Tuesday, October 31, 2006

With Friends Like This ...

With Missouri one of the key races for control of the U.S. Senate, Dumbya has announced he will hit the Show-Me State on Friday to stump for Republican incumbent Jim Talent. As AP points out, Talent's reaction to the visit might be akin to unwrapping a Christmas gift, only to discover it's a fruitcake:

"Talent has largely avoided mentioning the president in stump speeches or in his television spots. Other Republicans have also shied away from Bush, whose job approval ratings are a dismal 38 percent, according to the latest Associated Press-AOL News poll.


"Seizing on Bush's low approval ratings, [Democratic candidate Claire] McCaskill's campaign has been running ads showing photos of Talent and Bush together with the words, 'Talent votes with Bush 94 percent of the time.'

"While campaigning in St. Louis on Tuesday, McCaskill was dismissive of the impact Bush's visit would have on the election, saying it 'is him wanting to appear that he can help somewhere.' "

As the nation continues to wise up about the man in the White House, this might be one of those curious instances in which the candidate not receiving help from Dumbya is more enthusiastic about the visit than the guy who is getting the help.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

OutFoxed and Outclassed

By Cassandra D

Michael J. Fox is one of the classiest people I've seen in a long while. A quote from his interview with George Stephanopoulos:

"I either sound good or I look good. I don't get the whole package."

His interview makes it absolutely clear that his ad was no act. He is so courageous to speak out for the issue that matters to him, and those who find it distasteful to watch him are asses.

The interview is very powerful. Watch it here.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Now THIS Is Funny

By Cassandra D

The New York Times is reporting on a big shift in corporate campaign donations away from Republicans and to Democrats, which actually makes me more optimistic about the Democrats' chances than a dozen polls put together.

But notice the article's graph:

In October 2004, 73 percent of money from corporate PACs went to Republicans and only 27 percent to Democrats. That makes the current 43 percent to Democrats look downright equitable.

No one could possibly argue that the Republican party isn't the party of big business. And years of the scorched earth, freeze-the-Dems-out K Street Project has had its impact.

My hopes are these:
1) The corporate donations will be balanced and won't corrupt the Democrats as they have the Republicans.
2) The mainstream media's perception that Republicans hold a death-grip on power will fade away, so that there will be no more nonsense like NBC's refusal to air ads for the Dixie Chicks' documentary, or worse, NBC and CBS's refusal to run the United Church of Christ's ad saying that they welcome all people, including gay couples.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Friday Random 10

Judging from the first selections, I think my iPod wants a spliff.

1. Broken Social Scene, "Puff the Magic Dragon"
2. Bob Marley & the Wailers, "Roots, Rock, Reggae"
3. Roxy Music, "Pyjamarama"
4. Gnarls Barkley, "Gone Daddy Gone"
5. Amos Lee, "Soul Suckers"
6. 3rd Bass, "Brooklyn Queens"
7. Blackalicious, "Green LIght: Now Begin"
8. Athlete, "Chances"
9. The Clash, "Police & Thieves"
10. Ghostface Killah, "Three Bricks"

Thursday, October 26, 2006

"Citizen Ruth" with African Orphans

By Cassandra D

The latest news regarding Madonna's planned adoption of a motherless Malawi boy is as heartbreaking as it is farcical:

The father of the 13-month-old Malawian boy Madonna is trying to adopt said he is afraid criticism of her plans would persuade the pop star to drop her efforts.

"I am afraid Madonna may get angry and frustrated and decide to dump my son because of these people," said Yohane Banda, referring to criticism from human rights activists in Malawi that officials had bent the law to speed David Banda's adoption.

"These so-called human rights activists are harassing me every day, threatening me that I am not aware of what I am doing," Banda said Thursday. "I'm afraid David may be sent back and the orphanage may not even accept him back. So where will he end up? Here? He will certainly die."

The Human Rights Consultative Committee, a group of human rights groups in Malawi, has asked Judge Andrew Nyirenda to review the adoption process to make sure all the laws have been followed. A hearing is scheduled Friday.

Banda said activists tried to visit him Wednesday.

"I hid from them. I didn't want to see them. They want me to support their court case, a thing I cannot do for I know what I agreed with Madonna and her husband," said Banda.

It reminds me of the movie Citizen Ruth, in which people on both sides of the abortion debate seize upon a pregnant woman as a symbol for their cause, getting so worked up that they forget about the human being at the center of the issue.

Why Wait? Go Green Now.

