<!-- 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: August 2006

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Hey kids! Get a Happy Meal and get your very own toy Hummer!

Okay, so it's nothing new that a car maker is trying to get kids hooked on its product by giving away toy models. Companies of all kinds have been doing that with products of all kinds for centuries. But a toy Hummer? At a time when we're facing global warming, peak oil, escalating conflict in the Middle East, and record-high gas prices?

Even without all of that, is a Hummer the kind of vehicle we want our kids to aspire to owning?

Fortunately, you can do something about this AND have a little fun with it - by making your own McDonald's sign. Go to

Voting irregularities in Ohio are worse than previously thought

After analyzing 35,000 paper ballots from the 2004 presidential election in Ohio, a team of statisticians and lawyers says the irregularities are more widespread than previously thought.

Among the irregularities:

• A gap between the numbers provided in the local-level records and the official final tallies

• "Many signs" of tampering

• The number of actual voters differing significantly from the certified results

• "Extremely shoddy" handling of ballots

• Indications of "local-level ballot stuffing”

• Thousands of punch-card ballots missing codes that are supposed to identify the precinct where the ballot was cast

Under pressure from critics, Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell (a Republican who is running for governor) has agreed to delay destruction of the state's 5.6 million ballots for several months, but the ballots should be saved at least until the investigation is concluded. Ohioans and the rest of us have a right to know what happened in 2004 that caused such a huge rift in the sense-logic continuum.


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Yes Men strike again

Remember those crazy Yes Men, who infiltrated several international conferences and informed unsuspecting audiences that the WTO was reversing its destructive policies, or that human waste could be recycled into burgers? Well, they're at it again - this time in Louisiana.

Yesterday a man who claimed to be a high-ranking official with Housing and Urban Development told an audience of 1,000 at a post-Katrina public housing conference that the government was reversing its policy. The man came on stage after speeches by Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, saying he was the "deputy assistant secretary" of HUD and announcing that HUD would halt plans to demolish thousands of public housing units in New Orleans.

William Loiry, president of Equity International, which organized the conference in Kenner, La., said "everything seemed legitimate" about the man who made the speech - until the man suggested that people leave the conference, board buses, and attend a ribbon-cutting at a public housing development.

When Loiry and security officers went to find the speaker, he was vapor.

Fortunately, the man left a flier at the conference with his phone number on it. The man who answered the phone at that number was Andy Bichlbauer, of Yes Men fame.

Unfortunately, HUD is investigating the matter. We hope they conduct the investigation with the same level of competence they've demonstrated in New Orleans...

The Yes Men: http://www.theyesmen.org


Rumsfeld: Critics of Bush are "confused"

Chickenhawk Don Rumsfeld says critics of the Bush administration are suffering from "moral and intellectual confusion" and lack the courage to fight terror.

Pretty ironic, coming from someone who suffers from moral and intellectual confusion and lacks the courage to fight with anything but the English language.

Of course, Rummy was talking to an audience of veterans at the American Legion convention, where his views aren't likely to provoke controversy.

His speech was part of Rove's strategy to take the offensive, on the eve of the fifth anniversary of 9/11, against people who have the audacity to question the war in Iraq. People like the majority of Americans.

Rumsfeld also recounted what he called the lessons of history, including efforts to appease Hitler in the 1930s, "because once again we face the same kind of challenges in efforts to confront the rising threat of a new type of fascism."

Well, at least he admits Bush is a fascist.


Monday, August 28, 2006

Katherine Harris: Separation of church and state is "a lie"

Katherine Harris must be desperate for publicity, and she must not be too concerned about what kind of publicity she gets. Her latest harebrained ploy: telling a religious journal that separation of church and state is "a lie we have been told," that separating religion and politics is "wrong because God is the one who chooses our rulers," that God and the founding fathers did not intend America to be "a nation of secular laws," and that "if you're not electing Christians, then in essence you are going to legislate sin."

How did fellow Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Florida), who is Jewish, feel about Harris' remarks? "Disgusted," she told the Orlando Sentinel.

But Wasserman's disgust is completely unfounded, because Harris was "speaking to a Christian audience, addressing a common misperception that people of faith should not be actively involved in government," according to a statement from her campaign. Also, her comments reflected "her deep grounding in Judeo-Christian values," the statement said, adding that Harris had previously supported pro-Israel legislation and legislation recognizing the Holocaust.

Hey, wouldn't Katherine Harris and Mel Gibson make a cute couple?


Friday, August 25, 2006

Bush has read "60 books" so far this year?

According to US News & World Report, George Bush and Karl Rove are in a competition to see who can read the most books in 2006, and so far, Bush says he has read 60 books.

Yeah, right.

Perhaps by "read" Bush means "spotted out of the corner of my eye while walking past the Presidential Library."

Or maybe by "book" he means "comic book" or "match book."

