December 31, 2006

Don't you just love it?
'I listen to the generals on the ground.'

'Uh, Mr. President, we don't want or need more troops. We
need to begin looking at an exit strategy.'

'I want your resignation on my desk immediately!
'OK, now how many more troops do we need?'

'How many do YOU think, Mr. Prezy-dent?'

December 30, 2006

Discrimination Based On Your Gene Pool reported recently:
'A Florida company wants to implant its Radio Frequency Identification tags in immigrants and guest workers so they can be identified at the workplace.

'Scott Silverman, chairman of the Delray Beach-based VeriChip Corporation, said in a "Fox & Friends” TV interview that its RFID implant could be used to register workers at the border, and then verify their identities on the job.
Illegal immigrants could then be readily distinguished from those who registered.

'Silverman said: "We have talked to many people in Washington about using it.”

'The VeriChip RFID tag is about the size of a large grain of rice and can be injected directly into the body. An antenna in the chip sends data, according to the Web site
The chip doesn’t require a battery and has a virtually unlimited lifespan.

'RFID tags have been used to identify livestock, laboratory animals and pets, but privacy advocates have expressed concerns about the technology being used in human beings.

'VeriChips are legal for implantation in people in the U.S., although a bill now under consideration in the Wisconsin legislature would ban mandatory implantation of the chips.'
The newsletter didn’t come out either for or against the idea—it simply reported that Congress has been lobbied by the company that makes the chips. If such a project were undertaken, VeriChip Corp. would turn a tidy profit, of course. Otherwise, why the lobbying effort?

Meanwhile, this seems SUCH a good idea. Let’s round up millions of law abiding immigrants whose only crime is looking different from the ‘norm’ [Northern European] and force them to have these little transmitters implanted in their bodies so they can be tracked wherever they go—whatever they’re doing—for as long as they live--so our government can distinguish them from people who are breaking the law.

December 29, 2006

George Will may be crazy like a fox.
I recently heard him giving advice to, of all people, Senator Obama. He was urging him to run for President now rather than later.

The reasoning he gave went like this: Obama has the stage now. His is the fresh face. And he’s out there front-and-center LOOKING as if he’s going to run. If, after all the hype, he decides to sit out this race, get more experience at the Senate level etc., he may get the reputation of a tease and arouse the ire of the voters.

This all SOUNDS reasonable, doesn’t it? And, George Will is nothing if not a reasoned, seasoned debater. But, let’s look at the facts on the ground.

First, it’s unlikely a GOP candidate stands a snowball’s chance of being elected in 2008. The country is more likely to elect a lawn ornament that declares itself a Democrat.

Second, the electorate has nothing if not a short memory. In 4 or 8 years, the bad taste in its mouth may have dissipated enough to make the election of a Republican a possibility. And a run by someone with the charisma of an Obama then might make it more difficult for a viable Republican candidate to win.

So, doesn’t it make sense, from the Republican point of view, to put Obama in the White House now when they can't win anyway? Then, when Obama can’t run again, the Republicans can be poised to take back the White House.

Being pretty blue myself, I think a run by Obama now might be a waste of a good candidate better held back for later—when we may need him more. That’s my thinking as a Democrat.

My thinking as an American is this: let’s get the person with the most experience into the job now. The country is going to need a major overhaul here at home AND overseas in 2008 and the years immediately following.
My guess is that Clinton is our best bet there. I believe she's got the experience we need to make the all-out effort to get the recovery underway.
And, a First Gentleman whom everyone likes and who has already served as President could certainly help with the clean-up effort this country faces in the short term. I imagine we'll need all hands on deck for the foreseeable future. And, lets face it, they made a good team. If he could do as much as he did in the face of Kenneth Starr and a hostile Congress, imagine what she could do without those shackles around her ankles.
And, if the GOP tried to pull that again--I'll bet the American people might have something to say about it. We just might put more Dem's into Congress. THAT should shut em up in a hurry.