By Cassandra D

Slate is inviting everyone to participate in their "eight-week carbon diet." Be sure to let us here at CTTC know if you win one of their Slate/treehugger Green Challenge T-shirts. RedDirt, we're counting on you to win.

[Okay, well you can't actually start the challenge from here, but I couldn't find a photo of just their lovely T-shirt. Have to go to Slate to start the contest.]

Sex Tape Derby, Round 75

Autumn leaves, Halloween, the World Series, political advertisements -- it must be October. Sex Tape Derby, reveling in the sights and sounds of fall, offers this whimsical question: If you had to watch a homemade sex video, who would you rather pick as the star? Post your selections in the comments section below.

"Grey's Anatomy"'s Ellen Pompeo or ...

"Grey's Anatomy"'s Katherine Heigl?

Babe Ruth or ...

Mickey Mantle?

Monday, October 23, 2006

Mine Safety? Nah.

By Cassandra D

How ironic to hear that Bush has appointed Richard Stickler to head the federal mine safety agency, despite the Senate's having rejected him twice in two months for putting "industry interests ahead of safety concerns." (Reuters)

Why ironic? Because we also learn that this morning we had the latest mine accident fatality, this time in a Pennsylvania coal mine.

In Bed With Thieves and Murderers

By Cassandra D

...and that's putting it mildly.

If you didn't catch last night's "60 Minutes," there are some gut-wrenching segments worth seeing.

First you can watch a report on the U.S. Coalition Provisional Authority's having been so enamored of an exiled Iraqi who ran a pizza business and could speak English that they put him in charge of buying $1.2 billion in military equipment for the Iraqi Army. $800 million is missing, showing up here and there outside Iraq in the form of mansions and who-knows-what else, while the Iraqi Army got defective and old equipment. And the U.S. doesn't want to look stupid, so isn't helping nab the crooks, many of whom are or were in the Iraqi government.

Then you can hear about how our government is talking the talk but not walking the walk on the genocide in Darfur, in part because the government in Sudan once hosted Osama bin Laden and now gives us little tidbits of information about al Qaeda.

Both stories are sobering and frustrating. The first shows again the maddening incompetence and lack of oversight that have become so familiar to us all, and the second shows just how silent the we and the rest of the world have been in the face of repeating evil and terrible misery. Are we looking the other way while women are gang raped and entire villages murdered because we want the help of the genocidal murderers? Are we turning a blind eye in the pitiful hope that it will somehow ensure our own safety?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Ridiculous and Not Surprising

By Cassandra D

First, the ridiculous:

George Bush says "We've never been 'Stay the Course.'" Next thing you know he will deny ever having uttered the phrase, "Cut and Run."


And now for the completely unsurprising announcement:

Alberto Fernandez, the U.S. State Department official in Iraq who said, "We tried to do our best (in Iraq) but I think there is much room for criticism because, undoubtedly, there was arrogance and there was stupidity from the United States in Iraq," now says that he "seriously misspoke."

Had enough?

Friday, October 20, 2006

Friday Random 10

In the spirit of the iPod shuffle exercise, I am keeping on a song I am truly embarrassed to have recorded. Betcha can't guess which one ...

1. UB40, "Red Red Wine"
2. Stereolab, "La Boob Oscillator"
3. The Yardbirds, "Steeled Blues"
4. The Pet Shop Boys, "Always on My Mind"
5. The Dead Milkmen, "My Many Smells"
6. Alberta Hunter, "The Darktown Strutter's Ball"
7. Combustible Edison, "The Checkered Flag"
8. Cake, "Commissioning a Symphony in C"
9. The Fiery Furnaces, "Black Hearted Boy"
10. Shania Twain, "You're Still the One"

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Sex Tape Derby, Round 74

Yes, once again it's time for Sex Tape Derby, the show in which contestants fail to win fabulous prizes for determining whose sex tape (or DVD, for the love of God) you would gingerly unwrap and slip into the slot. Today's subjects all come from two new NBC shows with the exact same premise, and neither one has "Law & Order" in the title. Here are your "sketchy" selections:

"30 Rock"'s Tina Fey or...

"Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip"'s Amanda Peet?

"Studio 60"'s Bradley Whitford or...

"Studio 60"'s Matthew Perry?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Let's Done Shoot Us Some Books, Y'all

Fahrenheit 451's got nothin' on Oklahoma.

In the Sooner State, the Republican candidate for state schools superintendent, Bill Crozier, has his own plan to curb school violence: Protect yourself with old textbooks. This video, courtesy KOCO, must be seen to be believed.

