2006/05/31

Mandatory Data Retention - Gonzales Is Lying To Us!

I've blogged previously on the mandatory data retention requirements of the omnibus telecommunications bill. Up until now the DoJ, and AG Gonzales specifically, have been saying that the reason DoJ must force the telcos to retain traceable records is to aid in finding purveyors of kiddie-porn, and up until now Gonzales has BEEN LYING TO YOU!

CNET reports that Gonzales and FBI Director Robert Mueller...
...privately met with representatives of AOL, Comcast, Google, Microsoft and Verizon last week and said that Internet providers--and perhaps search engines--must retain data for two years to aid in anti-terrorism prosecutions...
In other words the DoJ's arguments supporting the retention provisions introduced by Diana DeGette (D. CO) (the so-called "kiddie-porn" provisions), are nothing more than a smoke screen--a diversion to force the debate onto more friendly ground. CNET rightly points out that were the DoJ's true intentions widely publicized, they might have a much tougher time getting the public and telcos on board.

The Era of the Low-jack Is At Hand

VeriChip chairman Scott Silverman, possibly emboldened by Bu$hCo's call to know "who is in our country and why they are here," has floated the idea of "chipping" foreign workers so that they can be tracked. Apparently VeriChip has been in discussions with officials in Washington about the idea of using RFIDs for employee identification and at border crossings.


And the conventional wisdom suggests that the public is nervous about the use and abuse of RFID technology. Gee, I wonder why?

As The Iraqis Stand Down

Washington (f-A-ke. P.) -

Today President Bush announced that 1500 US troops currently stationed in Kuwait would be "standing up" to replace 1500 Iraqi troops that had suddenly decided to sit down in the Ramadi area. When asked about what appeared to be a sudden change in policy, the President replied -
Nah that was just a mistake. I meant--what I meant to say was, 'As the Iraqis stand down we will sta--'
The President soon left the briefing room clutching his left-side after being poked hard in the ribs by former Deputy Chief of Staff, Karl Rove.

2006/05/30

EU Fires Back On "Illegal" Data Exchange

Good for them! The EU--specifically it's Court of Justice and realistically the only body that can challenge the US on the issue--has ruled that US demands for passenger data lack an "appropriate legal basis".

Of course the US, like a petulant child, has fired back by threatening the Europeans with delayed flights, fines, denial of landing rights, and extensive searches of US bound passengers if the EU fails to comply. So you know what I say...for every fine or denial of landing rights, the EU should respond in kind. In the game of international air travel, the government subsidized European carriers will suffer much less in a game of brinkmanship than the bankrupt US carriers.

Kvatch Kvetches - Like Doom...Only We're The Monsters

After all of this weekend's Kommandos Project work, I only have the attention span for some short bites.

Like Doom...Only We're the Monsters
So get this...a company called Left Behind Games plans to distribute a video-game based on the popular books of the same name. In this first-person shooter move through a future New York and, armed to the teeth, convert or kill infidels who stand in their way. Creepy, huh? Well, as if that weren't enough, the game will be marketed directly through evangelical church networks like the mega-church empire of pastor Mark Carver. Conversion by the sword indeed!

7 Years and 6 Months Is All It Takes?
Dennis Hastert is about to make history as the Republican serving longest as the House Speaker, and all it took was a paltry 7.5 years. So the question arises: Do Republican's really hate their own that much, or do they govern so ineptly that they haven't had enough chances to touch the record, 17 years by Democrat Sam Rayburn.

God Must Be Spotting Him
Pat Robertson can leg press 2000 pounds. No really! Says so right here. Though I have to say that I'm kind of disappointed that it wasn't a big fat rock--you know the kind they used to use to crush heathens.

2006/05/29

Early Signs of Desperation in the Nutsphere

Back when I started Blognonymous, I stuck solely to trafficking on right-wing blogs, looking for debate--looking to stir things up, and looking for ideas. Well ideas I got, but debate I did not--well at least not that rose above the level of, "you're a liberal, so obviously you're an idiot". After about 6 months of this I gave up and started cruising lefty blogs, but I took away from that early experience a post I called The Conservative Blogger's Manifesto.

Now most of that post was exaggeration, but there was a kernel of truth in ever item, especially number 1:
Never comment on "lefty" blogs - It just legitimizes their sad and useless lives, in addition to driving up their traffic stats.
So here's the thing: In the last month, Blognonymous has been getting an increasing number of wing-nut comments, and not the usual anonymous troll drivel either. Nope, some of this stuff, while still insulting, is often long and occasionally cogent.

So here's the question: What's up in the nut-sphere? Studiously avoiding left-wing blogs is almost a commandment for right-wingers. Are they losing traffic? Is a never ending chorus of "Yeah. Right on!" comments in response to every inane post no longer enough? Or perhaps, it's the first signs of desperation. November is coming and looks like the left is beginning to ascend. Hmmm...

(Thanks to Cartledge @ Talk About Corruption for the post that got me thinking along these lines.)

Kvatch's Kommandos Seize Union Square

Kvatch's Kommandos seized San Francisco's Union Square in a mid-morning, Memorial Day operation.

Clockwise (from the upper left)
Union Square Corners: NE, NW, SW, SE
Clockwise (from the upper left)
Union Sq. South, Market St., Maiden Ln., Stockton St.

2006/05/28

Kill Your Cable

We've all heard it, "Kill you TV"! But I'm here to tell you that TV is great. Technology has advanced to the point that you can have a movie-like experience in your home, only without stale popcorn, the smell of sweat, and bozos talking behind you like they own the freakin' place.

