Friday, August 29, 2003

Vacation Time

To my 25 loyal readers (you know who you are):

I'll be taking a vacation until September 11, 2003. Its my first extended travel in about two years. While I'm off, try some of the links to the right. See you in two weeks.

Ur bud 4 life,
Harry Cheddar
HEADLINE: Britney Tongue Kisses Madonna on the VMA's

In other news, my schnauzer tried to make it with the grass-bag on my lawnmower.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Ma Bell is a Cheap Slut

'A Brazilian telephone company is offering a helping hand to Latin lovers who are lacking inspiration with animations of sexual positions based on the Kama Sutra flashed directly to their mobile phones. For 33 cents, customers of Tele Norte Leste Participacoes' wireless arm Oi can download one of 40 animations which come with a short explanation and gauge of difficulty.'
EPA to Deny It Has Authority to Cap Greenhouse Gases

The Bush administration is expected to formally announce Thursday or Friday that it doesn't think it has the authority to cap emissions of carbon dioxide and other "greenhouse gases," a move likely to intensify a battle between the administration and environmentalists, including some state regulators.

Word from the Environmental Protection Agency that it believes it lacks authority under the nation's Clean Air Act to regulate emissions that are believed to be raising the Earth's temperature comes just after the agency issued another controversial set of rules making it easier for older power plants and factories to be upgraded without costly antipollution controls.




Study Ties Biggest CEO Raises to Largest Layoffs

Chief executives of companies that had the largest layoffs and most underfunded pensions and that moved operations offshore to avoid U.S. taxes were rewarded with the biggest pay hikes in 2002, on average, a new report has found.


If She Didn't Want It, She Shouldn't Have Wore That Dress

"Frustrated at the failure to find Saddam Hussein's suspected stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, allied intelligence agencies have launched a major effort to determine if they were victims of bogus Iraqi defectors who planted disinformation to mislead the West before the war."

See, we wuz da victims.
From todays Washington Post. . .

Halliburton's Deals Greater Than Thought (washingtonpost.com)

Halliburton, the company formerly headed by Vice President Cheney, has won contracts worth more than $1.7 billion under Operation Iraqi Freedom and stands to make hundreds of millions more dollars under a no-bid contract awarded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, according to newly available documents.

Bush Tries to Have General Clark Fired From CNN

". . .General Clark indicated that White House aides were so worried by him that they attempted to oust him from the cable network as America prepared for war.

'The White House actually back in February apparently tried to get me knocked off CNN and they wanted to do this because they were afraid that I would raise issues with their conduct of the war,' he said in a recent radio interview.

Gen Clark, a former Rhodes Scholar, previously said the White House tried to pressurise him to link the September 11 attacks to Iraq."

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Quote of the Day

"I believe gay marriage should be between a man and a woman."

- Arnold Schwarzenegger (Sean Hannity Radio Show, 8/27)

Via Media Whores Online

Homeland Security? We don't Need No Stenkin' Homeland Security!

"The Department of Homeland Security has laid off 27 border inspectors in Michigan, days before Labor Day weekend -- one of the state's busiest times for border crossings, a union official said Tuesday. "
EPA Relying On Anecdotal Evidence From Industries It Regulates

"WASHINGTON (AP) - Congressional investigators say the Environmental Protection Agency relied on anecdotes from industries it regulates, not comprehensive data, when it claimed that relaxing air pollution rules for industrial plants would cut emissions and reduce health risks.

The General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, said in a report Monday that EPA lacked scientific evidence for its claims that the Clean Air Act's 'new source review' program needed revising because it discourages energy-efficiency improvements at plants.

. . .

'Because it lacked comprehensive data, EPA relied on anecdotes from the four industries it believes are most affected,' the GAO said. 'Because the information is anecdotal, EPA's findings do not necessarily represent the program's effects across the industries subject to the program.'


So it no longer matters how much a corporation pollutes, as long as it can spin a good story.
Damn, There Goes My Clone Slave Labor Plan

'New fears have been raised about the health of cloned animals after three cloned adult pigs dropped dead from heart attacks. ... Of four piglets born, one died within days. The remaining three have now collapsed and expired of heart failure at less than six months of age, team leader Jerry Yang of the University of Connecticut in Storrs revealed this week. 'It was totally shocking,' says Yang. He has dubbed the fatalities 'adult clone sudden death syndrome.'
Secure the Oilfields, Set up The Bases, and Punt

PARIS (Reuters) - Richard Perle, a leading Pentagon adviser and architect of the U.S. war to topple Saddam Hussein, said the United States had made mistakes in Iraq and that power should be handed over to the Iraqis as fast as possible.

Death Gallops the Streets of Iraq

Everyday, women mill about crying outside the courtyard of Baghdad's Institute of Forensic Medicine at Bab al Muadam Square, so overcome with grief that they are unable to stand. The men stand grim and silent, the sleepless nights showing on their faces. But behind the doors of, the day is just beginning as the daily toll of postwar Iraq's crime wave gets counted.

