<!-- Begin meta tags generated by ORblogs --> </meta name="keywords" content="progressive, liberal, politics, government, edit, language, grammar, accuracy, honesty, clarity, world, news, media" /> </> <!-- End meta tags generated by ORblogs -->> Editor at Large: November 2005

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Stoner logic?

The hemp product industry is booming. Hemp is being used in food, clothing, paper, and cosmetics, and sales are increasing by 50 percent a year. The intense demand for hemp is good news for farmers - unless they live in the U.S. That's because it's legal to import hemp seeds and fiber into the U.S., but it's illegal for U.S. farmers to grow industrial hemp.

Incredibly, the U.S. is the only industrialized nation that has not yet legalized industrial hemp as a crop (although the federal government actually encouraged farmers to grow it during wartime, until 1970). While several states are working to legalize the growing of industrial hemp, the federal government has another view.

"Let's not be naive," says Tom Riley of the White House Office on National Drug Control Policy. "The pro-dope people have been pushing hemp for 20 years because they know that if they can have hemp fields, then they can have marijuana fields. It's...stoner logic."

Let's not be naive, Mr. Riley. Marijuana fields are growing everywhere - especially on federal land. Do you really believe that keeping hemp illegal has kept anyone from growing marijuana? Do you really think that keeping hemp and marijuana illegal has solved any problems?

Stoner logic, indeed.


Listen to Bill O'Reilly go ballistic

Last night on his radio show, O'Reilly yelled that he is fed up with the media's "defaming" Bush and Cheney and that he will be naming names and taking no prisoners. Hear the audio at http://www.crooksandliars.com/2005/11/29.html#a6110

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

A letter from our next president

Dear Friend,

The war in Iraq is on the minds of many of you who have written or who have called my office asking questions and expressing frustration. When the President addresses the nation tomorrow on the war, the American people want and deserve to know how we got there, why we are still there, how we have executed the war and what we should do now. In short, the President must explain his plan for the war in Iraq.

There are no quick and easy solutions to the long and drawn out conflict this Administration triggered that consumes a billion dollars a week, involves 150,000 American troops, and has cost thousands of American lives.

I do not believe that we should allow this to be an open-ended commitment without limits or end. Nor do I believe that we can or should pull out of Iraq immediately. I believe we are at a critical point with the December 15th elections that should, if successful, allow us to start bringing home our troops in the coming year, while leaving behind a smaller contingent in safer areas with greater intelligence and quick strike capabilities. This will advance our interests, help fight terrorism and protect the interests of the Iraqi people.

In October 2002, I voted for the resolution to authorize the Administration to use force in Iraq. I voted for it on the basis of the evidence presented by the Administration, assurances they gave that they would first seek to resolve the issue of weapons of mass destruction peacefully through United Nations sponsored inspections, and the argument that the resolution was needed because Saddam Hussein never did anything to comply with his obligations that he was not forced to do.

Their assurances turned out to be empty ones, as the Administration refused repeated requests from the U.N. inspectors to finish their work. And the "evidence" of weapons of mass destruction and links to al Qaeda turned out to be false.

Based on the information that we have today, Congress never would have been asked to give the President authority to use force against Iraq. And if Congress had been asked, based on what we know now, we never would have agreed, given the lack of a long-term plan, paltry international support, the proven absence of weapons of mass destruction, and the reallocation of troops and resources that might have been used in Afghanistan to eliminate Bin Laden and al Qaeda, and fully uproot the Taliban.

Before I voted in 2002, the Administration publicly and privately assured me that they intended to use their authority to build international support in order to get the U.N. weapons inspectors back into Iraq, as articulated by the President in his Cincinnati speech on October 7th, 2002. As I said in my October 2002 floor statement, I took "the President at his word that he will try hard to pass a U.N. resolution and will seek to avoid war, if at all possible."

Instead, the Bush Administration short-circuited the U.N. inspectors - the last line of defense against the possibility that our intelligence was false. The Administration also abandoned securing a larger international coalition, alienating many of those who had joined us in Afghanistan.

From the start of the war, I have been clear that I believed that the Administration did not have an adequate plan for what lay ahead.

I take responsibility for my vote, and I, along with a majority of Americans, expect the President and his Administration to take responsibility for the false assurances, faulty evidence and mismanagement of the war.

Given years of assurances that the war was nearly over and that the insurgents were in their "last throes," this Administration was either not being honest with the American people or did not know what was going on in Iraq.

As a member of the Armed Services Committee, I heard General Eric Shinseki, the Army Chief of Staff, tell us that it would take several hundred thousand troops to stabilize Iraq. He was subsequently mocked and marginalized by the Bush Administration.

In October 2003, I said "In the last year, however, I have been first perplexed, then surprised, then amazed, and even outraged and always frustrated by the implementation of the authority given the President by this Congress" and "Time and time again, the Administration has had the opportunity to level with the American people. Unfortunately, they haven't been willing to do that."

I have continually raised doubts about the President's claims, lack of planning and execution of the war, while standing firmly in support of our troops.

