Thursday, December 28, 2006

Terminator 4: Ski Pole Versus Femur (The Real Story)

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Left-Over’s last post got me thinking more and more about this whole “Arnold broke his femur” story. Here is the most descriptive explanation I can find of the injury, from the man who witnessed the accident.

Adi Erber, a ski instructor who often skis with the governor when he visits Sun Valley, told the biweekly Idaho Mountain Express that Schwarzenegger's pole got caught underneath his ski and the governor tripped over it while standing near the half-pipe on the Lower Warm Springs trail.

"He fell on his ski pole, and the impact broke his femur," Erber told the Express.

Having done a fair amount of skiing myself, I decided to break it down:

This is a ski pole:

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And this is a femur:

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If the two come together with opposing force, it doesn’t take a structural engineer to guess which one is more likely to break. I’ve broken a ski pole, and it snapped like a twig! I still have the handle in my garage as a souvenir of the experience. It wasn’t pleasant, but only the pole was broken.

For reference, I weigh 155 lbs and have 17.5 inch thighs surrounding each femur!

These are Arnold’s approximate measurements (from a page of one of his archived websites).

Nickname: The Austrian Oak
Born: July 30, 1947
Birthplace: Tahl, Graz, AUSTRIA
Residence: California, USA
Height: 6' 2"
Arms: 22"
Chest: 57"
Waist: 34"
Thighs: 28.5"
Calves: 20"
Off Season Weight: 260 lbs
Competition Weight: 235 lbs

The numbers are probably somewhat different today than from his competition days, but you get the picture – someone nicknamed “The Austrian Oak” having thighs more than 2 feet in circumference, should not, even at age 59, have a femur that is more brittle than a ski pole!

Published reports of his surgery also include an additional hint as to what really happened:

The procedure was performed by orthopedic surgeon Dr. Kevin Ehrhart, who also. . . repaired President Ronald Reagan's broken hip in 2001.

So Arnold’s operation was performed by the same guy tapped to repair the 90-year-old Reagan’s broken hip? A specialty, perhaps?

My guess as to what really happened? Arnold tripped over his ski pole and fell – probably onto an icy slope where his hip hit the ice and shattered like a wine glass - much like my grandmother’s hip shattered when she tripped over her walker (like Reagan, she was also approaching 90 at the time!)

But Arnold, the man once known for proclaiming his desire “to be the best-built man in the world," could not admit to an injury more common in 90-year olds, so he says he “broke his femur!”

At least he could have gotten his instructor to say he was injured "while ripping a sick 540 Reverse Tail Grab on the half pipe while moshin' to Green Day on his I-Pod!"

No! Although numerous articles pointed out that the Sun Valley trail named after Arnold is a black diamond “expert” run, Arnold’s injury happened while he was standing on the Lower Warm Springs Trail, which is listed on Sun Valley’s interactive trail map as a green circle “bunny” slope!

Can you say "fragile?"

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Arnold's Broken Hip???

Has anyone else wondered if Arnold actually broke his hip instead of his femur? After scanning several articles about the incident and subsequent surgery - I have my suspicions about what actually happened.

The ski instructor who was with Govenator at the time is on record stating that:

"He was trying to take off again and he tripped," Adi Erber, a ski instructor who was with the governor, told the Los Angeles Times. Erber described the fall as a "freak accident."

The femur is the largest and strongest bone in the human body. It would be pretty difficult to break just by falling over. However, many elderly people break their hips when they loose their balance and land awkwardly. Despite Arnold's strange tan, and even stranger orangey hair color - he is 59 years old. He's no spring chicken.

The Governors press office seems to be keeping a tight reign the details of the incident. I can only guess that they decided a "broken leg" sounded much better to the incredibly vain Schwartzenegger than a "Broken hip".

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

George Explain Your New "Surge" Strategy to this Little Girl!

Heather Martin - When Are You Coming

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Whammo Speaks For Me!

This has been flying around the internets lately, and for good reason! I’ve had the opportunity to see Austin's Asylum Street Spankers perform this song live on a couple of occasions, so I’m glad that they are getting wider attention for this gem.


By the way, Whammo is the guy with the cowboy hat and the ponytail!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Photo of the Day

Vice President Dick Cheney - Out enjoying a day of fishing . . .

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. . . with his friend, Dick Whittington!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Is the Argument Over Global Warming Misdirected?

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Noted intellectual giant, James Inhofe was at it again, with Wednesday’s hearing entitled "Climate Change and the Media."
(Inhofe) convened a hearing with witnesses who share his view that the media has hyped coverage of climate change. "Hysteria sells," the chairman grumbled at one point. "Scare tactics should not drive public policy," he said at another, pressing his view that rising Earth temperatures are mainly a natural, cyclical phenomenon.
One of the benefits of living with a scientist is that I am often called to challenge my initial (sometimes emotional) reactions in favor of a careful weighing of the available evidence.

In our discussions of “global warming,” my partner has frequently made an argument that, in light of Senator Inhofe’s repeated denials of the presence of global warming, makes a lot of sense.

The argument is that the focus should not be on "the presence of global warming,” but on “the increase of greenhouse gases.” The rationale is that the scientific evidence for global warming is inconclusive enough to continue allowing people like Inhofe to make arguments against it. Because we are talking about millions of years of history and cyclical weather patterns, it is not possible for either side to definitively “win” the debate.

On the other hand, there is clear scientific evidence that greenhouse gases are being produced at skyrocketing rates (click here for source). There is clear evidence that such gases trap infrared rays that could heat up the earth like the sun heats up the inside of a car. This makes it a debate about chemistry and physics, rather than a debate about history!

One way of looking at the issue is in relation to the decision on whether to eat trans fats – a topical comparison considering the City of New York’s recent ban on their use in restaurant food preparation. If you want to convince someone to restrict the intake of trans fats in their diet, you would not try to argue that scientific evidence proves they will have a heart attack in the future. That would be silly, and easily ignored by anyone who is determined to use history (I haven’t had one yet! Other people have eaten trans fats and not had them!) to maintain their current diet.

On the other hand, a scientific factual presentation of the existence of trans fats, and how the body processes them, leaves little room to argue that they should not be eliminated from the diet whenever possible.

People like Senator Inhofe are always going to be able to find historians to present a feasible-sounding (to him anyway) argument to maintain our current diet of greenhouse gas production.

But let’s see him produce some scientists who would argue that increased production of greenhouse gases doesn’t increase the risk factors for a global climate heart attack!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Real Iraq Policy

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Looks like Josh Marshall agrees with my earlier assessment on Bush’s real goal regarding Iraq:
One other point we shouldn't go too long without restating. With his policy of no troop increases and no troop decreases, let's all understand that President Bush's real policy is stasis -- no 'winning' or 'losing' or escalating or withdrawing. It's about fighting any fight, carrying any burden to keep kicking this can down the alley until January 2009 so he can say the disaster he created is someone else's fault. That's not hyperbole or trash talk. That's really the policy.
Or, as I put it:
Bush has already gone on record as saying he believes we will be in Iraq beyond the end of his presidency. His recent call for “one last big push to win in Iraq” is yet another indication of his “run out the clock” strategy. He is going to make sure that when it comes to leaving the chaos created by his war, he’s not going to be the decider!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

How We Should "Go" in Iraq!