After Clinton has held office for 8 years, THEN the Democrats can produce Obama who will have 8 more years of seasoning under his belt and will still be available to run against an opponent who could actually have a chance of winning-- if not faced with such a formidable opponent.

Just my take on things as they stand. And on George Will's giving 'advice' to an extremely attractive Democratic candidate. . . .

December 25, 2006

"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."
Bobby - age 7
A Lesson from History
My picture of World War I had always been that of most people, I imagine: mustard gas, atrocities, bodies in trenches. This program shook my perceptions.
Until WW I, wars in Europe had been fought differently than they are today. The people you were fighting were your opponents. The idea that your antagonists were evil wasn’t the norm. There were state reasons for battle. The rulers told the people to come to a certain place and fight—and the people came to a certain place and fought. Case closed.

Then, about the beginning of the 20th century, the way war was waged changed. The High Commands of both the British and the Germans put forth propoganda in the weeks and months leading up to the war.
Both sides were told by the press, ‘Your enemies bayonet babies, rape women. They are ruthless.’ The editorial pages on both sides were full of cartoons depicting skeletons being stabbed with swords and bayonets. Almost everyone on both sides simply believed what the press told them. This was the atmosphere in which WW I began.
Then, on the first Christmas Eve night of the war, the British soldiers on the edge of no-man’s land heard a sound they couldn’t identify. As they concentrated, someone recognized it. It was the melody of Silent Night—but sung in a language most of them didn’t understand. It was German. The British boys first thought it was some sort of trick—but, eventually, they joined in the singing. The voices floated back and forth between the two battle-lines. That was the beginning of the ‘little peace’.
[see link for the rest of the article.]

December 24, 2006

Episcopalians Against Equality -- By Harold Meyerson
This from the Washington Post:
Don't look now, but Virginia is seceding again.
On Sunday nine Episcopal parishes in Virginia, including the one where George Washington served as a vestryman, announced that they had voted to up and leave the U.S. Episcopal Church to protest its increasingly equal treatment of homosexuals.
see: here for complete text.
Who's birth are we celebrating tomorrow? Oh, right, Joshua bar Joseph. Remember him?
And, who was it that this same Joshua called out?
Oh, yes, people who used the Temple for politics and personal profit and those who tried to deny God's love to people who were different from themselves. Everyone else he accepted unconditionally.
News from the Votemaster
Although the map of the presidential vote shows the country mostly red fringed with blue, a map showing the Senate delegations is quite different. States like Montana, North Dakota and Arkansas, although bright red on the presidential map, each have two Democratic senators. In contrast, Maine and New Hampshire each have two Republican senators. And many states in the Midwest have one senator of each party.
Take a look and scroll down.

December 23, 2006

Here is President Bush being -- ummm -- his usual self:
'Bush Sees Opportunities' by Michael A. Fletcher
President Bush said yesterday that he intends to work with the new Democratic majority in Congress on a broad range of domestic issues, declaring that despite the impending power shift there are "some wonderful opportunities" to address concerns that have long festered without a political solution.

Signaling a new flexibility on issues in the wake of the Democrats' wins, Bush said he is willing to discuss Democratic ideas for solving the Social Security problem, including tax increases. "I don't see how you can move forward without people feeling comfortable about putting ideas on the table," Bush said. . . 'and I want to hear other people's opinions." [Here's one: leave Social Security alone until we get a President who doesn't want to kill it. We've got forty years or so before it goes belly-up. tc]

During an Oval Office interview with The Washington Post, Bush said voters are "sick and tired of the needless partisanship in Washington,"
see here for the complete text.
Yep. After six years of creating and feeding the 'needless partisanship' by declaring, 'My way or the highway,' sneering, 'cut-and-run,' and proclaiming, 'You're either with us or you're with the terrorists,' Bush is now 'eager' to reach to the Democrats.
If so much weren't at stake [and I'm not talking about the old red herring of Social Security, now] I'd tell the Democrats, 'Hey! When he reaches toward you, slap his hand!' That is, after all, what you do with toddlers when they reach for something that is too powerful for them to handle--like hot saucepans, electric outlets or administrative policies.