Coroners have to work overtime these days to keep up with the stream of bodies that comes through the everyday. Five coroners distributed along the five benches of the morgue are barely able to keep up. More than ten corpses lay around in the room as if they were in an abattoir, with chairs for students to study the place and the events taking place there. About 10 autopsies a day are completed here as partially decomposed bodies pile up on autopsy tables and along the office floors awaiting final approval for burial. From the outside, the smell of the room is enough to make one retch; inside the stench is simply overwhelming.

"Neither during the war nor during the previous two wars has this happened," said Dr. Qais Hassan Salman, a specialist in forensic medicine at the Institute. "The number of dead is absolutely unbelievable, and I'm just speaking of Baghdad alone. God knows what's happening elsewhere." Coalition officials have claimed that Baghdad's crime rates are comparable to any major US city. But in fact, judging by coroner's reports, the Iraqi capital's homicide rate exceeds that of even the most violent American cities several times over. Even before the war began, Baghdad was one of the most dangerous places to live in the world. This year's records mark more than a doubling in violent deaths.




Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Bush Supports Legislation To Shield Enron-style Fraudsters

'Retroactive legislation moving rapidly through Congress would make it easier for corporate wrongdoers to escape responsibility for defrauding investors, harming the environment and otherwise maximizing profits at the expense of the health and financial well-being of ordinary citizens,' says Nan Aron, president of Alliance For Justice, a nonprofit corporation based in Washington, DC. 'In the wake of the worst corporate scandals in fifty years, rather than acting to deter wrongdoing, Congress is poised to encourage more white collar misconduct with passage of a so-called class action reform bill which actually retroactively helps several of our most notorious corporate miscreants escape accountability.'
U.S. Troops Needing Rifles Turn To The AK-47

"U.S. troops in Iraq may not have found weapons of mass destruction, but they're certainly getting their hands on the country's stock of Kalashnikovs and, they say, they need them.

The soldiers based around Baqouba are from an armor battalion, which means they have tanks, Humvees and armored personnel carriers. But they are short on rifles."

. . .

Some complain that standard U.S. military M16 and M4 rifles jam too easily in Iraq's dusty environment.

Many say the AK has better "knockdown" power and can kill with fewer shots.

"The kind of war we are in now ... you want to be able to stop the enemy quick," said Sgt. 1st Class Tracy S. McCarson of Newport News, Va., an Army scout who carries an AK in his Humvee.

Some troops say the AK is easier to maintain and is a better close-quarters weapon."




Hey, We Secured the Oil, Didn't We?

Abandoned weaponry litters Iraq - U.S. faulted for not securing Hussein-era munitions

Baghdad -- Iraqi officials and former army officers say the United States, in its haste to dismantle Saddam Hussein's rule, has left thousands of pounds of munitions unguarded and accessible to looters and criminals.

"When the Americans came into Iraq, they didn't secure the military bases," said former Iraqi Army Brig. Gen. Mohammad Abdullah Nour. "The munitions were everywhere, even on the sidewalks. Not just 500-pound bombs, but 2-ton or 5- ton bombs or 10-ton bombs. The Iraqi army was scattered all over Iraq, and when they abandoned their posts, they left the weapons there."

The truck bombing of the U.N. compound in Baghdad on Tuesday has prompted harsh Iraqi criticism of the U.S. and British security operations.



Disgruntled Bachelorettes Beat Down Male Stripper

"A woman has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery, admitting she attacked a stripper who failed to meet expectations during her daughter's bachelorette party.

Jacqueline McMahon, 52, was sentenced to 30 days of court supervision and ordered to pay $2,500 restitution to the victim in a plea deal reached Monday. Prosecutors also agreed to drop battery charges against McMahon's daughter, Carrie McMahon, 22, of Loveland, Colo., and bridesmaid Kelly Meyer, 33.

The 28-year-old man suffered head injuries, bruises and scratches when he was punched, kicked and hit over the head with a bottle after his July 2002 performance at a hotel in Crystal Lake."
Cheney Continues to Stonewall GAO Investigation

'Congressional investigators said on Monday that Vice President Dick Cheney had stymied their investigation into his energy task force by refusing to turn over key documents. The General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, said it was impossible to tell how much energy companies or industry groups may have influenced the task force's 2001 report because the administration withheld important records.'

Can you imagine the outcry if Clinton or Gore did this?
Britain Proposes Surveillance System for All Automobiles

"Drivers were reeling last night at Government plans to put a computerised spy in every car. The hi-tech gadgets will record each time a motorist drifts over a speed limit, wanders into a bus lane or even stops on a yellow line.

. . .

The scheme would force car makers to fit the microchip in all new vehicles."
Musharraf Makes Deal With U.S. to Keep Osama Free

"The Pakistani president, General Pervez Musharraf, struck a deal with the US not to seize Bin Laden after the Afghan war for fear of inciting trouble in his own country."

From the U.K. Guardian
New GI death in Iraq sets grim mark

Aug. 26 — The toll of U.S. troops killed in postwar Iraq surpassed the number killed in major combat on Tuesday, reaching 139 with the death of a soldier in a roadside bombing.

TWO OTHER SOLDIERS were wounded when the bomb hit a support convoy in the town of Hamariyah, 16 miles northwest of Baghdad, the military announced.