Television is not evil. Television is just a box. Cable...now that's EVIL! 100 channels, 75 of which are devoted to bedazzling your sweaters and melting away 50 pounds without exercise, is EVIL! A four-hour installation window is EVIL. And vacuous content interspersed with inane advertising that they actually get you to pay $70 bucks a month for...IS EVIL!

But let's not pontificate. Let's apply mathematics to Satan's push-medium.

How much television do you watch? 10 hours a week? 15? For me it's a bit less than the former, but lets use that higher figure. So...'bout 65 hours a month. That works out to a $1.00 an hour, and it's not even really an hour of entertainment. It's really about 40 minutes of entertainment and 20 of commercials. For that price you could buy a song from iTunes and keep it...forever. At on third the price you pay for cable you could join a movie service like Netflix and get all--and I mean all--of the television you normally watch plus a ton of movies, commercial free. 4 discs/week x 4 hours/disc x 4+ weeks/month...yup 'bout 70 hours of entertainment a month for a fraction of cable's price.

The only wrinkle here is seeing shows the moment they come out. But I'm here to tell you that watching a whole season of your favorite show over the course of 4 weeks is eminently more satisfying than watching it in real time, and it's totally a pull medium. I get what I want when I want it.

Yes indeed, until the IPTV standards mature, I say kill your cable not your television! (Unless you're a big sports fan, and then I've got nothing.)

2006/05/27

Diebold Needs To Be Outlawed. Here's Why...

...and now back to our regularly scheduled blogging.

The controversy surrounding Diebold voting machines escalates as serious new security flaws are discovered that the company seems loathe to fix. And why? Because Diebold officials don't believe that anyone would try to exploit these vulnerabilities. From the N.Y. Times -
The company's letter went on: "The probability for exploiting this vulnerability to install unauthorized software that could affect an election is considered low."

David Bear, a spokesman for Diebold Election Systems, said the potential risk existed because the company's technicians had intentionally built the machines in such a way that election officials would be able to update their systems in years ahead.

"For there to be a problem here, you're basically assuming a premise where you have some evil and nefarious election officials who would sneak in and introduce a piece of software," he said. "I don't believe these evil elections people exist.

My opinion? Diebold should be banned from the market because they make faulty economic arguments to support a position that leaves their machines open to mass election fraud. In short, they just don't f*cking get it.

2006/05/26

Happy Blogiversary To Me

Blognonymous turns 12 today (that's "1" for you humans), and rather than doing just the normal celebratory post, I decided that I wanted something bigger. So last week I announced a Big Day of Protest. The idea being that we would use our little Army Men to launch a nationwide campaign. Well it succeeded beyond anything I could imagine. To date over 30 bloggers have signed up on a blog we created just for the protest, and they are deploying these Kommandos all over the country...right now!

So I guess it's time to get a little choked up and thank everyone involved for turning this into the success it's become. THANK YOU ALL! This is as fine a "Blogiversary" present as any frog could wish for.

Kvatch

(OK...ok now that all the sentimentality is done with, check out the post below. These are my Kommandos.)

San Francisco and Oakland Occupied By Kommandos

In daring early morning action, elements of Kvatch's Kommandos moved in and occupied San Francisco's Civic Center area, taking up positions at City Hall and the US Federal Building. At the same time, other intrepid units seized the BART system and then dispatched soldiers and tanks to downtown Oakland.

Today's raids are part of the nation-wide Kommandos Memorial Weekend Protest.

Klick on the pictures. They came out really great!

2006/05/25

The Oathing Statement

Presidential Crossing of the FingersWashington (f-A-ke. P.) -

At a today's White House press briefing, Secretary Snow clarified why Attorney General Gonzales is allowed to interpret the Constitution as he sees fit: All cabinet members in this administration issue a "Statement at Oathing" which lays out their interpretation of their duties under the Constitution.

Constitutional scholars have noted that this procedure is similar in principle to the Presidential Crossing of the Fingers. (Depicted on the right)

(HT to Rex Kramer, Danger Seeker for coming up with this gem.)

Lay and Skilling Are Done - Crime and Punishment Update

Lay -- Guilty on all counts. Skilling -- Convicted of conspiracy to commit securities and wire fraud.

It won't bring back the millions that were bilked from Enron's employees, but it's still SWEET!

UPDATED 12:08pm PDT

On second thought...why can't we bring back those millions? Though I'd like to see Lay rot in jail, it won't make him feel one shred of remorse, won't bring him low they way he deserves, but I've got a deal to offer. These two claim their assets are now down to the 20's to 50's of millions, but I don't buy it. So let's say it's double that if we liquidated everything.

So here's the deal: In return for avoiding jail, Lay and Skilling agree to liquidate all, and I mean all, of their assets, and the proceeds are then turned over to the retirement fund for former Enron employees (already funded with $68M)--probably bring the fund up to $150M.

Would that be enough? Probably not. Enron had over 10,000 employees, right? But with appreciation over the long term it would sure as sh*t be better than letting those assets stay in the Lay and Skilling families. And please don't berate me lines like "...it's not fair to their wives and children." Tough! The spouses can go back to work. The children can work their way through public college, just like all of the rest of us. Let them cry, "Daddy squandered my inheritance," that will do more to punish Lay and Skilling than jail time ever could.

Kvatch Kvetches - Could you be made unemployable?

When a long, well thought out post just won't do...

At Least We've Got Our Work...
And it seems as if Congress may bring some sanity to the issue taxing telecommuters by regulating dual taxation schemes, such as New York's where they attempt to tax your out-of-state earnings right along with your New York earnings.