Meanwhile, my guess is: he'll 'let them put ideas on the table' for a little while and then, like so many toddlers, scream or hold his breath to try to get his way while ignoring any actual viable ideas.
Unfortunately, if Congress chooses not to impeach him, they've got to work with him to try to keep the country afloat till we can get ourselves an effective resident in the White House.

December 22, 2006

A Sticky Wicket
I stole this in its entirety from the Senate Map site [see my sidebar under 'Voter's Map and Post Election News'].
The author brings up some very interesting points regarding how Republicans might respond in a possible sticky situation.
Just as this author does--I, too, sincerely hope for Senator Johnson's recovery--and for much more than the reason of saving the GOP'ers from having to face their own hypocrisy.
'Brendan Johnson, the son of Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), is optimistic about his father's recovery and his ability to resume his duties as senator. Here is an interview with Brendan.
'His recovery is welcomed by the many people rooting and praying for him, of course. It also spares the Republicans a most unpleasant predicament that probably won't occur now. Imagine that Johnson's condition takes a turn for the worse and he goes into a deep coma and he is kept "alive" on life-support machines. Suppose that after several months and consultations with family and doctors, the senator's wife decides the situation is hopeless and wants to turn off the machines. Would the Republicans in the Senate try to corral a couple of pro-life Democrats and ram through an emergency law to prevent Johnson from being disconnected (as they did for Terri Schiavo)? This choice would make it clear whether they cared more about principle or power. But hopefully Sen. Johnson will fully recover and they can duke it out with him at the ballot box in 2008.'

December 21, 2006

A Solstice Prayer
May you be happy during this season and after—whatever name you give to the winter solstice celebration.
Universal Creator, help us remember that the jerk who cut us off in traffic last night is a single mother who worked nine hours that day and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry and spend a few precious moments with her children.

Help us to remember that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who can't make change correctly is a worried 19-year-old college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester.

Remind us that the scary looking bum, begging for money in the same spot every day (who really ought to get a job!) is a slave to addictions that we cannot imagine even in our worst nightmares.

Please help us remember that the old couple walking annoyingly slowly through the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress are savoring this moment, knowing that, based on the biopsy report she got back last week, this is the last year they will go shopping together.

Creator of All, remind us each day that, of all the gifts you give us, the greatest gift is love. It is not enough to share that love with those we hold dear. Open our hearts not just to those who are close to us, but to all humanity. Let us be slow to judge and quick to forgive, show patience, empathy and love.

December 20, 2006

Cheney's Assumption
Dick Cheney is living in a time warp.
He was Ford's Chief of Staff immediately after Watergate when the prevailing wisdom was to get the power out of the hands of the President. Ford’s Presidency was among the weakest in our country’s history. Since then, though, almost all those powers [and more] have been ceded back to the Executive Branch.

But, Cheney is still convinced that the President is weak and needs to do whatever he can to grab as much power as possible. And Bush, of course, wanting to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants, however he wants, will go along with Cheney’s viewpoint for his own reasons.

And, isn't it ironic? As the Cheney/Bush machine has done its power-grab it has made the office of President of the United States far weaker around the world and within its own nation than it has been at least since the Watergate era -- possibly during living memory.

December 19, 2006

Justifying the Unjustifiable
I saw a program on the History Channel a few days ago. It had to do with parallels between ancient Babylon and present day Iraq.

It included at least one man, a Christian who believes in the literal truth of the Bible, pointing to the books of Daniel and Revelation to justify attacking Iraq with nuclear weapons. He said he believes such a war is inevitable--in fact that we are mandated by God to start it. And soon.

On the one hand, I’m glad he’s not in a position of power over our armed forces. On the other, I remember—we currently have a president who states that he agrees with the idea of a literal reading of the Bible. And he does command our military.
A War Bush Wouldn't Pay For -- By E.J. Dionne Jr.
Friday, December 15, 2006;

Believe it or not, winning the war in Iraq was never the Bush administration's highest priority. Saving its tax cuts was more important. That was once spoken of as a moral problem. Now it's a practical barrier to a successful outcome.

