Monday, July 30, 2007

Knockin' on Heaven's Door

If you are not watching the best show on TV - HBO's Big Love - you should be.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Success By Silence

First, it was keeping the Iraqi civilian death numbers from the media and free from transparency and verification.

Now we get this from the LA Times:

As the Bush administration struggles to convince lawmakers that its Iraq war strategy is working, it has stopped reporting to Congress a key quality-of-life indicator in Baghdad: how long the power stays on.

These people are truly depraved in the lengths they will go to to continue their horrible charade in Iraq.

Another American Terrorist You Won't Hear About

ABC News has the report on the murder of a gay man named Kenneth Cummings in Texas. Terry Mangum stabbed Cummings to death and then burned his body.

"I believe with all my heart that I was doing the right thing," Mangum told the Houston Chronicle. "I planned on sending him to hell."

Mangum, who described himself as "definitely not a homosexual," said in the interview that he'd been called by God to "carry out a code of retribution" against a gay man because "sexual perversion" is the "worst sin."

Why doesn't ABC call this act terrorism? It sure meets the definition of an act of violence committed for an ideological goal. Maybe there too busy doing stories on eco-terrorists to worry about radical righties who kill.

And when Bush next claims no acts of terrorism in America since 9/11, don't expect the press to point out this murder, or sniper, or the recent attempted arson at a church by religious fanatics of another denomination, or the recent discovery of a bomb by a women's health clinic, etc, etc. Hell, the media can't even remember the Anthrax killer.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Something Light for a Saturday Night - Barely Still Saturady on the West Coast Version

Dig by Incubus is one of my favorites from the first half on '07.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

What Makes Sane People Do Insane Things?

CNN reports that Corporal Trent Thomas was convicted today of kidnapping and conspiring to kill Hashim Ibrahim Awad in Hamdaniya, Iraq. After failing to capture a suspected insurgent, Awad was dragged out of his home by soldiers, gunned down in a ditch and hand an AK-47 planted near him.

While exceptional, I believe these type of occurrences are predictable given the Catch-22 in which our soldiers have been placed.

I'm short on time right now, but will update this the next moment I get.

Monday, July 16, 2007


Spencer Ackerman at TPM Muckraker has this must read piece on how Pakistan is going to hell in a hand basket.

Unfortunately, we've placed 11 of our dozen eggs in Iraq when we should have been mainly focused on Afghanistan and the tribal areas of Pakistan to defeat he-who-must-not-be-named and core Al Qaeda.

Things are slipping through our fingers in Afghanistan but, in my opinion, it's still not to late. As opposed to a shill for certain sectarian factions, Afghanistan has a credible leader for a unified nation in Hamid Karzai. We need a massive redeployment to Afghanistan accompanied by a push to reenergize the International community that has long supported the effort to build-up and modernize Afghanistan.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Death By A Thousand Cuts

O Dub has fired another shot in his personal battle to take down Osama Bin Laden. He's been putting together a JustHottie Army to fight the Jihadis. Today, he posted this picture of Osama's niece, Wafah Dufour:

No doubt, that left a mark on the stanky, lanky one. Thankfully, somebody's finally being proactive in going after the guy we all wanted to get after 9/11.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Something Light for a Saturday Night - Late Night, West Coast Version

Hard to top M's Bloodhound Gang double header posted below. But here's Iggy Pop & Sum 41 with a great tune which contains a lyrical reference to what I feel is the bedrock principle of liberalism - the Golden Rule. Know what I mean?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Georgia DA McDade Should Be Prosecuted for Distribution of Child Pornography

David McDade is the overzealous DA of Douglas County, Georgia, who pursued a felony conviction and 10 year sentence against Genarlow Wilson for doing what about half of America has done - having sex as a minor with another minor.

A subsequent ruling by a sensible court, presumably on a State Habeas petition, held that the sentence is unconstitutionally excessive. Oddly, this sensible ruling has driven wild-eyed McDade bat shit insane. In his continuing campaign to justify the unjustifiable 10 year sentence, McDade has taken it upon himself to release the video of the 17 year old Wilson having sex with the minor girls.

Unlike Wilson, McDade did not have the consent of the minor girls or Wilson who was also a minor at the time of the video.

Does distribution of this material violate federal child pornography laws? You bet. McDade is betting that the Righty US Attorney in Georgia will simply ignore his crime. Hell, its only black people he's victimizing. Think of the furor if the video was of a white minor, say Elizabeth Smart.

More disingenuously, McDade claims the release was mandated by Georgia's Open Records Act; something virtually every state has.

Does that law mandate the violation of federal child pornography laws? Of course not. Every Open Court and Records law is subject to common sense exceptions - whether created specifically by the statute, federal law or even Judge-made common law. McDade certainly knew such a video would easily be protected by a request for a protective order. Instead of requesting one from the Court, placing the issue where it should have been, he took it on himself, without prior notice to all interested parties, to victimize the minors in the video in an attempt to show Wilson having - eww, yuckey - sex.

If the girls are victims as McDade claims, his act in releasing the video without their consents has victimized them worse than anything Wilson did. McDade deserves a prison sentence in excess of anything Wilson received.

