats believe were politically motivated.


I hope his new job is generous with their personal days.



Media Bistro

Zahn Is Losing 'Now;'
Dobbs Could Get New Timeslot As Campbell Brown Joins CNN


Campbell Brown is definitely leaving NBC News for a prominent position at CNN, TVNewser has confirmed.

Brown's contract with NBC expires at the end of this month. News of her new job is reverberating throughout newsrooms today.

Drudge says the announcement is "imminent as final deal points are being completed."

Among those points, an unimpeachable source tells TVNewser: Paula Zahn is losing her 8pm nightly broadcast.

A schedule shakeup looks likely. Lou Dobbs could be moving to 7 or 8pm...


Smart move putting Dobbs up against O'Reilly, Can't imagine that he'll take any of Keith's audience, but he could really cut into Faux.



Sam Champion the target?

Oh god, not the neanderthals playing this b.s. game again.
GMA Office Receives Letter Mentioning Anthrax; Area Closed Down

ABC News VP Dan Renaldo sent this message to staffers at 3:02pm:

"Today we received a letter at the offices of Good Morning America at 147 Columbus Avenue that mentioned anthrax. We immediately notified the NYPD and they are investigating the situation. Out of an abundance of caution we closed down the area around the office and are awaiting additional information from authorities. As we have more information we will provide an update via email."


Hopefully it's just another one of Evil Screeching Viper Woman's toadies bored with the new release of "Warcraft".

************UPDATE******

Alarming Letter Addressed To Champion?

"An ABC News spokesperson declined to comment on talk going around TV circles Friday afternoon that the letter was addressed to GMA weatherman Sam Champion," TV Week says.

Here's what a tipster tells TVNewser: "Cops were overheard saying that the letter was addressed to Sam Champion and contained a white substance..."


***********Update*********

Now it makes sense in that sick twisted way that only they understand.

Champion, who is openly gay,[2], hosted the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project's "Courage Awards", along with movie critic Frank DeCaro.[3]


As I said to gimmeabreak, the perpetrator once had a penis tingle in gym class and now must exact revenge. Cretins.


This is interesting.

WSJ ($)

Auto Industry Taps Jim Talent To Lead Public-Relations Push

By Mike Spector
Faced with waning political clout on Capitol Hill, the auto industry has tapped a former heartland senator to speak out against pending fuel-economy legislation.

Jim Talent, a Missouri Republican, lost in a razor-thin race to Democrat Claire McCaskill in November's mid-term election, a key result that catapulted Democrats to a one-seat Senate majority.

Now, Mr. Talent has signed on with the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the chief lobbying group that represents Detroit's Big Three auto makers and Toyota Motor Corp. of Japan, among others. Mr. Talent, who hails from a state with several auto plants, told reporters on a conference ...


Wiki
Talent lost his re-election bid to Claire McCaskill, 50% to 47%. The former Senator is now a senior advisor to Mitt Romney's Presidential campaign [5].


Seems a little incestuous to me. Romney is close to the auto industry, Talent is one of his staff, the industry has big bucks to give to Presidential campaigns, so Romney's staff member goes to lobby for Big Auto!!!

Hmmm, there is another term for this....

Courier-Journal Editorial On Mitch McConnell And Alberto Gonzalez

Mitch McConnell's political operatives are at the center of the U.S. Attorney scandal, which may provide some insight on why McConnell is so fearful of facing a real Attorney General who may be willing to investigate his corrupt political machine. The Courier-Journal Editorial Board wrote:
Serving justice or self?

It is only natural for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to serve as a partisan henchman, but when does it become necessary to forgo impish politics and actually serve with the interest of the country in mind?

Sen. McConnell was successful this week in building a strong enough GOP bloc to avoid a Senate no-confidence vote on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. (A motion to end debate passed, 53-38, but required 60 votes.) Or at least he built the illusion of a Republican bloc, because what spoke volumes was the lengths to which Republican senators resorted in order not to defend Mr. Gonzalez. Sometimes what isn't said is all that anyone needs to hear(...)

Almost as disturbing as Mr. Bush's loyalty to Mr. Gonzales is Sen. McConnell's characterization of all this as "meaningless." Mr. Gonzales should have been removed from the Justice Department months ago, though it now appears he could make it through 2008, just like his boss, with very little support or moral clout. And the Republicans' silent support does nothing but undermine those who actually want the Justice Department to dispense justice.

Labels: ,

Oh my. These were good for an existential chuckle





Per My DD, you can play both at the same time.