Why do I have the suspicion that ol' Bill and his chums would prefer to shoot up a bunch o' science textbooks?

When a Stranger Calls

Phone call I took the other night ...

Me: Hello?
Female Voice: ... Listen, you fucker, you'd better call Alyssa.
Me: Huh?
Female Voice: I said you'd better call Alyssa, asshole!
Me: Um ... who's Alyssa?
Female Voice: (long pause) ... I'm sorry, I must have the wrong number.

If anyone reading this happens to know some guy who needs to call Alyssa, well, you might let him know. He's in deep trouble.

A Proposal

By Cassandra D

Let's make passing the INS citizenship test a requirement for high school graduation.

Or maybe we should combine that with a simple anti-idiocy test. It would be nice if, for instance, the following statement from the New Mexico Geographic Alliance were not a joke:

"No passport or visa required, although many persons in the United States are not aware that New Mexico is a part of the United States and inquire about the need for a passport, a visa, or inoculations."

"Constitutional Couch Potatoes"

By Cassandra D

Crooks and Liars quotes Jonathan Turley on Olbermann last night, when he spoke about Bush's signing yesterday of the Military Commissions Act of 2006:

Turley: "People have no idea how significant this is. Really a time of shame this is for the American system.—The strange thing is that we have become sort of constitutional couch potatoes. The Congress just gave the President despotic powers and you could hear the yawn across the country as people turned to Dancing With the Stars. It's otherworldly..People clearly don't realize what a fundamental change it is about who we are as a country. What happened today changed us. And I'm not too sure we're gonna change back anytime soon."

Michael van der Galien at The Moderate Voice wants bloggers to weigh in on the question, "What's America's #1 Problem?" Where do we even begin?

This brings to mind the old joke:

"What's the difference between ignorance and apathy?"

"I don't know and I don't care!"

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Image of the Day

By Cassandra D

(via Andrew Sullivan)

"Win the War!" "Support the Troops!" Yeah, Right.

By Cassandra D

You've got to wonder how members of Congress can sleep at night.

In his October 12th column, Robert Novak reports on the failure of Sen. Tom Coburn's attempt to require that the Pentagon provide a letter-grade evaluating the desirability of unrequested earmarks. Unrequested earmarks for the Pentagon? You bet:

"The earmark process enables the Congressional-Industrial complex to fund projects the military does not want. This year's bill appropriates money to buy 10 unrequested C-17 Globemaster cargo planes from Boeing. It also funds 60 F-22A Raptor stealth fighters, not supported by the Pentagon and opposed by McCain and Sen. John Warner, Senate Armed Services Committee chairman. F-22A appropriations are guaranteed for three years, reducing leverage with contractor Lockheed Martin."

Wow. How much do you suppose 60 F-22 Raptors cost?

Meanwhile, back in reality, we hear this about the war in Iraq:

"The New York Times reported on the readiness of the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Ga., the division that helped lead the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and was the first to enter Baghdad. The newspaper found that the division, slated to return to Iraq early next year for a third tour, is not prepared for another deployment.

Col. Tom James, who commands the division's 3rd Brigade, said that because of shortages of tanks and other armored vehicles for training, the Army has declared his troops untrained for attack and defense - the core skills for combat. The troops are training with computer simulators when they long ago should have graduated to real tanks and other vehicles. James said these conditions are unacceptable. The major reason for the shortage is that with each homecoming, the division has had to leave most of its equipment in Iraq for replacement troops to use."

Way to win, right? And how else does Congress "Support the Troops"?

"Proposed cuts in the government's medical care program will erode services to thousands of active-duty troops and their families, Oklahoma physicians said. At issue is the future of Tricare, which is tied to Medicare and provides health coverage to 157,000 Oklahoma beneficiaries. Tricare covers active-duty and retired military members and their dependents.

A 5.1-percent cut to Medicare reimbursements proposed to begin Jan. 1 also will mean lower Tricare reimbursements."

(from today's Oklahoman. Sorry, no link to the article.)

Back to Novak:

"In a caucus of Republican senators, 82-year-old, six-term Sen. Ted Stevens charged that freshman Sen. Tom Coburn's anti-pork crusade hurts the party. Stevens then removed from the final version of the Defense Department appropriations bill Coburn's "report card" requiring the Pentagon to grade earmarks. The House passed, 394 to 22, the bill, stripped of this reform and containing some 2,800 earmarks worth $11 billion."

Way to go, "Tubes" Stevens! Way to lead the bipartisan effort to spend money where we don't need it and leave our troops and their families holding the bag!

