Friday, December 31, 2004

Blessed Are the Merciful

Raw Story finds another example of the red state morality to which we've become accustomed:

"Thank God for Tsunami & 2000 dead Swedes!!!"

Yeah, those are their exclamation points. That is a headline from the website (subtly titled of the Westboro Baptist Church, (I guess the term church is used loosely), who were previously made infamous for picketing the funeral of Matthew Shepard, the young man who was murdered in 1998 by some ignorant gay-bashers in Wyoming. These days, it would appear that they think God is smiting southeast Asia to get at a few godless Swedes who were on holiday there.

I'd need to dig out my bible Cliff's Notes, but isn't God all-powerful? Seems to me if He wanted at the Swedes, wouldn't He, I don't know... attack Sweden? I'm not omniscient or anything, but off the top of my head, I'm thinking I would send a meteor straight to downtown Stockholm if I wanted to kill Swedes. Wait a minute... Maybe God has the same thing that Bush has! Want to kill person A? Attack person B instead!

Thursday, December 30, 2004


There's nothing snarky to say about the tsunami disaster. Already 114,000 confirmed dead and certain to rise.

It's unimaginable that a single tidal wave can kill as many people in one day as Bush killed in a year and a half.

Kofi Annan says a half million dollars has been pledged to help out, but that's not even close to what they need. If you want to help out:

Red Cross

25, 50 bucks? Every bit helps.

How the President Spends His Time

I saw Bush on TV today feigning sadness about the victims of the tsunami. Maybe this is old news, but I noticed he had an official sign all made up to say Western White House, Crawford, Texas.

Let me rephrase that - Bush spent our tax dollars making a sign so he could make his personal ranch, you know, the one with all that brush to clear, appear to be an official government office. With this sign, he can fool those who don't pay close attention, (I'm lookin' at you Fox viewers), into thinking he is hard at work in Washington, and briefing from the White House press room, rather than sitting on his ass next to the pool being served t-bones the size of your head by his illegal immigrant waitstaff.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

It's Hard Work

From bad to worse in Iraq. Twenty-two American soldiers were killed while eating lunch.

Thomas Nichols, professor of strategy at that bastion of liberal elitism, the U.S. Naval War College:

"The situation in Iraq is so confusing that I have no idea what is going on there, and anyone that tells you that they do is not telling you the truth."

Is he calling the president a liar? Oh, and speaking of which, did you read the study that over a third of Americans think that speaking out against the government should be banned?

Many Americans believe certain civil liberties should not be jeopardized in the fight against terrorism, according to a poll by the ILR Survey Research Institute at Cornell University. 63 per cent of respondents believe individuals should be allowed to publicly criticize the government in a time of crisis.

Yep, you read that right. Flip the other side of that 63% around and you find 37% who think we should not be allowed to criticize the government. Who are these people, and have they not read 1984? They should. Ah, fuck it, let's just bring Lenin's body to Washington and be done with this whole civil rights experiment.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

A Festivus for the Rest of Us!

Happy holidays, everyone! This columnist will be on vacation for a little while, so you may not see as many posts from me in the coming days.

But to keep yourself occupied, I encourage you to enter our predictions contest. Ponder the following:

  • What Nugget of Horror&trade will George Bush announce on Christmas Eve, when no one is paying attention?
  • How long into 2005 will Rumsfeld remain in the administration?
  • Are those two questions related?

    Merry Christmas, and I'll see you next year!

  • Thursday, December 16, 2004

    Bill O'Reilly, I Wish You Great Harm

    Bill O'Reilly has his panties in a twist over Christmas this year. Apparently, the baby sacrificing, devil worshipping liberals in this country are cancelling Christmas nationwide! Yeah, good point, Billy, I almost didn't even notice it was Christmas-time. I haven't seen a single Christmas commercial, not one Christmas tree vendor, no public Christmas displays in Rockefeller Center, no Jessica Simpson Christmas shows, nothing. Christmas is about to pass right by with nary a mention.


    Read this article.

    "All over the country, Christmas is taking flak," O'Reilly recently announced, as he complained about "the anti-Christmas jihad" that's gripping the nation. "If they could, secularists would cancel Christmas as a holiday. That's how much they fear the exposition of the philosophy of Jesus."

    Sidebar - I went to Catholic school for eight years, Baby O'Ri-Ri, and here are a few things I remember about Jesus' philosophy:

  • Blessed are the poor.
  • Turn the other cheek.
  • Love everyone equally.
  • Don't be killing people.
  • Don't judge people.
  • Help the least among us.
  • Blessed are the merciful.

    Yeah, those are nice, good things. You know what, Billy Goat Reilly? Jesus was a good dude, no question. Now, let's look at Bush's philosophy:

  • Blessed are the rich, for they shall inherit the wealth.
  • Kill them before they even get a chance to think about killing you.
  • Love anyone who believes exactly the same thing as I do and doesn't indulge in hot man-on-man action.
  • Kill retarded children if it suits me.
  • I am the Bush, thy god. You shall bow down before me.
  • Ownership society - if you don't own it, you ain't part of my society.
  • Bring it ON bitch! We'll get you dead or alive.

    I'd say that just about sums it up. Seriously, give me a single example of Bush's mercy. Just ONE, Wacky Willy.

    Back to the article:

    Throughout December, O'Reilly has positioned himself as the lone ranger, willing to step up and defend the baby Jesus. "Nobody sticks up for Christmas except me. Did Peter Jennings stick up for Christmas last night? I don't believe he did. How about Brian Williams, did he? Did Rather stick up for Christmas? No."

    Difference, Bil-Bil - they're journalists [barely], you're a hack with rage issues. They tend to kinda report, like, NEWS. Perhaps you've heard of news?

    Since O'Reilly began chronicling how Christmas was "under siege," the host has been using a slew of vague catchphrases -- "those people," "these creeps," "secular progressives," "the secular bunch," "extremists" -- to describe the lurking, godless forces who want to take Christ out of Christmas.

    Why on earth do we even allow the liberals and Jews in this country? Where's a mass grave when you need it, right Big O? Hold on... Wait for it:

    When a caller identified himself as Jewish and began to complain about "the secularization of Jews and about Christmas going into schools," O'Reilly shot back that "overwhelmingly, America is Christian. And the holiday is a federal holiday honoring the philosopher Jesus. So, you don't wanna hear about it? Impossible. And that is an affront to the majority. You know, the majority can be insulted, too. And that's what this anti-Christmas thing is all about."

    At one point, O'Reilly told the caller, "Come on, if you are really offended, you gotta go to Israel then."

    Whoop! Dey it is!! Hells yeah! Get the fuck outta my country, you stinking Jew!

    I've had enough of this. Just die already, Bill O'Reilly.

  • Willy Wonka and the Economics Factory

    Bush and his cabal of oompa loompas are pushing their fantasy land economic plan [scheme, racket, hustle, flimflam] this week. Even the AP headline calls him a liar:

    Bush view of economy at odds with forecast

    An economy with blue skies, happy workers and prosperity for all, just around the corner. That's the sunny picture painted Wednesday at President Bush's economic conference, where nary a discouraging word was uttered and Bush's second-term priorities were resoundingly praised.

    Oompa loompa doompity doo...

    Here's Bush's "plan," by the way:

  • overhaul the tax code
    [cut taxes on the rich and shift the tax burden onto the backs of the poor]

  • and Social Security
    [eliminate social security]

  • limit lawsuit liability awards
    [kill all the peasants you like!]

    Vice President Dick Cheney: "If we stay on that path, the years ahead will bring even greater progress and prosperity."

    Larry Mocha, a Tulsa, Okla., manufacturer of truck air brake systems: "I want to thank the administration for all the positive things you've done for our economy. ... It hasn't always been this good."

    Treasury Secretary John Snow: "We are the envy of the world."

    Harvard economics professor Martin Feldstein: "I'm pleased to say the economy is now in very good shape."

    Oompa loompa doompity DEE!

  • Wednesday, December 15, 2004

    I Feel Safer Already...

    Remember all that talk about a missle defense system?

    The first test in nearly two years of a multibillion-dollar U.S. anti-missile shield has failed after the interceptor missile shut down as it prepared to launch in the central Pacific, the Pentagon said.

    About 16 minutes earlier, a target missile carrying a mock warhead had been successfully fired from Kodiak Island, Alaska, according to a statement from the Missile Defense Agency.

    The aborted $85 million (44 million pounds) test appeared likely to set back plans for activation of a rudimentary bulwark against long-range ballistic missiles that could be fired by countries like North Korea.

    In 2002, President George W. Bush pledged to have initial elements of the program up and running by the end of this year while testing and development continued.

    But don't worry, the goal wasn't to actually shoot down the target:

    Because the mission was supposed to have exercised new hardware, software and engagement scenarios, it was officially described as a "flyby" rather than an attempted intercept. This meant gathering data was the primary goal, not downing the target, according to the Missile Defense Agency.

    When a shootdown has been the chief test objective, the system so far has succeeded five of eight times in highly scripted conditions.

    So I guess as long as North Korea launches one nuke, during the day, with no wind and no clouds, we have a 63% chance of knocking it down. And it's only costing us... how much again? If a guy charged me $1000 to install a toilet in my house and then told me it would successfully flush 5 out of 8 times, provided the sun was shining outside and I didn't push the lever too hard, and when it failed poop and sewage would spew out of the bowl for half an hour, I'd punch him in the groin...

