Leaving Las Vegas; On Hiatus
Friday, August 31, 2007
Photo from lowculture.com
"So how might history view the 43rd president? I can hardly be considered an objective observer, but in this highly polarized period, who is?"
That quote is from the man arguably most responsible for this "highly polarized period." There aren't many sane people who will have fond memories of the Turd Blossom, least of all me. My only wish for him is that someday, somehow, he reaps what he has sown. He talks of how Bush will be viewed by history. Unfortunately, I don't think we'll ever get a full, accurate account of how Rove featured in that historical perspective. But I'm sure he wouldn't fare very well.
I believe history will provide a more clear-eyed verdict on this president’s leadership than the anger of current critics would suggest.
President Bush will be viewed as a far-sighted leader who confronted the key test of the 21st century.
He will be judged as a man of moral clarity who put America on wartime footing in the dangerous struggle against radical Islamic terrorism.
Following the horrors of 9/11, this president changed American foreign policy by declaring terror sponsors responsible for the deeds of those they shelter, train, and fund. America, he said, will not wait until dangers fully materialize with attacks on our homeland before confronting those threats. . .
Oh, just make it stop. If you really want to read this crap, be my guest.
"The Long View" at NationalReview.com
Justice Department Investigators Probe Hiring Practices
Do you believe in God? Are you gay? Have you cheated on your spouse? What's your position on abortion? Should gays be allowed to marry? Have you contributed to Republican candidates? What kind of conservative are you?
Welcome to Bush's Department of Justice. Those are just some of the questions that investigators think may have been asked during interviews for both career and political positions at the Department over the past three years.
They come from a questionnaire (pdf) sent out from the Department's inspector general and Office of Professional Responsibility. . .
Read on at TPMMuckraker.com
Photo from Wikipedia.com
Resignation is in the air, and Tony Snow is not missing that boat. He has said he'd be leaving, and now he's confirmed it. The official story is that he's out of money, not that he is too ill. I hope that is true, but have learned not to trust a word he says, so who knows.
Get well, Tony, but please do retire. Thank you.
Bush press secretary Snow to leave post
WASHINGTON - Tony Snow, the White House press secretary, will leave this month to devote time to writing, speaking and playing a more active public role in combating cancer, a disease that he has confronted for three roller-coaster years.
Dana Perino, the principal deputy press secretary, will take Snow's place on Sept. 14, marking the first time that President Bush has assigned a woman as voice of the White House in his administration.
Snow, battling a recurrence of cancer he had hoped was in remission when he became the president's chief spokesman in April 2006, maintained that it is not the disease, but rather a financial burden his work has placed on his family, which is forcing him to leave.
Read more at: ChicagoTribune.com
Republican Warner to retire from Senate
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican Sen. John Warner of Virginia, an influential voice in Congress on military policy, said on Friday he would not seek re-election next year -- a decision that complicates party hopes of recapturing Senate control.
Warner, 80, an ex-husband of Elizabeth Taylor who has been in the Senate for 30 years, said he would not run for a sixth six-year term.
"Everything has gone well and I want to express my profound appreciation today for all that so many have done for me," he said during an appearance at the University of Virginia.
Read the rest at Reuters.com
Perhaps if enough people know about it in advance, they won't try to pull it off. But take this for what it is: speculative.
Post Labor Day Product Rollout: War with Iran (Cross-posted at DailyKos)!
They [the source's institution] have "instructions" (yes, that was the word used) from the Office of the Vice-President to roll out a campaign for war with Iran in the week after Labor Day; it will be coordinated with the American Enterprise Institute, the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Commentary, Fox, and the usual suspects. It will be heavy sustained assault on the airwaves, designed to knock public sentiment into a position from which a war can be maintained. Evidently they don't think they'll ever get majority support for this--they want something like 35-40 percent support, which in their book is "plenty."
Read the rest at: ICGA.blogspot.com (and elsewhere)
Haggard, 50, also sought financial support.
''Mr. Haggard's solicitation for personal support was inappropriate,'' the overseers said in their statement. ''It was never the intention of the Dream Center that Mr. Haggard would provide any counsel or other ministry. Mr. Haggard will not be moving in or working with the Dream Center. He will not be doing any ministry. He will be seeking secular employment to support himself and his family,'' the statement said. . .
