Sunday, April 30, 2006

American Idiot Watch (Pony Tail Grimace Edition)

I recently came across this story about my good friend, Jean Schmidt. Jean and I go way back, including this correspondence shortly after her speech in which she called Rep. John Murtha a coward for wanting to bring the troops home from Iraq, as she bragged about being in "the majority."

Apparently, Ms. Schmidt has been reprimanded by the Ohio Elections Commission for posting inaccurate information about her educational background on her campaign website. Curious about her background, I looked it up, and here is what I found:

  • Member of Ohio Leadership Class of 1999

  • Graduate of Lead Clermont, # 1 Class, University of Cincinnati, 1993

  • Bachelors Degree in Political Science, University of Cincinnati, 1974

  • Teaching certificate awarded (Secondary Education), University of Cincinnati; coursework completed, 1986.
The last item has been changed in response to the reprimand to show not a Bachelors Degree in Social Sciences, but a “Teaching Certificate.” However, I was curious about the second item. It looks impressive – sort of like a graduate degree, perhaps even tops in her class, from the University of Cincinnati.

So I looked up "Lead Clermont." According to the program description, it has three goals:

  • To recognize a personal leadership style that promotes a more fulfilling work experience.

  • To improve the quality of life in Clermont County through active participation in team projects.

  • To develop professional and personal relationships.
Kind of sounds like a training program to become the chairperson of the office social committee! Through active participation in the planning of potlucks and Christmas parties, one can develop professional and personal relationships and promote a more fulfilling work experience.

And then there’s that “# 1 Class” designation. At least she was the best one in the training program, right? Um, no! Turns out she was a participant in the first version of an annual program that began in 1993.

Well, it must have been some sort of exclusive program with rigorous educational requirements for enrollment, right? Here are the requirements for eligibility:
Class members must reside or work in Clermont County for a minimum of one year and demonstrate:

  • high standards of personal quality and integrity

  • sincere interest and possess a record of active involvement in community activities and issues

  • an occupation or position that reflects achievement relative to age and experience
Achievement relative to age and experience? So basically, any well-adjusted, honest kindergarten student with a sincere interest in activities with her classmates and a good attendance record would be eligible to enroll.

Let’s just say that Jean Schmidt doesn’t have the resume padding skills of a Condoleeza Rice! But she does have a quality that suggests potential to be the last hold out who still supports George W. Bush as his approval ratings (now down to 32%) begin to approach zero. For that, along with her blundering efforts to describe her educational background, Jean Schmidt deserves a nomination for the coveted title of American Idiot.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Musical Interlude

Here is nice live performance by Pink of her new song "Dear Mr. President."

And follow this link to a great post by Stop George at Dkos - with the lyrics to Neil Young's "Impeach the President," and a link to listen to the entire album for free!

Also, don't miss the chance to click on Georgie Bubble Boy at the bottom. It's addicting! Tip: use your mouse if he gets stuck.

Rove Before Grand Jury Again: Does Cinco Mean Fitzo De Mayo? [Updated]

Amid a flurry of news reports regarding Karl Rove’s fifth appearance before the Grand Jury, the most telling description comes from the WAPO:
In his fifth appearance before the grand jury, Rove spent considerable time arguing that it would have been foolish for him to knowingly mislead investigators about his role in the disclosure of the identity of undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame to the media


Rove testified, in essence, that "it would have been a suicide mission" to "deliberately lie" about his conversation with Cooper because he knew beforehand that it eventually would be revealed
Let me get this straight. After four previous opportunities to talk his way out of being indicted, Karl Rove - the architect of the Bush Presidency – is reduced to trying to argue that he would have been stupid to lie!

Rove’s entire career has been built on a willingness to say anything and do anything to win elections. Is there any doubt that his many trips to the Grand Jury have been a series of attempts to say whatever he needs to say to salvage some shred of doubt about his motives? And that's the best he's got left? He would have been stupid to lie?!?!?

I guess that is one way to stay out of jail - convince the Grand Jury that you are so stupid that you can’t be held accountable for your actions. I mean - the courts rarely choose to imprison the mentally handicapped, so if it’s your only remaining shot, I suppose you might as well take it. But not when you are the top advisor to the President!

Then again, recent actions by this President do tend to suggest strong evidence that his top advisor is retarded! So maybe it will work.

On the other hand, the fact that he keeps returning to the Grand Jury to me suggests one of two things: either he’s toast and he knows it but is still desperately clinging to the hope he can weasel out of jeopardy; or with each visit, he’s giving up more and more incriminating evidence against others (cough! Dick Cheney. cough!)to keep from being indicted.

Either way, I’m looking for a relatively quick announcement of something big, perhaps by a week from Friday - May 5th! Of course, that may just be my hope for another Fitzmas in the Springtime. If not, there’s always Fitzmorial Day and The Fitz of July!

[Update] Billmon has a great post that supports the second scenario described above - Rove the squealer!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Cheney, According to The World

Here’s something that you probably can’t get anywhere else but an obscure corner of the lefty blogosphere – a glimpse into foreign media coverage of Big Dick Cheney.

