Friday, May 27, 2005

And Here's How We're Seen

Well if you read Freidman's latest column then you really ought to read this is from a columnist of the Moscow Times.
He is writing about Sy Hersch's interview with the relative of a female US soldier evidently involved in prisoner torture and how it has affected her in very negative ways. He then extrapolates to all of US:

The fate of this soul-broken, tormented daughter of America embodies the nation itself under the malevolent reign of President George W. Bush. The whole country is changing its skin, trying to cloak its complicity and shame with a wilful disfigurement. Who could look on the hideous form of Bush's America -- the snarling faces belching rancor on Fox News; the rabid partisans oozing bile through the halls of Congress; the money-glutting religious extremists relentlessly pushing ignorance, intolerance and theocratic dominion; the corporate beasts devouring the landscape, destroying communities, writing their own laws, gorging on unprecedented profits wrung from global sweatshops, corruption and war; the somnolent, silent, acquiescent public, blankly countenancing torture, deceit, military aggression and the destruction of their constitutional order -- and not see in all this a body politic in profound psychological crisis: traumatized, guilt-ridden, turning itself inside out in a frantic attempt to escape the truth?

And this desperation only grows as the truth piles up, fragment by fragment, dug out from Bush's slagheap of lies. In the past month, there has been a barrage of "smoking guns" outlining the Regime's criminality in such stark and blatant terms that even the U.S. corporate media -- those cringing enablers of atrocity -- have been forced to take some notice.

That is some writing. And he sure has nailed us. Accurately I'm afraid.
Makes me think of Tom Friedman uttering the famous line from Jaws...."We're gonna need a bigger boat"

Friday Cat Blogging

Teddy is after something. Just missed the money shot of her jumping 2 feet into the air.


Giro Update

Well my beloved Giro d 'Italia is near its conclusion. Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Discovery Channel-Pro Cycling Team (that's Lance's team) is leading by 2 minutes 9 seconds. This is probably enough to win but there is a brutal mountain stage tomorrow and well anything is possible. Barring a meltdown though Salvodelli & Discovery will claim a win in the Giro.

The Faces of this Memorial Day Weekend

A U.S. soldier places flags at some of the over 200,000 tombstones at Arlington National Cemetery. Since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003, at least 1,647 American military personnel have lost their lives in Iraq. It is not known how many Iraqis have died. 184 American military personnel have died in Afghanistan.

Iraqi female lawmaker Lamia Abed Khadouri al-Sakri gunned down in her home April 27, 2005

Audrey Daron Lunsford, 29 killed when a bomb exploded Monday, May 23, 2005, in Haswa, about 30 miles south of Baghdad

An Iraq policeman displays a photo of a slain colleague on his motorcycle after a roadside bomb attack in the northern town of Duhok May 25, 2005

Sgt. Charles T. Wilkerson, 30, of Kansas City, Mo. based at Fort Carson, Colo. was killed when an unknown device exploded near his tent in Iraq

Celeste Zappala, center, and her son Dante Zappala, right, protest against the war in Iraq, as Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld spoke at a luncheon for the World Affairs Council, Wednesday, May 25, 2005, in Philadelphia. Celeste is holding a photo of her oldest son who was killed in Baghdad

Memorial service for Marine John Spahr and Marine Captain Kelly Hinz, Thursday, May 26, Hinz and Spahr died earlier this month when their single-seat F/A-18 Hornet jets collided over south-central Iraq

Mourners carry the coffin of Moussa Saloom, right, the deputy head of the education college at Baghdad's Al-Mustansiriya University, past the university during his funeral in Baghdad, Iraq Thursday, May 26, 2005.He was killed by gunmen while driving to work.

Husam Abdul-Zahra, 17, left, grieves with his friend Haidar Hussein, after Husam was wounded and two of his brothers were killed when the minibus they were travelling in was attacked near the previous al-Rasheed Camp in southeastern Baghdad Thursday, May 26, 2005.

Emily Dieruf from Lexington, Kentucky reacts after finding her husband's dog tag at Camp Pendleton memorial service May 26, 2005.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Russell J. Verdugo, 34, is shown in Afghanistan. Verdugo died Monday, May 23, 2005, in Baghdad, Iraq, while on an assignment to remove a makeshift explosive.

Members of the 1st Marine Division bow their heads in prayer during a memorial service for in honor of soldiers who were killed in Iraq, May 26, 2005

Delay: Law & Order Wrong

From Reuters:
Tom Delay is pissed at the TV show Law & Order: CI for slurring his name. This occurred on Wednesday's episode about the killing of judges when a frustrated cop having trouble finding a suspect says, "Maybe we should put out an APB for somebody in a Tom DeLay T-shirt."
Delay wrote a letter to NBC complaining but NBC doesn't seem to be cowering. Their statement of reply included:
"It's not unusual for 'Law & Order' to mention real names in its fictional stories. We're confident in our viewers' ability to distinguish between the two."

