Saturday, August 18, 2007

"Of the 38,931 interrogations performed to date in Guantanamo, much of what is done is sitting down, having a cup of tea and a talk, not coercive tactics."

In an update on my previous post, I referred to this report. But I can't just leave it at that. Not after seeing the quote above, which came from-- surprise!-- Katherine Sherwood, a civilian interrogator with the Department of Defense.
The American Psychological Association will decide Sunday whether to condemn torture tactics and place a moratorium on members' involvement in interrogations at US military detention sites.

The decision, if taken, would move the world's largest professional organization of psychologists in line with similar resolutions by the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association and boost pressure on the US government's alleged torture of "war on terror" detainees.
Want to pressure the U.S. government? How about waterboarding them? After all, that's just an "enhanced interrogation" technique. And you could do it over tea.
APA council representatives at their annual meeting in San Francisco will vote on a pair of resolutions, one a condemnation of torture and another branding specific interrogation techniques unethical.
However...
Some within the professional psychology community believe they should be present in interrogation facilities to provide oversight and prevent abuses.
There's just one little glitcharoony. These sessions tend to get nasty.

APA members James Mitchell and Bruce Jensen, both of whom have worked with the CIA, were recently identified as torture trainers and are under investigation by the Senate Armed Services Commission.

In light of this discovery, some psychologists are calling for a complete industry withdrawal from interrogation facilities.

Some of these CIA psychologists need psychologists. And prison sentences.

At the heart of the debate is the imperative of the medical profession's Hippocratic Oath to "do no harm" and the ethical code of psychologists, which currently does not categorically bar involvement in coercive interrogations.

Let me see if I understand this. An omission in the ethical code of psychologists can be interpreted to mean that torture does no harm. Nothing unethical or irrational about that. Just ask our administration.

Now Britain's worried about U.S. spies
American security agencies have unprecedented powers to spy on British citizens without a warrant.

The FISA Bill "...gives the security services powers to intercept all telephone calls, internet traffic and emails made by British citizens across US-based networks." And they're not thrilled.
...the security services huge scope for monitoring and intercepting Britons' private communications, as well as those of other foreign citizens. The new act has led to fears it will see a huge increase in the number of British citizens being extradited to the US.
Will anyone stop Bush from emulating Augustus Caesar and becoming ruler of the world?
'Just because it happens to pass through the US they claim they can do whatever they want,' said Tony Bunyan, director of Statewatch, the civil rights group that campaigns against state surveillance.
Our problem is increasingly Europe's problem. Maybe they can stop him. Our own Congress sure couldn't.
Concern over US powers to monitor foreign citizens is growing. European privacy watchdogs have expressed fears that the US authorities are to be handed powers to check the personal details of travellers entering America and store them on databases alongside details such as their sexuality and religious beliefs for up to 15 years.
I must be slipping. Sexuality is a red flag I'd never thought of. Elton John better watch what he text messages Mary Cheney. The Eavesdroppers might whisk them both away to an undisclosed location and it could be years until we see them again. Right, Daddy Dearest Dick?

UPDATE: Speaking of torture...
The American Psychological Association will decide Sunday whether to condemn torture tactics and place a moratorium on members' involvement in interrogations at US military detention sites.



School asks, 'Who is James A. Madison?'

This is just idiotic:
Utah’s James A. Madison Elementary School may have a nice ring to it, but there is a problem since the nation’s fourth president didn’t have a middle initial.

No one is really sure how the “A” became included in the name, which was among those submitted by teachers, students and parents from the Ogden School District.
I work at a school. This is so ridiculously typical.
The school board will also vote next Wednesday to ratify the James Madison name change.
That's a relief. We wouldn't want anyone thinking a place where
"rarely is the question asked, is our children learning?" would make such an embarrassing mistake on their marquee where everyone could see it. I mean, this is a pretty big deal.
"It's not that critical of an issue. We'll just take the A out and call it James Madison," said board President Don Belnap, who told the newspaper he didn’t notice the problem with the initial even though he was a history major in college.
This doofus must be a No Child Left Behind alumnus. Whaddya say we bring back real education, okay guys?

Rare footage: "I have been jailed for 2 years and have never been put before a judge or court!"
Rare footage from inside a Baghdad prison camp shows hundreds of inmates packed into wire-mesh tents, protesting their innocence. [...] The video pictures were given to Reuters Television on Saturday by the office of Sunni Arab Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, who visited the Rusafa prison compound in eastern Baghdad with his Shi'ite counterpart.
They've been promised better treatment, so it's all A-OK. Uh-huh, and the Blue Fairy will turn George Bush into a real boy.
At one point [Hashemi] added: "You are lucky to be here. At least you have security. Those outside do not even have security."
So, um, Hashemi's worse off than they are? They should be on their knees thanking him. Don't they recognize their good fortune in being locked up for years in a vile place with absolutely no way to prove their innocence (or guilt)?

And did I just hear the Sunni Arab V.P. admit to everyone that Iraq is a disaster? I thought so. Back to the lucky, safe ingrates prisoners.

U.S. forces and Iraq's own security forces have imprisoned tens of thousands of detainees without charge in the four years since the fall of President Saddam Hussein.
Shades of....democracy? No, no that's not it. Justice? Nope. Ah! I know! Abuse!
The treatment of prisoners has been especially resonant in the wake of the Abu Ghraib scandal in 2004, when pictures showed U.S. troops sexually humiliating detainees. Washington says such abuse has stopped and those responsible were punished.
Of course it has. Of course they were.
Although U.S. forces are not responsible for prisoners held by Iraqi authorities, "we encourage them to treat their prisoners with as much respect as is seen in the West," said U.S. military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Christopher Garver.
Uh-oh.


