Monday, April 30, 2007

I won’t have Dana Perino to kick around anymore

White House Press Secretary Tony Snow announced this weekend that he plans to return to work today, Monday. Even though Snow’s smirky, smug, jocular arrogance is hard to take, Snow’s return to health makes me happy for him and his family.

However, what is good news for Tony is bad news for me. You see, when Snow was on leave, his job was taken over by Dana Perino, and when I wrote about White House press briefings, and I mentioned or quoted Perino, my hits tripled. Yes, tripled.

Now, I don’t know if folks out there were really interested in what Perino had to say, or if there are just a bunch of hard-up wingers out there hoping for an image (Perino having been designated an “icy sexpot” a while back. . . no comment), but what do I care—tagging posts with her name was good for my traffic, and I’m gonna miss her!

Besides, Tony Snow is a smirky, smug, arrogant pr. . . Press Secretary.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

then I can trust there won’t be any photo-op pheasant hunts in your future?

Who can forget this golden moment from Iowa ’04 (note bird dog running away from direction Senator Kerry is shooting), or a similar event that had John Kerry marching out of the Ohio woods in fatigues, a 12-gauge in his hand? I hate to make fun of the Senator, who probably did have some idea of how to handle a rifle based on his time in Vietnam, but those attempts to woo NRA types and Second Amendment apologists were, pardon my language, fucking lame.

I can almost guarantee that Kerry’s stunts lost him more votes than he gained. They pissed off vegetarians, and stunk of desperation.

Don’t get me wrong, though I would probably prefer a president who got no joy from shooting things, I am not going to withhold my vote solely because a candidate is a real I-stalk-it-I-shoot-it-and-I-eat-it hunter (to contrast with the “Dick Cheney, I go to a prestocked ranch, get drunk, and shoot my pal” school). I do think twice, however, when a candidate obviously panders—especially when it’s to a constituency that likely won’t vote for him or her anyway.

So, I am hoping that what seemed like a throw-away moment from Thursday night’s Democratic candidates’ debate bodes well for the anti-pandering set—at least when it comes to guns:

Mrs. Clinton was one of three senators who did not raise their hands when asked if they had, as an adult, had a gun in their home; the others were Mr. Obama and Mr. Edwards.

If any of these three show up in the Iowa, Ohio, New Hampshire, Nevada (?), or South Carolina woods wearing starchy new LL Bean camo and a shit-eating grin, carrying a shotgun and a dead bird, however, don’t just chalk me up as disappointed, chalk up that candidate’s goose as cooked.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

fill in the blanks

As Alberto Gonzales is to Republicans, Blank Blank is to the Washington press corps.

Well, if you answered “David Broder,” give yourself an A:

The Democrats' Gonzales

By David S. Broder
Thursday, April 26, 2007; A29

Here's a Washington political riddle where you fill in the blanks: As Alberto Gonzales is to the Republicans, Blank Blank is to the Democrats -- a continuing embarrassment thanks to his amateurish performance.

If you answered " Harry Reid," give yourself an A. And join the long list of senators of both parties who are ready for these two springtime exhibitions of ineptitude to end.

I’ve got much, much more over at capitoilette.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

melamine: it’s not just for fido and fluffy anymore

I have to admit, when it was revealed that the source of the pet food contamination was likely imported grain products, I saw this coming:

Health officials are investigating whether humans may have consumed pork from animals that ate feed containing a chemical linked to a recall of pet foods, the Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday.

As far as I’m concerned, when we talk “homeland security,” nothing could be more important than securing the country’s food supply—against enemies foreign or capitalist—but the Bush Administration certainly doesn’t have the interest, and the FDA probably doesn’t have the resources.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

WH wants their cake and eat it too

Yes, that is purposefully mangled headline. I did it to prepare you for the carefully crafted twisted words of acting White House press secretary Dana Perino as she attempts to hit back at straight-shooter Harry Reid (D-NV) for calling the Iraq war “lost” and President Bush “in denial.”