...When We're Allowed To Work.
The Senate's immigration legislation contains a new employment verification scheme that would require that eligibility not only be demonstrated but checked against a national database. Does it occur to anyone that such a database, in the wrong hands, could be used to make a person unemployable? "Kvatch? Mr. Kvatch... Hey you're that unhinged blogger. Nope, you don't check out. We can't hire you."

Congress Howls, But Only When Bu$hCo Comes After Them
Poor Speaker Hastert, looks like he may be going down and just when an emboldened DoJ is willing to break 200+ years of precedent in handling Congressional wrongdoing. But do any of us really feel sorry for him or any of our other lawmakers? Nope. Seems Congress only cares about Bu$hCo excesses when it's their own asses that are on the line.

2006/05/24

Grand Oil Party

Grand Oil PartyGrand Oil Party

Eighty four percent of the $8.6 million oil and gas companies have contributed to the 2006 elections has gone to Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

(From The Raw Story)

Kvatch Konsiders - The Real Purpose of a Border Fence

The right to be secure in our persons and papers? Gone. NSA and Gonzales have seen to that. Freedom of the press...likewise. Freedom to peaceably assemble? Done in by the Republicans with their speech zones, their harassment, and their spying on the opposition. The guarantee of non-enumerated rights--only where they don't tread on the conservative's supposed right to promote bigotry, economic divergence, and social discrimination. Prohibition against the establishment of religion? Your kidding, right?

So the question arises: What is the purpose of the a fence on the border--a fence that has never existed in the history of the United States on a border that never had to be defended in this fashion? Is it to keep foreigners out or to keep Americans in? Without a barrier, how long can the vampire that is Bu$hCo keep tax-paying, stability providing, consumers cooped up in an America that no longer delivers on it's promises?

For now, the barrier to exit is merely psychological, but there may come a time when the barrier becomes real.

2006/05/23

SF Board of Education to JROTC: You're Outta Here

Not much to say on this one other than, "Way to go San Francisco Board of Education!"

Seems that the military's "Don't ask don't tell" policy isn't just offensive to those of us in the bleachers. The San Francisco Board of Education has called it an -
...unjust, indefensible, unintelligent, state-sanctioned act of homophobia
...and has prepared a resolution that would force JROTC out of San Francisco's public schools by 2008.

Anyone care to speculate on how Bu$hCo will retaliate against the City? Maybe withhold our Federal AIDS funding again? Or perhaps they'll leave it to their proxies. I'm sure that as soon as Bill "Clown Shoes" O'Reilly gets a hold of this he'll call down al Qaeda's wrath on us or something equally stupid.

Kommandos Memorial Weekend Protest, May 26th and 27th

Kvatch's Kommandos Head Into the Field on the 26th and 27th!


But this time many other brigades will be joining the Kommandos in fighting the War on War.

Interested in joining up? Then check out the Kommandos Project where you'll find instructions, hints, slogans, more slogans, inspirational stories, cool banners for your website...in short everything a Kommander needs!

2006/05/22

Nothing Says "F*ck You NSA!" Like Encrypted VOIP

Though many of you may not be aware, the reason that we can employ strong encryption in email was that back in the early-90s a man named Phil Zimmerman developed a public/private-key encryption system called Pretty Good Privacy (PGP). That system endured--despite many years of the government harassment, many attempts to quash it through key escrow and other ill-advised schemes. So that now it is an easy to deploy standard for securing the confidentiality of your email (...or any other information that you care about).

Well with the NSA moving to intercept anything and everything that you send over the Internet, moving to record every call you make, it was only a matter of time before someone would provide encryption for the Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP). And guess who is at the forefront once again? Phil Zimmerman.

Way to go Phil. Let's all just hope that the US doesn't follow the UK's lead and criminalize the private use of encryption.

2006/05/21

Gonzales Ignores His Constitutional Duty Once Again

In observing that reporters can be questioned, prosecuted, and jailed under the guise of his "...commitment to national security," Alberto Gonzales has demonstrated once again his lack of fitness for the job of Attorney General.

Lest anyone forget, the oath sworn by all cabinet members is to the Constitution not the President, and unfortunately for the prostrate receptacle of feces that currently occupies the AG's office, that includes the 4th Amendment. But of course this doesn't trouble Gonzales, a man more interested in keeping the administration's secrets than actually investigating wrongdoing, and why should it? Bu$hCo has taken great pains to classify any information that might implicate them in wrongdoing.

Case in point, the exposure of NSA's warrantless surveillance program, about which Gonzales noted:
...the First Amendment right of a free press should not be absolute when it comes to national security. If the government's probe into the NSA leak turns up criminal activity, prosecutors have an obligation to enforce the law.
...keeping in mind that, for Gonzales, criminal activity doesn't include the illegal program itself.

Conservative Crybaby Whines at WaPo

Richard Viguerie, conservative marketer and co-founder of the Moral Majority, uses WaPo to whine about how true conservatives were betrayed by Bu$hCo and the crony conservatives he brought to Washington. And what rambling nonsense this stuff is too. Long diatribes on how Bush was a chameleon in the 2000 election, fooling bedrock GOP voters into thinking he was one of them, give way to tear-jerking "woe-are-we" monologues on how conservatives will abandon the GOP and stay home in the midtems. But in the end, this is just a big pile of crap--another conservative trying to eschew responsibility for the mess that Bu$hCo has made of the country.

Crying "Bush isn't one of us" rings pretty hollow when you voted for the Kowboy Koward...twice! And it's not like Republicans aren't willing to tag liberals as responsible for the most extreme elements of the Democratic party. So please explain to us...Richard...how is it that you missed the signs--Rampant cronyism in the first term and in Texas before that; A state Republican leadership that actually said that they wanted to be rid of Bush so he couldn't do any further damage.