Chances are it won't. But ever since Bush introduced his little
National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive, his self-proclaimed Dictator-In-Chiefability comes to mind.
President George W. Bush on Saturday approved a pre-landfall emergency declaration for Texas to provide federal help if the state is hit by Hurricane Dean, White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.
According to his directive, if any event takes place that Bush decides is an "emergency", he could pretty much be the one and only boss of us. Absolute power to an absolute idiot. It's that possibility that I can't shake off, and it's pathetic that this has become my knee-jerk reaction. Want to know what's more pathetic? The italicized part, that's what:
Bush, who is vacationing at his Crawford ranch, was briefed twice on Saturday about Hurricane Dean, which is threatening to become a Category 5 storm and is taking aim at Jamaica and Mexico.
Adding insult to injury, it seems like every time there is impending disaster, The Vacation President is taking one of his 418 days off.

So the odds are that Bush's insane power grab would most likely occur while he's putting his brush-scuffed boots up in Crawford. Heckuva job, Georgie.


Fun list.

Say what? Misspeaking candidates fall over themselves to clarify

(snip)

--Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, defended his five sons' decisions not to enlist in the military and said "one of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping me get elected." Later, the Republican said he misspoke, explaining: "I didn't mean in any way to compare service in the country with my boys in any way."

--Giuliani, the New York City mayor during the terrorist attacks, claimed he was at ground zero "as often, if not more, than most of the workers" and was exposed to the same health risks. After drawing the ire of some firefighters, he acknowledged: "I could have said it better" and "What I was saying was: 'I'm there with you.'"

--Richardson, New Mexico's governor, said "It's a choice" and then "you know, I'm not a scientist" when gay-rights activists asked during a forum whether people are born gay or whether they choose homosexuality. He quickly clarified. The Democrat also has said, "I screwed up" when citing conservative Byron White as a model Supreme Court justice.

--John McCain, a Republican senator from Arizona known for is off-the-cuff style, twice has clarified comments. In separate instances, he referred to U.S. lives lost in Iraq as "wasted" and used the term "tar baby," which some people consider a racial epithet. In both cases, he quickly said he regretted his word choice.

--Barack Obama, a Democratic senator from Illinois, also apologized for using the word "wasted" about U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq. During a campaign speech in Virginia, he drastically overstated the death toll in the springtime tornado in Kansas, saying, "Ten thousand people died -- an entire town destroyed." The actual death toll was 12.

"There are going to be times when I make mistakes," Obama said then, recognizing his mistake before his speech ended.

Even unofficial candidates are not immune.

Fred Thompson, a Republican expected to enter the race in September, offered an explanation after Democrats assailed him for saying "we're living in the era of the suitcase bomb" as he bemoaned illegal immigration from Cuba.



Mark your calendars!!!


Former MSNBCer and FNCer Rita Cosby's tome Blonde Ambition: The Untold Story Behind Anna Nicole Smith's Death hits the bookstores Sept. 4.


God knows our lives have been duller without her.....

Until the Cheney presidency, the United States has never put the armed forces of a sovereign government on a terrorist list. This is the reaction:
Iran's Revolutionary Guards say they will not bow to pressure and have threatened to "punch" the U.S. The response comes in reaction to Washington D.C. officials' decision to list the group as a terrorist organization in order to squeeze Iran.
The Revolutionary Guards see themselves as the guardians of the Islamic Republic. Bush sees himself as a savior. Cheney sees himself as King Kong. I see myself as hiding under my bed.

Washington has accused the 200,000-member group of supporting militias and insurgent groups that attack U.S. forces in Iraq. The leader of the guards says the U.S. will receive a heavier punch from the group in the future.

Iranian officials are denying the claims, calling the claims "baseless."

The Revolutionary Guards are separate from the Iranian military. The Guards have their own ground, naval and air units.

Iran says it will strike U.S. regional interests if attacked over its nuclear program. According to the Iranian commander-in-chief, Iranian missiles could hit warships operating anywhere in the Gulf and Oman Sea.

Why The Nation of Dick, with "I-Answer-to-a-Higher-Father" Bush's acquiescence, is determined to provoke a war with Iran is beyond comprehension. There is no upside and would make the Iraq disaster look like a---what's that word again? Oh yeah--cakewalk.


Seems the Indiana GOP is just as corrupt as the rest of the country.


Via Left In Aboite

Republican candidate for mayor charged with perjury, fraudulent election filing

An Allen County grand jury indicted Republican mayoral candidate Matt Kelty on Tuesday, charging him with seven felonies and two misdemeanors.

Kelty, 42, is charged with two counts of perjury, five felony counts of fraudulent election filing and two misdemeanor counts of commingling campaign and personal funds, special prosecutor Dan Sigler said.


Recruiting For Iraq War Undercut in Puerto Rico

By Paul Lewis
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, August 18, 2007; Page A01

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- The political activists, brown envelopes tucked under their arms, staked out the high school gates just after sunrise. When students emerged from the graffiti-scorched streets of the Rio Piedra neighborhood here and began streaming toward their school, the pro-independence advocates ripped open the envelopes and began handing the teens fliers emblazoned with the slogan: "Our youth should not go to war."