    Give Me Liberty or Give Me Cмерть

    Ukraine. What to say about Ukraine that hasn't already been said...

    Well, they're still at it over there. Yushchenko's Orange Revolution is on the campaign trail getting ready for the re-vote. Does anyone else find it at least interesting that his party is represented by the color orange and he was poisoned with Agent Orange?

    Which brings up my rambling point. There but for the grace of God goes the United States. Ukraine is one fucked up place, and has been forever. If they weren't under Russian control, it was the Soviet Union, followed by the corrupt oligarchs of today. And despite the centuries of repression these people have endured, pro-Yanukovych propaganda on every television station, opposition party members murdered or framed - including the poisoning of the actual candidate - democracy is marching forward! The people have forced the government to listen to them. It gives me chills typing this paragraph out now. In the unlikeliest of countries, they're doing democracy proud.

    And we have the same problems over here, in this supposed shining beacon of democracy on a hill or whatever bullshit. Pro-government propaganda from every mainstream media outlet, egregious election fraud, voter intimidation, contemptible and corrupt campaign tactics - and I'll say it again - where is our outrage?! The people of Ukraine put us to shame.

    If you can find the December 13th issue of The New Yorker, read the “Letter from Kiev.” This morning on the crowded-ass subway, this quote from Ukrainian activist Ostap Kryvdyk almost brought me to tears:

    "It’s something we couldn’t imagine. Two months ago, it looked as if we had a lazy, uninteresting capital, frightened eastern regions, panicking western regions. We would win if God helped us – and God either would or would not. It was a surprise that people rose from their knees and stood in the snow. We Ukrainians have this very big tradition of loss. We don’t know how to be happy. I’d say there would only be one fact that will make me shout, and it will last for five minutes: when Yushchenko takes the oath of office."

    And then?

    "Then I will become the opposition to him."


    Tuesday, December 14, 2004

    Are We Being Punk'd?

    That wacky president of ours has chosen a few Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients. Are you sitting down?

    And the winners are... Former CIA chief George Tenet, former head of the US Authority in Iraq Paul Bremer and former CentComm Commander Tommy Franks.

    What the fuck?

    Come on, folks. Any living American not named George, Donald, or Condoleezza has done more for the security of this country than those three men. Wow. I mean, WOW!

    In case you've forgotten, it was George Tenet who was in charge of intelligence during a little thing we like to call September 11th. Remember that? And then of course, there's the infamous slam dunk quote, referring to how certain it was that there were nuclear weapons in Iraq.

    Paul Bremer... Well, good ol' Paulie, as his friends [don't] call him, was the military genius who disbanded the Iraqi army essentially creating the insurgency that we see today in Iraq. Jolly good show, Mr. Bremer!

    Ah, yes, and General Tommy Franks. The military tends to be secretive about their internal goings-on, so I'm not quite sure what he's responsible for. But I know this - he was in charge when we went into Iraq, and that place is a steaming pile of shit today. It seems to me that if a general is worthy of the highest civilian honor we give out in this country, shouldn't that general have actually, oh I don't know, WON a fucking war?

    Did Kennedy give the Medal of Freedom to the idiots who planned the Bay of Pigs? Am I crazy here?

    Monday, December 13, 2004

    Slicin' Up Eyeballs

    Normally, I eschew commentary about my personal life, but since it's mentioned in The New York Times, I think I'm allowed to talk about it.

    The Pixies are playing Hammerstein tonight. Well, they're there all week, but I'm going tonight, and I couldn't be more excited.

    In order, here are my top 5 Pixies' songs:
    1) Space (I Believe In)
    2) Broken Face
    3) Cecilia Ann
    4) Dig for Fire
    5) Dead
    6) Debaser
    7) UMass
    8) Rock Music
    9) Gigantic

    Sorry, couldn't keep it to 5...

    UPDATE: They played Broken Face, Dead, Debaser, UMass, Rock Music, and Gigantic - so all in all, it was the best show I've seen in years.


    scha·den·freu·de n.(shädn-froid)

  • Pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.

    Loving the entire Bernie Kerik story. I don't care if it's about the illegal immigrant nanny, if it's about Kerik's ties to the mob, if it's about the love shack that he used to carry on two simultaneous affairs while he was already married, or if it's about the corruption at Riker's Island when he was in charge.

    I don't care. It's all super-duper-great! Keep it coming!

    Here are some more of Kerik's skeletons which have yet to come to light:
  • He leads a high-level group which has been assisting aliens with their plan to colonize earth.
  • He's been marketing fat-free frozen yogurt, that in actuality, contains fat.
  • He killed Lady Diana.
  • He green-lighted Gigli.
  • He threw the cup of beer at Ron Artest.

    Any more Kerik predictions, send 'em my way!

  • Buy, Buy, Buy, Buy, Buy, Buy, Buy...

    It's Christmas time! You know what that means... That's right, it's time for our annual media-fueled spending frenzy/clusterfuck. You can almost smell the shopper's rage in the air.

    To help direct your shopping dollars into the proper hands, there is a handy new website that documents the political leanings of all the major retailers, by way of their campaign contributions. We all know whose corner Wal-Mart is in. But how about Nordstrom? Starbucks? Olive Garden? It's all there. (Preview: Barnes & Noble - good; Amazon - bad; private bookseller - best of all)

    So if you must participate in the go-into-debt-because-that's-what-jesus'-birthday-is-for ritual, at least give your hard borrowed money to the good guys.

    Friday, December 10, 2004

    Get a Job, You Freeloading Hawk!

    I'm sure you've all heard the story by now - Family of hawks gets a nice place on the Upper East Side, until the speciesist residents of the building insist that their lease not be renewed.

    Residents were [not] quoted as saying:
    "Hey, first one hawk moves in, then another... Pretty soon, there goes the neighborhood."

    Putting aside the story of the poor hawks and their struggle to find a new place, [hey tell me about it - I've been living in the same piece of shit shoebox for the last five years], we at DoG find the behind-the-music story even better. Apparently, the president of the co-op board that decided to rid the place of the hawks is none other than the husband of CNN's own Paula Zahn.

    The Mole host emeritus, suspected gay, and spawn of Gloria Vanderbilt, Anderson Cooper, hosts the show immediately preceding Paula's, and yesterday, signed off with:

    "You can't expect to live rent-free forever," Cooper conceded. "But he's a bird, you know. What's he going to do, pay rent in rats? ... Come to think of it, maybe it wasn't a matter of money.

    "After all, we're talking Fifth Ave. co-op here. It could have been all the unseemly publicity that got Pale Male put out. ... Coming up next, 'Paula Zahn Now.'"

    Meow, girlfriend!

    Thursday, December 09, 2004

    We Can Work It Out

    The NHL owners and the players association are meeting today, for the first time since September. Praise the Lord! I have one thing to say about it:

    Please, please, please, please work something out!

    The New York Times has a front page story this morning about the impact the lockout is having on certain hockey cities. It just so happens that yours truly hails from the great city of Detroit, the hockeyinest town of all.

    And near Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, which calls itself Hockeytown in its loyalty to the hometown Red Wings, another passel of businesses are suffering. Anthony Bruce, the manager of a popular bar, Mac's on Third, said he could lose his livelihood.

    "We're still paying the place off," he said. "Our final mortgage payment is due in March and we're not sure if we're going to make it."


    The city of Detroit, for example, estimates that it receives $10 million in direct revenue from hockey games over the course of a season, from sources including parking, public transportation, concession sales at Joe Louis Arena and a surcharge on Red Wings tickets. And according to David Littmann, the chief economist for Comerica, a financial services company that has its headquarters in the city, the hockey season can pump as much as $85 million into the local economy.

    You see, horrible, evil, mega-rich owners? It's not just that you're destroying the sport, losing fans by the thousands, and disappointing children world-wide. You're destroying businesses and entire cities that depend on that revenue. So, I'm begging you - stop being such a bunch of assholes and settle this! Now!

    What's that, you say? The players fault? No, no... That is a wide misperception, one that I just don't understand. How can you side with the corporate multi-billionaires over all of our heroes?

    Allow me to explain. You see, the owners, until maybe the last 10 years, had been able to pay the players a mere pittance. But since Gretzky, and then big superstar contracts like Sergei Federov and that punkass bitch, Eric Lindros, (or for that matter, anyone on the Rangers, a team that will pay through the nose for any fading star), the salaries have increased. So now, the poor, helpless owners are making only millions in profits instead of billions. They want a hard and fast salary cap, to stop the bleeding. But as you can see in Forbes magazine, the owners aren't losing money at all. They might be if you only count ticket sales versus salaries. But when you take into account merchandising, vendor sales, and most importantly, the increase in value of an NHL franchise every single year, the owners are making money hand over fist.

    The players deserve their share of those profits. And look at the NFL. They have a salary cap, and it's made it superboring. There's no challenge to create a great team. You suck this year? Wait until next year, and you'll be in the Super Bowl. I'm lookin' at you, Carolina Panthers! Nah, screw that. It should be more difficult than that, and it should require a serious commitment to winning on the part of ownership. It shouldn't just be dumb luck every single year.

    Look, whatever. Just work this out. I'm going back to Detroit over Christmas, and I'm not going to be watching any games in the crappy bowling alley near my mom's house. What's Christmas without the Wings?

    From the Times again:

    "Emotionally we're all dying."

