Thursday, August 25, 2005

NOT a Vacation

Okay, this is beyond pathetic:
The White House seems to be a little defensive about President Bush's summer vacation. According to the San Bernardino Sun, a spokesman insisted "the reason that Bush is in Crawford, Texas, is due to the renovation of the West Wing of the White House."

Said the spokesman: "He's operating on a full schedule; he's just doing it from the ranch instead of from the White House. The only week he had officially off was this last week."


It's All Downhill From Here


Laugh Out Loud Brilliant

Chavez is far from perfect, but I love him for this:
President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela hit back vigorously at calls by an ally of President George Bush for his assassination by offering cheap petrol to the poor of the US at a time of soaring fuel prices.

In a typically robust response to remarks by the US televangelist Pat Robertson, Mr Chávez compared his detractors to the "rather mad dogs with rabies" from Cervantes' Don Quixote, and unveiled his plans to use Venezuela's energy reserves as a political tool.

"We want to sell gasoline and heating fuel directly to poor communities in the United States," he said.


Screw You Guys, We're Staying Home

Iraq's golden democracy is just humming along:
Parliament announced it had no plans to meet Thursday night and no date for a future session, signaling Iraqi factions were failing to reach agreement on a new constitution before a self-imposed midnight target.



I tend to shy away from outright obscenity in my language here, but this calls for it:
US President George W. Bush contrasted a military mother whose five sons and husband have served in Iraq with anti-war protestors he said risked emboldening terrorists.

"There are few things in life more difficult than seeing a loved one go off to war. Here, in Idaho, a mom named Tammy Pruett ... knows that feeling six times over," the president said in a speech to citizen soldiers here.

His salute to Pruett was a clear response to anti-war protestor Cindy Sheehan, who has besieged the president at his Texas ranch and demanded a meeting with him to discuss the death of her soldier son in Iraq.


Falwell: Still a Loser

It's been nearly twenty years since he tried to take on Larry Flynt. You think he'd have learned by now. Or at least be a little less thin-skinned:
The owner of a Web site critical of the Rev. Jerry Falwell's views on homosexuality did not violate trademark laws by using a common misspelling of the television evangelist's name as the site's domain name, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.

A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously reversed a lower court decision and ruled that Christopher Lamparello of New York City can continue to operate his "gripe site" at .

"The result proves this is still America," Lamparello said in a telephone interview. "Just because someone who's a lot more powerful than I am demands that I do something doesn't mean I should do it."


We All Need These

I know, you've seen it on other blogs, but now you've seen it here too. These should be standard issue to anyone going to a Bush speech.


The US: Living Up to Its Reputation

As if sending Bolton wasn't insult enough, lets just toss in some injury:
Less than a month before world leaders arrive in New York for a world summit on poverty and U.N. reform, the Bush administration has thrown the proceedings in turmoil with a call for drastic renegotiation of a draft agreement to be signed by presidents and prime ministers attending the event.

The United States has only recently introduced more than 750 amendments that would eliminate new pledges of foreign aid to impoverished nations, scrap provisions that call for action to halt climate change and urge nuclear powers to make greater progress in dismantling their nuclear arms.


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Reason to Love The Onion #5,674


"You Go to War with the Army You Have"--Rumsfeld


The Lord Gives

Now that, I call communion:
A custodian was arrested for making methamphetamine inside the First Baptist Church where he worked, police said. Richard J. Mosley, 30, of Peru, has been charged with felony manufacturing methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of a youth center.


Fifteen Hundred More

Away you go, boys:
Two infantry battalions from the 82nd Airborne Division will deploy to Iraq before the scheduled Oct. 15 referendum on the proposed constitution, and remain through the December national elections, officials said.


Grammikins! Why Not?


No Wonder That Scream Was So Silent

Sorry. Not one to make light of abortion, but I have to say that this study must really be annoying all those anti-choicers out there:

Doctors should not be required to discuss fetal pain with women seeking abortions because fetuses likely can't feel pain until late in pregnancy, according to a review critics say hardly settles the contentious topic.

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco reviewed dozens of studies and medical reports and said the data indicate that fetuses likely are incapable of feeling pain until around the seventh month of pregnancy, when they are about 28 weeks old.


Another Faith Based Judge for Texas

For God's sake, no more! I beg of you!
Don Willett, an Austin lawyer best known for helping President Bush set up faith-based government programs, is expected to be appointed today to the Texas Supreme Court.


Ah, Budapest in the Springtime

It shall be so much nicer:
Hungary's capital is launching a 200-million-forint ($1 million) campaign to rid itself of hundreds of tonnes of dog waste which land on the city's sidewalks and parks each year, the daily Nepszabadsag reported.