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On the Eve of the official release of the Iraq Study Group report, I’d like to return briefly to the recent Pentagon review that came up with a set of possibilities that have been dubbed “Go Big,” “Go Long,” or “Go Home.”

“Go Big” refers to the option of dramatically increasing troop levels – an unfeasible proposition considering current troop availability and the additional cost that would have to be absorbed by a rapidly increasing national debt.

“Go Long” refers to the option of basically continuing to string things along with the current, or slightly reduced, troop levels - in the hope that some sort of miracle will result in something we can eventually claim as “victory." It is an option perhaps more appropriately named “Go Fish,” except that the card we would be hoping to draw has probably already been removed from the deck!

“Go Home” refers to complete troop withdrawal, and would undoubtedly leave years of continued violence and chaos before there would be any hope of improvement - solidifying a legacy of failure in Iraq for Bush/Cheney and, unfortunately, the American people who put them in power.

A fourth option, which I call alternately “Go Wide” and “Go Real,” is the one I hope the American people will eventually choose, although it seems a remote possibility. Both elements would need to be present for it to work, and it goes like this:

“Go Wide” refers to expanding involvement in Iraq peacekeeping efforts to include a true international coalition that would work in partnership, using military, financial and diplomatic means to clean up the mess. It is basically the option that should have been used in the first place, if it had been considered necessary by a real coalition to remove Saddam from power and enforce peace long enough for a democracy to take hold.

Unfortunately, “Go Wide,” on its own, is no longer feasible, since no other country would be willing to help clean up the mess made by Bush/Cheney as long as these arrogant pricks are at the helm! That’s why we would need to include another element.

“Go Real” (a variation of “Get Real”) refers to the act of accepting 1) that we (the American people) have a problem, 2) that we created the problem, and 3) we will do what is necessary to rectify the problem in order to be worthy of accepting help from the international community.

It is very simple. We need help from the rest of the world in order to clean up a mess we made for ourselves, but that also affects them. In order to redeem ourselves, we must admit that we made a mistake by allowing Bush/Cheney to pursue an unnecessary war, using unnecessary and probably illegal means. We must remove them from power and turn them over to the International Criminal Court, where their deeds can be judged according to international standards. We must apologize, and then hope we can form a real coalition to enforce peace in Iraq, more along the model of what was accomplished in the Balkans.

I’ve written before about the possibility of Bush and Cheney taking over the cells once inhabited by Milosovic, Etc. Rumsfeld and others have already been charged with war crimes (PDF) in a German court. Ultimately, although discussion of war crimes and the tactics underway in Germany may seem pointless to some in this country, it may be the case that embracing them will be the only way for the American people to recover from the disaster of Iraq!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

No Traveler Left Behind: A Guide to Passing the ATS Exam

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As an American who has traveled abroad 5 times in the last 26 months, this recently revealed program got my attention.
Without their knowledge, millions of Americans and foreigners crossing U.S. borders in the past four years have been assigned scores generated by U.S. government computers rating the risk that the travelers are terrorists or criminals.
Virtually every person entering and leaving the United States by air, sea or land is scored by the Homeland Security Department's Automated Targeting System, or ATS. The scores are based on ATS' analysis of their travel records and other data, including items such as where they are from, how they paid for tickets, their motor vehicle records, past one-way travel, seating preference and what kind of meal they ordered.
I’m not sure how I scored during my recent trips, but using careful investigative techniques and some common sense, I’ve been able to put together the following list of tips that might help improve your ATS score:

Where You are From: Good: Provo, Colorado Springs, anywhere in Texas; Bad: San Francisco, New York, Boston.

How You Paid for Tickets: Good: American Express Corporate Card, Gift of Jack Abramoff, Sale of stock options; Bad: Rolled up wad of dinar, barrels of oil, gay sex (not applicable if you are from Colorado Springs.)

Motor Vehicle Records: Good: Hummer H2, Ford Escalade with gun rack, 69 Chevy Impala with Jeff Gordon decal; Bad: Volvo Bio-Diesel, No registered auto (just a bicycle.)

One Way Travel: Good: Never left U.S. without returning immediately after 7-14 day luxury cruise; Bad: Multiple “one way” flights out of the country while returning, presumably, via open-water swim.

Seating Preference: Good: Two adjoining - to fit extra large derriere; Bad: In cockpit, next to pilot.

Meal Ordered: Good: McDonalds’ Big Mac and "Freedom" Fries (supersized), 40 oz. Steak (extra rare), Gefilte Fish (farmed with dolphins); Bad: Vegetarian, Puppy steak, Chicken with extra bones, preferably sharpened.

Happy Traveling and good luck with your scores!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

My Solution for Iraq

This week we learned that the bi-partisan (cough - cough) Iraq study group will report their findings next week. We also learned the Pentagon's new slogans for the next faze of the Iraq debacle as they floated - "Go long", "Go Big" or "Go Home" - which was recited countless times by the dutiful corporate media.

Now everyone who reads our blog knows that Seenos and I are quick to use sports analogies to make a point. However, we are just ordinary citizens trying to make people think. The men on the ISG are statesmen with years of foreign policy experience. Those at the Pentagon are career millitary professionals. Their solution should be bipartisan, thoughtful and complex. Instead it seems they may have boiled our national strategy to fix one of the most colossal foreign policy blunders in U.S. history into a two word slogan.

And how long did it take them to do it? 9 Months!

Then, President Bush announced on Thursday that he would not withdraw troops from Iraq no matter what his hand-picked Iraq Study Group suggests.

So after much deliberation, here is my solution to end the Iraq war - and it involves sending only one more troop into harms way.

Find the biggest female soldier we can and send her to Baghdad as soon as possible.

Because everyone knows................

It ain't over til the fat lady sings!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Bush's Legacy: An Alternative to the Think Tank!

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After pondering George W. Bush’s plans to raise $500 million to build a library and think tank at SMU in order to “shape how history views Bush’s legacy,” I can’t help but wonder how this is going to help.

On the surface, I think Arianna has it right when she says that the donors need to be transparent, but really – how is a think tank going to help “polish” a Bush legacy which will consist of little more than failure in Iraq and a bleak economic future for all but the wealthiest Americans?

Here's a better idea that might actually work:

First of all, Bush should go ahead and raise the $500 million.

Then, he should take $499,995,000 of it and set up a trust fund to help the families of troops injured or killed in Iraq.

Finally, with the the other $5,000, he should use it to set up the George W. Bush Presidential Dunk Tank!

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What else is he going to do when he is no longer President? Travel the World building good will toward America like Bill Clinton? Work on projects to house and feed the poor, like Jimmy Carter?

I don't think so!

At least this way, he can give the ordinary Americans who were hurt by his policies the chance to feel good again, if only for the time it takes to throw a couple of balls!

Also posted at Daily Kos.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

What I Think the Iraq Study Group Will Find.