If you don't have 7+ minutes to spare, no, nothing more happens.

Going Negative Works

Supposedly, everyone hates negative campaigning. The public, the press, everyone bemoans the negativity in today's politics. And when John McCain launched a negative youtube clip on Mitt Romney's abortion flip-flop, he was attacked for this negative move.

Well, what happened today, you ask? ABCNews did a huge on-line spread about Romney's flip-flop on abortion. I have no doubt the McCain people will send this around to all the activists, and Romney once again will have to answer questions on his abortion record. So once again, negative campaigning worked.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has long cited a November 2004 meeting with a Harvard stem cell researcher as the moment that changed his long-held stance of supporting abortion rights to his current "pro-life" position opposing legal abortion.

But several actions Romney took mere months after that meeting call into question how deep-seated his conversion truly was.

Within two months of his epiphany on this issue, Romney appointed to a judgeship a Democrat who was an avowed supporter of abortion rights. In May 2005, Romney also declared his support for a House bill lifting President Bush's ban on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research -- a bill he now said he opposes.


Here at Cliff Schecter dot com, we care.
Care about YOU!!!

20 Ways to Get and Stay Happy

Count Your Blessings
Hear the Music
Snog. Canoodle. Get It On.
Nurture Your Spirituality
Move Your Body
Laugh Big...


blah blah, yadda yadda.

Personally, I'm more with these guys.



Super rich seek new heights in pampering
By Anne D'Innocenzio, AP Business Writer | June 15, 2007

NEW YORK --Forget about the $350 stilettos. Shoes with status these days come with $1,000 price tags. And $600 handbags have become so bourgeois. A-listers don't want to be seen with anything costing less than $5,000.

(snip)

Luxury sales worldwide topped $150 billion last year, of which 30 percent came from the U.S., where such sales have been rebounding after taking a pause following the 2001 terrorist attacks, according to Telsey Advisory Group's James Hurley.


$1k stilettos? Now that is happiness!!


Just off the top of my head....

Tainted spinach.

Tainted peanut butter.

Tainted dog food.

Tainted toothpaste.

So, they think this is a good idea?

Detroit's FDA lab targeted for closure
Lawmakers debate reorganization plan
June 15, 2007

BY TODD SPANGLER

WASHINGTON -- A proposal to close Food and Drug Administration labs in Detroit and six other cities has touched off a battle on Capitol Hill, with critics saying the cuts come at a time when the agency should be doing more to guarantee the safety of food coming into the United States.

The FDA, which has oversight responsibility for four-fifths of the food imported into the country, says closing the labs will increase efficiencies, save money on rent, equipment and overhead costs and free funding for testing at larger, regional labs scattered across the nation.

(snip)

"It's just not a priority with the FDA," Stupak said Wednesday of imported food inspections. "They're trying to reduce the size of government."

In a letter last month to Appropriations Chairman Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., Dingell and Stupak said there is evidence the FDA plan would drastically undercut the agency's ability to inspect food at a time when reports of outbreaks have been in the news, including salmonella contamination in peanut butter and tainted pet food linked to ingredients from China.

Michael Savage Sics His Rabid Dogs On C-Span



I'll find the video, but FYI Michael "Weiner" Savage's goons descended on C-Span this morning for a perceived (aka Weiner claimed but not true) dis. Brian Lamb is reading the emails from the cretins with just the most precious look on his face.

It's not every day you wake up to Brian Lamb reading "You dickhead". LOL.

******* Update****

Now it makes sense. Weiner has the supposed "Cspan censored" speech on sale at his site for $20. Huh.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

I have nothing right now, so I give you this illuminating clip.



He gets paid, and paid well for that.


Few American papers of any size have called for a reversal of course in Iraq, so it was a shock to see one of the largest, the Los Angeles Times, take this step recently. How does the editorial page editor explain this sudden change in heart -- and will others finally follow?
When I opened my local paper (The L.A. Times) and saw their editorial "
Bring Them Home", I was as surprised as Editor and Publisher is. And just as delighted.
Following the Times’ example, perhaps other papers will urgently feel a "moral" need to re-assess the facts -- and “take stock” of their positions on the war.
Now if only trigger-happy Commander Guy would feel a "moral" need to re-assess...well, everything he's ever assessed in the first place.


Libby Ordered to Prison
I could make the requisite joke about the size of Libby's ball...but why state the obvious about his shortcomings?
A federal judge has decided not to delay a two-and-a-half-year prison sentence for former White House Aide Lewis Scooter Libby.
He could be sent to the pokey within 6 to 8 weeks.
Mr Walton also said that he had received a number of "harassing, mean spirited phone calls and letters" since imposing sentence on Mr Libby earlier this month.

