Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Latest Patch

The Boy Scouts are on board with the MPAA. I wonder, is there a bonus patch for not downloading movies about gays?

A Boy Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, etc., etc. He is also respectful of copyrights. Boy Scouts in the Los Angeles area will now be able to earn an activity patch for learning about the evils of downloading pirated movies and music.

The patch shows a film reel, a music CD and the international copyright symbol, a "C" enclosed in a circle.

The movie industry has developed the curriculum.

"Working with the Boy Scouts of Los Angeles, we have a real opportunity to educate a new generation about how movies are made, why they are valuable, and hopefully change attitudes about intellectual property theft," Dan Glickman, chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America, said in a statement Friday.


Friday, October 20, 2006


Once again, Zora and Tista are considerably more intrigued by the neighbors' doings than by ours. Who can blame them, really?


We've Lost Baghdad
A day after George Bush conceded for the first time that America may have reached the equivalent of a Tet offensive in Iraq, the Pentagon yesterday admitted defeat in its strategy of securing Baghdad.


Oh, for F***'s Sake

Can you say "swift-boating"?
The text is white against a black screen. The sound is the electronic warbling of a video game. But in this political ad, the message is in the faceless voices of cheerful children engaged in mayhem.

"Hit the hooker with the tire iron!" "Steal the old lady's car." "Shoot her first!"

The ad accuses a Democratic candidate of voting against banning the sale of violent and sexually explicit video games to children. Another ad, in Connecticut, says a Democrat voted to permit convicted sex offenders in public housing. Yet another, in Arizona, linked a candidate's work as a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Untion to the ACLU's defense of a pedophile's group.

In the fallout from former Rep. Mark Foley (news, bio, voting record)'s electronic sex scandal, Republicans are turning the tables on Democrats, airing ads and leveling public accusations claiming their opponents have failed to protect children against sexual imagery, sexual violence or sexual predators.


Nearly a Million "Served" by Our Invasion

Another mark of our glorious success:

At least 914,000 Iraqis have fled their homes since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, more than a third since an increase in sectarian bloodshed at the start of this year, the U.N. refugee agency said Friday.


Elections Already Stolen?

Has a pre-emptive strike been made, one wonders:

The FBI is investigating the possible theft of software developed by the nation's leading maker of electronic voting equipment, said a former Maryland legislator who this week received three computer disks that apparently contain key portions of programs created by Diebold Election Systems.

Cheryl C. Kagan, a former Democratic delegate who has long questioned the security of electronic voting systems, said the disks were delivered anonymously to her office in Olney on Tuesday and that the FBI contacted her yesterday. The package contained an unsigned letter critical of Maryland State Board of Elections Administrator Linda H. Lamone that said the disks were "right from SBE" and had been "accidentally picked up."


Thursday, October 19, 2006

More Murderous Fantasies from the Twisted Right

They just never stop dreaming of hurting people, do they? (Oh, and O'Reilly: In where, exactly?)

Last night on The O’Reilly Factor, political strategist Larry Sabato bemoaned the “blogs on left and right” and “the things they come up with daily, the vitriol, the vile nature of the comments.”

O’Reilly said that he knew “for a fact that President Bush doesn’t know what’s going on in the Internet.” O’Reilly then said, “I have to say President Bush has a much healthier attitude toward this than I do. Because if I can get away with it, boy, I’d go in with a hand grenade.”


Mercernaries for the Green Party

More evidence that the Green Party is nothing but a tool to be used occasionally by the right wing:
You may have heard of Blackwater USA. They're the shadowy, Virginia-based soldier-for-hire company with roots in the U.S. military intelligence community. It has reaped untold millions in Pentagon and Homeland Security contracts since the advent of the Bush administration, from the fires of Fallujah to the floodwaters of New Orleans.

Simply put, Blackwater USA is not the kind of company you'd expect to get behind the Green Party, with its far-left platform that ostensibly seeks to pull the United States out of Iraq and end the type of military actions that have proved to be such a good source of new business for the mercenary industry.

Yet, new Federal Election Commission filings reviewed by Attytood (thanks to blogger Bernie O'Hare for the initial tip) showed that that founder and owner of Blackwater USA, Erik Prince, and his wife donated $10,000 -- the legal maximum -- on July 21 to the once obscure Green Party of Luzerne County, the group that apparently spent well over $100,000 in a now all-but-failed bid to get its U.S. Senate candidate, Carl Romanelli, onto the November ballot.


Hell Hath No Fury Like Waterfowl Scorned


As if he doesn’t have enough enemies, endangered Sen. Rick Santorum (R) has now earned the enmity of rubber ducks.

A handful of the yellow toys are the stars of a new anti-Santorum TV ad being aired by National Wildlife Action, the political arm of the National Wildlife Federation.

