Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Stop Mountaintop Removal Mining Practices

Stop the coal companies environmental abuses regarding mountaintop removal in Appalachia. Appalachian Voices and

What Is Mountaintop Removal and Who Regulates It?
The Geography of Mountaintop Removal
Mountaintop Removal Photo Gallery
Myths and Facts About Mountaintop Removal
How Does Mountaintop Removal Affect the Environment?


Winners | The NORML Cannabis Clip Contest

The winners of NORML's Cannabis Clip Contest are out and here they are.
Here's one of the bunch:

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Mitch McConnell's Gay?

All right, now I knew that Mitch "Mo' Money" McConnell was sleazy as politicians come but I didn't see these stories of gayness coming out(no pun intended). Mitch the Ho is trying to get DUH-bya to Louisville for a fundraiser. Here thanks to DWT is the lowdown on low down:

Bush's popularity rating in Kentucky is dismal (37%)-- but that hasn't stopped Mitch "His Bitch" McConnell (52% approval) from inviting him to Louisville for a fundraiser next week at the Seelbach Hotel. "The kind of people who go to these things," one Kentucky political observer explained to us, "are pretty well-heeled. They love Bush for the tax breaks. Most working and middle class people in Kentucky have felt the pinch of Bush's crappy economic policies. The ones who have gotten richer and richer are the ones who support him and McConnell. And it doesn't matter to them that most people in the state are opposed to their war policies."
"I am thrilled he accepted my invitation," oozed Kentucky closet case and senior Senator McConnell. "It's always an honor to have the president in Kentucky." Apparently he's hoping that the demonstrators who don't feel quite as honored, will make a bad enough impression-- and, let's face it, that is easily manipulatable, especially by the practiced propaganda artists at Fox-- on the TV audience.

And even more on George dubya's Faaa-bulous use of all things Faaa-bulous by Betty Bowers(I couldn't resist throwing in the picture).

"And we'll prevail, because we're a faaabulous nation, and we're a faaabulous nation because we're a nation full of faaabulous people."
-- George W. Bush., Atlanta, GA, January 31, 2002

Anyone else remember Jimmy/Jeff Gannon male prostitute/journamalist at the White House after hours?


Bushes Purchase Safe Haven in South America

From the unconfirmed(?) but definately worth keeping an eye on department.
This little story has been making it's rounds for a while but there's been additional information popping up the last few days. Apparently dubya and the Bushes have bought a little property(98,000+ Acres) in Paraguay near the Bolivian/Brazillion border.
Here's Wonkette:

George W. Bush has purchased 98,840 acres in Paraguay, near the Bolivian/Brazilian border.

Jenna Bush paid a secret diplomatic visit to Paraguayan President Nicanor Duarte and U.S. Ambassador James Cason. There were no press conferences, no public sightings and no official confirmation of her 10-day trip which apparently ended this week.

The Paraguayan Senate voted last summer to “grant U.S. troops immunity from national and International Criminal Court (ICC) jurisdiction.”

Immediately afterwards, 500 heavily armed U.S. troops arrived with various planes, choppers and land vehicles at Mariscal Estigarribia air base, which happens to be at the northern tip of Paraguay near the Bolivian/Brazilian border. More have reportedly arrived since then.

That's right party girl Jenna Bush met secretly with the President of Paraguay. Oh, to be a fly on the wall!


This Modern World

You know the "News" Media does ALWAYS seem to need both sides of a story.



Surprise | The Rightwing Attacks Al Gore

Obviously waiting in the wings was the set-up to smear and swiftboat Al Gore after his Oscar win. I'm sure it was discussed at great length among the Rightwing trolls where this attack should come from and was decided that Gore's home state would be the best "source" for alpha troll Drudge's scoopsmear. Thanks to Conscious Earth here's the truth of the matter:
Tennessee Drudge-A-Muck Over Gore Mansion

.."In what was clearly a pre-planned smear campaign against Al Gore - timed to launch on the heels of An Inconvenient Truth's Oscar win - the right wing think tank the Tennessee Center for Policy Research reported that Al Gore's home consumes 20 times the power as the national average - an assertion that was lasciviously lapped up by Drudge...
Responding to Drudge’s attack, Vice President Gore’s office told ThinkProgress:

1) Gore’s family has taken numerous steps to reduce the carbon footprint of their private residence, including signing up for 100 percent green power through Green Power Switch, installing solar panels, and using compact fluorescent bulbs and other energy saving technology.

2) Gore has had a consistent position of purchasing carbon offsets to offset the family’s carbon footprint — a concept the right-wing fails to understand. Gore’s office explains:
What Mr. Gore has asked is that every family calculate their carbon footprint and try to reduce it as much as possible. Once they have done so, he then advocates that they purchase offsets, as the Gore’s do, to bring their footprint down to zero.
Similar efforts have been attempted before. For the a previous high profile smear against Gore see my post - Al Gore Cracks the Conservatives Lies - the false accusations there are bound to crop up again now.


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Monday, February 26, 2007

Lost Labor | Photos of Vanished Jobs

Lost Labor

Since the images document factories, machinery, and jobs that no longer exist, LOST LABOR provides an unusual visual and historical record of work in 20th century America. The term "lost labor" can derive from the effects of mechanization, computer automation, technological advances, or through the consequences of corporate takeovers, downsizing and globalization.


Friday, February 23, 2007

Pavement Art | Julian Beever

Pavement art(Trompe-l'œil), the work of Julian Beevers. It's amazing:

Thanks to AmericaBlog for the link.


