"How long do you have to get hit in the head before you start asking who's hitting you in the head?"

Friday, April 28, 2006

The “Bush Bulge” Solved?

Remember when the Internets were abuzz with the mystery of the “Bush Bulge”?

Mysterious tubed apparatus

Well, I think I’ve finally solved the case.

The "Beer Belly"

Of course, Bush is wearing it backward, but that’s probably for concealment purposes. Or maybe he had trouble with the instructions…

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

How Do I Love Thee?

Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) released this statement today:
With customers paying over $3.00 at the pump, I am pleased that my Republican colleagues have noticed. It's ironic that the same leadership asking the President to consider an investigation into price fixing is also responsible for an Energy Bill that's providing oil companies with $15 billion dollars in subsidies.

When the Congress gives away billions in taxpayer dollars to an industry that does not need another handout and refuses to act while Americans struggle with record-high gas prices, maybe it would be more appropriate for the Congress to review its own actions — and inaction — on this critical issue.

Succinctly put, hmm? Even better, though, is this snarky treat, which he reportedly read on the House floor:
Mr. Speaker, investigators have recently uncovered a letter from the Republican Leadership to special interest lobbyists—I'd like to share it with you today.

Dear K Street Lobbyists,
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth of thy oil wells,
For thou shall have $14.5 billion to drill them.
I love thee to the heights of thy drug profits,
For the Medicare bill gives you $139 billion.
I love thee for thy golf courses, and for thy private jets.
I love thee for thy donations, libations, and vacations.
For now we must part, and I'll call it reform,
But remember, in December, once we get past November,
The travel ban expires, and I'll meet you at the tees.

Yours forever, 'cause I can't quit you,
The Republican Congress.


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Bush on “Energy Security”

Apparently, “hidden” taxes on working people, farmers, and small businesses are unfortunate but unavoidable, and so the American people must continue to bear the strain of high energy prices. Actually raising taxes on oil and gas companies in order to relieve that strain is out of the question, though:

Gasoline price increases are like a hidden tax on the working people. They're like a tax on our farmers. They're like a tax on small businesses. Energy prices are—energy experts predict gas prices are going to remain high throughout the summer, and that's going to be a continued strain on the American people.

And so the fundamental question is, what are we going to do? What can the government do? One of the past responses by government, particularly from the party of which I am not a member, has been to have—to propose price fixing, or increase the taxes.”

There’s no need to point out, of course, that the party of which Bush is a member is the party of Arbusto, the Condoleezza (since renamed the Altair Voyager), and still-secret energy meetings.

“Why just screw an intern when you can screw everybody?”

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

BMW’s Clever Car

This 3-wheeled car runs on compressed natural gas, gets 108mpg, and may be available in Europe in as soon as five years. Oh—and it may cost “as little as £5,000”—that’s about $8900.

According to BMW’s website, “Clever is not expected to make it to the USA.” The site doesn’t say why not, though…but it’s probably because US automakers will unveil something even more clean, efficient, and affordable soon, right? Right.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

“These are the Worst of a Very Bad Lot”

Remember when Rumsfeld said the Guantanamo detainees were “among the most dangerous, best trained, vicious killers on the face of the earth” ?

Well, we’re letting 141 of them go because “they pose no threat to U.S. security,” so I guess they’ve been rehabilitated. Hooray!

I’m reminded of a well-known quotation…I can’t remember it exactly, so I’ll paraphrase:

Give a man a beating and you subdue him for a day. Give a man many beatings, deface his holy book, menace him with dogs, smear him with fake menstrual blood, threaten to rape his children, and shove a banana up his ass, and you subdue him for a lifetime.

Or something like that…

“So Long, and Thanks for All the Fists!”


