<!-- 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: December 2005

Friday, December 30, 2005

Leap-second lovers are traitors, says Bill O'Reilly

“This year’s leap second is an assault on the American public,” says commentator Bill O’Reilly. “The reason the leap second is even being proposed is because of America Haters, because of Iraqi hate mongers, and let’s be honest, Shiites. Why would you add a second to the year unless you’re an anti-American hate monger?

"I remember liberals at a party saying, 'let's add a second to the year' and I was the only one who spoke up against it. Why would they want to add a second to the year? Because it gives them a second longer to hate Bush.

"Look, look, look, look. A leap second is a denial of everything American, of everything good, of everything moral. They're saying we need this second because the earth rotates on its axis and revolves around the earth, well this is the no spin zone. So we don't need a leap second. Though I would rather have a leap second than some of these hate-mongers who go around hating even their own ideas! They need to hate their own ideas so much that you have many liberals proposing the leap second, which is an idea that they hate, yet, they propose."

“I am so so so so upset with these people, who actually believe their ideas, yet, I have no hate in my heart. I am a simple guy, who only has my own true beliefs and a few products that are my cornerstone to fight against the leap second poobah. Let me say it aloud: Leap Second, leap second, leap second. Doesn’t it sound ugly?

“Please, don’t let these Darwinian leap-seconders, who believe that the planets revolve around the sun, who believe that rocks are sedimentary, igneous and stalactites, who are innocent dim-wit believers in a faith bordering on hating everything religious like trees and fruitcake, yet, who don’t believe in John 7:12:45:67:89, have their say."

--Steve Martin, channeling Bill O'Reilly


Most memorable Bush quotes of 2005

"Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job."

"See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda."

"I think I may need a bathroom break. Is this possible?"

"This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous. And having said that, all options are on the table."

"In terms of timetables, as quickly as possible - whatever that means."

"Those who enter the country illegally violate the law."

"[the Constitution is] just a goddamned piece of paper."

If you know of any others, please submit them and we'll post a sequel.

http://articles.news.aol.com/news/article.adp id=20051229164509990024&cid=

Thursday, December 29, 2005

New NBC TV show mocks Christianity

That's what the American Family Association says, anyway. The AFA apparently doesn't like what they've heard about NBC's upcoming series, "The Book of Daniel." The AFA says that the show portrays an Episcopal priest as "drug-addicted" and shows him consulting with Jesus. The AFA also claims that "The Webster family is rounded out by a 23-year-old homosexual Republican son, a 16-year-old daughter who is a drug dealer, and a 16-year-old adopted son who is having sex with the bishop's daughter. At the office [Webster's] lesbian secretary is sleeping with his sister-in-law."

Homosexuals, drugs, and sex, oh my!

The AFA is urging its members to sign an on-line petition to NBC chairman Bob Wright, demanding that the network show "a little more respect for Christians who believe the Bible."

NBC's response to the AFA: "The Book of Daniel is a fictional drama about an Episcopalian priest's family and the contemporary issues with which they must grapple. We're confident that once audiences view this quality drama themselves, they'll appreciate this thought-provoking examination of one American family."

Our response to the AFA: If you don't like it, don't watch it.


Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Bush will be impeached not for wrongdoing, but for lying

Nixon and Clinton both faced impeachments because they lied, and Bush will too. So says prominent First Amendment lawyer Martin Garbus.

"It was inconceivable before the Nixon and Clinton impeachment procedures began that there could be, or would be a country or Senate that would be responsive to it. In the Nixon case, it spiraled from a petty break-in - in Clinton's case from a petty sexual act.

"But what Bush has done, and will do, to protect himself is not petty. It goes to the heart of the government. He already has a history of misleading the public on the searches conducted thus far. As he and his colleagues seek to minimize the vast amount of data collection, the lies will necessarily expand to cover the wrongdoing. Bush can be brought down."


Bush elected president of Iraq

In a vast outpouring of gratitude to the man they call "Our Great Savior From The West," the people of Iraq flooded the polls during yesterday's first free elections, voting overwhelmingly for President George W. Bush as their first democratically elected leader.

