Monday, June 30, 2008

United We Stand, Divided We Fall

Maybe we should fall. Then maybe we could find something better. I’m very tired of America being so divided, and everyone hating one another.

From Neil Young's anti-war documentary by Tim Cooper:

In the most memorable scene, hundreds of audience members walk out of a show in Atlanta in protest at the quartet encouraging them to sing along to Young’s song Let’s Impeach the President. It is compelling footage: as the lyrics are displayed on a giant screen, a chorus of boos swells, competing with the more fervent fans’ mass sing-along, and angry punters start to leave. Seemingly oblivious to the almost comical irony of leaving a Freedom of Speech concert in protest at the singers expressing their own freedom to speak out, they air their fury on camera as they leave. “Neil Young can stick it up his ass,” fumes a female fan; “Sonofabitch — I’d like to knock his teeth out,” a red-faced man declares. Young seems unconcerned. “Well, they were speakin’ out too,” he chuckles behind his shades. “They were just saying ‘F*** you, I don’t wanna have anything to do with this guy crossing my line.’ ”
Read more here.

“ Seemingly oblivious to the almost comical irony of leaving a Freedom of Speech concert in protest at the singers expressing their own freedom to speak out, they air their fury on camera as they leave.” I like that sentence.

My Advice To Keith Olbermann

Take the time to learn more about Glenn Greenwald. Start by reading his blog regularly. Maybe read his book, Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican Politics, too. You might learn something.

From Keith Olbermann's reply and Obama's secret plan to protect the rule of law by Glenn Greenwald:

In his Kos reply, Olbermann pronounces that my piece yesterday was "simplistic and childish" but then adds the standard dismissive Journalist defense: "I don't know much about Mr. Greenwald and I didn't read his full piece."

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Four Years!!!

The McCains own seven properties. I guess it can be hard to keep track of all of that real estate. I wish I had that problem. They also seem to have problems with their credit card. Most of us can relate to that.

From McCains Delinquent On Tax Bill by Eric Kleefeld:

This isn't exactly the kind of story that speaks positively of John McCain's ability to manage the public's finances.

Newsweek is reporting that John and Cindy McCain failed to pay taxes on a California property for the past four years. This is especially odd considering that the McCains are worth an estimated $100 million, and could easily afford to pay the bill.

After a reporter inquired about the bill with the McCain campaign, they immediately sent San Diego County a check for $6,744.42 -- and even then, they're still short by $1,742.
San Diego County assesses a 1.5 percent penalty for each month that goes by unpaid and puts houses up for sale after five years. If McCain becomes president, how well will he deal with that pesky deficit that the United States has?

How Free Are We When It Comes To Speech?

From The 11th Annual Muzzle Awards by Dan Kennedy:

The great civil libertarian Nat Hentoff once said that our sex drive pales in comparison with our urge to censor. It’s an urge that is played out in places high and low, encompassing both the serious and the absurd. Military veterans protesting the war are arrested in Boston and charged with disturbing the peace. An anti-abortion-rights activist in Maine borrows sex-education books from public libraries and refuses to return them. A legislative leader in Rhode Island — the head of John McCain’s presidential campaign in that state — compares anonymous critics to “terrorists,” and helps kill a proposal aimed at guaranteeing their First Amendment rights.

These are just a few of the cases highlighted in our Muzzle Awards, an annual Fourth of July roundup now in its 11th year. Since 1998, the Phoenix has been honoring those who’ve brought dishonor to themselves by trampling on the rights of free speech and personal liberties in New England.
Read the rest here.

Bible Verse For Sunday 06-29-08

So and more also do God unto the enemies of David if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.
What the hell?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The News Media Is Not What It Should Be

Exactly one month ago Eric Boehlert wrote an excellent article on Senator Edward Kennedy and how he has been treated by the news media. At the time Senator Kennedy had recently been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor and was receiving extensive and sympathetic news coverage. He was given the respect and attention that a man of his position and tenure deserves. Mr. Boehlert then goes on to contrast this with the coverage Senator Kennedy received in 2002 when he gave a speech that challenged President Bush about going to war with Iraq.

From Why did the press ignore Ted Kennedy in 2002?

Unfortunately, that hasn't always been the case. Just a few years ago, when Republicans were riding high on Iraq war fever and Democrats were seen as on the retreat politically, the press cavalierly snubbed Kennedy.

Specifically, back in September 2002, with the Bush administration and much of the Beltway media rushing to embrace war with Iraq, Kennedy delivered a passionate, provocative, and newsworthy speech raising all sorts of doubts about a possible invasion. Unlike today, the political press wasn't very interested in Kennedy or what he had to say about the most pressing issue facing the nation. Back in that media environment, being the voice of American liberals didn't mean much.

I've been thinking about Kennedy's speech a lot lately. Not just because the senator has been in the news, but also because of the Pentagon's still-unfolding propaganda scandal involving retired U.S. generals who, at times, were used as puppets on network and cable television during the war, where they repeated administration talking points while presenting themselves as independent analysts. That outlets eagerly embraced the Pentagon's pro-war generals while mostly dismissing Kennedy's warnings perfectly captured the media's mindset during the run-up to the war.
Mr. Boehlert then gives several examples detailing how the press and television media ignored Senator Kennedy. I would like to point out that one of the television programs mentioned is Meet the Press.
The address was given on a Friday. Two days later on the Sunday talk shows, where Iraq was discussed in detail, Kennedy's name never came up on NBC's Meet the Press, on CBS' Face the Nation, or on ABC's This Week.

For the network pundits, Kennedy's anti-war speech did not exist. It was irrelevant to the around-the-clock media chatter about a looming war.
The news media is not what it should be. They ignore important things and glorify unimportant things. Is the name Tim Russert entering your mind right about now? If not, it should be. Russert as host of Meet the Press totally ignored an important speech by a senior United States senator. Yet the press practically declared Russert a saint when he died. Russert might have been jovial and likable, but he was not a great journalist. He was not even a good one. He was too one-sided. He did not challenge the Bush administration enough. He and most of the news media are partially responsible for the Iraq War.

Why was Kennedy’s speech important? Mr. Boehlert gives us some highlights of the speech.
Some key passages from the Kennedy speech:

• "[T]he Administration has not made a convincing case that we face such an imminent threat to our national security that a unilateral, pre-emptive American strike and an immediate war are necessary."

• "[T]he Administration has not explicitly acknowledged, let alone explained to the American people, the immense post-war commitment that will be required to create a stable Iraq."

• "A largely unilateral American war that is widely perceived in the Muslim world as untimely or unjust could worsen, not lessen, the threat of terrorism."

• "War with Iraq before a genuine attempt at inspection and disarmament, or without genuine international support -- could swell the ranks of Al Qaeda sympathizers and trigger an escalation in terrorist acts."

• "[I]nformation from the intelligence community over the past six months does not point to Iraq as an imminent threat to the United States or a major proliferator of weapons of mass destruction."

• "[T]here is no clear and convincing pattern of Iraqi relations with either Al Qaeda or the Taliban."

Talk about a greatest-hits performance. Kennedy nailed virtually every major problem and shortfall that emerged in the wake of the invasion. Yet in real time, the press, which was producing voluminous reports and commentary about the possible war, showed only superficial interest in Kennedy's prophetic comments.
Mr. Boehlert then goes on to point out that some news organizations actually claimed that Senator Kennedy’s position on Iraq was not very different from President Bush’s position. Absolutely amazing, isn’t it?

Besides wanting to alert you to the excellent article by Mr. Boehlert, by basically stealing half of it, I also want to share some of my own thoughts with you.