In the ad, one of the ducks swims erratically around a pond while his friends wonder what’s wrong. Turns out, the duck ate a fish laden with mercury poisoning.

The ducks, who sound a little like Jackie Gleason and Ed Norton, agree that their habitat has gotten too polluted and contemplate an escape.

“Before they leave,” a narrator chimes in, “call Rick Santorum and tell him to quit ducking the realities of global warming and mercury poisoning.”


Bush Admits Similarities to Vietnam

Rather surprising:

President Bush said in a one-on-one interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos that a newspaper column comparing the current fighting in Iraq to the 1968 Tet offensive in Vietnam, which was widely seen as the turning point in that war, might be accurate.

Stephanopoulos asked whether the president agreed with the opinion of columnist Tom Friedman, who wrote in The New York Times today that the situation in Iraq may be equivalent to the Tet offensive in Vietnam almost 40 years ago.

"He could be right," the president said, before adding, "There's certainly a stepped-up level of violence, and we're heading into an election."


God Sucks at War

What other conclusion are we to draw?
The top US general defended the leadership of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, saying it is inspired by God.

"He leads in a way that the good Lord tells him is best for our country," said Marine General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Space Is OURS!

Another diplomatic high water mark
President Bush has signed a new National Space Policy that rejects future arms-control agreements that might limit U.S. flexibility in space and asserts a right to deny access to space to anyone "hostile to U.S. interests."


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Righteous Weigh In

It's about time. Truly moral religious people are calling bullshit on the pro-torture folks:
Weighing in on Connecticut's hotly contested congressional races, a group of religious activists have unveiled a giant billboard off busy Interstate 95 that accuses four candidates of voting to allow torture.

The billboard in Stratford names Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman and Republican Reps. Christopher Shays, Rob Simmons and Nancy Johnson as supporters of the Military Commissions Act of 2006.

The legislation, which President Bush was expected to sign into law Tuesday, allows military commissions to prosecute suspected terrorists and spells out violations of the Geneva Conventions.

Organizers say about 100,000 commuters pass the billboard in Stratford each day. The billboard _ 14 feet high and 48 feet wide _ was sponsored by Reclaiming the Prophetic Voice, which describes itself as a statewide interfaith network of religious leaders created in 2002.

The legislation would prohibit war crimes and define atrocities such as rape and torture but would otherwise allow the president to interpret the Geneva Conventions, the treaty that sets standards for the treatment of war prisoners.

"This is a shameful law," organizer Rev. Kathleen McTigue said Monday. "It grants extraordinary power to the president to interpret the Geneva Conventions, including which methods of interrogation will be considered torture."


McCarthyism Redux

Who needs Commies? The Homosexual Cabal is the real enemy!
Immediately after the Mark Foley scandal broke, some anti-Republican gay-rights activists composed a memo containing the names of closeted gay Republican Congressional staffers and sent it to leading Christian-right advocacy groups. The founder and chairman of one of those groups, the Rev. Don Wildmon of the American Family Association, told me he has received that memo, which he referred to simply as "The List." Based on The List's contents, Wildmon is convinced that a secretive gay "clique" boring within the Republican-controlled Congress is responsible for covering up Foley's sexual predation toward teenage male House pages. Moreover, Wildmon calls on the Republican Party leadership to promptly purge the "subversive" gay staffers.

"They oughtta fire every one of 'em," Wildmon told me in his trademark Mississippi drawl. "I don't care if they're heterosexual or homosexual or whatever they are. If you've got that going on, that subverts the will of the people; that subverts the voters. That is subversive activity. There should be no organization among staffers in Washington of that nature, and if they find out that they're there and they're a member, they oughtta be dismissed el pronto."

Wildmon claimed that an investigation by Congressional Republican leaders into the gay menace lurking in their midst will clear House Speaker Dennis Hastert of allegations that he repeatedly ignored warnings about Foley's behavior. "I think the identification of the members of the homosexual clique is going to come out," Wildmon declared. "I think it's going to come out whether or not Hastert knew what he says, and at this point I'm inclined to believe he's telling the truth. I'm beginning to think that the homosexuals shielded their former Congressman Foley and that Denny Hastert did not know the depth of what's going on up there."


Dannatt Speaks Out

It's refreshing to see an active duty general speaking out against the war in Iraq. And head of the army there, at that. Leave it to a Brit:

In an op-ed in Sunday's Washington Post, Rep. John Murtha notes the "astonishing and unprecedented parade of retired US generals calling for a new direction in Iraq."

But last week in Britain it was an active general – and the new head of the Army at that – who joined the growing chorus of military officers criticizing the war in Iraq. Gen. Sir Richard Dannatt said that British troops should leave Iraq "sometime soon because our presence exacerbates the security problems." And in a stinging indictment of the Bush and Blair administrations, he went on to say, "I think history will show that the planning for what happened after the initial successful war-fighting phase was poor, probably based more on optimism than sound planning."