    Wednesday, December 08, 2004

    Douchebag of Liberty

    Amy Sullivan asks the tough question - Why do journalists who were contacted with the information about Valerie Plame, but refused to print it, go to jail, while the asshole, lying scumbag who actually did reveal her status as a CIA agent, Robert Novak, roams free?

    See for yourself. Great article.

    Ministry of Love

    Last night, I made a mistake and flipped to Fox News for the briefest of moments. It was Bill O'Reilly answering his viewer mail. In record time, I was outraged. The viewer's question was, to paraphrase - you're demanding that Kofi Annan be removed because oil-for-food stuff happened on his watch. Why aren't you equally outraged with Rumsfeld and Bush, as they presided over Abu Ghraib?

    Sounds reasonable, I believe I said the same thing.

    Bill's reply: "Oil-for-food took place over several years, Abu Ghraib took place over three days!"

    What? Whatever, you idiot. So now, here's a Salon exclusive describing the great lengths to which the military has gone to cover up the widespread and systemic torture of Iraqi prisoners of war. Sgt. Frank "Greg" Ford, a 49 year old veteran with over 30 years of military experience, tried to blow the whistle on his superiors because of the prisoner abuse he had been witnessing. He was declared delusional and insane in a false medical report and medivac'd out of Iraq. He has since been evaluated three times by three different doctors, all of whom declare him fit for duty.

    If it looks like a cover-up and stinks like a cover-up, it's probably a cover-up. And apparently, Sgt. Ford is far from the first one to be silenced. When are the media going to WAKE UP and realize this administration is pure evil. The American people deserve the facts.

    Tuesday, December 07, 2004

    Kill It to Save It?

    No, not another post about Iraq. Paul Krugman takes time out of his sabbatical to opine about how the Republicans have invented a completely bogus Social Security "crisis."

    They come to bury Social Security, not to save it. They aren't sincerely concerned about the possibility that the system will someday fail; they're disturbed by the system's historic success.

    Rig the Vote!

    Read it.

    In a sworn affidavit Monday, a former programmer for a NASA contractor said that he developed a vote-rigging prototype at the request of a then-Florida state representative who is now a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

    Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What motive would this man have to lie under oath?
  • Have the Republicans ever been undone by their own hubris?
  • Have the Republicans ever lied, cheated, or stolen before?

    Yeah, this one makes me nervous. Stay tuned...

    (Special thanks to The Minority Whip)

  • More on Why They Hate Us

    Here and there, people are noticing some good stuff out of that report (PDF) from the Pentagon's Defense Science Board. The Daily Kos highlights a few nuggets. I'll cut and paste a bit of it for you with my own emphasis added:

    Data from Zogby International in July 2004, for example, show that the U.S. is viewed unfavorably by overwhelming majorities in Egypt (98 percent), Saudi Arabia (94 percent), Morocco (88 percent), and Jordan (78 percent). The war has increased mistrust of America in Europe, weakened support for the war on terrorism, and undermined U.S. credibility worldwide.


    Negative attitudes and the conditions that create them are the underlying sources of threats to America's national security and reduced ability to leverage diplomatic opportunities. Terrorism, thin coalitions, harmful effects on business, restrictions on travel, declines in cross border tourism and education flows, and damaging consequences for other elements of U.S. soft power are tactical manifestations of a pervasive atmosphere of hostility.


    There is consensus in these reports that U.S. public diplomacy is in crisis. Missing are strong leadership, strategic direction, adequate coordination, sufficient resources, and a culture of measurement and evaluation. America's image problem, many suggest, is linked to perceptions of the United States as arrogant, hypocritical, and self-indulgent. There is agreement too that public diplomacy could be a powerful asset with stronger Presidential leadership, Congressional support, inter-agency coordination, partnership with the private sector, and resources (people, tools, structures, programs, funding).


    The number and depth of these reports indicate widespread concern among influential observers that something must be done about public diplomacy. But so far these concerns have produced no real change. The White House has paid little attention.


    The information campaign -- or as some still would have it, "the war of ideas," or the struggle for "hearts and minds" -- is important to every war effort. In this war it is an essential objective, because the larger goals of U.S. strategy depend on separating the vast majority of non-violent Muslims from the radical-militant Islamist-Jihadists. But American efforts have not only failed in this respect: they may also have achieved the opposite of what they intended.

    Unfortunately, the report is 111 pages long, so Bush will never read it unless they translate it into cartoon form, or film it with Tim Allen in the lead role. But holy fucking shit, right? The Pentagon saying the president is lacking in strategerie and leadership? No you dih-int! I hope the authors are keeping their families in hiding...

    And an afterthought - why do we have to read about this in blogs? How is it that Chris Matthews isn't just reading this report verbatim every single night on that screamfest he likes to pretend is a news show? The president's own precious Pentagon is saying that everything we've done in Iraq is a steaming pile of shit. Isn't that news? I guess if there's no rape, car chase, or dead fetus, it's not news. WAKE UP, MEDIA! You're killing democracy!

    Quote of the Year

    Roy Edroso:

    "On the Right, batshit-crazy is the new polyester."

    (Thanks to Tom Tomorrow.)

    Gettin' Out the Vote in Iraq

    The Washington Post has an article about the GOTV effort in Iraq. I only mention it because of this beautifully ironic election slogan:

    "Brother Iraqis, the future of Iraq is in your hands. Elections are the ideal way to expel the occupier from Iraq,"

    March on, Freedom! March on!

    Politics First. People Second.

    Outrageous. Bill Frist, this column's favorite kitten killer-cum-Senator, puts religious dogma ahead of our children's health on This Week with George Stephanopoulos. (Video here)

    Recall how we learned last week that the abstinence-only classes were teaching kids all sorts of nonsense like AIDS can be transmitted through sweat and that a woman can only be happy if her husband is happy? Well, read what Senator Vivisection has to say on the matter. Courtesy of LiberalOasis:

    STEPHANOPOULOS: One of programs [said] "the actual ability of condoms to prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS, even if the product is intact, is not definitively known."

    Another: "The popular claim that condoms help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases is not supported by the data."

    A third...suggested that tears and sweat could transmit HIV and AIDS.

    Now you're a doctor. Do you believe that tears and sweat can transmit HIV?

    FRIST: I don't know. I can tell you --

    STEPHANOPOULOS: You don’t know?

    FRIST: I can tell you things like, like --

    STEPHANOPOULOS: Wait. Let me stop you there. You don't know that, you believe that tears and sweat might be able to transmit AIDS?

    FRIST: Yeah, no, I can tell you that HIV is not very transmissible as an element, like compared to smallpox, compared to the flu, it's not.

    But, the first line -- because I think it's dangerous to show that, and then sort of walk away...

    ...About condoms for example, we know there's about a 15 percent failure rate.

    You know, this is a deadly virus. And you know it is directly transmissible, with a relatively high degree of infectivity by sexual relations.

    If there's a 15 percent failure rate in condoms, itself --


    STEPHANOPOULOS: ...Let me just clear this up though, do you or do you not believe that tears and sweat can transmit HIV?

    FRIST: It would be very hard...for tears and sweat to -- I mean, you can get virus in tears and sweat.

    But in terms of the degree of infecting somebody, it would be very hard.

    Senator, you're a fucking doctor! A DOCTOR! How on earth do you sleep at night after going on television and hemming and hawing about a health issue, trying not to contradict the religious zealots who pay for your campaigns?

    If you're curious what doctors who actually want to help people have to say on the subject of AIDS transmission, you can find it at The Centers for Disease Control. And the 15% failure rate statistic that the Jesus-freaks like to regurgitate? That's only when taking human error into account. Hmmn... what could we do to get that error rate lower? If only we could create some sort of a class to, I don't know, maybe teach kids how to use condoms properly...

    Shame on you, Senator. Shame on you.

    Good Ol' Family Values

    From the excellent Atrios Blog:


    Bush signs Tax Relief Act

    By DAVID PITT Associated Press Writer
    The Associated Press
    DES MOINES, Iowa

    President Bush visited the swing state of Iowa on Monday to sign the Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004, which he said would mean lower tax bills for 94 million Americans.

    "It comes at just the right time for America. Some of the provisions were set to expire at the end of 2004 ..." he said. "That would have been a setback for hardworking families of America and a setback for our economy."

    Bush introduced Mike and Sharla Hintz, a couple from Clive, whom he said benefited from his tax plan.

    Last year, because of the enhanced the child tax credit, they received an extra $1,600 in their tax refund, Bush said. With other tax cuts in the bill, they saved $2,800 on their income taxes.

    They used the money to buy a wood-burning stove to more efficiently heat their home, made some home improvements and went on a vacation to Minnesota, the president said.

    "Next year, maybe they'll want to come to Texas," Bush quipped.

    Mike Hintz, a First Assembly of God youth pastor, said the tax cuts also gave him additional money to use for health care.

    He said he supports Bush's values.

    "The American people are starting to see what kind of leader President Bush is. People know where he stands," he said.

    "Where we are in this world, with not just the war on terror, but with the war with our culture that's going on, I think we need a man that is going to be in the White House like President Bush, that's going to stand by what he believes.

    "Everybody that I've talked to are saying that things are going to start going his way," Hintz said.

    Surrounded by Republican members of Iowa's congressional delegation, Bush signed the bill and handed the pen to Sen. Charles Grassley, giving him credit for getting the bill passed.

    White House spokesman Jim Morrell said last week that the bill-signing ceremony was a way "for the president to show his appreciation for Sen. Grassley's leadership on this issue."