Acting on a tip from a relative, I was able to find this article confirming that Dick Cheney will be visiting Dubrovnik, Croatia in early May. I took note because I, too, will be in Croatia during most of May. Although I won’t be in Dubrovnik to coincide with his visit, I have relatives who will be there for a week in early May, before joining me for another week in the northern part of the country.

As it turns out, the article mentioned above was the only English language report of Cheney’s upcoming trip, although there were a number of articles in Croatian newspapers, including this one from Slobodna Dalmacija. Curious about how the trip is being received in Croatia, I asked my trusty home interpreter (among many other things much more important to me) to translate.

Mostly, it was about the purpose of the trip – a meeting with leaders of several Eastern European countries. The article also included a lengthy description of the security precautions required by Mr. Cheney, including the need to book 150 rooms at his hotel, plus another 50 rooms at nearby hotels, in order to house his security detail.

But the closing couple of lines were classic. Roughly translated, they said the following (with my emphasis added):
During a hunt, (Cheney) injured a fellow hunter, which caused media interest throughout the world. His hunting incident shows that he not only needs to be guarded, but he needs to be guarded against.
It seems that all over the world, Dick Cheney is now being publicly lampooned as that dangerous guy who shot a man in the face! Must be tough when you finally get a brief respite from an 18% approval rating at home with a trip to the beautiful Adriatic, only to be mocked in the local newspapers before you even arrive!

And just so that anyone who happens to come across Vice President Cheney during his trip to Croatia, I thought I’d offer up another translation that you might wish to relay to him, if you get the chance (preferably in an elevated voice):

Jebi Se Cheney!

Or the more formal version:

Jebite Se Gospodine Cheney!

This, in honor of Dr. Ben Marble of Gulfport, Mississippi - who brought the English version into common use throughout America.

Also posted at Daily Kos

Monday, April 24, 2006

Bolten's "New" Playbook

When Josh Bolten replaced Andy Card as White House Chief of Staff, the predominant reaction was that little had changed – just another insider moving to a new office across the hall.

Now, Time is reporting that Bolten has revealed an “informal” playbook designed to improve George Bush’s chances of creating a positive legacy – by keeping control of both houses of Congress and presumably, I guess, the ability to control perception. Or at least, to avoid any real investigation that would unearth any more “dead bodies!” Of course, the playbook looks remarkably similar to the one used by the previous “Head Coach,” making me wonder whether the Bush Administration has secretly enlisted Al Davis as a consultant. Do these plays sound familiar?

  1. Deploy Guns and Badges – described as an appeal to the base who are concerned about border security. In essence, this involves giving Bush the opportunity to strut around with “law enforcement” Flight suit anyone?
  2. Make Wall Street Happy – by getting the talking heads on financial shows to speak glowingly about the economy, Bolten is expecting the average Joe paying $3.50 a gallon for gas, who just lost his retirement, and is on the verge of possible layoff, to cheer because investors don’t have to pay tax on capital gains?
  3. Brag More – I guess Bolten thinks that Bush’s decline in popularity comes from all those mistakes that he has so frequently apologized for! Bush has been bragging about a "wonderful" economy, and a series of phantom successes in Iraq, for nearly his whole term in office, but with little to back it up. Perhaps he could have everyone who significantly benefited from his tax cuts dip their fingers in red ink and hold them up to show off their windfall!
  4. Reclaim Security Credibility – This is yet another attempt to use fear - this time of Iran – to make people afraid to vote for Democrats. I guess he thinks that the Republicans have done such a good job of handling the “war on terror” and conducting the war in Iraq, that the American people will stick with them. Nothing is more credible than botching a war for political purposes, followed by calling out your intention to use the threat of another war for political purposes!
  5. Court the Press – This sounds to me like the efforts of an abusive husband to give his wife flowers just in time to keep her from calling the cops! The Bush administration has tried (and largely succeeded) at intimidated the Press for so long that a few sweet words aren’t going to cut it. I suppose they could always bribe them with diamonds – or have their lobbyist pals take them golfing in Scotland!

Looks to me like another season of missing the playoffs!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

If Arnold Really Wants My Vote . . .

Arnold Schwarzenegger finally had the chance to follow through with his campaign promise to be the “Collectinator,” as he met with President Bush to request federal aid to repair the levees. But unfortunately for Arnold, the President said no, instead making the offer to allow California to pay the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to help.

So Arnold was reduced to being the “Beggernator” and he came up all but empty-handed. Sure, Bush is willing to let us hire Federal help, but that’s the equivalent of responding to a starving panhandler by offering to sell him your lunch!

So Schwarzenegger is already back to criticizing the unpopular Bush in an effort to appeal to liberal voters like me. Of course, I still remember during the 2004 campaign season, when Arnold was nothing but a Bush “Cheerleadernator.”