Republicans Filibuster Return of Equal Time Requirements for Troops

By a vote of 56-41, Republican Senators blocked an up-or-down vote on a bill sponsored by Jim Webb and Chuck Hagel, both combat veterans, that would have required troops be given the same amount of time at home following any deployment overseas. This would have reversed the disastorous policy recently created whereby troops are kept in a combat zone for 15 months and then redeployed after only 12 months at home. The previous policy and what the bill sought was the long-standing standard of equal time - e.g. 12 months at home for 12 months in combat or 15 and 15. The Army Times wrote in article in support of the legislation and, at least, 56 Senators support the proposal to remove the undue burden being placed on our troops.

Nonetheless, the 41 votes ruled the day as the Republicans once again filibustered legislation despite their calls in recent years that morally bills deserve up-or-down votes except in the most extraordinary circumstances. The need to screw the troops must be something Republicans believe requires extraordinary effort these days.

Josh takes the New York Times to task for falling to call the Republican ploy by its name - a filibuster and its misleading report. On the rare occasion the Democrats used the filibuster, they were called obstructionists. Now that Republicans use it as standard operating procedure, the ploy is ignored for goofy headlines like "Senate Narrowly Backs Bush in Rejecting Debate on Increasing Time Between Deployments." The headline is almost painful to read given how far the headline writer had to bend over backward to come up with something Bush friendly.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Delusional Bush: 'Perhaps Somebody in the Administration' Outed CIA Operative Valerie Plame

President Bush acknowledged in his press conference today that 'perhaps somebody in the administration' Outed CIA Operative Valerie Plame.

There's no "perhaps" or "somebody" about it. It is established fact that four people leaked Plame's identity to the press. They are:

Richard Armitage
Ari Fleischer
Scooter Libbey
Karl Rove

While the criminal standard for "intentionality" may be to difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, there can be little argument that these folks employer - the President - could have and should have fired every single one of them the minute he learned they leaked the identity of a covert CIA operative. Even negligence or recklessness with this kind of information is unacceptable. The fact Plame's identity was outed for political reasons makes it worse.

Bush says we should just "move on." Yet, with Scooter's commutation, and Bush's failure to impose any accountability as to any of these people shows that these weren't mere missteps, but part of an approved method of operation from from the President himself.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Vitter Castration Watch

Here's a quote from David Vitter's wife in 2000:

“I’m a lot more like Lorena Bobbitt than Hillary,” Wendy Vitter told Newhouse News. “If he does something like that, I’m walking away with one thing, and it’s not alimony, trust me.”

Monday, July 09, 2007


Another Louisiana Republican is exposed as a phony hypocrite.

This time its Senator David Vitter. You see, his phone number just happened to show up in the DC Madam's logs. But don't expect charges ... the Bush DOJ is only throwing the book at the Madam. Johns - especially Republican ones - get "forgiveness from God and my wife in confession and marriage counseling." And that's where it ends for them.

Oh yeah ... and the pic isn't of Vitter. It's of Christian Bale from a movie with a scene that says a whole lot more about what this is really about then I can fully describe in words.

Thw Wee Willie Keelers of Iraq

USA Today has an interesting piece on the Iraqi insurgents "Hit 'em Where They Ain't" strategy.

Attacks against supply convoys tripled from one year to the next as we've replaced troops with private contractors to protect the convoys.

When will the righties realize that this grand venture simply cannot be done with the numbers they are using?

The Filibuster Double Standard

Kevin Drum is concerned about filibusters today:

I wonder how many Americans understand that you can't pass legislation in America with 50% of the votes in Congress? How many of them understand that, outside of budget resolutions, you need 60 votes in the Senate? That a filibuster isn't a matter of Jimmy Stewart talking himself ragged for hours on end, but of merely declaring an intention to filibuster? And that this is done for all but the most routine matters? With the result that the 60-vote minimum is no longer reserved for occasional high-profile issues, but has been institutionalized for virtually all legislation of any consequence?

But he misses the point. When Republicans controlled Congress and Democrats would vote against cloture, the media was none to ready to marshall voices, mostly pundits, to denounce the tactic as obstructionist and to claim the tactic should only be used under extreme circumstances. Now the Republicans are in the minority in Congress and are using votes against cloture on virtually everything (13 cloture votes in first session of 110th Congress versus only 4 in first sessions of 108th and 109th combined), the media seems not so worried and willing to accept 60 votes as the standard for passing legislation.

It is not the failure of the people to understand, but the failure of the media to let the facts be known.

Just another example of the "liberal" media at work.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Missing the Mark

So Bush set a bunch of benchmarks in Iraq with the January 2007 strategy shift. How are the Iraqis coming on the benchmarks?

Uhm ... not going to meet them.

Here's the lede:

The Iraqi government is unlikely to meet any of the political and security goals or timelines President Bush set for it in January when he announced a major shift in U.S. policy, according to senior administration officials closely involved in the matter.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Something Light for the Fourth of July - Wot!!!

