Friday, October 31, 2003

More Boykin abuse

Remember how annoyed I was at Lt. Gen. Boykin's giving speeches in uniform? Well, no, of course you don't, because apparently absolutely no one reads this. But I digress. I become even more fed up with him after reading this paragraph from today's Washington Post article, "Inspecting the General":

Pentagon spokesman Larry DiRita explained the other day that the inspector general's investigation will ask: "Is there any rule or regulation that needs clarification, is there anything that General Boykin did that may have been inconsistent with that? Those are questions that are relevant." One thing for the inspector general to examine is Gen. Boykin's apparent use of government resources in preparing his talks. Speaking at a church in Daytona, Fla., last January, Gen. Boykin said, "I'm going to drive my aide crazy because he worked until 5 o'clock this afternoon preparing a 30-slide presentation that I was going to give you tonight." Defense department rules say the duties of such aides "shall be concerned with tasks relating to the military and official responsibilities of the officers."

I do NOT want my tax dollars going to help prepare a rather extremist religious presentation. And if he has his aide(s) working on it, are you willing to bet he wasn't spending time on-duty working on them as well?

A must-read

Center for Democracy & Technology's "Setting the Record Straight"

Makes many of the same points I had about Ashcroft's recent PATRIOT Act promotional tour & cheerleading squad, especially (in the broader picture) the way he diverts criticism of the Act by defending the parts of it that no one really objects to.

Idiocy is contagious

Remember that "actionable" idiocy that got me so fed up? Apparently it's spread from Bush since then. Press Secretary McClellan Thursday:

I would reiterate, too, that our military continues to stay on the -- our coalition continues to say on the offensive in Iraq to go after the holdouts of the former regime and the foreign terrorists who are in the country. They are working on targeted strikes and working to be able to deploy quickly to prevent attacks from happening in the first place. They are working to strengthen our border security, as well, along with getting more Iraqis involved in those efforts. We are working to improve our intelligence gathering, so that we can have more actionable intelligence to act on.

McClellan Wednesday:

You need to direct those questions to the military in terms of the information that they are obtaining. We are continuing -- when we talk about ways that we are working to improve the security situation in that part of the Baghdad area that remains dangerous, we also talk about improving intelligence-gathering. And we're getting more and more help from the Iraqi people themselves in that human intelligence-gathering, and getting actionable intelligence that we can act on to prevent attacks from happening in the first place.

But apparently, it may have started out with Condoleeza Rice, who, as National Security Advisor, really ought to have more of a clue of how to describe intelligence. Condi, May 20, 2002:

But it will not just stop there. I think that both Bob Mueller and George Tenet have talked about important organizational changes that they want to make and need to make to make certain that the right kind of analysis is done of intelligence information, so that we know when something is actionable.

So apparently, almost a year and a half ago, just over half a year after 9/11, they'd already decided that they would, indeed, file that lawsuit.

Saddam discovers Fountain of Youth!

This just in:

Ms. Rice appears to have a slightly different take on history. She said it had been clear for 12 years that Mr. Hussein was killing his own people, setting up torture centers and posing a threat to the Middle East.
"Let us be clear," she said. "Saddam was not going to go away of his own accord. For 12 years, he gave every indication that he would never disarm and never comply with the Security Council's just demands. In fact, he mocked those demands and made every effort to circumvent them through a massive program of denial and deception." (Emphasis added)

Apparently, Saddam has discovered the secret of immortality, since otherwise Rice would have been forced to concede that he would indeed eventually "go away of his own accord", wouldn't she?

So what I want to know now is, why is this being kept secret from us? Do they want to keep this immortality for only their wealthy, powerful elite?

Thursday, October 30, 2003

"I'm more important."