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If you look at the co-chairs of the Iraq Study Group, what do you see? James Baker, a noted Bush family fixer; and Lee Hamilton, the same Democrat tasked with giving a “bipartisan” look to a 9-11 Commission that was determined to reach a politically acceptable, if not thorough, conclusion on what should be done in response to the terrorist threat.

Is there any reason to expect anything more with this group? I’ve heard lots of talk about how the ISG will serve as a vehicle for a change of course in Iraq, basically an excuse to give up “staying the course” without being seen as “cutting and running.” TPM has posted a good overview of the predominant assumptions about what the ISG will do. They mostly involve coming up with a miraculous new solution that will save Bush’s bacon.

So what can the Iraq Study Group recommend that will be of any benefit to the Bush presidency? Most experts see Iraq continuing to deteriorate, at least over the next few years, no matter what we do. So, for George W. Bush, who has to ride out the next two years of living with his failed policies, a miraculous solution will have to be political and not tactical.

Here is what I expect to happen.

Much like the 9-11 Commission carefully detailed preventative steps to head off future terrorist attacks, but without drawing any attention to the secret desires personal failures of the Bush administration that led to 9-11, the IRG will detail some strategic adjustments that US troops can perform in Iraq to minimize the violence over the remaining two years of the Bush presidency, presumably with the goal of ending US troop involvement “as soon as possible.”

This will serve several political purposes hidden behind the tactical sounding recommendations. It will validate, at least from Bush’s perspective, the decision to stay in Iraq for the remainder of his presidency. It will allow him to continue looking forward and ignoring the lengthy string of blunders and lies that led us into war in the first place. If the Democrats push for a more rapid withdrawal, and are successful in that effort, he will be able to blame any short-term decline (that will most likely occur throughout the rest of his term in office) on the Democrats.

If he is successful in using the IRG report as justification to stay in Iraq rather than admit incompetence defeat, Bush will be able to pass on the responsibility for choosing to withdraw troops to his successor. In other words, if things go badly once troops are removed, he can claim it was because his successor didn’t stay long enough. If things go well, he can say it was because he followed the recommendations of the IRG and set the stage for a successful withdrawal of troops.

Bush has already gone on record as saying he believes we will be in Iraq beyond the end of his presidency. His recent call for “one last big push to win in Iraq” is yet another indication of his “run out the clock” strategy. He is going to make sure that when it comes to leaving the chaos created by his war, he’s not going to be the decider!

And neither is the Iraq Study Group!

Unfortunately for the troops who will continue to die or be injured in the meantime, the only miraculous solution that would be of benefit to them is one that gives no consideration to politics!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Meet the New Conservative Jon Stewart!

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Apparently Fox has scoured the country to find the best conservative comedic talent available, and the here’s the guy they think will balance out the biting satire of The Daily Show by mocking the ridiculously hilarious blunders made by Democrats – like trying to raise the minimum wage, provide affordable health care to lower and middle class families, and stopping our troops from being needlessly killed in Iraq!

Sounds like quite a task, so Kurt Long must have a stellar resume to be trusted with such responsibility. I decided to check it out as posted at the website of his talent agency, Omnipop. Now Kurt Long may be a really funny guy, given the chance to work with good material, but nothing on his resume suggests that he’s ever been given that chance! Of the two major roles for which I was able to find a plot summary, the humor potential sounds a little sparse.

Soiree (Film)
On his 30th birthday, David tries to reconcile with his estranged wife Angela, but she brings another man to the party. In front of their friends, Angela informs her husband that she will have open affairs with other men throughout the remainder of their relationship. David murders his wife and goes to prison where he is forced to spend the rest of his days as a "cell bitch". Or does he?
I suppose I should note that Long did not play the lead role in the film, so I can only assume that he must have played David’s wacky prison sidekick!

Games Across America (Television)
Comedy reality series that travels the United States in search of our nation's oddest events and craziest competitions. Hosted by funny man Kurt Long, the series has been in production for almost 2 years and has covered everything from Beer Pong in Manhattan to Roller Derby in Texas.
OK, so Beer Pong sounds like a barrel of laughs, but Roller Derby? I guess it might have been one of our nation’s oddest and craziest competitions – if the show were airing in the early 70’s!

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find anything related to his lead roles in the films “Tightie Whities” or “The Lay Off.”

But then, I might just have been looking on the wrong websites!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Who's More Delusional? (The Sequel)

In an earlier post, I posed one version of this question.

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Is it John Mark Karr, who thinks he accidentally killed JonBenet Ramsey despite negative DNA tests, and witnesses who insist he was 600 miles away at the time of the murder?

Or is it the President of the United States, who gave the following answer (with my emphasis) to the first question asked by Brian Williams in an “exclusive” interview from the streets of New Orleans?
I will tell you this, that when it's all said and done, the people down here know that I stood in Jackson Square, and I said we're gonna help you, and we delivered.
Today, I pose a similar question.

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Is it OJ Simpson, who thinks it appropriate to publish a book entitled “If I Did It, Here's How It Happened” about two murders he still claims he did not commit?

Or is it the President of the United States, who made the following assertion from Vietnam, the site of a 15-year war that we never really won, about his war in Iraq.
We'll succeed unless we quit . . . The Maliki government is going to make it unless the coalition leaves before they have a chance to make it.
I’ve got more to say later about why the President is so determined to stay in Iraq, but I couldn’t resist asking this question again in the meantime.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Hey, That's Not Cool Dude!

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On the eve of the big game between #1 Ohio State and #2 Michigan, I couldn’t help but notice this article about probably the most politically incorrect rock concert in history.

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Sure, Bo Schembechler had maintained a sense of humor about the hardcore band, The Dead Schembechlers. But now that he has died, what was perhaps one of the great band names of all time is not so funny anymore. At least for a while! Of course, it is a moment that was destined to come sooner or later, and according to this description of Schembechler's medical history, the safe bet was sooner.
"It was probably not a heart attack; it just stopped working," Dr. Shukri David said. Schembechler had a heart attack on the eve of his first Rose Bowl in 1970 and another one in 1987. He had two quadruple heart-bypass operations, and doctors implanted a pacemaker to regulate his heartbeat after he became ill during a (radio)taping on Oct. 20.
So, unfortunately for The Dead Schembechlers, the band will have to carry the baggage of having a particularly un-cool name for a while. That is, unless they follow my suggestion, which is to temporarily rename the band, at least until Schembechler’s memory is suitably honored, and his body is laid to rest.

Perhaps they could go by something like:

The Dead Cheneys!
Al Franken Having Fun......d

Here is a great clip of Al Franken taking apart John Fund on HardBall. Enjoy!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Joe Lieberman's Current Extortion Scheme

Let me get this straight. First, Joe Lieberman assures Connecticut voters that his intention to caucus with the Democrats is a "closed issue." Then, he goes on Meet the Press to emphasize that he considers himself an Independent Democrat – with a capital “I,” and a capital “D” - and points out that when Jim Jeffords switched from Republican to Independent, he was allowed to keep his seniority and committee chair positions. Then, he reveals that he “would not rule out the possibility” of switching to the Republican Party!