What's that you say? You've got a book coming out? Oh well then, that explains it.

2006/05/19

Ripped From Tomorrow's Headlines

Bush Orders National Guard to Protect Approval Rating

"Stop Loss" Policy To Be Enforced On Administration's Poll Results

Political Capital Exhausted, Congress Raises Presidential Capital Ceiling



Got your thinking caps on? How about some more...

Star Wars For The '00s

In another blinding example of following the money...right into the pockets of industry, the cut and borrow conservatives at Bu$hCo have decided that traditional border enforcement methods aren't good enough. But rather than figuring our how to fix what we do now, the government is putting out multi-billion dollar contracts for a "virtual fence"--a fine old Ronnie Rayguns approach. Not like this hasn't been tried before. Many macho sounding projects like Operation Gate Keeper have spent millions before collapsing.

And who will be bidding in this Star Wars for the '00s? Well Halliburton hasn't announced anything yet, but if they do they'll be in fine company. Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and Northrop Grumman are all mentioned.

I expect to see the government announce multi-year plan to create force-fields for our border any day now.

2006/05/18

Welfare for the Rich Signed Into Law

The ink isn't even dry on Bu$hCo's Welfare for the Rich bill and already the lies have begun. From the Washington Post -
President Bush today signed a $70 billion, election-year tax-cut package, predicting it will bring a "strong lift" to the economy and "help millions of Americans who are saving for the future."
A lie (duh!), as numerous sources have pointed out, including this blog, the cuts will help almost no one below the $150,000 level.
"The opponents of these tax cuts were wrong when they voted against them the first time," Bush said, referring to Democrats who opposed tax cuts passed by the Republican-controlled Congress in 2001 and 2003.
Wrong again President Neuman. The Dems were simply supporting sound fiscal policy and the majority of Americans who won't benefit a whit from your millionaire's welfare program. Maybe that's why polls show your support among middle and lower class Americans eroding like a New Orleans levee.
Bush said the tax cuts have benefited Americans at all income levels.
Bwahahahahahah! Might be true, if by "all" income levels you mean all the levels above $500,000 a year. And...as if these statements weren't enough, Bush issued another Indivisible Quantum of Stupidity by uttering the following, You cut taxes and the tax revenues increase.

Midterms here we come...

Army Men Project


In preparation for the big protest on the 26th and 27th, Tom Hilton suggested that we create a blog dedicated to our little green kommandos. So...behold...the Army Men Project. Tips, tricks, information, pictures...check it out! And if you'd like an invitataion to join, just send me an email.

Kvatch Kvetches - When Down, The GOP Goes For The Heart

A roundup of stuff that's been languishing in the post queue.

And you thought politics in your neighborhood was nasty...
In California's Central Valley you've got a nasty little State Assembly race where one GOP candidate is attacking his opponent over the man's heart transplant. You've got to read this to believe it, but suffice to say it takes the idea of 'swift boating' to a new low.

When Your Proxy Is In Trouble Assert National Security
While we're all waiting for Rove to be indicted, Bu$hCo is moving quietly to quash the EFF's class-action suit against AT&T. AT&T's own attempt to get the suit dismissed, on the grounds that the EFF wasn't allowed to have the evidence, failed, but don't worry it's the Feds to the rescue. The administration claims that the plaintiffs have no chance to prove their case because a trial would compromise national security. Thus...a motion to...you guessed it...dismiss.

EPA Defends Inaction and Skewers The Auto Industry in the Process
10 states including New York and California are suing the EPA over the agency's refusal to regulate emissions. The plaintiffs claim that EPA is not living up to the requirements of the Clean Air Act. The defendant, interestingly, is claiming it doesn't have the authority. So here's the thing, if EPA lacks the authority, then maybe the auto industry's suit against CA should be dismissed. After all, what car makers claim is that California isn't allowed to regulate tailpipe emissions because only the EPA has that authority. Ironic.

2006/05/17

Kvatch Konsiders Congress - Collaborators? Co-conspirators?

The press and the public are justifiably upset that they've been lied to by Bu$hCo once again on the issue of domestic surveillance. This time though, there's a twist. The administration usually defends it's illegal activities by claiming that the President was authorized by Congress in the aftermath of Sept. 11th, but this time Bush acknowledged the existence and scope of the program and claimed that Congress had been briefed--as if this is a sufficient defense.

Now a case can be made that by failing to act on Bu$hCo's "high crimes and misdemeanors", members of congress are in fact collaborators, but if a civil court (as in the EFF vs. AT&T case), the Federal Circuit, or an impeachment trial rules that Bush is acting illegally, doesn't that make the congressmen that were briefed un-indicted co-conspirators? What if NSA's phone record database is being used for purposes other than searching for terrorists, like searching for leaks? What then?

(Thanks to Cartledge @ Talk About Corruption for the Inspiration.)

2006/05/16

Whoops! What was that date again?

From the BBC:

The release of the video, taken from a Pentagon security camera, comes after a Freedom of Information Act request by legal watchdog Judicial Watch. The group said it hoped to dispel conspiracy theories about the crash. "Finally, we hope that this video will put to rest the conspiracy theories involving American Airlines Flight 77," president Tom Fitton said.

Yes sir...I can just feel those conspiracy theories being dispelled.