Bush, who spent nearly half a trillion dollars of U.S. taxpayer money on his campaign, received a concession call from Abu Musaiya at 11:30 EST last night.

After the Bush landslide was announced on Al-Jazeera, ecstatic crowds chanted in the streets throughout the recently liberated nation: "Hail George Bush, the president of Iraq!"

"May Allah bless him and his children to the seventh generation!" shouted free Iraqi citizen Abdullah al-Hallasid, firing his gun into the air repeatedly and injuring seven U.S. soldiers. "At last, we are free!"

Bush, who surged in the polls after all of the other candidates were killed by either coalition forces or insurgents in the final week leading up to the election, characterized his victory as the dawn of democracy in the Middle East, and proof that the system works.

--The Onion


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Gift idea for the person who has everything: a laser pointer

Remember the big scare about "terrorists" using powerful laser pointers to blind pilots? Well, now you can get one of those laser pointers for yourself - or someone very special on your holiday shopping list.

Bigha, an Oregon company best known for its high-end recumbent bicycles, is promoting the "Jasper Curve," a computer-controlled laser pointer with a range of up to 30,000 feet. They say it's "the most powerful legal laser pointer in the world."

Okay, we have a few questions for Bigha:

1. Why is a bike company selling laser pointers? Are there that many bicyclists who need to point at things while riding?

2. Why would anyone need a laser pointer that shoots a beam 30,000 feet? Are classrooms and auditoriums getting that big?

3. You say your laser pointer is "legal"; are there illegal ones? How far do they shoot - 5.68 miles? Oh wait, that is 30,000 feet!

4. If a laser beam is supposedly a highly focused, straight beam of light, why do you call it "Jasper Curve"?

5. Does it vibrate at all?

Well, maybe none of that matters. According to Bigha, the Jasper Curve is such a cool tool that Popular Science calls it a "must-have gadget for the holiday season!"

Sick of bad news? Visit happynews.com!

A recent headline in the big daily newspapers was about 10 U.S. Marines getting killed by a bomb in Iraq. The headline that day on HappyNews.com: "Emily, the stowaway cat, is coming home.'' Other recent stories on HappyNews.com: "Man decks house with synchronized lights'' and "Washington grape growers reap record harvest.''

HappyNews was created by a Texan named Byron Reese, who had decided that the world needed a refuge from all the bad news appearing in newspapers and on TV.

"This is asking the question, what is news?'' Reese said. "News is supposed to give you a view of the world. The news media, the way it has evolved, gives you a distorted view of the world by exaggerating bad news, misery, and despair. We're trying to balance out the scale.''

Thus, HappyNews refuses to publish most political stories, war stories, stories about layoffs...even sport stories, because "one team wins and one team loses,'' Reese explained.

Instead, HappyNews focuses on stories about health, science, the arts and heroes. A section called HappyLiving offers tips on everything from barbecuing to finding a baby sitter.

So is "happy news" profitable news? Not so far, Reese acknowledged. In fact, HappyNews is losing money because it isn't generating enough advertising revenue to offset salaries and overhead. But he's confident that it will eventually become profitable. Maybe when people get it that stowaway cats coming home are more important than dead soldiers coming home?

Meanwhile, we're putting our money on Tommy Thomason, director of the journalism school at Texas Christian University, who said, "Unfortunately, the events we need to respond to as informed citizens are not good. If you know all about synchronized Christmas lights, that won't help you be informed when you're voting on the people who will lead the country.''


Saddam...Osama...they sound so much alike!

It must be all those "S's," "A's," and "M's." Yesterday Bush said "Saddam" when he meant "Osama."

Bush was trying to defend his illegal decision to allow eavesdropping on U.S. citizens when he said, "In the late 1990s, our government was following Osama bin Laden because he was using a certain type of telephone...And guess what happened. Saddam - Osama bin Laden - changed his behavior. He began to change how he communicated."

He changed it so much he started to sound like Saddam...


Monday, December 19, 2005

Bush: "...the war is lost..."