After my first trip to Iraq in November 2003, I returned troubled by the policies of the Administration and faulted the President for failing to level with the American public. At the Council on Foreign Relations, I chided the President for failing to bring in enough international partners to quell the insurgency.

I spoke out often at the Armed Services Committee to Administration officials pointing out that the estimates they provided about the war, its length and cost lacked even basic credibility.

And I challenged Secretary Rumsfeld more than once that he had no benchmarks to measure actual progress which would lead us to believe we had a strategy that was working.

Last month, I signed a letter with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and dozens of other Democratic Senators voicing strong concerns that, without a solid plan, Iraq could become what it was not before the war: a haven for radical Islamist terrorists determined to attack America, our allies and our interests. The letter asked the Administration "to immediately provide a strategy for success in order to prevent this outcome."

Just a few weeks ago, I joined a bipartisan majority in the United States Senate in voting for an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill calling upon the President and his Administration to provide answers and a plan for the war.

It is time for the President to stop serving up platitudes and present us with a plan for finishing this war with success and honor – not a rigid timetable that terrorists can exploit, but a public plan for winning and concluding the war. And it is past time for the President, Vice President, or anyone else associated with them to stop impugning the patriotism of their critics.

Criticism of this Administration's policies should not in any way be confused with softness against terrorists, inadequate support for democracy or lack of patriotism. I am grateful to the men and women of our armed forces and have been honored to meet them twice in Iraq. They honor our country every day with their courage, selfless dedication, and success in battle. I am also grateful to the thousands of unknown men and women in our security forces and around the world who have been fighting the larger war against terrorism, finding terrorists’ cells, arresting them and working to prevent future attacks. And I applaud the brave people who have been risking their lives every day to bring democracy and peace to Afghanistan and Iraq.

I recently returned from visiting Israel and Jordan, seeing first hand the tragedy of spreading terrorism. As a New York Senator, I believe New York has a special bond with the victims of such terrorism, and we understand both the need to fight terrorism and the need for a clear plan in Iraq so that we can focus our resources in the right ways to prevent it from again reaching our shores.

America has a big job to do now. We must set reasonable goals to finish what we started and successfully turn over Iraqi security to Iraqis. We must deny terrorists the prize they are now seeking in Iraq. We must repair the damage done to our reputation. We must reform our intelligence system so we never go to war on false premises again. We must repair the breach with the Muslim world. And we must continue to fight terrorism wherever it exists.

Like all Americans, I hope the Iraqi elections are a true expression of democracy, one that is committed to majority rule, minority rights, women's rights, and the basic rule of law. I hope these elections will finally put the Iraqi people on the road to real security and independence.

If these elections succeed, we should be able to start drawing down our troops, but we should also plan to continue to help secure the country and the region with a smaller footprint on an as-needed basis. I call on the President both for such a plan and for a full and honest accounting of the failures of intelligence – something we owe not only to those killed and wounded and their families, but to all Americans.

We have to continue the fight against terrorism and make sure we apply America's best values and effective strategies in making our world and country a better and safer place. We have to do what is right and smart in the war against terrorists and pursuit of democracy and security. That means repudiating torture which undermines America's values. That means reforming intelligence and its use by decision makers. That means rejecting the Administration's doctrine of preemptive war and their preference to going it alone rather than building real international support.

I know when America leads with its values and fearlessly faces the facts, we make the best decisions. That is what is missing at the highest levels of our government, and what we desperately need now – answers to the questions about Iraq that only the President can provide. I hope he will level with the American people and provide us those answers in his Annapolis speech and give us the plan that has been sorely lacking.

Sincerely yours,

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Maine refuses federal sex-ed funding

Maine has joined California and Pennsylvania in refusing federal sex-ed funding because of strict guidelines on how the money can be spent. The funding - about $160,000 - comes with the requirement that it must be spent on abstinence-only sex education.

Over the past 20 years, Maine has reduced its teen pregnancy rate by nearly 50 percent by teaching contraception and abstinence. But since the Bush administration took office, the successful programs were sidelined to make way for the White House-approved message. Maine's public health director, Dr. Dora Anne Mills, said, "We were in a position of having to turn our backs on proven programs that we have been using for quite a while, versus accepting these (new) standards that we think may actually be harmful to our children."

Harmful to our children? How can it be harmful to our children to tell them, "Don't have sex, don't have sex, don't have sex"? Doesn't that work just as well as telling them not to think of an elephant?


Monday, November 28, 2005

Bush is all-powerful and can do what he damn well pleases

At least, that's what the Cheney and Rumsfeld camps believe, according to Lawrence Wilkerson, former aide to Colin Powell. Here are some of Wilkerson's other revelations:
• President Bush was "too aloof, too distant from the details" of postwar planning
• Underlings exploited Bush's detachment and made poor decisions
• Cheney and Rumsfeld must have sincerely believed that Iraq could be a spawning ground for new terror assaults, because "otherwise I have to declare him a moron, an idiot, or a nefarious bastard"
• Colin Powell raised frequent and loud objections to Rumsfeld's war planning, once yelling into a telephone at Rumsfeld: "Donald, don't you understand what you are doing to our image?"
• Powell believes "the president failed to discipline the [Iraq war] process the way he should have and...is ultimately responsible for this whole mess"


Republican congressman pleads guilty to conspiracy

Representative Randy Cunningham (R-CA) pleaded guilty today to charges of conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud, and wire fraud. He also pleaded guilty to a charge of tax evasion for underreporting his 2004 income and admitted taking $2.4 million in bribes.