The words—and the laughs—can be found over at capitoilette.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

another chance to reflect on the legacy of Vietnam

David Halberstam, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the Vietnam War over forty years ago, was killed in a car crash earlier today. He was 73.

Though Halberstam had not worked as a daily reporter since the late Sixties, his boundless curiosity, his intense work ethic, and his unfailing attention to detail continued to serve as a model for what all journalists should aspire to be. Of course, some found Halberstam’s attention to detail to be more unceasing than unfailing, earning him the not always affectionate nickname “Halberstammer,” but in an age where access is often valued over accountability, and many in the media give the impression that an invitation to the right cocktail party is more rewarding than weeks spent doing the less glamorous detective work that used to be considered the meat and potatoes of investigative journalism, Halberstam’s obsessive voice, stammering or otherwise, will be sorely missed.

For instance, here’s Halberstam’s voice talking about a certain disastrous, bloody, and futile foreign military entanglement:

The crueler the war gets, the crueler the attacks get on anybody who doesn't salute or play the game. And then one day, the people who are doing the attacking look around and they've used up their credibility.

The war David Halberstam is referring to there is not Iraq, it is Vietnam, but his words of warning could echo through the corridors of power today.

Would that anyone in those corridors could hear them. Would that an obsessive Halberstam was still around to repeat them. . . as often as he wanted.

(cross-posted to Daily Kos)

Update: David Corn says it even better. . . .

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going, going. . . Gonzo!

Dahlia Lithwick of Slate thinks that AG Alberto Gonzales actually, sorta, kinda, did a bang-up job, from the administration’s point of view, when he stammered and fumphered through a day’s worth of evasion testimony on Thursday. Her rationale is that by refusing to answer practically anything asked of him, by behaving with a sort of churlish arrogance, he was confirming the over-arching view of the Bush White House, often given the overly legitimating name of “the theory of the unitary executive,” but more appropriately summed up by the quote, "l’état, c’est moi."

I, of course, think Abu-G looked like an idiot—which is why I both agree and disagree with Lithwick. Yes, from the standpoint of the loyal Bushies—as we now know they are called (believe it or not, to them, that’s a compliment)—Gonzo did sort of, kind of hit a home run. . . but he hit it by taking one for the team.

By appearing on Capitol Hill to be every inch the un-prepared, in-over-his-head hack that he might in “real life” actually be, the Attorney General has allowed everyone—leading Republicans included—to chalk up the whole US attorney purge scandal as a story about incompetence. . . shall we say, unitary incompetence.

Now, at least as far as this story gets told at this time, Gonzales must resign because he is a bad manager or an ineffective bureaucrat—or maybe even because he is a bit of a jerk—but few of his newest detractors are even intimating that maybe, just maybe, Gonzales was doing his job (politicize the US attorneys to stop corruption probes and manipulate elections) as instructed by his bosses in the executive branch.

That would be Rove. That would be Cheney. And yes, that would be the singular, solitary, unitary President George W. Bush.

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Friday, April 20, 2007

I’ll ask the questions here. . . .

I was a little nervous when I cross-posted yesterday’s extended capitoilette piece to Daily Kos. As noted, I kind of got blindsided a couple of days back when I wrote about the need for stricter gun laws in the wake of another high-profile gun massacre, and got a string of rather hysterical/hostile comments. It seems that even on the left side of the American blogosphere, happiness is a warm gun.

So, after I published my latest “gun” diary, I added a comment to start the thread and, I had hoped, encourage discussion over diatribe. The comment read like this:

To those that love their guns. . .

Please don’t resort to screaming about how I want to take away your guns. . . I don’t. Just tell me why you oppose:
gun registration,
better background checks,
additional licensing procedures for concealed weapons,
mandatory waiting periods,
restrictions on assault-style weapons, Saturday night specials, and extended clips,
mandatory safety training and periodic recertification,
closing so-called gun-show loopholes,
legal liability for gun manufacturers commensurate with other consumer product liability,
and limits on the number of guns and rounds of ammo you can purchase at any given time and over the course of a year.