Here's an idea for you: Make members of Congress use Tricare for their health insurance. Or go fight in Iraq or Afghanistan. They can take their pick.

Monday, October 16, 2006

In Case You Missed It

By Cassandra D

Crooks and Liars has posted yesterday's "60 Minutes" interview with David Kuo, author of Tempting Faith and former #2 in Bush's White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives.

In the interview, Kuo says "The name of God is being destroyed in the name of politics." Kuo admits that he himself approached Ken Mehlman to suggest using the office, at taxpayer expense, to help Republican congressional candidates in the 2002 elections, and he now feels that it was wrong to have done so. He left politics in 2003 after he was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor.

Kuo comes across in the interview as a sincere and good-hearted man who had hoped to help the poor but was instead terribly disappointed and disillusioned by the cynicism of the Bush Administration and the Republican Party.

It is worth watching.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Let's Do Something

By Cassandra D

I'm tired of reading and writing about all that is wrong with our approach to the War on Terror. I'm ready to stop observing and commenting. I want to do something, and I'm betting most other Americans are ready for that, too. Past ready. We've been ready to get our marching orders since September 11, 2001, and I believe it is time to stop waiting for our leaders to give them to us. It is time to stop putting the entire burden of these wars on the few people who serve (and serve, and serve) in our military.

We, the American people, need to bypass our bickering, partisan leaders and do what we can for the war effort. We can start by remembering what almost all of us agree on:

1) September 11th was terrible and we don't want anything like that to happen again.
2) There are people out there who want to carry out other attacks.
3) Afghanistan was a safe haven for those terrorists, and the Taliban protected them.
4) The Taliban are radical people who not only support terrorists but who are horrible to women and to anyone who doesn't follow their version of Islamic law.
5) It was a good thing to get rid of the Taliban.
6) It would be a very bad thing for them to come back into power. Bad for Afghanistan and bad for us. Great for terrorists.

And perhaps we can agree on this:
1) The Taliban are coming back into power.
2) We don't have much time to turn things around in Afghanistan.

KABUL (AFP) - The reconstruction of Afghanistan over the next six months is key to maintaining popular Afghan support for the drive against Taliban insurgents, the NATO force said.

The campaign against the extremist insurgents depended on the support of ordinary people, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said on Wednesday.
Top ISAF commander General David Richards "believes that the next six months have to be used for effective reconstruction and development to ensure this continuing popular support," NATO civilian spokesman Mark Laity told reporters.

"In this context he warned that if we did not exploit the success we gained in the south over the summer, the Taliban would try to take advantage of the war-weariness of the people over continued fighting to increase their own support," Laity said.

Richards said in an interview at the weekend that 70 percent of Afghans could begin to side with the Taliban if there was no major change in the security situation within six months.
Reading a statement from Richards, Laity said, "I know ISAF cannot take the support of ordinary Afghans for granted, and we must work tirelessly to justify the confidence they have given us.

"Having shown our skill and power in combat, we are now putting equal effort into supporting the reconstruction and development that will improve their lives and offer a real future to all."

If we allow the Taliban to return to power, we will have lost a huge chunk of the War on Terror. We will have lost the most concrete part of that abstract war, the part with the clearest connection to September 11, 2001. The part of the war that almost all Americans strongly support.

The people of our nation should rise up and say that that is unacceptable. We must not believe that this is a job solely for our military. Americans are willing to make sacrifices, and we have to stop waiting to be asked. We should demand to do our part to help rebuild Afghanistan and give those people hope, so that they will not turn to opium production and the Taliban for their future. We, the average American people, must not abandon the Afghan people any longer. We cannot go into battle with guns, but we can do our part to win the war for hearts and minds. Not only is it what the war requires, but it is the right thing to do.

American charities raised $597 million for tsunami relief. Why can't we harness that power to provide relief and rebuilding in Afghanistan? If we wait for our government and our military to take care of it, we will have lost that part of the war on terror. We can't afford to let that happen.

So how do we go about mobilizing ourselves?

Friday Random 10

On this Friday the 13th, it sure woulda been nice if "Monster Mash" or something equally spooky had popped up on the iPod shuffle. Oh, well, I guess "Convoy" comes mighty close.

Go on, Rubber Duck, let them truckers roll, 10-4.

