Saturday, March 19, 2005

Just For The Record

The new
Batman Begins one-sheet is bad ass.


"Smithers, We're At War!"

SMITHERS: I'll begin profiteering, sir.

BURNS: And hoarding. Leave it to the Democrats to let the Spaniards back in the pantry.

Unbeknownst to me Harry Shearer, aka Mr. Burns of The Simpsons, not only has a masters degree in political science from Harvard, but has been posting on Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo for the past few days while Josh gets married.


"Eerie similarity between Mark McGwire at the baseball hearing--"I'm not here to discuss the past"--and Porter Goss before Senate Armed Services on whether interrogation techniques used since 2001 have complied with US anti-torture laws--"I am not able to tell you that". Eerier still, to broaden the focus, is the refusal of American media (and bloggers too) to notice the similarities between what's been happening since the runup to the war in the US, UK and Australia. When we're isolated inside our American bubble, our problem seems as if it's only our problem. But, while "extraordinary rendition" worms its ugly way into the national consciousness here, Britain has simultaneously been having a wrenching debate on the government's proposed non-judicial orders for persons "under suspicion", including house arrest and electronic tagging."


Thursday, March 17, 2005

Gone Drinking

Bah. It's late(r) on St. Patrick's Day and I don't feel like writing anything else. Read these two Digby posts and call me in the morning.


What do you suppose would happen if the congress and the media spent as much time on say, torture, as they are on this absurd inquisition on steroids in baseball?


I don’t believe in the death penalty because I think that the only justification for killing is self defense and when someone is locked up forever that is protection enough from their depredations. But I’m beginning to wonder if accepting the death penalty as we have presents another problem. So much focus is placed on the feelings of the victim’s families these days that I think we may have lost sight of the fact that there can be no recompense for the loss of a loved one. Therefore, the death penalty can never really be enough to satisfy the need that we are trying to make it satisfy.


The Boy Who Cried Idiot

To truly grasp the incompetence of Paul Wolfowitz, you have to read the aptly titled "Mr. Magoo Goes To The World Bank," by Salon's Michael Lind.

A taste:

Critics are wrong to portray Wolfowitz as a malevolent genius. In fact, he's friendly, soft-spoken, well meaning and thoughtful. He would be the model of a scholar and a statesman but for one fact: He is completely inept. His three-decade career in U.S. foreign policy can be summed up by the term that President Bush coined to describe the war in Iraq that Wolfowitz promoted and helped to oversee: a "catastrophic success."

Even the greatest statesman makes some mistakes. But Wolfowitz is perfectly incompetent. He is the Mozart of ineptitude, the Einstein of incapacity. To be sure, he has his virtues, the foremost of which is consistency. He has been consistently wrong about foreign policy for 30 years.


Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Forgotten But Not Gone

The Editors caught this post from Dr. Cole.

Readers often write in for an update on Fallujah. I am sorry to say that there is no Fallujah to update. The city appears to be in ruins and perhaps uninhabitable in the near future. Of 300,000 residents, only about 9,000 seem to have returned, and apparently some of those are living in tents above the ruins of their homes. The rest of the Fallujans are scattered in refugee camps of hastily erected tents at several sites, including one near Habbaniyyah, or are staying with relatives in other cities, including Baghdad.

The scale of this human tragedy– the dispossession and displacement of 300,000 persons– is hard to imagine. Unlike the victims of the tsunami who were left homeless, moreover, the Fallujans have witnessed no outpouring of world sympathy. While there were undeniably bad characters in the city, most residents had done nothing wrong and did not deserve to be made object lessons–which was the point Rumsfeld was making with this assault.



The Awesomeness Of True Brilliance

George W. Bush has done some awesome stuff. I mean some really, really awesome stuff. However, in terms of sheer awesomeness, I have to say that it all pales in comparison to his nomination of Paul Wolfowitz as head of World Bank.

As much as anything, Mr. Bush may be giving Mr. Wolfowitz the job to help him rebuild his reputation after the heat he has taken over Iraq, said Rick Barton, a senior adviser at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies and a former top U.S. development official. "In a way it's a better fit than where [Mr. Wolfowitz] has been before," Mr. Barton said. "He's passionate about humanitarian and political development, and that could probably be strengthened at the World Bank."