Yes, he was quoting his detractors, but it's nice to hear him acknowledge, finally, that we are here, and that there is another viewpoint besides his own.

Bush also said it's important "for every American to understand the consequences of pulling out...before our work is done. We would abandon our Iraqi friends and signal to the world that America cannot be trusted to keep its word.''

"Our" work? Excuse us, Mr. Bush, but we don't remember signing up for this job. Perhaps you mean YOUR work? And as for abandoning our "Iraqi friends," well, we did that when we invaded their country without cause. In fact, a few million Iraqis who once were our friends - or could have been - are now our sworn, permanent enemies. What "word" are we keeping by continuing to antagonize them? Our continued presence in their country is what's making them feel abandoned!

Bush also said "We know from their [the terrorists'] own communications that they feel a tightening noose - and fear the rise of a democratic Iraq.''

So the continued violent acts are in reaction to a "tightening noose" and fear of democracy? Yeah, I guess when a noose is around your neck you do have a tendency to thrash a bit. So the noose has been tightening now for...let's see...a couple of years? That's a long time to have a noose tightening around your neck! No wonder they fear democracy, if extremely slow death by hanging is what it's all about!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Erotic moments from the Bible

WARNING: This may be considered racy. Read no further if you are offended by nudity in the name of the Bible.

A Protestant youth group in Germany has published a 2006 calendar with 12 photos depicting erotic scenes from the Bible, including a bare-breasted Delilah cutting Samson's hair and a nude Eve offering an apple.

Do Samson and Adam also appear in the nude, or is it just the women?

"There's a whole range of biblical scriptures simply bursting with eroticism," said photographer Stefan Wiest.

Maybe so, but is it just eroticism for men?

Anne Rohmer, 21, poses on a doorstep in garters and stockings as the prostitute Rahab, who is mentioned in both the New and Old Testaments. "We wanted to represent the Bible in a different way and to interest young people," she told Reuters.

You mean you wanted to interest horny young men?

"Anyway, it doesn't say anywhere in the Bible that you are forbidden to show yourself nude."

Maybe not, but it also doesn't say that only women should show themselves nude.

Bernd Grasser, pastor of the church in Nuremberg where the calendar is being sold, was enthusiastic about the project. "It's just wonderful when teenagers commit themselves with their hair and their skin to the Bible," he said.

You mean when teenage boys persuade teenage girls to commit themselves, right?

You can find out more about the calendar at www.bibelkalender.de.


Letter to God

So tell me Lord: In the Bible, you were known to test societies by forcing them to endure tribulations for seven years. Does this mean that we have only two more years to go? Our leaders seem so certain they are right about everything, even suggesting they are doing your will. Are they? I realize my questions will only be answered in the fullness of time. In the meantime, I offer you this ecumenical prayer which has its roots in what certain among us think of as your country, Texas: Dear Lord, please grant me strength, patience, wisdom, and humility. Help me always to search for the truth, but spare me the company of those who have found it. Amen.

--Norman Lear


Thursday, December 15, 2005

SpongeBob makes kids eat junk food?

First SpongeBob is accused of promoting homosexuality, and now this. A U.S. government report says cartoons such as SpongeBob SquarePants are being used to sell junk food to kids. The report calls for federal regulations on junk food advertising, noting that food companies spent over $10 billion to market junk foods to American children last year.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control funded the study, which was conducted by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) said of the study results, "We would like to think that SpongeBob SquarePants, Shrek, and the Disney princesses are likable, kid-friendly characters, but they are being used to manipulate vulnerable children to make unhealthy choices. This must stop."

Hey, Senator, you can go after Shrek and Disney, but lay off SpongeBob. After all, isn't it the kids' PARENTS who are buying all that junk food?


Novak: Bush knows who leaked Plame's name

First Bob Novak outed Valerie Plame, now he's outing President Bush. Yesterday he said "I'd be amazed'' if Bush didn't know who leaked Plame's identity and that the public should "bug the president as to whether he should reveal who the source is."