I think Delay has done enough to "slur" his name on his own. But he wrote this to NBC:
"This manipulation of my name and trivialization of the sensitive issue of judicial security represents a reckless disregard for the suffering initiated by recent tragedies and a great disservice to public discourse."

That is pretty audacious after saying this of judges following the Schiavo case:
"The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior."

Thursday, May 26, 2005

WI Legislature Hires Evangelical Group
To Represent Them in Lawsuit Against ACLU

Action Wisconsin reports that Republican lawmakers have accepted an offer from an evangelical group to represent the Wisconsin Legislature in fighting the ACLU lawsuit that seeks equal benefits for lesbian and gay state workers. It's apparently the first time any state legislature has agreed to be represented by such a group. This is all about a move to allow domestic partner benefits to University of Wisconsin employees. The UW is the only school in the "Big Ten" that does not offer domestic partner health insurance. Governor Jim Doyle wants to allow UW to provide equal benefits, but Republican leaders have said they will reject his proposal.

In a letter from Action WI we learn:

"Republican leaders have told us they hired the evangelical Christian group because the Legislature- not the courts--is the proper body to consider this issue. Yet the Legislature has consistently refused to even consider the issue. Domestic partner benefit bills introduced in past sessions were refused hearings. And now the Joint Finance Committee is refusing to give fair consideration to Governor Doyle's request for UW System domestic partner benefits.

The state legislature is also trying to add an anti-gay marriage amendment. Action WI is leading the fight in WI against these anti-gay measures. If you care about human rights you can help out by donating.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

House Backs Down from Banning Women in Combat

Well I guess for once pragmaticism has prevailed in Washington. The House decided against Rep Duncan Hunter's (R-CA) bill to ban women from combat positions. Instead they voted to let the Pentagon to continue to decide what exactly are "combat support" positions which women have been able to serve in since 1994. Hunter had argued that the Pentagon was not in compliance with their policy.

The Army, which started allowing women to serve in combat support units last year, said it was in compliance.

But in the end, Hunter was overpowered by a coalition of Republicans, Democrats and Pentagon officials who argued that an earlier provision would have caused confusion among military commanders and soldiers, hurt recruitment and retention of women, and hindered the military's ability to make staffing decisions in the battlefield.

Hey a recruiter's job is hard work as it is.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Election Results

BushCo loves to tout the Iraqi elections as the great victory in Iraq.
If they keep killing Iraqi officials (not sure if all are elected officials) at this rate, Bush can have another election real soon and declare victory again......
let's see how many times would that make it now.
1) there was the air craft carrier victory speech
2) and then the "we got him" moment
3) handover of power to Iraqis

Friday, May 20, 2005

I've Just Been Waiting for This One

WASHINGTON - The military would need congressional approval before putting women in new direct combat roles under a bill approved by a House committee, its Republican sponsors say.

But Democrats said it was unclear whom the provision would affect and argued it could drastically impact the way the services operate, especially in wartime.

After more than an hour of debate over just what exactly the provision would do, it was included in a bill that sets Defense Department policy and spending plans for the upcoming budget year. The House Armed Services Committee approved the bill early Thursday on a 61-1 vote. The Senate is working on its own Defense Department bill.

I knew this would come eventually but frankly I'm surprised it took this long. I thought after the first female military deaths in Iraq that we would be hearing about this. Besides the sexism of this, it is completely impractical (face it NO woman could be in Iraq at all since the entire country is a combat zone) unless you just keep women out of the military....and there we are back to sexism. Is that really the goal here. Are the christofascists in on this too. ..protecting good Christian women? Or is it just the good ol boy thing of "women don't belong in the military" and here is the way in effect get rid of them.
Well good luck to the recruiters then.....with this bill they'd lose about 15% of their recruits and at a time when they can't even come close to meeting their goals.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Monday, May 16, 2005

Kennedy Awards Vs. Bush Awards
Which makes more sense....

The John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Awards
for recognition of acts of political courage were
awarded Monday. The recipients were:

Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, (second from left) for:
showing "courageous leadership" by raising taxes and
cutting the city's payroll when she took office facing an $82 million budget deficit.
Former Texas State Sen. Bill Ratliff, (third from left) for:
being the only Republican lawmaker who publicly
objected to his party's 2003 redistricting plan.
U.S. Army Sgt. Joseph Darby, Special Profile in Courage Award for:
being the first to report abuse at the Iraqi prison, turning over photos
that showed prisoners chained together in sexual poses,
piled on the floor naked and forced to form a nude human pyramid.