    Grassley, chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, also took some gentle ribbing from the president for a current campaign commercial that shows him mowing his lawn. In the ad, Grassley is on a riding lawnmower, towing two push-mowers on ropes behind him to broaden his path.

    "The south lawn of the White House has a lot of grass. I'm looking for somebody to mow it," Bush told Grassley. "Mr. Chairman, you should now be known as grass-mower."

    And Today:

    Pastor Charged With Sexual Exploitation Of Child
    First Assembly Of God Church Fires Reverend

    DES MOINES, Iowa -- A Des Moines youth pastor is charged with the sexual exploitation of a child.

    KCCI learned that the married father of four recently turned himself in to Johnston police.

    Rev. Mike Hintz was fired from the First Assembly of God Church, located at 2725 Merle Hay Road, on Oct. 30. Hintz was the youth pastor there for three years.

    Police said he started an affair with a 17-year-old in the church youth group this spring.

    Church officials fired Hintz immediately after hearing the allegations.

    "They did acknowledge with their congregation that Mr. Hintz had made apparently some admissions to his inappropriate activity, and they took a proactive approach and immediately terminated him from his position," Johnston police Sgt. Lynn Aswegan said.

    Neither Hintz nor his attorney returned KCCI's calls.

    Monday, December 06, 2004

    NASCAR Nightly News

    Do yourself a favor and read Frank Rich every Sunday.

    Friday, December 03, 2004

    One Day Macs Will Rule the World

    Look at this interesting Mac vs. Microsoft analysis from The Daily Kos.

    Today, IE makes up 67 percent of dKos reader browsers. A solid number, but one trending down and doing so rapidly. Anytime I see Microsoft failing at something it makes my day. So three cheers to Firefox and Safari!

    Oh, and speaking of Microsoft, 22 percent of Daily Kos readers use a non-Windows operating system (18 percent Macintosh, 4 percent Linux/Unix).

    The numbers look different at conservative sites. At Instapundit, for example, 75 percent of visitors use IE. And only 6 percent of visitors use a non-Windows operating system (Mac at 4 percent, Linux/Unix at 2 percent).

    There is a clear liberal/conservative divide in technology usage. You can find the data at any weblog with a public sitemeter, and the stats seem to hold true across the board. Liberals are more likely to use non-Microsoft products than conservatives.

    A Big Mac's a Big Mac, but They Call it Le Big Mac

    A lotta the same shit we got here, they got there.

    The religious and the secular are squaring off in the battle for the European Union's constitution. But as Vincent Vega says - it's the little differences. In Europe, the seculars are winning. Lucky bastards.

    Quote: "Europe is the only utterly secularized continent on Earth. It's the exception."

    Sign me UP!!

    Are They Insane?

    What the fuck is wrong with these Republicans?! Now, they want to eliminate the filibuster. When I write about how they want to destroy the Founding Fathers' vision of America, I had no idea the GOP would take me so literally!

    Hey assholes - are you so certain of your unending omnipotence that you want to take a chance like this? You don't want to keep the filibuster around, just in case we take back the majority? Don't you think we're holding grudges?

    Just to show you what true buffoons they are, here's the money shot:

    Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., says "tyranny by the minority" must end and he will do whatever it takes.

    Sorry to have been tyrannizing you there, Billy. We had no idea! We felt like we were the ones grabbing our ankles. Here - have some milk and cookies... oh and don't forget your lithium, you evil son of a bitch.

    While we're speaking of tyrants, it's a good time to remind everyone about Sen. Frist's penchant for adopting and then killing innocent animals:

    Frist admitted in his 1989 book that, while a student at Harvard Medical School, he adopted cats from animal shelters and practiced surgery on the animals. In adopting the cats, however, Frist told shelter staff members he wanted the animals for pets. All of the cats died as a result of the surgeries.

    "It was a heinous and dishonest thing to do," Frist wrote in Transplant: A Heart Surgeon's Account of the Life-and-Death Dramas of the New Medicine.

    Yes. Heinous. That's a great word to describe you, Senator.

    Thursday, December 02, 2004

    Gitmo - Party Prison

    TBogg sent me to a pleasant Linda Chavez column in which she downplays the goings on at the concentration camp we like to call Guantanamo.

    She doesn't think that torture is such a big deal, and frankly, the stuff we do down there isn't torture to begin with. I have another post talking about how horrible this all is, but I guess Linda doesn't read the DoG. So let's go over it again, shall we?

    She writes:

    The only possible way to prevent such horrors is to obtain information that might interrupt future terrorist plots. And some of those who might lead us to other terrorists are now sitting in cells in Guantanamo.

    Even if I were to concede that torture works, (it has been shown not to, by the way), most of the people rounded up by our government are guilty of nothing other than being brown skinned. Many aren't even Muslim. Torturing a helpless Sikh cabbie really doesn't keep us safer, does it? And torturing innocent Muslim men only convinces them to take up arms against us once the legal system wakes up and orders them all released - as it did, very recently, in fact.

    Would it be unthinkable to force him into uncomfortable physical positions? What about keeping him too warm or too cold in his cell, or blaring loud noises at him while he tries to sleep? Would it be immoral to make him fearful by playing on his phobias, or by depriving him of human contact for days or even months on end?

    You're missing the point that whether or not it would be "moral," it's still illegal - both by United States law and international treaty. We can debate the laws within the lawmaking bodies; but we simply cannot take the law into our own hands.

    Anyhow, that's not all they're doing down there. Remember the most horrifying part? They have the doctors involved, helping the torturers figure out what would be most painful or incapacitating on a case-by-case basis. I know liberals and conservatives alike cringe when this comparison is made, but that's one of the many really bad things that the Nazis used to do. I know we've been cruising down that road for some time, but jesus, do we have to make it so obvious?

    And perhaps most importantly, the Geneva Conventions are here to protect us, when our soldiers are captured, Linda. Think ahead! You think there's no chance that in the next, say, fifty years, we won't have any soldiers captured in battle, ever? Wouldn't it be nice to be able to take the moral high ground and say, "For shame!" when those men and women are tortured? And this might be a little naive, but what if they would have been treated humanely, but the opposing force decides, "Hell, fuck these guys up, that's what they've been doing to us" and in fact, our "torture policy" causes our soldiers more pain? How could we live with ourselves after that happens?

    Think, Linda! Think!

    I Wish I Were You

    I find this Wonkette post funny.

    Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness

    Abstinence-only or ignorance-only? Highlights:

    Many American youngsters participating in federally funded abstinence-only programs have been taught over the past three years that abortion can lead to sterility and suicide, that half the gay male teenagers in the United States have tested positive for the AIDS virus, and that touching a person's genitals "can result in pregnancy," a congressional staff analysis has found.


    Among the misconceptions cited by Waxman's investigators:

  • A 43-day-old fetus is a "thinking person."
  • HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, can be spread via sweat and tears.
  • Condoms fail to prevent HIV transmission as often as 31 percent of the time in heterosexual intercourse.

    One curriculum, called "Me, My World, My Future," teaches that women who have an abortion "are more prone to suicide" and that as many as 10 percent of them become sterile. This contradicts the 2001 edition of a standard obstetrics textbook that says fertility is not affected by elective abortion, the Waxman report said.


    Nonpartisan researchers have been unable to document measurable benefits of the abstinence-only model. Columbia University researchers found that although teenagers who take "virginity pledges" may wait longer to initiate sexual activity, 88 percent eventually have premarital sex.

    And my favorite part:

    Some course materials cited in Waxman's report present as scientific fact notions about a man's need for "admiration" and "sexual fulfillment" compared with a woman's need for "financial support." One book in the "Choosing Best" series tells the story of a knight who married a village maiden instead of the princess because the princess offered so many tips on slaying the local dragon. "Moral of the story," notes the popular text: "Occasional suggestions and assistance may be alright, but too much of it will lessen a man's confidence or even turn him away from his princess."

  • The First of Many?

    Just in time for the election, uh... oh yeah... Well, still - we finally have an indictment of a Bush campaign official.

    Let's hope there are more to come.

    Liberal Hippie Peaceniks

    I'm referring, of course, to the Pentagon.

    The Defense Science Board Task Force on Strategic Communication, an advisory panel created by the Pentagon, released an internal report (.pdf) on Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Sidney Blumenthal has a few thoughts:

    The task force discovered more than a chaotic vacuum, a government sector "in crisis," though it found that, too: "Missing are strong leadership, strategic direction, adequate coordination, sufficient resources, and a culture of measurement and evaluation." Inevitably, as it journeyed deeper into the recesses of the Bush administration's foreign policy, the task force documented the unparalleled failure of its fundamental premises. "America's negative image in world opinion and diminished ability to persuade are consequences of factors other than the failure to implement communications strategies," the report declares.


    The Bush administration, according to the Defense Science Board, has misconceived a war on terrorism in the image of the Cold War -- "reflexively" and "without a thought or a care as to whether these were the best responses to a very different strategic situation." Yet the administration seeks out "Cold War models" to cast this "war" against "totalitarian evil." However, the struggle is not the West vs. Islam; nor is it "against the tactic of terrorism." "This is no Cold War," the report insists. While we blindly and confidently call this a "war on terrorism," Muslims "in contrast see a history-shaking movement of Islamic restoration" against "apostate" Arab regimes allied with the U.S. and "Western Modernity -- an agenda hidden within the official rubric of a 'War on Terrorism.'"