Clearly, this is all part of a plan to extort his way into making sure that he loses absolutely nothing by being rejected by his own parties’ voters in the primary, and then flipping them the bird in a selfish attempt to retain his seat by appealing to Republicans.

To this strategy, I have only one piece of advice to the Democratic leadership.


Really – who cares whether the “Independent Democrat” caucuses with you as long as he is going to vote with the Republicans whenever his “independence” tells him that another Bush rubber stamp is in order? The bottom line is that a “paper majority” in the Senate means nothing if the votes go the other way!

Realistically, legislation won’t be passed without the agreement of a strong Democratic majority in the House anyway, so even if Lieberman were to defect and give the majority back to the GOP, it would not mean that all is lost. In fact, such a move might even solidify the determination of voters to keep on surfing the current wave of GOP revulsion by voting for Democrats in 2008!

Besides, after what just happened to the six GOP incumbents who were just swept out of the Senate, how hard to you think it will be to pick off a few moderate Republican votes from those who are eyeing their own re-election bids in 2008? In other words, who needs Lieberman when his presence in the Democratic caucus may well be the equivalent of a football team allowing an opposing defender into their huddle?


Oh yeah, and as to Holy Joe’s pledge to push for the creation of a Federal Office of Public Integrity, I’m all for it! Why don’t we have them start with an investigation into the conflict of interest created when congressional spouses work as lobbyists?

Friday, November 10, 2006

Did California's Major Newspapers Bet Their Lives on Schwarzenegger's New Image?

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After most of the major newspapers in California endorsed Arnold Schwarzenegger’s re-election bid, it was a foregone conclusion that he would return for another term as Governor. Clearly, he is still such a media darling that editors were willing to overlook political flip-flops of the highest order, believing only the latest sweet nothings that Arnold decided to whisper in their ears.

Here’s a quick run-down of opinion from some of the major publications throughout the State:

Los Angeles Times:
In the last year, the Republican has formed relationships with legislative leaders that focused the usually fractious and often obstructive Democrats on a productive agenda. . . If he is re-elected, the governor says, "we're going to continue in a bipartisan way."
Sacramento Bee:
In a time when the nation is wracked by deep partisan divisions, he is the candidate most likely to lead California away from partisan warfare and into a future focused on entrepreneurship, education and opportunity.
San Francisco Chronicle:
The climate of cooperation in Sacramento can be traced directly to the conciliatory tone struck by Schwarzenegger on the night of last year's special-election debacle. . . . Schwarzenegger said the message from voters was "you fix it" -- by working with legislators -- in Sacramento. The most dramatic adjustment was to his attitude.
San Jose Mercury News:
Schwarzenegger's conversion involved process, not principles. He is an ambitious man who likes to win. He discovered that success as governor lies in being a collaborator, not a Terminator. We'd expect more of the same in a second term.
Clearly, all of these newspapers are betting that the real Schwarzenegger is the moderate, bipartisan, leader that emerged during the 2006 campaign season. Personally, I still think it is more likely that Arnold’s preferred agenda is the one promoted shortly after he assumed the Governor’s office in the first place! This was when he thought he could force his desires on political opponents through his personal popularity and the initiative process! The major media, on the other hand, seem to have accepted the idea that Arnold came into office and started with “Plan B,” but then later reverted to “Plan A!” If that assertion turns out to be wrong, there will be very little credibility left for these media outlets to sell.

Here’s what my local newspaper, to which I have subscribed for the last 17 years, had to say as they endorsed Schwarzenegger for another term:
The Schwarzenegger of 2006 has shown the moderate, problem- solving approach that made him popular in the first place.
Since he can’t run for another term, it will not matter to Arnold if all of these newspapers are wrong in anticipating more of the “Schwarzenegger of 2006.” However, if Schwarzenegger reverts back to his previous agenda of attacking working families and public employees - in favor of corporate interests - I hope it will matter to these newspapers!

If that happens, I will begin the process of expressing my disgust by cancelling my long-time subscription to my local newspaper - as their reward for choosing to enable another Schwarzenegger con job!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Tuesday, November 07, 2006



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[Ed Note: I've been saving this image for the right moment, and somehow this seems like it - seenos]

Sunday, November 05, 2006

An Open Letter to REI

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[Ed. Note: This letter was e-mailed to REI on October 30, 2006. There is a response from REI indicating that their inclusion on the list was a mistake and that they have asked ABC Radio to remove them]

I have been a member of REI for many years, and have always considered your stores to be among my favorite shopping destinations. Your website was one of the first ones that I ever placed in my favorites list. I have owned Visa Card sponsored by REI for the last decade - so in addition to speaking highly of your company to my entire social network, I advertise for you every time I use my credit card! I greatly appreciate your selection of merchandise and the high level of enthusiasm and expertise among your employees.

In short, I have always viewed your organization as a model company in every respect.

However, I am deeply troubled at discovering your name on a list of advertisers, like Microsoft, McDonalds, and Wal-Mart, who have specifically requested that none of their commercials air during Air America programming!

I realize that you have a right to advertise where you choose, and frankly I don't hear a lot of your ads on any radio network - but if REI, in fact, took action to specifically avoid advertising on Air America, there can be no other interpretation of this action than as a political statement (since your products certainly seem to appeal as much to those on the liberal end of the spectrum as the conservative end, if not more so!)

Do you also restrict your ads from radio stations that air conservative programming?

As a long time member and supporter, I would like a response that assures me that I am not supporting a company that discriminates against radio programming that is consistent my political views.

Otherwise, I will have no choice but to put great stock in the fact that companies like Campmor and Sierra Trading Post do not appear on the same list!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Another FOB (Friend of Bush) Outed as a Hypocrite!

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To borrow a phrase from the President, when the history of this election season is over, John Kerry’s botched joke “will be merely a comma!”

Looks like the most recent conservative scandal is fully capable of dominating media coverage over the next 5 days. Reverend Ted Haggard (almost rhymes with Swaggart) – an evangelical leader on a par with James Dobson in terms of White House access, and a gay basher of the highest order - has been accused of paying a "male escort" for sex for the last 3 years.

According to 9 News in Colorado, Haggard has stepped down as pastor of the New Life Megachurch, but is denying the charges. However, the accuser, Mike Jones, claims to have recorded phone calls and a letter to back up his story, and has agreed to take a lie detector test.

This article from Harper’s Magazine describes the full influence of Rev. Haggard, and includes the following revelation.
Pastor Ted, who talks to President George W. Bush or his advisers every Monday, is a handsome forty-eight-year-old Indianan, most comfortable in denim. He likes to say that his only disagreement with the President is automotive; Bush drives a Ford pickup, whereas Pastor Ted loves his Chevy.
I guess you can add one more disagreement to the list, Pastor Ted, because it looks like you also drive a male escort with a full head of hair!

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[Update] OK - so Pastor Ted isn't denying ALL the charges! I guess the lesson to be learned is that, when it comes to Republican scandals:

Today's Denial = Tomorrow's Confession.

Oh yeah, and I wonder what James Dobson has to say today!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Tony Snow is an Idiot!