And then there were the Bush's Presidential Medal of Freedom Honorees:
Tenet, slam dunk intelligence?
Franks, followed orders?
Bremer, "we got him"?

And again it is interesting to note the Presidential Medal of Freedom initially honored notable service in war but in 1963 President Kennedy re-introduced it as an honor for distinguished civilian service in peacetime. Just more Bush dismantling.

Kuwaiti Women Win Right to Vote


Kuwait's all-male parliament voted 35 to 23 to grant women the right to vote Monday. Just 2 weeks ago on May 4 the same paliament failed to approve the same bill. Islamists had been strongly opposed to allowing women to vote. 400 women demonstrated in the streets after the bill failed.

Some of the women were covered completely in full-length veils, but many were dressed in the pale blue colour that symbolises the struggle of women in Kuwait. The demonstrators carried placards reading: "Women's rights now", and "Islamic law does not contain anything against women's rights".

The US had urged Kuwait to grant the enfranchisement of women and today welcomed the passing of the bill.

So where does that leave voting rights in the Mid East:

Women can vote and be elected: Iraq, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Palestinian territories, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Yemen, Morocco, Tunis, Algeria, Iran
Women cannot vote or be elected: Saudi Arabia
There are no elections: Syria (holds presidential referenda in which women can vote), UAE, Libya

It's the Golden Age of Irony...
Or is it hypocrisy

White House spokesman Scott McClellan is not satisfied with Newsweek's apology regarding its Koran desecration story. He said:

"While Newsweek now acknowledges that they got the facts wrong, they refuse to retract the story," spokesman Scott McClellan said.

"The report has had serious consequences. People have lost their lives. The image of the United States abroad has been damaged. I just find it puzzling."

Eeegads!!! How can he say that with a straight face!

Newsweek just knuckled under and announced it will retract the story. But it doesn't appear it will make much difference...

The head of Pakistan's conservative six-party Islamic alliance, Qazi Hussain Ahmed, told the BBC that Newsweek's clarification held no weight.

"There have been reports by the prisoners who have been released from Guantanamo Bay of desecration of the holy Koran, and different atrocities perpetrated on them. Therefore, the clarification of Newsweek has no meaning."

I'm waiting for an internal memo or government report that will be discovered in say about 2-3 months which proves the Newsweek story was indeed true? Of course this will be widely under-reported.

How Low Can They Go?

A 5/11-15 Pew Research Poll has Bush's approval rating at 43%.
Congressional Republicans approval rating was 35%!
And the Congressional Democrats were at 39%.

Do you think anyone in Washington will get the message that the majority of Americans are not happy with ANYONE in government.

Class in America

The NYT is doing a series on class in America. I hope bloggers link to this. We need to discuss the role of class in society. Americans like to think class distinctions are either not a big deal or don't exist. Just not true:

But class is still a powerful force in American life. Over the past three decades, it has come to play a greater, not lesser, role in important ways. At a time when education matters more than ever, success in school remains linked tightly to class. At a time when the country is increasingly integrated racially, the rich are isolating themselves more and more. At a time of extraordinary advances in medicine, class differences in health and lifespan are wide and appear to be widening.

And new research on mobility, the movement of families up and down the economic ladder, shows there is far less of it than economists once thought and less than most people believe.


Americans are arguably more likely than they were 30 years ago to end up in the class into which they were born.

Yet from the same article......

A recent New York Times poll on class found that 40 percent of Americans believed that the chance of moving up from one class to another had risen over the last 30 years, a period in which the new research shows that it has not.

I'm curious to read the rest of the series.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

What is Bush Reading????

W arrives back at the WH after his bike ride. He is carrying a book!
Yes apparently he does read. And so what is that book???

Well here you can get a fairly good look at the back of the book.
And if you zoom in I do believe it is.......

Tom Wolfe!!!!!

Check out this promo pic at amazon for Wolfe's, " I am CharlotteSimmons".
But given this description of the novel:

In I Am Charlotte Simmons, Tom Wolfe masterfully chronicles college sports, fraternities, keggers, coeds, and sex--all through the eyes of the titular Simmons, a bright and beautiful freshman at the fictional Dupont University.

Guess Bush would read for That!!!!!

