<!-- 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: June 2006

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Rush Limbaugh detained for illegal possession of...Viagra

This guy just can't stay out of trouble with drugs. First it was illegal possession of painkillers, and now it's illegal possession of erection enhancers. And we don't even want to THINK about Rush Limbaugh's erection - much less what he does with it.


Monday, June 26, 2006

Pat Buchanan is right!

Yes, that's a double entendre. But in this instance, both meanings are valid. In a column titled "Condi and the isolationists," Buchanan made the following uncharacteristically astute observations:

"To buttress crumbling support for his interventionist policy, President Bush played his ace of trumps, sending his most popular champion, Condi Rice, to the Southern Baptist Convention."

"Why, one wonders, do President Bush and Rice not tell us who these dreaded isolationists are and how they could conceivably seduce the Southern Baptists into questioning Bush policy? The truth: If Southern Baptists are peeling off from the Bush coalition for moral imperialism and democracy crusades, the reason may not be that they wish to flee the world, but that they see the Bush-Rice policy as failing. At a great cost in blood and treasure, we seem to be reaping a rising harvest of hatred."

"Did isolationists create such animosity toward America among our closest allies in the Muslim world? How? And who are they? Answer: No such beasts exist. The people who have produced such results for America are the decision-makers themselves – Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice – and their advisers, the neoconservatives."

"Was it isolationists who sent an army storming into Baghdad in search of weapons of mass destruction that did not exist, resulting in tens of thousands of Iraqi army and civilian dead, three bloody years of "collateral damage" to Iraqi women and children, and the inevitable horrors of guerrilla war, such as Abu Ghraib and Haditha?"

"In Afghanistan, the Taliban are making a comeback. In Iraq, the new democratic government Bush celebrated in his surprise visit is considering amnesty for Sunni insurgents who only killed Americans."

"Why did Condi rip into isolationism at the Baptist convention? Because it is a less daunting task than defending the fruits of a foolish interventionism that are now lying right in front of us."

Although Buchanan sounds suspiciously like a liberal here, he's really just a disgruntled right-wing fundamentalist, finding fault with Bush and the neocons' so-called morals. Which makes him both right and, well, right.


(Thanks to Eric Dickey for the tip.)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Democrats at war over how to end the war

Karl Rove knew that Iraq was Bush's biggest problem, so he decided to showcase the war, frame the choice between victory and defeatism, and put the Democrats on the defensive. It's called reverse accountability - shifting the blame to those not in charge. And the Democrats, true to form, fell right into Rove's trap. Now they're fighting over how to end the war - which makes them look foolish and divided.

As Eleanor Clift says, "It’s appalling that an administration led by chicken hawks dares to build an election strategy based on lecturing combat veterans, but it is devilishly clever, and it might work."

Getting the Democrats to fight among themselves highlights their inability to offer a credible alternative - or, as Bush said in a recent press conference, "There’s an interesting debate in the Democratic Party about how quick to pull out of Iraq."

"The idea" says Clift, "is to corner Democrats into taking a stand that could hurt them in November. A yes vote angers the Democratic base, which is increasingly antiwar; a no vote invites charges of cut and run."

John Kerry, apparently trying to resurrect his presidential campaign, played right into the Republicans' hands when he proposed that we pull out of Iraq by year's end. "The GOP is gleefully framing Kerry's amendment to bring the troops home by the end of this year as a choice between victory and a treasonous running away," Clift says. "None of the other big-name Democrats want to get behind Kerry’s plan because they’re also running for president, and they’ve got their own half-baked ideas. An honest reckoning on Iraq means choosing among bad and less-bad options, which don’t stir voter enthusiasm. There are no good options."

If that's true, then the Democrats need to cut and run from the futile debate over Iraq and start focusing on other important issues, such as health care, global warming, gas prices, alternative energy sources, support for public education, and the economy.


Those Republicans are so darned funny!