Cunningham resigned after pleading guilty.

Here's the scary part: Cunningham had been chair of the House Intelligence subcommittee on terrorism and human intelligence.

Feel safer now?


Typo or double entendre?

Yesterday's Borowitz Report contained a fairly common typo that, considering Andy Borowitz's slyness, might actually be a double entendre. See if you can spot it:

"At a time when we are trying to reign in the North Korean threat, the acquisition of the M & M balloon is not helpful."

At first glance, it appears that Borowitz used "reign" when he meant "rein," as in "rein in the horse." But at second glance, it's possible that he intended a double meaning - that the U.S. is trying to exercise sovereign power over North Korea. (Side note: notice that "sovereign" contains "reign.")

At the risk of raining on his parade, we'll e-mail Borowitz and ask him which meaning he meant.


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving, unless you're gay

What will those clever homophobes at Focus on the Family think of next? They plan to promote their anti-gay Web site during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, by distributing 5,000 "stress balls" imprinted with the site's URL, TroubledWith.com.

Visitors to the site are told, "You're not simply 'wired that way'... like other adult problems, homosexuality begins at home. Mom and dad are key players." The site also blames homosexuality on pornography, the media, and "seduction by peers."

Focus on the Family believes that homosexuality is a disorder that can be changed through faith. Evolved people know that Focus on the Family is a disorder that can be changed through education. Meanwhile, they should keep their "stress balls" where they belong.


Earth to Bush: Iraq wants us out, too

Despite President Bush's insistence that "we will stay until the job is done," Iraqi leaders want us out. Yesterday they called for a timetable for our withdrawal and said that so-called insurgents have a "legitimate right" of resistance. They said that insurgents should not be labeled as terrorists if their operations don't target innocent civilians or institutions designed to help Iraqi citizens.

The leaders agreed on "calling for the withdrawal of foreign troops according to a timetable, through putting in place an immediate national program to rebuild the armed forces...control the borders and the security situation" and end terror attacks.

So: the Iraqis wants us out of Iraq, and a majority of U.S. citizens want us out of Iraq. Mr. Bush, it seems to us that "the job is done." Mission accomplished. You win. Two thousand fifty U.S. soldiers have died, but if you bring the rest home now you will have saved at least 140,000 lives. Which gives you a much better shot at being treated kindly by the history books than if we stay in Iraq indefinitely.


Friday, November 18, 2005

"As long as I am commander in chief"...

Is President Bush trying to tell us something? Today in South Korea, he said, "...as long as I am commander in chief, our strategy in Iraq will be driven by the sober judgment of our military commanders on the ground."

Wow. That's a lot of qualifiers. First, you have "as long as," which indicates that Bush actually acknowledges he is (a) removable and (b) replaceable.

Then you have "our" strategy in Iraq - meaning his and a minimum of just one other person's...far from a quorum.

Then you have "sober" judgment, which may be interpreted to mean judgment unimpaired by alcohol or drugs - which will be very hard to come by in the military.

And finally, there's (military commanders) "on the ground." Okay, so it's not up to the Air Force or the Navy to make the sober judgment, thank God. But that still leaves the Army and the Marines...Jesus.

But at least we can be thankful for one thing: Our strategy in Iraq isn't driven by the sober judgment of our commander in chief!


New grand jury = new indictments?

Patrick Fitzgerald has asked for a new grand jury in the CIA leak case, which means (a) he finally has enough evidence to indict Rove; (b) he believes Bob Woodward's revelations could lead to new indictments (Cheney? Bush?), (c) he wants to make sure the case against Libby is watertight, or (d) all of the above.

We're voting for d, all of the above. Final answer.


Add your name to Bill O'Reilly's blacklist

Is your blog a "far-left Internet smear site"? Are you with the "anti-military Internet crowd"? If so, you're in big trouble with Bill O'Reilly, because he has threatened to post the names of "all who support the smear merchants" on his Web site, billoreilly.com.

We've been waiting for O'Reilly's blacklist to appear so we can add our names to it, but unfortunately the list has yet to materialize. Fortunately, Arianna Huffington has offered to compile the list for Mr. O'Lielly and hand-deliver it to him the next time she's invited to appear on "The Factor." Get your name added: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/the-bill-oreilly-blackli_b_10823.html

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Someone at this church is being naughty

The sign outside this church says, "Christ, we get tired of coming up with crap to put on this sign." Last week the sign said, "Would someone please hurry up and give him a blow job so we can impeach him?" Another one we saw said, "Our God is better than your God."