Monday, April 24, 2006

“With Regret and with Certainty”

Craig Murray, former ambassador to Uzbekistan, claims that the US and the UK “knowingly accept evidence obtained under torture”:
”I saw evidence of scores of cases of torture in Uzbekistan: people boiled to death, photos of serious injuries, mutilation of genitals, rape of individuals in front of their relatives... until they would sign a confession." When he tried to share his concern with British diplomats, he was told that Foreign Minister Jack Straw "discussed the issue with the head of MI6 and reached the conclusion that we should continue to receive intelligence material obtained from confessions under torture and that this would not contravene the U.N. Convention against Torture.
Boiled? Mutilated? Raped?

And soon, I’m sure, some will ask the inevitable question: Why does Craig Murray hate Freedom®?


Busy Monday Blogging

I have a very busy day today, so I’m taking the easy way out and posting something I found on another site:

Presidential Candidate Selector

I found this last week at My Case Against God. Just answer a few questions and, based on voting records, it generates a list of 25 contenders that share all, most, or just some of your views. Check it out: You might be surprised at the results.

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Friday, April 21, 2006

Freedom Space Exploration is on the March!

Protester Wenyi Wang has been charged with disorderly conduct, and an additional charge of “intimidating or disrupting foreign officials” may be forthcoming.

I don’t want to be paranoid or to think that my right to protest would ever be taken away, so I’m going to try to put a positive spin on the whole unfortunate incident. Perhaps the White House was motivated by pure altruism: We’ve arrested her here so she won’t be arrested over there, see? One of China’s alleged human rights abuses, after all, is its harvesting of organs for transplant from its prison population. In that light, George done a good thing! Why, he practically saved that woman’s life!

Ever the statesman, Bush apologized to Hu for the outburst, but apparently his apology has upset some people. In all fairness, though, maybe Bush simply doesn’t know the reasons behind Wang’s protest. Heck, his administration doesn’t even know the difference between Taiwan and Mainland China—so cut him some f*#king slack, Christian Defense Coalition!

Seriously, though, something good did come from Hu’s visit: The US and China have agreed to cooperate on space exploration—probably because in space, no one can hear you dissent.

I hope that those of you who stop by this weekend will scroll down and take part in the olio poll-io. Have a great weekend. See you on Monday!


Thursday, April 20, 2006

Gonna Buy 5 Copies for my Mother!

Rolling Stone’s Worst President in History? is available online.

I got a lot of fundamentalist groupies
Who believe that I know the Way
I got a genuine neo-con Vee Pee
Who prescribes everything I say
I got all the friends that money can buy
And no one ever tells me “no”
And I keep gettin' richer and I finally got my picture
On the cover of the Rolling Stone!

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Would You Vote for an Atheist?

An olio poll-io

Please feel free to elaborate in the comments thread.

(This poll was prompted by an article posted at The Smirking Chimp.)

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Again I Ask: Why Does Bush Have an HSA?

I’m always cranky at tax time, and this year is no exception:
The president and his wife also claimed a $3,700 deduction for contributing to a health savings account.

I know I’ve asked this question before, but I’ll keep asking until I get an answer: Why does the president need an HSA?

Isn’t his health care paid for by US taxpayers? Since Bush apparently has his own plan (and he’s a millionaire, to boot), can I have that portion of my money back in order to buy health insurance for myself?

But, lee, you don’t understand…I need all the coverage I can get! I need special insurance for pretzel eating, Segway crashing, and policeman crippling…and them policies ain’t cheap, heh heh!

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Monday, April 17, 2006

Darth and Taxes

Remember when Bush insisted that most of the tax cuts went to “low- and middle-income Americans”? Well, it’s true.* Humble public servant Darth Cheney, for example, is getting a tidy refund of $1.9 million.

Let me tell you how it will be,

There’s none for you, a mil for me,

’Cos I’m the VP,

Yeah, I’m the VP!

* Dependent, of course, on what your definition of “middle-income” is.

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Friday, April 14, 2006

Resign, Already!