Fox News Attacks: Democrats

From Fox News Attacks:

The Democratic Party of Nevada just announced plans to team up with Fox News for a presidential primary debate. But Fox isn't a legitimate news channel. It's a right-wing mouthpiece like Rush Limbaugh and the Drudge Report—repeating false Republican talking points to smear Democrats.
Sign the petition asking the Nevada Democratic Party to drop Fox as their debate host and Watch the video of Fox News attacking and smearing(swiftboating?) Barack Obama.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Some Justice Finally Comes For Young Iraqi Girl

These guys are mutants. Soldiers or not, Americans or whatever, rabid dogs. Some justice for 14 year old Abeer Qassim al-Janabi and her family.

The only known photo of Abeer Qassim al-Janabi on photo ID at 2 yrs. old

Soldier avoids death by pleading guilty in Iraqi girl's rape and family's murder

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. - A U.S. soldier broke down in tears in court as he described his role in the gang rape and slaying of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and the killing of her family last year.
Paul E. Cortez, 24, wept Wednesday as he became the second U.S. soldier to plead guilty to charges in a case considered among the worst atrocities by U.S. military personnel in Iraq.
By pleading guilty to rape and four counts of felony murder, Cortez was spared the possibility of a death sentence and must testify against the three other soldiers charged in the case.
Under the agreement, Cortez will be sentenced to up to life in prison, plus reduction in rank and a dishonorable discharge. Whether he is eligible for parole will be decided at sentencing Thursday.
He said Wednesday he raped 14-year-old Abeer Qassim al-Janabi in her family's home in Mahmoudiya last March, and that Spc. James Barker, 24, held her down.
"I lifted up her skirt and took off her stockings while Barker held her hands with his knees," he said before admitting that he raped the teenager as she screamed. "After I was done, myself and Barker switched spots."
Cortez offered no explanation for his involvement in the rape and murders, only saying that his intent was to rape the girl. The killing of the family was originally reported to be the work of insurgents.
Another soldier, former Pfc. Steven D. Green, shot the girl's father, mother and younger sister in the bedroom, Cortez said. Green raped the girl in front of Cortez and then shot her multiple times in the head, he said. Green grew up in Midland, Texas.



What's that Libby Trial All About?

Also see MyDD.
What's the Scooter Libby trial all about? Jane has the answer.
1. The administration lied us into war and tried to abuse its power to punish the whistleblower who told the American public the truth.
2. Scooter is the firewall to Shooter.
3. Dick Cheney, Scooter Libby and other members of the administration conspired to keep federal investigators from uncovering their crimes.
4. The media was complicit in spreading administration propaganda rather than doing investigative journalism, and are now helping to set the table for a pardon.
5. The journalistic standards that have been exposed in the case (witness Tim Russert, Judy Miller, Andrea Mitchell, Robert Novak and others) are reprehensible, and have undermined the public trust in the media.
6. The degree to which this story about the lies that lead to war has been ignored by the media (relative to the feeding frenzy over a Clinton blowjob) left a huge opening that the blogs have filled.


Britain and Blair Retreat From Iraq

No matter how Tony Blair(whom I expect will find a nice job with the Carlyle Group when he leaves office) and the US corporate media spin it, Britain/Blair is retreating from Iraq and the horror that Blair and Bush has created there. Bush is escalating while Blair is retreating. This article from the Independent:

The retreat from Basra
By Patrick Cockburn

It is an admission of defeat. Iraq is turning into one of the world's bloodiest battlefields in which nobody is safe. Blind to this reality, Tony Blair said yesterday that Britain could safely cut its forces in Iraq because the apparatus of the Iraqi government is growing stronger.
In fact the civil war is getting worse by the day. Food is short in parts of the country. A quarter of the population would starve without government rations. Many Iraqis are ill because their only drinking water comes from the highly polluted Tigris and Euphrates rivers.
Nowhere in Mr Blair's statement was any admission of regret for reducing Iraq to a wasteland from which 2 million people have fled and 1.5 million are displaced internally.


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Priorities, The Bushco Budget, and Info-tainment "News"

Excellent article by Matt Taibbi. I don't think we deserve it but the Republican, Faux News watching robots and their corporate masters certainly do.

Maybe We Deserve to Be Ripped Off By Bush's Billionaires
By Matt Taibbi,
While America obsessed about Brittany's shaved head, Bush offered a budget that offers $32.7 billion in tax cuts to the Wal-Mart family alone, while cutting $28 billion from Medicaid.

.."I'm not one of those curmudgeons who freaks out every time that Bradgelina moves the war off the front page of the Post, or Katie Couric decides to usher in a whole new era of network news with photos of the imbecile demon-spawn of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. I understand that we live in a demand-based economy and that there is far more demand for brainless celebrity bullshit than there is, say, for the fine print of the Health and Human Services budget.
But that was before this week. I awoke this morning in New York City to find Britney Spears plastered all over the cover of two gigantic daily newspapers, simply because she cut her hair off over the weekend. To me, this crosses a line. My definition of a news story involves something happening. If nothing happens, then you can't have "news," because nothing has changed since the day before. Britney Spears was an idiot last Thursday, an idiot on Friday, and an idiot on both Saturday and Sunday. She was, shockingly, also an idiot on Monday. It will be news when she stops being an idiot, and we'll know when that happens, because she'll have shot herself for the good of the planet. Britney Spears cutting her hair off is the least-worthy front page news story in the history of humanity..."

.."If the Estate Tax were to be repealed completely, the estimated savings to just one family -- the Walton family, the heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune -- would be about $32.7 billion dollars over the next ten years.
The proposed reductions to Medicaid over the same time frame? $28 billion.."

.."the family of former Exxon/Mobil CEO Lee Raymond, who received a $400 million retirement package, would receive about $164 million in tax breaks.

Compare that to the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, which Bush proposes be completely eliminated, at a savings of $108 million over ten years. The program sent one bag of groceries per month to 480,000 seniors, mothers and newborn children..."



Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Al Gore Rock and Roll Messiah?