Until recently President Bush's refusal to scale back any of his tax cuts was discussed as the question of shared sacrifice: How could we ask so much from a courageous group of Americans fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan but not ask even the wealthiest of their fellow citizens to part with a few extra dollars to support an endeavor supposedly central to our nation's security?
see here for the entire text.
This certainly explains why the 'armored vehicles' issued to our troops are made of plywood. Why the undercarriages of the few trucks that actually do have armour wear out on a weekly basis. Why their gas masks are clogged with dust before they unpack them. Why their shrapnel vests break the first time they're worn. The tax breaks to the wealthiest 1% are simply too important to do without--so our kids are just so much cannon fodder.

December 18, 2006

It's the OIL, Stupid!

An Ideal In Need Of Rescue By E. J. Dionne Jr.
Friday, December 8, 2006; Page A39

One of the many disastrous consequences of President Bush's botched policy in Iraq is that it has given the promotion of democracy a bad name.

If the report of the Iraq Study Group is nothing else, it is a devastating declaration that the administration's approach is an abject failure and that the United States needs to scale back its goals.
See here for the complete text.
In my opinion, Dionne missed the point here.
After much fine-sounding rhetoric about failed plans and the loss of ideals he reaches the real issue half-way down the page: oil.
Then, he returns to the ideals issue as if nothing had happened.

The POINTS of the Iraqi exercise, imnsho, were:
1] oil
2] to look as if we’re exporting Democracy when, in reality, we’re setting up yet another puppet to do the US’ bidding— especially when it comes to managing all that oil.

And, again in my opinion, Democracy is not something you can export at the point of a gun—no matter how hard you may try.
And see:
The Coming of Gulf War III
Even If We Leave Now, We'll Be Back -- By David Rothkopf
Sunday, December 10, 2006; Page B01

What's Next? [Reprise]

[Once again, I yanked an op-ed from my old blog--because it fits so well with today's primary entry.]
The mindset inside the beltway is that the people in the US are stupid. The problem is, when it uses that frame of reference, Washington simply displays its own idiocy: We’re supposed to forget the fact that Bush was giving us one reason for the war in Iraq as of March, 2004, another in July and still another in October. Whenever the facts didn’t support the latest ‘reason’ he was feeding us, he just trotted out another.

The most recent one was: ‘We went into Iraq to free the people from the Evil Oppressor and establish Democracy.’
Of course, the latest doesn’t hold up either. The fact is, the US has never attacked another country in order to help it. Whenever we have invaded, it was to insure our own best interests. So—what are those interests now?

Well, here’s a surprise:
There’s oil in Iraq.
When Iraq was ruled by Saddam, we weren’t in control of that oil.
If things ever settle down there, US interests are going to be moving in in droves to manage all that oil.
The Iraqi people will be disenfranchised of the resources in their own country.
All this from their benevolent uncle who’s bringing them ‘peace and democracy’ at the end of a gun.

And, once again, we’re supposed to have short memories. But we don’t.
Remember when we have imported governments into other countries before?
Remember what happened in the Central and South Americas, for instance?
Remember Iran?

Hunker down, folks.
When we tried this tactic in El Salvador and Peru, the people mostly took out their frustrations on each other--with civil wars and death squads.
When we did it in Iran, they took as hostages Americans who were living in their country.
Since then, Al Quida has become a major player in the world. And they like to let us know, right here at home, when they don’t like what we’re doing.

December 17, 2006

How Appropos

Plucked from the header of a newly-linked blog -- Iddybud Journal :
'You shall know the truth. And the truth shall make you angry.' Aldous Huxley.
Thank you, Jude.