The incident brought the death toll since May 1, when President Bush declared an end to major combat, to one more than the number of soldiers who died during heavy fighting before that date. Since the war began March 20, 277 U.S. forces have died. Since May 1, 66 soldiers have died in combat.



Afghan Taliban a Growing Menace to Stability

"KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (Reuters) - Operating in growing numbers, the Taliban and their allies have succeeded in destabilizing large parts of Afghanistan and creating conditions that could undermine the U.S. military and central government.

Aid and reconstruction is suspended across swathes of territory in the center, south and southeast, giving Afghans the impression the international community has abandoned them now the Taliban has been formally ousted."

Monday, August 25, 2003

BBC launches public attack on Murdoch 'imperialism'

The controller of BBC1 launched an unprecedented attack on Rupert Murdoch yesterday, calling the media billionaire a "capital imperialist" who wants to destabilise the corporation because he "is against everything the BBC stands for".

Lorraine Heggessey said Mr Murdoch's continued attacks on the BBC stemmed from a dislike of the public sector. But he did not understand that the British people "have a National Health Service, a public education system" and trust organisations that are there for the benefit of society and not driven by profit.

Her controversial comments, in an interview with The Independent, are believed to be the first time a senior BBC executive has publicly attacked the motives of the media tycoon. They follow an intensification of anti-BBC rhetoric from Mr Murdoch's side.


From The U.K. Independent
Bush Ramrods Through A Record Number of Recess Appointments

Daniel Pipes leads the list of people the Bush Administration backdoors in without congressional approval during the August recess.
EPA Admits Coverup of Health Risks to New Yorkers From 9-11

"A report by the federal Environmental Protection Agency's internal watchdog has concluded that the White House took steps to mislead the city about the seriousness of health threats in the days and months following the September 11th terror attacks.

Nikki Tinsley, the EPA's Inspector General, says the Bush administration pressured the agency to say the air around the World Trade Center site was safe to breathe before it had done enough tests.

Those assurances led thousands of rescue workers and Lower Manhattan residents to stay in the area following the attacks. "
More Lies from the Junta

"The Associated Press has learned U-S weapons experts in Baghdad have come to a conclusion after examining a fleet of abandoned Iraqi drones, which are small, unmanned aircraft. The experts say the drones weren't designed to dispense biological or chemical weapons. In building the case for war, senior Bush administration officials had said the drones were intended to deliver unconventional weapons."
U.S. checking possibility of pumping oil from northern Iraq to Haifa, via Jordan

The United States has asked Israel to check the possibility of pumping oil from Iraq to the oil refineries in Haifa. The request came in a telegram last week from a senior Pentagon official to a top Foreign Ministry official in Jerusalem.

The Prime Minister's Office, which views the pipeline to Haifa as a 'bonus' the U.S. could give to Israel in return for its unequivocal support for the American-led campaign in Iraq, had asked the Americans for the official telegram.


By Amiram Cohen from Ha'aretz

Saturday, August 23, 2003

Go Dean Go

RECENT POLLS show the former Vermont governor leading (in New Hampshire) and in Iowa, the first two stops on the road to the 2004 nomination, running strong in vote-rich California and surging nationally. To build on the momentum, Dean is expanding operations in key states such as Washington and Michigan, and increasingly reaching out to centrists by talking up balanced budgets and gun rights, an issue with broad appeal in key southern states. Today he will embark on his first presidential-style, multistate trip with the national media in tow.
More Habitat For Humanity Losers

'Police say the owner of a house built by Habitat for Humanity took advantage of the charity and turned the home into a crack house. And less than 24 hours after police raided the home, it caught fire. Fire officials said late Thursday that the blaze, which badly damaged the home, was suspicious.

. . .

'Most of the time the people who get those houses are good people who need help. Not everyone is going to take advantage of the situation like her and turn it into a crack house.'

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Who's making the Fat Jack in Iraq?

Here's a hint - its Dick Cheney's old employer.

From Democratic Veteran. Referred by TBOGG.
Raving Hatemoneys Tear Down Houston Democratic Headquarters

Republicans in Harris County have pounded their Democratic opponents time and time again at the ballot box during the past decade.

Sunday, they intend to throw a grand old party to batter the Democrats' former headquarters in Midtown.

Harris County GOP Chairman Jared Woodfill is asking local Republicans to bring sledgehammers and other implements of destruction to help level the building the Democrats vacated three months ago.

"You bring the muscle, we'll bring the refreshments and we will have a party as we tear down the Harris County Democratic Party headquarters," Woodfill said in his invitation to party faithful.


The party will be concluded with a recitation of the Pledge to the Texas Flag, followed by a rousing rendition of "Deutschland Uber Alles".


Marine prefers shooting self to overseas deployment

'Adam D. Welter, 20, told police the driver of a disabled pickup truck shot him early Monday in the left shoulder, said Capt. Bob Aldrich, of the Anoka County Sheriff's Office. However, Welter apparently wanted to be relieved from an overseas assignment scheduled to begin Monday, and he has acknowledged shooting himself in the left shoulder hours before he was scheduled to leave and making up a story about being attacked, authorities said.'
Microsoft forced to use Linux machinery


'Microsoft has made a big deal out of asserting that Linux is not fit for the enterprise. But Microsoft itself is using Linux to help protect its servers against denial-of-service attacks. According to a post on the Netcraft Web site, Microsoft changed its DNS settings on Friday so that requests for www.microsoft.com no longer resolve to machines on Microsoft's own network, but instead are handled by the Akamai caching system, which runs Linux. '
Dr. David Kelley Foretold His Own Death

"Dr David Kelly told a UK diplomat he would probably be 'found dead in the woods' if the UK invaded Iraq, the Hutton inquiry has heard.