I wish Al Gore would run for re-election. He'd instantly be the front runner. Hillary's worst nightmare. Of course the Rightwing media would IMMEDIATELY start the swiftboating. Maybe he'd weather it better than 2000. The thing is, he won in 2000, even With the supreme (Right) court stopping the counting, Ralph Nader playing "elect the Bush", the media in a 24/7 mis-information marathon("Al Gore invented the Internet", etc.), crooked Florida shenanigans, etc. Gore still won the popular vote and he'd win it again. Today he's Taking Rock and Roll on Tour. Trying to save the planet and maybe in the end the human race. Here's what Big Al's doing right now via Grist and Chicago Tribune.

It's Official: He Rocks
Gore announces continents-spanning concert series, Live Earth

Never let it be said that Al Gore is not dedicated to his cause: the man will do whatever it takes to raise awareness about climate change. If it means hobnobbing at Sundance, he'll do it. Starring in a film that gets nominated for an Oscar? Not afraid. Orchestrating an event that features seven concerts on seven continents on 7/7/07? Check. Announcing said event with (slightly less luscious now that she's a brunette) Cameron Diaz at his side? Oh, if he must. The man is a modern-day martyr, and we salute him. With the help of Kevin Wall, executive producer of the 2005 Live8 concert that pushed for debt relief for poor nations, Gore will use the Live Earth shows to kick off a "Save Our Selves" campaign. "In order to solve the climate crisis, we have to reach billions of people," Gore said. "We are launching SOS and Live Earth to ... mobilize people all over the world to take action." More than 100 artists, from Snoop Dogg to Faith Hill, have already signed on. Short straw gets Antarctica.
More here.

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Somewhere in Texas a Village is Missing It's..

From Letterman and YouTube. Smart Presidents:

"Don't blame me."


US Iran Attack Plans Leaked

These people are insane. They're like kids with a box of hand grenades, throwing them just to see them go off.

BBC: US “Iran Attack Plan” Revealed


US contingency plans for air strikes on Iran extend beyond nuclear sites and include most of the country's military infrastructure, the BBC has learned.
It is understood that any such attack - if ordered - would target Iranian air bases, naval bases, missile facilities and command-and-control centres.
The US insists it is not planning to attack, and is trying to persuade Tehran to stop uranium enrichment.
The UN has urged Iran to stop the programme or face economic sanctions.
But diplomatic sources have told the BBC that as a fallback plan, senior officials at Central Command in Florida have already selected their target sets inside Iran.
That list includes Iran's uranium enrichment plant at Natanz. Facilities at Isfahan, Arak and Bushehr are also on the target list, the sources say.


The Many Faces of John McCain

My opinion of John "Bush's Bitch" McCain? I wouldn't trust him as far as I could throw him. I have a slogan for his campaign, "Better Than Dubya-but Just a Little". I wouldn't vote for him if he was the only candidate. He's a flip-flopper, a liar, and a Neo-con but I repeat myself. Here's a bit more:

Thanks to here and J.G. for the lowdown(which kind of describes St. John perfectly, low down).

"PSSST! Please dubya let me run!"


Monday, February 19, 2007

Pillars of Creation

An oldie but a goodie: From one of my favorite sites here.

open star cluster M16
This image, taken with the Hubble Space Telescope in 1995, shows evaporating gaseous globules (EGGs) emerging from pillars of molecular hydrogen gas and dust. The giant pillars are light years in length and are so dense that interior gas contracts gravitationally to form stars. At each pillars' end, the intense radiation of bright young stars causes low density material to boil away, leaving stellar nurseries of dense EGGs exposed.

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Scientists Warn There's a 50% Chance It's to Late to Save the Ice Caps

Photo here.

From the Guardian.
Climate change: scientists warn it may be too late to save the ice caps

A critical meltdown of ice sheets and severe sea level rise could be inevitable because of global warming, the world's scientists are preparing to warn their governments. New studies of Greenland and Antarctica have forced a UN expert panel to conclude there is a 50% chance that widespread ice sheet loss "may no longer be avoided" because of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Such melting would raise sea levels by four to six metres, the scientists say. It would cause "major changes in coastline and inundation of low-lying areas" and require "costly and challenging" efforts to move millions of people and infrastructure from vulnerable areas. The previous official line, issued in 2001, was that the chance of such an event was "not well known, but probably very low".


Top Gear Nearly Gets Killed

Just for fun. The Top Gear boys apparently have a death wish. Driving their cars through Alabama painted up with slogans like, "Hillary For President", "Nascar Sucks", "Country and Western is Rubbish", "I'm Bi", etc. Fun was had by all, especially the rednecks. Here's the video:

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Iraq | The Hidden Story

A bit long but well worth watching.

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Bushco Abandons America's Injured Soldiers

As if you didn't already know. The Bush mis-administration and Republicans don't give a crap about injured US soldiers. Article by the Washington Post. Part Two here.


Satirical Anti-Evolution Textbook Stickers

A series of stickers based on the Georgia anti-evolution sticker placed on textbooks by creationists. The stickers get a bit more satirical as you go along:

"..Wording for the first disclaimer (top left) is taken verbatim from the sticker designed by the Cobb County School District ("A community with a passion for learning") in Georgia, which actually plagiarized Alabama's evolution disclaimer (view). Really, I'm not making any of this up. The other 14 are mildly educational variants that demonstrate the real meaning of a scientific "theory" as well as the true motivations of the School Board members and their creationist supporters. Ideally, the above stickers will deter other districts from using textbook disclaimers as a way to undermine the teaching of evolution. Please forward them to friends in school districts where disclaimers are likely to be discussed. Or make a big poster of your favorite and stick it on an easel in front of the school when nobody is looking. Or if you would like one of these on your car, bug Leighton over at Floating Point Digital Images, where you can get all sorts of pro-evolution stickerabilia. At the very least, print out the PDF version and send it to your kid's science teacher; if he or she is not amused, move immediately to another district, far, far away.."
Here's the link for the complete set and more. Thanks to Boingboing.