Sunday with Remote-in-Hand

Doing my usual Sunday morning flipping here [I could be a friggin MAN on Sunday mornings with my remote - in - hand - shennanigans!]
Meet the Press:
I heard Newt Gingrich start a statement in the real world and end it in the Twilight Zone / World of Politics.
'If I were handling the Iraq war, I would recognize that our nation has to send a signal to the world that we are unified. This has to be an American war -- not the President's war. We have to decide: Are we going to win? Or not? So, I would consult Congress. If the Democrats decide we're going to lose, so be it.'
Here's my translation of his statement:
1] I'm running for President in 2008
2] It's never too early to start dissing the Democrats.
3] It's time to tell the American people that the Republicans had nothing to do with this war. If we say it often enough and loud enough they're stupid enough to belive us.
4] I'll play politics with hundreds of thousands [maybe millions] of lives if it might get me a step closer to my personal goal.
This Week with George Stephanopolous:
In response to the question, 'Is Senator Johnson conscious?' Senator Reid said, 'I'm not a doctor.' He never answered the question.
In other words--'No, he's not conscious.'

Slouching Toward WW III

Sometimes I wonder if this is what the run-up to the invasion of Poland by Germany felt like -- to the people of Europe.
Sometimes I feel utterly defeated. 'It's inevitable. There's nothing I can do to stop this country -- and the world -- from stumbling blindly into events that will ultimately destroy human life on the planet.'
Other times I can forget, for short periods at least, the disasters I see unfolding around us all.
Is this a shortcoming?
Or is it a simple human inability to perceive the approach of the end of the world as I know it?
After all -- that IS what happened in the late 1930's.
Before the war:
There were no nuclear weapons.
The largest genocide people have ever seen [so far] had not yet occurred.
The annihilation of at least two cultures [the Jewish Schtetl and the European Gypsy/Roma] had not happened.
Blitzkrieg had not yet been witnessed anywhere on the planet.
After the war all those things had occurred.

In other words--today's world had not yet been born.
I daresay the Poles and Germans of 1937 couldn't have conceived of today's world--or even that of 1945.

What will tomorrow's world look like?
And, while we speculate, let's keep in mind: today, the nuclear bomb DOES exist.

The Height of Intolerance: War

During this season we would do well, I think, to remember:
We do not honor our troops by using them as photo-ops and praising them in speeches while slashing their pay and benefits and cutting funding to their hospitals.
We do not honor them by sending them to invade countries that haven't attacked us or our allies and, in fact, don't have the ability to do so.
We don't honor their lives by asking them to die for a lie.
And, we have no business sending our children to war with too little equipment and no plans on how to pull them back out. That way lie more and more body bags. Is this how we support and honor them?
Here are some links to a few of the old, revolutionary songs that are apropos to the troubles we again find ourselves in today. Why not take a listen?
And, remember the words of W.H. Auden:

To save your world, you asked this man to die.
Would this man, could he see you now, ask why?

December 16, 2006


First Lady Bushwhacked the Fourth Estate by Don Davis
Thanks toTomCat of Politics Plus for this article -- shamelessly plucked from his blog. :)

Tolerance Revisited

I recently watched a show on the History Channel that profiled Cyrus, the first Achaemenian Emperor of Persia [580 – 529 BCE]. This was an amazing man.

He founded Persia by uniting two Iranian Tribes—the Medes and the Persians. He originally led the Medes to war against the Persians but, unlike every other conqueror of his day, instead of crushing those he overthrew, he took them into his empire as equals. When he took Babylon he allowed the Hebrews, who had been held captive for generations, to return home without requiring any form of ransom. He brought equality to all peoples under his reign. He allowed them to retain their own customs and their own gods. He was hailed as a liberator by everyone he touched.

He developed a set of laws that could have been the basis of the Magna Carta had it been known about in England 1700 years later. The primary difference between the two documents is that, unlike John, Cyrus authored the first voluntarily, placing limits on what a ruler was allowed to do as well as detailing the laws for his subjects.

Would that modern day rulers would take a lesson from their forebears. If they would do that, poll numbers wouldn’t be in the low 30’s, children wouldn’t go to bed hungry and wars would have ended long ago.