Diplomat David Broucher said the scientist made what he regarded as a 'throwaway remark' in February.

It was only when he heard that Dr Kelly had been found dead in Oxfordshire woodland last month that Mr Broucher thought the comment might be more significant.

Mr Broucher said the comment was made after Dr Kelly had explained to him that he had assured Iraqi officials that if they cooperated with United Nations weapons inspections they would not face invasion. "
The Great Iraqi Bank Heist

Shortly before U.S. forces began streaming across the Iraqi border, commencing Persian Gulf War II, the CIA and the Department of Defense, with a little help from Israel and some Europeans, pulled off a massive bank heist in Iraq to the tune of several billion dollars.

The CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) are accused by International Currency Review, the London-based journal, of mounting a joint ultra-secret operation to electronically remove an estimated $10 billion out of the Iraqi Central Bank hours before the start of Persian Gulf War II. The whereabouts of the money is not known.

“We believe it is in a secret CIA fund which will be used to mount further special services operations, such as tracking down Saddam Hussein,” said the Review’s publisher, Christopher Story.

Story is a former financial advisor to Lady Thatcher when she was Britain’s prime minister. In the past 10 years, he has testified before several congressional committees dealing with financial scandals.


GOP Sticks It To Vets Again

"Veterans are condemning House Republicans' failure to deliver a $3.2 billion boost for the Veterans Affairs Department that would have shrunk the agency's waiting list for medical care.

. . .

The broken promise -- the second time in a year Congress has reneged on a pledge to veterans -- has veterans vowing to remember at the ballot box."

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Homeless Tag and Release Program

"The government is proposing a massive system of homeless tracking in the guise of improving benefits and efficiency. The system is called HMIS, and it links peoples' names and social security numbers to all sorts of personal information. The information will be kept for at least seven years, and law enforcement can get it by just asking for it."
"Surrender now, or I shall taunt you some more!"

'Now U.S. troops are giving us a whole new vision of Saddam Hussein -- a blonde-haired movie goddess with rouged lips and a low-cut blouse. 'Zsa Zsa Saddam' is one of a series spoof images of the ousted Iraqi dictator that are due to be posted on walls and billboards around his former stronghold of Tikrit by troops of the 4th Infantry Division's 1st Battalion 22nd Armored Regiment. The idea is to boost the morale of U.S. soldiers, ridicule the deposed leader and help identify those who are still loyal to Saddam.'

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

We're Number 1!

US Notches World's Highest Incarceration Rate

WASHINGTON – More than 5.6 million Americans are in prison or have served time there, according to a new report by the Justice Department released Sunday. That's 1 in 37 adults living in the United States, the highest incarceration level in the world.

It's the first time the US government has released estimates of the extent of imprisonment, and the report's statistics have broad implications for everything from state fiscal crises to how other nations view the American experience.

If current trends continue, it means that a black male in the United States would have about a 1 in 3 chance of going to prison during his lifetime. For a Hispanic male, it's 1 in 6; for a white male, 1 in 17.



G.I. George Doll Not Much Fun

"All last week, during the grueling sandbox battles in my backyard between my GI Joes and the hideous armies of Grog, the GW Bush doll was missing. I thought it was lost for good. But then, after my GI Joes won the day and made the sandbox safe again, there the Bush doll was, front and center, looking splendid and unruffled in pristine army fatigues. Evidently it'd been playing dress-up all week with my sister's Ken doll but was right there to take the credit for the GI Joe's victory. "
Its Dean verses DINO

In appearances before crowds of Democrats looking for sharp attacks on President Bush’s tax cuts, trade pacts and foreign policy, (Presidential candidate Joseph) Lieberman is sounding a bit like a Republican as he laments the “old” and “outdated” solutions advocated by many Democrats. “It’s right out of [Bush political director] Karl Rove’s playbook,” said Dean’s spokeswoman, Patricia Enright. Some Democratic voters seem to agree — he was the only candidate booed at recent candidate cattle calls.

From MSNBC
Sign the Petition to Stop Patriot Act II

"On August 19th, John Ashcroft begins a national tour promoting an extension of the USA PATRIOT Act. We need your help to make a strong statement to stop John Ashcroft from doing more damage to the bill of rights.

As Americans, we have a long standing tradition of defending not only our own liberties and civil rights, but also standing up for equal rights for all.

Show America the depth of our commitment to basic civil rights: add your name to the Stop Ashcroft petition, and pass it on to your friends, family, and co-workers. We will deliver your names and your comments to the Attorney General. "


From the Dean for America Website.

Monday, August 18, 2003

The 2004 Wingnut Poster Children

See, you try to help people, and what happens?

A Habitat for Humanity house in Scranton is condemned. The city says the family wrecked the place.