"Some of those related to wishing bad things upon me and my family," he said.

Who could imagine Libby supporters being that vicious? That's just so unlike them! Crankypants ol' Judge Walton must have misunderstood, doncha think? Yeah, that's what happened.


Jun 14, 6:27 PM EDT

Army Hiring More Psychiatrists

PAULINE JELINEK
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Overwhelmed by the number of soldiers returning from war with mental problems, the Army is planning to hire more than 25 percent additional psychiatrists and other medical workers.

A contract finalized this week but not yet announced calls for spending $33 million to add about 200 psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers to help soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health needs, officials told The Associated Press on Thursday.

"As the war has gone on, PTSD and other psychological effects of war have increased," said Col. Elspeth Ritchie, psychiatry consultant to the Army surgeon general.

"The number of (mental health workers) that was adequate for a peacetime military is not adequate for a nation that's been at war," she said in an interview.


There is nothing I could add.


Have the Albanians made any decrees on Global Warming lately?
Baptists question human role in global warming
Updated 1h 26m ago

By Eric Gorski, AP Religion Writer
SAN ANTONIO — Southern Baptists approved a resolution on global warming Wednesday that questions the prevailing scientific belief that humans are largely to blame for the phenomenon and also warns that increased regulation of greenhouse gases will hurt the poor**.

The global warming debate has split evangelicals, with some not only pressing the issue but arguing humans bear most of the responsibility for the problem because of greenhouse gas emissions. Other evangelicals say talking about the issue at all diminishes their influence over more traditional culture war issues such as abortion, gay marriage and judicial appointments.

The SBC resolution, approved near the end of the denomination's annual meeting, acknowledges a rise in global temperatures. But it rejects government-mandated limits on carbon-dioxide and other emissions as "very dangerous" because they might not make much difference and could lead to "major economic hardships" worldwide.


**Every expert I have read that "believes" in Global Warming says that the poor will be the FIRST to suffer and die from Global Warming.

Third World countries with people fleeing from the coasts.... where do they go???? They don't have villas in the mountains to mosey to in their Hummers.


I can take a hint.

Robert P in comments mentioned that there might be one or two D candidates that we haven't put up an ad from yet. (Edwards, Biden, Gravel, That Cleveland Guy)

But, I did put up Biden's froth from the last debate. Does that count? Basically I've only been putting up ads, not froths or impromptu videos.

If you've seen one, or know of one, leave a note in the comments and I'll post it. (if it's good)


Me and that crystal ball.
Heating bill delinquencies jump
Utilities, facing record numbers of past-due accounts, have begun disconnecting service for thousands of Minnesota customers.

By Jackie Crosby, Star Tribune

Last update: June 13, 2007 – 9:50 PM

In what may be another troubling sign for the state's economy, record numbers of Minnesotans are delinquent in paying their natural gas bills.
CenterPoint Energy, the state's largest provider of natural gas, reports that about a third of its customers -- about 208,000 businesses and households -- owe money after the heating season.

More than half of the delinquent customers are at least two months behind on their payments, and owe an average of $1,500, according to CenterPoint.
(snip)

Thousands have already had their natural gas cut off, which could affect water heaters, stoves and driers, besides, of course, furnaces. More disconnections will follow unless customers find a way to start making payments.
(snip)

"I spoke with a 20-year veteran of the credit and collections department, and she's never seen anything in her experience that comes close to the delinquency figure we have today," said Rolf Lund, a spokesman with CenterPoint.


Two years or so ago, when I first started writing on the intertubes, I wrote about the horrendous situation with heating bills in Indiana here and here. This is a silent crisis that is only going to get worse. And not just in Minnesota.