1. Big Bill Broonzy, "All by Myself"
2. Bevis Frond, "Lights Are Changing"
3. Bill Doggett, "Honky Tonk (Part 2)"
4. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, "Shake the Sheets"
5. The Byrds, "Mr. Spaceman"
6. Stiff Little Fingers, "Just Fade Away"
7. The Unclaimed, "No Apology"
8. They Might Be Giants, "Hey, Mr. D.J., I Thought You Said We Had a Deal"
9. C.W. McCall, "Convoy"
10. Lucinda Williams, "Changed the Locks"

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Sex Tape Derby, Round 73

Howdy, folks, and welcome to Thursday's edition of Sex Tape Derby. The question is this: If you absolutely, positively, unequivocally had to watch some serious throwdown in a homemade sex videotape, who would you rather watch getting all savage-like? Be honest, and post your selections in the comments section below.

The Little Mermaid's Ariel or ...

The ol' Chicken of the Sea mermaid?

Kim Jong Il or ...

Hugo Chavez?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Buck Stops Heeeeerrrree ....

House Republican leaders begin their investigations
into who must be held accountable in the Mark Foley sex scandal ...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Dang Blogger!

By Cassandra D

Blogger appears to be rebelling at my brazen attempt to drum up comments with my previous post. Or at least it won't take comments from me. Perhaps 21 comments on a post, coming from a grand total of 5 people, made it blow a fuse. Whatever the reason, Brett, you appear to get the first and last word.

[And just an aside here. You have to wonder about Blogger when its own spell-checker doesn't recognize "Blogger" and suggests "blocker" instead. Some sort of weird computer Freudian slip, perhaps?]

Image of the Day

By Cassandra D

Yikes. This poster is almost too disturbing and too partisan to post. But I posted it anyway. Over the line? Appropriate reminder? Is Atrios right when he says, "Remember people, only shrillness can save America, so support shrillness in all of its forms whenever you have a chance"?

Isn't it strange that Katrina is such a forgotten disaster? Too much else going on, I suppose.

(via Thank you, Keith Olbermann)

Monday, October 09, 2006

History Will Say He Was a Hero

By Cassandra D

But for now, the Navy is kicking him out.

"Navy Lt. Commander Charles Swift, military attorney for Salim Hamdan (e.g., the plaintiff in the landmark case of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld), is out of the Navy (involuntarily) after being denied a promotion to full Commander. The Navy has an "up-or-out" system whereby persons not promoted to Commander are then retired from the Navy. Swift received word he would not be promoted two weeks after defeating the Bush administration in front of the Supreme Court as to the subject of whether the President could unilaterally deprive Hamdan and other detainees of due process rights and the right to a trial in front of a regularly constituted courts (rather than the mutant abominations of justice we call military tribunals).


"It's also worth noting that this sordid episode obliterates any claim towards the independence of the "military tribunals" that Bush wants to be the ultimate arbiters of guilt and innocent for detainees. Swift did his job as a defense attorney for the military. And he was kicked out. I'm quite confident all the other JAGs and military personnel who would be assigned to defend alleged terrorists have got the message loud and clear."

Perhaps this isn't as nefarious as it seems. Perhaps there were legitimate reasons for Swift's being denied promotion. But it sure looks like retribution.

(via Moderate Voice)


There are two kinds of people in this world (OK, in the spirit of full disclosure, I will concede there are probably far more than only two kinds in this world, but for the purposes of this thought, stay with me): Those who laugh at television advertisements, and those who do not.

I have long prided myself on being among the latter. Hell, I usually never even appreciated the creativity of ostensibly highfaluting Superbowl commercials. Whether the item being hawked is Dentyne or Depends, it makes no difference to me.

Well, made no difference to me, that is. My wife -- or, more specifically, her family -- has made me a commercial laugher. It's a new phenomenon for me, and not one I'm particularly proud of. The only other TV commercial I can think of offhand to elicit giggles from me is Spike Jonze's brilliant Ikea ad.

A little more than a week ago, Mrs. Chase and I are watching the tube and that ridiculous "Messin' with Sasquatch" ad comes on -- you know, the one where some guys "mess" with the elusive beast by smearing shaving cream on him. Then Sasquatch wakes up, goes apeshit and smacks one of the pranksters, sending the kid flying. That's it. End of story. And it made me giggle.

Giggle. I might have even drooled a bit.

God help me.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Image of the Day

By Cassandra D

From a Jesus' General post on habeas corpus. If only that were a topic as easy to explain as a Congressman propositioning kids.

"About Three"

By Cassandra D

I was taking a walk this morning and happened upon a woman walking a cute little dog. She told me that he was a "rescue" dog, apparently beaten by his original owners, somehow resilient and sweet, and "the vet says he's about three years old."