I think the moment that really defined Wolfowitz as a humanitarian came during a hearing of the House Appropriations subcommittee last year, when he revealed that he had no-fucking-clue-whatsoever as to the total number of American soldiers who had died in Iraq up to that point.

Asked how many American troops have died in Iraq, the Pentagon's No. 2 civilian estimated Thursday the total was about 500 -- more than 200 soldiers short.

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was asked about the toll at a hearing of a House Appropriations subcommittee. "It's approximately 500, of which -- I can get the exact numbers -- approximately 350 are combat deaths," he responded.


Tuesday, March 15, 2005


When federal laws designed to reduce pollution
actually force states to scale back their tougher, already in-place laws, we are truly living in bizzare times.

I believe the proper term for it would be "

A newly announced federal order to reduce mercury pollution from coal-burning power plants will require weakening more stringent state controls that were enacted in Wisconsin only last year, a state official says.

"It's a little frustrating," said Lloyd Eagan, bureau director for the air management program at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, in a telephone interview Tuesday night.

The Bush administration ordered Tuesday that power plants cut mercury pollution from smokestacks by nearly half within 15 years, but the worst polluters will be able to buy pollution "credits" from plants that give off less mercury than allowed.

By contrast, the state rule, effective last Oct. 1, required the state's four major power plants to cut mercury emissions in two phases - by 40 percent by 2010 and by 75 percent by 2015.

Wouldn't it be awesome if I stole $200 from the 7-11, and then upon being arrested, promptly turned around and bought a "robbery" credit from someone who hadn't yet committed theft?

"Did someone say 1984?"

*Link via AMERICAblog.


Support Our Troops

Bring them home.

Two years after the shooting began, Americans are deeply conflicted about the costs and benefits of the war with Iraq — and broadly reluctant to enter into any similar military confrontation with either Iran or North Korea.

The public sees some benefits of the war — but more for Iraq than for the United States, and, for many, not enough to justify its costs. Seven in 10 in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll call the level of U.S. casualties in Iraq unacceptable, and 53 percent, on balance, say the war was not worth fighting.

This poll finds a huge comedown from public opinion before, during and just after the main fighting two years ago. President Bush's wartime job approval rating reached 77 percent; it's 50 percent now. His approval specifically on Iraq was 75 percent as the main fighting ended; it's 39 percent now, a career low.


Monday, March 14, 2005

Steve Gilliard Is The Fucking Man

Learn it. Know it. Live it.

The bankruptcy bill is a fuck up, a fuck up assisted by the party of the rich, which is, of course, bipartisan. And it will be such fodder for good news stories and legal challenges that they will regret passing it. But why did it pass? Because we let it slide and didn't demand a fight. Now we have to get the horse and put it back in the fucking barn. And praise God that Bush has always had a hardon for Social Security. If some dumbasses don't lose their nerve, Bush will ride this puppy to defeat, a brutal asskicking defeat. Stopping Bush is the ultimate validation of liberal idealism and its effectiveness, if people seize that and ram it up against the bullshit free market ideology they never bother to practice themselves., What the fuck does some thinktank asshole know about work. he spends his day bullshitting about ideas he'll never live under. I say give them some field experience. Max Boot thinks the military is so fucking great, well, there's a job in Iraq for his ass and the rest of the warmongering chickenhawk pussies who jerk off to big guns and use the Military channel as their porn. Milton Friedman would have been a communist if he had to live under his own ideology. he spouted that bullshit from a professor's desk in a country which granted generous social protections.

The simple fact is that the America we have today is the result of liberalism. You get to jerk off to Halle Berry and dream about Denzel Washington because of liberals. The idea that liberals are pussies is bullshit, bullshit that we help promote because we let these lunatics define us. Ann Coulter is a fucking nut job, but everyone treats her like she's sane.

And to all the liberals who would say:, we can't be like them, it doesn't matter what we do, I have a simple fucking reply: FUCK YOU.

Let me drop a little history lesson on you: the Blitzkreig was effective when the Germans used it. It was brilliant. But you know the problem, they never had enough equipment or men to do it full out. Having been taught well, guess who did? The Russians. They not only had tanks and planes, but more of them, in more places. They chased the Germans with the venegence of the wronged. The Blitz in German hands got them to Moscow, in Russian hands, it got them to Berlin for 50 years.