Today in the White House press briefing Tony Snow continued to claim that John Kerry was insulting the troops as the the gathered media laughed out loud.

In one answer Snow showed just how stupid he is:

Snow :"Why doesn't Senator Kerry, rather than saying, I meant to put in the word, "us" -- and you try to put in "us" here, left out the word "us" -- and if you don't -- if you don't, you get stuck in Iraq. Where does "us" fit in? You don't "us" get stuck? I don't understand. It just -- it doesn't scan here.


And you used to call yourself a journalist.

Is anybody buying this crap?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Kerry Takes the Gloves Off

From a press release on John Kerry's web site responding to Whitehouse Press Liar Tony Snow:

I’m not going to be lectured by a stuffed suit White House mouthpiece standing behind a podium, or doughy Rush Limbaugh, who no doubt today will take a break from belittling Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s disease to start lying about me just as they have lied about Iraq. It disgusts me that these Republican hacks, who have never worn the uniform of our country lie and distort so blatantly and carelessly about those who have.

The people who owe our troops an apology are George W. Bush and Dick Cheney who misled America into war and have given us a Katrina foreign policy that has betrayed our ideals, killed and maimed our soldiers, and widened the terrorist threat instead of defeating it. These Republicans are afraid to debate veterans who live and breathe the concerns of our troops, not the empty slogans of an Administration that sent our brave troops to war without body armor.

Too bad he didn't respond like this during his presidential campaign.

Friday, October 27, 2006

If Rod Serling Controlled the World . . .

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I’ve always thought that Rod Serling was way, way ahead of his time. His classic Twilight Zone episodes were brilliant in their ability to force their protagonists - and consequently his audience - to face a moral dilemma and experience the consequences of failing to control evil impulses.

As I recently watched Rush Limbaugh mocking Michael J. Fox during his radio show, I suddenly realized that now should have been Rod Serling’s time! In fact, if Rod Serling were currently pulling the strings here on Earth, we might have the pleasure of experiencing some stories like these:

  • Rush Limbaugh would slowly watch himself develop symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease.

  • George Allen would wake up one morning, look in the mirror and see the face of Kenneth Blackwell (while Kenneth Blackwell would be looking at the other side of the mirror and seeing the back end of George Allen’s horse!)

  • Dick Cheney’s cardiologist would tell him that his only chance to avoid another fatal heart attack would be a new experimental treatment that involved being strapped to a board and doused with water.

  • Donald Rumsfeld would be knocked unconscious, only to wake up and find himself in a foxhole next to Pat Tillman.

  • One by one, every person in Bill O’Reilly’s world would remove a rubber mask and reveal themself to be a clone of Keith Olbermann.

  • Condoleeza Rice would appear at a career counselor’s office, and realize that her resume was only impressive enough to qualify her for work at a Wal-Mart.
Surely there are many more possibilities. Please feel free to add them to the comments. I am particularly interested in hearing suggestions for a Twilight Zone episode involving George W. Bush.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Left-Over’s Contribution to the Pre-Election Ooglegay Ombbay!

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In case you happen to be interested in knowing the details of any of these GOP candidates, here are the links. This is our part in the combined efforts of the Lefty Blogosphere to help reveal the warts on this bunch of toads. (Note: The Pig Latin is our way of making that contribution less obvious to the Ooglegay Olicepay, in whatever forms they may appear!)

--AZ-Sen: Jon Kyl
--AZ-01: Rick Renzi
--AZ-05: J.D. Hayworth
--CA-04: John Doolittle
--CA-11: Richard Pombo
--CA-50: Brian Bilbray
--CO-04: Marilyn Musgrave
--CO-05: Doug Lamborn
--CO-07: Rick O'Donnell
--CT-04: Christopher Shays
--FL-13: Vernon Buchanan
--FL-16: Joe Negron
--FL-22: Clay Shaw
--ID-01: Bill Sali
--IL-06: Peter Roskam
--IL-10: Mark Kirk
--IL-14: Dennis Hastert
--IN-02: Chris Chocola
--IN-08: John Hostettler
--IA-01: Mike Whalen
--KS-02: Jim Ryun
--KY-03: Anne Northup
--KY-04: Geoff Davis
--MD-Sen: Michael Steele
--MN-01: Gil Gutknecht
--MN-06: Michele Bachmann
--MO-Sen: Jim Talent
--MT-Sen: Conrad Burns
--NV-03: Jon Porter
--NH-02: Charlie Bass
--NJ-07: Mike Ferguson
--NM-01: Heather Wilson
--NY-03: Peter King
--NY-20: John Sweeney
--NY-26: Tom Reynolds
--NY-29: Randy Kuhl
--NC-08: Robin Hayes
--NC-11: Charles Taylor
--OH-01: Steve Chabot
--OH-02: Jean Schmidt
--OH-15: Deborah Pryce
--OH-18: Joy Padgett
--PA-04: Melissa Hart
--PA-07: Curt Weldon
--PA-08: Mike Fitzpatrick
--PA-10: Don Sherwood
--RI-Sen: Lincoln Chafee
--TN-Sen: Bob Corker
--VA-Sen: George Allen
--VA-10: Frank Wolf
--WA-Sen: Mike McGavick
--WA-08: Dave Reichert

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Now That's a Follow Up Question!

Here is an interesting exchange from today's press gaggle aboard Air Force One with Deputy Press Secretary Tony Fratto. The reporter "Jennifer" actually asks logical follow up questions until Mr. Fratto abruptly ends the presser.

Q You said that it's the only way to proceed, to prepare for a Republican-controlled Congress. With such a close election, and with both parties recognizing how close it's going to be, why not at least consider both alternatives?

MR. FRATTO: We're still in the game, and -- if you're in the game, you're in it to win.

Q But you don't know the outcome of the game any more than I do, and --

MR. FRATTO: We feel confident about the outcome, and that's the way we're going to proceed.

Q Continuing the analogy, but government isn't a game, and you are governing, and so your responsibility is to prepare for how to govern regardless of how it turns out. So it may be a game in the political sense, but it's really not a game to Americans who want their government to be ready to do what needs to be done.

MR. FRATTO: He'll be ready.

Q That means you're preparing for the other outcome?

MR. FRATTO: We are ready. We are ready for -- we're ready for a -- we're ready to work with a Republican Congress. Nice try, Jennifer.

Q That would suggest not ready for a Democratic Congress.

MR. FRATTO: Questions? Anything else? Thank you.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Photo of the Day: That's My President

Al Gore Speaks at a Prop. 87 Rally today in Berkeley California.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

To Those Who Still Still Support George W. Bush, Who's Your Hero? [Updated]

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As the President’s approval ratings have dropped lower and lower, I’ve been thinking more and more about the people who remain in the Bush camp and what it would take to move them. After reading this letter written by Kevin Tillman, the brother of Pat Tillman, I am reminded of a time when my path crossed that of someone who I picture as one of those people.

