2005/09/30

The Pot Calls The Kettle Black

In their defense of Tom DeLay, Blogs for Bush has not just gone to extremes, they jumped the line into some kind of reactionary fog where they accuse Democrats of engendering civil war. Here is a comment from Mark Noonan, one of their senior writers:
We have now left entirely the field of normal political conflict and entered a twilight world where fantasy is presented as fact and the only standard of conduct is "will it work?".
Well... if this is the reality, then we've had the best of teachers: Bush, Rove, Cheney, Myers masters of presenting fantasy as fact. But Noonan doesn't stop there:
But this quest to destroy Delay goes beyond the pale - it is an outrage; a negation of all that America is about...a betrayal of American political institutions.
Are these idiots for real? Republicans spent 6 years and 40 million dollars in a concerted, systematic, tax-payer funded effort to destroy Bill Clinton, the sitting president, and now this shill comes to DeLay's defense?

Read the article and then judge for yourself what political party is out to destroy the other.

2005/09/29

Bravo ACLU! A Win for Transparency in Government

The ACLU has won the case; All the reprehensible pictures from Abu Ghraib must be released under the Freedom of Information Act; And maybe...just maybe...our leaders will be held to account for this sorry episode. (They could start with that 4-star stonewaller Richard Myers. Time for him to be discharged, dishonorably, without his freakin' pension.) In the meantime, let's all applaud U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein who said in his opinion:
My task is not to defer to our worst fears, but to interpret and apply the law, in this case, the Freedom of Information Act, which advances values important to our society, transparency and accountability in government.
'Bout time!

2005/09/28

Oh Happy Day, This Time It's DeLay!

Not like I really need to blog on this topic, but I predicted back in June that the noose was tightening around this slimeball's neck.

DeLay, of course, has loudly proclaimed his innocence. So I guess now Travis (Austin) County D.A., Ronnie Earl should warm up the perjury charges. I mean...it was good enough for Clinton. It should be good enough for DeLay. But on the "partisan tactics" front, what's sauce for the goose is apparently not sauce for the gander. DeLay described D.A. Earl as a "...partisan fanatic leading a coordinated, premeditated campaign of political retribution." Not like that label was could ever have been applied to Special Prosecutor Kenneth Starr. What goes around, comes around.

Bye, bye Tom. Enjoy your stay in Huntsville.

Republican Loyalt--I Mean "Values" Tests

Barbara Lee (D. Oakland) has been trying to get a post office in Berkeley, CA named for Maudelle Shirek, a much admired local civil rights leader, peace activist, and long time city councilwoman. Well yesterday Republicans in the House, at the urging of Steve King (R. Iowa), voted down what is usually a routine little acknowledgement of local leaders. And their reason? That was perhaps best expressed by Representative King who said that Shirek's past:
...sets her apart from, I will say, the most consistent of American values.
What? Is this little shit for real?

What exactly sets her Ms. Shirek apart? A lifetime of service to California? Yup that probably sets her apart from King and the majority of Republicans in Congress. Her leadership, her inspiration, her devotion to progressive causes? Yup that probably sets her apart from a Republican party that was once the champion of progressivism but now only stands for the enrichment of the have's at the expense of the have-nots.

Point of fact, what really sets Ms. Shirek apart is that she's a leftist in a leftist community that Republicans don't like and that they now feel emboldened to punish simply for being leftists. Twits like Rep. King will always try to force their brand of values on anyone they can. And, when Barbara Lee calls a spade a spade as she did here:
...a campaign of innuendo and unsubstantiated 'concern' is better suited to the era of Joe McCarthy and J. Edgar Hoover than today's House of Representatives.
...these babies will howl for being exposed as the petty, political thugs that they are. King, in response, went on to praise Joe McCarthy.

Sad.

2005/09/26

Changing your circumstances to save energy.

Here's a blindingly stupid quote from a prof at the U of M:
People can't change where they live. They can't change where they work, and there aren't any clear substitutes to gas. You can't run your car on much else. It's not like switching from oranges to grapefruits.