Return of the Taliban

American incompetence continues to fuel anti-American movements in Afghanistan, and may soon make them very popular with the people:
Twenty minutes south of Kabul, along one of Afghanistan's few newly paved roads, lies Logar Province. In another country Logar's desert villages and accessible mountains might be a place city dwellers would use for quick rustication. But in Logar the Taliban are back, coming out at night to burn schools, assassinate liberal imams, launch rocket attacks on government buildings and plant mines to kill NATO soldiers.

In recent months insurgent violence has even started in Kabul. Over five weeks this fall the city suffered four suicide bombings, three of which killed or wounded international troops. One attack hit just outside the American Embassy: Three US Humvees were bombed, killing two GIs and sixteen others; twenty-nine people were wounded. The US military now says there are Kabul-based suicide cells.

September saw numerous IEDs uncovered in the capital and some rocket attacks--including one against the airport an hour after I arrived--while security forces arrested several urban-based Taliban, including a group of university students who were storing rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and propaganda.

In the south, kidnapping has begun: One German and three Macedonian NGO workers were abducted and murdered in Helmand Province this past spring. Their corpses were booby-trapped, and nine Afghan National Police officers died in the recovery effort. In September a Colombian aid worker and two Afghan nationals were kidnapped in Wardak, west of Kabul, then released three weeks later.

This new pattern of political violence is seen as the "Iraqization" of the Afghan insurgency, which some fear could also lead to an Iraq-style meltdown or ethnically based fragmentation. Even the top NATO general here recently warned that most Afghans will soon support the Taliban if development and security do not significantly improve over the next six months.


Texas Waking Up?

This would be a particularly sweet victory, if the Dems can manage it:
The economy is strong and Rickye Lennon's excavation business is thriving. Yet his son may soon go to war, government scandals are in the news, and Lennon, a Republican deep in the heart of Bush country, doesn't think his party should remain in charge of Congress.

"I think we need a wake-up call," said Lennon, 50, of Dripping Springs. "They need to be paying attention to the issues the people are concerned about and I think we need to become more moderate in our views."

Three weeks to the midterm elections, GOP discontent is seeping into the home state of President Bush, where every statewide elected official is a Republican.

The state's Republican House members were supposed to be protected from such voter mood swings by the 2003 redrawing of the state's congressional districts, orchestrated by former House Majority Leader Tom Delay.

But largely because of DeLay, who resigned in June embroiled in scandal, Texas this year unexpectedly is one of the states that could help Democrats wrest control of the House from the GOP this November. Races for three of the state's 32 congressional seats are considered competitive.


Monday, October 16, 2006

China's New Left

Read the entire article. This man is well versed in the classics, was present at Tiananmen, and is advocating a new sort of leftist policy in China, which is in mad flight away from Maoist socialism.

We should take a lesson.


Bloody Hell: "Asian-looking"?

A vile development in Britain's higher education system:

Lecturers and university staff across Britain are to be asked to spy on "Asian-looking" and Muslim students they suspect of involvement in Islamic extremism and supporting terrorist violence, the Guardian has learned.

They will be told to inform on students to special branch because the government believes campuses have become "fertile recruiting grounds" for extremists.


Blessed Be

About 3,000 motorcyclists attended a religious service in Cologne cathedral to pray for loved ones who died in road accidents and have their motorbikes blessed.


Sunday, October 15, 2006

Warping the Language of Freedom

The bigots opposing gay marriage have no compunction about lying to prevent people who love each other declaring their love legally:
Gov. Mitt Romney displayed the enthusiasm of a preacher Sunday at a Baptist church as he addressed an anti-gay marriage rally of conservative religious leaders who argue that their rights to religious expression are being threatened.

The rally, which was broadcast to churches nationally, is part of a larger effort to energize conservative voters before the Nov. 7 congressional elections.

"Here in Massachusetts, activist judges struck a blow to the foundation of civilization - the family," the Republican governor and likely presidential candidate said to an applauding crowd of about 1,000 people, some of whom responded "Amen."

Romney, pounding his fist during his speech inside Tremont Temple Baptist Church, criticized the state's highest court for its 2004 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.

"What (the judges) ignored is that marriage is not primarily about adults, marriage is about the nurturing and development of children ... every child deserves a mother and a father," he said.

The Washington-based Family Research Council chose Boston for the site of its annual "Liberty Sunday" because Massachusetts is the only state that has legalized gay marriage.

"When we look at what has happened with same-sex marriage, as it began in this state and threatens to spread across the country, we've seen in its wake the loss of religious freedoms and the ability to speak out based upon one's moral convictions," Tony Perkins, the organization's president, said Sunday.