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Iranians are a Smoke Screen - Saudi Funding Most American Deaths

With Iran getting the same Bushco/corporate media saber rattling that Iraq received prior to the US attack on their country. From the Agonist and other reputable sites comes a bit of a surprise to most readers. It's not the Iranian preferred Shia killing most Americans in Iraq. The Saudi backed Sunnis are causing over 90% of the US soldier casualties. That's right the Bush family's Dear friend Prince Bandar and the Saudi rulers are suppling the Sunni insurgents:


Photo here.

. . . who's funding the war against American troops in Iraq? It's the Saudis.


Should You Start Storing Food and Water?

This is from Kos. Apparently there is a serious possibility of a Flu pandemic. Having an emergency store of essential supplies is probably not a bad idea even without the fear of Flu Pandemic. There's lot's of other disasters that could hit, and it wouldn't be bad to have at least have a few weeks of food and water stored for you and your family.
Public service announcement video from HHS.

Video Here or Here:

Preparing for a Pandemic-what you can do.
.."Start now so you have a week or two supply of water and food. Get a few items every time you go to the grocery store and buy food that is:

easy to prepare
requires little or no water so you can preserve water for drinking"

Scary stuff.


Representative Ben Chandler Gets it Right

I wanted to make a quick note that my Representative Ben Chandler gets it right on Iraq. Here's his comments before the House vote regarding Bushco's escalation plans in Iraq. I certainly disagree with Ben Chandler at times(here for example) but also agree with him more often than not. He say's it pretty well here:

"..Mr. Speaker, as we debate this resolution on Iraq, we are reminded of the uncertain world in which we live. While the 5-year anniversary of 9/11 has passed, the memories of that day are still with us, as are the actions of this administration that led us into this war.
Following 9/11, our country missed an important opportunity that will forever change our history. Instead of building coalitions and using that support to maximize our strength, we alienated much of the world. We lost sight of the simple truth: A respected America is a more secure America.
But this administration insisted on going it alone in Iraq. They refused to let U.N. inspectors complete their work, and they launched an invasion without the support of the international community. We are now faced with lasting repercussions of that decision. And it appears the President still has not learned from that mistake.
Once again, the President is going it alone with his call for more than 20,000 additional troops in Iraq. He does not have the support of the international community, and he has lost the support of many in the military, the Congress, and, most importantly, the American people.
I fear, Mr. Speaker, the President is once again missing an important opportunity. He is missing his chance to send a strong message to the Iraqi people that we will no longer police their civil war, and that it is time for them to assume responsibility for their own country so that our troops can be removed from harm's way.
In my judgment, this war is beyond the scope of our men and women in uniform. The situation in Iraq is in dire need of a diplomatic solution. Sure, we need to be ready to take down al Qaeda training camps in the region, but we do not need to be refereeing age-old religious disputes.
This is an untenable situation and unfair to our brave troops who have become targets of insurgents. If we are going to support our troops in every way possible, it is vital that we not only support them with the supplies and armor that they need, we must also ensure that they are being deployed in such a way that they have a realistic chance of success. We must make certain that the funds we are sending to Iraq are going to our troops and not into the pockets of no-bid contractors and war profiteers.
Mr. Speaker, I support this resolution, because I support our men and women in uniform. I have heard speakers on the other side say that this debate will demoralize our troops. Well, I submit that nothing can demoralize our troops more than having them police a civil war. And that is what this administration is asking them to do.
All of us in this body believe in the spread of democracy and freedom. But that grand responsibility cannot solely rest on the shoulders of our troops. It must rest on the shoulders of free nations across this world. And it must rest on the shared sacrifice of all citizens of this country.
No doubt we have real enemies. They are the Islamist jihadists, and they must be opposed. These same enemies are shared by all free nations. But escalating the war in Iraq is not the right approach to defeat the jihadists. It is an approach that will cost more American lives and mire us even further in the Iraqi civil war.
We can win the long-term struggle if we are smart, if we focus on the real enemy, if we build our alliances properly, and if we do not let our own pride get in the way.."


Friday, February 16, 2007

Your Flag Decal Won't Get you Into Heaven Anymore

John Prine's at the Opera House in Lexington tonight and tomorrow night. Wish I had tickets. Here's, "Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore". As revelent today as it was for Vietnam:

"Your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore
it's already overcrowded from your dirty little war
now jesus don't like killing no matter what the reason for
and your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore"

..Prine all but wore the stars off Flag Decal by singing it so often during the '70s. By the end of the decade, he stopped playing it altogether. But at Bonnaroo in 2005, surrounded by a generation with an unpopular war of its own, Prine's anthem was topical enough to be downright frightening.

"I took it out of retirement by special request of the President of the United States, It wasn't a formal request. But believe me, he's asking for it."

--John Prine

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Fox News Poll Says Majority of Americans Would Vote to Defund Dubya's Iraqi Playground

Amazingly enough this poll is from the Rightwing's on Pravda Network Fox News. It's sinking in to the unthinking zombie watchers of Faux News:
Fox News Poll: Majority Of Americans Would Vote To De-Fund Escalation
By Eric Kleefeld

Here are some numbers to consider for Dems who fear getting attacked for cutting off funding for the "surge": A new poll finds that an astonishing 54% of Americans would vote to cut off funding for escalation if they were in Congress. What's more, the new poll was done by Fox News. The survey asked: "If you were a member of Congress, how would you vote specifically on increasing U.S. troop levels in Iraq — would you vote for or against funding the increase in troops?" Only 37% said they would vote for funding.
Continue at TPM:


The Big Business of Medical Marijuana

Some interesting and somewhat unforseen news on the medicinal marijuana shops from Rolling Stone via Boingboing. I want one of these shops.