Saturday, May 07, 2005

"Louie Louie" Banned in Mich,
FBI Was On It Years Ago

A Benton Harbor, Mich middle school has banned the school band from performing the song "Louie Louie". ONE parent complained. Then...
Benton Harbor Superintendent Paula Dawning cited the song's allegedly raunchy lyrics in ordering the McCord Middle School band not to perform it in Saturday's Grand Floral Parade, held as part of the Blossomtime Festival.
Now many other parents have complained about the ban and the superintendent may give in and let the show go on.

But what I found most interesting is at the end of this story:

The best-known, most notorious version was a hit in 1963 for the Kingsmen; the FBI spent two years investigating the lyrics before declaring they not only were not obscene but also were "unintelligible at any speed."

So I decided to check this out and indeed the FBI did investigate Louie Louie. Of course "The Smoking Gun" has excerpts from the FBI's investigative file.

The image “file:///C:/Program%20Files/Common%20Files/” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
And here is an FBI version of the lyrics (Click to enlarge or go to link but check these out...good for a laugh):

The image “file:///C:/Program%20Files/Common%20Files/” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

They had another version too.
Here are the real lyrics.
Doesn't sound obscene to me and you know what the Supreme Court said about how I'd know it if I saw it.
The image “file:///C:/Program%20Files/Common%20Files/” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
I guess this song is doomed to be controversial even though there seems to be nothing obscene there. That's certainly interesting to note that so often these Bobo World stories are the instigation of one disgruntled moral wacko. Reminds me of another 60's thingee that still seems applicable today.....the Silent Majority. Today's version of it would be the rational and sane people who have been silent for the most part regarding these values vultures picking away at our cultural life and generally ruining a good time. That is until it happens in one's back yard.
So let the Silent Majority raise their voices.
Where's Nixon when you need him? oh yea,
A-Way we go, yea, yea, yea, yea, yea ......Louie, Louie, Oh Yea

Friday, May 06, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging

Teddy watching me reading Eschaton blog.

Teddy looks so serious today.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

US considering THE Nuclear Option

No not in the Senate. But according to a Pentagon draft policy paper, the US is considering reversing a 10 year policy established by Clinton. The paper outlines how the US would allow " regional combatant commanders to request presidential approval for pre-emptive nuclear strikes against possible attacks with weapons of mass destruction on the United States or its allies."

Read the rest

Phillippines: Second Most Deadliest Place
On Earth for Journalists

The Japan Times reports that " according to the Brussels-based International Federation of Journalists, the Phillippines has become the second most deadly place for journalists after war-torn Iraq." 13 Filipino journalists were killed last year and in 4 media journalist have been killed so far this year.

Confronted with what they perceive as a wave of targeted killings, Philippine journalists are infuriated. But the angry commentaries that are published in the wake of each killing have had little practical impact.

The fact that journalists are violently killed -- often in broad daylight -- is outrageous but the scandal does not stop there. Equally appalling is the fact that none of the murders have been solved in the sense that the perpetrators have been convicted and put behind bars.


In recent months, the killings of journalists have spread to members of other groups with a political impact. The Philippine Commission on Human Rights has expressed alarm over what it terms the "seemingly systematic" assault on left-leaning activists. Since the beginning of the year at least 20 members of leftist groups have been gunned down in different parts of the country by armed men with alleged links with the military. The fact that in these cases, as well, the perpetrators have not been brought to justice is particularly unsettling.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Polls on Democratic Control in '06:
And the Fallacy of the Values Voters bloc

Latest polling bodes well for the Democrats in 2006. When asked who people would plan to vote for in '06, every poll showed Dems leading the Republicans.
  • Americans United to Protect Social Security had Dems leading 35% to 28
  • Democracy Corps Poll had Dems leading 47% to 42%
  • Moore Information had Dems leading 37% to 33%
  • George Washington University Battleground Poll had Dems leading 44% to 41%
  • National Public Radio Poll had Dems leading 42% to 36%
  • Ipsos Public Affairs Poll had dems leading 51% to 44%

This must be making Republicans very nervous.
How many Republicans really want to push the nuclear option only to find it will be the Dems who will end up "with their finger on the button" so to speak? How many want to support Bush's lame duck SS plan which the American people do not support?

I predict the 2006 election will blow open the fallacy of the values voting bloc. A lazy and neglectful press has given us this notion of the great bloc of values voters out there just waiting to vote out liberal Democrats and vote in more conservative Republicans . However Polling consistently shows Americans top concerns are the following 4 issues (ranking varies by poll):
War in Iraq
The Economy
Health Care
I think it is really simple.......Americans see the Republicans making no headway on their concerns and hence are going to look to the Dems in '06. The Republicans jumped on the "values vote" like CNN jumps on a woman" gone bad" story. My hope is both will end up with the deserved egg on their face when American vote in '06. And these polls show the chances of that hope coming true, as very good.