(I know VA restricts you to 12 guns per year, but otherwise. . . .)

If you can address those points, we can have a discussion. . . or you can just scream that I want to take away your gun again if that makes you feel better.

Well, I am happy to say that the response as measured by the tone of the comments was a bit more favorable on Thursday than it was on Tuesday—but this might have been a fluke of the lower traffic my diary got during the meat of the day. I am sad to say, however, that I did not get any answers to my questions.

So, while I hope not to have to write much more about the Virginia Tech shooting for a while, I will continue to ask the questions detailed above. And, if you encounter a lover of high-powered side-arms, see if you can get him or her to stop “running around henny penny” screaming about how we are going to seize their precious, precious guns, and try to get them to answer these questions instead.

If you get an answer, please let me know.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

all you need is a dollar and a dream

Former Secretary of Labor and University of California professor Robert Reich pretty much nails it:

In the United States, if you are seriously depressed, you can purchase anti-depressive drugs like Prozac, but only if you have a prescription from a doctor. Anti-depressants are enormously beneficial to millions of people but they are also potentially dangerous if used improperly. So, you have to see a doctor and get an assessment before you can go to a drug store and purchase one.

But in the United States, in places like Virginia, a seriously depressed or deranged person can walk into a store and buy a semi-automatic handgun and a box of ammunition. All you need is two forms of identification. You don’t need permission from a doctor or counselor or anyone in the business of screening people to make sure [you’re] fit to have a gun.

We can debate the relative benefits and dangers of anti-depressants and semi-automatic handguns, but if 30,000 Americans were killed each year by anti-depressants, as they are by handguns, anti-depressants would be even more strictly regulated. So why aren't handguns? Consider the politics.

Reich nails it, but I have plenty more nails to hammer away on over at capitoilette. . . .

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

shocked, shocked

No, really. I was shocked today. You see, I cross-posted to Daily Kos yesterday’s thoughts on gun laws in light of the Virginia Tech massacre hoping to inspire discussion about whether it serves the left to make comparisons to the violence in Iraq, or, perhaps, just provoke a general rant-fest on the horrendous record of the Bush Administration when it comes to gun violence.

I got neither—and what I got instead was indeed shocking. While there were a couple of comments voicing general agreement with my position, the bulk of the two-dozen comments (when you remove mine) are attempts to refute (more like rebuke, actually—the comments were nearly devoid of contrary evidence) my rather matter-of-fact assertion that tragedies like Monday’s murders necessitate that America get serious and strengthen its gun laws.

I didn’t post this on Free Republic or Red State, mind you—this was Daily Kos! I would have assumed that most self-identified progressives take a dim view of those that hide behind the Second Amendment. I would have assumed that saying we need an assault weapons ban, mandatory waiting periods and background checks, and/or legal liability for those that manufacture or sell killing machines would have been a mojo-filled slam dunk.

Boy, was I wrong. Instead, I got hysterical “you want to confiscate our guns!” talk, and that old chestnut (in so many words) “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” I think I count nine different community members that argue that the proliferation of guns in America has nothing to do with gun violence! “It’s a violent culture,” “Killing people is already against the law,” “Criminals will always be able to get guns”—that’s what I get from the community that Republicans call the crazy left wing fringe of the Democratic party.

What I didn’t get was anybody to specifically address my question, which I tried to pose in several different forms. Basically, why does any private citizen need an AK-47 knock-off, or a Saturday night special, or a clip that holds 25 rounds? Why would anyone
have ever thought to guarantee a right to bear these kinds of arms?

Instead, my detractors wildly misread statistics, blame society, and feel somehow vindicated by the revelation that the angry, unstable, misanthropic loner that killed 32 in Blacksburg had purchased his Glock nine and his twenty-two legally.