Liberal Interpretation
Unlikely Stories from Real Headlines
Nation Has 93 Million Wangs Although significant shrinkage was predicted, according to hard census numbers the male population outnumbers the female population and continues to grow.
Clinton Beats Obama For Spielberg Endorsement She immediately stopped beating him when a recoiling Spielberg agreed to support her on the spot. Said Spielberg, "When they said she was a fighter, I never realized..." Miraculously, Obama had no serious injuries. Neither camp will confirm or deny the rumor that Mr. Obama challenged her to a pre-primary arm-wrestlingmatch.
Insurgents promise not to attack Americans Similarly, Bush promises to learn English as a second language. Cheney promises to cooperate fully with all investigations. Giuliani promises to stop being a shameless opportunist with an outsized ego. Romney promises to be a man of political principles. John McCain promises to show up for senate votes and support the end of the occupation. Joe Lieberman promises to avoid war with Iran at any cost. Fred Thompson promises to contain his man-crush on Scooter Libby.
Pentagon Offers Zany Excuse for IED Foul-up Okay, funny story. Tell me if you've heard it before. That whole armored vehicle flub-up? You know, the one where we didn't properly protect soldiers from getting blown to smithereens? Haha!! Okay, no, stay with me here...see, we --are ya with me?--we designed it ALLLL WRONG! Zing! Hiyooooo! Our bad! And we've been reeeeeally slow about, what's it called? Oh yeah, correcting the problem! Ha!! Ohboy! Hooheheehahahaha::deep breath::haahahaaaa! What a wacky, zany F.U.B.A.R., right? Go figure! BadaBING! Zowee! We're here all week.
Libby 'wants what Martha Stewart got' Scooter Libby's sudden inexplicable passion for Prada pumps and retro barbecue aprons has President Bush concerned. "I was thinkin' about a pardon for Scooty-Scoot, but now I'm not so sure," lamented the president. Said Ted Wells, Libby's attorney, "He raised my eyebrows when he insisted on preparing me a duck breast confit and semolina cake with dried apricots. But it was the tissue paper rose bouquet that convinced me he might very well be better off in isolation. I've rescinded our request for a pardon."

I'm going to go out on a limb here and comment on a few things that will make the wingers cahraaaazzzeeee!!!
Broward may cancel deal with radio station because it airs Rush Limbaugh

By Scott Wyman
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Posted June 13 2007, 1:19 PM EDT

Rush Limbaugh has long been a thorn in the side of liberals, but now, because of him, some Democratic politicians don't even want to join with a local radio station to broadcast hurricane information.

Radio station WIOD, AM 610, has been the official channel for emergency information from Broward County government for the past year. The County Commission, all Democrats, balked at renewing the deal Tuesday, unable to stomach the station also being home to Limbaugh's talk show.

Wrong. So wrong in fact to make it laughable. The easiest way to straighten this one out is to do the replace game.
Rush Limbaugh Randi Rhodes has long been a thorn in the side of liberals conservatives, but now, because of him her, some Democratic Republican politicians don't even want to join with a local radio station to broadcast hurricane information.

Broward County government? Shut up and sit down, you're embarrassing us.

Next.
Jolie is touting press freedom these days, playing the widow of murdered Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in a new movie called "A Mighty Heart."

But Jolie turns out to be a mighty hypocrite when it comes to her own freedom of the press. Her lawyer required all journalists to sign a contract before talking to her, and Jolie instructed publicists at first to ban FOX News from the red carpet of her premiere.


On the contract thing, that is Jolie's choice. It is also the choice of the reporters to sign it or not, and some did not. Fine. But refusing to let Fox on the red carpet? C'mon, that is just silly, not to mention overkill. It wouldn't have been Britt Hume running up to her with a mike, fer crikey sake!! The fact that all this broohaha is benefiting "Reporters Without Borders" just seals the silly deal.

Finally, have you hugged your flag today?

Run For The Border!

I actually am, so to speak. Headed down to Nogales to meet with some Minutemen. No, I am serious. Any questions you guys want me to ask (be polite now, they have guns and read blogs)....

The Truth About Hillary

Look, I am in no way a Hillary Clinton supporter. But I've often been amazed at the irrational response she inspires in conservatives. For some reason, they can't stand her, even though her time in the Senate has been nowhere near as liberal as they predicted ("She's going to be the female Teddy Kennedy" they said in 2000). Ross Douthat, over at the Atlantic, gives a reasoned conservative response to this knee-jerk Republican response.


In the midst of a piece on religious-right leaders and what they would do if Giuliani were the GOP nominee, we have this:


Several social conservative leaders are leaving a narrow window open to supporting Giuliani in the general election if the New Yorker wins the GOP nomination.

"Where Mayor Giuliani is today, I absolutely could not support him. However, I would not completely rule it out," said Pat Mahoney, executive director of the Christian Defense Coalition. "There's two words that change the whole dynamic, and those two words are Hillary Clinton."