Last Saturday at the Iowa Republican convention, Rep. Steve King made everyone laugh and applaud when he said about the late al-Zarqawi, "There probably are not 72 virgins in the hell he's at and if there are, they probably all look like Helen Thomas."

Ha ha ha ha ho ho hee hee hee! What a sense of humor - and a set of balls - that guy has! Making fun of an 85-year-old woman!

Wonder what the virgins will look like where he's going? Ann Coulter, perhaps?

Hint to Iowans: King is running for re-election this fall. Do the right thing.


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Do Iraqi suicide bombers watch TV?

If so, they'll soon see a public service announcement asking them to please refrain from suicide bombing. The PSA is being filmed in Los Angeles by a company called 900 Frames and features live actors (well, until the bomb explodes), state-of-the-art special effects, the works. The budget: over $1 million.

Where is the money coming from? Mystery donors. "I call them an independent, non-governmental group of scholars, non political people," says Drew Plotkin of 900 Frames. "Some may live in Iraq, some may live abroad. For a variety of different reasons - from safety concerns to wanting the focus to remain on the issue itself - they decided to remain anonymous."

Yeah, we bet they want to remain anonymous. As Newsweek points out, the PSA "may be regarded as propaganda in a region already plagued by anti-American sentiment." Couple that with Matrix-like production techniques that make suicide bombing look kind of cool, and we might be looking at 350 suicide bombings a month instead of just 175.


Monday, June 19, 2006

He's back in the saddle!

We've missed our cowboy lately, and we were downright chapfallen when he confided recently that he'd had some regrets about saying he wanted Osama "dead or alive" and telling Iraqi insurgents to "bring it on." But now it looks like Cowboy Bush is back in the saddle and channeling John Wayne again, just like the good ole days!

Speaking about Iran today at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in New York (a right-friendly audience for cowboy talk), Cowboy Bush said, "Nuclear weapons in the hands of this regime would be a grave threat to people everywhere." That's our boy! Just as Iraq's non-existent WMDs posed a grave threat to us in 2003, Bush now wants us to believe that Iran's hypothetical WMDs "would be" a grave threat to us (i.e., if they were ever actually developed).

But Cowboy Bush didn't stop there. He really let Iran have it, telling them in no uncertain terms to "get out of town by sunset - or else!"

"[Iran must] fully and verifiably suspend its uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities" before we will negotiate with them. (Just as we negotiated with Iraq, after they fully and verifiably informed us that they had no WMDs.)

"Iran's leaders have a clear choice: We hope they will accept our offer and voluntarily suspend these activities so we can work out an agreement that will bring Iran real benefits." (Benefits like having no bombs dropped on them.)

"If Iran's leaders reject our offer, it will result in action before the Security Council, further isolation from the world, and progressively stronger political and economic sanctions." (By "political and economic sanctions," he means "military actions.")

And finally, the piece de resistance - er, we mean the big enchilada (cowboys don't talk French!): "I have a message for the Iranian regime. America and our partners are united. We have presented a reasonable offer. Iran's leaders should see our proposal for what it is: an historic opportunity to set their country on a better course. If Iran's leaders want peace and prosperity and a more hopeful future for their people, they should accept our offer. Abandon any ambitions to obtain nuclear weapons and come into compliance with their international obligations."

Ain't it good to have our cowboy back?


Thursday, June 15, 2006

Religious right wants to ban gay marriage via "Constitutional Convention"

Since the Senate's efforts to ban gay marriage failed, the religious right is considering calling a "Constitutional Convention" to make it happen. In order to call a Constitutional Convention (an obscure provision of Article 5 that allows amendments to the Constitution without congressional approval), backers would have to persuade two-thirds (34) of U.S. state legislatures to support it.

Among the backers are the Family Research Council (surprise!) and leaders of the Catholic, Protestant, and Mormon churches (surprise again!).