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Fred Thompson, so he says, is finally going to declare his candidacy for President. I was worried when I first heard he might run, primarily because he sounds like Bush, only articulate. Worse than that, he sounds almost reasonable while simultaneously being--in my opinion--wrong.
And if there's anything I believe it is that a Republican should NOT be in the White House the next time around. Time is long past for a change.
I'm feeling less worried as things unfold, however. Fred may be a good actor, and very good at delivering scripted lines, but he's not turning out to be the tsunami I thought he'd be. So run, Fred, run.
Thompson to Enter 2008 Race Next Week, Tour 3 States
Aug. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Former Senator Fred Thompson, after months of flirting with a possible presidential run, will enter the 2008 Republican nomination contest next week with a Sept. 6 Internet announcement and five-day campaign tour through Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, his organization said today.
The former Tennessee senator, lawyer and lobbyist, who has had a parallel career as a Hollywood movie and television actor, will become the ninth Republican candidate. He consistently ranks among the top three contenders in polls of Republican voters, behind former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and ahead of or even with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
``We enter this campaign in a strong position,'' Bill Lacy, the manager of Thompson's exploratory committee, said in a statement released after a conference call with supporters.
``Conservatives across the country have put together the closest thing to a draft in recent presidential campaign history.''
Read more at: Bloomberg.com
Polk judge rules against gay marriage ban
A Polk County judge on Thursday struck down Iowa's law banning gay marriage.
The ruling by Judge Robert Hanson concluded that the state's prohibition on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and he ordered the Polk County recorder to issue marriage licenses to six gay couples.
"This is kind of the American Dream," said plaintiff Jen BarbouRoske, of Iowa City. "I'm still feeling kind of shaky. It's pure elation, I just cannot believe it.
"Camilla Taylor, an attorney with Lambda Legal, a New York-based gay rights organization, said the ruling requires "full equality for all Iowans including gay and lesbian Iowans and their families."
Read more at: DesMoinesRegister.com
First up: A Pepsi commercial from the early 70s that introduced the concept of the "Pepsi Generation." Sing along! "We're the Pepsi people, feelin' free, feelin' free. . ."
Second: Rival cola maker Coca-cola made big waves (and sales) with this very early 70s commercial, featuring the Hillside Singers. "I'd like to buy the world a Coke. . ."
Third: Brilliant marketing strategy: get your buyers to sing the contents of your sandwich. This McDonald's commercial taught us, "Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun!" A later commercial challenged you to sing it backwards.
And last, the introduction of reconstituted, dehydrated potato-chip-like snack food, Pringles "Newfangled" Potato Chips. Check out the costumes, hair and sound effects. I do not remember the 70s this way!
Jack Abramoff is in prison. Ex-Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-CA) is in prison. Ex-Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) is in prison. Ex-Reps. Mark Foley (R-FL), Katherine Harris (R-FL), Tom DeLay (R-TX), Curt Weldon (R-PA), and Ex-Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT), all either lost or did not seek reelection. Gone, away, to be forgotten. This year was supposed to be different for the Republicans. But. . .
So what's the tally this year so far? Well, there is, of course. . .
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Anyway, John Edwards, while he may not be at the top of the polls is still my favorite candidate. I'm not with him 100%, but if you're that jazzed about your candidate, you're wearing rose-colored glasses.
Yet both reports were largely ignored yesterday by Sean Hannity. On the top of his Fox News show last night, Hannity promised his audience a discussion on Gonzales’s resignation. He began the show by playing the clip of Gonzales’s press conference, adding, “The attorney general resigns. Will this quiet the administration’s critics? All of that, plus the controversy over the new Katie Couric book.”
So, here is the "do over" story:
Miss Teen South Carolina makes her mark with flubbed response to geography question
COLUMBIA, South Carolina: A Miss Teen USA contestant is receiving a lot of attention for her confused, mangled response to a pageant question about Americans' knowledge of geography.
Lauren Caitlin Upton, 18, got a chance to redeem herself Tuesday on NBC's "Today" show when she was again asked why one-fifth of Americans cannot locate the United States on a map.