Now maybe Mahoney is just using "Hillary Clinton" as a stand-in for "any pro-choice Democrat," in which case fair enough - but from the way he and many on the Right talk about the Senator from New York, it often seems that there's some special reason why social conservatives should fear her above any other Democrat. This, in spite of the fact that it's pretty clear that Hillary would be the most rightward nominee to emerge from the Democratic primaries. She'll probably be indistinguishable from an Obama or an Edwards on the social issues, but if there's any daylight between them, the nature of their respective constituencies - and what seem to be Hillary's own political instincts on abortion - will push her toward the middle, not the left. At some point, the Right needs to get over its fears of Hillary the feminist extremist, and recognize her for the DLC liberal that she's become - someone to oppose, certainly, but not the worst the Democratic Party has to offer by any means.

Since we've put up Clinton, Obama and Richardson ads, here is a nice one from Chris Dodd.



I'm personally a big fan of FMLA.

The Absurdity That Is Bushland

Sean-Paul's got it

Congress Passes Gun Control Legislation...Sort Of

Don't get me wrong. I am quite happy that Congress finally deemed a massacre that could have easily been prevented worthy of some kind of legislative response (lets see...you know someone is freakin nuts, they have been in "the system," ie a judge declared them freakin nuts, so it's probably good idea to share that information with those who might sell them high-caliber weaponry).

But it still saddens me that this is the best they can do. One of these days it is going to be 19 terrorists at 19 different locations (and no I don't necessarily mean Al Qaeda, perhaps it will be the Alabama-militia kind, recently caught with an arsenal worthy of Mullah Omar and plans for mass-murder). Think about the mayhem that would occur if on one day at colleges, airports, bus stations, malls, parks, movie theatres, etc, throughout the country, the same number of terrorists whe perpetrated 9/11 just start spraying crowds with bullets because of some irrational grievance.

Let's hope this day never comes. But we have come quite close to it already. There is a reason an Al Qaeda manual found in Afghanistan instructed its members to buy guns in the United States, because it was so "easy" to do here. And there is no reason, if this legislation is the best Congress can do, to think that this sort of day is not in our future.


Traditional role shifts at Justice Department
More priority is placed on cases involving religion rather than race

By NEIL A. LEWIS
New York Times

WASHINGTON — In recent years, the Bush administration has recast the federal government's role in civil rights by aggressively pursuing religion-oriented cases while significantly diminishing its involvement in the traditional area of race.

Paralleling concerns of many conservative groups, the Justice Department has argued successfully in a number of cases that government agencies, employers or private organizations have improperly suppressed religious expression in situations that the Constitution's drafters did not mean to restrict.

(snip)

The changes are evident in a variety of actions. They include:

• Intervening in federal court cases on behalf of religion-based groups like the Salvation Army that assert they have the right to discriminate in hiring in favor of people who share their beliefs even though they are running charitable programs with federal money.

• Supporting groups that want to send home religious literature with schoolchildren; in one case, the government helped win the right of a group in Massachusetts to distribute candy canes as part of a religious message that the red stripes represented the blood of Christ.
(snip)

• Sharply reducing the complex lawsuits that challenge voting plans that may dilute the strength of black voters. The department initiated only one such case through the early part of this year, compared to eight during a comparable period in the Clinton administration.


There are more examples of the mockery these people have made of the Justice Department, but these ones really stood out to me. They used tax payer dollars to push the rights of some religious group to give kids candy canes and blather about the "Blood of Christ"? To paraphrase someone else, "Yeah, because those White Christians have been sooooo historically oppressed. Signs everywhere!! No White Christians or dogs!"

Are the adults in charge yet?

Reminder!!
I'm sure FireDogLake will be keeping up with what is going on.

Libby in Court to Try to Stall Sentence

By MATT APUZZO
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby is headed back to court to try to forestall his 2 1/2-year prison term in the CIA leak case.


And at 10a EST, The Diane Rehm Show will be on "Enemy Combatants". Should be good.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I'll be there on opening day.

Comedy Central is premiering a new show "Little Bush" tonight.

I like what I've seen so far, even though the sight of a cartoon Babs Bush in garters does put me off my feed a bit.



Love the Little Cheney, and in the first one I saw of this, the song was "Feels Like The First Time". Must have gotten some grief.

****Update****
It has it's moments, but I really like "Little Cheney". heh.


Fantastic, simply laid out story by McClatchy about Iraq and what our soldiers are up against amongst the various factions.

By simple, I mean that even GWB would get it.
Tenuous understanding between Iraqi tribes, U.S. could spell success or disaster
By Leila Fadel
McClatchy Newspapers

Overall violence in Iraq has not diminished, report says

FALLUJAH, Iraq - Marine Sgt. Tony Storey doesn't like to think about what-ifs as he watches the young Iraqis he's helping to train take target practice. He recalls one man who was a natural with his AK-47.