Richard Porter, economics professor at the University of Michigan
The Times should know better than to publish dreck like this. People can and should do exactly what this bonehead says they can't. Move your work into a city, ride public transit (or better yet WALK!), and you'll be healthier, you'll probably make more $$$, and you'll save energy (Duh!) Get rid of your car and save between $10,000 and $15,000 a year. Now, plow that back into your mortgage--that's the difference between a $225,000 home and $300,000 home. Probably get you out of some soulless suburb and into a cool, gentrified neighborhood with some character.

2005/09/25

Entertainment industry execs are insane

Are entertainment industry execs insane? I caught this post over at CNET about a program called Digital File Check that scans your system for P2P software, disables it, and removes it. Then, as if that weren't enough, it removes any media files that it thinks are illegitimate.
Digital File Check is easy to use and can help people prevent their employees, children and others from illegally downloading and swapping movies.

Dan Glickman, president of the MPAA
Why would anybody in their right mind download this obvious piece of malware? Does anybody think that the RIAA is going to compensate you when Digital File Check "mistakenly" deletes your entire, legally ripped, CD collection? The site doesn't even have any verifying information, just an icon and a link.

Unbelievable!

The Value of Continued Dissent

For those of you who missed it, here's an example of the right's response to the anti-war protests in D.C. yesterday, as expressed by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R. Alabama):
The group who spoke here the other day did not represent the American ideals of freedom, liberty and spreading that around the world. I frankly don't know what they represent, other than to blame America first.
In point of fact, we (the protestors, the liberals, the left) are the only group in this scenario that truly understand freedom and liberty--our counterparts on the right displayed signs that said things like "Arrest the traitors". Senator Sessions, for his part, seems to need a refresher on the whole Constitution thing.

The "real Americans" are the ones that call Bush Co. to account for its sorry handling of Iraq and the so-called war on terror. The real Americans were the ones in streets getting arrested on the day war started. Real Americans know when they're being fed a load of fabricated bullshit from an administration whose only policy seems to be to keep American scared. Real Americans know the difference between a real patriot like Russ Feingold (D. Wisconsin, voted against both the war and the USA Patriot Act) and a sorry little fascist fuck like Jeff Sessions who only seems interested in silencing dissent. And real Americans value their liberty so much that they won't hesitate to liberally cast blame on an arrogant, ignoramus like G. W. Bush.

2005/09/23

Nope--President Neuman Won't Be In Texas This Week

As reported in Salon:
After insisting that he had good reason for going to Texas and that he wouldn't be in the way when he got there, CNN is reporting that George W. Bush has just called off his trip to the Lone Star State.
One wonders if G.W.'s worried about encountering fleeing residents that might just be a little pissed off about all of the ways that he screwed up the state before he left.

2005/09/22

Now the DoD Is Stonewalling On Able Danger

Here we go again. Now it's the Pentagon with the able assistance of the administration's Secretary of Misinformation, Donald Rumsfeld.

As reported in Reuters (and elsewhere), the Department of Defense is again stonewalling on cooperating with the Senate Judiciary Committee in their probe of Able Danger. (For those of you who don't remember, Able Danger was the program that may have identified Mohammed Atta and three co-conspirators as having been part of an al Qaeda cell as early as the 1st quarter of 2000.)

In a classic "inmates running the asylum" moment Defense Dept. officials (echoed by Rumsfeld) asserted that the matter was classified (warranting their non-cooperation) and that internal probes had turned up no evidence that Atta was an al Qaeda member.

Personally, I'd like to see Rumsfeld charged with contempt of Congress, along with anybody in the Pentagon involved in making the decision not to cooperate with the Judiciary Committee. It's high time the executive (and especially the military) is reminded of exactly which branch of government has the power to conduct such investigations.

2005/09/20

But on other days, not owning a car is great.

And frankly I don't understand why more people don't go this route. It's not like there aren't a number of cities in the U.S. where you can get by without a car. San Francisco and New York, certainly. I managed it in San Francisco from 1996 to 2002. Chicago, Boston, and D.C. probably. Seattle, San Diego, and Portland, all have decent mass transit and car sharing.

Time for you city dwellers to get rid of your cars. You'll save big $$$ even after adding back some money taxis and rentals (or car sharing).