Kvatch's Kommandos - A Big Day of Protest

Many of you have asked when I planned to do the next deployment of Kvatch's Kommandos. Many of you have expressed an interest in deploying your own brigades of protest army men. Well, May 26th will be Blognonymous' one year anniversary (that's about 12 in frog years), and instead of the usual "blogerversary" post, I want to do something big. So now's your chance. Please join me on the 26th for a day of protest -

No More War - Bring Our Army Men Home



Prepare your troops, and on that Friday (or Saturday if that works better for you) inundate your towns, your cities, streets, shops, and stores, malls and markets, museums and monuments, parks and piers, cars and cabs. Let's make this into a movement that will get noticed. Let me know that you're on board, I'll publish the list as we get close to the date, and then we'll go to war...to end war.

Kommanders deploying troops on the 26th:

27


And check out our new blog devoted to the War on War -
The Kommandos Project.

2006/05/15

Of Concrete and Favoritism

The long sorry saga of the San Francisco Bay Bridge is a cautionary tale about how government is not supposed to work. It's a case study of favortism in Sacramento that started with 3 years of rebuilding for L.A.'s freeways after the Northridge quake and may end 17 years after the Loma Prieta quake with the completion of the Bay Bridge's Eastern Span...or maybe it won't.

News reports in the San Francisco Chronicle have exposed Pacific Cement, a now defunct company accused of supplying substandard concrete to many Bay Area projects including the retrofit of the Bay Bridge and new work on it's western approaches. We better hope that Caltrans dismissed this company before they did any major work on the new Eastern Span, or once again the Bay Area will find itself screwed--waiting many additional years for California to get the seismically unsound span replaced.

GOP Running Scared...Finally

Senate Majority Leader Frist is planning to trot out the old war horses, gay marriage, flag desecration, in the belief that he can use them to galvanize the conservative base. But with Bush's numbers heading south faster than one of Vice President Buckshot's hunting partners, the electorate will hand Congress to the Democrats unless the Republicans are very careful.

Frist is clueless, but that's not true of everyone in the Republican party. The First Lady, for example, is calling on congressional Republicans to basically shut up--might as well just beg the GOP to save her husband from a premature return to private life.

With luck Frist and Hastert will just keep on doing what they're doing, and Bush will head back to Texas just before embarking on an extended vacation in the Federal pen.

2006/05/14

Future Headlines - Bush Goes Negative One Last Time

Washington (f-A-ke. P.) - President Bush saw his approval ratings dip into negative territory today when it was revealed that even the nation's dead don't approve of the job he is doing. In office largely due to House Majority Leader, Nancy Pelosi's May pledge not to impeach the President, Mr. Bush responded by mentioning that those dead Americans were obviously not right with the Almighty, and so he didn't have to pay attention to them anyway.

In related news, a number of prominent liberals have recently floated the notion of impeaching Representative Pelosi herself. One source, speaking on the condition of anonymity said, "Well, if we can't have Bush, I'd be willing to settle for Pelosi's stupid skinny ass."

2006/05/13

Nixon vs. Bush - By The Numbers

How bad a president is Bush? Is he as bad as Nixon? These are questions that everyone has an opinion on, but for which there is no objective measure. Oh sure we can say that Bush is a disaster, but by what metric? I would propose that the public is the best measure of the President, and on that scale Bush is not only worse than Nixon, he's likely to the be the worst president in the history of this nation. But let's not speculate. Let's bring mathematics to bear...

Nixon entered off office in January, 1969 with a 65% approval rating, and despite equaling it just after his reelection in 72, he was never any better. When he resigned, after 64 months in office, his approval rating stood at about 26%. That means his approval declined an average of .61 points per month.

Bush, in contrast, had a peak approval rating of 91% one month after the September 11 attack. From there he's declined to a miserable 29%. So in 55 months, Bush's approval has declined by 1.13 points per month, almost double Nixon's rate. Is Bush twice as bad? Well, I'd say that the numbers don't lie, and at this rate Bush might manage to hit zero before he leaves office.

2006/05/12

Blognony-STICKERS

Hopefully something funny on a Friday afternoon...

When it comes to NSA, nothing says "F*ck you!" like ciphertext.

Katherine Harris - Proof positive that God is on the side of the Democrats.

(If you don't get that first one, just ask me, and thanks to Tina @ Fuzzy and Blue for the inpsiration.)

Bu$hCo and the Indivisible Quantum of Stupidity

What is that makes Bu$hCo unique? I would say that it is the tendency to reduce every issue to a single insipid soundbite--a sentence so devoid of context that it cannot be argued with or further divided into smaller stupid remarks. In fact, these are Indivisible Quanta of Stupidity and the hallmark of this administration. Consider these examples and see if you agree:

Bush on the subject of extending tax breaks (mostly for the rich, but of course that doesn't bother Bush):
If Congress doesn't act, your taxes are going to go up, and you're not going to like it...

McClellan on the UN's call for bringing Guantanamo's detainees to trial swiftly (a complete non-sequitur):
These are dangerous terrorists that we're talking about.

Bush on the outsourcing of jobs to countries like India (a "duh!" statement if ever there was one):
People do lose jobs as a result of globalization and it's painful for those who lose jobs...

Bush on deficit reduction (presumably he's talking about Republican's here):
Here's the way Washington works. They'll increase your taxes and they'll figure out new ways to spend your money.

Bush on the use of ethanol and ethanol blends (totally off the reservation here):
We can't use all the corn -- people gotta eat -- animals gotta eat too!

2006/05/11

Are 1 in 30 Americans really terrorist suspects?

As reported in USA Today yesterday (and now pretty much all over the news): It isn't just AT&T that has a "fat pipe" straight to NSA, it's also Bell South and Verizon. We also know that it's not 10's of thousands of Americans that NSA, and by extension the administration, is interested in. It's 10's of millions!