In 2004, Bush said that anyone who was involved in leaking the name of the covert CIA operative would be fired. So if Bush does know who leaked Plame's identity, he should fire that person now. Of course, he should fire himself too, because protecting the identity of the leaker makes him an accomplice to the crime.


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

DreamWorks is dead

Steven Spielberg, David Geffen, and Jeffrey Katzenberg are selling DreamWorks SKG to Viacom for $1.6 billion. Viacom's studio division, Paramount Pictures, will get DreamWorks' library of about 60 films, including "Saving Private Ryan," "American Beauty," and "Gladiator," and Paramount will also get half the profits of any movie Spielberg makes at another studio.

What went wrong for DreamWorks? The prevailing theories:

• Profitability. DreamWorks could not survive because the costs of running a studio are so high that it's impossible to make a profit without other large revenue streams, such as a sizable DVD library.

• Bad management. The live-action studio was run, until recently, by Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald, a married couple who also produced several of the movies that DreamWorks released. Thus, the couple was busy on film sets producing its own movies instead of greenlighting other people's.

• Disparate ambitions. Katzenberg wanted to head his own studio (and now he does, at DreamWorks Animation); Spielberg prefers directing; and Geffen, a music guy, has never really liked the movie business. Spielberg and Geffen wanted the power and freedom of owning a studio, but not the burden of running one.

So will we see another sequel to Shrek? Yes, as a matter of fact. "Shrek 3" is coming in 2007. "War of the Worlds, Part II"? We hope not.


Bush: "I think we are welcomed [by Iraq], but it was not a peaceful welcome"

Yes, he actually said that, in an interview with Brian Williams last night on NBC Nightly News.

So all the violence has been a "welcome," just not a peaceful one?

Bush also said, about his administration's response to Katrina, "You can call me anything you want, but do not call me a racist."

Hmmm...can anyone think of anything to call Bush besides "racist"?

Although Bush said he "thinks" a lot of people in Iraq are glad we're there, he is counting on history to prove him right about the war. "I felt now and I felt then that we had the troop levels that we needed. History will make that determination."

Yes, Mr. Bush, history will make a lot of determinations about your presidency. So you might not want to put all your eggs in that basket.


Friday, December 09, 2005

Fifteen questions for people who still like Bush

The latest New York Times/CBS News Poll, taken December 2-6, shows Bush's approval rating at 40 percent. If you're one of the people in that minority, here are some questions for you:

1. Do you understand that no tangible, truthful reason has ever been given for the invasion of Iraq and that the 9/11 Commission Report - which is the de facto, official findings of our government - says there was no reason whatsoever for this war?

2. Have you ever heard of the Downing Street Memos? Would it interest you to know that these official notes, from the British Prime Minister's meeting on July 23, 2002, show that the Bush administration was dead-set on war with Iraq and twisting intelligence to fit that goal?

"There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable," reported the secret memo, later published in the Sunday Times of London. "Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC [National Security Council] had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action."

3. When you look at the picture of even one military man or woman killed in Iraq and imagine the pain their family must feel, can you multiply that by 2,134 and believe that was a worthwhile down payment on removing Saddam Hussein from power? Before you answer, are you aware that Iraq had nothing to do with any attacks on our country and that it has been proven that Saddam Hussein had no capability at all to harm our people?

See the 9/11 Commission Report for more information.

4. Do you approve of how ineffective the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been rendered since 2000 and the deadly results in our inability to protect our own people in disasters - even those for which we have plenty of warning? Were you surprised to find out that the campaign contributor President Bush appointed to be the recently disgraced head of FEMA had no experience at all in disaster management?

5. Do you have health insurance? Are you aware that almost 46 million Americans have no medical insurance and that the Bush administration thinks this works just fine? Most of us parents have seen our young children suffer with a common ear infection. Imagine watching your child in that pain and how you would feel being powerless to get antibiotics to ease your child's suffering. Are you comfortable with children in America living in situations like that - and worse?