From March 30, 2003:
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: [. . .] A fair amount of criticism is starting to crop up in the press. A report in this morning's "New Yorker" magazine by Seymour Hersh, highly critical piece. And he says that on six separate occasions you were presented with operational plans from Central Command and you sent them back saying I want to see far fewer forces in these plans. Is that true?

SEC. RUMSFELD: That's false. Tom Franks -- absolutely false -- Tom Franks and the chairman and I, when the president asked us to prepare a plan, looked at the plan that was on the shelf and to a person agreed it was inappropriate. It wasn't me or the chairman or Tom Franks, anyone who looked at it would have known it was not an appropriate plan.

Hmm…In what specific way was the plan “inappropriate,” I wonder? Other than that it apparently required too many troops, I mean.

Rumsfeld then goes into classic CYA mode:
Franks then sat down and began planning. The plan we have is his. I would be delighted to take credit for it. It's a good plan. It's a creative and an innovative plan. And it's going to work. And it is his plan and it has been approved by the chiefs. Every one of the chiefs has said it's executable and they support it. It's been looked at by all the combatant commanders. It's gone through the National Security Council process. And what you're seeing is fiction. You're seeing second-guessers out there.

Second-guessers like these six fiction-generating US generals, I suppose. One of them, General John Batiste, had this and more to say last week:
JIM LEHRER: And what happened when you asked for more troops?

MAJ. GEN. JOHN BATISTE: We saluted and executed; I had to keep my soldiers alive and focused on the mission at hand.

JIM LEHRER: As you know, Secretary Rumsfeld has said from the beginning every time the military asked for more troops in Iraq, they were given what they wanted. Not true in your case?

MAJ. GEN. JOHN BATISTE: I suspect, going way back five years to the beginning of this whole war, there were ample times when people said to him, as General Shinseki did, "We need more." In the case of General Shinseki, he was retired early. And as I recall, the secretary didn't even go to his retirement ceremony; I have never forgotten that.

[. . .]

JIM LEHRER: So where do you fit Don Rumsfeld into that then? He's one person. Everybody wants him to -- you guys want him to go. So what are you saying to me?

MAJ. GEN. JOHN BATISTE: I think an honorable man would take account, be responsible for what he did, and step down.

So will Rumsfeld

A) fire Franks;
B) resign; or
C) avoid the whole thing by asking and then emphatically answering a rapid-fire set of nonsensical questions?

My money’s on C.

“Are there some henny-penny the sky is falling naysayers out there? Absolutely! Do I disagree with them one hundred percent? You bet I do! But did I draw up that plan? I absolutely did not ! Did Tommy Franks draw up that plan? Yes, he absolutely did! Do I think his plan is a good one? Why, sure! Golly! It was approved by the chiefs ! Does their approval imply that they liked Tom’s plan? Boy howdy you bet it does! But can I take credit for it? Gosh no, I sure can’t!”

Or something like that…


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

A Non-Partisan Plea

At least 33 US troops have been killed so far this month, a fact which the WaPo says “could signal a renewed insurgent offensive.” (Why do journalists always say the violence in Iraq is “renewed”? Has it ever ebbed?)

Now more than ever, our deployed men and women need to know we appreciate their service. Please click on the Any Soldier link in my sidebar and send our troops some coffee, a pair of socks, or even just a letter of encouragement. It’s easy to send stuff—the USPS offers a “flat rate box” that only costs $7.70 to mail, no matter what it weighs.


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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Separated at Birth?

From today’s LA Times :

"I voted for Bush because I love him — like being in love with a criminal," said Viera Alexandroff, 44, a lobbyist from DC. "Like a criminal who has done many robberies but who is never caught by the cops. He is clever. He is an entrepreneur who has taken risks" and succeeded.

As much as he has delighted his followers, Bush has been reviled by his foes. He leaves no one indifferent.

[. . .]