I don't have much to add to such astounding, catastrophic news, but let me make one single point. If conservatively we say that phone records for only...say...10,000,000 Americans are involved in this massive breach of the 4th amendment, then Bu$hCo will have to defend surveillance of 1 in every 30 Americans. In other words, Bu$hCo's only defense will be to claim that it considers 1 of every 30 Americans to be a terrorist suspect! Think about that...

Kvatch Kvetches - The future of gas is gas futures?

A roundup of stuff that I don't have the time to embelish -

Leave It To The Minnesotans
Did you know that you can buy options at today's prices on future gas purchases? Well, as my in-laws would say, "Ya sure, you betcha!" They're doing it at First Fuels Bank in St. Cloud, MN where you can fill up with fuel that you purchased...whenever. But, though this is a great example of a free-market system, I'm still uneasy with any system that encourages consumption and discourages conservation.

So Much For the Volunteer Army
I know the armed forces are short of troops and that quotas are going unfilled. I know that Bu$hCo is preparing troops for rotation into units that can attack Iran. And supposedly we're "at war" and most troops, reserve and otherwise, serve at the pleasure of the President in time of war. Still though, it seems wrong to deny a request to resign from a reservist who's served his 8 years.

2006/05/10

Hayden - The Harriet Miers of CIA

And you know what that means, right? ROVE IS IN!


(Thanks to PoliShifter @ Pissed on Politics for supplying that last piece of the puzzle.)

GOP Reaches Deal on Millionaire Welfare

WaPo's headline really reads, "GOP Reaches Deal on Tax Cuts", but that doesn't quite tell the whole story. The article contains a pretty chart about who'll benefit from the newest round of national debt inflation, but the Tax Policy Center left out one critical column. I've added that column below:
IncomeTax SavingsPercentage
$15,000$20.013%
$25,000$90.036%
$35,000$160.046%
$45,000$460.102%
$62,500$1100.176%
$87,500$4030.461%
$150,000$1,3880.925%
$350,000$4,4991.285%
$750,000$5,5620.742%
$1,500,000$41,9972.8%
Read it and f*cking weep. Unless of course you make $1.5 million...then cheer.

2006/05/09

For The 500th Post...A Big "Thank You"

So here I am wondering what I should write about for Blognonymous' 500th post. Something funny? Something topical? Or how about something that we as bloggers probably don't say often enough:

To Blogenfreude for my first link
And to Mike who encouraged the verse.
To Drew for the first reprint
And to Rex whom I cannot coerce.
To Helen and Stacy, Enigma and Dusty,
For attention when this blog was young.
To Lily, Alicia, Generik, and Abi...
For their magnificent guest blogging fun.
To Windspike my dependable compadre
And for a warm BARBARian reception,
And to the rest of you, my readers, commenters,
and friends that I'd like to mention...
Rest assured that you're in my thoughts
With every click, each hit, and post.
Cause it's good to blog and good to share
With those who write, and blog, and care.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for writing. Thanks for everything.

At Bu$hCo Diversity Stops With The Cabinet

Cast your mind back to the early days of Bush's first term. If you listened to the windbags on the right, Bu$hCo was golden when it came to diversity, and true enough he had a very diverse cabinet--minorities...women, all represented in unprecedented numbers. But that was then.

Now, with 6 years to assess the administration's real performance, we find--surprise, surprise--that Bush not only does not lead on diversity, he can't even best the right's evil nemesis, Bill Clinton. WaPo's got the goods straight from the House Government Reform Committee. Have a look.

2006/05/08

Kvatch Konsiders - Lotteries Instead of Elections

I've been called for jury duty countless times and served twice. Both times my impression has been that once in the jury box people really try to do their civic duty. They try to be fair, and they do their best dispense justice.

Now...why do I mention this? Well some decades ago in science fiction there was a popular notion that anybody deliberately angling to achieve public office should be immediately disqualified (Heinlein maybe?). In fact, Arthur Clarke popularized this notion in his novel The Songs of Distant Earth, where instead of electing their leaders people where chosen to serve by lottery, and I believe that once chosen most citizens would serve honorably and fairly.

This begs the question: With corruption rampant, special interests and corporations exerting more influence than the electorate, and leaders so morally bankrupt that they can't even abide by the documents they've sworn to protect...wouldn't we be better off if we just chose our leaders via lottery? In other words, fix the duration of service, pay a more than decent wage, make it mandatory, and let people govern themselves...for real.

2006/05/07

Time For Episcopalians and Anglicans To Divorce

On Saturday the Episcopal Church's California diocese held it's first vote to install a new bishop in 27 years, and three of the candidates were openly gay or lesbian. The American branch of the Anglican Communion could have taken one more step on the path that led to Gene Robinson's installation as bishop in New Hampshire. The California diocese could have, in a single step, stopped a questionable tradition of elevating southern white men while at the same time demonstrating how inclusive a Christian church can be. They could have done these things...but they didn't.

Perhaps it's because California isn't really as inclusive a place as it likes to pretend. Maybe it's because the Episcopal Church's hierarchy continually warned of the dire consequences of electing "another" gay bishop. Maybe it's not about homosexuality at all since two of the candidates were women. Or maybe it has to do with the threats made by African and Latin American bishops or the relationships that these churches, arguably the center of gravity on the modern Anglican Communion, are making with American churches that object to Gene Robinson.