At the bottom of the leaflet was a tear sheet that students could sign and later hand to teachers, to request that students' personal contact information not be released to the U.S. Defense Department or to anyone involved in military recruiting.

(snip)

"If the death of a Puerto Rican soldier is tragic, it's more tragic if that soldier has no say in that war," said Juan Dalmau, secretary general of the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP). His efforts are saving the island's children from becoming "colonial cannon meat," he said.


As someone who has very close ties to Puerto Rico (waves hi!) and very strong feelings about the PIP, I'm glad to see that this subject is at least getting some play in the media.

It's a variant on the theme of "You can send him to die in the war, but he can't have a beer at the PX" chestnut. "You can send him to war, but he had and has no say in the representation of his "commonwealth" under the United States"

Puerto Rico has limited representation in the U.S. Congress in the form of a Resident Commissioner, a nonvoting delegate, and the current Congress had returned the Commissioner's power to vote in the Committee of the Whole, but not on matters where the vote would represent a decisive participation.[24] Because no federal elections are held in any of the unincorporated territories, Puerto Rico does not have electors in the U.S. Electoral College.

Not only does the chryon disappear, check out what seems to be of utmost importance to the economy (at 22 secs to go).



Is it me or did she seem uncomfortable reporting that?

And them's the shiniest boobs I've ever seen.

Via Newshounds

I'm with Kagro X

Grandpa Fred hits the Iowa State Fair

The ghastly and undernourished specter of Fred Thompson haunted the Iowa State Fair last week, a tradition usually honored by presidential candidates in corporeal form.

Here's Fred demonstrating his virility by being trucked around the fairgrounds in a golf cart -- something no other candidate has so far resorted to:




I'm not seeing any of those "virile, manly and brawny" qualities that send Tweety into a swoon.



Nope.

My God Does This Man Practice Every BS Justification For Iraq In The Mirror?

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Rep. Jon Porter, Republican of Nevada and walking, talking, automatic spout of bullshit.

pic via Cat of course


This morning Jeff looked out the back window and said, "The yard looks like Coconut Grove!", which means it looks like a jungle.

The combination of all the rain we've gotten and the 9,564 cana bulbs I planted really make my corner of Indiana look pretty wild and wooly. I like it.

Tidbits....

On Chris Matthews' syndicated TV show, Dan Rather announced that NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg will not be running for president.

Rather: Bloomberg "told me that he was not going to run for president. In a direct answer to a direct question, would he run under any circumstances, he danced around a bit and finally said 'No.'"


I don't understand this stuff, MICHIGAN TO MOVE UP ITS PRIMARY , Oy, Giuliani-McCain: That's the Ticket?; You go Dennis!!,Domestic Spying is Orwellian (Rep. Dennis Kucinich) .

Quote of the Day
"But they kept their marriage together. And a lot of the Republicans who have condemned them and talk about their platform of family values, interestingly, didn’t keep their own families together."

-- Mike Huckabee, quoted by NPR, praising Bill and Hillary Clinton.


I'm with you John....John Edwards Calls Ann Coulter "She-Devil" , ACLU Lawyer: Patriot Act Gag Order is Unconstitutional ,

Via Wonkette-

dept. of fat guys with buzzcuts begging for a police state
Watch Ron Paul Yell At This Fat Fascist Guy
Way back in the late 1980s, in the wonderful days before blogs existed, idiots were forced to attend tapings of a daytime teevee show called “Morton Downey Jr.” so they could yell about things they didn’t understand — and Ron Paul was pissing them off then, too.





And finally, the sad ongoing struggle of the miners. No, not the 6 in Utah, the 172 trapped in China. and a prayer (or the Paddy version of it) for them and all the people suffering in Peru.

Friday, August 17, 2007


Um, uh. I know, but it's WEIRD!!!

The push-up bra you have fitted UNDER the skin
By FIONA MACRAE and MARTYN HALLE - More by this author »
If you've always longed to burn your bra but couldn't face the physical consequences, the solution could be on the way.


Doctors have created an 'internal bra' which claims to do away with the need for the lingerie version.

The harness-like device is inserted under the skin in a 40-minute keyhole operation performed under local anaesthetic - meaning a patient can go into hospital in the morning and return home after lunch.

(snip)

Surgeons make two stab-like cuts less than a centimetre wide underneath each breast.

Silicone cups similar in shape to the cup of a traditional bra are then inserted around 1cm below the skin.

Fine straps or "threads" are fitted next.

These are attached to the ribs between the breast and the shoulder with a pair of titanium screws.

Then they are stitched to the cups and everything is tightened to lift the breasts into a more "youthful" position.


It's a joke, right? PLEASE tell me it's a joke.

Oh my. White House appointees gave federal $ to GOP Campaigns
Which appointees? Dep't. of Treasury and Commerce officials and...dun dun dunnn...Dep't. of Justice?

This bunch would politicize paint if they had the chance:

Top Commerce and Treasury Departments officials appeared with Republican candidates and doled out millions in federal money in battleground congressional districts and states after receiving White House political briefings detailing GOP election strategy.

Political appointees in the Treasury Department received at least 10 political briefings from July 2001 to August 2006, officials familiar with the meetings said. Their counterparts at the Commerce Department received at least four briefings — all in the election years of 2002, 2004 and 2006.

The Hatch Act says cabinet members and other political appointees cannot spend taxpayer money to benefit candidates. Bad appointees! You are so grounded!