Of course, none of them are real. We made this one and the "our God" one. You can make your own by going to www.churchsigngenerator.com.

Wirth rescinds pay raises for staff and mother

Former Oregon state legislator Kelley Wirth has rescinded the pay raises she gave her staff, her mother, and a friend. Wirth's resignation was effective November 15, but she had authorized pay increases for her staff - including raising her mother's salary from $3,500 to $6,500 - effective November 1. Public pressure apparently made her change her mind.

“It is out of my respect for the trust the public placed in me, my fellow legislators, and the Governor that I have decided to make this my final legislative action,” Wirth wrote in a memo to the state legislature. “I thank everyone who has extended me understanding and compassion, and will forever be grateful for the legislative work I was able to do on behalf of our great state of Oregon.”

Wirth said she resigned because of personal and legal challenges stemming from a car crash and a drug possession charge. Or was it personal challenges that led to the legal challenges? Wirth's story would make a good Lifetime movie...

Here's the full text of her memo:

"I am officially rescinding the pay raises given to my staff Kathleen Panknin and Melissa White. I am also terminating their positions effective Nov. 15, 2005. I insisted on compensating Marti Barlow for her public relations and media work after Oct. 31, but she refused further payment, and has graciously stayed on as my volunteer spokesperson. Due to the disabling, painful physical injuries I incurred from the violent attempt on my life, I was unable to handle all the media calls and information requests, while finishing some final projects on behalf of my local constituents, without the help of additional staff. Even though I still believe my former staff deserved to be rewarded for their hard work, I must listen to my former constituents and the Oregon taxpayers who gave me the opportunity and honor to serve them in the first place for almost three terms. It is out of my respect for the trust the public placed in me, my fellow legislators, and the Governor that I have decided to make this my final legislative action. I thank everyone who has extended me understanding and compassion, and will forever be grateful for the legislative work I was able to do on behalf of our great state of Oregon."

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The EPA wants to allow pesticide testing on orphaned, handicapped, and abused children

Unspeakable atrocities are becoming mainstream. Now, in addition to the Bush administration's condoning of torture and using white phosphorous on Iraqis, the Environmental "Protection" Agency is seeking permission to allow chemical and pesticide testing on helpless children.

Earlier this year, Congress mandated that the EPA create a rule that permanently bans chemical testing on pregnant women and children. The EPA, however, has proposed new regulations that allow for government and industry scientists to conduct chemical experiments on orphaned, handicapped, and abused or neglected children.

Here's the exact language from the EPA's proposed regulations:

1. 70 FR 53865 26.408(a) "The IRB (Independent Review Board) shall determine that adequate provisions are made for soliciting the assent of the children, when in the judgment of the IRB the children are capable of providing assent...If the IRB determines that the capability of some or all of the children is so limited that they cannot reasonably be consulted, the assent of the children is not a necessary condition for proceeding with the research. Even where the IRB determines that the subjects are capable of assenting, the IRB may still waive the assent requirement..."

2. 70 FR 53865 26.408(c) "If the IRB determines that a research protocol is designed for conditions or for a subject population for which parental or guardian permission is not a reasonable requirement to protect the subjects (for example, neglected or abused children), it may waive the consent requirements..."

3. 70 FR 53864 26.401 (a)(2) "To What Do These Regulations Apply? It also includes research conducted or supported by EPA outside the United States, but in appropriate circumstances, the Administrator may, under § 26.101(e), waive the applicability of some or all of the requirements of these regulations for research..."

In other words:

1. Children who "cannot be reasonably consulted," such as those that are mentally handicapped or orphaned newborns. With permission from the institution or guardian in charge of the individual, the child may be exposed to chemicals for the sake of research.
2. Parental consent forms are not necessary for testing on children who have been neglected or abused.
3. Chemical studies on any children outside of the U.S. are acceptable.

Learn more and take action now: http://www.organicconsumers.org/epa6.cfm

Masturbation, adultery, fornication, and the right to privacy

Does the Constitution guarantee a right to privacy? Some say yes, some say no. Others say yes, but...they're not exactly sure what it covers. Does it cover abortion? Sodomy? Masturbation, adultery, fornication? Incredibly, some states still have laws against these acts, simply because the Constitution is vague as to whether we have a right to privacy or not.

This issue comes up every time we have a new Supreme Court nominee. It's in the news currently for the third time in three months. Why can't we settle this issue once and for all? Does the Constitution guarantee privacy or doesn't it?

Dan Savage has a great idea. He asks, "If the Republicans can propose a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, why can't the Democrats propose a right-to-privacy amendment?"

As Savage points out, making the implicit right to privacy explicit would end the debate. Also, he says, "the debate over the bill would force Republicans who opposed it to explain why they don't think Americans deserve a right to privacy - which would alienate not only moderates, but also those libertarian, small-government conservatives who survive only in isolated pockets on the Eastern Seaboard and the American West."

How about it, Democrats? Let's go on the offensive, and draft a bill to secure the right most of us believe we already have - the right to keep our private lives private.


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Who's your daddy? Find out - with this home DNA test kit!