In 2004, I participated in an open water swimming race in the San Francisco Bay. It was a fundraiser for the Special Olympics, and one of the associated events was a banquet during which numerous current and former Olympic swimmers who were participating in the race were honored. After growing up as a competitive swimmer, I was excited to meet one of my childhood heroes, John Naber, who won 4 gold medals and a silver in the 1976 Olympics. Of the current Olympians scheduled to swim in the race, the one I most wanted to meet was Klete Keller, who had been central to possibly the most dramatic moment of the Athens games, when he anchored the U.S. team and held off Ian Thorpe to win the 4 x 200 Freestyle Relay Gold Medal by only a few hundredths of a second.

During the dinner, all of the elite athletes were introduced and were asked to stand and share with the audience one of their heroes. This event was shortly after Pat Tillman had been killed in Afghanistan, and Keller gave a stirring and emotional account of his respect and admiration for Tillman, citing his patriotism and sense of duty. He actually came to tears as he spoke of being inspired by Tillman to go on to a career in the military to serve on behalf of this great country. I seem to recall several times when he mentioned President Bush as its inspirational leader, and it was clear that he was a strong supporter of the Bush Administration.

I left thinking that, while I probably shared few political views with Keller, I could respect the sincerity and passion of his convictions; and although I could imagine nothing that would change his mind about the policies of the current President, I wished the best for the young man.

After reading Kevin Tillman’s letter, which is a scathing critique of the Bush policies in response to 9/11 and which calls upon readers to honor Pat Tillman’s birthday by voting for Democrats on the following day, I could not help but think about Klete Keller. Is he still among those who steadfastly support Bush’s policies? What would he think about Kevin Tillman’s letter? Is he still among the 37% who support George W, or would he honor the request of the only person left who can truly speak for his hero?

[Update] I suspect that I may know the answer to these questions after finding a few strong hints on Keller’s website. It links to an article that describes his daily routine as including “watching Bill O’Reilly in the evening.” It also lists the following in his bio:
Hobbies Outside the Pool: fishing, Michigan Militia (a group that camps and does other outdoor activities.)
Yes, that would be this Michigan Militia!

The website hasn’t been updated for a while, so I guess I can still hold out hope that young Mr. Keller has seen the light.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Tony Snow Says "We Got to Win"!

Here is an exchange from today's Whitehouse press gaggle with Tony Snow:

(emphasis mine)
Q Tony, does the deaths of 10 U.S. soldiers in Iraq today cause the President to rethink his strategy there?

MR. SNOW: No, the strategy is to win. The President understands not only the difficulty of it, but he grieves for the people who have served and served with valor. But as everybody says, correctly, we got to win.

Now we all want to win. But winning is not a F---ing strategy. Winning is a goal - a hoped for outcome.

Every football team on Sunday wants to win. The difference is some teams plan and prepare and make strategic changes at half time that help them reach their goal.

Then there are the Raiders (sorry LWJ) and this lame Bush Administration.

Our only hope seems to be if the terrorist strategy is "We Got to Lose"!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Handicapping the Senate Race.

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This chart from NYT spells out the lay of the land. Dems’ need to pick up 6 seats to gain a majority. According to NYT’s recent reporting, and what I’ve picked up from other sources, the following races have become the keys to the GOP strategy. For simplicity, I’ve listed all the candidates by the Dems’ preferred outcome. Poll info includes a range of the most recently reported outcomes.

GOP bracing to lose:

1. Pennsylvania – Casey over Santorum (Leads by 5-12%)
2. Rhode Island – Whitehouse over Chafee (Leads by 3-10%)
3. Montana – Tester over Burns (Leads by 3-7%)
4. Ohio - Brown over DeWine (Leads by 3-5%)

GOP hoping to retain:

1. Missouri – McCaskill over Talent (Leads by 0-3%)
2. Tennessee – Ford over Corker (Leads by 1-5%)
3. West Virginia – Webb over Allen (Trailing by 0-3%, but with macaca momentum!)

GOP desperately hoping to win:

  1. New Jersey - Menendez over Kean (Leads by 3-7%)


With the recent decision to divert funds from the DeWine campaign to more “winnable” races, the GOP are essentially prepared (if not resigned) to lose 4 seats. Although New Jersey is considered their best (and probably, only) hope of picking up a seat, the polls indicate it is a huge longshot. That means it probably comes down to the middle three races. Whoever wins two out of three from this group probably has the majority - with the GOP needing to run the table to avoid having to rely on Darth Cheney as a tie-breaking (and P.R.-killing!) vote.

Basically, the GOP strategy is to focus on protecting Talent, a noted Bush rubber-stamper; protecting Frist’s vacated Tennessee seat for Corker, a scandal-laden, slime thrower who may become the next DeWine, against a popular Dem House member; and protecting the slumping Allen, who has recently been shown to be a liar and a bigot, and whose oft-cited Presidential aspirations come from being tagged as “the next George Bush” (ie: a moron!)

That’s not an enviable position from which to try to retain any kind of bragging rights! In fact, by the time the dust settles on this midterm election, I suspect the majority of the American people will place more credibility in Oakland Raider owner, Al Davis’ ongoing claims that “Da Raidas” are “The Winningest Team in Professional Sports” than in any boasts the GOP will be able to muster!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Brokeback White House!

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Some time ago, I wrote a post entitled Brokeback White House. At the time, I was out on a limb with some pretty wild speculation, based on bits and pieces I found in other reports – just having a little fun after Brokeback Mountain was in the news after the Academy Awards

Now, with Foleygate engulfing the GOP, the issues I raised seem a little more plausible. In fact, it is not that hard to envision a scenario where other (perhaps many) highly-placed GOP leaders are deeply closeted homosexuals, who are kept in line with the Bush agenda through fear of public revelation. I won’t go so far as to say I believe that scenario yet, but I am interested to see where the Foley story goes in the future.

I am particularly interested in the developing drama regarding statements made by Hastert Chief of Staff, Scott Palmer (shown together in this 1999 image.) Lawrence O’Donnell raises the serious questions on HuffPo, and then T-Rex takes them to a new level on Firedoglake.

At this point, I am becoming suspect of anyone that George Bush refuses to fire, or even seriously question, in the face of obvious incompetence or negligience!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Defending Foley is a Fool's Folly!

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So far, these are some of the arguments I’ve seen thrown out in defense of Mark Foley:

  1. He’s checked himself into rehab for alcoholism “and related behavioral problems.” (according to Foley)

  2. He’s not really a pedophile because he didn’t actually have inappropriate sexual contact with a minor. (according to his lawyers)

  3. He was simply sending “naughty e-mails.” (According to Tony Snow)
I’ll comment on these individually.

First of all, I think Foley may have stumbled on to the solution to the problem of overcrowded prisons in America. If “related behavioral problems” among alcoholics are best handled by alcohol rehab rather than the criminal justice system, then I guess we could probably release about half of the convicts currently clogging our prisons. How about a new catch phrase: Use a Beer, Stay Out of Jail?

Regarding the argument that he’s not a pedophile because he didn’t actually touch any underage pages, I’d be curious to know how this one flies with all of those “enemy combatants” locked up in Gitmo and other secret prisons for being potential terrorists. According to Foley’s lawyers, you can talk and plan all you want, but I guess you aren’t a terrorist until you actually blow up a building!