Newswatch 16 first introduced the Smiths three years ago, a family of 20 with a dream to own their own home. The Smith family (mother, father, and 18 children) can no longer live in the Habitat for Humanity home. The city says it's unsafe.

. . .

"The kitchen's totally destroyed. Every room is destroyed, holes in the wall, doors torn off, graffiti all over the walls. Two bathrooms totally destroyed," said code enforcement officer William Fiorini.

"All I can say is I'm sorry. I can't account for why it was condemned like that. It's not like my kids are bad kids. If you have some kind of damage in the house it's not because of the damage. It's more a financial problem," said (Charles Smith, the homeowner).He said he doesn't work because of a heart problem.


Get ready for a Mike (Savage) Weiner special report on this bunch.


Texass: Its A-Hole Other Country

'A new law requires students to recite the pledge to the Texas flag and observe a moment of silence. Supporters say it helps promote patriotism and build character, but some critics argue that the new state measure violates the First Amendment. They also note the requirement will stretch already thin budgets because a Texas flag must be present in every classroom. ... 'Honor the Texas flag; I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas, one and indivisible.'
Journalist Shot to Death By U.S. Troops

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Aug. 18 — The U.S. military acknowledged Monday that U.S. troops had accidentally killed (Mazan Dana,) a television journalist after soldiers mistook his camera for a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.

. . .

Dana’s driver, however, thought the cameraman, 43, has been deliberately shot. “There were many journalists around. They knew we were journalists,” aid Munzer Abbas. “This was not an accident.”

Stephan Breitner of France 2 television echoed that view. “We were all there, for at least half an hour. They knew we were journalists. After they shot Mazen, they aimed their guns at us. I don’t think it was accident. They are very tense. They are crazy.”



Sunday, August 17, 2003



A more historically accurate Bush Action Figure . . .

Created by Julius Civitatus at Salon Tabletalk.
3rd Audit of Safe Sex Group in One Year

"Auditors from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are expected to begin a weeklong review Monday at the Washington headquarters of Advocates for Youth. The CDC and the congressional General Accounting Office have previously conducted audits, said Debra Hauser, the group's vice president.

'What we're concerned about is that it appears that the selective and political use of the audits is to intimidate those organizations that are standing up for comprehensive sex education and are opposed to abstinence until marriage programs,' Hauser said. "

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., said the audits of Advocates for Youth and the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States continue a disturbing trend in which similar scrutiny is not applied to "abstinence-only" programs discouraging all sex before marriage and forbidding discussion of the benefits of birth control or condom use."

Saturday, August 16, 2003



ITS HERE: The "RUSH CHUGS A HOAGIE" T-Shirt!*

Inspired by the Roundboy's rebuke of all effete libruls "daintily nibbling" at their grinders, heroes, and sub sandwiches. "You're supposed to need a shower when you finish one!", exclaims Rush. "Your face is supposed to be all gooey!" Rush goes on to point out that swiss cheese is for "hoity-toity" east-coast elitists. True Americans order Velveeta or Cheese Whiz.

Wear this t-shirt and tell the world how real men like Rush tackle a footlong. Its the greatest celebration of machismo since G. Gordon Liddy commented enthusiastically about the protruding manhood of the jumpsuited George W. Bush.

Now, for our readers keeping score:

- Getting "all gooey" on a "footlong hero": NOT GAY

- Taking small bites: GAY.

- Checking out another guy's package: DEFINITELY NOT GAY.

- Ordering swiss cheese: HARVEY FIERSTEIN ON FIRE ISLAND GAY.

If you have any questions, be sure to order the t-shirt. Glad we can help.

* NOTE: All profits from "Rush Chugs a Hoagie" merchandise to be donated to the winner of the Democratic Presidential Primary.



Friday, August 15, 2003

Greg Palast - Power outage traced to dim bulb in White House

Palast does a masterful job of tying recent electricity problems to Bushes' bankrollers, the Power Pirates of Texas. An amazing story.
Speaking of Free Willy . . .

"Gimme that sandwich!", demands Limbaugh.

Roundboy Rush is offering unsolicited advice on eating a philly cheesesteak. Seems Senator John Kerry was "nibbling" too "daintily" for the dittobots. Rush prefers to eagerly swallow his "footlong hero".

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Whale flatulence stuns scientists

How many times do you see a story about Free Willy beefing in some researcher's face? Go on, read it. You know you want to.

(Includes photo)
O'Reilly Crys Over "Collapsing National Discourse"

From Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points":

"I wonder if The Times thought that Donald Sagretti (sic) was funny when he manufactured dirt to hurt Richard Nixon's political opponents. I guess The Times editorial board would be yucking it up if their pictures appeared on a book cover accompanied by the word 'liar.' Satire, my butt.

There's no question that many of the attacks launched against FOX personnel are designed to injury and demean. It's unfortunate, but in this country, if you're successful or famous, many courts will allow defamation, slander and liable to go unpunished.

. . .

Some people think hitting somebody in the face with a pie is funny. I don't. Ralph Nader was in San Francisco endorsing a Green Party candidate and some thug pied him. The guy got away. Nader walked it off after wiping it off.

This kind of thing is designed to demean, part of the collapsing national discourse that we mentioned in the Talking Points memo."