Photo here.

.."If I were a big tobacco executive, I'd be trying to get in on this now, by bankrolling these guys and turning my massive DC lobbying machine over to legalizing pot at the federal level.." --

A doctor's note is the gateway to the wonderful world of pot clubs, which in the new lingo are called "dispensaries." In California -- unlike the eleven other states with medical-cannabis laws -- there's some vague legal protection
for Amsterdam-style shops selling medical marijuana. Usually named something like "Compassionate Caregivers," "Earth Healers" or, less obscurely, "Kush Mart," these stores are like dying and going to stoner heaven. They look like old-timey apothecaries, with glass cases of prescription bottles with twenty to thirty different kinds of bud, nearly all of exceptionally high quality, ranging from $35 an eighth to $100 for OG Kush. Any self-respecting dispensary owner also sells hash, kief, jellies, infusions, cones, clones, pot lollipops ("Hydropops"), pot candy bars, pot peanut butter, pot ice cream and at least a half-dozen flavors of pot sodas -- sometimes sold out of a vending machine. One store owner told me excitedly that when Nevada OKs dispensaries, he's opening a club on the Vegas Strip. We were talking in a parking lot, and when he drove away he forgot a can of soda on the roof of his car.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Presidential Quotes

“Sometimes money trumps………peace.”
-George W Bush 2/14/07

From George W. Bush's speech today. I think in the shrub's(thanks Molly Ivins!) world money "trumps" EVERYTHING.

And there's also this little gem(out of many) from today's speechifying:

"Hard For Me Living In This Beautiful White House To Give
You An Assessment"

-George W Bush 2/14/07


The GOP - "Don't Even Mention Iraq, SSSSHHHhhh!"

From TPM and Democratic Underground comes this leaked GOP talking points letter to their GOP colleagues on how to spin and avoid the Iraq debate that our government desparately needs, and the main thing the American people voted for last November.

If we let Democrats force us into a debate on the surge or the current situation in Iraq, we lose.
--From leaked House GOP talking points letter

From DU:

"So this explains a lot. Senate Majority Leader Steny Hoyer's office has obtained a letter that GOP Reps. John Shadegg and Peter Hoekstra sent out to House GOP colleagues about escalation. The letter gives GOP members pointers on how they should approach the battle over it on the House floor this week.

Hoyer's office has now posted the letter on his Web site, and it lays bare the GOP's strategy for dealing with debate over the House's anti-escalation resolution and reveals just how worried party leaders are about having a genuine discussion about the "surge."


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Chris Floyd | The Anglo-American Dirty War in Iraq

Chris Floyd at truthout has some revelations that aren't really that surprising to many of us. I mean when dubya brought John "Death Squads" Negroponte on board in Iraq you just KNEW what was coming right? Meanwhile on cable "News" is Anna Nicole.


Ulster on the Euphrates: The Anglo-American Dirty War in Iraq

"...Kerr and his Baghdad black-op crew are not alone in the double-dealing world of Iraqi counterinsurgency. The Pentagon's ever-expanding secret armies are deeply enmeshed in such efforts as well. As Sy Hersh has reported ("The Coming Wars," New Yorker, Jan. 24, 2005), after his re-election in 2004, George W. Bush signed a series of secret presidential directives that authorized the Pentagon to run virtually unrestricted covert operations, including a reprise of the American-backed, American-trained death squads employed by authoritarian regimes in Central and South America during the Reagan Administration, where so many of the Bush faction cut their teeth.
"Do you remember the right-wing execution squads in El Salvador?" a former high-level intelligence official said to Hersh. "We founded them and we financed them. The objective now is to recruit locals in any area we want. And we aren't going to tell Congress about it." A Pentagon insider added: "We're going to be riding with the bad boys." Another role model for the expanded dirty war cited by Pentagon sources, said Hersh, was Britain's brutal repression of the Mau Mau in Kenya during the 1950s, when British forces set up concentration camps, created their own terrorist groups to confuse and discredit the insurgency, and killed thousands of innocent civilians in quashing the uprising.

Photo: Here

Bush's formal greenlighting of the death-squad option built upon an already securely-established base, part of a larger effort to turn the world into a "global free-fire zone" for covert operatives, as one top Pentagon official told Hersh. For example, in November 2002 a Pentagon plan to infiltrate terrorist groups and "stimulate" them into action was uncovered by William Arkin, then writing for the Los Angeles Times. The new unit, the "Proactive, Pre-emptive Operations Group," was described in the Pentagon documents as "a super-Intelligence Support Activity" that brings "together CIA and military covert action, information warfare, intelligence and cover and deception."..


"...But as investigative reporter Max Fuller has pointed out in his detailed examination of information buried in reams of mainstream news stories and public Pentagon documents, the vast majority of atrocities then attributed to "rogue" Shiite and Sunni militias were in fact the work of government-controlled commandos and "special forces," trained by Americans, "advised" by Americans and run largely by former CIA agents. As Fuller puts it: "If there are militias in the Ministry of Interior, you can be sure that they are militias that stand to attention whenever a U.S. colonel enters the room." And perhaps a British lieutenant colonel as well
With the Anglo-American coalition so deeply embedded in dirty war - infiltrating terrorist groups, "stimulating" them into action," protecting "crown jewel" double-agents no matter what the cost, "riding with the bad boys," greenlighting the "Salvador Option" - it is simply impossible to determine the genuine origin of almost any particular terrorist outrage or death squad atrocity in Iraq. All of these operations take place in the shadow world, where terrorists are sometimes government operatives and vice versa, and where security agencies and terrorist groups interpenetrate in murky thickets of collusion and duplicity. This moral chaos leaves "a kind of blot/to mark the full-fraught man and best indued/With some suspicion," as Shakespeare's Henry V says.."