How does that make it better? That a man-boy as disturbed and impulsive as this guy can just walk into a Roanoke gun shop and purchase a serious people-killer like a Glock (and people-killing is all a Glock is good for) makes it even more obvious that America’s gun laws are too darn lax!

I do not believe that the VaTech shooter would have moved hell and high water to get an illegal gun if a legal one was not made available to him; this guy was apparently too shy to speak—to anyone! And I really don’t think he would have been able to mount as awesome a rock-throwing spree or have been able to stab thirty-odd people to death.

Honestly, I find the “logic” of my critics to be insane!

Sure, I will be the first to admit that our culture has some big problems when it comes to the exaltation of violence and violent solutions to conflict (they say that a fish rots from the head, after all). And, I will go further and say that it might be possible to actually prevent many crimes of passion if this country would commit to fully funding a program of community mental health centers and an inclusive, comprehensive national health insurance program that provides for psychiatric care and counseling. But neither examining our culture nor providing access to mental health care will result in fast fixes.

Tightening gun laws—requiring registration, training, and periodic recertification, mandating longer waiting periods for the purchase of guns and ammunition, capping the number of guns that may be purchased at any given time and over the course of a year, and banning outright the manufacture and possession of assault-style weapons, Saturday night specials, and extended clips—will have a much more palpable and much more immediate effect. I feel certain of this.

It is hard to commit gun violence without a gun.

PS I am heartened by an early morning post to Daily Kos’ front page—not by Meteor Blades’ frightening support for carrying concealed weapons, but by the results of the poll he has attached to his commentary. Though not really scientific, the “sense of the community” is that almost none own a gun, and better than half say that they never have and never will.

(cross-posted from capitoilette)

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

an american tragedy

As the terrible, tragic details of the Virginia Tech shootings became known over the course of the Monday news cycle, a certain type of comparison began to crop up in the comments and contributions of several blogs that I make a semi-regular habit of reading. This “analysis” placed the 33 dead in Blacksburg, VA, in the context of the many more killed every day in American-occupied Iraq (one example here).

While I often decry the disproportionate hysterics exhibited by the US establishment media when it comes to a domestic story versus the daily death and destruction that passes for life-as-usual in parts of Iraq, in this case, at least, I feel the attention is justified, and the comparison made by some of my blogging brethren does neither tragedy justice.

(I explain why over at capitoilette.)

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Monday, April 16, 2007

we cut out the middleman

From TPM:

Out of all the issues raised in today's Albuquerque Journal story on the Iglesias firing and any potential sourcing questions, the central fact asserted is that after Sen. Domenici's pressure call to Iglesias and before Iglesias's name appeared on the firing list, Sen. Domenici had a conversation about firing Iglesias with President Bush himself.

The ABQ Journal article has it all (minus a named source on the point and a WH denial of the charge), but the gist is so:

Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) pressured US attorney David Iglesias to bring a politically charged and baseless voter “fraud” prosecution in an attempt to influence close November 2006 congressional elections. Iglesias refused.

Sometime just after the November elections, Domenici calls Gonzales, Rove, and, most importantly, President George Bush to complain about Iglesias’s recalcitrance.

David Iglesias does not show up on the (now public) list of US attorneys to be fired that was drawn up by Justice in October of 2006. Iglesias is one of the eight attorneys fired on December 7, 2006.

By law, only the President of the United States has the authority to fire a US attorney.

Is everybody with me here? President Bush made sure that Iglesias was dismissed because Sen. Domenici complained that Iglesias didn’t do enough to tamper with an election.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales will be on the hot seat tomorrow when he goes to Capitol Hill to testify—and he should be properly filleted (and, soon after, removed)—but AG AG is just the middleman. In the end, it is the White House, President Bush and Karl Rove, that made these bold moves in attempt to politicize the attorneys and corrupt the electoral process.

As they say, developing. . . .