See, it’s not enough for Arnold to blast Bush now.  It’s not enough for him to position himself a dozen different ways in a calculated attempt to justify calling himself a centrist. He’s partly responsible for Bush being in the White House today, and he can’t just act the role of angry citizen in order to seem like one of us.  And don’t give me a multi-billion dollar bond measure to build roads on the backs of our children. And don’t give me a 30-year plan to chip away at global warming by creating a new corporate market for hydrogen fuel cell technology.

Here is what Arnold needs to do if he really wants me to reconsider my opinion of him: He needs to campaign in support of returning checks and balances to our national government. There are a number of key House races in California where Arnold can encourage voters to move the legislature in a more centrist direction – by voting for Democratic representatives.

If Arnold really wants me to view him as a moderate who is sincere in his anger at George W. Bush, he needs to make up for his prior support of the President, and become the “Impeachinator”  

Otherwise, everything Arnold says is just blowing smoke, and as far as I’m concerned, he should be nothing but a “One-Terminator!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Who Will Be The Next White House Press Secretary? (Part II)

Inspired by Left-Over’s rundown of potential candidates for the job of White House Press Secretary, I decided to compile my own list to add to the mix. Although I couldn’t top Teller as the perfect choice, it may not be so easy to fill the position, so I think more options may be needed if Bush is going to be able to find a taker. Here are my choices:

#5 Gilbert Gottfried – Just the sound of his voice should be enough to keep the Press Corps from asking too many questions. Besides, whenever he gets one that he doesn’t want to answer, he can always just bellow out, “Aflac!”

#4 Chuck Norris – Has shown that he can read any lines he is given, no matter how ridiculous they are, without altering his facial expression or revealing even the slightest hint of personality. Would not crack and give up useful information under pressure. Probably the only candidate capable of fighting off Helen Thomas!

#3 Chuckles, the Poo Flinging Chimpanzee – Reporters would not be jockeying for seats in the front row of the Press Room anymore. Substance of the Press Conferences would remain consistent.

#2 Dennis Miller - After bombing on Monday Night Football, he really needs the work! Found out the hard way that, because of a notable lack of humor among Republicans, there is no market for a conservative comedian who isn't willing to act like a retarded hillbilly!

#1 Rafael Palmiero – Knows how to give a pointed denial with conviction, no matter how unlikely it sounds. Also, he has worked as a part of a Bush team during their days with the Texas Rangers , so George knows him well enough to trust his (poor) judgement. His connections as a spokesman for Viagra may come in handy as a member of an increasingly impotent administration.

The Decider

Turn up the sound and click here. Really – Just do it!

(From The Huffington Post)

Who Will Be the Next White House Press Secretary?

Well now that Scott McClellan is riding off into the sunset I'd like to speculate a little about who might replace him. It is not an easy gig - answering questions day after day for this President. It calls for a special talents that fortunately not many people are blessed with.

So with leaked information from my longtime secret informant and "former hill staffer" who I call - "Google" - I have compiled a list of the top available candidates to fill Scottie's shoes.

#5 Jared the Subway Guy - everyone seems to believe him when he says that he lost all that weight just by eating Subway sandwiches.

#4 Tommy (the liar) Flannigan - an obvious choice for his ability to answer any question.

#3 Baghdad Bob - His ability to cut through reality with defiance is legendary.

#2 Rita Cosby - Just imagine every press briefing beginning with "Good evening, I'm Rita Cosby and I'm coming to you live from the Whitehouse briefing room, where we have late breaking information - a bombshell in the presidents daily schedule tomorrow.

#1 Teller - This I think is the best choice, dispense with all the lies and just send Teller up to the podium day after day. You know what they say, "sometimes a look is worth a thousand words".

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

American Idiot Watch (Doughy White Guy Edition) [Updated]

It seems that Left-Over beat me to the punch with his comments and link to a fine review of Scott McClellan’s future job potential.

Of course, despite growing rumors of his demise, Scottie still seems to think new Chief of Staff, Josh Bolten, was merely being rhetorical in asking if anyone wants to leave on his or her own volition. In explaining Bolten’s move to the press corps, he noted:

He wanted to make sure he had the team in place that is going to be here for a minimum of the remainder of the year . . . . And he said if people are thinking about leaving, that now is the time to come to such a decision.
But then, McClellan revealed a somewhat garbled expectation that, without a voluntary resignation, at least someone’s head is going to roll!

Any time you have a new chief of staff coming in, you can expect that there will be some changes in some of the structure and personnel and other issues.
Ever the village idiot, Scottie seems to have no idea that he’s the most glaring among many embarrassing warts in the current White House, and the easiest way to “shake things up” without really changing anything would be to show him the door! Anyone else with a similar lack of shame and a Rainman-style ability to deny basic facts could do his job.

But Scottie McClellan is apparently oblivious to it all. He still thinks he’s part of “the Bush team” that Bolten wants to remain in place. In fact, as Bush continues to drop in popularity, Scottie McClellan may well end up being the last American who supports George W. Bush as his approval rating approaches zero.