    In this conflict, "wholly unlike the Cold War," the Bush administration's impulse has been to "imitate the routines and bureaucratic responses and mindset that so characterized that era." So the U.S. projects Iraqis and other Arabs as people to be liberated like those "oppressed by Soviet rule." And the U.S. accepts authoritarian Arab regimes as allies against the "radical fighters." All of this is nothing less than a gigantic "strategic mistake."

    "There is no yearning-to-be-liberated-by-the-U.S. groundswell among Muslim societies -- except to be liberated perhaps from what they see as apostate tyrannies that the U.S. so determinedly promotes and defends. (Original emphasis.)" Rhetoric about freedom is received as "no more than self-serving hypocrisy," daily highlighted by the U.S. occupation in Iraq. "Muslims do not 'hate our freedom,' but rather, they hate our policies." The "dramatic narrative since 9/11" of the "war on terrorism," Bush's grand justification, his story line connecting all the dots from the World Trade Center to Baghdad, has "borne out the entire radical Islamist bill of particulars." As a result, jihadists have been able to transform themselves from marginal figures in the Muslim world into defenders against invasion and attack with a growing following of millions.


    For the Bush administration, expert analysis as a rule is extraneous, as it is making clear to national security professionals in its partisan scapegoating of the CIA. Experts can only be expert in telling the White House what it wants to hear. Expertise is valued, not for the analysis or evidence it offers for correction, but for propaganda and validation. But no one -- not in the Bush White House, the Congress, or the dwindling "coalition of the willing" -- can claim that the ever-widening catastrophe has not been foretold by the best and most objective minds commissioned by the Pentagon -- perhaps for the last time.

    Yep - there's some top-notch faith-based leadership for you...

    Do As I Say, Not As I Do

    Hypocrisy alert! Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN) calls for U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's resignation.

    Sen. Norm Coleman, who is leading one of five U.S. congressional investigations into the U.N. oil-for-food program, wrote in Wednesday's Wall Street Journal that Annan should step down because "the most extensive fraud in the history of the U.N. occurred on his watch."

    OK, Normie. I'd have let you get away with calling for Annan's resignation, because frankly, I'm not sure what's going on with this story. But as a Republican, do you think it's wise to start placing fault with people who were in charge when something happened? I mean, who was in charge on 9/11/01? How about when W's buddy Kenny Boy was stealing from California and the Enron shareholders, leading to the collapse of our economy? How about faulty intelligence on Iraq WMD? Who was running the show then?

    Coleman wrote in the Wall Street Journal that "as long as Mr. Annan remains in charge, the world will never be able to learn the full extent of the bribes, kickbacks and under-the-table payments that took place under the U.N.'s collective nose."

    Hmmn... Yeah, we'll never learn about Valerie Plame. We'll never learn about all of the different ways that Halliburton is screwing us. We'll never learn where the torture orders came from. We'll never learn how the Iraq intelligence could have been so wrong.

    This could take forever. You get the point, right, Senator? The buck used to stop at the top, but Bush changed all that. Reap what you sow.

    Wednesday, December 01, 2004

    The American Gulag

    Tom Tomorrow - brilliant, as always.

    Worse than Abu Ghraib

    Here you go, a nice and horrifying interview with Leila Sadat, law professor at Washington University in St. Louis and vice-president of the American branch of the International Law Association.

    Going back to the Abu Ghraib comparison, which do you think is more disturbing -- Abu Ghraib or Guantánamo?

    I found the level of sadism to be pretty surprising at Abu Ghraib and very emotionally upsetting. But it's more understandable in context, because again you had undermanned troops in a war situation being given this command to sort of soften up the prisoners for interrogation.

    But Guantánamo has come to symbolize in international law circles or even diplomatic circles, this attempt by the U.S. to set up law-free zones. So I think Guantánamo is maybe the scarier of the two precedents. Abu Ghraib will leave a searing image, but it was more flowing from the war, whereas Guantánamo is clearly something where the secretary of defense has said these people are going to be held until they need to be held. That this is a war on terror and we don't know how long it will last. So the prospect of sort of indefinite detention, holding people without even keeping a register, is very ominous.

    Is it possible, following this damning report, that the Bush administration will try to block the Red Cross from visiting Guantánamo in the future?

    I think the administration could say, "Look, if Geneva law does not apply, then we don't want the Red Cross there.

    Is that a plausible scenario?

    I think it's very plausible, I do. Four years ago I never would have said that. I think now almost everything's plausible. I'm sure it's being discussed right now.

    And if the U.S. did deny the Red Cross entrée to prison camps, what league would that put us in?

    That would put us alongside North Korea.

    I think one of the things that's so upsetting about this is that international law is based on reciprocity. And so when the United States starts undermining the system, it sort of gives a green light to everybody else to start undermining the system. Right now it's the United States saying, "We don't really care." And next it might be Zimbabwe that starts copying us and saying, "Well, these are unlawful combatants," or what have you. I understand the trauma of 9/11, the temptation to overreact from 9/11, but administration officials are sort of putting out the fire on one end and ignoring the huge blaze they're setting on the others.

    Because the fear is, what happens if it's U.S. troops who are the ones being held captive?

    Right. The U.S. is gong to want the protection of the Geneva Conventions. If our soldiers are captured, we don't want another state saying, "Oh, they're unlawful combatants, we're going to torture them." That's why I really don't understand the government's lack of perspective on this issue.

    Let's Reform Rich Lowry's Intelligence

    Rich Lowry is a moron.

    "Intelligence reform" is, as they used to say of the Moral Majority, neither. The intelligence-reform bill that has at least temporarily been scuttled on Capitol Hill despite its endorsement by all the great and good of Washington — from Democratic congressional leaders to President Bush — is neither intelligent nor is it real reform. It is a meaningless, and perhaps even counterproductive, bureaucratic reshuffling that has garnered such across-the-board praise exactly because it is such an empty gesture.

    OK. I'm fine with having this discussion. Honestly, I'm on the fence about this myself. Making radical policy decisions without thought or investigation is almost always stupid, (I'm looking at you Department of Homeland Security and Operation Iraqi Freedom and Patriot Act!) We should be permitted to debate everything that has been done over the last four years.

    The fact is that measures to make us safer usually aren't uncontroversial — for instance, taking the fight to the enemy overseas as aggressively as possible,

    See, and here's the problem. You say that we should sit and think about the Intelligence Reform Bill (a Democrat policy), but you want to state, as though it is a fact, that pre-emptive war (a Republican policy) automatically makes us safer. The reason pre-emptive war is controversial is because there is no proof - nor any evidence - that it makes us safer. I would argue, in fact, that it makes us much less safe. Not that we were even allowed to debate it.

    ...or offending the civil-liberties lobby by implementing the Patriot Act.

    Stupid Constitution always mucking up Bush's world domination schemes.

    Since many Democrats don't endorse these steps (in fact, routinely howl about them), they are always looking to get onboard window-dressing tough-on-terror measures, which is what makes the intelligence-reform bill a perfect cause for them.

    For the last fucking time, asshole - this country was founded on the concept of individual freedom. If we take that away (whether it's locking up huge groups of people with no evidence and no access to legal council, or if it's transforming our secular government into a Christian theocracy), then we lose both our moral high ground (too late), and we lose everything the Founding Fathers were working towards. When we, as you put it, "howl" about losing our freedoms, it's because we want to prevent you and yours from stomping Jefferson's grand vision into the ground and transforming our country into an ordinary run-of-the-mill fascist state.

    ...transferring most of the military's intelligence-gathering assets to the CIA. Never mind that that agency has always performed poorly when analyzing military issues, whether it was the size of the Soviet ICBM force, Chinese military modernization or Iraq's weapons-of-mass-destruction stockpiles...

    Uh... Yeah, you work in the... well, let's call it "news" to be generous to your magazine, industry. I'm thinking that you should have at least heard about how the CIA was all, "Take the thing about Niger out of those speeches," and Condi was all, "Fuck you, you're my bitches!" and like Cheney was all over at Langley like, "help me invade Iraq! That's not good enough!" and the CIA analysts were like "get out of here!" and Bush was all, "You're fired! Get me someone who will say that they have WMD!" Remember all that? Remember when Bush cherry-picked all the evidence that made his invasion case, and ignored anyone who told him different? In fact, I believe it was Rumsfeld and his most blessed Defense Department analysts who got virtually EVERYTHING wrong about Iraq.

    Mr. Lowry, a debate is useless if you ignore anything that contradicts you. Oh wait! Same with an intelligence agency! Weird...

    Abuse is being hurled at House Republicans and Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld, who, in the absurd imaginings of his critics, secretly engineered the Capitol Hill doings that undid the bill while he was away at a summit in Latin America.

    Did they outlaw phones in Latin America? It's not like Rumsfeld needs to physically be somewhere to get something done. He's not personally torturing legislators to make sure they do his bidding - Rumsfeld only orders that people be tortured, and has the peons do the dirty work. Besides, is there any question where he stands? Is there any question whether he's got Bush's ear? Look how bad he fucked up this whole war and he STILL has his job! What Rumsfeld wants, Rumsfeld gets - and rest assured, he doesn't need to pick up a phone.

    Tuesday, November 30, 2004

    Who Knew Jesus Could Be So Sneaky?

    The Jeffersonian - this one's for you.