As Bob Cesca says, "I honestly don't believe he's read one book ever in his entire life, much less 60. Furthermore, how can his feeble monkey brain possibly retain or comprehend anything he's reading? Does he look at the pages and just see a series of squiggly lines? I think he does. Why else would he say the following, while showing German newspaper reporter Kai Diekmann the Oval Office on May 5, 2006: 'That's George Washington, the first president, of course. The interesting thing about him is that I read three - three or four books about him last year. Isn't that interesting?' He admitted to reading three (or four - he's not sure about that either) books about George Washington, yet the only knowledge he could pass along to the German reporter was that...he read three (or four) books about George Washington."

If Bush is actually reading all those books, Cesca says, "I'd rather that he simply keep reading instead of thinking of new ways to screw us all or, as we learned this week, devising clever new fart jokes. Sadly, I think he has enough free time for all three."


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

So much for the foiled terrorist plot

OK, everyone, it's safe to fly again. You can go ahead and reschedule that cancelled trip. The alleged airplane bombing plot - if it even existed - was a joke.

According to the British technology publication The Register, smuggling the component parts of the liquid explosive triacetone triperoxide (TATP) and successfully mixing them into a brew powerful enough to bring down a plane would require skills far beyond the capabilities of, well, anyone.

"First," wrote The Register, "you've got to get adequately concentrated hydrogen peroxide. This is hard to come by, so a large quantity of the three per cent solution sold in pharmacies might have to be concentrated by boiling off the water...Take your hydrogen peroxide, acetone, and sulfuric acid, measure them very carefully, and put them into drink bottles for convenient smuggling onto a plane. It's all right to mix the peroxide and acetone in one container, so long as it remains cool. Don't forget to bring several frozen gel-packs (preferably in a Styrofoam chiller deceptively marked 'perishable foods'), a thermometer, a large beaker, a stirring rod, and a medicine dropper. You're going to need them.

"It's best to fly first class and order champagne. The bucket full of ice water, which the airline ought to supply, might possibly be adequate...Once the plane is over the ocean, very discreetly bring all of your gear into the toilet. You might need to make several trips to avoid drawing attention. Once your kit is in place, put a beaker containing the peroxide/acetone mixture into the ice water bath (champagne bucket), and start adding the acid, drop by drop, while stirring constantly. Watch the reaction temperature carefully. The mixture will heat, and if it gets too hot, you'll end up with a weak explosive. In fact, if it gets really hot, you'll get a premature explosion possibly sufficient to kill you, but probably no one else.

"After a few hours - assuming, by some miracle, that the fumes haven't overcome you or alerted passengers or the flight crew to your activities - you'll have a quantity of TATP with which to carry out your mission. Now all you need to do is dry it for an hour or two."

The conclusion is clear: "Certainly, if we can imagine a group of jihadists smuggling the necessary chemicals and equipment on board, and cooking up TATP in the lavatory, then we've passed from the realm of action blockbusters to that of situation comedy."

Also, as Ted Rall points out, "the 'plot,' or at least the prosecution thereof, is already unraveling. Two 'terrorists' have been released. Of the remaining 23, only 11 have been charged. Of those charged, only eight face charges related to the 'plot.'" And those eight may well turn out to be nothing more than pranksters with an overactive imagination.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Bush: "Of course I care"

He looks like someone who cares, doesn't he?

When asked at a press conference yesterday if he was affected by his low approval ratings, Bush said, "Presidents care about whether people support their policies. Of course I care. But I'm going to do what I think is right, and if people don't like me for it, that's just the way it is."

It isn't that people don't like him for doing what he thinks is right, it's that what he thinks is right is so profoundly, tragically wrong.


Thursday, August 17, 2006

Why doesn't "World Trade Center" mention bin Laden?

Some people who have seen Oliver Stone's film "World Trade Center" are wondering why the film neglects to mention who was behind 9/11. After all, we're talking about Oliver Stone here - someone who has never shied away from presenting the facts as he sees them.

In fact, considering Stone's reputation as a shrewd and incisive political and social commentator and conspiracy theorist, doesn't it seem odd that he would make a film that avoids even HINTING at who might have been behind the attacks?

What might Stone be saying by saying nothing?

UC-Berkeley professor Ruth Rosen thinks that by failing to mention any perpetrators, "World Trade Center" allows the ill-informed to continue believing that Saddam Hussein and Iraq were involved. She thinks Stone should have added a postscript to the movie saying that "government officials" have determined that it was Osama bin Laden and 20 other Saudi Arabian and Egyptian men who planned and executed the attacks - not Saddam or anyone from Iraq. That way, Rosen suggests, it would be painfully clear to the ill-informed that we shouldn't be in Iraq at all and should instead be focusing our efforts on capturing bin Laden and dismantling al Qaeda.

While we wouldn't argue with Rosen's assertions about Saddam and Iraq, we would question her assumption that those "government officials" are telling the whole story, or the whole truth. In fact, we think that's precisely why Stone intentionally avoided mentioning any perpetrators: because he knows that the jury is still out, not only as to who planned and executed the attacks but as to who allowed them to happen.