"He has made a mockery of the country for five years," Maurino, 53, said. "I teach my students that the constitution says one thing, and the next day they come back and say, but Bush did the opposite thing. How can you get students to respect the constitution like this?"

Okay, okay…so I changed a few key words here and there. But admit it: My version is plausible, hmm?


Monday, April 10, 2006

WTF?!? The Devil ?!?

What a crazy world we’re living in!

Please read this article from yesterday’s NYT magazine—and while you do, keep in mind that this woman is only slightly more chock full o’ kookitude than some US policymakers:

Julia Regina de Cardenal runs the Yes to Life Foundation in San Salvador, which provides prenatal care and job training to poor pregnant women. She was a key advocate for the passage of the ban. She argued that the existing law's exception for the life of the mother was outdated. As she explained to me, "There does not exist any case in which the life of the mother would be in danger, because technology has advanced so far." De Cardenal was particularly vehement in responding in print to her opponents. As she wrote in one Salvadoran newspaper column in 1997, "The Devil, tireless Prince of Lies, has tried and will continue to try to change our laws in order to kill our babies."

Hmm…I wonder if Bill Napoli read this article. Remember Bill? He’s the sexist asshat who said that sodomized religious virgins might—just might—be legally able to terminate their pregnancies in the great state of South Dakota. But wait—sodomy doesn’t result in pregnancy, does it? No, unless—of course!—the devil supernaturally intervenes and makes it happen! Did you think of that, Bill? Maybe the devil is trying to trick you into helping him kill precious little sodomy babies!

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Friday, April 07, 2006

Survival of the Specious

Hooray for Harry Taylor, the man who told Bush that he had “never felt more ashamed of, nor more frightened by, my leadership in Washington, including the presidency, by the Senate.”

I read the transcript of Bush’s speech this morning, and this part, just before Taylor speaks, really gives me the creeps:

Okay, squeaky wheels. There's three of you up there. Is this like a chorus?

How did Bush know Taylor et al. were “squeaky wheels”? Gee—if this man’s phone wasn’t tapped before, I’ll bet it is now!

Bush then gives a classic extemporaneous reply:

“I'm going to start off with what you first said, if you don't mind, you said that I tap your phones -- I think that's what you said. You tapped your phone -- I tapped your phones. Yes. No, that's right. Yes, no, let me finish.”

And proves that he is still king of the specious argument:

“And there -- out of this national -- NSA came the recommendation that it would make sense for us to listen to a call outside the country, inside the country from al Qaeda or suspected al Qaeda in order to have real-time information from which to possibly prevent an attack. I thought that made sense, so long as it was constitutional. Now, you may not agree with the constitutional assessment given to me by lawyers -- and we've got plenty of them in Washington -- but they made this assessment that it was constitutional for me to make that decision.

“I then, sir, took that decision to members of the United States Congress from both political parties and briefed them on the decision that was made in order to protect the American people. And so members of both parties, both chambers, were fully aware of a program intended to know whether or not al Qaeda was calling in or calling out of the country. It seems like -- to make sense, if we're at war, we ought to be using tools necessary within the Constitution, on a very limited basis, a program that's reviewed constantly to protect us.”

Right, Mr. President: specious arguments do seem to make sense—but they don’t really make sense. Bush says tapping calls into or out of the country “from al Qaeda or suspected al Qaeda” is legal, and it is. But the issue he was questioned about—the government’s illegal wiretapping of the domestic calls of law-abiding American citizens—is neatly sidestepped. And his claim that members of Congress were “fully aware of a program intended to know whether or not al Qaeda was calling in or calling out of the country” again speciously implies that the issue is international surveillance of known/suspected terrorists. It also implies that those briefed agreed with his decision, which just isn’t true.

In its coverage of the speech, the WaPo notes that “[t]he president boasted of building democracy and rebuilding infrastructure in Iraq, without mentioning that his administration is scaling back funding for both goals. And he seemed eager to re-litigate the original reasons for the invasion.