Why did the press ignore Ted Kennedy in 2002? points out how the news media can be very selective in what it chooses to report and in what it chooses to ignore. Eric Boehlert wonders why an important speech by an important Senator was ignored at a very crucial time in our history. I’d like to go one step further and ask why the press gave President Bush such an easy time of it in 2002? What kind of power does President George W. Bush have?

I realize that President Bush is not very popular and that the Democrats won the Senate in 2006. However, President Bush is still in office and the Republicans still seem to be in power in the Senate. What evidence supports this statement? Bush has not been impeached and probably never will be. The Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act was defeated in the Senate thanks to the Republicans. The Iraq War just received $161.8 billion in new funds. Barack Obama and the Senate are considering giving telecoms immunity in that awful FISA bill, which is expected to pass.

Ronald Reagan was dubbed the “teflon president”; however, I think that the name should now be transferred to President Bush. Bush has not been held accountable for any of his numerous screw-ups, and we are all just waiting it out until his time in office is up. Why? Clinton was impeached, why not Bush?

Bush became president because the media was selective in what it chose to report about him and in what it chose to ignore about him. Ditto for Al Gore.

And now, after having written all of this about George W. Bush and the media love affair with him, I have just discovered (while looking for evidence to support the previous paragraph) that someone has already written a book on this very topic. That someone is Eric Boehlert. The book is called Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush.

I am still left with the question of Why? Why does President Bush (and probably his entire family) have so much power and control over the United States of America? Perhaps Mr. Boehlert’s next book could be titled “Bush Dynasty: WHY the Press Rolled Over for Bush.”

Friday, June 27, 2008

War Funds

Is it just me, or is Congress doing this on a daily basis now?

From Congress passes new Iraq war funds by Richard Cowan:

The U.S. Senate on Thursday approved $161.8 billion in new funds to continue fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for the next year, without timetables for withdrawing combat troops.
Read the rest here.

Gun Worship

The Supreme Court says we get to have guns.

This makes President Bush happy.

From High court strikes down gun ban by Bill Mears:

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a sweeping ban on handguns in the nation's capital violated the Second Amendment right to bear arms.
In a statement, President Bush also praised the decision, saying he agreed with the court's interpretation of the Constitution.
On a local television news broadcast last night a person being interviewed at a gun shop said that gun ownership was a right granted to us by God. I have never heard that one before, and do not know how one goes about proving it.

My neighbors and fellow citizens of the United States have a hard time keeping themselves safe when using automobiles and fireworks. The intended functions of both are not meant to cause any bodily harm or death, yet they do.

“In 2006, eleven people died and an estimated 9,200 were treated in emergency departments for fireworks-related injuries in the United States.” Fireworks are illegal where I live, yet every Fourth of July brings me the fear of my property being set on fire by one of my neighbors. They have managed to do this in the past, so it seems likely that they may do it again.

“In 2006, 42,642 people were killed in traffic accidents.” All these deaths from a machine whose function is transportation. A machine that requires a license, registration, insurance, an age requirement, and the passing of a test before it can be operated anywhere in the United States.

So when the Supreme Court says that my fellow Americans and my neighbors have the right to have a device in their homes whose main function is to kill, I get a little nervous.

My neighbors are irresponsible in their use of automobiles and fireworks. I don’t have much faith that they will use firearms responsibly either. And of course, they already don't.

Since the Constitution supposedly (and apparently even the Almighty) says that my neighbors can have guns in their homes, could we at least take some steps to ensure that they use them as safely as possible? Things like a license, registration, insurance, an age requirement, and the passing of a test before they can be operated anywhere in the United States might be a good start.

After all, I can't pursue my Constitutionally (actually the Declaration of Independence, but close enough) protected right to the pursuit of happiness if I'm dead.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Dr. Splatt

From this: That’s not roadkill, it’s research!

I learned about this: RoadKill 2008.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

"Rush, honey, when did 30 percent get to be a small number?"

Selected bits from Limbaugh: "Democrats will bend over, grab the ankles, and say, 'Have your way with me' " to African-Americans and gays:

Rush Limbaugh:

…but one of the simple answers that will require some elaboration is that a lot of money is coming from these kooks -- and I'm not talking about just the blacks -- I'm talking about a whole kook-fringe base because George Soros is running it…
The Democrats -- what are they embarrassed about? They're not embarrassed about anything. The Democrats have never set any standards for themselves. As far as they're concerned, everybody's a victim, even on their side.
But in addition to the money aspect of this -- and don't forget, the left-wing base is not even talked about by Mickey Edwards there -- is the anti-war kook fringe. And it is huge. From to Think Progress to My Base Book -- whatever these things, these things -- well, maybe not MySpace or Face, whatever it is.
Conclusions? Rush Limbaugh thinks blacks are kooks and are all gay (why won’t this get the publicity that Don Imus gets?), George Soros is so amazingly powerful that he controls the minds of all those “kooky” Democrats out there (of course none of them can think for themselves, let's call them dittoheads or something like that), the Democrats have absolutely no standards (as if Bush does? has Limbaugh ever even listened to Obama?), must actually LIKE war (what the hell is wrong with being anti-war?), and like John McCain and other Republicans (I thought they were the BUSINESS party) is not very internet savvy.

And what is it with the anal fixation? Is Rush another one of those Republicans who won’t come out of the closet? Does Rush need to be restored? Hallelujah!

No Way

There is no way that I will send money to help Hillary Clinton repay her debt, and that is that. She dug this hole herself and she can deal with it herself without any help from me.

Sometimes Obama says really stupid things. This is one of them.

From Obama asks contributors to help Clinton with debt by Candy Crowley:

Sen. Barack Obama has asked top contributors to help his former rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Hillary Clinton, retire her debt, an Obama campaign source said Tuesday.
Read more here.

Why God? Why?

Maybe if we pray to him he will tell us. Oh wait. We’ve been trying that already.

From Why Won't God Heal Amputees? by Jason:

"According to a recent poll Poll: Doctors believe in miracles, 3 out of 4 doctors believe that God is performing medical miracles on earth right now. Most Christians believe that God is curing cancers, healing diseases, reversing the effects of poisons and so on.

So here is question #1: Why won't God heal amputees?

It's a simple question, isn't it? We all know that amputated legs do not spontaneously regenerate in response to prayer. Amputees get no miracles from God.

If you are an intelligent person, you have to admit that it's an interesting question On the one hand, you believe that God answers prayers and performs miracles. On the other hand, you know that God completely ignores amputees when they pray for miracles.

How do you deal with this discrepancy? As an intelligent person, you have to deal with it, because it makes no sense. In order to handle it, notice that you have to create some kind of rationalization. You have to invent an excuse on God's behalf to explain this strange fact of life. You might say, "well, God must have some kind of special plan for amputees." So you invent your excuse, whatever it is, and then you stop thinking about it because it is uncomfortable."
Why people CHOOSE to WORSHIP a mean and nasty deity is beyond me.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Today Show Sucks

The Today Show on NBC is one huge propaganda machine. Matt Lauer and all those associated with the show should be ashamed of themselves. This show is one of the reasons why our country is rapidly continuing its downward spiral.

Here is one example.

From Today hosts Dick Morris, who says people are debating whether Obama will be seen as "sleeper agent":

Summary: On Today, Dick Morris asserted: "[T]his whole debate about what kind of president [Sen. Barack] Obama would make has swirled around almost an existential level. Is he sort of a Manchurian candidate? A sleeper agent?" Morris has previously stated that "the determinant in the election will be whether we believe that Barack Obama is what he appears to be, or is he somebody who's sort of a sleeper agent who really doesn't believe in our system."
Actually Morris said “existentional." Is existentional a real word?

