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!