Tearful L.A. Reporter Goes Live with Rescue Report

A veteran Los Angeles TV reporter wept on air Tuesday, moments after a firefighter rescued him from flames that engulfed his news van as he covered the California wildfires.
During a report charged with emotion, Chuck Henry of NBC-owned KNBC credited a single firefighter with saving him from thick smoke and flames that raged around him and his cameraman, Christopher Li, in the Lake Arrowhead area northeast of L.A. Both Henry and Li escaped injury, though the station's mobile broadcast unit was destroyed.

And it goes on to tell more detail of how this firefighter saved their butts when their van was caught in the middle of a conflagration, and once he was out, immediately went on the air to give a report on it.

Commenting on Henry's riveting live report immediately after his rescue, Long said: "Yes, it was emotional. It's what it is. You are emotional, or you are not. I think he was very grateful that he was pulled out of a bad situation, and the impression I had was that he was feeling real sorrow for people losing homes when all he lost was a truck. I think he was trying to reassure us that in the scheme of things, his inconvenience was minor compared to the cost (incurred by) thousands of people that he had been reporting on. He was trying to put things in perspective and that was what he was crying about -- not having his coif singed or losing a microwave truck.

"Everything (Henry) did today was to his credit, and he was not sad for himself but for the destruction -- and that makes him human," Long said.

Do I have to explain to these people that that firefighter was risking his own life to save theirs? If you're putting your own neck on the line, that's bravery (or foolhardiness, but I'm trying to be generous). If you're risking the lives of rescue workers already spread out too thinly so you can get a "hot" story, that's pure selfish greed. Does he think this firefighter had nothing else to do meanwhile? Hasn't he heard that that fire is freakin' HUGE?

Did he just blow off the story of the first firefighter death in these fires yesterday?

Bad similes

Zell Miller, Saying Dems Aid the Enemy, Endorses Bush

The lifelong Democrat explained, "The way I see it is, that these next five years are going to be crucial in determining kind of world my grandchildren and great-grandchildren live in.
"And I don't entrust that to any of these folks that are running out there on the Democratic side."
Miller said that Bush "reminded me somewhat of Churchill. I think he's got some Churchill in him. He understands the history of freedom. He knows where it came from and he's not afraid to take a side.
"That's the kind of man I want in there as commander-in-chief."

Churchill?!? What planet is this guy from?

About that banner...

I think these two pictures from this article ought to pretty well put the matter to rest.

Addendum: Of course, they're also both pretty equally lying in their messages, so I suppose that's appropriate, at least.
Addendum²: OK, in light of this morning's announcement, I guess we'll have to grant one out of two, at least in the short term.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

The podophagic President:

"We're working closely with those countries [Iran and Syria] to let them know that we expect them to enforce borders, prevent people from coming across borders if, in fact, we catch them doing that," he [Bush] told reporters.
After Bush's comments, however, State Department officials made clear that there have been no direct government contacts with Iran.
Officials explained that when the president said the U.S. is "working closely with" Iran, he meant that the Bush administration has been talking through third-party channels, such as the United Kingdom and other European countries, to pass the message to Iran that it must patrol its borders.

Poh-tay-toe, poh-tah-toe. Of course that's what he meant by "working closely with".


Though Bush's argument that the violence indicated progress struck some as counterintuitive, those sympathetic to the administration said there was logic to the claim. Thomas Donnelly of the American Enterprise Institute said that by attacking "soft targets" such as the Red Cross and the Iraqi police, the foes are demonstrating that "they don't have the strength" to inflict major losses on U.S. troops.

Yeah, Donnelly, just keep telling yourself that, from your nice cushy office there.