For his lack of understanding of his own worthlessness, and also, I suppose, for his failure to take the offer and get his ass out of what is probably the World’s most pathetic and embarrassing job, Scott McClellan earns a nomination as a finalist for the coveted title of American Idiot!

[Update] Well, that was quick, eh? Here's the report of Scottie's (my guess - forced) resignation. I'm sure glad I got his nomination in while he was still blathering about keeping the team together, but with "changes in the structure and other issues." I'd be tempted to feel sorry for the guy, and might even consider the possibility of recinding the nomination, if not for his parting quote:

I have given it my all sir and I have given you my all sir, and I will continue to do so as we transition to a new press secretary

No, he is still a strong contender for the title!

This is Brilliant!

From Roddy McCorly at Daily Kos a la Dr. Seuss.

I'm the decider.
I pick and I choose.
I pick among whats.
And choose among whos.

And as I decide
Each particular day
The things I decide on
All turn out that way.

Click the link above for the rest.

Hey McClellan - Don't Let the Door Hit Ya!

Well it finally appears as if we won't have Scott McClellan to kick around anymore. I was going to write a post speculating on what he might do next until I ran across this diary on Huffington Post which said it perfectly. Here is the best section:

So get him while he's down! And cheap! Why not take poor Scott McClellan under your wing? Put him to work lying to your creditors. Or explaining to family members why you can't call them back. Or referring questions about the mysterious dent in your car to the mechanic who doesn't speak English. Your boss wants to know if you misappropriated petty cash? Sorry, can't comment on an on-going investigation. Your daughter wants to know why you lied about the tooth fairy? Scotty will direct those questions to the tooth fairy's office. There's nothing he can't not answer!

And think of all the experience he'll bring to the job! Who better to have on your side when things get rough? Your wife wants to know why there's lipstick on your collar? Scotty hasn't seen the shirt, he can't comment. And he would refer your wife to the Dry Cleaners. They're not open? Look, it's really not Scotty's problem, he needs to move on to the next question. And-- he will ask-- why is your wife trying to smear the hard working, patriotic Dry Cleaner? Has she no decency?

With Scottie gone Bush jumps to "number one" on the Top Liar in the Country List. Gee I wonder what George will be qualified to do once he is out of office?

Rummy's Failed War Memo

You’ve just got to love the desperation in the Pentagon’s decision to defend Donald Rumsfeld by releasing an e-mail memo trying to rebut the criticism against him by a growing cadre of retired generals. From the NY Times:
The memorandum begins by stating, "U.S. senior military leaders are involved to an unprecedented degree in every decision-making process in the Department of Defense." It says Mr. Rumsfeld has had 139 meetings with the Joint Chiefs of Staff since the start of 2005 and 208 meetings with the senior field commanders.
OK, so he had lots of meetings! That doesn’t mean the meetings were spent “involving anyone in his decision making process.” I remember my early years working at a well known pizza chain, and we had weekly crew meetings, nearly all of them consisting of the same stern warning from the manager not to put more than eight slices of pepperoni on a small pizza, or the store’s profit margin would be unacceptable (and thus he would lose his monthly bonus!) In all those meetings, I don’t recall a question ever being asked. Lord knows what would have happened if the operator of the pizza oven had requested adequate body armor to protect him from the heat!

The article continues:
Seeking to put the criticism of the relatively small number of retired generals into context, the e-mail message also notes that there are more than 8,000 active-duty and retired general officers alive today.
Heck, why limit it to living generals, when you could claim that 100 percent of the dead generals seem to be perfectly happy with Rumsfeld’s leadership? And not one general from any other country has made even the slightest complaint about micromanagement by Rummy, so clearly he enjoys widespread World support. He even seems to have 100 percent intergalactic support, as not one military leader of an alien life form has come out with a statement condemning him for his arrogance or his impertinence.

All I can say is that if this administration can’t plan a credible memo, it’s no wonder they can’t plan a war!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

If You Believe Arnold Now, Then I've Got a George Bush I'd Like to Sell You!

In the lead up to a re-election bid, Arnold Schwartzenegger is clearly testing a series of positions designed to distance himself from an unpopular Republican President, and to appeal to moderate Democrats whose support he will likely need to retain the Governorship.

After billing himself as a pro-business union buster during a failed initiative campaign, he tried to repackage himself as a visionary builder of California’s infrastructure, taking credit for thinking about future generations, but also making it clear that the current generation wouldn’t foot the bill. He trumpeted the need to sell billions of dollars worth of bonds (creating massive future debt load) to fix a long list of problems with the State’s roads, levees, prisons, schools, etc. At the same time, he claimed that “taxes have never fixed any problem,” in explaining his position on taxes – although it could just as easily have been his explanation for why California has so damned many problems!

Ultimately, however, this repackaging effort didn’t work because it is clear to most Californians that, just like George W. Bush is not a “compassionate conservative,” Arnold Schwartzenegger is not an “economic visionary.”  He’s a f**king actor, and a bad one at that! His supporters like to talk about what a shrewd businessman he is, but in reality, everyone knows that he came to prominence by taking steroids, and made his fortune by selling violent movies, mostly to impressionable teens. That he invested money in real estate during a period of rapidly rising property values in California says less about his business acumen than it does about his good fortune that Hollywood, CA is the focal point of the movie industry.