Collapsing national discourse? Puleeze! O'Reilly and Fox represent the vanguard of rude and demeaning attack journalism. From the 8 year media vendetta on Clinton, to the smear campaign against Gore, O'Reilly has been out there throwing pies with the worst of the pundits and hacks. And now he wants to cry foul 'cause he took one to the kisser? Well, reap the whirlwind, B.O.





They Won't Even Let Colin in the Service Entrance

'Washington, D.C.--Washington sources confirmed Monday that Secretary of State Colin Powell did not receive an invitation to this year's end of summer picnic at the White House.

Powell's failure to receive an invitation for the Sept. 15 outdoor extravaganza would have been chalked up to simple bureaucratic oversight if it weren't for the fact that this 'is like the gazillionth' such 'oversight' in the last six months, unnamed State Department officials said'
Iraq war planning began on 9-13


'On September 13, 2001, during a meeting at Camp David with President Bush, Rumsfeld, and others in the Bush administration, Wolfowitz said he discussed with President Bush the prospects of launching an attack against Iraq, for no apparent reason other than a 'gut feeling' Saddam Hussein was involved in the attacks, and there was a debate 'about what place if any Iraq should have in a counter-terrorist strategy.'
Ashcroft attempting to resurrect web censorship law


'Attorney General John Ashcroft has appealed to the Supreme Court to reinstate a law that punishes Web site operators who expose children to dirty pictures and other inappropriate material.

. . .

A Philadelphia-based appeals court has twice ruled that the 1998 law, known as the Child Online Protection Act, unconstitutionally restricts speech. The law has been on hold since it was challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of artists, book stores and others who put information on the Web.'

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

More Comments on the Commander Codpiece Cupiedoll

"It's perfect. A petroleum based plastic product with no substance and no brain."

"I hear the doll comes with a tiny pair of socks you can stuff into the crotch. "

"Now anyone can manipulate him the way Cheney and Rumsfeld do..."

Troops swelter in Iraq


'BRITISH troops were battling incredible record temperatures of 134° F (57°C) in the Iraqi city of Basra yesterday. Power cuts have hit air conditioning and soldiers have been told to dump body armour and drink EIGHT litres of water a day.

The length of guard duty shifts has also been slashed by half.

One soldier from the King’s Regiment revealed: “Guys are dropping like flies. They can’t cope.

“I’ve tried sleeping outside but even at night it’s too hot and the amount you sweat is incredible. The only thing to do is drink plenty of water and not stand in the sun too long. A lot of men have had to come off guard duty as the heat is too much.”


From the UK Sun.

Joe Conason Shows His Hand as the Force Behind Media Whores Online

Although the quality has slipped a bit, Media Whores Online has long been one of the strongest progressive blogs on the net. When it started getting publicity for great criticism of media bias, a controversy broke about who was behind MWO (a.k.a. The Horse). I have suspected Joe Conason was the man behind the curtain, based on contemporaneous similarities of wording in his Salon postings with items on MWO.

All doubt has been removed for me now that Conason released his new book, BIG LIES: The Right Wing Propaganda Machine and How it Distorts the Truth.

From day one, MWO has relentlessly flogged Conason's (reportedly good) book. The day of release, a BIG LIES flash presentation was added as a splash screen to MWO. And today I note the flash presentation has been incorporated into the body of MWO.

Perhaps the name of Conason's book should be changed to Advertisements for Myself.
Feds developing system to track every piece of mail


Did Admiral Poindexter already find a new job?

'A government report that urges the U.S. Postal Service to create 'smart stamps' to track the identity of people who send mail is eliciting concern from privacy advocates. ... Though details remain sketchy, an intelligent mail system would involve using barcodes or special stamps, identifying, at a minimum, the sender, the destination and the class of mail. ... [EPIC] questioned the cost and effectiveness of a system that hinges on proving the identity of millions of individual mail senders. Even an overhaul of the entire postal system may not thwart stamp-swipers and identity thieves, they said. 'In order to close those holes, you have to move toward a police state.'

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

More Fun From The Flat-Earth Administration

'The Bush administration persistently manipulates scientific data to serve its ideology and protect the interests of its political supporters, a report by the minority staff of the House Committee on Government Reform says.

... On topics ranging from global warming to sex education, the administration 'has manipulated the scientific process and distorted or suppressed scientific findings,' the report said.

... The report's authors allege that federal agencies have jeopardized scientific integrity in numerous ways, including stacking scientific advisory committees with unqualified officials or industry representatives, blocking publication of findings that could harm corporate interests and defending controversial decisions with misleading information.'
Bush Seeks Revenge on Air Marshals who Reported Cutbacks

'The Transportation Security Administration is conducting a 'witch hunt' to ferret out and discipline employees in the federal air marshal program who have talked to the media, several sources within the program told MSNBC.com. Some air marshals are even being threatened with having the USA Patriot Act, a law enacted to help fight terrorism, used against them. The Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the TSA, denies that any such investigation is taking place.'
Check Out The New Krugman Column

Excellent as always . . .