Even though the chances of getting 34 states to go along with the idea are very slim, right-wing commentator Bob Novak exults, "If such a convention were to pass a marriage amendment, we estimate that 28 states would easily ratify it. Another eight states may do so only after a protracted and bloody political fight (which could span an election cycle). That leaves supporters with two more states to go to reach the threshold of 38 (three-fourths), and only the most difficult ground to fight on--states such as Maine, Rhode Island, Oregon and Nevada are probably not ideal places to win such a fight, although not all would be unwinnable."

Novak's homophobic fantasies aside, a Constitutional Convention is nonpartisan, which means it would also allow liberals to write their own amendments. So how about an amendment that bans asinine amendments?


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Bush speechwriter quits

And incredibly, he's not leaving to spend more time with his family. (Why do people always say that? What makes them think their family wants to spend more time with THEM?) No, Michael J. Gerson has a much better reason than that. He's leaving because, he says, "It seemed like a good time. Things are back on track a little. Some of the things I care about are on a good trajectory."

Back on track? On a good trajectory? What is Gerson talking about? Zarqawi's murder? Rove's narrow escape from justice? His own salvaged career, now that he's jumped the sinking ship?

Rumor has it that Gerson wrote one final, cryptic speech for Bush and left it on his desk, next to his resignation. The speech reads, simply:

"Fooled you twice. Shame on you!"


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Stephen Hawking: Earth will be "wiped out by a disaster"

Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, author of "A Brief History of Time," says we will need to "spread out into space" if we want the human species to survive. "Life on Earth is at the ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster, such as sudden global warming, nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus or other dangers we have not yet thought of," he says.

Speaking to a news conference in Hong Kong, Hawking also said that if humans can avoid killing themselves in the next 100 years, we should have space settlements that can continue without support from Earth. He said we could establish a permanent base on the moon in 20 years and a colony on Mars in 40 years, but "We won't find anywhere as nice as Earth unless we go to another star system."

So one of the most brilliant scientists in the world believes we're doomed and should leave the planet? What, is he a right-wing fundamentalist or something? Gleefully anticipating the apocalypse? Or is he just sick and tired of being in a wheelchair and suffering from Lou Gehrig's Disease? (We can certainly understand the latter, because most people either die from Gehrig's at an early age or commit suicide because the symptoms are so awful.)

With all due respect to Dr. Hawking, we prefer to think there's still a chance we can clean up some of the mess we've made and make Earth inhabitable again. Because, as Hawking himself says, we won't find anywhere as nice as Earth - unless we go to another star system, which is even less likely than our chances of reversing global warming.


Monday, June 12, 2006

Mission accomplished at the Project for a New American Century?

The Washington Post reports that the doors may be closing soon on the Project for a New American Century, the neoconservative "think tank" founded by Dick Cheney, Donald H. Rumsfeld, Paul D. Wolfowitz, Jeb Bush, Scooter Libby, William Bennett, Zalmay Khalilzad, and Dan Quayle. (One more player and Satan would have himself a baseball team!)

The PNAC's manifesto said that the group's goal was to continue the Reaganite, muscular approach to projecting American power and "moral clarity" (i.e., a clear lack of morals) in the post-Cold War world. In fact, the PNAC and its supporters have dominated the Bush administration's foreign policy apparatus and championed a policy to get rid of Saddam Hussein long before Sept. 11, 2001. In a 1998 letter to President Clinton, the PNAC said "removing Saddam Hussein and his regime...now needs to become the aim of American foreign policy." Clinton was urged to use all diplomatic, political, and military means to topple Saddam. Which, of course, he left to George W. Bush. Who, of course, skipped right past diplomatic and political means and went straight for military.

So now that Saddam is out of power (as is the rest of Iraq), is the PNAC's mission accomplished? A source to the Post said that there had been some debate about PNAC's future, but the feeling was one of "goal accomplished" and it looks to be heading toward closing.

"Goal accomplished"? Sounds to us like they fell 94 years short of their goal. But that's okay - they did enough damage to last us at least 94 more years.