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Friday, April 13, 2007

outsourcing responsibility

Since I started this blog, I have many a time touched upon the Bush Administration’s great love of outsourcing, thinking that they must see it as a win-win: win #1 being that they get to line the pockets of friends, cronies, and campaign contributors with taxpayer dollars, and win #2 being that, should anything go wrong (should anything go wrong—doesn’t that now sound hysterical?), the administration can always say, hey, it’s not us, we didn’t screw up, we were let down by the folks we trusted. Be it Medicare drug “reform,” Iraq security and reconstruction, Hurricane Katrina—both the before and the after—homeland “security,” and many, many more, the Bush-Cheney gang has sold America a bill of goods without a warranty, a receipt, or a consumers’ bill of rights (or any other Bill of Rights, for that matter).

But the confluence of Easter and current events got me to thinking more about all of this. . . a lot more.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

meanwhile, Ann Coulter runs free. . .

From today’s New York Times:

For some convicted people, the consequences have been significant. Kimberly Prude, 43, has been jailed in Milwaukee for more than a year after being convicted of voting while on probation, an offense that she attributes to confusion over eligibility.

In Pakistan, Usman Ali is trying to rebuild his life after being deported from Florida, his legal home of more than a decade, for improperly filling out a voter-registration card while renewing his driver’s license.

In Alaska, Rogelio Mejorada-Lopez, a Mexican who legally lives in the United States, may soon face a similar fate, because he voted even though he was not eligible.

I bet you thought from the headline that I was going to talk about Imus again. . . nope. . . you see, while the Bush Administration has bee using the full weight of its Justice Department to uncover (invent?) what has proven to be nearly non-existent evidence of voter fraud, destroying individual lives, like those mentioned above, in the course of its exhaustive “investigations,” a woman who knowingly falsified her voter registration form and then voted in a district in which she didn’t live remains free and un-prosecuted for her felonious behavior. That woman is Ann Coulter.

As the Times makes clear, most of those who have been prosecuted for this so-called “fraud” are Democrats, poor, and non-white. They are individuals—most of whom were just confused or mistaken when they committed their “crimes”—the DoJ has yet to uncover any kind of conspiracy.

Of course, the White House has itself been involved in conspiracies to disenfranchise voters (Florida, Ohio, and New Hampshire come to mind), and Republicans in Georgia (with the help of the Bush Justice Department) have tried to institute a cumbersome voter registration ID system that federal judges have labeled a de facto poll tax. But, pay no mind to the short fat flunky behind the curtain!

Which brings us (again) back to Alberto Gonzales:

The push to prosecute voter fraud figured in the removals last year of at least two United States attorneys whom Republican politicians or party officials had criticized for failing to pursue cases.

The campaign has roiled the Justice Department in other ways, as career lawyers clashed with a political appointee over protecting voters’ rights, and several specialists in election law were installed as top prosecutors.

Department officials defend their record. “The Department of Justice is not attempting to make a statement about the scale of the problem,” a spokesman, Bryan Sierra, said. “But we are obligated to investigate allegations when they come to our attention and prosecute when appropriate.”

Officials at the department say that the volume of complaints has not increased since 2002, but that it is pursuing them more aggressively.

Previously, charges were generally brought just against conspiracies to corrupt the election process, not against individual offenders, Craig Donsanto, head of the elections crimes branch, told a panel investigating voter fraud last year. For deterrence, Mr. Donsanto said, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales authorized prosecutors to pursue criminal charges against individuals.

Some of those cases have baffled federal judges.

“I find this whole prosecution mysterious,” Judge Diane P. Wood of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, in Chicago, said at a hearing in Ms. Prude’s case. “I don’t know whether the Eastern District of Wisconsin goes after every felon who accidentally votes. It is not like she voted five times. She cast one vote.”

The Justice Department stand is backed by Republican Party and White House officials, including Karl Rove, the president’s chief political adviser. The White House has acknowledged that he relayed Republican complaints to President Bush and the Justice Department that some prosecutors were not attacking voter fraud vigorously. In speeches, Mr. Rove often mentions fraud accusations and warns of tainted elections.

. . . .