Whatever the reason, California's Episcopalians elected the Right Rev. Mark Andrus of Alabama, putting off the question of gays in the church for another day. But the question remains: When will American Anglicans follow their inclination to be inclusive and to discard the hate and loathing for homosexuals that continual flogging of the Old Testament engenders? The force of law with respect to church property is on the side of the Episcopalians. There is arguably no good reason for these two churches to stay together other than for the sake of tradition. Any American churches that wish to join up with their spiritual fellow travelers in Africa should be wished well but told politely to leave.

In short, it's time for the Episcopalians and the Anglicans to divorce.

2006/05/06

Mission Accomplished...Asshole

"Asshole!"
Just click the picture and you'll see why.

(HT to James and Genius of Insanity.)

Hayden To Replace Goss At CIA - Now The Fun Really Begins

The Washington Post reports that General Michael Hayden is the likely replacement for Porter Goss at CIA and may be named to the post as early as Monday. You will recall that General Hayden is the man who acceded to Bush's illegal use of NSA for domestic surveillance and in doing so is the man most directly responsible for destroying the reputation of what had been one the US most effective intelligence agencies.

So, having cleared CIA of it's most senior and effective staff, the employees most likely to resist Bu$hCo attempts to twist the agency's mission into one of "intelligence manufacture", Bush brings in a man who has no scruples about violating an agency's charter (NSA), and apparently no ethical qualms when it comes to the legality of his agency's actions.

This is going to be fun.

2006/05/05

With CIA Fully Under Bu$hCo Control, Goss Resigns

Goss said -
I would like to report to you that the agency (CIA) is back on a very even keel and sailing well.
Blognonymous translation: "The dissenters have been silenced. The leakers have been fired. Your minions have been installed, and everybody knows that their job is to fit the intelligence to your agenda."

Identity Theft Through Boarding Pass

I would have said it couldn't be done, but they did it and with just the stub of a boarding pass. Here's how -
We logged on to the BA website, bought a ticket in Broer's name and then, using the frequent flyer number on his boarding pass stub, without typing in a password, were given full access to all his personal details - including his passport number, the date it expired, his nationality (he is Dutch, living in the UK) and his date of birth. The system even allowed us to change the information.

2006/05/04

Kvatch Kvetches - It's A Dangerous World Out There

A roundup of interesting tidbits that just didn't quite make the cut...

What does Microsoft have up their sleeve? Automated censorship...
In fact they're trying to patent it with new filing for a system that would bleep out words in voice over IP and other streaming audio content. So pretty soon, when you're listening to that feed of Bill Maher, it'll sound like, "[bzzzt] Bush [crackle] [pop] bin Laden [mrrrrmph]."

...and the Feds will get to listen in...
Since the FCC has determined that VOIP must include the ability for the government to snoop the connection. Wonder if the Feds will enjoy those censored broadcasts as much as we will?

...and we'll get to pay for the whole thing.
Because the FCC has also ruled that broadband providers will have to pick up the tab for all of this whippy new surveillance technology--sort of a "wiretap tax" that will ultimately get passed on to...you guessed it, us!

When Deflecting the Scandal Du Jour Is Not Enough

You have to admire Bu$hCo. No administration in history has managed to deflect the media's attention from so many scandals. Scooter Libby gets indicted--an al Qaeda operative is captured. Vice President Buckshot blasts a hunting partner--Osama comes out with a new statement. The MSM is abuzz with stories of Iranian war plans--suddenly immigration is the biggest issue of the election cycle.

But you have to believe that there will come a time when there won't be anything left for the administration to try. What might happen on that day?
Q: Scott, we were wondering about the President's reaction to the indictment of Karl Rove.

MR. McCLELLAN: Democrats--

Q: I'm sorry. I don't think I understand.

MR. McCLELLAN: It's the Democrats fault. If you look back over the course of this administration everything that's gone wrong can be traced back to the Demo--

Q: Well perhaps...but we'd like to know if the President is concerned that the Fitzgerald investigation may go as high as the Vice President.

MR. McCLELLAN: Gas prices...we're facing a very serious situation with supply, and the President is doing everything possi--ensuring that the American can get gasoline at reasona--

Q: But Scott, what does that have to do with a possible indictment of the Vice President?

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't think th...hey look at this shiny object...and remember...Clinton got a blowjob in the Oval Office.

2006/05/03

Kvatch Konsiders - Net neutrality, what's the big deal?

From Tim Wu at Slate -
How would you feel if I-95 announced an exclusive deal with General Motors to provide a special "rush-hour" lane for GM cars only?
So maybe it's time to start thinking of the Internet as if it were a public utility of old-a trust, an essential part of our life and of our democracy. Would that mean that we need to remove it from the telcos in order to preserve it? Perhaps.

Glinda Delivers The Good News To Bush's Heir

Glinda the Good lets Condi know that she's next.

There's no place like the Oval Office...We're off to see our leader
The glorious prez from Texahs.
We hear he's going to make us his heir
Cause he no longer needs the laws.
He no longer needs the laws because
Democracy sucks. It really does,
And 'cause--because, because, because, because...
Elections are hooey and full of flaws!
We're off to to see our leader
The glorious prez from Texahs!


...and The Station Agent responds with verse!

Religion of Rex Rejected

Apparently 4 so-called "freedom-loving" posts is all the blogsphere can handle from yours truly before I'm spirited away for some serious deprogramming. Guess I'll never take Darth Rex's place at the Emperor's side.

But...so what?! Contented with my lot, reinvigorated, regurgitated, brimming with bile and snark, I'm back to do battle with the forces of evil! So Bring it on, Rex! I got yer freedom-lovin' rightch here!

Hold on to your hats...