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

9/11 widows to Coulter: "there was no joy in watching men that we loved burn alive"

In response to Ann Coulter's comment in her new book that 9/11 widows have been "enjoying their husband's death," a group of 9/11 widows called September 11th Advocates says "we have been slandered." Here's the full text of their written response.

"We did not choose to become widowed on September 11, 2001. The attack, which tore our families apart and destroyed our former lives, caused us to ask some serious questions regarding the systems that our country has in place to protect its citizens.

"Through our constant research, we came to learn how the protocols were supposed to have worked. Thus, we asked for an independent commission to investigate the loopholes which obviously existed and allowed us to be so utterly vulnerable to terrorists. Our only motivation ever was to make our Nation safer. Could we learn from this tragedy so that it would not be repeated?

"We are forced to respond to Ms. Coulter's accusations to set the record straight because we have been slandered.

"Contrary to Ms. Coulter's statements, there was no joy in watching men that we loved burn alive. There was no happiness in telling our children that their fathers were never coming home again. We adored these men and miss them every day.

"It is in their honor and memory, that we will once again refocus the Nation's attention to the real issues at hand: our lack of security, leadership and progress in the five years since 9/11.

"We are continuously reminded that we are still a nation at risk. Therefore, the following is a partial list of areas still desperately in need of attention and public outcry. We should continuously be holding the feet of our elected officials to the fire to fix these shortcomings.

"1. Homeland Security Funding based on risk. Inattention to this area causes police officers, firefighters and other emergency/first responder personnel to be ill equipped in emergencies. Fixing this will save lives on the day of the next attack.

"2. Intelligence Community Oversight. Without proper oversight, there exists no one joint, bicameral intelligence panel with power to both authorize and appropriate funding for intelligence activities. Without such funding we are unable to capitalize on all intelligence community resources and abilities to thwart potential terrorist attacks. Fixing this will save lives on the day of the next attack.

"3. Transportation Security. There has been no concerted effort to harden mass transportation security. Our planes, buses, subways, and railways remain under-protected and highly vulnerable. These are all identifiable soft targets of potential terrorist attack. The terror attacks in Spain and London attest to this fact. Fixing our transportation systems may save lives on the day of the next attack.

"4. Information Sharing among Intelligence Agencies. Information sharing among intelligence agencies has not improved since 9/11. The attacks on 9/11 could have been prevented had information been shared among intelligence agencies. On the day of the next attack, more lives may be saved if our intelligence agencies work together.

"5. Loose Nukes. A concerted effort has not been made to secure the thousands of loose nukes scattered around the world – particularly in the former Soviet Union. Securing these loose nukes could make it less likely for a terrorist group to use this method in an attack, thereby saving lives.

"6. Security at Chemical Plants, Nuclear Plants, Ports. We must, as a nation, secure these known and identifiable soft targets of Terrorism. Doing so will save many lives.

"7. Border Security. We continue to have porous borders and INS and Customs systems in shambles. We need a concerted effort to integrate our border security into the larger national security apparatus.

"8. Civil Liberties Oversight Board. Given the President’s NSA Surveillance Program and the re-instatement of the Patriot Act, this Nation is in dire need of a Civil Liberties Oversight Board to insure that a proper balance is found between national security versus the protection of our constitutional rights.

-- September 11th Advocates

Kristen Breitweiser
Patty Casazza
Monica Gabrielle
Mindy Kleinberg
Lorie Van Auken


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Ann Coulter: "I have never seen people enjoying their husband's death so much"

Coulter actually says this in her new book, "Godless: the Church of Liberalism" (released, oh so cleverly, on 6/6/6). She's referring to widows of 9-11 and Iraq who have spoken out against the Bush Administration. You know, real people who have suffered real loss and pain as a result of Bush's thoughtless actions or inactions.

This morning on NBC, Matt Lauer took Coulter to task (sort of) for making the statement. Here's the transcript; you can also watch the video at http://thinkprogress.org/2006/06/06/coulter-911/.