That's right - with this new home DNA test kit and $325, you can find out who your daddy really is. Or, if you're the alleged father, you can find out if it's really you. Or, if you're the mother (never alleged), you can find out which of your boyfriends to hit up for child support. And maybe get back your $325, too.

But first, make sure you read the fine print at the bottom of the ad: "Paternity results will indicate paternity with a probability of 99% or greater."

Ninety-nine percent or greater? That means 1 in 100 results may be wrong...which means 1 in 100 alleged fathers may be just that - alleged. Which means that a lot of alleged fathers will be helping to raise - or pay for - children that aren't really theirs.

But according to recent news reports, that's already the case. Some researchers say that up to 25 percent of alleged fathers aren't the father at all. The children they are raising - or paying for - are the alleged progeny of alleged nonprogenitors.

So will these new DNA test kits help remedy or further exacerbate the situation? With a 1 percent margin of error, does that mean the percentage of alleged fathers will rise or fall?

We'll leave that one to the statisticians, but one thing is certain: there are going to be a lot of alleged fathers out there who suspect that their DNA test result was that 1 in 100...

Pastor refuses to conduct heterosexual weddings

In fact, he refuses to conduct any weddings at all, until laws against same-sex marriage are lifted. David Ensign, pastor at Clarendon Presbyterian Church in Virginia, says, "What we're saying is that in the commonwealth of Virginia, the laws that govern marriage are unjust and unequal." So he and the church's governing council decided that they will no longer have any weddings, and Ensign will renounce his state authority to marry couples.

How do conservatives feel about Ensign's protest? Virginia State Senator Nick Rerras, a Republican, said, "I think it's a shame that this clergyman would seek to undermine traditional marriage, which is the foundation of American society. It's a terrible message to send to our youth."

"Undermine traditional marriage"? "The foundation of American society"? Talk about terrible messages to send to our youth! If traditional marriage, which has done a dandy job of undermining itself, is the foundation of American society, then American society could use a new foundation.


Monday, November 14, 2005

Alito has "great respect" for Roe v. Wade - and wants to overturn it

Although Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito recently told senators that he has "great respect" for Roe v. Wade, in 1985 he wrote that he was proud of helping the Reagan administration argue that "the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion." He also bragged that he helped "to advance legal positions in which I personally believe very strongly."

"I am particularly proud of my contributions in recent cases in which the government argued that racial and ethnic quotas should not be allowed and that the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion," he said.

Obviously, the only thing Alito has "great respect" for is his own racist, sexist, fundamentalist ideology.


Dalai Lama nails Bush

In his speech to the Society for Neuroscience, the Dalai Lama said, "People who call themselves religious without basic human values like compassion, they are not really religious people. They are hypocrites."

Hmmm...think he was referring to anyone in particular?

Speaking of President Bush, maybe he would benefit from meditating. One of the papers presented at the Neuroscience conference claimed that regular meditation may produce structural changes in parts of the brain associated with attention and sensory processing. Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital showed that particular areas of the cerebral cortex were thicker in people who meditate.

One of the researchers, Sara Lazar, said, "Our results suggest that meditation can produce experience-based structural alterations in the brain. We also found evidence that mediation may slow down the aging-related atrophy of certain areas of the brain."

We wonder if meditation might also help Bush's atrophied heart...

Friday, November 11, 2005

Oh no! Mr. Bill!

This wouldn't have anything to do with your prodigious homophobia, would it, Mr. O'Reilly? Wanting San Francisco - and especially Coit Tower, snicker snicker - blown up by terrorists, simply because San Franciscans voted to ban handgun ownership and military recruiting in their public schools?

Yeah, yeah, we know: radio talk show hosts exaggerate. It's how you whip your ignorant audience into a frenzy and keep them under your spell. But when you suggest that al Qaeda come in and blow a particular city off the map, it goes beyond exaggeration into the realm of terrorist threat. Here are your exact words:

"You know, if I'm the president of the United States, I walk right into Union Square, I set up my little presidential podium and I say, 'Listen, citizens of San Francisco, if you vote against military recruiting, you're not going to get another nickel in federal funds.' Fine. You want to be your own country? Go right ahead. And if al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. We're going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead."

Yeah, gotta blow that tower up, especially. Wouldn't want any graphic reminders of how prodigious your homophobia is...


(Thanks to the prodigious Eric Dickey.)

Is Schwarzenegger becoming a girlie man?

Incredibly, the Governator is accepting the blame for defeat of his four initiatives in California. "The buck stops with me," Schwarzenegger said at a news conference yesterday. "I take full responsibility for this election. I take full responsibility for its failure."

Schwarzenegger didn't even blame his advisers for pushing him to pursue the special election, on which more than $250 million was raised and spent - mostly for negative television advertising. He said there was one adviser whose counsel he should have heeded: his wife, Maria Shriver. "I should have also listened to my wife, who said don't do this."

Now if that doesn't sound lke a girlie man, we don't know what does. Perhaps some testosterone shots are in order?


Pat Robertson: Irrelevant buffoon, or psychopath?