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The Daily Show Takes on the MSM's Anna Nicole-athon

To quote an old axiom, "the world's going to hell in a handbasket(carried by George W. Bush)" and the "News" media spent days fawning over Anna Nicole Smith-and yes- I know and understand that distraction and chasing shiny objects is part of their job discription. But the corporate cable newsies have officially become National Inquirer News. Thankfully to my rescue comes Crooks and Liars with The Daily show's take on this banal insanity:

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Charles Darwin - 198th Birthday Today!

Almost forgot! Happy Birthday Charles Darwin! 198 years ago today.

Go here or DS at Kos has an excellent write-up


Governors Kentucky Budget Recommendations

Thanks to The Bridge here's Governor Fletcher's Kentucky budget recommendations for 2007 and 2008.


Dixie Chicks Win Big at Grammys

Congratulations Dixie Chicks! The only reason I mention this since I'm not really a fan of their music is that anyone who criticizes dumbya Bush and gets persecuted for it is a hero in my book. Way to go ladies! Here they are with "Not Ready to Make Nice":


More Bombings in Iraq

More bombings in dubya's folly today. At least 81 dead.


Sunday, February 11, 2007

A Valentine

Many Happy Valentines:

This one from Post Secret.


Najaf Massacre | The Truth is Coming Out

The Us "News" Media is a direct Pipeline for the US government and the Pentagon. The "battle" of Najaf has become a perfect example. Originally stories filtering out through our news sources were that hundreds of "insurgents" had been killed in a massive battle with Iraqi and US forces. Then a bit more began to filter out mainly from the internet(I bless the Internets everyday), from Blogs, and foreign news sources.

Photo here:

This from Mike Whitney of The Atlantic Free Press:

"..What we know now, is that, there were no foreign fighters (or Al Qaida, as was originally stated) nor were there any Sunni militants. It was a group of Shiites who were rivals of the leading Shiite-led government (the SCIRI and Da’wa parties which represent Muqtada al Sadr and Abdel Aziz al-Hakim)

So what really happened?

Apparently, a fight broke out at a checkpoint between government forces (Shiite) and the rival group. (who were also Shiites) Shots were fired, the violence escalated, and government soldiers were quickly overpowered. So, they called for backup from the US military saying that they were under attack by al Qaida and Sunni insurgents. It was all rubbish, but the military believed it, sent in F-18s and helicopter gunships and buried the group under a carpet of bombs. (It is expected that women and children were killed in the bombing)

In fact, many in the media celebrated the slaughter of the Iraqi pilgrims as though they were revisiting the “Battle of the Bulge”. Here’s a typical account from the AP:

“US and British jets bombed and strafed the militants, the US Air Force said Monday. US F-16s and A-10 jets dropped 500-pound bombs on insurgent positions, the Air Force said”.

Hoorah! More innocent people butchered!

Say what you will about the corporate media; they still havn’t lost their appetite for carnage.

Neither has the decider-in-chief who, when asked about the attack, answered, “My first reaction on this report from the battlefield is that the Iraqis are beginning to show me something.”

What the Iraqis “showed” Bush was how easy it is to dupe the US military into carrying out their genocidal reprisals against rival groups. Just as the Mahdi Army and other Shiite militias are “laying low” while the US military ethnically cleanses Sunni neighborhoods throughout Baghdad, so too, the Shiite-led Iraqi government is now using American firepower to eliminate their potential Shiite enemies.

Apparently, Bush is as happy with this new arrangement as the Shiite warlords who now run the country.

A spokesman from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense said that “200 terrorists were killed and 60 wounded” lowering the original estimates.


“Terrorist families” (including children) or just plain old terrorists?

Whatever the precise details may be, the official version is utter nonsense. That’s why the survivors of the attack are being prevented from speaking to the press. Just like the bombed-out wedding party in Anbar Province, or the Jessica Lynch fiasco; the official version is “always right” as long as there is no competing narrative.

The bottom line is that the US military is now being used as an “enforcer” in tribal and clan-based disputes. This will make it even more difficult for Washington to prove that its honest broker who can reconcile the differences between the between the warring factions. With every reckless act of violence, the USbecomes further mired in an “unwinnable” war in a hostile country. Only the American media thinks that that's something to cheer about.."

For more go to truthout, Azzaman, ICH, Belfast Telegraph and many other trusted sources(I did say trusted).


Barack Obama Announces-Swiftboating Begins Immediately

Watch the Barack Obama Presidential announcement here. The guy can really speechify. I knew that when I saw his speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention. The Rightwing noise machine started the Swift boating in ernest immediately after this speech. Go to Down with tyranny for more.


More Woes for Governor Fletch

Good Times, Good Times

More troubles for our Dear Repub Guv. Ernie Fletcher. Who would have thought that a Republican in the heady days of George W. Bush would have let cronyism and sleaze run his administration into the ground? Oh wait, nevermind, just go read Larry Dale Keeling:
Lexington Herald Leader-Feb. 11, 2007

.."Druen told investigators that the governor's office provided him with its own access code to a Republican National Committee database where he checked job candidates' party affiliation and political contributions.
He described the development of the Governor's Personnel Initiative that prosecutors labeled a "corrupt political machine."
He told of the warnings administration officials received from some of their own staffers that what they were doing was wrong and how those warnings were ignored.
He talked about "Sadie" asking for a list. ("Sadie" was the name Fletcher used for his personal e-mail account.)
He said Transportation Secretary Bill Nighbert told him, as Druen was in the process of drawing up the infamous "hit list," to "make sure you put those bitches on there ... they are our enemies."
Finally, he described a meeting in Fletcher's office at which the "hit list" was handed to the governor, who said it should be given to Basil Turbyfill, one of Fletcher's aides."