We use our tools against the GOP and will split them and win[sic]. The Bible Thumpers will always be with us, and after a while, people get sick of them. They did in the 20's and they will now. The GOP has one fucking thing holding them together, power. In 2007, a lot of fiscal conserrvatives are going to find their nominess for president are a high grade of wacko, like Rick Santorum. People who are too crazy to win, but because the Jesus freaks control the GOP street game, they will have to decide what to do. Just like we listened to Jim Carville four years too long, the GOP will curse the name of Karl Rove for letting the Jesus freaks think the GOP is God's Own Party. Personally, I plan on handing them anvils and watching the fucking bubbles hit the surface.

The best thing? The full-entry is much longer, with additional outrage!


The Brilliance Of True Awesomeness

a Washington Post article detailing the right's new offensive on evolution.

Propelled by a polished strategy crafted by activists on America's political right, a battle is intensifying across the nation over how students are taught about the origins of life. Policymakers in 19 states are weighing proposals that question the science of evolution.

The proposals typically stop short of overturning evolution or introducing biblical accounts. Instead, they are calculated pleas to teach what advocates consider gaps in long-accepted Darwinian theory, with many relying on the idea of intelligent design, which posits the central role of a creator.


To fundamentalist Christians, [Southern Baptist minister Terry]Fox said, the fight to teach God's role in creation is becoming the essential front in America's culture war. The issue is on the agenda at every meeting of pastors he attends. If evolution's boosters can be forced to back down, he said, the Christian right's agenda will advance.

"If you believe God created that baby, it makes it a whole lot harder to get rid of that baby," Fox said. "If you can cause enough doubt on evolution, liberalism will die."

I suppose that until scienticians are able to prove the evolution of every single creature on Earth, Fox and his cronies' cult-like devotion to "theories" formed sometime around the dawn of man will live on
. From Skeptical Inquirer magazine:

The "Don't Stop Now - It's Getting Good" Award goes to the Theory of Evolution, which still struggles for popular acceptance while finding stupendous experimental support and utility in science. In 2004, the evolution of irreducibly complex features was documented for flagellum motors and colorful coral proteins; more transitions were found between fish and amphibians (nostrils and fins-to-legs), the handedness of primordial amino acids was better understood, a single gene was found to be capable of giving mice long, bat-like fingers (explaining rapid evolution of bats), the natural history of the Uterus was developed, a gene common in Tibetans was found to improve oxygen intake, and a possible common ancestor of all the great apes, including humans, was found. Not a bad year, except for that "popular" thing....

*Link via No More Mister Nice Blog.

"I ain't come from no monkey. Hey Ma, get of the dang roof!"


Sunday, March 13, 2005

The Sky Is Blue

A PEW study says Fox is the most-biased "news" organization and that war coverage was been fairly even-handed.

One interesting claim the study makes is that, throughout the fall portion of the campaign, Bush recieved more negative coverage than Kerry. I'm sure this is true by whatever factors PEW used to measure tone, but I don't think it takes framing into account. For instance, I doubt stories on the bin Laden tape (the one released the weekend before the election) were considered negative to either Bush or Kerry. However, from that Friday night to Monday morning, you couldn't turn on a TV without hearing a pundit call the election for Bush.


Ready-Made News

Just add water.

Under the Bush administration, the federal government has aggressively used a well-established tool of public relations: the prepackaged, ready-to-serve news report that major corporations have long distributed to TV stations to pitch everything from headache remedies to auto insurance. In all, at least 20 federal agencies, including the Defense Department and the Census Bureau, have made and distributed hundreds of television news segments in the past four years, records and interviews show. Many were subsequently broadcast on local stations across the country without any acknowledgement of the government's role in their production.


Some reports were produced to support the administration's most cherished policy objectives, like regime change in Iraq or Medicare reform. Others focused on less prominent matters, like the administration's efforts to offer free after-school tutoring, its campaign to curb childhood obesity, its initiatives to preserve forests and wetlands, its plans to fight computer viruses, even its attempts to fight holiday drunken driving. They often feature "interviews" with senior administration officials in which questions are scripted and answers rehearsed. Critics, though, are excluded, as are any hints of mismanagement, waste or controversy.