December 15, 2006

Be Careful What You Wish For [Reprise]

I was snooping through my old blog and came across this golden oldie. I changed two sentences and it fits as well today as it did over a year ago.]
Historically, this country has liked to split the Executive and the Legislative branches—to give one to one party, one to the other. In fact, when Bush became President, that was how we actually voted. The Republicans took Congress and Gore very likely won the valid majority of votes for the Presidency—we’ll never know for sure since the final vote in Florida was never actually counted. [And what a way to run a democratic republic, by the way.]

The Republicans had been jockeying for control of the government for a long time. They, of course, thought they could do a better job of steering the country than the Democrats were doing [just as the Democrats think they could do better than the Republicans now.] And, in 1996, under a strong Democratic President, Congress swung over to the GOP.

While all that was happening, in 2000, I read an editorial by someone who offered his condolences to the Republican Party. He noted that, for the first time since the 1960’s, both Congress and the Presidency were about to be strongly dominated by the GOP. He observed that the Democratic Party fell out of favor with a resounding splat in the ‘60’s—when it was at its height numerically in Congress and the Presidency had been held by Democrats for some years.

The Viet Nam war was rapidly falling out of favor with the American people.
People were mad, mad, mad at President Johnson--though he wasn’t perceived as incompetent—just somewhat boorish and stubborn about Viet Nam. [We didn't realize at the time that we hadn't seen the worst, yet. That came under Nixon. (Correction: things are even worse now.)]

The point the man who wrote that op-ed was making, though, was the fact that when one party is in complete control of the country, it has no one to blame when things go south. At least, when the branches are split, each can point to the other as the culprit.

So, congratulations all you Republicans out there. You got what you wanted. And--look what happened.

Farewell, Rumsfeld

Here are a number of takes, from several sources, about the warmonger's path to the precipice:
'Don't ask for citations unless you mean it'

December 14, 2006

Bomber lures 70 to death in Baghdad; 236 wounded

This from The Muslim News -- 12/13/06

A suicide bomber targeting laborers killed 70 Iraqis in Baghdad on Tuesday, as US President George W. Bush held talks in Washington with the Iraqi vice president and US military chiefs to help draft a new strategy. The White House said Bush will delay announcing a new strategy for Iraq until next year.
go here for the complete text.
WHAT is he waiting for?
Thank you to pissed on politics for this article.

Sen. Johnson Suffers Possible Stroke

This from The Washington Post:
By MARY CLARE JALONICK -- The Associated Press
Wednesday, December 13, 2006; 7:08 PM

WASHINGTON -- Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota suffered a possible stroke Wednesday and was taken to a Washington hospital, weeks before his party was to take control of the Senate by a one-vote margin.
Spokeswoman, Julianne Fisher said the senator did not suffer a stroke or heart attack. His office had said earlier it was a possible stroke.
He was taken to the hospital, where doctors were evaluating his condition.
Democrats won a 51-49 majority in the November election. South Dakota's Republican governor, Mike Rounds, would appoint a replacement to serve until the 2008 election should Johnson die or resign.
Here is the entire article.
We all wish Senator Johnson well.

I Get So Tired

A few nights ago I was watching a history program on which it was stated, 'Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin.'
I immediately went to the internet and googled 'cotton gin'. I found numerous articles that coupled 'cotton gin' and 'Eli Whitney' in the first sentence. In a very few, Catherine Littlefield Greene was mentioned in passing later in the article. None accepted the idea that a mere woman could have invented the gin. None put forth the facts as I understand them--namely that, because Greene was not legally allowed to patent her invention, she turned for help to Whitney who promptly stole her work for himself.
And, today, Whitney is still credited with the invention of the cotton gin in virtually every publication.
Likewise, try googling 'discovery of DNA'.
You'll find plenty of material on Francis Crick and James Watson.
If Rosalind Franklin is cited at all, her habit of not thoroughly combing her hair will also be mentioned.
It will decidedly NOT be noted that Crick and Watson stole her research-- even though they later admitted having done so. AFTER winning a joint Nobel Prize for 'their' discoveries.
Look in any child's science textbook. You'll see pictures of M. Curie as if he was the only person researching x-rays. If she is pictured at all, Mme. Curie is shown peering over her husband's shoulder: a spectator at the great man's side who witnessed his research. This is the woman who died of leukemia because of the work she pioneered.
Today, more than a century after the invention of the cotton gin and the discovery of x-rays, 40 years or more after the early, definitive work on DNA, men are still credited with almost all the breakthroughs concerning science and technology--although women were central to the development of many of them.
We haven't come so far as the male establishment would like us to believe. Probably so we'll sit down and shut the hell up.
Well, no.