6. Is your family better off and more stable socially, medically and economically now than when Bill Clinton was president? Even assuming you are not an economist, how do you compare the 22.7 million jobs created by President Clinton's administration with a net loss of jobs - a 4.6 percent decrease in total employment - since Bush took office?

7. Did the photos of prisoner abuse released from Abu Ghraib - the worst are in litigation and still to come - make you proud of our country?

8. Do you ever lie awake at night and question how the world went from a mentality of "we are all Americans today" on September 12, 2001, to almost universally despising our country now? To what do you attribute this?

9. Do you understand that scientists have almost universally agreed that a Category 1 hurricane doesn't become a Category 5 overnight without the impact of significant global warming? Did you know that Team Bush doesn't believe in the concept?

10. Do you believe it is good for your family and the future of your children that President Bush took the biggest federal budget surplus in U.S. history - amassed during the Clinton years - and turned it into the largest deficit ever in just his first term? What is your view of public policy that continues to give massive tax cuts to the richest Americans while doing nothing about our health-care crisis and, at the same time, cutting safety-net programs for children, the elderly, disabled Americans and Veterans?

11. Do you have a "support the troops" sticker on your car? How does this square with the fact that the Bush administration has cut Veterans benefits repeatedly and that the Republican Congress has on many occasions voted down Democrat-sponsored measures that would have provided physical and mental health-care funds for returning Iraq-war Vets?

12. Have you heard the name Valerie Plame in the news and just not understood why? Did you know that she's the covert CIA officer outed by the Bush administration as retaliation against her husband, Ambassador Joe Wilson, who exposed a major lie used by the administration take us to war in Iraq?

13. Did you know that the 44 Democrats in the U.S. Senate represent well over 50 percent of the country's population and yet Republicans have voted down almost 90 percent of legislation sponsored by Democrats in 2005?

14. The federal minimum wage has stayed below the poverty level - $5.15 per hour - for almost a decade, creating a situation where a hard-working American, working 50 to 60 hours a week, still lives at or below the poverty line. Does that sound right to you? Are you aware that Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy brought minimum wage increases to the Senate floor twice in 2005 and they were shot down each time by the Republican majority?

15. Are you okay with the culture of corruption in the GOP that has the vice president's chief of staff indicted for perjury, Tom DeLay up on money-laundering charges and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist being investigated for insider trading - and that this may only be the tip of the iceberg?

--Bob Geiger, the Yellow Dog Blog (http://bobgeiger.blogspot.com/2005/12/questions-for-those-still-approving-of.html)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Our presence in Iraq is the problem, not the solution

Iraq war journalist Nir Rosen says our presence in Iraq is what's causing the insurgency, and the insurgency would end if we left. Here's what else he says:

• "At some point - whether sooner or later - U.S. troops will leave Iraq. I have spent much of the occupation reporting from Baghdad, Kirkuk, Mosul, Fallujah, and elsewhere in the country, and I can tell you that a growing majority of Iraqis would like it to be sooner."

• "As the occupation wears on, more and more Iraqis chafe at its failure to provide stability or even electricity, and they have grown to hate the explosions, gunfire, and constant war, and also the daily annoyances: having to wait hours in traffic because the Americans have closed off half the city; having to sit in that traffic behind a U.S. military vehicle pointing its weapons at them; having to endure constant searches and arrests."

• "Would the withdrawal of U.S. troops ignite a civil war between Sunnis and Shiites? No. That civil war is already under way -in large part because of the American presence. The longer the United States stays, the more it fuels Sunni hostility toward Shiite "collaborators." Were America not in Iraq, Sunni leaders could negotiate and participate without fear that they themselves would be branded traitors and collaborators by their constituents."

• "But if American troops aren't in Baghdad, what's to stop the Sunnis from launching an assault and seizing control of the city? Sunni forces could not mount such an assault. The preponderance of power now lies with the majority Shiites and the Kurds, and the Sunnis know this. Sunni fighters wield only small arms and explosives, not Saddam's tanks and helicopters, and are very weak compared with the cohesive, better armed, and numerically superior Shiite and Kurdish militias."