Enlisted to help lead the effort was Hans A. von Spakovsky, a lawyer and Republican volunteer in the Florida recount. As a Republican election official in Atlanta, Mr. Spakovsky had pushed for stricter voter identification laws. Democrats say those laws disproportionately affect the poor because they often mandate government-issued photo IDs or driver’s licenses that require fees.

At the Justice Department, Mr. Spakovsky helped oversee the voting rights unit. In 2003, when the Texas Congressional redistricting spearheaded by the House majority leader, Tom DeLay, Republican of Texas, was sent to the Justice Department for approval, the career staff members unanimously said it discriminated against African-American and Latino voters.

Mr. Spakovsky overruled the staff, said Joseph Rich, a former lawyer in the office. Mr. Spakovsky did the same thing when they recommended the rejection of a voter identification law in Georgia considered harmful to black voters. Mr. Rich said. Federal courts later struck down the two laws.

Former lawyers in the office said Mr. Spakovsky’s decisions seemed to have a partisan flavor unlike those in previous Republican and Democratic administrations. Mr. Spakovsky declined to comment.

. . . .

At the same time, the [Justice] department encouraged United States attorneys to bring charges in voter fraud cases, not a priority in prior administrations. The prosecutors attended training seminars, were required to meet regularly with state or local officials to identify possible cases and were expected to follow up accusations aggressively.

The Republican National Committee and its state organizations supported the push, repeatedly calling for a crackdown. In what would become a pattern, Republican officials and lawmakers in a number of states, including Florida, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Washington, made accusations of widespread abuse, often involving thousands of votes.

In swing states, including Ohio and Wisconsin, party leaders conducted inquiries to find people who may have voted improperly and prodded officials to act on their findings.

But the party officials and lawmakers were often disappointed. The accusations led to relatively few cases, and a significant number resulted in acquittals

. . . .

Previous guidelines had barred federal prosecutions of “isolated acts of individual wrongdoing” that were not part of schemes to corrupt elections. In most cases, prosecutors also had to prove an intent to commit fraud, not just an improper action.

That standard made some federal prosecutors uneasy about proceeding with charges, including David C. Iglesias, who was the United States attorney in New Mexico, and John McKay, the United States attorney in Seattle.

Although both found instances of improper registration or voting, they declined to bring charges, drawing criticism from prominent Republicans in their states. In Mr. Iglesias’s case, the complaints went to Mr. Bush. Both prosecutors were among those removed in December.

In the last year, the Justice Department has installed top prosecutors who may not be so reticent. In four states, the department has named interim or permanent prosecutors who have worked on election cases at Justice Department headquarters or for the Republican Party.

Bradley J. Schlozman has finished a year as interim United States attorney in Missouri, where he filed charges against four people accused of creating fake registration forms for nonexistent people. The forms could likely never be used in voting. The four worked for a left-leaning group, Acorn, and reportedly faked registration cards to justify their wages. The cases were similar to one that Mr. Iglesias had declined to prosecute, saying he saw no intent to influence the outcome of an election.

“The decision to file those indictments was reviewed by Washington,” a spokesman for Mr. Schlozman, Don Ledford, said. “They gave us the go-ahead.”

An extended quote, I know, but it goes to an important point, I think. Purge-gate, as a handy term, doesn’t really do this scandal, um, justice. The corruption at DoJ is not a debate about whether the Attorney General has the right to remove federal prosecutors at the direction of the White House—corrupt as that is—this is a story about a coordinated effort by the party in power to use the Justice Department to manipulate elections and kill investigations into Republican corruption.

The conspiracy here is a vast one—and it is a Republican one.

But you can’t undo in a day what the Bush Administrations spent six years putting in place. So, let’s start small: let’s prosecute Ann Coulter like we have the poor folks mentioned in the above story. Then, if and when she is found guilty (the evidence is overwhelming), let’s throw that straight-haired hate-pimp in jail.

so it goes. . . .

I am sad that Kurt Vonnegut could not live to see the end of the Bush Administration.