More George Carlin

Talking about the first Gulf War, the Bigger Dick Theory of Foreign Policy, and other things:

“Even the name, Bush.”

Thank you to Jonathan Schwarz.

Add 40,000 More People To The List Of People Pissed Off At Bush

From Bush's London stopover delayed 40,000 people:

Nearly 40,000 travelers will remember U.S. President George W. Bush's stopover in London. Their flights were canceled or delayed at Heathrow Airport to accommodate him, according to British Airways.
Read the rest here.

Whenever President Bush goes somewhere someone else has to pay the price, both in money and inconvenience:

And it happens over:
Security was incredibly tight at the president's destinations, often at great cost to the host countries and no small inconvenience to locals.
And over:
In order to accommodate Bush and the army-like security and press entourage that follows him everywhere, the entire city has come to a standstill. Schools, public offices and businesses -- including a large General Motors-owned Opel automobile plant in nearby Ruesselsheim -- have shut down as have highway, ship and train traffic. This, despite the general economic depression afflicting the nation. Even hospitals have, as much as possible, been cleared just in case of an emergency. The city's 1,300 manholes have been welded shut, all flowerpots have been removed, as have parked cars and trash cans. Perhaps the only employment spike will come for police: More than 10,000 German officers have been called in from across the nation to make sure all goes well. Cessna flights, too have been grounded within a 60 kilometer radius of Mainz. Even Lufthansa, the nation's largest air carrier, cancelled 34 flights, inconveniencing 2,300 passengers. All this to accommodate Bush for seven hours as he tries to make up for years of giving Europe the cold shoulder. Our question, again, is it all worth it?
And over:
"1 man, US President, George W Bush will visit Sydney, Australia, for 5 days. He will travel in Air Force One which will be one of 3 747 Jumbo jets his entourage will fly in. A further 5 transport aircraft will accompany the Jumbos, carrying 2 helicopters (including Marine One, his official chopper) ... and it will cost over $200,000,000 ..."
And over:
Another neighbor, April Squires, complained about the inconvenience of not being able to park, use balconies or even open windows facing the Stewart home for most of the day.
And over:
The sources said Bush would be accompanied by a huge military force during his visit to Israel and tour of the Middle East. They said the president would be supported by at least four air transports that would contain special equipment as well as nearly 2,000 troops and bodyguards. Officials said police would deploy 3,500 officers and army troops to protect Bush, Middle East Newsline reported. They said large areas of Jerusalem would be closed to traffic during Bush's visit.
And over again:
Officials say it is likely that taxpayers will pay for a portion of President Bush’s Utah travel expenses. Bush was in the state to raise money for Republican Presidential Nominee, John McCain.
Is it worth it?

More Bush Failure

Today the BBC has a report on the Taliban and how much money they make from opium in Afghanistan. The problem of course is that opium is financing the Taliban. They use this money for arms and ammunition. And the Bush administration seems to be doing nothing about it.

From Taleban's '$100m opium takings' by Kate Clark:

The Taleban made an estimated $100m (£50m) in 2007 from Afghan farmers growing poppy for the opium trade, the United Nations says.
"The closer we look at it, the closer we see the insurgents [are] to the drugs trade," said David Belgrove, head of counter narcotics at the British embassy in Kabul.

"We can say that a lot of their arms and ammunition are being funded directly by the drugs trade."
Let’s step back in time to almost TWO years ago.

From High on Opium, Not Democracy by Robert Scheer:
The good news, for drug fiends, is that Afghanistan has just harvested its biggest opium crop ever, up a whopping 59 percent from last year and big enough to cover 130 percent of the entire world market. The street price for illegal heroin, 92 percent of which now comes from Afghanistan, should be way down from Bangkok to London, and for those shooting up in the back alleys of Chicago. The bad news, for the rest of us, is that in Bush-liberated Afghanistan, billions in drug profits are financing the Taliban.

Remember them, the guys who harbored the Al Qaeda terrorists, who gifted us with the 9/11 attacks five years ago, that President Bush promised to eliminate? Well, it turns out that while he was distracted with Iraq, the patrons of terrorism were very much in business back where the 9/11 attack was hatched, turning Afghanistan into a narco-state that provides a lucrative source of cash for the "evildoers" Bush forgot about.
What the Bush Administration will not confront in Afghanistan, or in Iraq, is that its ill-conceived and disastrously executed nation-building schemes are sinking into the swamp of local and historical realities. Enamored of American military might but having little understanding of the world beyond, Bush and his team have ignored Gen. Colin Powell's reported "you break it, you own it" warnings, floundering after initial military victories and ultimately strengthening the hand of local and international terrorists. Rather than take care of business in Afghanistan after 9/11, Bush and clueless US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld allowed bin Laden to slip out of the Tora Bora caves to plan more attacks and the Taliban to regroup. Instead, Bush and Co. threw the bulk of our military and aid resources into a disastrous attempt to remake oil-rich Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9/11, into an American puppet state.
Does President Bush care about this problem at all? Is he doing anything about it?

Speaking of terrorism. This is what we get from the McCain camp today.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Pete Seeger Is Still At It

Pete Seeger claims he is not a pacifist. I did not know that he had served during World War II.

From At a Roadside Vigil, an Iconic Voice of Protest by Dennis Gaffney:

Asked whether he thought that protesting by the side of the road would help end the war, he said: “I don’t think that big things are as effective as people think they are. The last time there was an antiwar demonstration in New York City I said, ‘Why not have a hundred little ones?’ ”

He said that working for peace was like adding sand to a basket on one side of a large scale, trying to tip it one way despite enormous weight on the opposite side.

“Some of us try to add more sand by teaspoons,” he explained. “It’s leaking out as fast as it goes in and they’re all laughing at us. But we’re still getting people with teaspoons. I get letters from people saying, ‘I’m still on the teaspoon brigade.’ ”

The Restoration Of Ted Haggard

Does this mean he has a new paint job and is all nice and shiny?

From Pastor: Haggard has left 'restoration program' by Colleen Slevin:

The evangelist forced out of his job after being caught up in a sex scandal involving a male prostitute has left a "spiritual restoration program" and no longer has any ties to the megachurch he founded, the congregation's new pastor said Sunday.
Read the rest here.

Just another gay Republican hypocrite in the long line of gay Republican hypocrites.

See what the Friendly Atheist thinks about all of this over here.

Dogma Smogma

Or, I’ll believe whatever the hell I want to believe.

From Study finds contradictions among Americans' religious beliefs by Matthai Kuruvila:

Americans remain heavily religious, but their views rarely conform to dogma, according to a massive new survey released this morning.

Seventy percent of religious adherents in the United States believe multiple religions can lead a person to salvation, while 68 percent say there is more than one way to interpret the teachings of their religion.

Those views are at the centerpiece of a survey of 36,000 people released today by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. The survey - unprecedented in its combination of survey pool and breadth of questions - reveals that religious beliefs and practices in America defy doctrine.
Read more here.

How Well Do You Know John McCain?

From 10 things to know about McCain:

  1. John McCain voted against establishing a national holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Now he says his position has "evolved," yet he's continued to oppose key civil rights laws.

  2. According to Bloomberg News, McCain is more hawkish than Bush on Iraq, Russia and China. Conservative columnist Pat Buchanan says McCain "will make Cheney look like Gandhi."

  3. His reputation is built on his opposition to torture, but McCain voted against a bill to ban waterboarding, and then applauded President Bush for vetoing that ban.

  4. McCain opposes a woman's right to choose. He said, "I do not support Roe versus Wade. It should be overturned."

  5. The Children's Defense Fund rated McCain as the worst senator in Congress for children. He voted against the children's health care bill last year, then defended Bush's veto of the bill.