The House Oversight Committee is investigating whether the White House's political briefings to at least 15 agencies, including to the Justice Department, the General Services Administration and the State Department, violated a ban on the use of government resources for campaign activities.

Who else was involved? Come o-o-on...Who's our little Repubbie? Who's our little political director? Be a good criminal and smile for the Dems! What a punum.

During the briefings at Treasury and Commerce ... Ken Mehlman and other White House aides detailed competitive congressional districts, battleground election states and key media markets and outlined GOP strategy for getting out the vote.

Who's your little friend, Kenny? Who's that roly poly, dorky, balding-yet-fuzzy-headed goon to your right?

The briefings are part of the legacy of White House political adviser Karl Rove...

What a couple of scamps Kenny and Karl are! Just can't stay out of mischief!

However, it remains to be seen whether the subsequent department actions were intentional, said the aide, who asked not to be named because the investigation is ongoing.

"Ongoing investigations" is White House for "Georgie won't tattle on his chums".

Violations of the Hatch Act are treated as administrative, not criminal, matters, and punishment for violations ranges from suspension to termination.

I'll take termination for 100, Alex. And then jail.

Commerce Department spokesman Dan Nelson described the meetings [in question] as merely "informational."

"Informational"? OhhahaaahaHAAAAA ::deep breath:: HahahaHAHAHAAAAHAHAAA!!

"Nothing remotely like that happened," during the Clinton administration, [John D. "Jerry" Hawke, who served as Treasury undersecretary for domestic finance in the Clinton administration] said. "I never experienced anything like that. The notion that the White House would be holding meetings with Treasury appointees just didn't fit."

Right answer, Mr. Hawke. You win.


Wow, this is impressive. A comedy show going to these lengths?

I mean, Riggle looks like he can take care of himself, but still that's pretty cool.


`Daily Show' to Air Reports From Iraq
By FRAZIER MOORE, AP Television Writer
"The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," whose phony news coverage has long included phony "remotes" from war-torn Iraq, will be reporting from Iraq for real next week.

Giving its green screen a temporary rest, the Comedy Central series will air "Operation Silent Thunder: `The Daily Show' in Iraq," several onsite dispatches filed by Senior War Correspondent Rob Riggle.

Riggle will provide what the network calls "in-depth coverage and insights from the front lines." Scheduled to be back in New York this weekend, he begins his reports as soon as Monday. ("The Daily Show" airs Monday through Thursday at 11 p.m. EDT.)

While in Iraq, Riggle performed for U.S. troops with fellow comedians Horatio Sanz, Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer as part of an entertainment tour titled "Operation Feel the Heat."

A major in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Riggle served in Liberia, Kosovo and Afghanistan.

Toy Story

CNBC's Erin Burnett is defending comments she made recently on Hardball, related to China's manufacturing woes: (ie. lead-based Barbie):

"I think people should be careful what they wish for on China. If China were to revalue its currency, or China is to start making, say, toys that don't have lead in them or food that isn't poisonous, their costs of production are going to go up, and that means prices at Wal-Mart here in the United States are going to go up too."
This morning MSNBC's Joe Scarborough said to Burnett "...some people have gotten upset by some things you've said." Burnett responded:

"I'm glad you're giving me this chance to talk about it...I've been trying to explain this throughout the week...if you wanted increased safety and quality from China...that might mean you had to pay a little more for it. Of course we want to have safe toys and safe food but nonetheless, I just wanted to make everyone aware about how cheap China is as a production center."

And Jon Stewart had some fun with the story last night:




Burnett seemed to be trying to temper her bizarre words on Hardball today also.

God forbid the prices at Wal-Mart go up.

RUDY GIULIANI ONLY SPENT 29 HOURS AT GROUND ZERO

While that is more time than he has spent with his kids during their entire lives it doesn't quite match the rhetoric about spending as much time there as the workers and firemen did.

This man is such a pathetic liar. Go find that dust-covered suit and put it back on Rudy. Go downtown. Maybe you can sqeeze another hour of fawning media coverage in. Oh, and while you're at it, why don't you announce another divorce to said media?



Oh, federal government? "Cease being a purveyor of unhealthy foods", 'k? Thanks.

Bush cares about us. He's a Compassionate Conservative. We know that's true, because
he said so.

A new presidential report on cancer takes on not only tobacco companies but the food industry while calling on the federal government to "cease being a purveyor of unhealthy foods" and switch to policies that encourage Americans to eat vegetables and exercise.
How many times has Mom said, "Eat your carrots!" Ignore that. Bad advice. Politics over health. Business as usual.
Federal, state, and local policies have actually made healthful foods more expensive and less available, have limited physical education in schools and created an environment that discourages physical activity, the report said.
But Bush is a father, after all. And Jenna Soon-To-Be-Not Bush, and Not Jenna-Still-Bush have grown up to be hearty, strapping young women. The President of the United States would never encourage something that would hurt our kids.
"The panel's recommendation runs counter to the president's public opposition to a tobacco tax increase.
The federal government also should "require the elimination of unhealthy foods from school breakfast and lunch programs" and "must cease being a purveyor of unhealthy foods that lead to disease and increased health care costs," the report said.
This includes regulation of food advertising and changing agricultural support policies, it said.

Gasp! No...no......not............regulation. This will never do.

"We heavily subsidize the growth of foods (e.g., corn, soy) that in their processed forms (e.g., high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated corn and soybean oils, grain-fed cattle) are known contributors to obesity and associated chronic diseases, including cancer," the report reads. [...] Yet fresh fruits and vegetables are not subsidized in the same way. "And physical education classes in school have almost disappeared," [Margaret Kripke of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson cancer center, a member of the President's Cancer Panel] said.