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Battling the Rightwing Triangle

This about sums it up. I've been seeing this slow-motion train wreck for years now myself. Peter Daou and Duncan (as always) summed it up really well.

"This, then, is the reality: progressive bloggers and online activists -- positioned on the front lines of a cold civil war -- face a thankless and daunting task: battle the Bush administration and its legions of online and offline apologists, battle the so-called "liberal" media and its tireless weaving of pro-GOP narratives, battle the ineffectual Democratic leadership, and battle the demoralization and frustration that comes with a long, steep uphill struggle."

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

US Sent 363 Tons of Shrink-wrapped Cash to Baghdad

Where does Halliburton, Bechtel, Blackwater Services, Parsons come into this, and is this 4 billion reflected in that 9 billion in US missing funds from the Bushopotamia money pit.. er I mean Iraq? More here.

U.S. sent pallets of cash to Baghdad

The US sent more than $4 billion in cash to Baghdad on giant pallets - weighing a total of 363 tons - aboard military planes shortly before giving control back to Iraqis. "Who in their right mind would send 363 tons of cash into a war zone? But that's exactly what our government did," said Representative Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, during a hearing reviewing possible waste, fraud and abuse of funds in Iraq.


Another US Helicopter Shot Down?

Another US helicopter down. No escalation, get our troops out.


Study: Human skin populated by veritable zoo of bacteria


Human skin populated by veritable zoo of bacteria
-Will Dunham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Researchers on a safari for microbes have found that human skin is populated by a veritable menagerie of bacteria -- 182 species -- some apparently living there permanently and others just dropping by for a visit.

There's no need for alarm, said microbiologist Dr. Martin Blaser of New York University School of Medicine: the bacteria have been with us for quite a while and some are helpful...


..."We identify about 182 species," Blaser said in an interview. "And based on those numbers, we estimate there are probably at least 250 species in the skin."

"In comparison," Blaser added, "a good zoo might have 100 species or 200 species. So we already know that there are as many different species in our skin, just on the forearm, as there are in a good zoo."

Bacteria are single-celled microorganisms believed to have been the first living things on Earth. While some cause disease, bacteria also reside normally in our bodies, for example in the digestive tract, performing useful chores.

"Without good bacteria, the body could not survive," added Dr. Zhan Gao, a scientist in Blaser's lab involved in the study.

The researchers noted that microbes in the body actually outnumber human cells 10-to-1.

"Our microbes are actually, in essence, a part of our body," Blaser said.

"We think that many of the normal organisms are protecting the skin. So that's why I don't think it's a great idea to keep washing all the time because we're basically washing off one of our defense layers," Blaser added.
Thanks Boingboing.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Tom Tomorrow and the Right Wing NOISE Machine

Thanks to This Modern World and Working For Change.

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Democrats say | Senate Debate on Iraq Inevitable

All this is over a "Non-Binding resolution" to state the senate's mildly strong anxious disapproval of dubya's Iraq war mongering/meatgrinder. You know what I say to that: Grow a pair you spineless bastards!

Democrats lay siege to Iraq war plans

A lengthy Senate floor debate on the Iraq war is inevitable, despite a Republican effort to block it, Democrats say.

Following a procedural vote Monday that sidetracked a resolution on the war, Democrats said they would eventually find a way to put each senator on record. On the table is a nonbinding resolution backed by several Republicans and most Democrats that would state Senate opposition to President Bush's plan to send 21,500 more troops to Iraq.

"The president must hear from Congress, so he knows he stands in the wrong place - alone," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

The measure, if passed, would be a stinging critique of Bush's decision to deepen the U.S. military commitment in Iraq. Bush has said the extra troops are needed to calm sectarian violence in Baghdad and the western Anbar province.


Here's my man Russ Feingold berating these jellyfish and appealing to all Americans to help stop dubya's bloodbath:


Edwards Offers His Universal Health Care Plan

John Edwards offers up the first candidates universal health insurance plan for all Americans. Details(pdf), or go to Ezra Klein, truthout, or NY Times (take everything they say with a large grain of salt though). The NYT's is like watching CNN.


Bush Slashes Aid to the Poor and the Old For His War

Surprise, dubya likes war and war profiteering more than old people and poor people!

Bush slashes aid to poor to boost Iraq war chest

"President George Bush is proposing to slash medical care for the poor and elderly to meet the soaring cost of the Iraq war..."

"...The Vietnam war cost about $614bn at today's prices. According to the congressional Research Service, the Iraq war has so far cost $500bn. About 90% of the spending on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars goes to Iraq..."

"..In the run-up to the invasion in 2003, the Pentagon's projected estimate of the total cost of the war was $50bn. A White House economic adviser, Lawrence Lindsey, was fired by President Bush when he suggested that the total cost would be $200bn.

The New York Times noted that the cost of the war would have paid for universal healthcare in the US, nursery education for all three and four-year-olds in the country, immunisation for children round the world against a host of diseases, and still leave about half of the money left over..."


Monday, February 05, 2007

Humvee Driver in Iraq

From Crooks and Liars. A YouTube video of a US Humvee driver in Iraq. Bumping other vehicles out of the way and blowing the horn. I'm not sure if he's driving like this to prevent an attack or to get to some emergency. Whatever it is it's certainly not winning hearts and minds.


That Boston cartoon "Terror" Attack

There is a bit of common sense out there regarding that Boston "terror" scare a while back. Go to Boingboing or here, or here for example. Just please, as always DON'T get all your news from corporate tv and newspapers.
As in many things regarding our "News" Media from Boston's HUGE overreaction to dubya's Iraq attack the picture below gives excellent advice.