“‘I fully understand that the intelligence was wrong, and I'm just as disappointed as everybody else is,’ he said. “But he added: ‘Removing Saddam Hussein was the right thing for world peace and the security of our country.’”

Do you mean this kind of world peace, you “disappointed” jackass?

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Why Watch Lost When 30 Something is On?

I saw the “30 Something” working group on C-Span last night and was encouraged by their enthusiasm and oratory—but what I thought most impressive was their use of graphics. Here’s an example:

Not every American wants to listen to a speech, and the 30 Somethings understand that. Each of these posters makes an easy-to-read/understand point about the Bush administration and its policies. They’d be ideal for a Freeway Blogger-type campaign of bus kiosks, lampposts, and community bulletin boards.

Republican Rep. Ron Paul appeared after the 30 Somethings and gave a very impassioned speech entitled “Iran: The Next Neocon Target.” Here are a few highlights:

“The significant question we must ask ourselves is: What have we learned from three years in Iraq? With plans now being laid for regime change in Iran, it appears we have learned absolutely nothing. There still are plenty of administration officials who daily paint a rosy picture of the Iraq we have created. But I wonder: If the past three years were nothing more than a bad dream, and our nation suddenly awakened, how many would, for national security reasons, urge the same invasion? Would we instead give a gigantic sigh of relief that it was only a bad dream, that we need not relive the three-year nightmare of death, destruction, chaos and stupendous consumption of tax dollars. Conceivably we would still see oil prices under $30 a barrel, and most importantly, 20,000 severe U.S. causalities would not have occurred. My guess is that 99% of all Americans would be thankful it was only a bad dream, and would never support the invasion knowing what we know today.”

[. . .]

“We forget that the weapons we feared Saddam Hussein had were supplied to him by the U.S., and we refused to believe UN inspectors and the CIA that he no longer had them.

“Likewise, Iran received her first nuclear reactor from us. Now we’re hysterically wondering if someday she might decide to build a bomb in self interest.”

Wow—and this from a Texan, no less! C-Span rocks.

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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Spy versus Spitz

I am so happy to learn that someone is going after companies that install spyware, because I spent most of last week trying to get rid of a particularly nasty thing called Virtumonde that can hide from the MS Malware Removal Tool and Norton AntiVirus/Internet Security (thanks for nothing, you guys!). I don’t know anything about worms, viruses, or adware, so I hope this bug didn’t do any real harm—as far as I can tell, all it did was send me LOTS of pop-up porn and fake IE alerts.

I don’t know how I got it, because I never open attachments (except for Word documents from people I know) or download free stuff from anywhere.

Anyway, I finally installed Webroot Spy Sweeper, and that seems to have taken care of it. I haven’t had any creepy pop-ups for 2 days, so I think it’s gone for good, but I can’t be sure I’m completely safe after reading this:

“Spitzer's latest lawsuit also names Direct Revenue's former chief executive, Josh Abram. Spitzer said Abram told a distributor in an e-mail that ‘we have a very stealthy version of our adware product,’ adding that ‘these will not be caught.’"



Tuesday, April 04, 2006

He’s DeLovely, He’s DeLightful, He’s DeLusional!

DeLay: “I have always served honorably and ethically.”

Buh-bye, Bugman!


Monday, April 03, 2006

Rice Criticizes Leader During Wartime

During an unannounced visit to Iraq the Green Zone, Condoleezza Rice publicly questioned the leadership of interim PM Ibrahim Jafari, citing his inability to form a government “since his nomination on February 11th” 2005.*

You’d better watch what you say, Condoleezza—this sort of negative rhetoric will only embolden others to criticize the US for its inability to find WMD, or even to finish reconstruction projects, since its invasion on March 19th, 2003.

"C’mon, you guys: Forming a government in the midst of civil war should be a cakewalk!”

*The WaPo reports the date of Jafari’s nomination as Feb. 22. Which is it?