Does bar-hopping qualify as exercise?

The American Cancer Society predicts more than 1.4 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in 2007 and that 559,650 will die.

So much for this administration's priorities.

FYI

Apparently Rove's making the Sunday talk show rounds this weekend.

Now back to our regularly scheduled blogging.

Time for another Stand-Up Comedy Blog
"Last Blog Standing" starts riiiight....now!

Yes, it's time to steal a few more jokes from my father-in-law. He used to write for Alan King, Milton Berle and Jonathan Winters, just to name a few. And all those Dean Martin Roasts, too: Don Rickles, Red Buttons, Phyllis Diller, Sammy Davis, Jr., etc. Not bad.


A tiny respite from all the frustrating events of the day:
In the Republican Presidential Straw Poll in Ames, Iowa, Gov. Mitt Romney received 32 percent of the vote, Mike Huckabee got 10 percent, Brownback got 3 percent -- 55 percent of the people voted for the straw.

In order to speed things up at last week's Democratic Presidential debate, moderator Keith Olbermann asked the candidates to limit themselves to only three empty promises each.

Republicans are no balls of fire either. Romney was so happy to win in Iowa that he took Saturday night off, went out, and painted the town beige.
Hiyooooo!!! But I wanna tell ya.

Thompson Has It Both Ways

And not in the good Elton John type of way. A quick check into Thompson's Senate records in archives shows that he had two answers for constituent questions on abortion, one that said pro-life and another that said pro-choice.

In one "position paper on abortion" someone has written "(PRO-LIFE)" on the top right-hand corner, and the document states "Senator Thompson has a strong pro-life voting record in the Senate." The paper contains seven examples of votes Thompson cast against legal abortion.

Another "position paper on abortion," however, on which someone has written "(PRO-CHOICE)" omits the statement that "Senator Thompson has a strong pro-life voting record in the Senate," and it does not mention the seven votes he cast against legal abortion.

The "PRO-CHOICE" position paper mentions, as does the "PRO-LIFE" one, that Thompson opposes "federal funding of abortion, except in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is in danger," and supports other restrictions, while concluding that "(b)eyond that, Senator Thompson has said that the federal government should not be involved in the issue of abortion. He does not believe that early term-abortions should be criminalized. He feels instead that this is a battle that must be won in the hearts and minds of the American people."

In Thompson's defense, congresional offices often have answers for constituents divided by the view of the constituent (either pro or con on a particular issue). The problem for Thompson is that this, combined with his wishy-washy history on abortion, should really indicate to the Christian Right that Thompson really isn't with them on this issue. It's not something he's passionate about (like a Brownback or a Huckabee). And if he can't get the Christian Right on board his campaign, can he really be a factor in the race?

Susan Collins Is Once Again Found To Be A Liar

You know how she freaked out earlier this week and said "the tracker" got in her face and she was being hounded, etc. Well, as per usual with Suzie Sunshine, she was lying.

Like with her pledge to run only two terms, end the war in Iraq and defend women's rights while putting Samuel Alito on the court.

Watch the video below, as she warmly greets her tracker and even makes small talk. Susan Collins is a first-rate phony. This time Maine residents WILL find it out before it's too late.


You've got to give them credit for chutzpah.

London: Activists glued to building
LONDON --A group of environmental activists protesting the airline industry's effect on the world's climate glued themselves to the door of a government building Friday.

Police said about six people glued their hands to the door of the Department for Transport in central London, while several more chained themselves to doors and two climbed onto a roof.

Ten people were arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass or criminal damage, the Metropolitan Police said.

Hundreds of activists are holding a weeklong "climate camp" at London's Heathrow Airport to oppose a proposed new runway and highlight what scientists say is air travel's damage to the environment.

So Some Guy Named Cliff Walked Into A Yearly Kos Convention And Introduced Howard Dean...

BTW They cut out my best joke at the beginning. I wish I could explain why, but I am sworn to secrecy. All I can tell you is that it has something to do with Howard Dean's being extremely cool.

Too funny. Fox kinda admits they change wikipedia to their benefit.




via Newshounds

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Pentagon paid $999,798 to ship 19-cent washers to Texas

I remember when it only cost $900,000.
A small South Carolina parts supplier collected about $20.5 million over six years from the Pentagon for fraudulent shipping costs, including $998,798 for sending two 19-cent washers to a Texas base, U.S. officials said.
That's $499,399 per washer. Which is $824,659,236,000 in dog years.
The company also billed and was paid $455,009 to ship three machine screws costing $1.31 each to Marines in Habbaniyah, Iraq, and $293,451 to ship an 89-cent split washer to Patrick Air Force Base in Cape Canaveral, Florida, Pentagon records show.
That's a lot of money to pay for a screw. Wink wink.
A review of paid shipping invoices showed that fraudulent billing is ``is not a widespread problem,'' [Cynthia Stroot, a Pentagon investigator] said.
Of course it isn't, Investigator Stroot. Neither are unaccounted-for weapons. All 200,000 of them.


No, wait. That's not right.

I went to work for a few hours and missed everything.

Except today's little temblor out here in Southern Cali. It was just an aftershock, piece-o'-cake. Nothing like the one in Peru, which was devastating.