  6. He's one of the richest people in a Senate filled with millionaires. The Associated Press reports he and his wife own at least eight homes! Yet McCain says the solution to the housing crisis is for people facing foreclosure to get a "second job" and skip their vacations.

  7. Many of McCain's fellow Republican senators say he's too reckless to be commander in chief. One Republican senator said: "The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine. He's erratic. He's hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me."

  8. McCain talks a lot about taking on special interests, but his campaign manager and top advisers are actually lobbyists. The government watchdog group Public Citizen says McCain has 59 lobbyists raising money for his campaign, more than any of the other presidential candidates.

  9. McCain has sought closer ties to the extreme religious right in recent years. The pastor McCain calls his "spiritual guide," Rod Parsley, believes America's founding mission is to destroy Islam, which he calls a "false religion." McCain sought the political support of right-wing preacher John Hagee, who believes Hurricane Katrina was God's punishment for gay rights and called the Catholic Church "the Antichrist" and a "false cult."

  10. He positions himself as pro-environment, but he scored a 0—yes, zero—from the League of Conservation Voters last year.

Tom Tomorrow Dismantles Bill Kristol

Of all the bloggers out there, I’d say that Tom Tomorrow is my favorite.

Here is one of the reasons why.

Whatever Happened To "If It Bleeds It Leads"?

Selected bits from Reporters Say Networks Put Wars on Back Burner by Brian Stelter:

Five years into the war in Iraq and nearly seven years into the war in Afghanistan, getting news of the conflicts onto television is harder than ever.

“If I were to watch the news that you hear here in the United States, I would just blow my brains out because it would drive me nuts,” Ms. Logan said.
CBS News no longer stations a single full-time correspondent in Iraq, where some 150,000 United States troops are deployed.
Ms. Logan said she begged for months to be embedded with a group of Navy Seals, and when she came back with the story, a CBS producer said to her, “One guy in uniform looks like any other guy in a uniform.”
Both Ms. Logan and Mr. McCarthy noted that more coalition soldiers were killed in Afghanistan in May than in Iraq. No American television network has a full-time correspondent in Afghanistan, although CNN recently said it would open a bureau in Kabul.
Journalists at all three American television networks with evening newscasts expressed worries that their news organizations would withdraw from the Iraqi capital after the November presidential election. They spoke only on the condition of anonymity in order to avoid offending their employers.
Does this story give you a sense of deja vu? Well, perhaps this is the reason why.

The Oracle Of Oil

For years Warren Buffett has been referred to as the Oracle of Omaha. Now it appears that many would like to crown Arjun Murti as the Oracle of Oil.

From What Mr. Crude Oil Sees Ahead by Lawrence C. Strauss:

In 2004, Arjun N. Murti, a Top Energy Analyst At Goldman Sachs, published a report predicting "a potentially large upward spike in crude oil, natural gas and refining margins at some point this decade." It was a controversial call, with crude around $40 a barrel at the time. But it was right on the money.

Four years later, crude is trading around 139.

Murti sees energy in the later stages of a "super spike," in which prices rise to a point where demand drops off. In a note last month, he wrote that "the possibility of $150-to-$200-per-barrel oil seems increasingly likely over the next six to 24 months."

With supply growth constrained and global demand staying strong, prices must rise further, in Murti's view. Barron's caught up with him last week in his New York office.

The 39-year-old analyst doesn't give many interviews and keeps a low profile, preferring not to be photographed. But his strong views on energy have resonated across the financial markets.
Read the Barron’s interview here.

Dave Manuel wonders if what Mr. Murti says becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

From Arjun Murti - The Man Behind the "Super Spike" by Dave Manuel:
Are his predictions a self-fulfilling prophecy? If oil spikes and hits $200 per barrel, then surely his own words would have had a major impact on oil hitting this lofty level.

Unlike other analysts who seem to crave the spotlight, Murti prefers to remain in the shadows, out of view. According to a recent WSJ article, Murti is actually decidedly anti-oil, and believes that the "super spike" in prices will eventually lead to a significant decline in demand for oil.

Where will Murti's "Super Spike" call rank amongst the all-time greatest analyst calls ever? Time will tell. One thing is for sure though - when Murti speaks now, people will listen.

Let's Privatize Bush

Why do we have a president that hates the government? One who vetoes everything that could possibly do us some good. One who only supports things like war and destruction?

At what point do the Libertarians and Bushite/Reaganites want to stop dismantling the government? When there is absolutely nothing left?

Whatever happened to the concept of government for the common good?

From Travelers Shift to Rail as Cost of Fuel Rises by Matthew L. Wald:

Despite its popularity with passengers, the biggest determinant of the railroad’s health is still the federal government, and in Washington, views diverge sharply.

Last year Senator Frank Lautenberg, Democrat of New Jersey, and others won overwhelming Senate approval for a bill that would offer the states 80 cents for every 20 cents they spend on new intercity passenger rail service, the same as the match offered for highway projects.

The House passed a bill with the same provision by a veto-proof margin earlier this month. The bill will soon go to a conference committee, but the White House is threatening to veto it because it wants the passenger rail system to be turned over to private operators.

The Legacy Of Doug Feith

  • Created the Counter Terrorism Evaluation Group, which was investigated by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence as to whether it "exaggerated the threat posed by Iraq to justify the war."

  • Attempted to link Iraq with Al Qaeda.

  • Called for Regime Change in Iraq five years before the 9/11 attack.

  • Allegedly leaked classified information to The Weekly Standard.

  • Urged Bush administration to abandon the Geneva Conventions.

And that’s just the beginning, read more here.

More Lies From The GOP

Round up the usual suspects: Dick Cheney, Mary Matalin, George Will, Jean Schmidt, Fred Barnes, Larry Craig, John Boehner, Roy Blunt, and many more for another round of Republican misinformation.

From Searching For The True Source Of A Bogus Story by Andrew Tilghman:

We've been trying to find the original source for that mysterious meme about China drilling for oil off the coast of Cuba and Florida.

It's flat out wrong. The AP debunked it a few days ago after Vice President Dick Cheney tried to pass it off in remarks to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce about high energy prices.
Read the rest here.

Remembering George Carlin

George Carlin has died of heart failure. He was 71.

Here he gives his thoughts on the “all time champion of false promises and exaggerated claims”:

Bye George. Let's all get down on our knees and pray to Joe Pesci.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

John McCain Is Santa Claus

He knows who has been naughty and he knows who has been nice. He just knows. There is no need for a trial for those who are not like us. There is no need for Habeas Corpus for those Un-American Non-Americans. Why should they have any rights?

Let me get this straight. We are spreading democracy in the middle east to people who don’t deserve to have the rights of Habeas Corpus? Is this what Mr. Straight Talk Bomb Bomb Bomb is trying to tell us? What kind of democracy is that?

John McCain:

The United States Supreme Court yesterday rendered a decision which I think is one of the worst decisions in the history of this country. Sen. Graham and Sen. Lieberman and I had worked very hard to make sure that we didn't torture any prisoners, that we didn't mistreat them, that we abided by the Geneva Conventions, which applies to all prisoners. But we also made it perfectly clear, and I won't go through all the legislation we passed, and the prohibition against torture, but we made it very clear that these are enemy combatants, these are people who are not citizens, they do not and never have been given the rights that citizens of this country have. And my friends there are some bad people down there. There are some bad people. So now what are we going to do. We are now going to have the courts flooded with so-called, quote, Habeas Corpus suits against the government, whether it be about the diet, whether it be about the reading material. And we are going to be bollixed up in a way that is terribly unfortunate, because we need to go ahead and adjudicate these cases. By the way, 30 of the people who have already been released from Guantanamo Bay have already tried to attack America again, one of them just a couple weeks ago, a suicide bomber in Iraq. Our first obligation is the safety and security of this nation, and the men and women who defend it. This decision will harm our ability to do that.
Apparently for Senator McCain there is a point at which justice simply becomes too much work to be bothered with anymore.