    They are having a contest at some freakshow's website to rename/rebrand Creationism. Apparently, about every 10 years or so, they like to mix it up a little bit, to confuse those of us who'd prefer that science and facts are taught in schools rather than religious dogma.

    This ain't no halfass contest, neither. The winner gets a trip to Disney World for the whole family! I assume it's on one of the non-gay days...

    Click HERE For Free Horror

    Atrios has a post linking to another guy who links to a video about the United States' penchant for chemical and nuclear war, and the repercussions of chemical and nuclear war, (birth defects, mutations; you know, the usual). The video is so disturbing that I wanted three degrees of separation between my blog and that video.

    You've been warned.

    Foxes Guarding the Henhouse

    Remember our cute, naive little friend, Dr. Graham over at the FDA? Turns out, there's more to the story.

    In yet another example of the deadly joke that is our governmental watchdog apparatus, Dr. Graham was about to publish his study of Vioxx and, you know, how it kills people, when the powers-that-be at the FDA contacted him, tried to block the article, made him feel as though his job was threatened, etc. etc.

    Just days before a medical journal was to publish a Food and Drug Administration-sponsored study that raised concerns about the safety of the arthritis drug Vioxx, an FDA official took the unusual step of calling the editor to raise questions about the findings' scientific integrity, suggests e-mail obtained by USA TODAY.

    Lead author David Graham says the call was part of an effort to block publication of his research, an analysis of a database of 1.4 million Kaiser Permanente members showing that those who took Vioxx were more likely to suffer a heart attack or sudden cardiac death than those who took Celebrex, Vioxx's rival.

    This is the fucking FDA! Not Merck. The taxpayer-funded, government agency, the Food and Drug Administration - trying to block a study that shows a drug is killing people.

    Maybe we should just count our blessings that word got out at all...

    Segregation Forever!

    Welcome to the 19th Century, Alabama. You'd never have guessed, but some... no, a majority of Alabama folks are still fighting the Civil War.

    There was a vote on a referendum to remove certain segregation-era language from the Alabama constitution. And surprise, surprise! It failed. Here are some doozies that will be staying on the books:

    "Separate schools shall be provided for white and colored children, and no child of either race shall be permitted to attend a school of the other race."

    "To avoid confusion and disorder and to promote effective and economical planning for education, the legislature may authorize the parents or guardians of minors, who desire that such minors shall attend schools provided for their own race."

    Another shocker - guess who's been campaigning against the referendum. Our old friend, former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore. Good to see he's keeping busy...

    While we're on the topic of Alabama, here's something from the article that I didn't know:

    This year Moore's former aide, Tom Parker, was elected to the Alabama Supreme Court even after it became clear that he had been handing out Confederate flags while campaigning and had attended a function honoring the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.


    How Quaint

    Red Cross Finds Detainee Abuse in Guantánamo

    *Gasp* No way!

    ...investigators had found a system devised to break the will of the prisoners at Guantánamo, who now number about 550, and make them wholly dependent on their interrogators through "humiliating acts, solitary confinement, temperature extremes, use of forced positions." Investigators said that the methods used were increasingly "more refined and repressive" than learned about on previous visits.

    Tee-hee... intentional system of cruel, unusual and degrading treatment and a form of torture," the report said. It said that in addition to the exposure to loud and persistent noise and music and to prolonged cold, detainees were subjected to "some beatings."

    So adorable...

    "I'm satisfied that the detainees here have not been abused, they've not been mistreated, they've not been tortured in any way," [General Hood, commander of the detention and interrogation facility at Guantánamo] said.

    What a relief! I'm glad we cleared this whole mess up.

    The Pentagon also said the medical care given detainees was first-rate. Although the Red Cross criticized the lack of confidentiality, it agreed in the report that the medical care was of high quality.

    Translation: After we remove the electrodes from a prisoner's testicles, we have a first rate ointment for him to soothe his wounds.

    I'm so full of pride in my country, I could weep.

    Power to the People

    In Ukraine, they're out in the main square 24 hours a day in below-freezing weather demanding that they be heard. "What do we want? DEMOCRACY! When do we want it? NOW!" (But you know, in Ukranian...)

    Meanwhile, as I have noted previously, everything in Ukraine is the same shit that went down in Ohio.

    Where is our outrage? Where is our 24 hour rally? Aren't we supposed to be the shining beacon of freedom and democracy to which the rest of the world aspires? Aren't we?

    God bless America.

    Monday, November 29, 2004

    Fingers in Dozens of Different Pies

    A story about Bush's plan for his new economic team.

    Aides said many other such moves will be announced, because Bush and senior adviser Karl Rove are determined to "implant their DNA throughout the government," as one official put it.

    Wasn't that what got Clinton in trouble?


    Check your barn door there, Mr. President.

    (from The Minority Whip)

    Thursday, November 25, 2004

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    We should take this occasion to recall all the things we still have going for us...

    In no particular order,
    100 Things (Political) For Which I Am Thankful

    1. The Constitution of the United States
    2. William Jefferson Clinton
    3. The filibuster
    4. Senator Barack Obama
    5. Susan B. Anthony
    6. The 1st Amendment
    7. Thomas Jefferson
    8. Martin Luther King Jr.
    9. Al Franken
    11. Senator Charles Schumer
    12. George Soros
    13. Blogs
    14. Senator Robert Byrd
    15. Paul Krugman
    16. Zell Miller is retiring from the Senate
    17. Joe Conason
    18. John Kerry received more votes than any past presidential candiate in the history of the United States
    19. Franklin Delano Roosevelt
    20. The New Deal
    21. John F. Kennedy
    22. The United Nations
    23. Maximum number of days Bush is Constitutionally allowed to remain in office: 1515
    24. He could be gone before then
    25. Tom Tomorrow
    26. Justice David Souter
    27. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
    28. Justice Stephen Breyer
    29. Justice John Paul Stevens
    30. Eric Alterman
    32. Newt Gingrich is no longer in elected office
    33. We're going to have a new chair of the DNC
    34. Senator Carl Levin
    35. Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
    36. Abraham Lincoln
    37. Susan McDougall
    38. Tom DeLay is about to be indicted
    39. Nicholas Kristof
    40. Lawrence and Garner v. Texas
    41. There hasn't been a terrorist attack in the US since 9/11
    42. Antonin Scalia will die someday
    43. The 13th Amendment
    44. The New Yorker
    45. John Ashcroft is no longer the Attorney General
    46. Colin Powell might write a tell-all
    47. Daily Kos
    48. Labor unions
    49. Jon Stewart
    50. Progress always marches forward
    51. Trustbuster Teddy Roosevelt
    52. Michael Moore
    53. The 21st Amendment
    54. Jimmy Carter
    55. Frank Rich
    56. The Atlantic Monthly
    57. Woodward and Bernstein
    58. World leaders who oppose Bush's policies
    59. Arianna Huffington
    60. Civil Rights Act
    61. Medicinal marijuana
    62. Senator Joe Biden
    63. Roe v. Wade
    64. Rock the Vote
    65. The 19th Amendment
    66. Reunification of Germany
    67. History has the final say on Bush's legacy
    68. Paul O'Neill
    69. Reagan isn't on money yet
    70. NASA
    71. C-SPAN
    72. Center for American Progress
    73. John Brady Kiesling
    74. Bill Maher
    75. Mikhail Gorbachev
    76. Lawrence O’Donnell
    77. Senator Ted Kennedy
    78. Edward R. Murrow
    79. Separation of church and state
    80. Stem cell research
    81. Richard Clarke
    82. Joseph N. Welch
    83. Sandy Berger
    84. Nelson Mandela
    85. Howard Dean
    86. The 9th Circuit Court
    87. Al Gore
    88. Horace Greeley
    89. John Hancock
    90. Rosa Parks
    91. Winston Churchill
    92. George Marshall
    93. George Orwell
    94. Thousands of pending lawsuits against Wal-Mart
    95. Checkpoint Charlie is a museum now
    96. Benjamin Franklin
    97. The concept of democracy
    98. All the investigations into Bush's malfeasance
    99. National Public Radio
    100. Throughout history, fact and reason always win... eventually

    Wednesday, November 24, 2004

    Sir, I Challenge You to a Duel!

    Why does anything surprise me anymore? Read what Rush Limbaugh had to say about the Pistons/Pacers brawl:

    "Just rename the city of Detroit to 'New Fallujah, Michigan,' and then what happens at the palace of Auburn Hills will be understood by everybody who goes there."

    1... 2... 3... 4... 5... 6... 7... 8... 9... 10...

    OK. For those of you who are unaware, I'm originally from Detroit. Or more specifically, from the suburbs of Detroit - but closer to the city than Auburn Hills is, where the Pistons actually play. (Fun fact - I grew up in the same city as Eminem. Ooh!)

    Alright. So now, did he really just fucking compare my home town to the base of operations of the insurgency in Iraq? In the 25 years that I lived there, I can't remember a single instance of a reporter being beheaded. Nope, don't remember anything like that. I can't remember ever seeing thousands of dead and dismembered bodies littering the streets - not even outside the raves I used to go to, (back in the good ol' days). Furthermore, I'm pretty sure, at least in the last quarter-century, they've not had a terrorist attack of any kind. So, Rush, what the FUCK are you talking about??