And as for Tony Snow’s characterization of Foley’s “naughty e-mails?” Well, this one seems to have been slipped into the conversation by the Foley camp, perhaps in the hope that Foley would be able to parlay it into a good spanking - maybe even by one of the underage pages! Sorry, but I couldn’t resist!

By the way, the image above comes from the website of the Republican Main Street Partnership, where Mark Foley was Emcee of their annual awards dinner just one week ago. Here’s what the organization’s website has to say about their policy on ethics:
The Republican Main Street Partnership is committed to improving the public perception of government. We say "perception", because the overwhelming majority of our men and women in office uphold the highest level of ethical standards.
I guess when they picked Mark Foley to be their Emcee they were forced to settle for the highest level of ethical standards they could find on “Republican Main Street!”

Monday, October 02, 2006

From the Really Creepy Department

I found a link to video of Congressman Foley paying tribute to a graduating page class - complete with tears. Courtesy of C-Span.

Obviously the House leadership took Foley's Page issues seriously, if they let him give this farewell address .............................................NOT!!!

UPDATE: C-Span pulled the clip. I can't find it anymore. I sure hope someone recorded it.

UPDATE II: found the transcript (halfway down the page) of Foley's address and it was the graduating class of 2002 not 2006. But here's a creepy passage:

I hear so much laughter here and I am glad that there is laughter,because this is a wonderful time of your life. Every time we celebrate the departure of a page class, we remember your first day here and, of course, we are here at your last. You came in very shy and meek and very polite and for the most part you have remained polite, but no longer shy and meek.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Ballast from a Sinking ship

With all the bad news for Bush and the Republicans today - my question is - did the GOP throw Congressman Mark Foley under the bus to distract from Woodward's book and the Abramoff revelations.

Scandal's about sex will always lead. But if this was the best they could do they are only tossing a crew member from a sinking ship. It is however, right in character for them to start with the homosexuals.

Look out Ken Melman!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Bill Clinton Kicks Some Fox News Ass

In an interview with Chris Wallace of fox news President Clinton took the gloves off and came out swinging. All I can say is - it is about time.

Here is an excerpt from the transcript:

CLINTON: What did I do? I worked hard to try and kill him. I authorized a finding for the CIA to kill him. We contracted with people to kill him. I got closer to killing him than anybody has gotten since. And if I were still president we'd have more than 20,000 troops there trying to kill him. Now I never criticized President Bush and I don't think this is useful. But you know we do have a government that think Afghanistan is 1/7 as important as Iraq. And you ask me about terror and Al Qaeda with that sort of dismissive theme when all you have to do is read Richard Clarke's book to look at what we did in a comprehensive systematic way to try to protect the country against terror. And you've got that little smirk on your face. It looks like you're so clever.

WALLACE: [Laughs]

CLINTON: I had responsibility for trying to protect this country. I tried and I failed to get bin laden. I regret it but I did try. And I did everything I thought I responsibly could. The entire military was against sending special forces in to Afghanistan and refueling by helicopter and no one thought we could do it otherwise. We could not get the CIA and the FBI to certify that Al Qaeda was responsible while I was President. Until I left office. And yet I get asked about this all the time and they had three times as much time to get him as I did and no one ever asks them about this. I think that's strange.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Norm MacDonald - Too Soon??

For those who need a laugh, here is Norm Macdonald on the Daily Show mourning the loss of Steve Erwin. He also takes a good shot at Condi and her new Canadian friend.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Way To Go Joe!

I have moved this from the comment section to the front page because I want to make sure everyone gets a chance to read it. LWJ is one of our best commentors and loyal readers.

I admire Olbermann's stamina. At this point, after 5 and 1/2 years, I find myself suffering from outrage fatigue. Nothing that this President or his administration says or does shocks me anymore. The fact that the President of the United States is actively lobbying Congress to edit the Geneva Conventions, with the purpose of exonerating and expediting torture, is pretty freakin' outrageous, but all I can manage is... I don't know; bemusement? Mild embarrassment? I just feel like I've been beaten down by the endless dishonesty, greed, brutality and smug, arrogant condescension of Bush, Cheney and their cronies.

This administration just doesn't care what 2/3rds of this country's citizens or what the rest of the world thinks of them (and by extention, of us). They don't care that nearly 3000 servicemen and women have died in order to line the pockets of the Defense Industry's CEOs. They don't care that 100,000 or so Iraqis have been killed in their illicit war. They don't care that they have utterly destroyed our reputation abroad. They don't care whether the rest of the world is "shocked and awed" at our military strength (i.e. our ability to kill people and destroy property) or shocked and appalled at our willingness to detain prisoners indefinitely without charge or trial, and to torture them while we're at it...

Well, maybe I have a little outrage left after all. Man, I hope we can get a Congressional and/or Senate majority in November. If not, were going to continue to get the government we deserve, and deserve the government we get.

Lost Wages Joe

Monday, September 18, 2006

Olbermann Speaks For Me!

Once again Keith Olbermann has delivered a tongue lashing to the President for his use of the phrase "It is unacceptable to think" in last weeks rose garden press conference.

Watch it here.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Is George Bush a Civilized People?

For the record here is common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention:

(emphasis added)

Article 3
In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each Party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:
1. Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.
To this end, the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:
(a) Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;
(b) Taking of hostages;
(c) Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment;
(d) The passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.
2. The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for.
An impartial humanitarian body, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, may offer its services to the Parties to the conflict.
The Parties to the conflict should further endeavour to bring into force, by means of special agreements, all or part of the other provisions of the present Convention.
The application of the preceding provisions shall not affect the legal status of the Parties to the conflict.

What is so difficult to understand? As much as parts A and C seem to be garnering all the attention, I think that it is part D that the Bush Administration is most worried about. Those 14 recently transferred "enemy combatants" to Gitmo may have a lot to say if they are tried in any sort of open court. Bush's only hope is to convict them secretly.

I guess Bush's argument is that Colin Powell, Senators McCain, Graham and all those opposed to the changes - are not civilized people.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Bush's Threat

Having watched clips and read various accounts of Bush's press conference today, I can save you the trouble by reducing his argument to this.

Congress better quickly enact laws legalizing the types of torture we have been using in his War on Terror - or George is going to cancel torture altogether.

Great argument!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

President Bush's New Translator

Courtesy of The Daily Show

From One Black Hole to Another

With today's House Resolution by Rep John Murtha calling for the immediate resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld I started thinking about the perfect next job for old Rummy. It's obvious he is no good at defense. Then I remembered one of the Bush Administration's favorite lines, "the best defense is a good offense". That is when it struck me. Rumsfeld is great at coming up with a plan and then sticking to it no matter how disastrous it is or how the conditions change. And, since he is obviously inept when it comes to defense - is it time to move him to the other side of the ball?

The perfect next job for Donald Rumsfeld is .......................... Offensive Coordinator for the Oakland Raiders.