Okay. I've taken care of my share of stray dogs. I know the drill. You take them to the vet, the vet looks at the teeth, and then the vet says, "He looks like he's about three."

Do they teach them that in vet school? Is that a good waffle age--not too young, not too old? Can they really tell anything by the teeth?

Do Beatings Count As Torture?

By Cassandra D

"Guards at Guantanamo Bay bragged about beating detainees and described it as common practice, a Marine sergeant said in a sworn statement obtained by The Associated Press."

Read it and weep.

And here's a nice quote from Bush:
"If I catch anyone who leaks in my government," Bush tells Chrétien in March, 2002, "I would like to string them up by the thumbs -- the same way we do with prisoners in Guantanamo."
(via Digby)

Shall we all break into a round of "Proud to Be an American" now?

Friday Random 10

Shuffle dat iPod!

1. Frank Sinatra, "I See Your Face Before Me"
2. Camper Van Beethoven, "Ambiguity Song"
3. Electric Light Orchestra, "Strange Magic"
4. Material Issue, "Trouble"
5. The Sex Pistols, "Problems"
6. The Call, "Everywhere I Go"
7. Iron & Wine, "Naked As We Came"
8. King Missile, "She Had Nothing"
9. Ladytron, "He Took Her to a Movie"
10. Nat King Cole, "Route 66"

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Sex Tape Derby, Round 72

Since there hasn't been nearly enough talk about sex these days, I humbly welcome you to another installment of Sex Tape Derby, where you make the call. Given the opportunity to view a homemade sex video or DVD -- or hologram, if you want to get all "Tomorrowland" about it -- whom would you rather watch? Don't be bashful, and post your selections in the comments section below.

Meredith Vieira or ...

Oprah Winfrey?

Will Ferrell or ...

Jim Carrey?

Say No To Torture!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Oops! They Did It Again

So, how often is Fox News going to do this? I guess as long as it takes to get the Joe Sixpacks of the country thinking that Mark Foley was not R-FL.


When it rains, it pours.

No, let me amend that. When it rains, it blows the f'ing House down.

Onetime Mark Foley aide Kirk Fordham now says he told "senior staff at the highest level of the House of Representatives" some two years ago about the Florida congressman's behavior with young pages.

Oh, what a twisted web they weave. Mark Foley was the one feeling horny, but Dennis Hastert is the one getting the horns.

If Fox Says He's a Democrat, He's a Democrat!

By Cassandra D

If that ain't truthiness, I don't know what is. Go get 'em, Stephen!
(via Crooks & Liars)

Sullivan on Iraq

By Cassandra D

Another quote from Andrew Sullivan:

"All of this [bad news from Iraq] forces us to making the toughest decision yet. The status quo is unacceptable. We must either ratchet up our effort or cut our losses. If I had confidence in the leadership, I'd back the former. Under Rumsfeld, I have zero confidence in any effort to stabilize Iraq. But we know this president is simply immune to pressure unless forced. So vote Democrat. Give them partial responsibility for the war effort - before a presidential election. And force Bush finally to take some responsibility for the chaos he has helped create."

This is from the guy who is thinking of becoming a "Goldwater Democrat." I think perhaps I'm one of those, too.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Nose News Is Good News

Last night, ongoing sinus trouble forced me to resort to one of those Breathe Right strips -- you know, those adhesive thingies you position over your nostrils to open up the nasal passages while simultaneously looking ridiculous. With my schnozz being what it is, I had to opt for the large-sized strips.

It was then I grumbled to my wife, "Have you ever seen a bigger nose than mine?"

"Yes," she answered.


She paused. "In movies."

"I Don't Recall ..."

Liars, incompetents and people dedicated to the covering of their own asses: Welcome to Washington, D.C.

So, what did Condi Rice know and when did she know it -- and how seriously did she take it? And what, if anything, did the 9/11 Commission bother to know about her knowing?

The revelation in Bob Woodward's State of Denial about a July 10, 2001, meeting between Rice and CIA officials has seen more spinning than a coin-op laundry.

First, Rice scoffed at Woodward's reporting that she had "brushed off" any dire warnings about al Qaeda from then-CIA director George Tenet and then-CIA counterterrorism chief J. Cofer Black:

"I don't know that this meeting took place, but what I really don't know, what I'm quite certain of, is that it was not a meeting in which I was told there was an impending attack and I refused to respond," Rice initially said.

Um, yeah. Right. A State Department spokesman traveling with Rice later confirmed the meeting, but stressed, "The briefing was a summary of the threat reporting from the previous weeks. There was nothing new."