"When it comes to tax cuts or subsidies to powerful interest groups, money is no object. But elsewhere, including homeland security, small-government ideology reigns. The Bush administration has been unwilling to spend enough on any aspect of homeland security, whether it's providing firefighters and police officers with radios or protecting the nation's ports. The decision to pull air marshals off some flights to save on hotel bills — reversed when the public heard about it — was simply a sound-bite-worthy example. (Air marshals have told MSNBC.com that a "witch hunt" is now under way at the Transportation Security Administration, and that those who reveal cost-cutting measures to the media are being threatened with the Patriot Act.)

There's also another element in the Iraq logistical snafu: privatization. The U.S. military has shifted many tasks traditionally performed by soldiers into the hands of such private contractors as Kellogg Brown & Root, the Halliburton subsidiary. The Iraq war and its aftermath gave this privatized system its first major test in combat — and the system failed.

According to the Newhouse News Service, "U.S. troops in Iraq suffered through months of unnecessarily poor living conditions because some civilian contractors hired by the Army for logistics support failed to show up." Not surprisingly, civilian contractors — and their insurance companies — get spooked by war zones."



US BASE IN IRAQ ROCKED BY EXPLOSIONS


"A US military base to the west of Baghdad has been rocked by huge explosions.

No casualty toll was released after the six powerful blast shook the US base in Ramadi, 100 kilometres west of Baghdad, as the compound came under fire from unknown assailants. "


Not a word from MSNBC or CNN on the explosions, but they both feature stories on Mel Gibson's new movie. Pass the popcorn!

Monday, August 11, 2003

Katherine Harris Still Pissing Folks Off

'U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris had planned a quick town meeting Thursday night at Bradenton Kiwanis Hall. But when hundreds of people showed up with detailed questions, her tight schedule didn't allow detailed answers, and a frustrated crowd turned angry, booing the congresswoman several times. ... Harris told attendees she wanted all questions asked first before she answered. The lines at the microphones were long. The boos were loud. ... At times, people tried to ask follow-up questions, but she wouldn't allow it. 'This is my turn now,' Harris said repeatedly.'
Rumsfeld Confirms Pentagon Meeting with Iran-Contra Figure

"Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld confirmed Friday that Pentagon officials met secretly and discussed Iran with a controversial and discredited figure in the Iran-Contra scandal. But Rumsfeld said the talks 'went nowhere.' ... Asked whether he had authorized secret talks with Ghorbanifar in regard to regime change in Iran, Rumsfeld confirmed only that the meeting had taken place and said information had been shared with other agencies of the government."

See also here. Get ready for the next October Surprise.
No Honor Among Thieves: Enron, Banks, set up Arthur Anderson

'Some of the world's biggest banks worked closely with executives of Enron Corp. to hide the true nature of shady transactions from Chicago's Andersen accounting firm, according to a bankruptcy court investigation. ... the investigation stops short of clearing Andersen of wrongdoing at Enron, and some say any deception on the part of the banks did little more than help the auditors appear to be rigorous even if they were looking the other way. The investigation leaves unanswered whether Andersen was actually deceived or if it 'knowingly blinked,' said John Coffee, a Columbia University law professor who has followed the Enron case.'

From the Chicago Tribune
Frightened U.S. Soldiers kill Iraqi Families

Within 45 minutes, six Iraqis trying to get home before the 11 p.m. curfew were shot and killed by U.S. forces. Anwaar Kawaz, 36, lost her husband and three of four children. ``We kept shouting, 'We're a family! Don't shoot!' But no one listened. They kept shooting,'' she told The Associated Press.

. . .

``They killed us. There was no signal. Nothing at all. We didn't see anything but armored cars,'' Anwaar said Sunday, two days after the confrontation.

``Our headlights were on. He (her husband) didn't have time to put his foot on the brake. They kept shooting. He was shot in the forehead. I was still sitting next to him. I got out of the car to get help. I was shouting, 'Help me! Help me!' No one came.''

. . .

A few blocks from where the car was shot up, 19-year-old Sayf Ali was shot and killed as he drove home with a cousin and a friend. He, too, didn't see the American checkpoint, survivors in the car said. Soldiers opened fire on the blue Opel station wagon, which kept moving after Ali was shot. The cousin and the friend jumped out. Soldiers kept firing until the car caught fire incinerating Ali's body, according to one of the witnesses, Arslan.

About the same time nearby, Ali Salman, 31, was driving home, also unaware of the unannounced American checkpoints. He apparently didn't see the soldiers either and was killed.

Ghaleb Laftah, 24, who was sitting in the back of Salman's Honda, and Wisam Sabri, sitting in the front passenger seat, were wounded.


From the U.K. Guardian

Friday, August 08, 2003

Sign the Petition to Roll Back FCC Media Ownership Rules

Stop Michael Powell and the FCC giveaway to the conglomerates.

Cheney's Former Firm Halliburton Dominates Iraqi Oil Contracts

"A week ago, the Corps of Engineers Web site carried an amendment to the contract proposal, saying that 220 projects, mostly at installations above the ground, must be completed for Iraq's oil production to reach prewar levels. The projects are divided into three phases, with a total estimated cost of $1.14 billion.

But the corps notes in the plan that the first two phases, which together would require about $967 million in investments, would have to be completed by Dec. 31.