December 13, 2006


I'm overweight. I don't want to be overweight. I simply eat too much and exercise too little to arrange my reality to reflect my wants.
That being said, the article below was written by someone on the ground in Baghdad. So, he obviously knows more than I do about conditions there.
Still, when people are being blown up while on their way to market, to school or to their jobs--what do we call it? A civil war doesn't have to look like our civil war in order to be one. For all the semantics being tossed around at the time, the 'Korean Conflict' was -- a war.
Meanwhile, does anyone who's been paying attention think we're doing any good there? That would be the only conceivable reason to 'persevere' . [Is that the new word? Look it up in the dictionary. I'll bet the definition is, 'stay the course'].
On the other hand, if you're looking for an excuse, oil will do just fine, I suppose.
Why We Persevere -- By William Caldwell IV
Wednesday, December 6, 2006; Page A25

BAGHDAD -- I don't see a civil war in Iraq. I don't see a constituency for civil war. The vast majority of the people want hope for their families, not to massacre their neighbors or divide their country.
Click here for the rest.

December 12, 2006


The other day I saw, in a humor column, someone say:
'I'm thankful that you have to admit you have a problem before starting all the other steps.
[That saved me a LOT of time and effort!]'

It's not so funny when it's the position the President is taking.

December 11, 2006


From the Satirical Political Report:
By Don Davis

This weekend, I went to see the new and emotionally-wrenching RFK movie, Bobby.
As I left the theater, it occurred to me that RFK and Bush had radically different philosophies, as set forth below:

"Some men see things as they are and ask ‘Why?’ I dream things that never were and ask, ‘Why not’?”

“Some men see things as they are and ask ‘Why?’ I see things as they are and ask, ‘Why not make them infinitely worse’?”

December 10, 2006

Committing Murder

It's Sunday Morning and I'm flipping among news programs where the pundits are debating the Iraq situation. They're talking about timelines.
Setting a timeline would be unconscionable.
Any timeline means we accept the fact that US policy in Iraq has failed. Leaving our troops who are by definition, provocateurs of violence, in Iraq until we meet some arbitrary date means our country will be inciting more violence with no goal in mind.

Again, to my mind, there was no excuse for us to go into Iraq in the first place.
To stay until some randomly chosen date has passed = murder of Iraqis, the allied forces that were lured there by our criminal policies and Americans.

December 9, 2006

The White House Briefing--Much to be Disgusted About

This from Froomkin's White House Briefing Wednesday:
Dan Froomkin
White House Briefing Columnist
Wednesday, December 6, 2006; 1:00 PM

The latest evaluation of administration policies--
the transcript follows:

December 7, 2006

Extremists Sticking Together

This from

Though he's lost many fans after being captured on video hurling racist epithets at a comedy club audience, Michael Richards has an ally: Mel Gibson. "I felt like sending Michael Richards a note," Gibson says in an interview in Entertainment Weekly's Dec. 8 issue.

"I feel really badly for the guy. He was obviously in a state of stress. You don't need to be inebriated to be bent out of shape. But my heart went out to the guy."
The 50-year-old actor-director added: "They'll probably torture him for a while and then let him go. I like him."
There’s nothing like sticking together in your intolerance in the face of reason. Given how their experiences unfolded, they didn’t have time to run home to get their sheets.

And, given the fact that the word, ‘torture’ is even more loaded these days than usual—in the US--I’m appalled and offended at Gibson’s use of the word.