But that spokesman, Sean McCormack, couldn't explain why, if there was "nothing new" in the meeting, Rice then directed the CIA to alert Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld and then-Attorney General John Ashcroft to the same information. Was she playing a prank on her colleagues?

Almost as curious is why this entire account somehow failed to make it in the 9/11 Commission Report, even though Tenet apparently had recounted it in a Jan. 28, 2004, interview involving commission member Richard Ben-Veniste -- who, incidentally, had complained over the weekend that "this is certainly something we would have wanted to know about."

Well, golly, Sherlock: You were told about it, although Tenet evidently told the commission he believed Rice took the warning seriously (Of course, the joke was on Tenet, who didn't realize Rice found nothing new in the briefing and just wanted them to stop yapping so she could go workout with the prez).

In fact, it is becoming increasingly clear that all of Washington suffers the loss of short-term memory. Hell, if there weren't videos and pictures of the World Trade Center attacks, who knows if anyone inside the Beltway would even remember it.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Sins vs. Republican Sins

By Cassandra D

As I have made it abundantly clear on this blog, I think the current batch of Republicans in Washington deserve to be voted out of office, and for many reasons, chiefly their support of torture, their blind support of Bush's war policy, and their dismantling of the checks and balances built into our Constitution. Given that that is my point of view, I'm not sorry about the timing of the Rep. Mark Foley sexual predator scandal.

[A note here to my friend RedDirt: Before I launch into the next part of this post, I want to say that when I write "Republicans" I am talking about the people who have hijacked the party and who are giving it its current bad name. I'm not talking about my Republican friends who so far are holding onto their party registration, whom I respect and who I hope will be part of the dominant element in the Republican party of the future. And now back to our previously scheduled posting...]

Foley's behavior was truly despicable, but I can't say that it is the kind of sin that is trademark Republican in nature. I could imagine that a Democrat might be found to be sexually harassing an underage page of the same gender. The apparent cover-up by members of the House's Republican leadership comes closer to being a stereotypically Republican sin. Such a cover-up would be indicative of both a lack of oversight and avoidance, due to political concerns, of necessary corrections to personnel and tactics. But perhaps, in the same situation, weak-willed Democrats might do the same thing.

So now for the certifiably Republican Sin. First, Brit Hume lamely tries to equate this scandal with Bill Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky, who was 22 when she became an intern. And then White House Press Secretary Tony Snow calls a this congressman's sexually explicit emails to underage teens "simply naughty emails." And how about this diatribe from Rush Limbaugh:

"Here's a supposedly, ostensibly safe seat, here we are in the election campaign with a Clinton war room in full-speed operation, and all of a sudden things that people have known for a long time suddenly surface, once again thanks to our old buddy Brian Ross at ABC.

Now, if you've got a 16 or 17-year-old page genuinely scared and frightened about all this, save the stuff. It's embarrassing, what if somebody sees this outside of who you intend to see it? I'm just thinking out loud here. What if somebody got to the page, said, you know, we want you to set Foley up, we'll do a little titillating thing, keep it and save it and so forth. How would you get a kid to do that? Who knows. You threaten him, you pay him, there's any number of ways, given the kind of people that we're dealing with and talking about here."

The Republican Sin here is in refusing, absolutely refusing, to believe that one of their own is worse than Bill Clinton. It is the refusal to believe that one of their own is not on God's side, but is in fact an evil-doer. And if there is any acknowledgement of that evil, the Republican Sin is being unable to acknowledge it without saying, "but they [Democrats, Iraqis, terrorists, fill in the blank] are more evil, so our evil really isn't that bad." Sex scandals, torture. Pick your issue.

Republicans are always accusing others of believing in "moral relativism." Ironic, isn't it?

"And why worry about a speck in your friend's eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying, 'Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,' when you can't see past the log in your own eye?"Matthew 7:3-4 (Jesus of Nazareth)

Flamewhore Called It

By Cassandra D

Last Friday I had a conversation with Flamewhore, a frequent commenter on this site. She predicted that Rep. Mark Foley would check into alcohol rehab, which is the celebrity option of choice for making the case that "it wasn't me, it was the booze!"

Flamewhore, hats off to YOU. You were right!

Same Day, Different Shit

My nine-month-old daughter, the lovely Apple Rosebud McInerney, has recently taken to waving goodbye. Excluding her drooling (the poor kid is teething), it might just be her best trick to date.