For the Fourth of July, I get heavy into the Americana. I'll take the family down the road to the small town parade with a big time rodeo that we attend every year. Then it's back home, where I'll barbecue ribs on the back porch with the speakers blaring zydeco, cajun, blues and country. Neighbors and family will bring the sides - homemade potato salad, grilled corn and, of course, thick slices of watermelon, just to name a few.

Anyway, here's a clip from the next concert I'll be attending.

It's the Drive By Truckers with God Damn Lonely Love. Special thanks to the YouTube artist who put together this great slide show of the band.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Obstruction of Justice for Dummies

Josh breaks it down, so I don't have to:

The real offense here is not so much or not simply that the president has spared Scooter Libby the punishment that anyone else would have gotten for this crime (for what it's worth, I actually find the commutation more outrageous than a full pardon). The deeper offense is that the president has used his pardon power to shortcircuit the investigation of a crime to which he himself was quite likely a party, and to which, his vice president, who controls him, certainly was.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Alternative Headlines

The Right: Amnesty for Scooter; Jail for Hard Working Immigrants!!!

Bush: Fuck You, Judge Walton!!!

FoxNews: Can Bush Make Paris Serve Libbey's Sentence?

Just Words

“If there’s a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is . . . If the person has violated law, that person will be taken care of.”

President Bush, September 30, 2003 (via Crooks & Liars)

The Rule of Law: It's Not for Loyal Bushies

Bush has just commuted Libby's prison sentence to zero.

Libby has been rewarded for his no remorse, take the bullet for the time posture.

The law doesn't mean a fucking thing to the Bushies.

Ace's Lament: "If You Can't Beat 'Em, Ban 'Em"

Last Thursday, I posted a piece ridiculing a post by righty nutter Ace of Spades advocating the construction of an Israeli-style security wall along the entire border between Mexico and the U.S. My post was linked to be Crooks & Liars (thanks to Cernig) and became a high traffic piece.

On Friday, Ace did what some righties do when faced with a strong substantive challenge ... he banned me from his comments section.

This is just further evidence of my theory that for most Righty blogs, this is not an open, intellectual and principled discourse but about being part of - and hopefully getting paid for - being part of a rightwing, PR, spin machine.

Like some many Rethugs, Ace, when confronted with a difficult debate, seeks to limit criticism or different viewpoints.

He now has joined the thin-skinned, scared-of-debate Hall of Shame:

Ace of Spades aka the unsightly man who mocks others' looks

Patterico aka the Blogger Equivalent of Mike Nifong

Rightwingsparkle aka Bubblehead Bushie

Now, I'm off to expose more posers.

"The Surge": No Transparency, No Verification

The New York Times reports today the claims of Bush-lovin', US "officials" and Maliki-lovin', anonymous Iraqi officials that civilian deaths in Iraq were down in June.

There are two huge caveats. First:

[T]he size of the decline was hard to gauge because death counts in Iraq are highly inaccurate. Some bombing victims’ bodies are never recovered, families often collect their dead before they can be counted by officials, and the dead bodies found around Baghdad, while generally taken to the city morgue, are sometimes taken to hospitals where they may not be counted.

Second, and more astounding, is this nugget:

Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s government no longer reports civilian mortality statistics and has refused to provide figures to the United Nations. Some officials, however, sometimes make reports available to the news media on a not-for-attribution basis.

In fact, this has been policy since last October. After the U.S. military was embarrassed for giving bogus downward reports of civilian deaths following the Feb 2006 Samarra mosque bombing and during last Summer's "Surge I," Al-Maliki moved to restrict media access to the actual morgue counts as well as prohibiting the media from doing counts themselves. Clearly, when busted giving misinformation, the Maliki government, undoubtedly with US acquiesence if not US insistence, has simply constrained the media's ability to further verify the civilian death numbers.

Given the history of past lies and the lack of transparency and verification, I am not buying any of this stuff. Sadly, the lessons learned from past obfuscations has not been to now be truthful but to spin harder.

Department of Calm Heads vs. Department of Headless Chickens

Here's a bit that deserves to be spread widely. Andrew Sullivan (I know, I know) received and posted the following from one of his readers:

You can't watch the response of UK police authorities in their public statements without being impressed with the careful balance they strike between exorting the public to vigilance and resistance to being stampeded into premature conclusions. And particularly their restraint in talking about those who were arrested. "Out of respect for proper process, we will avoid comment," they say. And indeed, that's exactly what responsible law enforcement in a democratic society should say. It couldn't contrast more sharply with the conduct of the Ashcroft and, still worse, Gonzales Justice Department which engages in hysterical rants, leveling charges that almost never pan out, and screaming "terrorists!" at the top of their lungs - on a manifestly partisan political message. Let's call it department of calm heads vs. department of headless chickens. In any event, our friends in Britain are providing a model on this.

Bye Bye, Scooter

CNN reports that the DC Circuit just rejected Scooter's bid for release on bail pending appeal.

Only the Supreme Court (not going to happen) or President Bush can save him from serving time; most likely, in one of the lower level, don't-jump-the-hedge, Club feds.

Will Bush burn the lil bit of political capital he has left on Dick's BFF?