More Bushism

"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.":

Our strategy in Iraq is to have strike forces ready and capable to move quickly as we gather actionable intelligence. That's how you deal with terrorists. Remember, these are people that are willing to hide in societies and kill randomly. And therefore, the best way to deal with them is to harden targets, harden assets as best as you can. That means blockades and inspection spots. And, as you notice, yesterday, one fellow tried to -- was done in as a he tried to conduct a suicide mission. In other words, an Iraqi policemen did their job.
But, as well, that we've got to make sure that not only do we harden targets, but that we get actionable intelligence to intercept the missions before they begin. That means more Iraqis involved in the intelligence-gathering systems in their country so that they are active participants in securing the country from further harm....
And what we, of course, want to do is implement the strategy, which is encourage Iraqis to help deal with the security issues. And that's what's taking place: we're getting better intelligence, more actionable intelligence, and the Iraqi citizens, themselves, are willing to fight off these terrorists. If you look at some of the brave actions by the Iraqi police, people who died for the future of their country, you know what I'm talking about. There are people willing to sacrifice for the future of their country, the Iraqi citizen -- the Iraqi citizen is willing to sacrifice for the future of their country.

Actionable Ac"tion*a*ble, a. Cf. LL. actionabilis. See Action.
That may be the subject of an action or suit at law; as, to call a man a thief is actionable.

Compare to some of his former statements:

I can't imagine what went through their minds when they were plotting this horrible evil. You know, they must have thought America was so materialistic, so self-centered, so self-absorbed, so weak that all we were going to do was file a lawsuit. (Laughter.) They found out we think a little different here in America. (Applause.)

They must have not understood who they were dealing with on September the 11th. I guess they thought we were so materialistic and so self-absorbed that all we would do is file a lawsuit. They found out we think differently here in America. They found out when it comes to defending our freedom, we will take whatever means are necessary.

and basically this same "joke" was repeated many times across America. But now, apparently, he thinks we should just file a lawsuit against the people who provide the intelligence instead. That might go a long ways toward explaining the WNP affair, I suppose.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

More W

A very interesting way of misspeaking:

We're nearly two million barrels a day being produced for the Iraqi people.

So, I guess it takes about 15 Americans to be turned into a barrel of oil a day, at that rate?

Sporkey Says:

Well, if you really think about how long fossil fuel turns to oil...15 Americans a day doesn't quite cut it.

Quote of the Day, hands-down!

From George W. himself:

The Ambassador and the General were briefing me on the -- the vast majority of Iraqis want to live in a peaceful, free world. And we will find these people and we will bring them to justice.


Spotted in a Calpundit comment, referring to Bush's defiance of reality about "progress" in Iraq:

At what point does Bush start sounding like Comical Ali?

Monday, October 27, 2003

What fine friends we have

First, go read the Counterspin Central post....

OK, now that you've done that...
I think it's a bit of a giveaway that, if you go to Ilham Aliyev's web site, there's what certainly looks like an opinion poll down a bit on the right, weirdly labelled "Interrogation", which does mean "question" basically, after all. But there's no "Submit" button, there's no clever bit of JavaScript to automagically submit your vote when you click a choice, and the "Voting" and "Results" links underneath it both go right to the exact same page you're already looking at. So that's how he thinks voting is properly done!

From Iran: Al Qaeda suspects sent home

A senior U.S. official, speaking on condition on anonymity, cast doubt on the foreign ministry claims.
"They've said things in the past of all manner," but never produce any terrorists, he said. "Put up or shut up," the official said in a message challenging the Iranian government.
Casting further doubt on the Foreign Ministry, he said, "You can tell when they are lying because their lips are moving."

Such a fine crew of well-behaved cretins we have working "for" us there.

Iraq attacks

Dammit, even if I detest the occupation of Iraq, and can see how the Sunnis et al. might be merely super-patriots in their own eyes, you just don't go after the Red Cross. Or the Red Crescent, for that matter. That's about as low as you can go.

Cripes, I don't think even Bush or Rummy would sink that low.