2005/09/16

No good deed goes unpunished.

Sh*t! I make the commitment to live without a car (again), sell the damn thing, and only then find out that it's already too late.

And I can just see it now. Thousands of SUV driving soccer moms in Kansas City thinking, "Well if global warming really is unstoppable, then I may as well keep on sucking down gasoline the way I suck down triple, decaf, no-foam, lattes." (Which BTW cost about the same these days.)

ARRRGGGHHH!

Ahrnult will run again.

The bumbling, unpopular, deceitful Schwarzenegger is going to run again. Oh gee, he wants to finish the job he started.

This fool calls a special election that nobody wants to vote in and that, get this, has no initiatives! One measure polled as so unpopular that the governator had it removed. Another was forced off the ballot because his supporters broke the rules.

He delivers content-free speeches. He goes out of his way to insult the members of Democrat dominated legislature. He's not even able deal with a teachers union that is savaging him in the media for breaking funding promises that he made in 2004, just after he replaced Gray Davis.

Arnold, please go back to Hollywood and make movies. Nobody wants you in the statehouse.

Lyndon Baines Bush (Updated)

Bush on Thursday night:
That poverty has roots in a history of racial discrimination, which cut off generations from the opportunity of America. We have a duty to confront this poverty with bold action. So let us restore all that we have cherished from yesterday, and let us rise above the legacy of inequality.
OH MY GOD!? President Neuman has been inhabited by the ghost of L.B.J.!

Now Bush doesn't just spend like a Democrat, he talks like one as well. The Republicans should be screaming in anguish just about now.

[2005/09/16 7:02p PDT]

Whoops, just as soon as I said it, the ghost of L.B.J. departs.

Now Bush is back to sounding like the idiot that he is--A massive, maybe 200 Billion dollar, relief and rebuilding effort with no tax hikes to fund it.

According to the media reports, Bush is loath to take money from working Americans while conveniently omitting that the deficit spending that will surely follow takes money from the young and Americans not yet born. How typical of today's modern, so-called conservatives--spend like Democrats, enrich the already wealthy, and push the burden onto succeeding generations.

2005/09/15

Some Good News On Roberts

I've been consistently saying to my friends how John Roberts is not nearly the worst candidate that Bush Co. could have nominated to the Supreme Court. Do I think he should be Chief Justice? Probably not--not enough experience. But he's definitely not a strict constructionist (originalist...whatever), and in Wednesday's hearings he seemed to prove by pointing out that he disagreed with this narrow originalist approach and would apply the Constitution in light of today's concerns and understandings. He went on to say that words such as liberty or equality should not be given a:
...cramped or narrow construction, based on just the conditions at the time
Damn sensible, in my opinion.

2005/09/12

Shift...Shift...Shift...The Blame

First the poor, then the looters. After that the local officials. Now the media.

Former FEMA directory Michael Brown has said it, as quoted in the Rocky Mountain News:
No wonder people don't go into public service. This country is devouring itself, the 24-hour news cycle is numbing our ability to think for ourselves.
And Chertoff did it on Meet the Press (as quoted in the Wall Street Journal):
Well, I think if you look at what actually happened, I remember on Tuesday morning picking up newspapers, and I saw headlines, 'New Orleans Dodged The Bullet,' Because if you recall, the storm moved to the east and then continued on and appeared to pass with considerable damage but nothing worse. It was on Tuesday that the levee -- may have been overnight Monday to Tuesday -- that the levee started to break.
The unmitigated gall of these idiots! First they go so far as to call the MSM reports rumors and blame the media for too much negative reporting. Then these fucks turn around and blame the media for feeding them information that's, if anything, "too rosy".

You couldn't even make this stuff up. It's so twisted Chertoff should get a CT to see if his brain is missing. Cause it's not like the forcasters at NOAA couldn't have informed Chertoff of where Katrina was headed, fully 3-FUCKING-days before it hit. The storm didn't deviate from it's predicted track by more than 50 miles.

2005/09/10

Bay Area public transit thoughts.