You've probably caught a whiff of the latest flatulence emanating from Pat Robertson's upper sphincter: that disaster may strike Dover, Pennsylvania, because they "rejected" God by replacing eight school board members who wanted intelligent design taught in biology classes. Yesterday on his "Christian" Broadcasting Network show, "700 Club" (700 what? outrageous, bizarre statements per week?), Robertson said, "I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: If there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God. You just rejected him from your city."

Later, of course, Robertson tried to patch things up by saying he was only trying to point out that "our spiritual actions have consequences." Are you listening to yourself, Mr. Robertson?

"God is tolerant and loving, but we can't keep sticking our finger in his eye forever," Robertson said. "If they have future problems in Dover, I recommend they call on Charles Darwin. Maybe he can help them."

Neither God nor Darwin can help you, Mr. Robertson. You obviously are a product of neither intelligent design nor evolution.

In the past, Mr. Robertson has also suggested that:
* the U.S. assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
* feminism encourages women to "kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians"
* the State Department be blown up with a nuclear device

Why hasn't the State Department investigated Mr. Robertson as a potential terrorist? Is it because, for wealthy white "Christian" men, the right to free speech means the right to verbally threaten anyone they choose? Is it because they know he's a lunatic and can't be taken seriously? Or is it, in fact, because no one is really paying attention to anything anyone says anymore?

Coo coo ca choo, Mr. Robertson, Jesus loves you more than anyone I know! Whoa ho ho!

(Thanks to Eric Dickey for the scoop and the song spoof.)

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Oregon Powerball winners get greedy

Apparently it isn't enough that Steve and Carolyn West and her parents won $345 million. Their publicist asked "Good Morning America" to give them and three of the Wests' children first-class airline tickets to New York City, four rooms at the Waldorf, a meal allowance for the entire four-day stay, "Saturday Night Live" tickets, "Lion King" tickets, a guided tour of New York City, and a limo to take them around during their entire stay.

They didn't get it all. A spokesman for ABC News said, "The facts are: we [flew] the Wests and their kids commercial to NYC. We are putting them up at the Millennium Hotel in Times Square...We told the family we don't buy Broadway tickets for our guests or provide car service around New York except when we are moving them from one ABC location to another. Nevertheless, we are working all our contacts at NBC in an effort to get them 'Saturday Night Live' tickets, but so far NBC isn't returning our calls. Go figure."

Go figure, indeed.


Muhammad Ali KOs President Bush

Yesterday President Bush presented Medals of Freedom to 14 people, including Muhammad Ali. After Bush put the medal around Ali's neck, he put up his dukes in a mock challenge. Ali looked Bush in the eye and, instead of putting up his dukes, put his finger to his head and did the "crazy twirl."

The room of 200 guests tittered with laughter. After Ali was escorted back to his chair, he made the twirl again. Bush, visibly taken aback, laughed nervously.

Was Ali making a political statement? In Bush's remarks about Ali, he mentioned the Olympic gold medal, the grit, "the Ali shuffle, the lightning jabs...the sheer guts and determination he brought to every fight." He did not, however, mention Ali's very public opposition to the Vietnam War and refusal to serve in the Army, which led to his losing his boxing license for three years.

Or was Ali simply doing what he's used to doing - psyching out the challenger?

Whichever. It worked.


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Oregon girl missing

Seventeen-year-old MyKensie Martin, a senior at Summit High School in Bend, Oregon, is missing in Brazil. Martin, an exchange student, was last seen on Sunday, trying to hitchhike to an event in Brasilia sponsored by the LDS church. She told a witness that she didn't have enough money for a bus ticket. Martin's father told The Bend Bulletin that his daughter last used her ATM card on Saturday, when she withdrew $12.

Martin left Oregon in July for a yearlong stay in Brazil. Her parents are scheduled to fly to Brazil today.

did not have enough money for a bus ticket, Prado said.

What did he say?

There's another big controversy brewing at the White House. What have they done this time? They apparently altered the transcript of a press briefing with Scott McClellan. Did McClellan say, "That's accurate," or "I don't think that's accurate"? We watched the video excerpt, and it sure looks and sounds like he said, "That's accurate."

McLellan was responding to a comment by NBC's David Gregory, who had said, "Whether there's a question of legality, we know for a fact that there was involvement. We know that Karl Rove, based on what he and his lawyer have said, did have a conversation about somebody who Patrick Fitzgerald said was a covert officer of the Central Intelligence Agency. We know that Scooter Libby also had conversations."

Considering the context, there's a significant difference between "That's accurate" and "I don't think that's accurate," so it's obvious why the White House prefers the latter. Decide for yourself whether they're being honest: watch the video clip at http://thinkprogress.org/2005/11/09/wh-alters-transcript/

Democrats and Flying Spaghetti Monster win

Not only did Ahnold's initiatives go down in flames and Democrats win in New Jersey and Virginia yesterday, but voters in Pennsylvania ousted all eight members of the school board that wanted intelligent design taught in biology classes.

The pendulum is beginning to swing...