“… these are people who are not citizens, they do not and never have been given the rights that citizens of this country have.” The British are not citizens of the United States. Do they have the right to Habeas Corpus, Senator McCain? After all, it was their idea in the first place.

“And my friends there are some bad people down there. There are some bad people.” And some are not. That is why we have a justice system, Senator McCain, to find out whether someone is truly guilty.

What good is it to have a safe and secure nation if that nation is no longer civilized?

Thomas L. Friedman Scares Me

For me it is a scary thing to agree with someone I usually disagree with. Don’t get me wrong, I wish we all could be in agreement about everything. However, that is rarely the case. And in the case of Thomas Friedman, I usually disagree with him. Not this time, though.

From Mr. Bush, Lead or Leave by Thomas L. Friedman:

Two years ago, President Bush declared that America was “addicted to oil,” and, by gosh, he was going to do something about it. Well, now he has. Now we have the new Bush energy plan: “Get more addicted to oil.”

Actually, it’s more sophisticated than that: Get Saudi Arabia, our chief oil pusher, to up our dosage for a little while and bring down the oil price just enough so the renewable energy alternatives can’t totally take off. Then try to strong arm Congress into lifting the ban on drilling offshore and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

It’s as if our addict-in-chief is saying to us: “C’mon guys, you know you want a little more of the good stuff. One more hit, baby. Just one more toke on the ole oil pipe. I promise, next year, we’ll all go straight. I’ll even put a wind turbine on my presidential library. But for now, give me one more pop from that drill, please, baby. Just one more transfusion of that sweet offshore crude.”

It is hard for me to find the words to express what a massive, fraudulent, pathetic excuse for an energy policy this is.
Read the rest here.

Two Heads Are Better Than One

And two hearts are better than one. And in the case of food safety, two regulators are better than one, especially since one of them is not really a regulator, but the one being regulated.

From Bad Cow Disease by Paul Krugman:

Lately, however, there always seems to be at least one food-safety crisis in the headlines — tainted spinach, poisonous peanut butter and, currently, the attack of the killer tomatoes. The declining credibility of U.S. food regulation has even led to a foreign-policy crisis: there have been mass demonstrations in South Korea protesting the pro-American prime minister’s decision to allow imports of U.S. beef, banned after mad cow disease was detected in 2003.

How did America find itself back in The Jungle?
Read more here.

Oh My

I may faint. A bishop boycott.

From UK bishop 'will boycott Lambeth':

A leading Church of England bishop will boycott the Lambeth Conference in protest at the presence of pro-gay bishops, it has been reported.
"It will show that this dispute has entered the Church of England."
Maybe he could use his spare time to help some flood victims or something.

Bible Verse For Sunday 06-22-08

And ye shall eat fat till ye be full, and drink blood till ye be drunken, of my sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you.

Thus ye shall be filled at my table with horses and chariots, with mighty men, and with all men of war, saith the Lord God.
What the hell?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Is Our Children Learning?

This is taking religious wackiness to a whole new level. It is a dangerous thing when religious belief supersedes logic. Of course religious belief always supersedes logic, so it is always dangerous.

From Teacher accused of burning cross on student's arm:

School administrators in Ohio voted Friday to begin the process of firing a middle school teacher accused of burning a cross into a student's arm and refusing to keep his religious beliefs out of the classroom.

The Mount Vernon School Board passed a resolution to terminate the employment of John Freshwater, an eighth-grade science teacher for the past 21 years.

Freshwater, according to an independent report, used an electrostatic device to mark a cross on the arm of one of his students, causing pain to the student the night of the incident and leaving a mark that lasted for approximately three weeks.

According to the Ohio Department of Education, the student's family has filed a lawsuit.

Freshwater was also reprimanded several times for refusing to move his Bible from his classroom desk and teaching creationism alongside evolution, according to the 15-page independent report. The report also cites evidence that Mr. Freshwater told his students that "science is wrong because the Bible states that homosexuality is a sin and so anyone who is gay chooses to be gay and is therefore a sinner."
Read the rest here.

And this guy was a science teacher? For 21 years?

Friday, June 20, 2008

As If We Don't Have Enough To Worry About

The Department of Homeland Security states the obvious.

From Agency says 7,000 sites at 'high risk' of terrorist attack:

More than 7,000 facilities, from chemical plants to colleges, have been designated "high-risk" sites for potential terrorist attacks, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Next week, the department will send letters to the facilities notifying them that they that they present the highest potential consequences in the event of a successful terrorist attack, said Robert Stephan, the agency's assistant secretary for infrastructure protection.

The facilities include chemical plants, hospitals, colleges and universities, oil and natural gas production and storage sites, and food and agricultural processing and distribution centers, Stephan said.
To tell you the truth, I’m more afraid that I’ll be shot by some hunter with an AK-47 than I am of some terrorist attack. The odds probably favor the good ol’ boy with the RUSSIAN designed weapon rather than the middle eastern terrorist. If you're going to hunt with an assault rifle, can't you at least buy American?

This Is How They Do It

Head over to the Last Straw and find out How the American news media breeds ignorance.

Why Does It Take High Gas Prices?

When we get in our cars to drive somewhere do we think of our children and grandchildren, or do we only think about how much that tank of gas is costing us?

Since oil is a finite resource you would think we would be more careful about how much of it we use. You would think that we would want to save some of it for future generations. You would think that we wouldn’t want to be so selfish. It seems that the only way for us to drive less and get rid of our SUVs is for the cost to go up high enough. Why is that?

From Americans drive 1.4 billion fewer highway miles:

Americans drove 1.4 billion fewer highway miles in April than they did in April 2007, the Department of Transportation said Wednesday.

That marks the sixth consecutive monthly drop and coincides with record gas prices and an increase in transit ridership, Transportation Secretary Mary Peters said.
Read the rest here.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Is This The Reason We Went To War?

Is this the reason why Bush was so determined to get rid of Saddam Hussein?

From Deals With Iraq Are Set to Bring Oil Giants Back by Andrew E. Kramer:

Four Western oil companies are in the final stages of negotiations this month on contracts that will return them to Iraq, 36 years after losing their oil concession to nationalization as Saddam Hussein rose to power.

Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP — the original partners in the Iraq Petroleum Company — along with Chevron and a number of smaller oil companies, are in talks with Iraq’s Oil Ministry for no-bid contracts to service Iraq’s largest fields, according to ministry officials, oil company officials and an American diplomat.

The deals, expected to be announced on June 30, will lay the foundation for the first commercial work for the major companies in Iraq since the American invasion, and open a new and potentially lucrative country for their operations.

The no-bid contracts are unusual for the industry, and the offers prevailed over others by more than 40 companies, including companies in Russia, China and India.
Read the rest here.

What Is Norm Up To?

An Experiment

Forty Thousand Heroin Addicts

Forty thousand heroin addicts. That’s not the total for the United States, that’s for the city of Baltimore all by itself. How successful is the War on Drugs? The term was first used by President Richard Nixon in 1972. After all of that time what have we accomplished? We have a huge prison population and forty thousand heroin addicts in Baltimore. The war on drugs doesn’t seem very successful to me. Let’s spend more money on treatment and less on imprisonment.