December 6, 2006

Inclusive Christianity--A Wave of the Future?

This from the Washington Post:
Message From A Megachurch

By E. J. Dionne Jr.---Tuesday, December 5, 2006; Page A29

American politics took an important turn last week at a church in the foothills of Southern California's Santa Ana Mountains.

When Rick Warren, one of the nation's most popular evangelical pastors, faced down right-wing pressure and invited Sen. Barack Obama to speak at a gathering at his . . . [c]hurch about the AIDS crisis, he sent a signal: A significant group of theologically conservative Christians no longer wants to be treated as a cog in the Republican political machine.

For his part, Obama, the former community organizer from Chicago, showed why he is this moment's hottest commodity . . . .
go here for complete article.
A possible uniting rather than dividing mentality?
What a welcome change.

December 5, 2006

The 'Heckuva Job' Dismissal

This from the Borowitz report: Bush gives Al-Maliki the kiss of death.
Bush: Heckuva Job, Al-Maliki

President’s Words of Praise May Mean Iraqi Premier is Through

In a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki today, President George W. Bush reportedly told him that he had his “full support” and that he was doing “a heckuva job,” indicating that Mr. al-Maliki’s tenure in office may soon be over.

In the hours leading up to the meeting with the president, Mr. al-Maliki was reportedly dreading hearing any words of praise from Mr. Bush. . . ,
** Go here for entire article**

December 4, 2006

Bye Bye, Bolton

John Bolton Resigns as U.S. Ambassador to U.N.
By Peter Baker and William Branigin--Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, December 4, 2006; 1:10 PM

President Bush today accepted the resignation of John R. Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, expressing deep disappointment that "a handful" of senators had blocked his confirmation last year. . . .

Bolton's nomination had been blocked by a Democratic filibuster threat last year, prompting Bush to place him in the U.N. post through a recess appointment in August 2005.
The article is truncated. Go here for the whole thing.
N.B. to President Bush:
This is what happens when you act like a dictator in a democratic republic.
Placing someone who hates the UN in this position was a Bad Idea.

December 3, 2006

Constitution: RIP

This from -- Stop Torture: A Harvard-Wide Coalition to End Torture

More than 50 Harvard law students and professors gathered last Thursday to attend a staged funeral for the Constitution, a somber protest against the denial of legal rights. . . .

“Two hundred and twenty-nine years ago the Constitution was born, but one week ago, in the mad rush as Congress closed before elections, it was killed, trampled underfoot by three hundred and eighteen Senators and Congresspersons,” Reverend Mike Jones said during the eulogy, referring to the recent passage of the Military Commissions Act of 2006. The Act strips courts of jurisdiction to hear habeas corpus appeals from detainees and gives the President broad authority to determine which interrogation techniques he deems permissible under the Geneva Conventions. . . .
The article is truncated. You can read the whole thing here.

December 2, 2006

Excerpts from 3 Op Eds

Maureen Dowd writes in her New York Times opinion column: "Poppy Bush and James Baker gave Sonny the presidency to play with and he broke it. So now they're taking it back."
After the Gridlock Government under Poppy—I never thought I’d wish those days back. But, I do.
E. J. Dionne Jr. writes in his Washington Post opinion column: "No longer will the national tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001, be used to undermine the opposition party. It was only after he was forced to do so by an electoral defeat that President Bush called for genuine bipartisanship . . . . Imagine what the world would look like if he had done that a year or two ago."
I’m just hoping he does it NOW. I’m waiting to see if his words are followed by actions. And I’m not actually expecting it to happen.
David Ignatius writes in his Washington Post opinion column with this fascinating if unsourced assertion:
"'The White House had decided in the spring that it was time to make a change at the Pentagon, and officials were steeling themselves to break the news to Rumsfeld when the 'generals' revolt' erupted on newspaper op-ed pages, with former officers lining up to denounce their ex-boss. The White House decided it couldn't appear to bow to pressure and retreated.'
Could Bush really be this petty about matters of life and death?"
Well, probably.
To him, they're just tin soldiers.