Arctic Paradise

Tired of all that ice always sitting up there, just mocking you? Well, you haven't long to wait:
The current warming trends in the Arctic may shove the Arctic system into a seasonally ice-free state not seen for more than one million years, according to a new report. The melting is accelerating, and a team of researchers were unable to identify any natural processes that might slow the de-icing of the Arctic.


Now That's What I Call an Ally!

Yes, Pakistan, our old buddy in the central part of Asia. What are those scamps up to now?
Giving details of disgraced scientist AQ Khan's clandestine nuclear transfers for the first time, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has said the country's top atomic expert had provided North Korea with centrifuges and their designs.

"Yes, he passed centrifuges - parts and complete. I do not exactly remember the number," Musharraf told Japan's Kyodo news agency, but played down the roles these transfers had played in North Korea's bid to acquire nuclear weapons capability.


Bringing Amerischlock to Iraq

Ain't that America?
Shattered glass, body parts, a blood-splattered blue sedan: the grainy video pans over the scene as Iraqi officers comb the site of a drive-by assassination.

It's "Cops" Iraqi-style, minus the "Bad Boys" soundtrack but otherwise roughly modeled after the American TV show.

Created to make government more transparent, "The Cops Show" featuring Kirkuk officers in action is the first of its kind in the country and is breaking new ground in Iraqi television. A live call-in portion gives the public the chance to praise the security forces or gripe about them.


Illegal Warmongering President? Curtail the Right to Free Assembly!

Ah, American ingenuity. Just warms my heart:

Despite the threat of a civil rights lawsuit, a divided McLennan County Commissioners Court took the first step Tuesday in regulating traffic on more than seven miles of roadways around President Bush's Crawford ranch.

In a 3-2 vote, commissioners authorized advertising a public hearing on a proposal from Precinct 4 Commissioner Ray Meadows to restrict stopping, standing and parking along Prairie Chapel, Hester, Old Beulah, Morgan, Mattlage, Homestead, Quiet Valley, Canaan Church, Coryell City, Bohne, Spross, Castle Creek and West Middle Bosque roads.


Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Do Not Gaze Into Zora's Eyes!

When she expresses her displeasure at Miriam being out of town, it can be dangerous to bystanders.


Another New Low

Tombstones of fallen soldiers used as propaganda for this bullshit war. Nauseating:
Unlike earlier wars, nearly all Arlington National Cemetery gravestones for troops killed in Iraq or Afghanistan are inscribed with the slogan-like operation names the Pentagon selected to promote public support for the conflicts.

Families of fallen soldiers and Marines are being told they have the option to have the government-furnished headstones engraved with "Operation Enduring Freedom" or "Operation Iraqi Freedom" at no extra charge, whether they are buried in Arlington or elsewhere. A mock-up shown to many families includes the operation names.

The vast majority of military gravestones from other eras are inscribed with just the basic, required information: name, rank, military branch, date of death and, if applicable, the war and foreign country in which the person served.

Families are supposed to have final approval over what goes on the tombstones. That hasn't always happened.

Nadia and Robert McCaffrey, whose son Patrick was killed in Iraq in June 2004, said "Operation Iraqi Freedom" ended up on his government-supplied headstone in Oceanside, Calif., without family approval.

"I was a little taken aback," Robert McCaffrey said, describing his reaction when he first saw the operation name on Patrick's tombstone. "They certainly didn't ask my wife; they didn't ask me." He said Patrick's widow told him she had not been asked either.

"In one way, I feel it's taking advantage to a small degree," McCaffrey said. "Patrick did not want to be there, that is a definite fact."

The owner of the company that has been making gravestones for Arlington and other national cemeteries for nearly two decades is uncomfortable, too.

"It just seems a little brazen that that's put on stones," said Jeff Martell, owner of Granite Industries of Vermont. "It seems like it might be connected to politics."

Yeah, it might.


Detention Camps for the Homeless

My God, this is just about the most ridiculous and heinous thing I've heard yet. They are actually making use of the "War on Terror" to foster a "War on Vagrants":
Asking for increased vigilance in the wake of the London bombings, the government is warning that terrorists may pose as vagrants to conduct surveillance of buildings and mass transit stations to plot future attacks.

"In light of the recent bombings in London, it is crucial that police, fire and emergency medical personnel take notice of their surroundings, and be aware of 'vagrants' who seem out of place or unfamiliar," said the message, distributed via e-mail to some federal employees in Washington by the U.S. Attorney's office.