And except this:

She was wearing a Mayan dress, the traditional attire of indigenous people in central America, and the hotel's response was also traditional: throw her out.

Staff at Cancun's five-star Hotel Coral Beach appear to have assumed this was another street vendor or beggar, so without asking questions they ordered her to leave. Except the woman was Rigoberta Menchú, the Nobel peace prizewinner, Unesco goodwill ambassador, Guatemalan presidential candidate and figurehead for indigenous rights.

Of course, that could happen to anyone. Common mistake. Happens all the time.

Commentators noted the irony of upmarket resorts discriminating against real Maya while trying to attract tourists with fake Mayan architecture and spectacles.

And they say irony is dead.

It Sucks Being In The Minority

Just ask Rep. Chip Pickering, GOP neanderthal from Mississippi, who is apparently not running for reelection. Now with Deborah Pryce and Denny Hastert, there were potentially tough reelections (while Hastert may have hung on after a long, dirty fight Pryce was toast), but Pickering could have walked to reelection (R +14).

I think the dude looked at the fact that Trent Lott and Thad Cochran, the two senators from that still deluded Republican state, both pulled back from retiring in successive cycles, the Dems are likely going to double their advantage in the House and the sweet melody of lobbying cash is ringing in his ears.

In any case, I think the flood gates are about to open...

Thank God For FoxNews' Good Sense!

No, I mean it. Thankfully they took a look at that unbelievably crappy Half Hour News Hour, you know the show that was supposed to provide some chuckles, and in reality had all the comic brilliance of diptheria. And they canned it.

Think Dennis-Miller-on-Monday-Night-Football-funny. I am shuddering just contemplating any more of it.

So, um, buh-bye.


Ya know, I try to stay away from the CT (conspiracy theory) stuff, but sometimes they make it too hard.

Homeland Security Enlists Clergy to Quell Public Unrest if Martial Law Ever Declared

Could martial law ever become a reality in America? Some fear any nuclear, biological or chemical attack on U.S. soil might trigger just that. KSLA News 12 has discovered that the clergy would help the government with potentially their biggest problem: Us.

(snip)

But gun confiscation is exactly what happened during the state of emergency following Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, along with forced relocation. U.S. Troops also arrived, something far easier to do now, thanks to last year's elimination of the 1878 Posse Comitatus act, which had forbid regular U.S. Army troops from policing on American soil.

If martial law were enacted here at home, like depicted in the movie "The Siege", easing public fears and quelling dissent would be critical. And that's exactly what the 'Clergy Response Team' helped accomplish in the wake of Katrina.

Dr. Durell Tuberville serves as chaplain for the Shreveport Fire Department and the Caddo Sheriff's Office. Tuberville said of the clergy team's mission, "the primary thing that we say to anybody is, 'let's cooperate and get this thing over with and then we'll settle the differences once the crisis is over.'"

Bush To Issue September Report, Not Petraeus

Seriously, is anyone even the slightest bit surprised by the mendacity of these titanic dolts anymore?

It is safer to just assume that everything, and I mean everything that exits their pursed lips is a lie. But wait, you mean to tell me that other GOPers either were too dumb to know the report was coming from none other than numbnuts himself, or they lied too? Say it ain't so!

Here you go. I report, blah blah blah.....

Senate Minority Leader McConnell:

Let me remind the Senate of what we agreed to...We voted, and put into law, that General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker would report in September on progress. The benchmarks report and the timeline we set in May was clear. It gave us, the troops, and our allies, clarity on what was expected.

Senator McCain:

The war will be discussed in September again--we all know that--when General Petraeus is ready to report to the Senate...General Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker will come to Washington in September to report on the status of their efforts and those of the Iraqis.

Senator Sessions:

To press the point further, I strongly believe that whatever the inclinations of Senators on the conduct of the war in Iraq, to change our strategy now before we even hear from General Petraeus in September would be a colossal blunder for a host of reasons. To do so would be unthinkable...I am anxious to hear General Petraeus's report.

Senator Coleman:

Fifty-four days ago we sent a message to General Petraeus: Go forth with the surge, and then come back and report to us.

Senator Chambliss:

I have never been more convinced that waiting for General Petraeus's report in September was more right than yesterday afternoon...

Senator Craig:

That's why when we confirmed General Petraeus unanimously in the Senate, we said to him very clearly, you go to Iraq in relation to a surge that is being implemented and you come back to us and give us your honest and fair assesement in September.

Senator Cornyn:

But the fact is, Gen. David Petraeus...will come back and report to us in September.

Senator DeMint:

The Democrats agreed on that funding, but they requested that we have a report from General Petraeus in the middle of September to find out what progress we were making. We all agreed to that.

Senator Bunning:

I promised in person, in my office, to General Petraeus, that I would wait to hear his report this fall.

And of course everyone's favore Connecticut for Lieberman Party member:

Senator Lieberman:

In fact, this amendment should not even be considered now...Because in that bill we required General Petraeus, along with our Ambassador to Baghdad, Ryan Crocker, to come back in September and report to us...I made a personal pledge to him. I am going to give him and the troops a fair chance, which this amendment would deprive him of, and I am going to give him until September to come back and tell me how it is going.

(h/t Kagro X & BarbinMD of Daily Kos)

Another Huge Republican Fundraiser Is A Criminal

Alan Fabian, the finance co-chair for MittWit Romney's presidential campaign, was indicted on 23 counts of generally being a Republican scumbag last week. He has donated to a who's who of Republicans across the land.