LAUER: Do you believe everything in the book or do you put some things in there just to cater to your base?

ANN: No, of course I believe everything.

LAUER: On the 9-11 widows, and in particular a group that had been critical of the administration: "These self-obsessed women seem genuinely unaware that 9-11 was an attack on our nation and acted like as if [sic] the terrorist attack only happened to them. They believe the entire country was required to marinate in their exquisite personal agony. Apparently, denouncing Bush was part of the closure process." And this part is the part I really need to talk to you about: "These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by griefparrazies. I have never seen people enjoying their husband's death so much." Because they dare to speak out?

COULTER: To speak out using the fact they are widows. This is the left's doctrine of infallibility. If they have a point to make about the 9-11 commission, about how to fight the war on terrorism, how about sending in somebody we are allowed to respond to. No. No. No. We have to respond to someone who had a family member die. Because then if we respond, oh you are questioning their authenticity.

LAUER: So grieve but grieve quietly?

COULTER: No, the story is an attack on the nation. That requires a foreign policy response.

LAUER: By the way, they also criticized the Clinton administration.

COULTER: Not the ones I am talking about. No, no, no.

LAUER: Yeah they have.

COULTER: Oh no, no, no, no, no. They were cutting commercials for Kerry. They were using their grief to make a political point while preventing anyone from responding.

LAUER: So if you lose a husband, you no longer have the right to have a political point of view?

COULTER: No, but don't use the fact that you lost a husband as the basis for being able to talk about, while preventing people from responding. Let Matt Lauer make the point. Let Bill Clinton make the point. Don't put up someone I am not allowed to respond to without questioning the authenticity of their grief.

LAUER: Well apparently you are allowed to respond to them.

COULTER: Yeah, I did.

LAUER: So, in other words.

COULTER: That is the point of liberal infallibility. Of putting up Cindy Sheehan, of putting out these widows, of putting out Joe Wilson. No, no, no. You can't respond. It's their doctrine of infallibility. Have someone else make the argument then.

LAUER: What I'm saying is I don't think they have ever told you, you can't respond.

COULTER: Look, you are getting testy with me.

LAUER: No. I think it's a dramatic statement. "These broads are millionaires stalked by stalked by griefparrazies"? "I have never seen people enjoying their husband's deaths so much"?

COULTER: Yes, they are all over the news.

LAUER: The book is called "Godless: The Church of Liberalism." Ann Coulter, always fun to have you here.

Fun? Coulter has gone completely off the deep end of the Marianas Trench. People who have experienced the death of a loved one as a result of government action or inaction have every right - and every authority - to speak out against that action or inaction. They are no more protected by a "doctrine of infallibility" than Coulter is by freedom of speech. Unfortunately.


(Thanks to Eric Dickey for the scoop.)

Monday, June 05, 2006

Party like it's 666

You know that tomorrow's date is 06-06-06, but did you know that Armageddon has already come and gone? That's right - it happened when Ronald Wilson Reagan (666 himself) was president, according to Lawrence Lyons, author of the fascinating book, "The Language Crystal." (Lyons, a linguist and numerologist, also points out that the word "eighteen" - the sum of 6 + 6 + 6 - is contained sequentially within the word "enlightenment.")

Here are some other fun facts, and faux facts, from a Web site called "666 - Numbers of the Beast" (http://catholic-resources.org/Bible/666.htm):

666: Biblical number of the Beast
DCLXVI: Roman numeral of the Beast
665: Number of the Beast's older brother
667: Number of the Beast's younger sister
25.8069758...: Square root of the Beast
443556: Square of the Beast
1010011010: Binary number of the Beast
00666: Zip Code of the Beast
666@hell.org: E-mail address of the Beast
www.666.com: Web site of the Beast
1-666-666-6666: Phone & FAX number of the Beast
666-66-6666: Social Security Number of the Beast
$656.66: Wal-Mart price of the Beast (next week $646.66!)
6/6/6: Birthday of the Beast (but in which century?)