Been working a new job for a week now and taking public transit exclusively for the first time in three years. I have to say I'm pretty impressed, with one exception. Everything takes 20% longer than I anticipate. Think your one-way trip will be 50 minutes. It'll take an hour. Your BART train to Oakland scheduled for 20 minutes? It'll be four minutes late, or it'll stop midway there. Something.

The schedules for MUNI, BART, and the various shuttles aren't exactly fiction, but they're definitely optimistic.

2005/09/09

Brown's Out At FEMA - Vice Admiral T. Allen Is In... (Updated)

'Bout bloody time!

From the A.P.:
Earlier, Brown confirmed the switch. Asked if he was being made a scapegoat for a federal relief effort that has drawn widespread and sharp criticism, Brown told The Associated Press after a long pause: "By the press, yes. By the president, No."
Or maybe...he's simply incompetent, rather than a scapegoat. Duh!

[2005/09/12, 12:35 PDT]

And...he's gone!

From the A.P. (Quoted in Salon):
It looks like Michael Brown won't be getting a Medal of Freedom after all. The FEMA director -- praised by the president so recently for doing a "heck of a job" in handling the aftermath of Katrina -- has resigned from his office, CNN and the Associated Press report.
Yup. "Heck of a job there Brownie!"

2005/09/03

Rehnquist is Dead

In any other year I would say (and let me emphasize, before some wing-nut accuses me of insensitivity toward the former Chief Justice's family, that I speak solely from the standpoint of the court) ...good riddance! But knowing Bush Co.'s penchant for unbridled, ideological zealotry, the chances that Rehnquist's replacement will do irreversible damage to the Constitution are almost certain.

Here's hoping that the new Chief Justice will move to the center as most Supreme Court appointees do.

2005/09/02

More Administration Sunshine...

...being blown up our asses:

On CNN Thursday evening, FEMA Director Michael Brown said he thought things were going "reasonably well" in New Orleans. Then, he asserted that the federal government "did not even know about the convention center people until today." This would be the New Orleans Convention Center, an increasingly desperate situation upon which the majors have been reporting since Tuesday.

And, as if that weren't enough, Dept. of Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff suggested in an NPR interview that the stories reporters were filing on conditions at the convention center amounted to rumors.

So after more criminal incompetence, the administration does what it always does: Say everything is great and shift the debate. Sounds like Iraq. But...hey...Bush is going to fly over today. Wonder if that will give the people on the ground much comfort.

More on Bush Co.'s Response to Katrina...

A comment from Jason Smith (a conservative apologist who blogs at Generation Why?):
Is there anything on this planet you people won't blame Bush for? Seriously, it's getting so predictable and completely comical.
President Neuman on Good Morning America:
I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees
A category 4 (almost category 5) hurricane comes ashore 50 miles from New Orleans (with the Big Easy smack in the middle of the heaviest rain bands), and Bush asserts that no one anticipated the levees breaching. Un-fucking-believable!

The facts (this time from the San Francisco Chronicle, but repeated endlessly in the MSM):
In 2001, a FEMA report ranked hurricane damage to New Orleans as one of the three most likely catastrophes facing the country (the other two were a terrorist attack on New York City and an earthquake in San Francisco).

The New Orleans Times-Picayune published a five-part series in 2002 that began with the words: "It's only a matter of time before south Louisiana takes a direct hit from a major hurricane. Billions have been spent to protect us, but we grow more vulnerable every day. ...'' The stories quoted flood experts warning specifically of the potential damage from rising water levels and broken levees.

Despite the warnings, money was cut from flood control as the federal government's focus shifted to terrorism. The Bush administration routinely provided less than half the money the Army Corps of Engineers requested for New Orleans flood prevention. Officials routinely blamed budget restrictions and the war in Iraq in Times-Picayune articles.

A strategic plan produced by FEMA in 2003 noted that "Since September 11 (2001) ... the nation's attention has shifted from natural hazards to include its capability to respond to future terrorist attacks.''

The agency, which was given Cabinet level status by President Bill Clinton, was folded into the newly created Department of Homeland Security and reported to its secretary rather than directly to the president.
You decide.

The problem with being at the top is that you have to take responsibility when you fuck up...unless you're Bush Co.