Keep Your Eye on the (Stalled) Constitution!

And just ignore what is really going on in the country. For example, this:
Saboteurs triggered a cascade of blackouts that halted Iraq's entire oil export capacity for most of Monday, a move that cost the country almost $60 million in lost exports and rattled already-jittery world markets.
By late Monday, oil tankers were being loaded at less than a third of normal capacity with the help of backup generators, Dow Jones News wires reported.


Blood Shall Have Blood

Brilliant reasoning there, Mr. President. Over 2000 soldiers killed isn't enough for you? How many more corpses will it take to sate you?
President Bush hailed the sacrifice of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan on Monday and vowed, in a rare reference to the number of American deaths, that the nation owed it to the more than 2,000 Americans killed in the two wars not to end their mission prematurely.


Going to War with the Army We Used to Have

Just great; now they're having to sweep the mothballs out of retired choppers:
Earlier this month, a pair of hulking transport planes touched down and disgorged the newest additions to the Marine Corps helicopter fleet: three MH-53E Sea Dragons that had been sitting in an aircraft "boneyard" in the Arizona desert for about a decade.

The civilian maintenance workers at Cherry Point's Naval Air Depot will clean, strip and transform the worn-out helicopters into the Marine version of the aircraft, the Super Stallion, a process that could take 20 months. This is the first time that retired choppers such as these have been resuscitated, and the challenges are unique: Not only have the helicopters been outside about 10 years, but the Super Stallion has evolved with continuous major upgrades.

Restoring the helicopters, which have been out of production since 1999, is an extraordinary step; but the Marines have little choice: They're running out of big choppers.

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are taking a bite out of their deteriorating helicopter fleet, not just in aircraft lost -- six Super Stallions have been destroyed in crashes since 2001 -- but also in hours that the helicopters are flying.

"They're coasting on legacy fleets," said Richard Aboulafia, an analyst with the Teal Group, an aerospace and defense consulting company in Fairfax, Va. "They planned to coast indefinitely ... and it would have worked just fine if it hadn't been for Afghanistan and Iraq."


A Man of God

I must have missed the bit where Jesus says, "Blessed are the Assassins of Foreign Leaders":
Robertson, host of Christian Broadcasting Network's The 700 Club and founder of the Christian Coalition of America, called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

From the August 22 broadcast of The 700 Club:

ROBERTSON: There was a popular coup that overthrew him [Chavez]. And what did the United States State Department do about it? Virtually nothing. And as a result, within about 48 hours that coup was broken; Chavez was back in power, but we had a chance to move in. He has destroyed the Venezuelan economy, and he's going to make that a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism all over the continent.

You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war.


Monday, August 22, 2005

Terrorist Sentenced to Second Life Term

Good riddance, Rudolph:
Eric Rudolph was sentenced to life in prison without parole on Monday for three Atlanta bombings including the 1997 blast at the Otherside Lounge and the explosion at the 1996 bombing at the Atlanta Olympics.

Many of the victims and their families did not attend today's hearing, but a number of those who did come made victim impact statements.

Before being led away by deputies Rudolph addressed the court saying that he apologized for the Olympic Park bombing - adding that if he could take back that night he would. But, he made no mention of the other bombings, an indication he has no remorse for the Otherside blast.

The 38-year-old already is serving a life sentence, handed down last month, for the 1998 bombing of a Birmingham, Ala., women's clinic that killed a police officer and maimed a nurse.


Brutal Rule by Insurgents in Iraq

We've never really controlled this country, let's face it:
A three-day visit by a reporter working for the Guardian last week established what neither the Iraqi government nor the US military has admitted: Haditha, a farming town of 90,000 people by the Euphrates river, is an insurgent citadel.

That Islamist guerrillas were active in the area was no secret but only now has the extent of their control been revealed. They are the sole authority, running the town's security, administration and communications.

A three-hour drive north from Baghdad, under the nose of an American base, it is a miniature Taliban-like state. Insurgents decide who lives and dies, which salaries get paid, what people wear, what they watch and listen to.


Heartland Values

Utterly vile, this:
FBI agents have thwarted an alleged plan by an Ohio couple to sell a 15-year-old girl in exchange for a packet of cocaine.

Police say Pamela Tilley and Gregory Lowery drove 70 miles from their home to hand the girl over to a drugs dealer in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she was destined to become a child prostitute.

"This is the worst type of crime that can be perpetrated on a child, to turn the child into a sex slave," said US attorney Mary Beth Buchanan. "They were selling this child to an adult male in Pittsburgh in exchange for drugs."