"I would love to re-answer that question," the Miss Teen South Carolina said. "Well personally, my friends and I, we know exactly where the United States is on our map. I don't know anyone else who doesn't. And if the statistics are correct, I believe there should be more emphasis on geography."
That was much better than her previous response, a rambling answer that included references to "U.S. Americans" and mentions of South Africa and "the Iraq."
Read more at: IHT.com
And now, the infamous video:
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
A senior administration official said today that Mr. Gonzales, who was in Washington, had called the president in Crawford, Tex., on Friday to offer his resignation. The president rebuffed the offer, but said the two should talk face to face on Sunday.
Followed by this:
As late as Sunday afternoon, Mr. Gonzales himself was denying through his spokesman that he was quitting. The spokesman, Brian Roehrkasse, said Sunday that he telephoned the attorney general about the reports of his imminent resignation “and he said it wasn’t true — so I don’t know what more I can say.”
Both from: NYTimes.com
Those who blow whistle on contractor fraud in Iraq face penalties
One after another, the men and women who have stepped forward to report corruption in the massive effort to rebuild Iraq have been vilified, fired and demoted.
For daring to report illegal arms sales, Navy veteran Donald Vance says he was imprisoned by the American military in a security compound outside Baghdad and subjected to harsh interrogation methods.
There were times, huddled on the floor in solitary confinement with that head-banging music blaring dawn to dusk and interrogators yelling the same questions over and over, that Vance began to wish he had just kept his mouth shut.
He had thought he was doing a good and noble thing when he started telling the FBI about the guns and the land mines and the rocket-launchers - all of them being sold for cash, no receipts necessary, he said. [snip]
For his trouble, he says, he got 97 days in Camp Cropper, an American military prison outside Baghdad that once held Saddam Hussein, and he was classified a security detainee. . .
Much more at: NewsPress.com
UPDATE: When I originally linked to the story, I hadn't noticed that it was from the AP. It has also been covered at Forbes.com, ThinkProgress.org, and an editorial responding to the story at DecaturDaily.com. Looks like it's a real story. And it's from August 24th, so I wonder why it hasn't been big news? Or did I just miss it?
Monday, August 27, 2007
I know I've harped on this a lot, but it bears repeating. FreeRepublic.com, one of the leading right-leaning blogs, is a haven for uninformed, juvenile homophobes. They have other negative qualities too, but those are at the top of my list.
In regard to the latest GOP sex scandal (another gay one), the wingnuts over at FR are working themselves into yet another anti-gay lather. Believe me, it doesn't even take a scandal of this scope to get them worked up. And they get so bent out of shape about the wrong issues.
You see, they seem to think the behavior of Sen. Craig is typical of gay people in general. No, you idjits, it is closeted, married gay people who behave this way!
Anyway, to educate and inform, I offer these comments on the first thread they've posted on the matter, in case you think I'm too hard on them. With editorial commentary by me.
FR: Dems have this strange deal with sex. When it involves themselves they say it's not important, but when it involves Republicans it's explosive.
GG: No, it is the hypocrisy, stupid! This guy is for "traditional family values." He votes to prevent same-sex marriage. He allegedly wants to "protect marriage."
FR: He pleaded guilty, something dems never do. He should step down immediately.
GG: Sure, he pleaded guilty, and then said he was innocent. That takes cojones.
FR: Bawny Fwank can diddle anyone he wants but a republican does it and it’s front page news...?
GG: Bringing up Barney Frank (while disparaging his speech impediment) is pretty weak. Frank did have a sex scandal years ago--alleged against a roommate and not himself--and the Republicans made plenty of hay about it.
FR: Another GOP pansy in the Senate. Good Riddance.
GG: Pansy? Is it 1952?
FR: Seems homos target ALL US airports for there sick hook-ups.
GG: You bet. Everyone knows that the Crown Room at LaGuardia is the gay spot in New York.
Anyway, it goes on like that (and on, and on, and on). Read on, if you can stomach it:
Senator Craig Arrested, Pleads Guilty Following Incident in Airport Restroom
CNN: Bush Plans To Install Inexperienced, Bush Loyalist Clay Johnson At Homeland Security
This morning, CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux reported that “very senior level sources” inside the administration are telling her that Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff will replace Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
Additionally, these sources say Chertoff will be replaced at Homeland Security by Clay Johnson III, the Deputy Director for Management at the Office of Management and Budget. . .