Failing to pull off the role of “economic visionary,” Arnold is now trying to play the role of conscientious steward of the environment, by talking about making California the leader in the fight to reduce global warming. Good luck with that act, Mr. Hummer!  As much as Democrats might like to hear a politician seeming to take the environment seriously, I doubt that they will buy it from Schwartzenegger.

When that doesn’t work, I guess he can always try to jump on the rid baseball of steroids bandwagon to see if he can pull in the anti-Barry Bonds vote!

All I can say is that come election day, I certainly hope California voters will remember that no matter what Arnold’s “popular issue of the week,” he has conducted himself in office as no less of a liar than George W. Bush. And his campaign team, described here, literally comes right out of the Karl Rove school of “anything to get elected” politics.

Friday, April 14, 2006

My Christmas Gift Easter Egg for President Bush

I originally wrote this before Christmas. Unfortunately George didn't take my advice. Now as Easter Sunday approaches I felt I'd give him one last chance.

Dear George,

At the mid point of your life you were a miserable failure. You had been a lousy student, a drunk, an AWOL National Guardsman, a failed businessman and your family was in shambles. Some might say you were a complete asshole.
The day after your 40th birthday, Laura threatened to take the kids and leave you forever. That is when you found your lord and personal savior Jesus Christ and turned your life around.

Now I'm not one of your biggest fans and should be the last one to give you advice, but because it is the holiday Easter season and I woke up in a giving resurrecting mood, I am going to offer some. Mr. Bush, it is time for you to become born again....again.

I don't really believe that you suddenly found Jesus the first time, but whatever happened seemed to work for you. At least it worked for a while. But whatever it was, isn't working anymore. Your successes have now turned to controversy, scandal and tragic failures. Thousands of U.S. and Iraqi citizens have perished on your watch, and the polls show that 60% 70% of your own country and most of the world doesn't like you anymore.

So here is my solution. Admit that you were wrong. Ask for Cheney and Rumsfeld's resignation and then fire your entire cabinet. Blame it all on them. We all know that it was their fault anyway. You were just going along. They are the evil ones, not you. Tell the American people that you are sorry....very sorry, then go about changing the bad decisions that Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rove forced you to make.

You came to this realization once in your life Mr. President. Now it is time to see the truth again. I think these actions are the only way to save your presidency, and it can only work because for some inexplicable reason many still want to like might put up with you. But at this point you have pushed the American people to the end of our "collective rope", and just like Laura we are about to take our country and leave you forever.

So what do you say George? Can I get an Amen!

One last piece of advice. Next time don't wait until you have made a complete mess of everything before deciding to repent. Your life will go much smoother if in the future you recognize your mistakes and fix them along the way instead of letting them multiply to such colossal proportions.

Happy Holidays Easter - Left-Over.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

American Idiot Watch (Catch-Up Edition)

A couple of days ago, I introduced a new feature designed to highlight an individual who shows potential to end up being the last person in America who still supports George W. Bush, and thus earn the official title of “American Idiot.”

To commemorate yesterday’s special election to replace Duke Cunningham in the California-50th District, I’m going to reach back a few weeks and pull up another nominee who, frankly, needs to be included even though his fourth place finish probably means he will quickly fade into oblivion.

Over several posts, I’ve already given ample evidence to suspect that Howard Kaloogian is an idiot. Now here’s the clincher that cements his status as having the qualities necessary to end up as the single American who still believes President Bush is a competent and honest leader after everyone else has jumped off the sinking ship.  

This image appears on Kaloogian’s campaign website, so clearly he and the President are pretty close, right?  Well note the way their arms blend together rather than overlap. This tells me that either the two were once Siamese twins, or someone “photoshopped” the image to make it look like Bush was happy to pose with the beaming Kaloogian. The controversy over the photo was first noted here and includes another version with Kaloogian looking about six inches taller.

Of course, I could be wrong. Maybe the photo was taken by a photographer who was just trying out his new “fuzzy arm filter.” Or maybe Kaloogian actually had the photo taken during the same trip to the Baghdad House of Wax, where he posed with Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, but a little later on a hot day causing George’s elbow to melt onto Howard’s jacket.

Whatever the explanation, this image of Kaloogian standing next to Bush earns him a nomination for the coveted title of “American Idiot.”

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Was This Dick Cheney's Last Throe?

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Dick Cheney has long been on the slippery slope toward becoming one of most reviled men in American history. If there was ever a guy who could be shipped off to The Hague to stand trial as a war criminal - with few supporters bothering to protest - this is the guy!