From a 2003 interview with In These Times:

I myself feel that our country, for whose Constitution I fought in a just war, might as well have been invaded by Martians and body snatchers. Sometimes I wish it had been. What has happened, though, is that it has been taken over by means of the sleaziest, low-comedy, Keystone Cops-style coup d’etat imaginable. And those now in charge of the federal government are upper-crust C-students who know no history or geography, plus not-so-closeted white supremacists, aka “Christians,” and plus, most frighteningly, psychopathic personalities, or “PPs.”

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

don’t you think. . .

. . . that no matter how freaking stupid and offensive those Don Imus remarks were—and they were—there are about two dozen more horrific things happening this week?

And, last time I looked, Ann Coulter still has an income. So does Bill O’Reilly. And did anyone notice Tom DeLay equating his plight with that of Jews that died in the Holocaust?

I don’t give a tinker’s cuss about Imus. I don’t even know how a person thinks what he said about the Rutgers ballers; forget how a person thinks it and thinks it’s OK to say out loud. I would be happy to see another dumb radio show removed from the air. But if people want to get upset, I mean good and riled up about something, how about getting upset about what happened to 2002 Rutgers graduate Seth Dvorin.

Or what happened to some of his buddies.

Friday, April 06, 2007

stop the presses again? Joe Klein??? (maybe not)

Boy, things must really suck in the elephant kingdom to have a week like this. First, “Clinton ‘Democrat’” turned Bush pit bull Matthew Dowd confesses his doubts about the boy king to the New York Times, then Adam “you call it gossip, I call it ‘news analysis’” Nagourney admits that things look blue for the red party, and now (super-large scare quotes) centrist Democrat (close super-large scare quotes) Joe “Anonymous” Klein seems to agree with the “shrill” (as he has called it) left side of the blogosphere.

Unless, of course, you ask him if he really means it. . . .

Thursday, April 05, 2007

stop the presses: I agree with AdNags!

It is not often I find something to praise in the “news analysis” of New York Times “reporter” Adam Nagourney, but I have to say that my first reaction to first quarter fundraising numbers was the same as his.

Early ’08 Fund-Raising Has Clear Blue Tint

For anyone looking for a sign of the health of the Democratic Party going into the 2008 presidential campaign, it came Wednesday with the last of the fund-raising figures reported by the major presidential candidates.

With the $25 million reported by Senator Barack Obama’s campaign, closing in on Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s $26 million, the Democratic presidential candidates collectively outperformed the Republicans, and by a substantial amount: Democrats raised a total of about $78 million, compared with just over $51 million by their rivals, according to preliminary first-quarter figures provided by the campaigns.

That is remarkable because Republicans have historically proved better at collecting contributions. In every presidential primary season since 1976, the top fund-raiser was a Republican.

I would also like to congratulate AdNags on his use of the terms “enthusiasm gap” and “Bush fatigue”—love those.

However, I can’t let this sweet moment pass without a little taste of sour. On the whole, I dislike the amount of coverage these fundraising numbers are getting. I’m not saying it’s not news—it is—but the coverage of the money race exists in a hermetically sealed bubble completely separate from ideas. It’s as if the positions and policies advocated by candidates have nothing to do with their success.

Well, hmmm, OK, given that Sen. Clinton is leading the pack, maybe that’s true. . . .

But, no, back to the larger point, the point that Democrats are crushing Republicans in the money wars—I think that this does have something to do with the national realization that the GOP is a bad bet—and not just a bad bet to win in ’08. They are a bad bet for business, world peace, domestic security, and America’s place in the world.

Don’t believe me on that last point? Let’s do the numbers:

82 percent say the world is becoming more dangerous for the United States and its people, with 48 percent saying "much more dangerous."

73 percent say the United States is not doing a good job as a leader in creating a more peaceful and prosperous world, with 34 percent saying it has done a "poor" job.