We have a name for the time when Republicans are indicted here in Ohio.

Weekdays.

Although I think weekends are often required to process every GOP criminal.

5 Days Left To Win A Vacation

Perhaps you've seen the ad on the right side of the blog. It is for the "My Bad Boss" contest. Now I will disclose I am a fellow at Working America, who is sponsoring the contest.

But really, should that have any bearing on whether you should or shouldn't click on the ad, go to the site, and tell a story about your worst boss ever? Oh yeah, and perhaps win an all-expenses paid vacation for your troubles.

It seems like a good deal to me. So much so, I'm done talking to you. I'm going to go enter myself before the window expires on August 21.

And Now On A Lighter Note

Watch and enjoy:

New Ad Targets McConnell Over The Iraq War And The Military Draft

Usually when Mitch McConnell and George W. Bush get tired of listening to the Generals on the ground in Iraq, they fire them. What will they do now? This ad is being launched in Kentucky to pressure McConnell:



Cliff Note: Apparently this ad will also be targeting Republican Reps. Upton, Drake and English. This is going to becoming really un-fun soon for these GOPers posing as "moderates."

It may partially explain why now not only Rep. Ray LaHood, but as of today Rep. Deborah Pryce is retiring (she is from the district next to mine. I will write a longer post on this). Expect more to step down as time goes on.

Republican Sexcapades With The Young Turks



The little fun bit I do every week on TYT. Here is last week's edition.

Listen if you dare :)

What a way to wake up. Looks like the thought police are out in droves.

Read about two recent run-ins with them here and here.

"It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could igve you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself—anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide. In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face... was itself a punishable offense. There was even a word for it in Newspeak: facecrime..."

George Orwell, 1984, Book 1, Chapter 5



Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Mexicans Are Coming!! The Mexicans Are Coming!!

This is hysterical (partially because this is the way conservatives really think). You. Must. Watch. This.

Anti-war group ordered to remove posters for using the "wrong kind of tape"

What's next, being fined for using the wrong font?
A US anti-war group has been warned it will be fined 10,000 dollars if it does not remove posters in Washington announcing a march in the capital next month against US involvement in Iraq, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.
Methinks they have it out for the ANSWER Coalition. What do youthinks? Look what I found on their site:
The fines come after a campaign led by FOX news calling for the DC government to take action against those putting up posters for the September 15 demonstration.
Back to the original story:
Several hundred yellow posters have been put up around Washington announcing the protest, which is timed to coincide with the release of a report by the US military commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, on progress in the US "surge" strategy of raising troop levels.
Sounds productive. So what's the problem again?
Washington city authorities said the posters have to come down because they were stuck on with adhesive that did not meet city regulations.
Oh my. That is serious. Very, very serious. Illegal adhesive. Send 'em all to jail!

Demonstrators from at least 90 cities around the United States and Canada have already pledged to come to Washington for the march, which will be part of a week of anti-war protests led by veterans of the Iraq war, according to Sloan.

A petition calling for the impeachment of President George W. Bush, allegedly carrying one million signatures and endorsed by former US attorney general Ramsey Clark, will also be submitted to officials during the week's activities.

Somehow I think they'll get the word out. In fact, they're already on it. Check out their site to see how.

Homegrown terrorists in NY
We'll have to fight them, er, here so they don't follow us, um, here.

They preferred bookstores or hookah bars to mosques. They stopped listening to pop music and instead surfed Web sites promoting radical Islam. They threw away their baseball caps and grew beards. New York Police Department intelligence analysts have concluded those were some of the telltale signs of homegrown terrorists in the making - a mounting threat as grave as that from established terrorist groups like al-Qaida.
Don't panic. Our National Guard can protect-- Oh, that's right. They're all in Iraq.
An NYPD report released Wednesday warns of a ``radicalization'' process in which young men - otherwise unremarkable legal immigrants from the Middle East - grow disillusioned with life in America and adopt a philosophy that puts them on the path to jihad.
They're legal. Legal immigrants. They're here legally. But they're disillusioned. So am I, by the way. I thought we were a democracy. But that's another post for another time.
The findings drew swift criticism from an Arab anti-discrimination group, which accused the NYPD of stereotyping and of contradicting recent federal warnings that the chief terrorism threat remains foreign.
I bet the FBI had something to say about all this.
The FBI declined to comment.
Where do they hang out? How do we find them?

Instead of mosques, those places were more likely to be ``cafes, cab driver hangouts, flop houses, prisons, student associations, non-governmental organizations, hookah bars, butcher shops and bookstores,'' the report says.

The Internet also provides ``the wandering mind of the conflicted young Muslim or potential convert with direct access to unfiltered radical and extremist ideology.''

That's right. Blame the Internets. It's all those tubes, they confuse people.

Potential homegrown terrorists ``are not on the law enforcement radar,'' the study says. ``Most have never been arrested or involved in any kind of legal trouble.''

Maybe they can read their faces and body language. That's the best way to discern if someone's a terrorist, remember?



More spying on Americans. Now it's spy satellites.

I'm sure Congress will attend to this the way they did when they let Gonzo monitor our calls and emails.
Law enforcement, emergency response and border control agencies have won greater access to the nation's spy satellites and other sensors to monitor U.S. territory.

The sharing of imagery and data will be especially useful in policing land and sea borders and in disaster planning, Charles Allen, the Department of Homeland Security's chief intelligence officer, said in a phone interview Wednesday.

The effort may eventually support domestic law enforcement activities as well, he said, but the legal guidelines for that are still being worked out.