Tuesday, November 08, 2005

OSU is a friend of Jack Abramoff's?

Well, yes, according to politicalfriendster.com. But what is the connection? Damned if we can tell. Go to http://www.politicalfriendster.com/showPerson.php?id=1917&name=Jack-Abramoff and see if you can figure it out.

The new HP Way: "You're fired, and don't say anything bad about us"

Hewlett-Packard, which used to be widely respected for its loyalty to employees (the "HP Way"), not only has become a leading proponent of downsizing (it recently laid off 570 more workers from its Corvallis facility), but demands that severed workers not "disparage" the company. The penalty for doing so: the loss of thousands of dollars in severance pay and thousands more in potential civil penalties.

Most of the five-page severance agreement is standard fine print (don't give away company secrets, take home office equipment, or make copies of confidential customer lists), but Article 9 says, "Employee agrees that he/she will not make or publish, either orally or in writing, any disparaging statement regarding HP." The admonishment is open-ended, with no expiration date and no definition of what might constitute disparagement. In other words, the ball is entirely and perpetually in HP's court.

Meanwhile, many of those 570 ex-employees will have to sell their homes, uproot their families, and leave the area in search of employment. How can some of them not feel a bit disparaging toward their former employer? How can they resist the urge - despite the penalties - to bite the hand that used to feed them?

What HP is doing may be entirely legal (though it sure seems to violate the right to free speech), but it certainly seems unethical.


Panty thief says religion made him sick

Sung Koo Kim, the Tigard man who was sentenced yesterday to four years in prison and 18 months in jail for stealing more than 3,000 bras and panties, said "I lived all my life in isolation, in a lonely religious prison, deprived of friends, love, intimacy, and happiness."

Religion may have played a role in Kim's sickness, but there's a lot more to the story than that. In addition to the bras and panties, investigators found in Kim's home seven assault rifles and computers containing 40,000 images of women being mutilated, raped, and dismembered.

Seven assault rifles? Forty-thousand images of women being horribly abused? These are evidence not only of Kim's sickness, but of the sickness of society as a whole. Where did he get those rifles and those images? Why do those rifles and images even exist? We know one person who was sick enough to want to own them, but what about the people who created them? Aren't they just as sick, if not sicker?

Who knew?

As it turns out, Scooter Libby, the guy who was just indicted on five counts of not telling the truth, has lots of experience not telling the truth. He's a novelist. Here's an excerpt from his steamy first novel, "The Apprentice: A Novel":

"Even moments later, he had not been sure why he had hidden at the top of the stairs. There was the girl, of course, but he had seen good-looking, even beautiful girls before and he had not acted so shamefully.

"He knew that there were those who enjoyed merely staring at young girls, but he had no reason to believe that he was one of them. Such people, he thought, enjoy the idea of being caught and embarrassing the woman, while he had been greatly afraid."

Anyone care to read between those lines?

Friday, November 04, 2005


People who have no credibility probably shouldn't present themselves as authorities on credibility. Talking to reporters in Argentina today, Bush said, "The way you earn credibility with the American people is to set a clear agenda that everybody can understand, an agenda that relates to their lives, and get the job done. And the agenda that I'm working on now is one that is important to the American people."

An agenda that's important to the American people? You mean you're going to resign?

Now THAT would be incredible.

What is that on Bush's face?

What are those strange bumps next to his right eye? Is it just puffiness, from crying over his latest poll numbers? A new AP-Ipsos poll say his approval rating is now at 37 percent, and the intensity of disapproval is the strongest ever, with 42 percent saying they "strongly disapprove"' of how Bush is handling his job.

We don't get it - what is Bush doing wrong? Only 2,020 U.S. soldiers have died so far in Iraq (it could be 2,021!), the economy isn't as bad as it could be (nobody is calling it a depression!), the so-called "scandals" in the White House and Congress are just trivial misunderstandings (the criminalization of politics!), and the nomination of Alito is a shining testament to Bush's good judgment and lack of cronyism (Alito never said Bush is the most brilliant man he's ever met!).


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Readers respond

Colleen Spedale:

"Yeah, I saw an article in the paper today noting the same 'oddity' about how this case has been drug out for 2 years...what a coincidence! I'm fairly sure if it'd come out in October 2004, we might not have that joker in the White House today (and lots of soldiers might be on their way home). But we'll never know because these damn clever neo-cons manipulated everything. I have to give them credit! I'm also fairly sure Bush wants to load the court up with friends who'll see it his way, in case he gets into hot water more directly. Stay tuned.

"It's like Bush is throwing out toys to an excited puppy...'here, go
chase after this toy now!' and the press (and everyone else) chases after the newest distraction (Alito). But I think the Libby case has, as they say, 'legs.'"

Sandy Ridlington:

"I most fervently believe that Bush was brought up with no compassion. Most conservatives are, I think, but if you read some of the stuff his mother says, you can see one of the reasons he is the person he is.

"As to the Libby thing, did you notice that the NY Times completely dropped the Libby indictment from its front page the morning it covered Alito? Well, what do we expect. Its reporters are too incompetent to deal with two subjects at a time."