From Raid signals more trouble for Baltimore mayor by Ben Nuckols:

Seen by some as a divisive figure during her time on the City Council, Dixon has won over skeptics with her shrewd management of an often-troubled city of about 624,000, including an estimated 40,000 heroin addicts.
For more information on the War on Drugs see:

Telling the Truth About the War on Drugs

Drug Policy Alliance Network

Sweden Is Wiretapping Now Too

From Sweden approves wiretapping law:

Sweden's parliament has approved controversial new laws allowing authorities to spy on cross-border e-mail and telephone traffic.

The country's intelligence bureau will be able to scan international calls, faxes and e-mails.

The measure was passed by a narrow majority after a heated debate in the Stockholm parliament.

Critics say it threatens civil liberties and represents Europe's most far-reaching eavesdropping plan.
Read the rest here.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

“The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it.”

FEMA Flip Flop

Incompetence rules wherever we turn.

The changing narrative. Over the weekend CNN reported that the director of FEMA justified giving away hurricane relief supplies because Louisiana had turned them down.

Now, it seems that things have changed.

From FEMA gives hurricane supplies back to Louisiana:

Some of the $85 million in hurricane relief supplies given away as federal surplus will be sent back to Louisiana and given to nonprofit agencies for distribution, the state's hurricane recovery office said Tuesday.

"Today we can report that we have been notified that some of the surplus property has been located in Texas and will be coming to the state of Louisiana for distribution by Unity New Orleans," said Paul Rainwater, the executive director of the Louisiana Recovery Authority.

A CNN investigation revealed last week that FEMA gave away the supplies as government surplus, even though agencies like Unity -- which works to resettle hurricane victims -- were still seeking the kind of supplies given away.
Read the rest here.

Kudos to CNN (and anyone else who reported the story) for shaming FEMA into doing the right thing.

A comment left by Diane over at Beautiful, Also, Are The Souls Of My Black Sisters:
Of course, the supplies were returned after 2 years of being stockpiled. Why? FEMA had to be shamed into doing the right thing. Shame FEMA, shame!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

You Can't Have Him

Visit those damn radicals at

Bush Likes To Keep Reminding Us That He Is Such An Ass

Do you remember when the issue with Senator John Kerry was that he was a huge flip flopper? Guess who is a bigger flip flopper?

"I don't know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority." G.W. Bush, 3/13/02

"I am truly not that concerned about him." G.W. Bush, responding to a question about bin Laden's whereabouts, 3/13/02 ( 4/8/02)

Now, all of a sudden Bush seems to care and be concerned about Osama.

From Get Osama Bin Laden before I leave office, orders George W Bush by Sarah Baxter:

President George W Bush has enlisted British special forces in a final attempt to capture Osama Bin Laden before he leaves the White House.

Defence and intelligence sources in Washington and London confirmed that a renewed hunt was on for the leader of the September 11 attacks. “If he [Bush] can say he has killed Saddam Hussein and captured Bin Laden, he can claim to have left the world a safer place,” said a US intelligence source.
Read the rest here.

“ President George W Bush has enlisted British special forces…” What? American special forces are not good enough? Talk about outsourcing.

From George Bush: 'Get Osama Bin Laden before I leave office':
However, one baffling mystery is that the FBI never added the September 11 crime act in Osama bin Laden's "Most Wanted" poster.
Maybe he had nothing to do with it?

Why is George W. Bush still president? Why hasn’t he been impeached?

Bush Just Pisses People Off, Doesn't He?

The worst part of it is that he is oblivious to it all, and doesn’t care.

From Brits give Bush hostile send-off:

President George Bush had come to say goodbye to Britain, but hundreds of protesters had come to say good riddance to President Bush.

Up to 2500 demonstrators held a boisterous rally in London's Parliament Square as Mr Bush dined nearby with his British counterpart.

Protesters blew whistles, banged drums, and voiced their opposition to the war on terror.

A few belted officers with placards and tried to breach a police cordon set up to block them from getting near Downing St, where Mr Bush arrived for a private dinner with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Demonstrators chanted "Bush - terrorist" only about 250m away from where the President and PM were eating, and police made 25 arrests.

Most were there to say goodbye and good riddance to Mr Bush, and some had a message for his successor as well.

"This is also a signal to the incoming president that the people of this country are absolutely against this illegal war and destroying civil liberties," said Sarah Cox, a 71-year-old retired teacher who carried a Bush effigy bearing a cowboy hat, toy pistol and miniature missile.
Read the rest here.

And there is also George Bush in Britain: Police investigate anti-war protests.

George W. Bush. Can’t you just feel the love?

War Is Dumb

I thought war was hell. The war in Iraq was more than a “dumb war”, it was an illegal and immoral war, and our current occupation is illegal and immoral also, and the Iraqi government wants us to leave. So let's leave.

From So Why Are We Still There, Sen. McCain? by the editors of The Nation:

It's a tradition in American presidential politics that once the primaries are over, both the Democratic and Republican candidates move to the center in search of that all-important centrist swing voter. Let's hope that this year, at least, Barack Obama resists that impulse when it comes to what is likely to be one of the most contentious issues in this fall's campaign: Iraq.

In fact, we need to do more than hope. Progressives, antiwar activists and, yes, even swing voters -- who long ago realized that Iraq is what Obama, in 2002, called a "dumb war" -- should demand that the senator from Illinois draw as stark a contrast as possible between himself and John McCain over Iraq.

Read the rest here.

CBS News printing something from The Nation. That's pretty cool.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Will The Katrina Stories Never End?

More government screw-up and waste on Bush’s watch.

From FEMA director defends giving away hurricane supplies:

The director of Federal Emergency Management Agency on Sunday defended giving away an estimated $85 million in hurricane relief supplies, blaming Louisiana officials for turning down the stockpiles.
Read the rest here.

It's Only Money, Who Needs It?

The Bush administration's plan to help the United States seems to be to not raise taxes and not spend any government funds on the United States itself, but to send all our money to foreign nations. Why? How does this help the citizens of the United States? There are so many ways this money could be more wisely spent.

From Plan Mexico by: Maya Schenwar:

As Congress gears up to fund another year of war and occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is also readying a nearly half-billion-dollar aid package that would initiate a Colombia-like drug war in Mexico. The majority of funds would fuel the Mexican military, known for rampant human rights abuses and participation in organized crime.
Yet, according to human rights advocates, the plan prioritizes companies over people, lining the pockets of American defense contractors while putting both political dissidents and ordinary Mexican civilians at risk. Government documents leaked to the nonprofit Center for International Policy provide an idea of what the specifics of the plan will look like: more than half the funds would pay for technology and personnel to bolster the Mexican military's counternarcotics operations. The initiative would ignore the US's own involvement in the transport and sale of drugs.

Plan Mexico allots no money for drug treatment and rehabilitation.
Read more here.

This Does Not Help Our Country

In the name of democracy and “We the people” this is a disgrace.

From White House office wins ruling on e-mail records:

The White House Office of Administration is not required to turn over records about a trove of possibly missing e-mails, a federal judge ruled Monday.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly found the agency does not have "substantial independent authority" so it is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

The decision means the White House does not have to disclose documents relating to its troubled e-mail system. That system developed problems that may have caused millions of White House e-mails to be unaccounted for.
Read the rest here.

The Sainthood Of Tim Russert

I was going to call this The Canonization of Tim Russert but someone else beat me to it.

I have already posted some of my thoughts on the media reaction to Tim Russerts departure from this earth.

Today I find more who are in agreement that Mr. Russert does not quite deserve all the uncritical glory being bestowed upon him.