2006/05/02

Kvatch Kvestions - States Suing the Federal Government

It's come to my attention that a bunch of states, l'brul states like California and New York, are getting a bit too big for their britches. A recent example of this is the lawsuit brought by 10 of these uppity "lesser governments" against the wise environmental policies of the Bush administration. Policies, I should note, that were formulated by forward thinking environmentalists from our smartest industry, Big Oil. (You know why they're the smartest? Well, if I have to tell you then you're probably not a freedom-lover anyway.)

Now you're probably saying to yourself, "What's the problem here? Shouldn't states be allowed to sue the feds?" And the answer is of course...yes...when the Democrats are in power. But when were talking about 'The Decider' then...uh, uh, nope, no way! It's sort of like a child suing their parents because they don't want to eat their peas, and you wouldn't allo--

Hey!--Who are you guys! What are you doi--[mrrmmmmppppp!] [grrrgggg!]

-----

The management of Blognonymous would like to announce that at 3:30 pm this afternoon, an elite special unit of Kvatch's Kommandos executed an "extraordinary rendition" on their leader, spiriting him off for some heavy deprogramming sessions. Kvatch may return tomorrow if he gets his little frog head screwed on straight. Otherwise, he may never return.

- KK

The Automobile - Nothing Is More American

Today at Blognonymous, we pose a simple question: What is more American than the automobile?

American power rides on 4 wheels. Our automobile industry has provided more prosperity to more Americans than any industry in history. We live for our cars. We recreate with our cars. What is America's favorite sport? Say it proudly...NASCAR!

Indeed, we love our cars, but not just any cars...manly cars, beefy cars, muscular cars--cars with fins, fenders, and flair. So it comes as no surprise that freedom-hating Americans (I'm talking l'bruls here) choose for transportation vehicles that hardly even deserve to be called "CAR"!

Take your average latte-sucking, sunglass wearing, Prius driving Angelino. These wimps wave smugly too each other as they pass on the freeway not realizing that to drive is to do battle--to enter a winner take all contest that compels you not to show up in something that looks like a rolling glob of mashed potatoes. Did Patton wave to Rommel as he bore down on him in the desert? He did not! And what about all of those other silly "hybrid" cars? Not a manly vehicle in the bunch:
  • Insight (Honda) - May get the best gas mileage available, but it still looks like a rolling piece of candy-corn. Might as well be a tricycle with an internal combustion engine.
  • Civic (Honda) - Oh sure...drive a car whose Nipponese nameplate is older than your mother and that looks like s gumdrop.
  • Prius (Toyota) - An evil plot to take over the world that...well...you know what I think it looks like.
  • Accord (Honda) - If you're grandfather was Japanese, this is what he'd drive--so rounded and boring that Accord drivers are often mistaken for narcoleptics.
So there you have it folks. Now go forth and feel proud when you shell out half your mortgage payment to fill up your Escalade. You're supporting America here!

2006/05/01

What are 750 laws compared to the defense of liberty?

The l'bruls are all upset about reports that our courageous President has violated more than 750 laws while in office, but as we all know Mr. Bush answers to a higher authority, FREEDOM--well, and the Almighty, but mostly FREEDOM! And if you examine the laws in question, as we here at Blognonymous have done, you find that most of them are silly and can be broken down as follows:
  • 256 instances of "persuading" evil-doers to give up America-hating and to cooperate with us in the global war on...uh...whatever it is that we're calling it today
  • 8 closed door meetings with environmental experts from ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco, and Royal Dutch Shell
  • 150 opportunities to reign in hippie librarians with a well-timed subpoenas
  • 30 instances of telling Congress that they shouldn't worry their pretty little heads about how the administration is using the Patriot Act
  • 116 all expense paid vacations to Rumy's Home for Wayward America-destroyers
  • 18 "snakes-in-the-grass" that were encouraged investigate alternate opportunities after they tattled on the administration
  • 36 bazillion intercepted communications between terrorists and freedom-hating collaborators here in the America (...but we'll only count these as one, since all the data went to the same place)
As for the other 170 or so violations...who knows what the Boston Globe is talking about--commie editors counting some of those last 36 bazillion phone calls, no doubt.

Real Americans Don't Mind Being Whores

After the sharp, and oddly bi-partisan, reaction to generous Republican efforts to put $100.00 dollars back in our wallets, the G.O.P. leadership came out swinging Monday morning.

In response to a constituent's question, "Do you think we are prostitutes? Do you think you can buy us?" House Speaker, Dennis Hastert's office issued a statement that read:
Real Americans don't mind being whores when it's their government that's doing the pimping.
And Eric Ueland, chief of staff to Senator Bill Frist (R. TN), whose office played a main role in pulling the proposal together, said that people should just shut their big yappers and head to Wal-Mart for the jumbo pack of Ho-Ho's. "...I mean, count your blessings. We could just take the money and use it to fund retiring ExxonMobil CEO, Lee Raymond's pension."

Here at Blognonymous, we couldn't agree more.

Kvatch Kapitulates

San Francisco (f-A-Ke. P.) -

Early this evening Kvatch Kopf, esteemed frog and liberal commentator, emerged from rehab at the Betty Cracker Center for Pain-in-the-Ass Liberals to announce his new found love for America -
I just want to express my gratitude to all of my friends during this trying time and to acknowledge Rex Kramer, Danger Seeker for his intervention and support in helping to steer me right. I now feel ready to love, freedom, America, and my President (in an entirely platonic way) with every bone in my squishy little body.
The Bush administration expressed its satisfaction with these new developments by announcing that Mr. Kopf would be offered the position of Secretary of the Interior, replacing recent nominee Dirk Kempthorne who stepped aside when it became known that nobody knew who the hell he was.