Read the rest, and watch the clip at: ThinkProgress.org
Image from source, DemocraticUnderground.com
Always good. Check it out.
The Top 10 Conservative Idiots, No. 305August 27, 2007Wham, Bam, Thank You Nam EditionThis week George W. Bush (1) suggests that we should still be fighting the Vietnam War, The Bush Administration (2) is sending mixed messages to the Iraqi government, and Fred Thompson (4) is loafing around in Iowa. Elsewhere, Melanie Morgan (5), the Family Research Council (6) and Ted Nugent (7) lay out their plan for a united America. (It involves stomping on U.S. troops, comparing homosexuals to corpses, and shooting Democrats.)
Photo from Wikipedia.com
Image from source, RawStory.com
Well this is no surprise. When you get unfettered access to voluminous information, reviewing it all proves to be too large a task. Reason, logic and truth may prove to be problematic when running a campaign, but maybe it ought to be used in policy?
Terrorist watch list ineffective, prone to misuse, say privacy advocates
Questions have arisen over the United States government's use of its terrorist screening database, reports the Washington Post today.
While the database "flagged" people as suspected terrorists about 20,000 times in 2006, few were arrested or barred from entering the country as a result of being on the list.
Gathering data from an increasing number of resources, including airline data, government agencies use the database in situations such as a traffic stop or a border crossing. While the government has proven secretive on the individuals in the database and the data it has amassed, there are plans to share the data with "private sector groups."
Read the rest at: RawStory.com
[Entire article--it's short]
Maybe Trading Up Soon at Justice
August 24, 2007 06:02 PM ET
The buzz among top Bushies is that beleaguered Attorney General Alberto Gonzales finally plans to depart and will be replaced by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. Why Chertoff? Officials say he's got fans on Capitol Hill, is untouched by the Justice prosecutor scandal, and has more experience than Gonzales did, having served as a federal judge and assistant attorney general.
Source: US News and World Report
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Today, on FOX "News" Sunday, Chris Wallace did a follow-up editorial, also dissing Moyers (there should have been a howling, spitting cat sound effect to go with it). Moyers claimed to have four sources alleging Rove's lack of religion. Wallace wagged a finger, and said a "real reporter" would go to the source.
Maybe so--ordinarily. But in this case, the source has every reason to lie, and has shown a spectacular talent for it. Outside sources are just as important in reporting, in my opinion, and Wallace shouldn't talk. He may be a reporter (I haven't seen evidence), but how many of the talking heads at FOX "News" could actually be called "reporters?"
Here is a link to what lead to this little spat, a fascinating and entertaining read, if you like the behind-the-scenes stuff: PBS Ombudsman Responds to "My Fellow Texan" at PBS.org.
For more commentary on the story, go to: Claiming He Failed ‘Reporting 101,’ Wallace Attacks Moyers To Defend Rove at ThinkProgress.org.
The 1/2 Hour News Hour may have been cancelled, but another effort into right-wing comedy by FOX "News" is the very strange Red Eye, which they started around the same time. In another blatant steal from Newshounds.us, I offer a representation of what FOX "News" views as comedy. It's pretty bad.
A while back, I wrote a diatribe entitled "The Worthlessness of Hannity & Colmes." Let me revise that. Occasionally, Colmes does fire back, and below is video proof that he can actually show some spine.
This video is in reference to rabid right-winger (and insane nut-job) Ted Nugent's appalling rant against various Democrats.
This is a rare occasion, where Sean Hannity's carefully controlled persona is assailed, and he's powerless to do anything about it. Enjoy (I did).
And for a little background, and commentary, go to: Hannity Pummeled On His Hypocrisy Over Ted Nugent at Newshounds.us.