"Where'd you learn to shoot like that?" Storey asked.

"Insurgent," the man said with a smile.


Go read, please.


Baptists & Albanians.
Unpopular Bush still a hit with Baptists

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (Reuters) - President George W. Bush may have low approval ratings overall, but he can still bring a crowd of Southern Baptists to their feet.

Conservative white evangelical Protestants remain his most loyal base -- a point driven home on Wednesday when he made a televised address to the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in San Antonio and received multiple standing ovations.

The ovations by the roughly 8,000 delegates in attendance stood in sharp contrast to his overall approval ratings which are consistently in the low- to mid-30 percent range in the face of the unpopular Iraq war.

To further feed Paddy's craving:
General Wesley Clark on Joe Lieberman: "Sen. Lieberman's saber rattling does nothing to help dissuade Iran from aiding Shia militias in Iraq, or trying to obtain nuclear capabilities...In fact," said Clark, "it's highly irresponsible and counter-productive, and I would urge him to stop."

Now, compare that image to this one from K Street Fred and his daughter wife:

By the way, Thompson never served in the military.
He was a lobbyist in between acting gigs.
He spends a lot of time pretending he's other people.
And he's running for president as an "outsider".




***Note from Paddy****
Wedding day memories of Fred & Jeri. *sigh*, it looks like a lovely affair.


In case you just woke up, sobered up, or just really like this story:
Two congressional committees are issuing subpoenas for testimony from former White House counsel Harriet Miers and former political director Sara Taylor on their roles in the firings of eight federal prosecutors


"The bread crumbs in this investigation have always led to 1600 Pennsylvania"

"The White House cannot have it both ways — it cannot stonewall congressional investigations by refusing to provide documents and witnesses while claiming nothing improper occurred"

The subpoenas came a day after newly released Justice Department documents revealed that Taylor was closely involved in the firings. In a Feb. 16 e-mail, she described a U.S. attorney in Arkansas who was fired last year as "lazy" — "which is why we got rid of him in the first place," according to the documents


Class is in session. Today we are covering "Techniques Used in Congressional Hearings":
  1. Denying knowledge of proper grammar may be used as an excuse for avoiding honest answers to probing questions. Please see Paddy's insightful post below.
  2. Disregard Number 1 if you immediately contradict yourself by stating your extensive knowledge of grammar, using terminology that makes your questioner nauseous.
  3. When in doubt, use race and gender to distract from the subject at hand.
  4. Always run out the time clock to avoid answering truthfully and fully.
  5. Employ, to the best of your ability, pitiful heart-rending, wounded facial expressions directed toward the side of the room most sympathetic to your case.
  6. Feign innocence in both demeanor and verbal responses, such as, "Oh! Was I doing that? I was just trying to answer the question."
  7. Answer all questions, except the ones that have been asked.
  8. Continue to waste time.
  9. Never, under any circumstances, answer "yes" or "no" to a yes or no question.
  10. Persist in claims that you are not an expert, therefore making it impossible to render an opinion about anything.
  11. Make weak attempts at cute humor, using phrases like, "I was the gotchee". Wink afterwards to telegraph the joke.
  12. Look smug when your sympathizers ask softball questions.
  13. Feel adored when your sympathizers fawn over you. Smile gratefully.
  14. Look triumphant when your sympathizers instruct you to be plucky and tough and to stand up to the truthseekers meanies who are challenging you.
  15. Reiterate, ad nauseum, how the opposing side is out to get you. Immediately revert to wounded facial expression.
  16. Overstate your sainthood.
  17. Continue to run out the time clock.
  18. Repeat grammar tactic.
  19. Exhibit contrived indignance. Repeat.
  20. Employ annoying metaphors through insincere smiles.
  21. Accuse the accusers.
  22. Feign humility and contrition while communicating coolness and calculation.
  23. When more than 5 eye witnesses quote you word for word, dismiss it as minutiae.
  24. Insist that cumulative testimony against you is less credible than one denial.
  25. Run out the time clock.
  26. Continue to condemn white, male former presidents.
  27. If accomplishments outnumber one egregiously illegal act, then you're guilt free.
CONCLUSION: THE KEY TO HAVING SUCCESSFUL, PRODUCTIVE HEARINGS IS THIS: SIMPLY----Sorry, my time has expired. Class dismissed.