Was it Cheney and the neocons? Was it Bush? Was it Karl Rove? Was it Clinton?

We may have to wait for Stone's next movie, "World Trade Center II," to find out...


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Is Karl Rove gay?

James Moore, co-author of "Bush's Brain," apparently dug up something very interesting - and very revealing - about Karl Rove's sexual past while researching material for a new book about Rove. "We will leave it to students of Freud," he says, "to deconstruct what we discovered through on-the-record interviews, but it will be clear that Mr. Rove's motivation for promoting anti-gay marriage legislation has as much to do with his own background as it does the political utility of motivating the conservative and fundamentalist base for the GOP."

Is Karl Rove gay? Was he molested by a relative, a priest, or a Boy Scout leader when he was young?

Guess we'll have to wait and find out when Moore's new book, "The Architect: Karl Rove and the Master Plan for Absolute Power," is released in a few weeks.


Winner of caption contest #2

The winner of caption contest #2 is "Anonymous" (EWD), for his/her sly caption, "The fish I caught in my lake was this big," making simultaneous reference to a comment Bush made recently about his favorite moment as president and to the infamous Roman emperor Nero, who figuratively "fiddled while Rome burned" - just as Bush always seems to be doing.

Congratulations, Anonymous, and thanks to everyone who entered. We'll have more caption contests as more funny fotos emerge.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

We have a winner - and a new contest

The winner of yesterday's caption contest is Eric, who managed to be both silly and serious with his clever double-entendre: "We're talking WMD's, people! Weapons of Miniscule Destruction..." Congratulations, Eric, and enjoy your 15 minutes of well-deserved fame!

Now let's see who can come up with the best caption for this photo (what's up with all the "size does matter" hand gestures lately?), taken at Bush's press conference yesterday in which he oh-so-predictably claimed that the foiled terror plot in England underscored the need to keep warmongers like Joe Lie-berman in office.

Have at it, dudes and dudettes!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Caption contest: What is Chertoff saying?

This photo of Michael Chertoff and Alberto Gonzales was taken at a press conference following last week's foiled bomb plot in England. What do Chertoff and Gonzales have to do with homeland security in England? We're not sure, and since the article accompanying this photo failed to explain that OR Chertoff's curious finger gesture, we decided to give you a shot at it.

Write the best caption for this photo, and win at least 15 minutes of fame - by getting your caption and your name published in our very next post!

To get the ball rolling, here's a sample caption: "Well, Alberto told me it was at least this big, but he also said the president can do whatever he wants..."

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Bush administration seeks immunity from being charged with war crimes

It's a good thing Bush & Co. have Sore Loserman and the foiled British al Qaeda bomb plot to distract us, or we might notice the latest bulls**t they're trying to sneak in under our radar: amendments to the War Crimes Act that would retroactively protect Bush & Co. from criminal charges for authorizing humiliating and degrading treatment of prisoners.

The White House says the bill will apply to "any conduct by any U.S. personnel, whether committed BEFORE or AFTER the law is enacted" (emphasis ours).

That's right: If Congress rubber stamps the amendments, Bush and his neoconvicts would be completely immune from prosecution for war crimes.

The silver lining: By virtue of drafting such an amendment, Bush & Co. are admitting that they have, in fact, committed war crimes.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming..."NED LAMONT IS SOFT ON TERROR!" "GO, HOMELAND SECURITY!"


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

An e-mail from President Bush!

This morning we e-mailed President Bush, expressing our concerns about global warming, and President Bush actually wrote us back.

Well, okay, it wasn't really a response from President Bush, but it was from the White House.

Well, okay, it wasn't really from the White House, but it was from their automatic e-mail response generator.

Here's the reply (annotated for clarity):

"On behalf of President Bush [who is preparing for his month-long vacation while the world goes to hell], thank you for your correspondence [which we have no intention of reading]. We appreciate hearing your views [ha!] and welcome your suggestions [want to buy some swampland?]. The President is committed [he should be, anyway] to continuing our economic progress [down the tubes], defending our freedom [to deprive others of theirs], and upholding our Nation's deepest values [e.g., screwing everyone but the rich].

"Due to the large volume of e-mail received [and ignored], the White House cannot respond to every message [because a house can't read or write, silly!]. Please visit the White House website for the most up-to-date information [lies] on Presidential initiatives [e.g., his plans to clear more brush this year than last], current events [except the secret ones], and topics of interest to you [will the Wizard of Oz ever give Bush a heart, or a brain?]. In order to better receive [and ignore] comments from the public [suckers!], a new [but equally worthless] system has been implemented [by a no-bid contractor]. In the future [if there is one] please send your [futile] comments to comments@whitehouse.gov.

"Thank you again for taking the time to write [even if we didn't take the time to read]."