• "Wouldn't a U.S. withdrawal embolden the insurgency? No. If the occupation were to end, so, too, would the insurgency. After all, what the resistance movement has been resisting is the occupation. Who would the insurgents fight if the enemy left? When I asked Sunni Arab fighters and the clerics who support them why they were fighting, they all gave me the same one-word answer: intiqaam - revenge. Revenge for the destruction of their homes, for the shame they felt when Americans forced them to the ground and stepped on them, for the killing of their friends and relatives by U.S. soldiers either in combat or during raids."

• "What about the goal of creating a secular democracy in Iraq that respects the rights of women and non-Muslims? Give it up. It's not going to happen. Apart from the Kurds, who revel in their secularism, Iraqis overwhelmingly seek a Muslim state."

• "Iraq is a destroyed and fissiparous country. Iranians and Saudis I've spoken to worry that it might be impossible to keep Iraq from disintegrating. But they agree that the best hope of avoiding this scenario is if the United States leaves; perhaps then Iraqi nationalism will keep at least the Arabs united. The sooner America withdraws and allows Iraqis to assume control of their own country, the better the chances that Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari won't face sahil. It may be decades before Iraq recovers from the current maelstrom. By then its borders may be different, its vaunted secularism a distant relic. But a continued U.S. occupation can only get in the way."

If all of this is true, then the arguments for remaining in Iraq are invalid. Which means the only real reason we have for staying in Iraq is the same reason we stayed in Vietnam for so long: to save face. But wouldn't we save more face by allowing Iraqis to assume control of their own country, and letting any chaos that resulted be their responsibility rather than ours?

(Excerpted from the article "If America Left Iraq," by Nir Rosen, The Atlantic Monthly.)

OSU student catches big squid

"It was a monster. It was pretty scary coming up at first," said Oregon State University senior Brandon Brown about the 5-foot squid he had caught off Oregon's coast. He had pulled the squid up from a depth of 600 feet.

Brown's catch even shocked Lars Robison, the captain of the charter boat Samson out of Dockside Charters in Depoe Bay.
"That's the weirdest thing I've ever seen caught," he said.

"I thought I caught like a 30-pound lingcod," Brown said. "It took me about 20 minutes to get it up. It was definitely a ride. It was weird, though, because it kept swimming away. Normally when you reel a fish up, it comes straight up."

"When it got up close, I was amazed by what it was," Brown said. "And then they brought it up with the net, and it came out on the boat, and I was kind of stunned."

The huge squid had shot water out of its siphons like a fire hose when it was in the water, Robison said. "And we got him, netted him, put him on the boat, and that thing, you know, just didn't move around," he said. "It was squirting water all over the place until we got it out of the water, and then we put it in the fish box, and it just didn't do anything. He just kind of sat there and looked at us."

Robison asked Brown if he liked to eat squid.

"They had asked me if I eat calamari, and I'd never done it," Brown said. "And actually I think that I'm allergic to shellfish."

No one else wanted the squid, either, so Brown decided to put it back.

"So we picked it up and put him back in the water," Robison recalled. "And it was there for a minute or so, just laying there in the water. And all of a sudden this big blast of ink came out, and he went jetting off into the deep."

Where are Ernest Hemingway and Jules Verne when you need them?

Happy birthday, Ann Coulter!

Today is Ann Coulter's 44th birthday! The conservative columnist was born December 8, 1961, in New Canaan, Connecticut. She founded the conservative Cornell Review while in college at Cornell and then went on to law school at the University of Michigan, where she started a new chapter of the Federalist Society. She practiced law for more than a decade before she began her syndicated column for the Universal Press Syndicate in 1999. She was fired from a spot as a commentator on MSNBC when she told a disabled Vietnam veteran, "People like you caused us to lose that war." She later said that she hadn't realized he was disabled. After September 11, 2001, she lost her column on the National Review's Web site when she wrote a column that said of Muslims, "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity."

A fan of Ann's says, "Whenever I read a statement like, 'We should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity,' I think Christianity is the devil's religion. And look at their biggest representative, a guy in a red suit that indoctrinates, steals the mind of children. Santa and satan are actually the same word."