From The Canonization of Tim Russert ... please by Joseph Raymond:

Here is my view of Tim Russert: he was a loyal boy scout, an alter boy publicly uncritical of the powers that be. He lacked a cynicism for government that anyone so long in Washington surely should have developed. He was promoted to a position where this character weakness caused great damage to our nation.
Tim Russert played off his failure to present opposition information on the case for war in Iraq or to ask the tough questions as if he never had an inkling that he was being used by the administration as part of a sophisticated propaganda campaign to sell the war to the American public. Why did the neocons favor use of Russert? Precisely because of the boy scout image.
There is more here.

Also worth taking a look at is How Tim Russert Helped Plant the Seeds for Iraq War by Jonathan Schwarz.

We are simply being given more propaganda from the main stream media upon the death of one its biggest propagandists, and helping to keep the circle of life of propaganda alive.

Memo To All The Flag Pin Bozos

Action that improves the quality of life for all is more important than whether someone is wearing a flag pin or not.

Instead of invading Iraq we could be using the money wasted there to build hydrogen fuel stations all over the United States. This would lessen the impact of many of the problems that we face: global warming, dependence on Middle East oil, the question of whether we should drill in Alaska, high gasoline costs, high food costs, and basically any problem we have where oil is the root cause. Are any of the presidential candidates doing anything about this? After all, they are United States Senators, they do have considerable power. Are any of the presidential candidates talking about this? Where are the proposals?

We could have invested in hydrogen fuel stations years ago. Why didn’t we? Could the fact that the Bush administration is filled with oil men and women have anything to do with it?

Hey Washington! Stop throwing away our tax dollars in Iraq and start funding hydrogen fuel stations all across the United States of America. Let’s see less empty rhetoric and more tangible solutions for a change. That’s a change I can believe in.

The cars are here NOW, we just need the stations. NOW!

From Honda rolls out fuel cell car:

Honda's new zero-emission, hydrogen fuel cell car rolled off a Japanese production line Monday and is headed to southern California, where Hollywood is already abuzz over the latest splash in green motoring.

The FCX Clarity, which runs on hydrogen and electricity, emits only water and none of the gases believed to induce global warming. It is also two times more energy efficient than a gas-electric hybrid and three times that of a standard gasoline-powered car, the company says.
The biggest obstacles standing in the way of wider adoption of fuel cell vehicles are cost and the dearth of hydrogen fuel stations.
We need action, and we need it now.

One last thing. If Washington does get off of its huge collective ass and does what I suggest, I leave it with a suggestion. Don’t give any money to the big oil companies to do this. They don’t need or deserve any of it. Find the entrepreneurs who have been developing alternatives to oil for years and reward them.

Atheists Are Not Ignorant, Atheists Are Not Immoral

From Forgoing faith by Samantha Pak:

This is not surprising, said Michael Amini, a junior and Near Eastern languages and civilization major, who is another officer for the SSU. He said that many atheists know the Bible better than many Christians do — which shows that they turn to atheism not out of ignorance, but as a rejection of what they have learned.
Amini said that one of the most irritating reactions he gets when people find out he is atheist is the assumption that he has no morals. Contrary to this, Amini said that because he believes there is no divine justice and this is the only life he has, he is going to live it the best way possible. This makes for the view on his lack of morality interesting.

“Morality predates religion,” he said.
Read more here.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

What A Waste Of Money

Whatever happened to investigating a crime before acting on erroneous information?

From Texas raid on polygamists' compound cost $14 million plus by John Moritz:

The state's tab for operations associated with the roundup of more than 460 youngsters from a polygamist sect's ranch in West Texas has already topped $14 million, a figure that will rise as still-unsubmitted overtime, travel and professional services bills are tallied, newly released records show.
Read the rest here.

It cost $14 million to traumetize 460 children, and Uncle Sam says: “Just add it to my tab.” Because you know you can't get elected by raising taxes.

Bush Screws Up Again

So what else is new? Yet more incompetence by the United States. Some would call this criminal, but no, it seems only the innocent get punished. Impeachment, before it’s too late.

From America's prison for terrorists often held the wrong men by Tom Lasseter:

"He was not an enemy of the government, he was a friend of the government," a senior Afghan intelligence officer told McClatchy. Akhtiar was imprisoned at Guantanamo on the basis of false information that local anti-government insurgents fed to U.S. troops, he said.

An eight-month McClatchy investigation in 11 countries on three continents has found that Akhtiar was one of dozens of men — and, according to several officials, perhaps hundreds — whom the U.S. has wrongfully imprisoned in Afghanistan, Cuba and elsewhere on the basis of flimsy or fabricated evidence, old personal scores or bounty payments.
If you were one of these men would you have any resentment towards the United States?

Does God Know About This?

How intelligent was it to design this into his almighty worldly plan?

From Study: Higher IQ=Atheist?:

A study published in the journal "Intelligence" shows the smarter a person is, the less likely they are to believe in God.
Read the rest here.

Does McCain's Past Reveal His True Character?

From McCharacter:

It's curious how, in the three days since Carol McCain gave an interview to the London Daily Mail (The wife U.S. Republican John McCain callously left behind), elaborating on her debilitating accident and how her playboy husband left her her for a much younger, rich, healthy and attractive woman, the American media hasn't touched the story.

The Antiwar Surge

From Surge of antiwar films by Ed Rampell:

After Pearl Harbor, Hollywood went to war, making training shorts such as Jap Zero with Ronald Reagan and morale boosters such as Casablanca.

During the Korean War, only one film - Retreat, Hell! in 1952 - was released during the conflict. There aren't too many movies, sympathetic or critical, about Korea.

During the unpopular Vietnam War, however, Tinseltown went AWOL, releasing only one Indochina-set feature, John Wayne's hawkish The Green Berets in 1968. The dovish Oscar-winning documentary Hearts and Minds came toward war's end. Films less sympathetic to the war - Coming Home with Jon Voight and Jane Fonda, Apocalypse Now with Marlon Brando, and Oliver Stone's Platoon - came well afterward.

In contrast, today's wars on terror and in Afghanistan and Iraq have unleashed an unprecedented antiwar cinematic surge while those conflicts are still going on. To be sure, there have been patriotic, pro-administration, and right-leaning films and TV series. But overwhelmingly, the film world has been antiwar and ready to sink production money into saying so - even if the films hardly break even. It's a concerted media protest unlike any that have gone before - and it suggests that filmmakers are frustrated with the way the too-careful mainstream media got hornswoggled in their Iraq coverage.
Read the rest here.

The Albatross

From Election diary: George W Albatross by Rob Reynolds:

John McCain, the Republican party's ancient mariner (aged 71, navy man) has a very heavy weight around his neck that threatens to sink his White House hopes.

President George Bush is the bird McCain cant get rid of. Right now, Bush's approval rating is at 28 per cent, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, but even worse, 54 per cent say that they want a president who would bring major change to existing government policies - even if that person isn't heavily experienced.

Just 42 per cent said they would rather have more experience even if it meant less change. When it comes to who, exactly, would bring about real change, 48 per cent say Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic candidate, while just 21 per cent picked McCain.

So far, McCain has been casting the race between himself and Obama as experience versus change; that didn't work out that well for Hillary Clinton, and there's no reason to think it will work any better for McCain.
Read the rest here.

Look Who's Talking About Propaganda

From Bush slams anti-US 'propaganda':

As Air Force One touched down, hundreds were gathering in the city centre in protest at the Bush administration and Italy's involvement in Afghanistan.

Another group of demonstrators chanted "Bush, go home" outside the American Academy in Rome's Villa Aurelia while the president met young entrepreneurs inside.

Mr Bush urged them to ignore the "misinformation and propaganda" spread about his country and to learn the "first-hand truth about America" by visiting.