At any rate, the other day the girl left a hard poop in her diaper (it's "poop" if it comes out a baby; it's a "turd" if manufactured by an adult). When I went to toss it in the toilet, I was stopped by Mrs. Chase, who harbors illusions that Apple Rosebud will develop a genius-like propensity for early toilet training. The wife instructed me to let Apple watch me drop the poop in the toilet and flush it. As I always enjoy demonstrating my talents for fecal eradication -- even when it's not my own feces -- I obliged.

It was then that Apple Rosebud, brilliant baby that she is, waved goodbye to her poop as it swirled down the toilet bowl and into the great beyond.

It might have been the most adorable sight I've ever seen that involves bowel evacuation. Then I left for work and came back in the evening, only to discover that our Shih Tzu (I know, I know, a frou-frou dog if ever there was one) had relieved herself on our bed. I guess with the name Shih Tzu for a breed of dog, you're just asking for trouble.

Anyway, back to kids and poop: Freud and a litany of child experts tell us that children have a special relationship with their waste, that whole anal-retentive thing. Some grow out of it; some don't -- and presumably become pack-rats. At any rate, the mysterious and wondrous world of shit plays a bigger role in childhood than any of us would probably care to admit.

A few weeks ago the four-year-old son of a friend of mine threw a memorable fit in the midst of a potty-training session. The child, Nate, absolutely, positively refused to flush after he dropped a load in the toilet. Nate's father was forced to step in and flush, an unfortunate turn of events that spurred the boy to scream and yell and demand repeatedly that the father go into the sewer and retrieve the poop. Nate's emotional meltdown was so monumental, in fact, that the dad eventually relented and agreed to drive the boy around the neighborhood to look for it. Needless to say, they found no shit.

In retrospect, I should probably be a bit disconcerted that too many of my own childhood memories are mired, literally, in crap. I blame some of this on my older brother. As a pre-teen, he made a practice of picking the bathroom lock when I was in it so that he and his chums could torment me. It got to the point that I would try putting off such bathroom trips until my brother was safely out of the house, delays that I suspect have led to longtime gastrointestinal troubles.

If he wasn't terrorizing me when I was on the john, he was terrorizing me in wholly unique ways. I think I was around 9 when my brother, who is seven years my elder, rousted me out of my room.

"You have to see this," he demanded. Dutifully I followed him to the bathroom. He gestured with pride toward the toilet bowl like a "Price Is Right" model showing off a new freestanding range oven. "Is that not the longest shit you've ever seen in your life?"

Indeed, it was an impressive log, coiled tightly around itself, a scorched Cinnabon of waste. As I was only 9 at the time, it probably was the longest shit I had seen up to that point. I nodded in agreement, awestruck and more than a little afraid.

Thanks, bro. You scarred me for life. And now, watching my baby girl wave bye-bye to her poop, I can't help but wonder whatever became of that monster feces. Back in the food chain, no doubt.

No Way the Devil Would Be This Incompetent ...

First, intelligence experts conclude the Iraq War has actually fueled global terrorism.

Now, a slew of revelations from Bob Woodward's new book:

While receiving grim assessments from the military, White House officials continued to provide Congress with altered -- and decidedly more upbeat -- predictions about Iraq;

Nearly everyone urged Dumbya to get rid of Donald Rumsfeld when it became clear Iraq was going south (everyone, that is, with the exception of Dick Cheney and Mrs. Donald Rumsfeld);

Rumsfeld allegedly scoffed at reports from U.S. generals in Iraq who suggested it was time to correct past mistakes in that country;

Oh, and two CIA officials say they got "the brush-off" from then-national security advisor Condoleezza Rice two months before 9-11 when they tried warning her of an imminent al Qaeda attack.

Wow, wow and wow. The Bush Administration appears to be going down faster than Mark Foley at a Pokémon tournament.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Talkin' About Revolution?

By Cassandra D

Food for thought.

First this:
"The fight this past week over torture, in contrast with the GOP's Predator Coverup, shows two different values systems at war with each other for the soul and the future of the country. The Grand Old Pervert party stands for shameless corruption, profiteering and the domestic police state, among other things. Not only can you not trust Republicans with your government (Katrina), your military (Iraq) or your money (Abramoff, Iraq, the deficit, the economy, etc.), you apparently can't trust Republicans with your kids (Predator Coverup)."

Then this:
"Everything is so bad (on every conceivable front) that simply voting Democratic is revolutionary. After all, what is a revolution. It is when the people of a particular polity, acting together, overthrow the existing order."

I'm ready for that kind of revolution. How about you? I'm just glad that all we have to do is vote. I've always thought of voting as a duty, but never before have I realized that informed voting is also truly an act of patriotism.