I posted earlier about a minor medical issue (Sicko! This Time it's Personal). This little event brought up a bigger one. You see, a nurse forced me to step on the scale, giving me a startling revelation. I'm not just festively plump, or carrying a little extra weight, I'm FAT.
|Photo from IMDB.com|
But I figure at most that covers 5 or 6 pounds (and that figure may be wishful thinking). That still puts me at fat. My normal weight--meaning when I wasn't watching it, ate anything I wanted, and wasn't exercising--used to hover between 150 and 155. I guess now that I'm 41, that figure has floated upward.
Unfortunately, since they put me on Cipro, I'm advised not to exercise! How 'bout that, an excuse not to exercise when I need it the most! So, after the Cipro is gone, I've got to get serious. Apparently, exercise while on Cipro can lead to tendons suddenly detaching. Yikes!
So, what to do? I could try Atkins--it's worked in the past--but the "low carb" food items have disappeared as the diet has lost favor. I intend to get back to the gym, but I fear that this time it is going to take more than that.
And what better time to start dieting than leading into the Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year's rush that the calendar is going to thrust upon us (faster than we'd think)? So here we go on the dieting yo-yo.
Here is a great article from a reporter that has problems with the offical story too.
Robert Fisk: Even I question the 'truth' about 9/11
Each time I lecture abroad on the Middle East, there is always someone in the audience – just one – whom I call the "raver". Apologies here to all the men and women who come to my talks with bright and pertinent questions – often quite humbling ones for me as a journalist – and which show that they understand the Middle East tragedy a lot better than the journalists who report it. But the "raver" is real. He has turned up in corporeal form in Stockholm and in Oxford, in Sao Paulo and in Yerevan, in Cairo, in Los Angeles and, in female form, in Barcelona. No matter the country, there will always be a "raver".
His – or her – question goes like this. Why, if you believe you're a free journalist, don't you report what you really know about 9/11? Why don't you tell the truth – that the Bush administration (or the CIA or Mossad, you name it) blew up the twin towers? Why don't you reveal the secrets behind 9/11? The assumption in each case is that Fisk knows – that Fisk has an absolute concrete, copper-bottomed fact-filled desk containing final proof of what "all the world knows" (that usually is the phrase) – who destroyed the twin towers. Sometimes the "raver" is clearly distressed. One man in Cork screamed his question at me, and then – the moment I suggested that his version of the plot was a bit odd – left the hall, shouting abuse and kicking over chairs. [snip]
But – here we go. I am increasingly troubled at the inconsistencies in the official narrative of 9/11. It's not just the obvious non sequiturs: where are the aircraft parts (engines, etc) from the attack on the Pentagon? Why have the officials involved in the United 93 flight (which crashed in Pennsylvania) been muzzled? Why did flight 93's debris spread over miles when it was supposed to have crashed in one piece in a field? Again, I'm not talking about the crazed "research" of David Icke's Alice in Wonderland and the World Trade Center Disaster – which should send any sane man back to reading the telephone directory. . .
Read the rest at: News.Independent.Co.UK
There have been three great Superman movies (Superman, Superman II and Superman Returns), and one great Batman movie (Batman Begins). A few were OK (Superman III, Swamp Thing, Batman, Batman Returns). And many were either bad (Swamp Thing 2, Catwoman, Batman Forever, Batman & Robin, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace), or so bad they're good (Supergirl, mostly for Faye Dunaway).
One shot at redemption could be Wonder Woman. She's been around in various incarnations for close to seventy years after all. The source material alone should lend itself to a good script. But even DC didn't always know what to do with Wonder Woman. She's been ret-conned so many times, it's hard to know which version would be best to use.
Then there's the costume. Would they go with the 40s skirt? The granny panties, and lace-up ballet slippers? The eagle or the "WW"? Tiara with one point or two? Flexible fabric, or lethally pointy metal belt? And of course there's the classic Lynda Carter era bathing suit look.
And with Lynda Carter, you have the biggest dilemma of all. She was statuesque, beautiful, conveyed innocence and strength at the same time, and she turned out to be a decent actress to boot. She is also the image most Americans have of Wonder Woman. She's a hard act to follow. The 70s Wonder Woman TV show may have been a formulaic drama, hopelessly stuck in its era, but Lynda Carter overshadows all that. And she'll potentially overshadow the movie as well.
So casting is probably the biggest obstacle they'll have to overcome. Did Lynda Carter have a daughter, by any chance?
