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Saturday, April 10, 2004
June 30, no matter what.
What is up with that? Are the troops coming home in time for the 4th of July? Is the "unrest" going to stop once the provisional government has taken charge? ("Oh crap, Abdul, we were all set to blow up the Hotel Baghdad and three convoys tomorrow, but now the Provisional Government is in charge. Cancel everything.")

The only thing that seems to make any sense is that the Bushites want to get their hand-picked boys "legitimized" as the acting government before they're forced to run screaming to the UN for help in stabilizing the situation. That way the UN will be unable to easily justify allowing the Iraqis to just pick their own form of government since they will already "have" one.

I'll bet they were hoping to get through several months after the transition before inviting the UN in, just to make it look good. The way things are going, they'll have to make the request within days of the handoff, and even that might be too late.

The things we do for oil. Sigh.
Verizon DSL is pissing me off...
If you are one of the 4 or 5 people who actually look at this site, you might have noticed a drop-off in postings. My apologies.

My internet connection via Verizon DSL has been hiccuping for 3 weeks, or so. For the past 24 hours it has been kaput... until a few minutes ago.

When I called to complain, they made me run through a 20 minute check list to make sure that I had actually turned on my computer and plugged it in to the wall. And once they had determined that it really was a network issue, they refused to help me because my machine was only running with 77% "resources free". (They insist upon 80%)

When I told them that their logic was like "refusing to fix a pothole in the road because my car has broken headlight..." they apologized and hung up.

On Monday, I will begin investigating a cable modem.
Thursday, April 08, 2004
Scalia and That Pesky Rag We Call the Constitution.
Justice Antonin "Nino" Scalia and his Federal Marshal sidekick need to be briefed on the finer points of Constitutional law regarding public speech and property rights.
Hattiesburg, Miss.- Two reporters were ordered Wednesday to erase their tape recordings of a speech by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia at a Mississippi high school.

Ordered? Huh? Under what authority?
Scalia has long barred television cameras from his speeches, but does not always prohibit newspaper photographers and tape recorders. On Wednesday, he did not warn the audience at the high school that recording devices would be forbidden.

During the speech, a woman identifying herself as a deputy federal marshal demanded that a reporter for The Associated Press erase a tape recording of the justice's comments. She said the justice had asked that his appearance not be recorded.

The reporter initially resisted, but later showed the deputy how to erase the digital recording after the officer took the device from her hands.
The forcible taking of property is a crime without just cause or due process.

The exchange occurred in the front row of the auditorium while Scalia delivered his speech about the Constitution.
And I though irony was dead.
Limbaugh's Right to Privacy.
Rush's $800 /hr Clinton Impeachment attorney, Roy Black, is arguing that Limbaugh's right to privacy has been violated by the siezure of his medical records by prosecutors investigating his admitted drug abuse.

Hypocrisy, thy name is Rush. From his book The Way Things Ought to Be:
I agree with the view, best articulated by Judge Robert Bork, that there is no basis in the Constitution for the privacy right which was announced as the foundational basis for the constitutional right to abortion.

The framers were very specific as to the amendment process and there is definitely no provision for amendment by judicial fiat. Bork advocates judicial silence on the issue and says that the matter should be decided democratically, by the state legislatures. Liberals fear the democratic process because they don’t think the people will agree with their agenda.
"Bin Laden Determined to Strike Inside US."
And with that title of the now infamous Presidential Daily Brief of August 6, 2001 being public... will somebody please tell the White House and their political operatives to "Shut up!" the next time they say that "We weren't warned." or "If we'd known..."

There is not much to say about Condoleezza Rice's testimony that people much smarter than me are not already saying.

In particular the Center for American Progress debunks many of Dr. Rice's claims here.

In a nutshell, she answered the questions she wanted to. She stonewalled those questions she thought would be politically embarrassing to her boss.
Wednesday, April 07, 2004
When the Dogs Come Out.
I like Jimmy Breslin's writing. He strikes me as a guy who has been around long enough that he's not going to take any guff, or be spun by someone's place in society. As of late he has been extraordinarily tough on the right wing and especially the Iraq situation. With that in mind, there is some completely baseless controversy brewing over today's column. (Link to Column Here)

The wingnut's are screaming for Breslin's head. They are accusing him of faking an interview with reglio-wacko Lou Sheldon. Sheldon has gone on record saying he has never met Breslin. But Breslin's editor has pointed out that the passage in question is from Sheldon's 1992 interview with Breslin that came from the now infamous GOP Convention where the religious right managed to scare off enough voters to ensure GHWBush's defeat. And nobody but Sheldon disputes that interview took place.

Here is the section of the interview that has the Wing-nuts panicked:
"Homosexuals are dangerous," Sheldon assured me one day. He was a short man with eyes gleaming when he mentioned how bad homosexuals truly are.