You see - there he will be appreciated for his ability to keep running the same damn play over and over no matter how many times his quarterback gets sacked. And, most of all Rummy will feel right at home working under another head coach who only thinks that he is in charge.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Olbermann is a Patriot

Once again Kieth Olbermann has stepped to the plate with a crushing 9/11 comment to President Bush. Here is a snip and the link.

How dare you, Mr. President, after taking cynical advantage of the unanimity and love, and transmuting it into fraudulent war and needless death, after monstrously transforming it into fear and suspicion and turning that fear into the campaign slogan of three elections? How dare you -- or those around you -- ever "spin" 9/11?

Sunday, September 03, 2006

A Tragedy Squared

On the day when the US Troops killed in action in Afghanistan and Iraq surpassed the total killed in the Horror that was 9/11 - I can't help but feel an incredible sadness for all of the loss of life. Then I remembered a conversation that I had with a gentleman of Chinese decent who came to the United States as a young man - now in his fifties - I'll call him Jan.

We were having lunch when the conversation eventually drifted to our mutual anger at the current administration and the War in Iraq. It was then that Jan made the point that in today's global society he feels that humanity is beginning to take precedence over military might. He went on to explain how during WWII, casualties of war, particularly the enemy, were viewed as inevitable. It was all about winning that particular battle. The worry about the damage was secondary - an afterthought. His point was that with modern communications, satellites and instant news, the world no longer accepts death so casually. And it is his theory that this humanity has begun to render countries impotent if all they have is military might. Sound like any country you know?

The future super powers will have to build giant coalitions and amass huge diplomatic machines to be effective world leaders. As Jan said that day - the age of the military machine is waning as our mistake in Iraq shows all too clearly.

We can only hope Jan is correct.

2974 U.S. and ? number of Iraqi's - rest in peace.

Friday, September 01, 2006

How the Web Has Shrunk the World!

No, I’m not going to launch into a Tom-Freidman-style diatribe on the new size and shape of the planet. And yes, it’s still bigger than Pluto, so we won’t get voted out of the solar system. I’m just going to focus on one small example from recent experience.

As I prepare to depart for a week in London, followed by another two weeks in Croatia, I’ve been doing some research. My traveling companion will be my 18-year-old son, a musician who clearly shares my love for listening to live music – so that will be near the top of our list for the visit to the UK. But London is a big city, with literally hundreds of entertainment options every night. So what do we do?

Not to worry, as I have a computer and a free hour or two. I can quickly look up the listings of every single music event during our stay. But I’m not sure what it all means, and I don’t want to leave everything to luck and possibly waste precious time. Well, if the listings’ brief description of the music and venue sound good, I can quickly search for the bands’ Myspace pages and listen to a few tunes to see how they sound. But I’m still concerned that they might be too visually boring to justify watching a whole show. No problem - I can look them up on YouTube, and often find live video clips that reveal whether they have some chops and an interesting stage presence.

So Boom! We are ready to go! But what if the best shows are sold out before we even get to London? Again, no problem - I can pull out my credit card and get the tickets on-line so they will be waiting for me at the door. Print out a map of how to get to the club, and we are set.

So with all these tools at our disposal, what are we going to do in London? Here are a couple of the more promising music options. I don’t know that we will make it to all of these shows; but if we don’t, it will be because we found something even better to do! And, keep in mind that your musical taste may differ.

Acoustic Ladyland – Wild punk jazz and a baritone sax player who channels the departed Mark Sandman from Morphine, but with the reckless abandon of old school punk. I’ve already tracked down their debut CD, which is playing over and over in my car. (note that the clip has two songs - make sure you catch the second one!)

The Urges – This is part of a triple bill of young, Irish, garage bands, playing psychedelic, surf-inspired music - at a club night that is legendary for showcasing future stars.

Neil Innes – This is where I get to drag my 18-year-old all the way back to my own teen years. Most people who happen to recognize Neil Innes picture him as the singing minstrel who accompanies Sir Robin (Eric Idle) in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. (sing it with me, “Bravely bold Sir Robin rode forth from Camelot . . . ) He also was the main creative force behind The Rutles, a Beatles parody band, whose songs (including those in the clip) are burned into my brain from repeated listenings on my very first record player. I’ll let my son drag me to the loudest, wildest, hardcore show we can find, but this is how he’s going to pay me back!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Quote of the Day

If you have not seen Keith Olbermann's commentary regarding Donald Rumsfeld last night - you must.

Olbermann ended with a particularly apt quote from another great journalist not afraid to speak his mind:

"We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty,
We must remember always that accusation is not proof, and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law.
We will not walk in fear - one, of another. We will not be
driven by fear into an age of un-reason, if we dig deep in our history
and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men;
Not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to
defend causes that were - for the moment - unpopular."

Edward R. Murrow 1954

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Who's More Delusional?

Is it John Mark Karr, who thinks he accidentally killed JonBenet Ramsey despite negative DNA tests, and witnesses who insist he was 600 miles away at the time of the murder?

Or is it the President of the United States, who gave the following answer (with my emphasis) to the first question asked by Brian Williams in an “exclusive” interview from the streets of New Orleans?
I will tell you this, that when it's all said and done, the people down here know that I stood in Jackson Square, and I said we're gonna help you, and we delivered.
Tough call, huh? The really scary thing is that after watching Bush and listening to him say the words, Karr doesn’t even seem the more delusional of the two, based on the sheer "creepiness" factor!

Sandwiched between several more questions regarding Iraq and Katrina and a lengthy discussion of his “eclectic” reading habits, Williams asked him pointedly about his legacy as President. Bush was able to reach the following conclusion.
Eventually my standing in history will be judged by people 30 or 40 years from now. I read three histories of George Washington last year. The first President of the United States is still being analyzed by historians, which oughtta say to this president and future president: "Do what you think is right and eventually historians will figure out whether it made sense or not."
In other words, Bush can and should do anything he damned well pleases, because historians won’t be able to determine his true legacy until after he’s dead!

Right, Mr. Bush. Whatever you say. And historians might eventually conclude that Jeffrey Dahmer should have been the next Emeril Lagasse!

As his popularity plummets, Bush now seems reduced to a strategy of running out the clock, while retaining a few (retarded) supporters and a (false) shred of dignity.

With his proclamation that “We won’t leave Iraq as long as I’m the President,” he clearly has adopted this stalling strategy with regard to his Presidency. Now, it seems with his recent comments, that he has adopted a similar strategy with his entire life!

Frankly, either Mr. Bush is one of the most delusional human beings ever to walk the planet, or he’s a manipulative opportunist who has taken to heart his recent reading of Albert Camus, and really doesn’t share his fundamentalist supporters’ belief in the afterlife. In other words, if he can just hold off his legacy long enough that he doesn’t have to live with it, he’s home free!

But personally, I just think that he is so deluded he thinks there are multiple “Shakespeares!”

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Who's More Pathetic?

I have long despised Rita Cosby as the chief example of everything that is wrong with TV news. This photo is disturbing in many ways. It deserves a caption that I am too disgusted to come up with at the moment. So have at it.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Photo of the Day

Dick Cheney gives away the answer to his favorite game of "One of these things is not like the other".