    Good news - he continues:

    By the way, has anybody noticed all these outbreaks, all this violence, all this stuff happens in blue cities, ladies and gentlemen? I mean, you don't see this happening in Charlotte. You don't see this sort of stuff happening. But you do see it happening out of Miami; you do see it happening in the blue cities out there. So, you know, call L.A. "New Mosul, California." You could call New York "Baghdad, New York," and this helps people put this in perspective. But you just listen. You listen to all these ex-NBA players saying, "I'm not going to get dissed. Any fan touches me is going to get his head knocked off." You're going to hear that said all over the place. It's all about this hip-hop culture not getting dissed and not being embarrassed in terms of your manhood and all this.

    I'd like to pretend that I thought of this, but as they point out in Salon, did Rush not see the huge fight in South Carolina just THIS PAST WEEKEND!?! Refresh me, Rush - is South Carolina a blue state or a red state? Ass.

    Anyhow, his two comments are linked by two things - racism and wild irresponsible generalizations. Typical, I suppose.

    Tuesday, November 23, 2004

    Democracy Marching All Over the Place

    Elections in Ukraine. Why does this sound so familiar?

    "A concerted and forceful program of election-day fraud and abuse was enacted with either the leadership or cooperation of governmental authorities," the senator [Lugar] said Monday in Kiev.


    Mr. Yushchenko,
    [the challenger and presumptive loser] himself a former prime minister, has described the incumbent bloc of state power as crooked and hidebound,


    [Mr. Yushchenko] support in the capital, and among young voters, is palpably high. His campaign - deprived of equal media coverage and pressured by the resources of the Ukrainian state, according to the reports of international observers - has adopted the tactics of the underdog.

    The victory for the prime minister, by a margin of nearly 3 percentage points, that was given in official results diverged sharply from a range of surveys of voters at polling places that gave the opposition as much as an 11-point lead. Opposition organizers pushed for protest and mass action.

    Mr. Yushchenko, addressing the public, began a multipronged effort to block Mr. Yanukovich's claim on office. He urged his supporters to remain united and in the streets, and called for an urgent session of Parliament to review extensive allegations of state manipulation of the election, and for the judiciary to investigate documented complaints.


    The findings of the international election mission included abuse of state resources in favor of the prime minister; the addition of about 5 percent of new voters to the rolls on election day; pressure on students to vote for the state's choice; pressure on state workers to turn over absentee ballot forms for presumptive use by someone else; widespread abuse of absentee voters, including some who were bused from region to region; the blocking of poll workers; suspiciously, even fantastically, high turnouts in regions that supported the prime minister; inaccurate voter lists and overt bias of state-financed news media.


    "Fundamental flaws in Ukraine's presidential election process subverted its legitimacy," the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, sponsored by the Democratic Party in the United States, declared in its preliminary report. The institute, which had an observer mission in Ukraine, cited "systematic intimidation, overt manipulation and blatant fraud" that were "designed to achieve a specific outcome irrespective of the will of the people."


    He then worried aloud that what seemed to be the election's illegitimacy might serve to split Ukraine into a north and west supporting Mr. Yushchenko, and a region in the east supporting the prime minister.

    Democracy Marches On

    Here's the tale of a war correspondent who almost led the Iraqi ex-army after the fall of Saddam.

    Some clips:

    Despite the euphoria in the White House over Iraq's liberation, on the ground I kept hearing this refrain: "It was better under Saddam." Given my opinion of the dictator, that was shocking to hear -- but I had lessons to learn about Arab pride and Iraqi culture. "Many young people I know cried when his statue fell," a student in her mid-20s told me as we talked by candlelight inside her apartment. (She was afraid to venture outside for fear of rape.) "He was Baba Saddam -- Father Saddam -- and he was all we ever knew."


    "Should we march, Mr. Richard?" Azzawi asked me. Here was a dilemma I'd never faced before and certainly never would again. I'd earned a measure of respect from the men, if only because I was polite enough to hear and write down their grievances. (And bear in mind, they had no idea what a free press was -- many probably thought I was taking their names for the rumored jobs list.)

    Certainly I couldn't give orders, not to this ex-enemy army or any other. But I could provide a bit of basic P.R. advice. "Do you have protest signs?" I asked Azzawi. "Do you have a petition? You need a plan. If you just show up, the Americans will have no idea what you want. If you march unannounced, you might end up getting shot."


    With a tinge of anger in his voice,
    [former U.S. Administrator in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Jay] Garner went on: "There was a plan to bring back the Iraqi army. I briefed Condi [Rice] on it. I briefed the president. I briefed [Paul] Wolfowitz. Everyone agreed on it. We had budgeted to pay the Iraqi army; Carl Strock had rounded up the Iraqi army to pay them. We had also lined up training for the regular Iraqi army." A Virginia-based defense contractor that had retrained the Croatian army after the Bosnian war was all set to do a similar job in Iraq.

    What happened? Even now, Garner doesn't seem entirely sure, or won't say. He says he was never told why he fell from favor. "A lot of stuff in that Pentagon operation is clandestine," he said, referring to the machinations of the civilian leadership that prosecuted the war. "And the vice president's office is a shadowy organization."

    God Works in Mysterious Ways

    A grilled cheese sandwich, with a bite out of it, mind you, was sold on eBay for $28,000. Why is that, do you suppose? Someone imagined that they saw the Virgin Mary embedded in its toasty-cheesy-goodness, and some other idiot paid her for it.

    "I would like all people to know that I do believe that this is the Virgin Mary Mother of God," Duyser, a work-from-home jewelry designer, said

    Duyser said she took a bite after making the sandwich 10 years ago and saw a face staring back at her. She put the sandwich in a clear plastic box with cotton balls and kept it on her night stand. She said the sandwich has never sprouted a spore of mold.

    a) Why is Jesus going around posting pictures of his mom all over the place? Man, that guy needs a blog.
    b) Once again, it brings up the age-old philosophical debate - Can God make a sandwich so hot that even he can't eat it?
    c) What if she had eaten it, without noticing? The sandwich doesn't have any mold after 10 years, right? So, by extension, would she have been free of illness for the rest of her life? Might she have gotten super powers? What if I've already eaten a Virgin Mary-wich? What if I ate a Satan-wich? Am I going to get cancer?

    So many questions!

    UPDATE: Capitalism at its Finest
    For kicks, I went to eBay and did a search on "cheese sandwich". Check out how everyone is cashing in on the phenomenon that is the Virgin Mary-wich...


    Bill Clinton to ABC News: Bite me! Clinton looked back on his presidency with ABC anchor Peter Jennings. But Clinton flashed real irritation when Jennings suggested some historians thought that Clinton's presidency had lacked "moral authority," without mentioning its having been tarnished by independent counsel Kenneth Starr's multiple investigations.

    "You don't want to go here, Peter," snapped Clinton, who proceeded to criticize the reporting of ABC News, in particular, in the 1990s. "Not after what you people did and the way you, your network, what you did with Kenneth Starr. The way your people repeated every little sleazy thing he leaked. No one has any idea what that's like."

    Monday, November 22, 2004

    We Hate Your Father

    Over at Gawker there is a wild rumor about the Bush Twins' inability to get a table at the Lower East Side trendfest, Freeman's.

    And I love it:

    Freemans, tuesday night the 16th of nov. the bush twins , along with 2 massive secret service men, tried to have dinner. they were told by the maitre'd that they were full and would be for the next 4 years. upon hearing, the entire restaurant cheered and did a round of shots... it was amazing!!! [Ed: We're hearing that this is actually true.]

    And today, a follow-up:

    The Aftermath Of The Bush Twins At Freeman's

    At first, we didn't quite believe it: we heard that the Bush twins showed up for a table at tasty Lower East Side hotspot Freeman's and were promptly told by the hostess that there wouldn't be seating available for the next four years (so best). We totally confirmed the report, but then Freeman's owners wrote us a stern denial once word spread (as it is wont to do on this superhighway of ours). So, in order to settle the issue, we put on our trenchcoats and fedoras and went to Freeman's for dinner. On the way out, we moved in for the kill with someone who seemed to be in charge:

    GAWKER: Hey, dinner was great. Thanks. By the way, I read something on some website about the Bush twins coming in here...
    FREEMAN'S (with faux wide eyes): Oh, God, I've heard about that.
    G: So is it true?
    F: Um, well, nobody knows.
    G: You mean not a single employee was working when the incident allegedly happened?
    F: Um. Well... We don't know.
    G: You really don't know? That's funny. Well, I hope it's true.
    F (visibly uncomfortable): Heh. Um, yeah.

    Good Riddance!

    Salon does a very good piece detailing just how big of a liar William Safire has been throughout his career. A career that began, by the way, as an aide in the Nixon administration. Big surprise.

    Faith-Based War Coverage

    From Sunday's New York Times, Frank Rich points out that it's not too big of a step from self-censoring Saving Private Ryan to self-censoring the news, specifically the coverage of the war in Iraq.

    If you're not scared, you're not paying close enough attention.

    Heather, Will You Marry Me?

    I'm going to take a step back from politics to shill for one of my favorite writers these days. Heather Havrilesky writes the always amusing I Like to Watch column for Salon every Monday. And she maintains the equally entertaining Rabbit Blog as well. She's a TV critic and she's very funny - and those happen to be two of my favorite things. So check her out.

    Maybe she'll go ego-surfing one of these days, and come across the DoG, and email me with thanks, and then...

    What? Are you still here? Oh, um... OK, well, here's a clip from today's ILTW:

    Land of the fee, home of the depraved
    Speaking of inappropriate, did you know that soldiers facing death don't swear, and guys who watch football blush at the slightest hint of nudity? These are the first hearty laugh lines of a new, improved, FCC-patrolled America. Tee-hee!