Did you notice that the cover-up worked?

When Patrick Fitzgerald revealed the indictment of Scooter Libby last week, he said he wished that witnesses had testified when subpoenas were issued back in August 2004. If they had, he said, "we would have been here in October 2004 instead of October 2005."

October 2004 was the month before Bush was re-elected. He wanted the truth about Libby, Rove, Cheney, and the Iraq war to remain a secret until AFTER the election.

Now Bush is trying to distract us from the indictment - and the lies behind the Iraq war - by nominating a radical right-winger to the Supreme Court. He knows the ensuing fight between Democrats and Republicans will overshadow everything else.

Fitzgerald said he wants to keep this case going if doing so will bring us closer to the truth. Because Libby faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted on all five counts, he should be motivated to cooperate. However, Libby knows that Bush could issue an unconditional pardon at the end of his term, so there goes any motivation to cooperate.

If Bush truly wanted us to know all the facts in the leak case, as he has claimed, he would announce NOW that he has no intention of pardoning Libby. Of course, even if he made such an unlikely vow, on what grounds would we be inclined to believe him?


Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The s**t is hitting the fan

This happened live, on C-Span, just a few minutes ago. Sen. Harry Reid (D) used a procedural maneuver to close the Senate and demand a response on the delayed/stalled intelligence committee report on the lead-up to the war. Prior to doing so, he read a statement that basically called Cheney a liar, in so many words, and said that the administration is stonewalling any examination of the facts surrounding the leadup to the war.

The Democrats then said they'd invoke a closed Senate clause every day until they receive a positive response from the intelligence committee.
They caught the Republicans completely by surprise. Democrats have been in the hallway of the Senate giving press releases. Republicans have been trying to act like it's only dirty pool partisanship, but are visibly shaken up and lacking a coherent response.
The Senate is now back open. Frist fumbled a lead-in. The Republican head of the intelligence committee gave a rambling response and offered a hurry-up plan to produce the report. Jay Rockefeller (D) called major bu**sh** on the Republican response.
The press corps that was on this was also caught by surprise and looked like a bunch of interns. Fox had a hack there, but the Democrats handled her pretty well.
This is big stuff. The manure is starting to hit the fan, methinks (mehopes). (Doug Van Pelt)

Bush: "Poor people are lazy"

This explains just about everything that's happened since Bush took office. In an interview with Mary Jacoby of Salon.com, one of Bush's former business professors at Harvard said Bush "showed pathological lying habits and was in denial when challenged on his prejudices and biases. He would even deny saying something he just said 30 seconds ago. He was famous for that."

The professor, Yoshi Tsurumi, recalled that when he was leading a discussion on whether the government should assist retirees and other people on fixed incomes with heating costs, Bush said, "The government doesn't have to help poor people...they are lazy." And when Tsurumi showed the film "The Grapes of Wrath," Bush sneered. "We were in a discussion of the New Deal," Tsurumi said, "and he called Franklin Roosevelt's policies 'socialism.' He denounced labor unions, the Securities and Exchange Commission, Medicare, Social Security, you name it. He denounced the civil rights movement as socialism. To him, socialism and communism were the same thing. And when challenged to explain his prejudice, he could not defend his argument, either ideologically, polemically, or academically."

Students who challenged and embarrassed Bush in class would then become the subject of a whispering campaign by him, Tsurumi said. "In class, he couldn't challenge them. But after class, he sometimes came up to me in the hallway and started bad-mouthing those students who had challenged him. He would complain that someone was drinking too much. It was innuendo and lies. Behind his smile and his smirk, he was a very insecure, cunning, and vengeful guy."

Tsurumi said Bush sometimes came late to class and often sat in the back of the classroom, wearing a bomber jacket from the Texas Air National Guard and spitting chewing tobacco into a cup.

"At first," Tsurumi said, "I wondered, 'Who is this George Bush?' It's a very common name and I didn't know his background. And he was such a bad student that I asked him once how he got in. He said, 'My dad has good friends.'" Bush scored in the lowest 10 percent of the class.

But Bush is not as dumb as many people think, Tsurumi said. "He was just badly brought up, with no discipline, and no compassion."


Surprise! Bush's sudden interest in flu prevention will make Rumsfeld stinking rich

Been wondering why Bush has suddenly become so interested in flu prevention? It's for the same reason he suddenly becomes interested in anything - to make his rich cronies even richer. In this case, it's Donald Rumsfeld who stands to gain the most, because he is part owner of the rights to a drug called Tamiflu, the most popular flu remedy in the world.

Rumsfeld's stake in the company that makes Tamiflu, Gilead Research, is estimated at between $5 million and $25 million. Escalating fears about a flu pandemic over the past six months have sent Gilead's stock from $35 to $47, making Rumsfeld at least $1 million richer.

The upshot: Rumsfeld, Bush, et al, have a very large stake not in keeping us healthy, but in keeping us scared of getting sick. Kind of like keeping us scared of terrorism...

(Thanks to Eric Dickey for the scoop.)