(Thanks to Eric Dickey.)

Nobel Prize winner says U.S. lied to justify war

In his acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize for literature, playwright Harold Pinter said the United States not only lied to justify war against Iraq but had also "supported and in many cases engendered every right-wing military dictatorship" in the last 50 years. Here are a few of his other comments:

• "The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them."
• "You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It's a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis."
• While drama represents the search for truth, politics works against truth, surrounding citizens with "a vast tapestry of lies" spun by politicians eager to cling to power.
• "I put to you that the United States is without doubt the greatest show on the road - brutal, indifferent, scornful, and ruthless it may be, but it is also very clever. As a salesman it is out on its own and its most saleable commodity is self-love.
• American leaders use language to anesthetize the public. "It's a scintillating stratagem. Language is actually employed to keep thought at bay. The words 'the American people' provide a truly voluptuous cushion of reassurance. You don't need to think. Just lie back on the cushion. The cushion may be suffocating your intelligence and your critical faculties but it's very comfortable.
• Accusing the United States of torturing terrorist suspects in Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib, Mr. Pinter called the invasion of Iraq - for which he said Britain was also responsible - "a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law." He called for Prime Minister Tony Blair to be tried before an international criminal court.
• Mr. Pinter said it was the duty of the writer to hold an image up to scrutiny, and the duty of citizens "to define the real truth of our lives and our societies. If such a determination is not embodied in our political vision, we have no hope of restoring what is so nearly lost to us - the dignity of man."

Mr. Pinter is correct on all counts, of course, but he has us a bit worried. Do you think he will make it onto Bill O'Reilly's blacklist?


Sunday, December 04, 2005

Viagra sales go flaccid

Are men becoming more potent? Or are they just buying less Viagra? The NY Times reports that the number of new prescriptions for erectile dysfunction drugs has fallen by 10 percent over the past year.

One theory: some of the decline could be a result of reports that linked the drugs to a form of blindness. But urologists have a different explanation: many impotent men are simply choosing not to take the drugs for some reason.

Pfizer (the maker of Viagra) is going to fix that. They're about to launch two major new ad campaigns - one for Viagra and another about erectile dysfunction in general.

We're so excited we're getting a stiffy.


Friday, December 02, 2005

Guess who the U.S. Air Force says is a terrorist?

George W. Bush is, according to the U.S. Air Force's online guide to spotting terrorists. Bush has been seen doing everything the Air Force says you're supposed to watch out for:

• Using binoculars or other vision-enhancing devices
• Moving around from place to place without any apparent purpose
• Seeming out of place, as if waiting for something to happen
• Wearing a military uniform - and not looking quite right in it
• Not seeming to belong in the workplace, neighborhood, business establishment, or anywhere else

If you spot George W. Bush or anyone else engaging in these activities, please report them immediately to your local Air Force office.

To see the complete guide to spotting terrorists, visit http://public.afosi.amc.af.mil/eagle/suspicious_behavior.asp

(Thanks to Bob Harris, www.bobharris.com.)

Thursday, December 01, 2005

U.S. paying Iraqi journalists to write positive news stories

Well, how else do you expect anyone in Iraq to believe things are going well there? With over 700 "insurgent" attacks per week, killing scores of people, you can't expect Iraqis to still be throwing rose petals at our feet, like they did when we first entered Baghdad. Oh, that's right - the rose petals never happened.

U.S. officials in Washington said the payments were made through the Baghdad Press Club, an organization created by U.S. Army officers. Members of the Press Club are paid as much as $200 a month, depending on the number of positive pieces they produce.

Eight current and former military, defense, and other U.S. officials in Baghdad and Washington agreed to discuss the payments to Iraqi reporters and other American military information operations because they fear that the efforts are promoting practices that are unacceptable for a democracy. They requested anonymity to avoid retaliation.

“We are teaching them (Iraqi journalists) the wrong things,’’ one military officer said.

They're not the only ones we're teaching the wrong things.