"I suppose it was inevitable that someday the pop culture gap would result in an entire city being shut down and the “perps” being frog marched into some Homeland Security gulag, but I had always hoped it would be a second- or third-rate hee-haw flyover city, not Boston.

Because what happened here was an embarrassment. Turner Broadcasting launched this marketing stunt in 10 cities and we were the only one that reacted like this. Some people are saying it’s to our credit that we’re so “observant,” but I have a hard time believing that any serious person could say that with a straight face. Plus the devices have been up for three weeks before we even noticed.

Next, let’s all get out our dictionary and look up “hoax”, shall we? Because while “War of the Worlds” was a hoax, this was not. There was no subterfuge involved, and no effort made to convince people that these devices were bombs. If I see a scary looking tree out my bedroom window, think it’s a monster, and then discover upon closer inspection that it isn’t, it doesn’t mean the tree has perpetrated a hoax against me. What it means is that for a moment I took leave of my senses. And just because I’m embarrassed about it doesn’t give me the right to go cut down the tree.

But that’s what our Mayor—who is often at his absolute worst in situations like this—is looking to do. Two kids who put the devices up have been arrested and are facing charges of placing a hoax device in a way that causes panic and disorderly conduct—charges that carry up to five years in prison.

But that’s not enough. The mayor also wants the half-mil the city blew thwarting the attack yesterday reimbursed by Turner Broadcasting and said he plans to push the FCC to revoke Turner’s broadcasting license, even though Turner—which owns TBS, TNT, CNN and Cartoon Network—is a cable provider and therefore not under the jurisdiction of the FCC.


Saturday, February 03, 2007

Taping of Religiously Intoxicated Teacher's Class Leads to:

Leads to a ban on taping in class of course. Like Abu Ghraib the taping of illegal shenanigans leads to a..TA DAH! Ban on Taping!
Student’s Recording of Teacher’s Views Leads to a Ban on Taping

After a public school teacher was recorded telling students they belonged in hell if they did not accept Jesus as their savior, the school board has banned taping in class without an instructor’s permission, and has added training for teachers on the legal requirements for separating church and state.



Suicide Bomber Obliterates Market in Baghdad-Kills Over 130

Geez! They can't even go out to the market to get food for the evening meal.
Mission Accomplished dubya?



Bomber kills as many as 121 in Baghdad

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A suicide truck bomber struck a market in a predominantly Shiite area of Baghdad on Saturday, killing as many as 121 people among the crowd buying food for evening meals, one of the most devastating attacks in the capital since the war started.
The attacker was driving a truck carrying foodstuffs including oil and flour when he detonated a ton of explosives, destroying stores and stalls in the busy outdoor Sadriyah market, police said.
Continue with the horror from Bushopotamia:


John Edwards Speech to the DNC Meeting

John Edwards gives an EXCELLENT speech at the DNC Winter Meeting. Here's the CSPAN link.

I've always liked the populist side of Edwards. I was (like many others) dis-appointed with his debate with Darth Cheney in '04, but he is a great speaker when he wants to be. If I can find the video itself I'll embed it here. If someone finds it please let me know.


Hillary's Just Playing the Game

Every time I think Hillary has become a little wiser, a little bit less of the conniving politician, and a little to smart to(once again) go the way the corporate media points her. Every time I start to think such things she says something like this:

"U.S. policy must be clear and unequivocal: We cannot, we should not, we must not permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons," she said. "In dealing with this threat ... no option can be taken off the table."

Playing completely into the Bushco Neo-con playbook, the same old tired script. Giving dubya cover to arbitrarily attack another Nation. Iraq Attack part II, the same B.S. from the corporate "News" toadies,the same goose-stepping by the Repubs and the same dumb-ass Democrats being played for fools. For another good example of this look at the political dancing and butt-covering going on with the anti-escalation legislation right now. I tend to agree with Sean-Paul Hillary's just lost my vote


Thursday, February 01, 2007

Which Science Fiction Writer Are You?

Which Science Fiction Writer Are You?

I am:
Gregory Benford
A master literary stylist who is also a working scientist.

Which science fiction writer are you?

Actually I'm NOT Gregory Benford that's just the SciFi writer this web site says I'm most like.


Molly Ivins (August 30, 1944 – January 31, 2007) - R.I.P.

Everyone will have something to say about Molly Ivins. I wanted to note her passing also. Being a Liberal I liked her politics and being a reader I loved her writing. The "shrub" is probably happy at her passing. But then again he'll be going someday also(No Cheering!).

This From The Texas Observer

"..Molly was a hero. She was a mentor. She was a liberal. She was a patriot. She was a friend. And she always will be. With Molly's death we have lost someone we hold dear. What she has left behind we will hold dearer still.

Despite her failing health, and an impending ice storm, Molly insisted on being driven to the Observer’s most recent public event in early January so she could thank our supporters.

Observer writers are useful, she explained to the crowd, in much the same way as good hunting dogs. Turn them loose, let them hunt. When they return with their prey, pat them on the head, say a few words of praise, and set them loose to hunt again.

For the time being, our site will be dedicated to remembering Molly, her work, her wit, her contributions to the political discourse of a nation. We invite readers to submit their own thoughts and recollections, to say a few words of praise.."

This is from Molly Ivin's last/farewell column:

And for me, it’s leaving time.
I have a grandly dramatic vision of myself stalking through the canyons of the Big Apple in the rain and cold, dreaming about driving with the soft night air of East Texas rushing on my face while Willie Nelson sings softly on the radio, or about blasting through the Panhandle under a fierce sun and pale blue sky….I’ll remember, I’ll remember…sunsets, rivers, hills, plains, the Gulf, woods, a thousand beers in a thousand joints, and sunshine and laughter. And people. Mostly I’ll remember people.



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