Eight states will vote in November on amendments banning gay marriage, following 20 states that previously approved bans.

Massachusetts lawmakers are expected to consider a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage on Nov. 9.

David Parker, a speaker at the Boston event, was arrested last year after he refused to leave the grounds of his 6-year-old son's school in Lexington after officials said they would not remove the boy from discussions about homosexuality.

"When religious liberty is compromised, all liberty is compromised," Parker said at a news conference before the rally.


Build the Fence

We must secure the border!

On second thought, let 'em go:
The visitor crossing from Tijuana to San Diego these days is immediately slapped in the face by a huge billboard screaming, "Stop the Border Invasion!" Sponsored by an rabidly anti-immigrant vigilante group, the Minutemen, the same truculent slogan reportedly insults the public at other border crossings in Arizona and Texas.
Over the past decade, the State Department estimates that the number of Americans living in Mexico has soared from 200,000 to 1 million (or one-quarter of all U.S. expatriates). Remittances from the United States to Mexico have risen dramatically, from $9 billion to $14.5 billion in just two years. Although initially interpreted as representing a huge increase in illegal workers (who send parts of their salaries across the border to family), it turns out to be mainly money sent by Americans to themselves to finance Mexican homes and retirements.


President Rapist

Probably not the sort of president Israel wants representing it:

Police recommended Sunday that Israeli President Moshe Katsav be charged with rape, sexual assault and fraud, the most serious charges ever to face an Israeli leader.

The recommendation came at a meeting between police investigators and Attorney General Meni Mazuz. The final decision on whether to put the president on trial is up to Mazuz.


Feel Secure Yet?

The Secret Service is spending its days yelling at teenage girls (without her parents present, it should be noted):
Upset by the war in Iraq, a 14-year-old girl vented her frustrations with President George W. Bush last spring on her page.
Julia Wilson posted a picture of the U.S. president, scrawled "Kill Bush" across the top and drew a dagger stabbing his outstretched hand. She replaced the page last spring after learning in her eighth-grade history class that such threats are a federal offense.
Too late.
U.S. authorities had found the page and placed her on their checklist. They finally reached her this week in her molecular biology class.
Wilson was taken out of class at Sacramento's McClatchy High School Wednesday and questioned for about 15 minutes by two Secret Service agents. The incident has upset her parents, who said the agents should have included them when they questioned their daughter.
On Friday, Wilson said the agents' questioning over her page on the popular teenage Internet gathering spot led her to tears.
"I wasn't dangerous. I mean, look at what's (stenciled) on my backpack — it's a heart. I'm a very peace-loving person," said Wilson, an honor student who describes herself as politically passionate. "I'm against the war in Iraq. I'm not going to kill the president."
Her mother, Kirstie Wilson, said two agents showed up at the family's home in the city's upscale Land Park neighborhood Wednesday afternoon, questioned her and promised to return once her daughter was home from school.
After they left, Kirstie Wilson sent a text message to her daughter's cell phone, telling her to come straight home: "there are two men from the secret service that want to talk with you. Apparently you made some death threats against president bush," the message read.
"Are you serious!?!? omg. Am I in a lot of trouble?" her daughter wrote back, using shorthand for "Oh, my God."
Moments later, the girl's mother received another text message from her daughter saying agents had pulled her out of class.
Julia Wilson said the agents threatened her by saying she could be sent to juvenile hall for making the threat.
"They yelled at me a lot," she said. "They were unnecessarily mean."


Poor, Stupid Mel

The pathetic display goes on:

He said his words may have come from resentment following criticism he received before the release of "The Passion of the Christ."

"Now even before anyone saw a frame of film, for an entire year, I was subjected to a pretty brutal sort of public beating," he said. "And during the course of that, I think I probably had my rights violated in many different ways as an American, as an artist, as a Christian, just as a human being."

Yes, that's right. Gibson's anti-Semitism was caused by "The Passion," not the other way around. Makes perfect sense.


My Money's on Evil

If this truly is a war of good versus evil, can anyone really imagine Bush A) Leading the "good" and B) Leading it effectively?

President Bush keeps revising his explanation for why the U.S. is in Iraq, moving from narrow military objectives at first to history-of-civilization stakes now.

Initially, the rationale was specific: to stop Saddam Hussein from using what Bush claimed were the Iraqi leader's weapons of mass destruction or from selling them to al-Qaeda or other terrorist groups.

But 3 1/2 years later, with no weapons found, still no end in sight and the war a liability for nearly all Republicans on the ballot Nov. 7, the justification has become far broader and now includes the expansive "struggle between good and evil."


Geaux Saints!

Thanks to a last-second field goal, the Saints are 5-1 this season!