Halliburton's competitors worry that if the winner of the new contracts is not announced until Oct. 15, that company could not even begin the work before year's end. The only company that could do the work based on that timetable is Halliburton, its competitors say.

Only the third and final phase, worth about $176 million and requiring the work to be completed by March 31, could realistically be performed by a Halliburton competitor, its rivals say. "
Bush Administration Don't Need No Book Larnin'

"The administration's stem-cell stand is just one of many examples, from climate change to abstinence-only sex-education programs, in which the White House has made policies that defy widely accepted scientific opinion. ... The mutual incomprehension and distrust between the Pentagon and the Clinton White House, especially in its early years, led to such debacles as Somalia and the clash over allowing gays to serve openly in the military. The Bush administration's dismissiveness toward scientists could also have serious consequences, from delaying vital new medical therapies to eroding America's general lead in science. The Clinton administration quickly felt the sting of the military's hostility and worked to repair the relationship. It's not clear, however, that the Bush administration cares to reach out to scientists -- or even knows it has a problem."
Ashcroft Targeting Federal Judges

'Attorney General John D. Ashcroft has ordered U.S. attorneys across the country to become much more aggressive in reporting to the Justice Department cases in which federal judges impose lighter sentences than called for in sentencing guidelines. ... In his memo to prosecutors, Ashcroft quoted approvingly from a May 5 speech by Rehnquist in which the chief justice said it was up to Congress to set sentencing policies. The memo did not quote another section of the same speech in which Rehnquist said that gathering information on sentencing practices could help Congress make decisions, but also 'could amount to an unwarranted and ill-considered effort to intimidate individual judges in the performance of their judicial duties.''
Pentagon Whistleblower Speaks Out on "Office of Special Plans"

"The Pentagon is downplaying an editorial written by a former 'senior Pentagon Middle East specialist, Air Force Lt Col Karen Kwiatkowski, who worked in the office of Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith until her retirement in April. 'What I saw was aberrant, pervasive and contrary to good order and discipline,' Kwiatkowski wrote. 'If one is seeking the answers to why peculiar bits of 'intelligence' found sanctity in a presidential speech, or why the post-Saddam occupation has been distinguished by confusion and false steps, one need look no further than the process inside the Office of the Secretary of Defense [OSD].' Kwiatkowski went on to charge that the operations she witnessed during her tenure in Feith's office, and particularly those of an ad hoc group known as the Office of Special Plans (OSP), constituted 'a subversion of constitutional limits on executive power and a co-option through deceit of a large segment of the Congress.''

See also here.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Its Fun to Pretend . . .



The Commander Codpiece Action Set

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Coalition Casualty Rate in Iraq Much Higher Than Reported

'US military casualties from the occupation of Iraq have been more than twice the number most Americans have been led to believe because of an extraordinarily high number of accidents, suicides and other non-combat deaths in the ranks that have gone largely unreported in the media...

The other unreported cost of the war for the US is the number of American wounded, 827 since Operation Iraqi Freedom began. Unofficial figures are in the thousands. About half have been injured since the president's triumphant appearance on board the aircraft carrier USS Lincoln at the beginning of May. Many of the wounded have lost limbs.'


Walter Reed Hospital Overflowing with Wounded U.S. Soldiers

"Officials at Walter Reed Army Medical Center are referring some outpatients to nearby hotels because casualties from operations in Afghanistan and Iraq have overloaded the hospital's convalescence facility.

. . .

The Army hospital and its convalescence facility, Mologne House, are at maximum occupancy capacity, with 96 percent of their outpatient beds filled with war wounded.

Walter Reed has been at maximum capacity since Operation Enduring Freedom began in Afghanistan in 2001, Mr. Stueve said, adding that the hospital's 3,900 staffers have 'put in a substantial amount of overtime.'

Sunday, August 03, 2003

Remember how we invaded Iraq because sanctions weren't working? Looks like we're extending those sanctions.

From an Executive Order issued last week:

By Executive Orders 12722 of August 2, 1990, and 12724 of August 9, 1990, the President imposed trade sanctions on Iraq and blocked Iraqi government assets. Additional measures were taken with respect to this national emergency by Executive Order 13290 of March 20, 2003.

Because of the continued instability in Iraq, the United States and Coalition partners' role as the temporary authority in Iraq, and the need to ensure the establishment of a process leading to representative Iraqi self-rule, the national emergency declared on August 2, 1990, and the measures adopted on August 2 and August 9, 1990, and March 20, 2003, to deal with that emergency must continue in effect beyond August 2, 2003. "Therefore, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency with respect to Iraq.

This notice shall be published in the Federal Register and transmitted to the Congress.


GEORGE W. BUSH
THE WHITE HOUSE, July 31, 2003.
Executive Order Gives Immunity to U.S. Oil Firms in Iraq

'President Bush has issued an Executive Order, so far completely unreported, that purports to grant broad legal immunity to oil companies operating in Iraq. ... Executive Order 13303, issued on May 22, 2003, claims to be essential to Iraqi reconstruction efforts. A cursory reading of the Order indicates that its real purpose is to protect oil companies by giving virtual impunity for any activities undertaken relating to Iraqi oil.'