So, as us Dodgers fans like to say: Think Blue!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

a tip of the hat to Molly Ivins

Screw the fact that everything you hear Bush say in this clip is a lie (the American People are not with him—they favor Congress—and the proposed timelines will not force extended tours or accelerated redeployments to Iraq—unless Bush orders that, of course), the image says everything you need to know about this presidency.

ABC (or it might have been CNN, sorry) actually voiced over this shot with “as Vice President Cheney stood behind a shrub.”

Yes, “hiding behind a bush,” would also have worked here, but would not have been as referential to the late Texas columnist.

But no VO is really necessary, is it? A picture is truly worth a thousand words.

seeing daylight

This wouldn’t have anything to do with the vernal equinox, now, would it?

BAGHDAD: The Iraqi government on Tuesday said it was cutting back the number of hours the capital was under curfew, extending the time citizens could be on the streets at night until 10 p.m.

Brig. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, the spokesman for the Baghdad security operation, said the curfew had been shortened by two hours "because the security situation has improved and people needed more time to go shopping."

Am I the only one to whom this has occurred? There’s more daylight—so the curfew can be shortened. Or is it that the Brigadier General just deals with a crisis pretty much the way GW Bush did after 9/11—when the going gets tough, urge people to go shopping.

And, as for that increased security, um. . .

Iraqis killed in February: 1806 (64.5/day)
Iraqis killed in March: 2078 (67/day)

Monday, April 02, 2007

greatest hits

Or spookiest. . . .

Like anyone with a website, I track my hits, and like most, I am occasionally amused or amazed by the places around the world that visit my little corner of cyberspace, and the ways by which folks might find me.

I have been visited by people on six continents (Antarctica, where are you?); by people looking for Israeli hangouts, Martha Radatz [sic] (or Raddatz, as it were), the Decider, the idiot, and, of course, the asshole. I have noticed hits from offices on Capitol Hill, government agencies, and the odd presidential campaign, but, until this weekend, I can’t say that I’ve garnered the attention of US Central Command.

Yes, I’m talking CENTCOM. The folks that make sure, among other things, that the war in Iraq continues to go as smoothly as it has.

But, there it is, in black and white (and red and blue): Department of Defense Network Information Center, Columbus, Ohio.

Just look at it:

I can’t see how they came upon my blog—“no referring link,” it says—they’ve either hidden the search, or. . . well, let’s not think about “or.”

My first reaction was: Welcome!

My second reaction: Of all the thoughts and ideas I have posted over the last fifteen months, this, this is what brought you my way. It was practically a throwaway. Not my most searing or sentient. (Really, why don’t you go take a look at the long-form “think pieces” over at capitoilette.)

My third reaction: Don’t you guys have something better to do? You know, something more pressing than guy2k?

But, hey, I need all the eyeballs I can get. . . so, I revert to: Welcome! If you want any advice, vis-à-vis that whole gulf thing, just drop me a comment, and I’ll get back to you.

. . . or give me a call—I’m sure you have the number.

senator asshole takes a walk

Last week, Sen. John McCain (asshole-AZ), made the insanely hilarious comment that there “are neighborhoods in Baghdad where you an I could walk through those neighborhoods today.” It was an assertion so stupid, it had US generals laughing out loud.

Well, McCain is not one to take laughter at his expense lightly. So, one of the Senate’s leading tinkerbellistas, who just happens to be running for President, by the way, decided to show those generals a thing or two. . . by making them tie up a sizeable contingent of troops and equipment so that Johnny Mac could stage a photo op.

To demonstrate that America is “not getting the full picture” of what’s going on, McCain “strolled” ever-so-briefly through an open-air market. . . less than a quarter mile from the green zone. . . while wearing a bullet-proof vest. . . surrounded by 100 soldiers. . . with three Blackhawk helicopters and two Apache gunships overhead.

And, get this, after this “walk,” McCain, never missing another opportunity to demonstrate what freaking asshole he is, actually had the audacity to cite the staged event as “proof” that you could indeed “walk freely” in parts of Baghdad.

Say it with me: What an asshole!