Saturday, December 31, 2005

UN & Egypt to Sudanese Refugees: Go Back to Your Hellhole!

Of course, the Egyptians took the UN's lead a bit far in slaughtering 25 of the refugees.

Where's Bolton & the U.S.? Apparently human rights don't extend out to black Africans; or more likely, such rights don't extend out to those who can't be used as tokens to enrich Republican benefactors.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Holiday Bowl Pick

With a great field and great weather in San Diego, the Holiday Bowl has been provided annual high-offense thrillers. This year should be no different with a match-up between an Oklahoma team that was playing much better football at the end of the year than at the beginning and an Oregon team that turned out to be more well-rounded and versatile than most people originally thought.

The obvious key to the game will be the play of Oregon's two back-up QBs - Leaf and Dixon. If Kellen Clemons wasn't injured Oregon would likely being playing in a BCS game and, if not, would have been a double digit favorite against the Sooners. As it stands, the Ducks are favored by 3.

I expect the Ducks will score a late touchdown to take the lead and their defense will keep the Sooners out of the end zone in the final minute. The score will be 35-31 with Oregon winning and covering the spread.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Quick PIck

Get your money down on Arizona State against Rutgers tonight in the Insight Bowl. You'll have to give up 9 points, but its basically a home game for the Sun Devils.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Pile On

MSNBC is now getting into the act. It has posted a story similar to the Guardian's which notes that 35 political groups have now signed a document decrying the December 15th vote.

Bush's Bitch, Ayad Allawi, Claims Fraud in Iraq Vote

Of course, at this point, you have to go to the Guardian to get the story.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Warrantless Wiretaps Involved Domestic Only Calls

The big question is why did Bush avoid the FISA courts?

Josh pointed out one clue when he noted that the FISA courts were placing restrictions on more requests than in the past; a possible indication that Bush was seeking very thin warrants than was the case in the past.

A second possible explanation arises tonight with the New York Times piece noting that the spying program did, in fact, ensnare domestic only calls. Getting FISA warrants for methods that ensared such calls would have been problematic if not impossible.

But also note this nugget in the NYT piece:

In all, officials say the program has been used to eavesdrop on as many as 500 people at any one time, with the total number of people reaching perhaps into the thousands in the last three years.

Are we to truly believe all these thousands of people were sufficiently suspected of being tied to Al Qaeda?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Ssshhh ... Don't Mention Those Iraqi Election Complaints

NPR, this morning, did a story noting there have been over 700 complaints about theconduct of the Iraqi elections. They also reported that the Iraqi Islamic Party - the Sunni party hailed by the Bush administration for pushing a "yes" vote on the Constitution - has claimed fraud regarding the vote in Baghdad.

This raises a huge concern because how is the election going to be seen as credible amongst Sunnis if even the IIP is claiming it was fraudulent.

Most of the U.S. media is ignoring the story - just as they ignored the strange goings-on in Ninevah and Diyala during the Constitutional referendum.

UPDATE: It appears the AP has now picked up the IIP story here and are reporting more than 1,000 complaints.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Don't the Iraqis Know that the New York Times Already Declared Their Election a Success

Shortly after the Iraqi election, the New York Times declared the poll "an overwhelming and heartening triumph." NYT White House reporter David Sanger again today calls it surprisingly successful.

With the NYT, you don't even have to wait for the count to be done to hail the legitimacy of a vote.

Even worse, the Guardian is reporting a troubling array of "red complaints" - those which could actually affect a particular outcome - that have been raised by Iraqis about the conduct of the poll.

Much like the NYT's heralding of Powell's speech before the U.N., the NYT has again opted for a quick suck-up to the White House instead of a reasoned analysis of the actual facts on the ground and once they come in.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Bullshit: Bush's Explanation of Warrantless Searches

The rightwing whackos keep justifying Bush's warrantless spying on U.S. citizens on National Securitry grounds; Al Qaeda in particular. Yet, we already have FISA courts to issue rapid and even retroactive warrants for just this purpose. In fact, I think the FISA courts have only ever denied one warrant request. So national security can’t legitimately be the motivation.

The Bushies must be after something beyond what you could get with a FISA warrant.

So can a single righty who supoports this gross violation of the United States Constitution explain exactly why Bush needs these warrantless searches above and beyond what can be done through a FISA warrant?

Because every rationale given so far does not justify going around the FISA courts.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Who's The Carver?

One of my guilty pleasures this year has been watching the over-the-top drama, Nip/Tuck. Suspense has been built up all season as to the identity of the serial-slasher known simply as The Carver.

The two-hour season finale will air this Tuesday and it is expected that the Carver's identity will finally be revealed.

The two obvious choices are Quentin or Liz. Those choices, however, fall in the "too obvious" category.