"The best diplomacy for America, particularly among young folks, is to welcome you to our country," he said.

"We are compassionate, we're an open country, we care about people and we're entrepreneurial."
Unless you happen to be Mexican.

Oh, So Many Catapults

From House Votes to Ban Pentagon Propaganda: Networks Still Silent by Josh Silver:

Two things are certain. First, consolidated, corporate media is failing to provide critical journalism, and is aiding and abetting government propaganda. Second, this is not the last time this media blight will rear its ugly head, and as long as it does, the American public will continue to be led by the nose to support disastrous wars, policies and politicians.
Read more here.

The Republic Of Heaven

From Editorial by Brian P. Hudson:

It’s this final idea that prompts me to bring The Golden Compass into this otherwise unassuming Nexus editorial. Because, as a writer, I’ve got this sudden bug to imagine what a “republic of heaven” might look like in our own world. By which I mean, a world where religion has faded and fallen--maybe not gone but certainly in the minority--and realism, skepticism, and humanism have taken over. And suddenly, I’ve got a yearning to write about just such a thing.

Now, I’m not naïve enough to think that the world would be a utopia, nor that religion would simply vanish. I just wonder, what would such a world be like? How would our day-to-day existence change? How would governments function differently? Where would our politics fall? What would be the causes of our strife? Would there be war? Would there be peace? What would we do with all the churches? What would we do with each other?
Read the rest here.

Bible Verse For Sunday 06-15-08

Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!

Thou art filled with shame for glory: drink thou also, and let thy foreskin be uncovered: the cup of the Lord's right hand shall be turned unto thee, and shameful spewing shall be on thy glory.
What the hell?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

An Atheist In Need Of A Dictionary

I like to think of myself as a friendly atheist, too. However, I do know that the word atheist means “one who does not believe in God.”

From Seeking common ground by Bryan Patterson:

Hemant Mehta is an atheist who offered to attend church for the highest bidder on eBay.

The winner paid enough to encourage Mehta to attend several churches and then write a book about his experiences titled I Sold My Soul on eBay.

In his introduction, Mehta wrote: "I am an atheist, but I don't fit the common stereotype held by so many in the religious community. I am not angry with God and I don't want to rid the world of religion.

"I hope you will think of me not simply as an atheist, but rather as a person with questions about faith, an openness to evidence that might contradict my current beliefs, and a curiosity about Christianity and its message. I'm a friendly atheist."
Read the rest here.

Tim Russert Accolades

All of the recent accolades heaped upon Tim Russert since his death on Friday disturb me. He may have been good at what he did, but he was not a good journalist as so many claim. He was not a good journalist because he was incredibly biased. He was a Bush enabler (Dick Cheney’s people considered Meet The Press their “best format” for catapulting the propaganda) during a time when that was the last thing that we needed. And because of the power that Mr. Russert had from Meet The Press and constantly being on television (it seems like he was on the Today Show every morning) his bias was that much more damaging.

I respectfully decline to join the large ranks of those saying how wonderful Mr. Russert was. There are a few others who share my opinion.

From Russert Failed Us by Thomas C:

But when we really needed him to be a journalist and to put his obligation to his viewers and readers ahead of his own career and his treasured access, he failed completely. And there were lives at stake, in Iraq and here at home.

I'm sorry. Flame away. But I can't help but feel betrayed. In the scheme of things perhaps it was a minor offense. It certainly doesn't place in the ranks of Bush, Cheney, Libby and the other war criminals. But Russert could have made a difference. And as a journalist he should have made a difference by telling us that Libby was lying, a disclosure that may have blown open this case in the months leading up to the 2004 election. But he didn't. He chose his career instead - the access, the fame, the fat $5 million contract. It seems like we really didn't enter into the equation for Tim.

I've noticed that others have expressed sentiments similar to those I've expressed in this post, and the reaction from many has been pretty harsh. They've insisted that this kind of criticism defames Russert, or is inappropriate at this time. All I can say in response is that if others are going to mourn Russert by falsely asserting that he was a giant of journalism, then there are at least 4100 reasons in Iraq why we should be permitted to rebut that assertion. Because Tim Russert may have been a great guy, and a good family man, but he was a poor journalist at a time when we needed good journalists so desperately.
Like George W. Bush, Russert wanted us to believe he was a “regular guy.” He frequently referred to his working class upbringing in Buffalo, New York. The fact of the matter is that he was rich and powerful and summered in Nantucket with his previous boss Jack Welch.

From Special report: Gregory’s world! by Bob Somerby:
Before Brady chose to spill the beans, did you even know that Russert “summers?” More specifically, did you know that he summers in consort with GE’s Jack Welch, his long-time (conservative) boss-man? (A year after Brady’s piece appeared, Chris Matthews plunked down a cool 4.4 mill to buy his own Nantucket shack.) And we’ll be honest; this whole thing seemed a bit more odd in light of the November 2000 profile by USA Today’s Peter Johnson, who said this of Russert tie to his bosses: “Colleagues say he shares a Catholic bond with NBC president Bob Wright and General Electric chairman Jack Welch.” If Brady’s report can be believed, the three men seal their bond on Nantucket.

There’s nothing wrong with any of that, of course—unless you’re concerned by the way that slightly odd Nantucket boys’ club has covered the politics of the Clinton/Bush era. In Part 4 of this report, for example, we’ll show you a remarkable journalistic flip-flop from October 2000—a flip which frankly makes us wonder if a call from Jack Welch might not have been placed to at least one of this island clique’s great cable stars.
If Tim Russert was the great journalist that so many claim he was, he would want the truth to be the most important part of his obituary. The sad fact is that Tim Russert played games with the truth and it has hurt us all.

For more on how fair and balanced Mr. Russert was:

Why Didn't They Call Me? by digby

Russert: At the Feet of the Powerful and Throat of the Weak
by Fred Branfman

Meet Tim Russert by Jamison Foser

Russert and panel failed to challenge claim that "no one knew" intel on Iraq WMDs was flawed

Russert misled on Iraq intelligence, statements by Bush and Cheney on Iraq/9-11 link

It's Checks and Balances, Mr. Russert by John Conyers

Was Race a Factor in Russert's Obama Interview?

Things Are Great in Iraq!

Washington Reporters In Meltdown, Damage-Control Freak Out Mode by David Sirota

I guess there is no reason for the main stream media to stop the lies and half-truths and misleading statements and obsfucation just because Tim Russert died. I suppose it is a fitting tribute to Tim Russert to do to Russert’s memory what Russert himself did during his career.

The Coalition For The Preservation Of Pretentious Authors

It seems that there are coalitions for everything these days. I enjoyed The Creation by ed.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Obama's Baby Mama Is Not A Gaffe

Gaffes and misstatements? From Fox News and Michelle Malkin? Is this for real?

From News Outlets Face Increasing Scrutiny in Campaign by Sam Schechner and Rebecca Dana:

For the second time this week, Fox News Channel was driven to respond to criticism over on-air statements about Barack Obama, in this case for screen text that described the Democratic presidential candidate's wife as "Obama's baby mama." The term is often applied pejoratively to unwed mothers.

Television news organizations, facing unprecedented scrutiny, have often expressed contrition for poorly chosen words during this election season.

In a campaign that includes the first viable African-American presidential candidate, the lines of appropriate speech have become fuzzy. News organizations are under pressure from a broad network of self-appointed watchdogs, including organized groups like Media Matters and individuals. These watchdogs are likely to remain vigilant about gaffes, misstatements and potentially biased language through the November vote. Just this week, Gina McCauley, a well-known blogger in Austin, Texas, started to track the portrayal of Mrs. Obama in the news media.
Read the rest here.