    Two weeks ago, a handful of ABC affiliates pulled "Saving Private Ryan" from their schedules, fearing fines from the FCC for the film's profanities despite assurances from ABC headquarters that the company would pay any fees. And last week, the FCC was investigating a skit at the beginning of ABC's "Monday Night Football" broadcast in which Nicollette Sheridan of "Desperate Housewives" drops her towel to lure Terrell Owens away from the game.

    Forget that the complaints about the skit obviously had everything to do with its being not only painfully bad and horribly acted, but also shamelessly tacky in cross-promoting an ABC show. No one's calling for an end to the rampant mixing of advertising and content, though. After all, marketing these days is so pervasive and so indistinguishable from the programming itself that most of us have given up and abandoned ourselves to being tattooed with tiny ads from the inside out. Besides, if the leader of our great nation believes we should let massive corporations have whatever their little hearts desire, from our sporting events (Outback Bowl, anyone?) to the war in Iraq (Halliburton Bowl, anyone?), who are we to stand in his way? Corporations make stuff better! It's the boobies that are bad! It's the boobies that are bringing us down as a people!

    Ever since Justin Timberlake released a trap door on Janet Jackson's bustier, allowing her right boob to range free at last, the FCC has been on a filth-fighting crusade. But instead of setting forth clear, reasonable standards, they reacted to the Great Boob Emancipation of '03 with all of the calm, measured tones of a Salem preacher rallying an angry mob to burn any and all sneaky-looking local women at the stake. Did the FCC scan a copy of "Saving Private Ryan" and let ABC know whether the profanities (which Steven Spielberg quite reasonably refused to have removed) would result in a fine? No. They took the cowardly path and waited to see how a pious minority might react instead.

    Breathtaking, isn't it? How efficiently and effectively the FCC has signaled to this country that social conservatives will be the true enforcers of what's broadcast on national television!

    And now the NFL is jumping on the dog pile, proclaiming the "Desperate Housewives" skit "unsuitable" for its viewers. Ah yes. If those boobies are bouncing around under an obscenely tight sweater in a nearly pornographic Coors-sponsored ad, no problem. But if we can imagine them pressed up against the football uniform of a black man? Well, that's just obscene.

    Open Letter to the Red States

    Author and friend of The Minority Whip, Stephen Elliott, put this letter up on his blog. I really like it. It expresses how I feel about the red states telling us (the most in danger of terrorism), how best to deal with terrorism. Where do they get the nerve?

    Letter To The Red States
    by Susan Schroeder


    Sorry, I try not to deluge people with my ramblings. But I had to write this and, having written it, had to send it. Even though I don't know anyone I can send it to (without alienating my Republican in-laws, who are the only "middle country" people I know.)

    I am writing this letter to the people in the red states in the middle of the country -- the people who voted for George W. Bush. I am writing this letter because I don't think we know each other.

    So I'll make an introduction. I am a New Yorker who voted for John Kerry. I used to live in California, and if I still lived there, I would vote for Kerry. I used to live in Washington, DC, and if I still lived there, I would vote for Kerry. Kerry won in all three of those regions.

    Maybe you want to know more about me. Or maybe not; maybe you think you know me already. You think I am some anti-American anarchist because I dislike George W. Bush. You think that I am immoral and anti-family, because I support women's reproductive freedom and gay rights. You think that I am dangerous, and even evil, because I do not abide by your religious beliefs.

    Maybe you are content to think that, to write me off as a "liberal" -- the dreaded "L" word -- and rejoice that your candidate has triumphed over evil, immoral, anti-American, anti-family people like me. But maybe you are still curious. So here goes: this is who I am.

    I am a New Yorker. I was here, in my apartment downtown, on September 11th. I watched the Towers burn from the roof of my building. I went inside so that I couldn't see them when they fell. I had friends who were inside. I have a friend who still has nightmares about watching people jump and fall from the Towers. He will never be the same. How many people like him do you know? People that can't sit in a restaurant without plotting an escape route, in case it blows up?

    I am a worker. I work across the street from the Citigroup Center, which the government told us is a "target" of terrorism. Later, we found out they were relaying very old information, but it was already too late. They had given me bad dreams again. The subway stop near my office was crowded with bomb-sniffing dogs, policemen in heavy protective gear, soldiers. Now, every time I enter or exit my office, all of my possessions are X-rayed to make sure I don't have any weapons. How often are you stopped by a soldier with a bomb-sniffing dog outside your office?

    I am a neighbor. I have a neighbor who is a 9/11 widow. She has two children. My husband does odd jobs for her now, like building bookshelves. Things her husband should do. He uses her husband's tools, and the two little girls tell him, "Those are our daddy's tools." How many 9/11 widows and orphans do you know? How often do you fill in for their dead loved ones?

    I am a taxpayer. I worked my butt off to get where I did, and so did my parents. My parents saved and borrowed and sent me to college. I worked my way through graduate school. I won a full tuition scholarship to law school. All for the privilege of working 2,600 hours last year. That works out to a 50 hour week, every week, without any vacation days at all. I get to work by 9 am and rarely leave before 9 pm. I eat dinner at my office much more often than I eat dinner at home. My husband and I paid over $70,000 in federal income tax last year. At some point in the future, we will have to pay much more -- once this country faces its deficit and the impossible burden of Social Security. In fact, the areas of the country that supported Kerry -- New York, California, Illinois, Massachusetts -- they are the financial centers of the nation. They are the tax base of this country. How much did you pay, Kansas? How much did you contribute to this government you support, Alabama? How much of this war in Iraq did you pay for?

    I am a liberal. The funny part is, liberals have this reputation for living in Never-Neverland, being idealists, not being sensible. But let me tell you how I see the world: I see America as one nation in a world of nations. Therefore, I think we should try to get along with other nations. I see that gay people exist. Therefore, I think they should be allowed to exist, and be treated the same as other people. I see ways in which women are not allowed to control their own bodies. Therefore, I think we should give women more control over their bodies. I see that people have awful diseases. Therefore, I think we should enable scientists to try to cure them. I see that we have a Constitution. Therefore, I think it should be upheld. I see that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Therefore, I think that Iraq was not an imminent danger to me. It seems so pragmatic to me. How do you see the world? Do you really think voting against gay marriage will keep people from being gay? Would you really prefer that people continue to die from Parkinson's disease? Do you really not care about the Constitutional rights of political detainees? Would you really have supported the war if you knew the truth, or would you have wanted to spend more of our money on health care, job training, terrorism preparedness?

    I am an American. I have an American flag flying outside my home. I love my home more than anything. I love that I grew up right outside New York City. I first went to the Statue of Liberty with my 5th grade class, and my mom and dad took me to the Empire State Building when I was 8. I love taking the subway to Yankee Stadium. I loved living in Washington DC and going on dates to the Lincoln Memorial. It is because I love this country so much that I argue with my political opponents as much I do.

    I am not safe. I never feel safe. My in-laws live in a small town in Ohio, and that town has received more federal funding, per capita, for terrorism preparedness than New York City has. I take subways and buses every day. I work in a skyscraper across the street from a "target." I have emergency supplies and a spare pair of sneakers in my desk, in case somethng happens while I'm at work. Do you? How many times a month do you worry that your subway is going to blow up? When you hear sirens on the street, do you run to the window to make sure everything is okay? When you hear an airplane, do you flinch? Do you dread beautiful, blue-skied September days? I don't know a single New Yorker who doesn't spend the month of September on tip-toes, superstitiously praying for rain so we don't have to relive that beautiful, blue-skied day.

    I am lonely. I feel that we, as a nation, have alienated all our friends and further provoked our enemies. I feel unprotected. Most of all I feel alienated from my fellow citizens, because I don't understand what you are thinking. You voted for a man who started a war in Iraq for no reason, against the wishes of the entire world. You voted for a man whose lack of foresight and inability to plan has led to massive insurgencies in Iraq, where weapons are disappearing into the hands of terrorists. You voted for a man who let Osama Bin Laden escape into the hills of Afghanistan so that he could start that war in Iraq. You voted for a man who doesn't want to let people love who they want to love; doesn't want to let doctors cure their patients; doesn't want to let women rule their destinies. I don't understand why you voted for this man. For me, it is not enough that he is personable; it is not enough that he seems like one of the guys. Why did you vote for him? Why did you elect a man that lied to us in order to convince us to go to war? (Ten years ago you were incensed when our president lied about his sex life; you thought it was an impeachable offense.) Why did you elect a leader who thinks that strength cannot include diplomacy or international cooperaton? Why did you elect a man who did nothing except run away and hide on September 11?

    Most of all, I am terrified. I mean daily, I am afraid that I will not survive this. I am afraid that I will lose my husband, that I will never have children, that I will never grow old and watch the sunset in a backyard of my own. I am afraid that my career -- which should end with a triumphant and good-natured roast at a retirement party in 2035 -- will be cut short by an attack on me and my colleagues, as we sit sending emails and making phone calls one ordinary afternoon. Is your life at stake? Are you terrified?

    I don't think you are. I don't think you realize what you have done. And if anything happens to me or the people I love, I blame you. I wanted you to know that.

    Sunday, November 21, 2004

    Mass hysteria!

    Browns vs. Steelers; Pistons vs. Pacers; South Carolina vs. Clemson...

    Now, United States vs. Chile?