So why did he put himself in the awkward situation of throwing out the first pitch before a relatively hostile audience at today’s Washington Nationals game?  I mean - when the Vice President gets booed by a bunch of Budweiser drinkin’, hot dog eatin’, Chevy drivin’ fans of “America’s favorite pastime,” he’s really hit rock bottom!  Sure, there were some people cheering too, but I’d guess those folks merely fell into the familiar sporting event trance that causes them to mindlessly cheer for things like “Dot Racing” or “Three-Cap” Monte on the Jumbotron!

Cheney is a pariah and he’s got no business expecting a warm welcome from any audience that isn’t screened at the door by Republican Party operatives wielding sodium pentothal syringes.

But hey – in Dick Cheney World, he probably already remembers the game as one where he was greeted with flowers as a liberator!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Bush: That's How I Work

Of all the tragically embarrassing moments of the Bush Presidency -this exchange today has to be near the top of the list.

Q Thank you, Mr. President. It's an honor to have you here. I'm a first-year student in South Asia studies. My question is in regards to private military contractors. Uniform Code of Military Justice does not apply to these contractors in Iraq. I asked your Secretary of Defense a couple months ago what law governs their actions.

THE PRESIDENT: I was going to ask him. Go ahead. (Laughter.) Help. (Laughter.)
Q I was hoping your answer might be a little more specific. (Laughter.) Mr. Rumsfeld answered that Iraq has its own domestic laws which he assumed applied to those private military contractors. However, Iraq is clearly not currently capable of enforcing its laws, much less against -- over our American military contractors. I would submit to you that in this case, this is one case that privatization is not a solution. And, Mr. President, how do you propose to bring private military contractors under a system of law?

THE PRESIDENT: I appreciate that very much. I wasn't kidding -- (laughter.) I was going to -- I pick up the phone and say, Mr. Secretary, I've got an interesting question. (Laughter.) This is what delegation -- I don't mean to be dodging the question, although it's kind of convenient in this case, but never -- (laughter.) I really will -- I'm going to call the Secretary and say you brought up a very valid question, and what are we doing about it? That's how I work. I'm -- thanks. (Laughter.)

Crooks & Liars has the video clip. You have to see it for the full impact. I think the young woman asking the question is more qualified to be President than this Jack Ass. Three years into this war and he can't answer the question. In fact he acts as if this is the first time he has ever heard it.

Isn't this one of the fundamental questions that he should have been asking his architects of the war.

Oh yeah, that's right, Bush doesn't ever ask any questions. Not when the storm of the century is bearing down on a U.S. city and certainly not when he is sending paid civilian mercenarys into battle. He's pathetic and his lack of curiosity is making the world even more dangerous.

Da White House Be Jammin'

Just when you think the White House Scandalometer can’t go any higher, here comes yet another one. This article from the A.P. describes the first hard evidence of a White House connection to one of many so-called "voting irregularities."
Repeated hang-up calls that jammed telephone lines at a Democratic get-out-the-vote center occurred in a Senate race in which Republican John Sununu defeated Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, 51 percent to 46 percent, on Nov. 5, 2002.
The records show that Bush campaign operative James Tobin, who recently was convicted in the case, made two dozen calls to the White House within a three-day period around Election Day 2002 — as the phone jamming operation was finalized, carried out and then abruptly shut down.
Virtually all the calls to the White House went to the same number, which currently rings inside the political affairs office. In 2002, White House political affairs was led by now-RNC chairman Ken Mehlman.
Anyone still think that George W. Bush won the Presidency through a fair election process? No cheating? Character matters? Bringing integrity to the Oval Office? Pigs Flying?

Sunday, April 09, 2006

A Sequel to "American Idol" - With Music By Green Day!

After watching George Bush’s approval ratings continue to drop, even as the pundits keep suggesting that they can’t go any lower, I’m starting to view his presidency as a reality game show not unlike American Idol. As more and more people slowly realize the complete failure of Bush’s policies, and the lies that were used to promote them, the approval ratings continue to fall. Eventually, it seems, there will be a single person who is the last hold-out – the one person who still thinks that George W. Bush is a competent and conscientious leader who is making America better! That person should be crowned with the official title of “American Idiot!”

At this point, the approval ratings are still hovering around 36 percent, so there are lots of potential candidates for the title. I’m going to highlight just one of the leading contenders today. My intention is for this to be the first in a continuing series of posts highlighting individuals who show potential to end up being the last person in America to support George W. Bush. I will be referring to this series of posts as “American Idiot Watch.”

Now on to today’s candidate . . .

Last week was marked by a surprising and courageous act during one of President Bush’s “pep rallies,” when a man named Harry Taylor stood up and asked the President the very question on the minds of a great many Americans. In summary, it was a simple question, “Have you no shame, Mr President?” It was a great moment – so great that there is already a website designed to allow visitors to post a thank you note to Mr. Taylor.

Since there has been plenty of coverage of Harry Taylor’s question, I’m here to draw attention to the “co-star” of the videotape – the woman seated at the right of Mr. Taylor, whose expressions during his statement were of classic shock and outrage that anyone would have the nerve to question the President. At one point, she even tried to grab the microphone from Mr. Taylor to ask her own question, presumably one more in line with the script.