My guess - the hot and sexually dynamic Detective Kit McGraw, played by Rhona Mitra. Based on the previews, I also think its likely that Quentin will meet an unpalatteable death.

Realism be damned! I'll be glued to the set for the gorefest.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Feds Blind Eye Towards Republican Crime

What was shocking about the Duke Cunningham case - though largely unreported - was how he could get away with such brazen acts of corruption only to be found out when the San Diego media started investigating him.

Today we learn from The Austin American-Statesman that Abramoff, through his charity Capital Athletics, took in large sums of money that was purportedly passed on to other charities. But four of those charities deny ever receiving the $330,000 that was listed as being paid to them.

The initial obvious question involves money laundering --- where'd the dough go?

However, the secondary story that's being overlooked is the failure of the feds to have turned this up. Here's the money quote:

Federal investigators have not contacted P'TACH about the grant, Jaffa said. Representa- tives of three other nonprofits that supposedly received Capital Athletic money also said they have not been contacted.

WTF? It's not like suspicions about Abramoff's activities are new or that he has not been under investigation for a long time. Who is responsible for the investigation and is not doing their job?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Polls Are Now Open In Iraq

Here's a picture of the first load of votes to arrive.

They should've painted it purple.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Operation Suppress the Sunni Vote?

Iraq is on the eve of "another historic vote." Will this be strike three on the legitimate democracy front?

Indeed, the Sunnis have been complaining for days now about joint US/Iraqi "security operations" taking place in Ramadi. The Sunnis claim this is really just an effort to suppress the Sunni vote. Now these concerns have been exacerbated by the assasination in Ramadi of prominent Sunni candidate Mezher al-Dulaimi.

Will this again prevent full and fair Sunni participation in an Iraqi government?

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Richard Pryor: The Greatest Comic Ever ...

has passed. Rest In Peace.

As kids, we passed around Richard Pryor tapes like contraband. Tapes with no markings were passed from house-to-house, kid-to-kid. We'd listen to them quietly in our bedrooms trying not to laugh too loud so as not to be found out by our parents.

Away from adults, we would gather at the ends of driveways or at the fields and courts where we played sports and listen to them over and over on the box one of our friends would bring.

We would laugh until tears were streaming down our faces. We know the skits by heart. All our humor was jacked from Richard Pryor. We were cheap imitators but wouldn't have it any other way.

His humor ran deep. He was pained and haunted. We all felt it. But we knew - with a little humor - we could always rise above our demons.

Thank you, Richard Pryor. You were an unorthodox teacher to a generation of youth. We learned as much about humanity from you as any other and you will be missed.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Real Journalism

Kevin Drum has a great post on the work reporter Marcus Stern did in breaking the Duke Cunningham story.

The story that's not getting reported in the Duke Cunningham scandal is Congress' complete abdication of any ethics oversight. It's apparently a free-for-all unless your district has that rare old-school gumshoe reporter.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Just When You Thought the New York Times Couldn't Suck More

Try and imagine that the Times actually printed this headline:

"Not Guilty Verdicts in Florida Terror Trial Are Setback for U.S."

Monday, December 05, 2005

Early Steals

MSNBC has the early lines with USC and Georgia favored by only 6 and 7 points, respectively, in their match-ups with Texas and West Virginia.

Get the big $$$ down early on the Trojans and Bulldogs and pray that there are no practice injuries between now and game time.

The Sure Thing

Hmmmm ... I can't find any live lines on betting the Heisman trophy. I wonder why?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Bush Gets Serious!

Finally addresses global warming.


In Singapore, an Australian citizen was hung to death for smuggling 14 ounces of heroin.

The Iraqi Breakdown

Between the Thanksgiving Holiday and a shitload of work, I've obviously been neglectful in getting up some posts ... and tons of stuff has been going down, especially a lot of news from Iraq.

One issue I want to touch on is how time and time again the righties almost blindly and faithfully jump on some solution for Iraq only to have it kick back on them. A recent example is how they hailed the new Iraqi Constitution.

The Right naysayed all of us Liberals who pointed out that the Constitution was problematic on its face. One big problem we mentioned was the rights regarding oil distribution set forth. We claimed it would lead to a greater sectarian divide with the Kurds grabbing most of the oil in the North and the Southern Shiites doing the same in the South. The Sunnis in the middle would be left largely high and dry. The Right claimed the ambiguous language in the Constitution would provide sufficient protection as would the last minute deal to revisit the Constitution in the future.

Yet, today we learn from the LA Times that the Northern Kurds are in no waiting mood and have made a significant grab to immediately profit from the Northern oil fields without the participation of the central government.

The coming of such a move was obvious to the Left and it will certainly exacerbate the growing sectarian divide. But why time and again do we have to listen to the Right's fanciful ruminations when their track record of being wrong on the most obvious things is so deeply established.