"They proselytize. They come to the door, and if your son answers and nobody is there to stop it, they grab the son and run off with him. They steal him. They take him away and turn him into a homosexual."

"You should be confined," I told him.

"I speak the truth for the Lord," he said.

"You're a fruitcake," I told him.

"No, I speak the truth. They steal your son."

Hmmm. I wonder if all the "love the sinner" compassion that the religious right has been showing lately is truly genuine. And on the same note, I wonder, if the Reverend Lou Sheldon is a big fat liar.
If You're Not Caucasian....
George W Bush thinks you deserve compassion.... or so his campaign's "Compassion Photo Gallery" seems to say.

Click through all the pictures. It is astounding to think that a campaign professional put that together. Then again, it is astounding to think that professionals planned for the aftermath in Iraq. But that's a whole other ballgame.
Do they Deceive About Everything?
This reminds me of the type of crap I pulled when I was 8 years old and broke my mother's lamp. I blamed it on the cat. Yes the cat was on the end table when the lamp was broken. But I was the one who threw the ball at the cat... and missed. I'm not sure my mother ever did find out the real story.
Dealing with criticism that national security adviser Condoleezza Rice wouldn't testify in public before the 10-member commission investigating the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, White House spokesman Scott McClellan complained last month that when she testified in private, "only five members showed up" to hear what she had to say.

What McClellan didn't tell reporters was that on Nov. 21 — long before Rice met with the five commissioners in February — the White House counsel's office had sent the commission a letter saying no more than three commissioners could attend meetings with White House aides of Rice's rank.

Given that demand, "we are a little surprised that the White House has repeatedly implied to the public that commissioners were uninterested in attending these meetings," commission spokesman Al Felzenberg said Tuesday.

Commissioner Jamie Gorelick, who did not attend the interview with Rice on Feb. 7, said she finds it "infuriating" that the White House would insinuate commissioners shirked their duty and didn't have a right to press for more time with Rice. "That's hooey," she said.

Maybe, just maybe, the sock puppet press corps is waking up.
Tuesday, April 06, 2004
Since It's late and I'm Grumpy....
I'll post another dickhead moment for our Commander in Chief: (via Digby)
President Bush has a penchant for dishing out good-natured insults, and usually the victim laughs along. But Sammie Briery didn't seem much amused when Bush fired one at her Tuesday.

Bush was wrapping up a town hall-style appearance at South Arkansas Community College when he let the jest fly. It was a mother joke, a blonde joke and an insult all in one.

"You and my mother go to the same hair-dye person," Bush said to Briery, whose blondish bob bore little resemblance to Barbara Bush's shock of white hair.

The audience in the gymnasium laughed, and Briery smiled, but replied firmly: "President Bush, I'm a natural blonde."

"Oh, yes," Bush agreed.

"I'm just a natural blonde," she repeated.

"I couldn't help myself, sorry," Bush shrugged.

With that, Bush moved quickly to end the session. He turned to Bob Watson, superintendent of the El Dorado Public Schools who had opened the meeting by inadvertently insulting Bush.

"Governor excuse me, President," Watson said.

Bush muttered, "How quickly they forget."

When Watson offered to shake Bush's hand, the president shot back: "Just don't hug me."
Yep, he's a Dickhead allright!
As a Chef, This Blows My Mind....
Charlotte Observer via Atrios:
It was a mouthwatering menu. Not that you'd expect less for $2,000 a plate.

Seered beef tenderloins with golden tomatoes on an herb-encrusted baguette. Grilled garlic chicken with smoked gouda on a honey wheat wrap. Fruits and gourmet olives and crudite. A gourmet luncheon with only one thing missing: something to eat it with.

The explanation was at the bottom of the menus distributed at President Bush's $1.5 million Charlotte fund-raiser Monday.

"At the request of the White House, silverware will not accompany the table settings," it said in discreetly fine print.

No silver. No plastic.

The lack of utensils might have been why many plates went virtually untouched.

The reason: So the tinkle of silver wouldn't disrupt the president's speech.
What a dickhead.
Monday, April 05, 2004
If it weren't for Donna Rice...
I wonder if Gary Hart would have been a great President.

Hart has written a very short, pointed and intelligent piece for Salon (click on the "Free Day Pass" for full access) that makes you wonder about what-in-the-hell is going on with the 9/11 commission and the media. As you may remember the Hart-Rudman Commission gave the Bush Administration a very dire report in January of 2001 that predicted terrorists would hit us at home.