By her behavior in response to Harry Taylor’s statement, this unnamed woman seems like a definite contender to be the last American hold-out supporting George W. Bush as his approval ratings continue to drop, and thus she is our first finalist for the coveted title of American Idiot!

Photo of the Day

This photo always makes me laugh. These must be some of the 34% who still believe in BUHS.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Deja Vu All Over Again

Can Bush's Presidency get any worse? Seymour Hersh discusses the administrations views on Iran. One might say that the arguments have a familiar ring to them.

Friday, April 07, 2006

What a Difference 10 Days Make! With Update!

Over the past day and a half I have read a great deal of analysis about the recently disclosed Libby - Grand Jury testimony. This is not an easy case to understand for sure and I certainly cannot sift through the details as well as Firedoglake or John Dean at Findlaw have.

But for me, I think the new revelations all come down to on thing - timing.

We know that "Scooter" Libby gave information from the infamous NIE to Judy Miller of the New York Times on July 8, 2003. The information in that NIE was not "officially" declassified until July 18, 2003 - a difference of 10 Days.

Here is where the devil is in the details.

Scenario 0ne - If George Bush declassified the information prior to July, 8 - then Libby did not disclose classified material and George Bush has allowed three years of investigation, months of jail time for Miller, and has repeatedly mislead or lied directly to the American people about this entire ordeal.

Scenario two - If Bush declassified the information on July 18, 2003 knowing that Libby had already leaked it at the direction of Vice President Cheney - Well, that is one big fat conspiracy at the highest level of our government which explains why Cheney had to tag along with George when he spoke to Fitzgerald. Was Bush just covering for Cheney and Libby's mistake?

The third scenario is the only one that I think could get Bush out from under this particular cloud. Bush would have to come out and say that July 18, 2003 was the actual declassification date and that he had no knowledge of and did not authorize Libby to leak prior to that date (The Grand Jury testimony from Libby is that Cheney told Libby that Bush had authorized the "leak"). Bush could still claim that Cheney and Libby were acting alone. This would effectively throw Libby and Cheney under the Bus. I seriously doubt that Bush has the guts to do it despite all of his Texas rancher tough-guy bravado.

Bush's next move might tell us what really happened, whether it is to tell us what really happened or not.

Of course I could be completely off base, and If I am I'm sure you guys will tell me.

Update: Looks like scenario three is the one their going with. This article today says that Bush told Cheney to get the information out, but left the details to the VP which definitely puts it on Cheney - but also just makes George look detached and not interested enough to concern himself with details. Plus, he still lied many times by saying he had no idea who leaked.

This whole incident just confirms that Bush and Co. cherry picked all over the place to take us to his wanted war.

A Timely Flashback! [Updated]

In light of recent revelations that the President originally authorized releasing classified information that resulted in the leak of Valerie Plame’s identity to reporters, this article from September 30, 2003 is particularly interesting reading.

And please take our new poll at right, noting that we didn’t give you an easy way out - by allowing you to choose “all of the above.” (a tip for those who really can’t decide: you can vote for a different lie each day!)

[Update] While I'm tempted to revise this post to accurately reflect the fact that Bush's involvement in authorizing a leak of classified information had nothing specifically to do with the leak of Valerie Plame's identity, I'm not going to do so. My immediate misinterpretation of the Libby filing shows how easy it is to do jump to conclusions - even when one tries to follow the news carefully! I suspect that most people reading headlines stating "Bush Refuses to Deny Authorizing Leak" will reach a similar conclusion. Nevertheless, the September 30, 2003 article, which chronicles Bush's public comments regarding leaks at the start of the Plame investigation, and was shortly after his supposed authorization, is still a very interesting read.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

He's Still The Poster Boy!

Tom Delay is trying really, really, reeaaally hard to spin his decision to resign from the House and withdraw from a re-election bid as an altruistic gesture toward the Republican Party. He says he doesn’t want the 2006 mid-term elections to be about him, as if taking himself out of the picture is going to remove him as the “poster boy” for a Republican culture of corruption.

Not so fast there, Hammer. A rapid flip flop after winning a primary election while insisting you would fight the charges against you, only serves to remind everyone that combative denials and smiling photo ops intended to mask concern about mounting evidence of corruption are not evidence of innocence!

In the face of more and more potential testimony against him, as the lower level rats try to save themselves by giving up the bigger rats, Delay decided to cut and run rather than continue to publicly fight the charges. His sudden decision to try to slink into anonymity are a constant reminder that the other prominent Republicans who are loudly proclaiming their innocence – Ney, Doolittle, Burns, Frist, et al. – are also likely doing so, not with the idea that they can actually prove their innocence, but in the hope that they can ride out the storm without being proven guilty!

With his sudden about face, Delay’s face – so proudly smiling in his mugshot – is the perfect reminder to everyone that the force of the denial is quite often an indicator of the force of the potential evidence against those accused of corruption. After all, when you are a crook, why not profess loudly and forcefully that you are not a crook?