For information on the upcoming Wonder Woman movie, keep your eyes on Wonder Woman at IMDB.com
Saturday, August 25, 2007
The new season of Real Time with Bill Maher primiered on HBO last night, and here is the first list of "New Rules" for the season. Enjoy:
CNN aired a few religiously-themed specials this week that were among the highest-rated cable news programs of the week. They were quite enlightening, and also very disturbing. On that note, in an outstanding parody of religious music, Eric Cartman sings the songs of "Faith +1"!
Jon Stewart on the President's jumbled war message:
UPDATE: After downloading the regular AOL VR program, I'm still unable to use the software, without disabling all firewalls. The pragmatist in me says "ditch the program," like I've said before. But the tinkerer in me doesn't want to give up, and be defeated! So, I'm going to slog through this a little while longer.
Ted Haggard, as we learned today on Colorado Confidential, wants you to pay for his and his wife’s living expenses while they go to college—they’re destitute, you see. (Colorado Confidential reports that the Haggards currently own a house in Colorado Springs valued at close to a three quarters of a million dollars.) In an open letter sent to Haggard’s gullible “supporters,” the disgraced preacher gives two addresses where money can be sent. Checks can be sent to Haggard’s mailing address in Phoenix or, if a supporter needs a tax deduction, checks can be sent to Families With a Mission, a charity based in Colorado Springs.[snip]
As posted earlier, local attorney and Slog reader Dave Coffman located documents on file with the Colorado Secretary of State that showed Families With a Mission “voluntarily dissolved” on February 23, 2007.
Hm. Weird—who knew you could get a tax deduction from dissolved charity?
Namely, why is it that people who consider themselves "pro life" are only actually pro life as it occurs in very narrow circumstances? As far as I know, the only "life" they seem to be concerned with is 1) fetal life, 2) persistent vegetative-state life, and 3) stem cell blastocyst life.
The pro life group seems to be, in contradiction to their name, 1) pro war, 2) pro death penalty, 3) pro guns, and 4) unconcerned with what happens to babies who were not aborted--they just don't want any tax dollars to go to them. They also tend to be against universal health care, which should surely be covered by the "pro life" banner, if anything should.
To clarify my position, as a gay man, I have no dog in the abortion fight, and never will. So I don't get overly animated about the issue. The people who do, however, on the pro life side, seem to be the very same people who are also against gay rights issues. I guess we aren't "life" either.
The point is, how can we expect honesty and consistency out of our politicians, when we can't even get it out of voters. The pro life crowd is probably only one group of many different constituencies that is all over the map on issues they think they're consistent on. In my opinion, we as citizens need to start thinking of "life" and everything else as more than just bumper-sticker slogans. We need to start thinking, period.
End of rant.
Friday, August 24, 2007
The ultimate safe-bet/surefire-fail paradox in TV programming is the spinoff. Usually, they make a big splash, only to fade away (see #1, #3 and especially #2), but sometimes they outlive their parent, in both longevity and in popularity (#4).
#1 - Mork & Mindy - Spun off from Happy Days. This is the extended version of season two's opening (rarely seen on TV today). Season two just about killed the show, after a stellar first year. They changed time slots and most of the cast. Hey, good going.
#2 - Joanie Loves Chachi - Also spun off (and back onto) Happy Days. Very popular at first, then *poof!* I guess it was especially successful in
#3 - Rhoda - Spun off from The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Very popular, until Rhoda got married, then sank in the ratings. And poor Valerie Harper--an underrated comic talent--never really got that next big break.
#4 - The Facts of Life - Spun off from the abysmal Diff'rent Strokes, this show may have been slightly vapid, but hey, it had George Clooney for a while! And that hobbit guy's brother!
Relive the magic. . .
If you haven't had enough of the Haggard/New Life Church saga, this week KRDO Channel 13 in Colorado Springs aired a story about a letter that Haggard sent to consumer reporter Tak Landrock, letting him know of the Haggard family plans to move into the Phoenix Dream Center to minister to ex-cons, recovering alcoholics, drug addicts, prostitutes, and "other broken people," Haggard writes. "I identify." [snip]