Suppose that in March or April 1941, 14 Americans with lengthy backgrounds in national security affairs had reported to President Franklin Roosevelt that the United States was going to be attacked somewhere, sometime, somehow by the Japanese, that this attack would result in large numbers of American casualties, and these officially appointed Americans had strongly recommended to the Roosevelt administration that it take urgent steps to help prevent such an attack. Further suppose that Roosevelt had done little if anything in response to this warning, and that almost eight months later, as it happened, the Japanese attacked American facilities at Pearl Harbor, and almost 2,000 Americans died. Suppose after this attack official inquiries were launched, as it also happened, as to why there was a failure of intelligence, what actions were or were not taken based on what intelligence there was, and what could be done to prevent such catastrophic surprises in the future. And finally suppose that the official commission created to investigate the tragedy of Pearl Harbor failed to call upon the original 14 Americans who forecast the attack and forewarned against it.
When told that the 9/11 commission has not asked for any public testimony from us, most people are incredulous. If the 9/11 commission is really trying to find out what was known and when it was known, they ask, why would your national security commission's warnings and recommendations not be of direct relevance and urgent interest? Didn't you publicly and privately warn the new Bush administration of your concerns about terrorism? Didn't you specifically recommend a new national homeland security agency? Why wouldn't all this be of central importance to the work of the 9/11 commission? The simple answer to all these questions is: I don't know why we have not been asked to testify.

When you combine this with the latest on the Director of the 9/11 Commission from Joe Conason (also in Salon) you might want to get out your tinfoil hat.
From the very beginning, the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, known as the 9/11 commission, has differed from the White House over funding, documents, witnesses and secrecy. But as National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice prepares to testify publicly on Thursday, the commission and the administration agreed on at least one key issue: Both defended Philip Zelikow, the Rice friend and colleague who serves as the commission's executive director, from critics concerned about his apparent conflicts of interest.

Those critics -- including the four World Trade Center widows whose political activism spurred the commission's creation -- have become increasingly disturbed as they've discovered more about Zelikow's close and continuing connections with Rice and the Bush administration. They point to the Republican academic's intense work on the Bush national security transition team; his role in restructuring the National Security Council; his 2001 appointment to the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board; his drafting of the president's National Security Strategy in 2002; and his continuing contacts with White House officials, including political strategist Karl Rove.

Conflicts of interest are one thing. Consorting with the political wing of the people you are investigating is quite another.
Passover catering makes for light blogging...
Although it was a little humorous when I had to explain to my boss that cutting the little chocolate cakes into the shape of crescent moons might not be a great idea at a Jewish Seder.
Sunday, April 04, 2004
Compare and Contrast...
Headline on Yahoo from AP:
Bush Loyalists Pack Iraq Press Office
One of the main goals of the Office of Strategic Communications — known as stratcom — is to ensure Americans see the positive side of the Bush administration's invasion, occupation and reconstruction of Iraq, where 600 U.S. soldiers have died and a deadly insurgency thrives.

"Beautification Plan for Baghdad Ready to Begin," one press release in late March said in its headline. Another statement last month cautioned, "The Reality is Nothing Like What You See on Television."

Headline on Drudge from AP:
NAJAF, Iraq (AP) - Supporters of an anti-American cleric rioted in four Iraqi cities Sunday, killing eight U.S. troops and one Salvadoran soldier in the worst unrest since the spasm of looting and arson immediately after the fall of Saddam Hussein.

The U.S. military on Sunday reported two Marines were killed in a separate "enemy action" in Anbar province, raising the toll of American service members killed in Iraq to at least 610.
The cognitive disonance is deafening.
The Picture is Becoming Clearer....
From Bush at War (page 39):
"I know there was a plan in the works. . . . I don't know how mature the plan was," Bush recalled. . . .He acknowledged that bin Laden was not his focus or that of his national security team. There was a significant difference in my attitude after September 11. I was not on point [before that date], but I knew he was a menace, and I knew he was a problem."
(Thanks to Atrios reader "t")

From today's NYTimes:
The warnings during the summer were more dire and more specific than generally recognized. Descriptions of the threat were communicated repeatedly to the highest levels within the White House. In more than 40 briefings, Mr. Bush was told by George J. Tenet, the director of central intelligence, of threats involving Al Qaeda.
And from Gary Hart's Salon Interview that I linked to a couple days back:
You know why I think George Tenet is still in his job? I think there are smoking guns all over the White House. I think if you crack the White House safe, you're going to find memos from Tenet saying, "The terrorists are coming, the terrorists are coming."
Shouting into the closet to inform and entertain the 10 people who actually read this thing. In our new format as an online magazine, we take pride in our reporting and opinions. Please leave reader feedback on our online magazine message board so that we can better serve you.

“There’s a lot of money to pay for this that doesn’t have to be U.S. taxpayer money, and it starts with the assets of the Iraqi people…and on a rough recollection, the oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years…We’re dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.” -Paul Wolfowitz

Cost of the War in Iraq
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