Instead of fading into the background and letting other Republicans retain the power that he and his cronies built, Delay has become the poster boy not just of a culture of corruption, but of a culture of corruption whose members will publicly say anything to avoid having to admit guilt – until it becomes inevitable! Then, they run away and hide so they can live out their lives in a world of denial, hoping they will be forgotten.

Well, that’s not going to happen to Tom Delay, as long as I can make up my own posters!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Sorry, But I Have To Rub It In

First of all let me say congratulations to the University of Florida on their decisive win over UCLA for the NCAA Mens’ Basketball Championship!

And it’s funny how, contrary to the typical line about opponents having to overcome the intimidation of dealing with UCLA's great tradition, it was the Bruins who couldn’t hit a shot. And it was the Gators, in their first championship game ever, who could do no wrong.

I guess UCLA fans will have to spend the next year living with the realization that in this world, it is still possible for the ghost of John Wooden to get his ass kicked by the ghost of Dwayne Schintzius!

Bush's Presidential Library?

Here's a piece from the Washington Post that I missed yesterday. It's a devastating look at the legacy of George Bush. Here is how it ends:

The ugly emptiness will remind us always to be wary of the grand schemes of politicians. They can't build a building. They cannot capture a mass murderer. They cannot wage war in Iraq. This is their hole. It is, by dint of failure, George Bush's presidential library. His proper legacy is a void.

Hat tip to Anon Con for posting it first.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

This is Homeland Security?

Here is what one Homeland Security official does to help keep america safe from ...........14 year old girls?

Not so much!

Feingold Strikes Again

Once again Senator Russ Feingold is a clear voice in the wilderness. Today he issued a statement opposing a proposed ban on civil unions in his home state of Wisconsin. But instead of ending his statement there he went on to declare his support for "marriage equality" for all citizens.

“As I said at the Kenosha County listening session, gay and lesbian couples should be able to marry and have access to the same rights, privileges and benefits that straight couples currently enjoy,”

“Denying people this basic American right is the kind of discrimination that has no place in our laws, especially in a progressive state like Wisconsin. The time has come to end this discrimination and the politics of divisiveness that has become part of this issue.”

"Marriage Equality" is the way we should frame this issue. It is an equal rights issue after all - and this country has already fought that battle.

In case you missed it here is the link to Feingold's appearance on Fox News on Sunday regarding his censure resolution.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Photo of the Day - From One Loser to Another

I think this photo op was designed to show that Bush isn't only partial to Christians.

He was facinated by this player - because his full name is Angel Pagan.

Insert George's stupid laugh here.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Why I Blog

When I started writing for this blog about 6 months ago, it was basically a lark – an experiment to see if I could muster up something that I wanted to say, with enough passion to take the time to write it down. I had been an occasional writer of letters to my local newspaper, but usually about sports or local politics when something really got under my skin. This time, while there was a lot under my skin, I wasn’t fully aware of it all, and was not sure if I could sustain a continuous flow of ideas. I was wrong. The ideas were there, but I needed something else to inspire me to write them down, and to really care that I was expressing them in more than just a random stream of disjointed thoughts.

That something is a person - my partner of over 10 years, who I will refer to here as T. Although T. is not a writer, T. is a deeply emotional thinker – an unusual way to describe someone, but in this case it fits. T. frequently expresses strong ideas, thoughts and feelings about a wide range of topics, many of them political. Because of her infectious desire to share her views, formed while growing up in a much different culture than the one I’ve experienced in my life, I am frequently encouraged to view American culture and politics as a more objective and detached observer that I could possibly imagine on my own. I am continuously inspired to find ways to express those views, often shared views from our discussions, in my writings for Left-Over.

T’s influence is a strong and important part of my life, and my blogging. Without it, I would not be the person I am. Although I don’t often take the time to thank her for inspiring me in so many ways, I would like to do so now.

(the graphic is of a favorite vacation spot in the town of Rovenska, on the Island of Losinj, Croatia, where some of our most enjoyable conversations have taken place)

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Another Kaloogian.

This photo was taken during Howard Kaloogian’s recent visit to the new Baghdad House of Wax, one of many new tourist attractions popping up all over Baghdad now that it is so calm and stable.

Just kidding! It’s actually my attempt at a “Kaloogian.” Yes, according to Wikipedia, “Kaloogian” was, for a time, listed as a noun used to describe the act of posting a false image to deceive viewers into believing a phony premise. Although it has now been removed, I think the phrase has a chance to stick. For example, “If you are going to commit a Kaloogian, you had better realize that you are hunting with Cheney!

Actually, in my humble opinion, “Kaloogian” is better used as a verb, as in “The former State Assemblyman Kaloogianed some of his more gullible supporters into believing that State Senator Tom McClintock supports his candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives!”

It also seems better used as an adjective, as in “President Bush’s decision to display a ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner during his aircraft carrier photo op was a Kaloogian mistake!”

No matter how it is used in the future, after the events of this last week, the term “Kaloogian” will be reminiscent of much more than simply a guy clearing his throat!