I'm sure they'll work on guidelining us out of every last one of our privacy rights.

The CIA and Pentagon are generally prohibited from spying on American citizens, and Allen stressed that the new data-sharing effort doesn't violate that ban. ''This is not a system for tracking Americans,'' Allen said.

Thanks, I feel so much better now.

''What could go wrong? There's the possibility of a recurrence of past abuses -- surveillance used against political opponents as in the Civil Rights era, the McCarthy era,'' said Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists.

''There's also an incidental erosion of personal privacy in which one now has to assume that anywhere you are, you are subject to overhead surveillance by the government. And that is a change in what it means to be an American,'' Aftergood said.

I couldn't agree mo-- Who's there? Someone's there, I can feel it.

''This is going be a very controlled process and I can't conceive of Americans having any serious concern,'' Allen said. ''No American should be at all concerned.''

I'm not concerned. Who says I'm concerned? Pfft! No way do I have any concern what--so--ever. Not me.

''They need to be subjected to an appropriate level of oversight. We seem to be retreating from intelligence oversight, not improving it,'' [Aftergood] said. ''The adoption of intelligence technology is moving faster than oversight can keep up with.... The basic system of checks and balances is being overtaken by new technology.''
I gotta go. "Big Brother" is on soon and I never miss an episode.

Chris Dodd calls for immediate suspension of importing Chinese food, toys




"This is an issue of safety. Parents should be confident that the toys and food that they give their children have been inspected and are safe. That's why I am calling on the President to use his authority to immediately suspend all imports of toys and food from China.

It's not enough to simply talk about working for fair trade agreements. We need leadership that will act to enforce fair trade. We have the legal right and power under the WTO to keep products out of our country that threaten the health and safety of our families, and I'm going to do all I can to ensure we do so."

Cliff Note: I think this is why Chris Dodd was judged by many to be the winner at the YearlyKos forum.

He actually speaks like a human being and stands up for what he believes in. How shocking. I wouldn't be surprised to see him make a run at the top tier of Dem candidates because he is willing to take on issues like this, that are important to everyone but the political class in DC.

Needless to say I am a huge fan of this move. I have a baby. And two pets. And once products from China are able to sicken or KILL my kids and/or my pets, I think putting the corporate interests of Republicans like Mitch McConnell and Blue Dog Democrats aside so that we can protect our families is just a wee bit important.

Who thought the Republican Party would ever climb into bed with Chinese Communists who are apparently ambivalent about whether to poison your family? Well, nobody but anyone who understands they'd sell their grandmas to make profits and take in corporate contributions...




Religion, culture behind Texas execution tally
Lone Star State’s death penalty toll due in part to evangelical influences


DALLAS - Texas will almost certainly hit the grim total of 400 executions this month, far ahead of any other state, testament to the influence of the state’s conservative evangelical Christians and its cultural mix of Old South and Wild West.

“In Texas you have all the elements lined up. Public support, a governor that supports it and supportive courts,” said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center.

“If any of those things are hesitant then the process slows down,” said Dieter. “With all cylinders working as in Texas it produces a lot of executions.”


I know, hard to imagine.

Bush listens to military officers, right?
They're saying Iraq has a bleak future.

Despite U.S. claims that violence is down in the Iraqi capital, U.S. military officers are offering a bleak picture of Iraq’s future, saying they’ve yet to see any signs of reconciliation between Sunni and Shiite Muslims despite the drop in violence.

Without reconciliation, the military officers say, any decline in violence will be temporary and bloodshed could return to previous levels as soon as the U.S. military cuts back its campaign against insurgent attacks.

This is when we all say a collective "duh". Ready? All together now: 1...2...3...DUH.

Thank you.

That downbeat assessment comes despite a buildup of U.S. troops that began five months ago Wednesday and has seen U.S. casualties reach the highest sustained levels since the United States invaded Iraq nearly four and a half years ago.
Duh. Duhduhduhduhduh. Duuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
U.S. officials say the number of civilian casualties in the Iraqi capital is down 50 percent. But U.S. officials declined to provide specific numbers, and statistics gathered by McClatchy Newspapers don't support the claim.
I won't say it. So what else is the military saying? The ones who Vice President Bush relies on?

Military officers serving in Iraq say much of the difficulties they're encountering are owed to mistakes that U.S. officials made in the early years of the war when the Coalition Provisional Authority dissolved the Iraqi army and banned many members of Saddam Hussein’s Baathist party from serving in government.

The actions drove many of those affected into resistance groups against the new government and U.S. forces.

...No pattern of improvement is discernible for violence during the five months of the surge.

I'm gonna say it. I can't resist: D-f'ing-UH. Wait. There's a bright spot? There has been a reduction in the number of bodies found on the streets. Yayyy!

But the reason for that decline isn't clear. Some military officers believe that it may be an indication that ethnic cleansing has been completed in many neighborhoods and that there aren’t as many people to kill.

Disregard bright spot. Does not exist. No bright spot. We are bright spotless.

Lt. Col. Douglas Ollivant, a planner for the U.S. military command in Baghdad, described the current strategy as “emergency medicine.”
There's just one problem with that analogy. Nobody's insured any more.

UPDATE:
The Los Angeles Times reports that Gen. David Petraeus’ upcoming Sept. 15 report on Iraq will be authored by the White House. Thom Hartmann reported the same thing. And this is the report that everyone's so giddy about. Come on, did we expect something different?