Muzzling Boykin

I seem to be seeing a lot of right-wing opinion pieces claiming that those of us who don't care for Lt. General Boykin's speeches are engaging in censorship, infringing on his First Amendment rights, trying to discriminate against the religious, blah blah blah. I'd really like to clarify for them that I wouldn't object to him giving speeches claiming that Bill Clinton is Satan himself, Wesley Clark is his sidekick, and he's got a photo of a dark blur to prove it. As long as he doesn't do it in uniform. When I was going through Basic Training, some of the things they drilled into us pretty well were about how to behave in public in uniform, and Boykin's act doesn't cut it. I was just an enlisted Airman; I would think an Army officer surely ought to get more about proper decorum in uniform than I did?!? I would also prefer that he not be billed and introduced as "US Army Lt. General Boykin" or something like that for these events (I don't know for certain that he was, but it seems likely), but I don't think that would (or should) be enforceable.

I would also object to his having the particular position as Deputy Undersecratary of Defense for Intelligence that he recently got, though, considering the job duties. And I might keep a close eye on him for out-and-out delusional psychosis.

Funny stuff - Iraq

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Diebold should die boldly

News for Nerds? Some of it matters at Crooked Timber. Just some of the problems with the current approaches to electronic voting. I might think it's a good idea in principle, but I've yet to see an implementation I'd call anywhere near trustworthy.

GOP to put challengers in black voting precincts

Jefferson County Republicans intend to place Election Day challengers at 59 voting precincts in predominantly black neighborhoods, a move that NAACP leaders yesterday called blatant intimidation.
The GOP election workers, most of whom live outside the targeted precincts in western and central Louisville, Portland and Newburg, will be on hand to challenge voters who they suspect aren't eligible.
Jefferson County GOP Chairman Jack Richardson IV said the precincts were chosen at random or because the Republican Party has had trouble finding registered voters in those areas to serve as election workers. The challengers, who will receive the same training as precinct workers, could fill in if needed.
Richardson said the precincts weren't chosen because of their racial makeup or voting patterns. Using challengers is a "legal, proper and permissible" way to ensure that voters are bona fide, he said.
"It is in the best interest of everybody and the responsibility of both parties to protect the ballot integrity," Richardson said. "That is the bottom line."
"(They) have only one purpose: to intimidate and suppress votes in the West End and other minority areas," Tim Longmeyer, chairman of the Jefferson County Democratic Party, said during a news conference yesterday attended by County Attorney Irv Maze; Jefferson Commonwealth's Attorney David Stengel; and Louisville Metro Council members Cheri Bryant Hamilton and Mary Woolridge.
Longmeyer said nearly all of the challengers live outside their assigned precincts and many are from the East End, Fairdale and Okolona. He questioned whether those people will know who is voting or whether those voters reside in the precinct.
Fletcher said yesterday that the challengers "shouldn't be any barrier. ... We're doing legally what we can just to make sure that everything is done right in voting, and we invite all members of that community to come out and vote. We want them to vote, and there's absolutely no reason that they shouldn't feel welcome to come out and vote."

Of course they shouldn't. I mean, they should, yeah, that's it.

Sporkey Says:

Oh...of course it won't be a barrier to anyone voting. Except for the fact that it's frothing Rpublicans among a bunch of uppity minorities who think that they have rights or something. And we all know just how much the Rpublicans love minorities. I mean, since they're the ones who usually go to jail, they wouldn't want any felons thinking they can vote. And they're going to easily spot all of the evil people who shouldn't be voting... by their skin color! Ha ha ha ha ha! What a great plan! What they really mean is "we invite all members of that community to come out and TRY to vote". Ha ha! I suggest -- and it's not only for one election somewhere, but for even the presidential election, everywhere -- that one white Democrat escorts black people to their polling place and with bats to beat up the Rpublicans if they cause any trouble. If they're gonna try to pull their dirty tricks again anywhere, and against minorities, then we need white people to drive vans and smirk at cops stopping them for having black people in the car. They're not gonna fight fair, and we have to -- as people -- protect our rights. If we all band together on this, then we can take a vacation to Texas and pretend we're Rpublicans and convince them that they should secede from the Union. Oh, and give out dictionaries and picture history books to rising stars of the Rpublican Party. THEN they won't get elected. And then we won't have to have bats and tasers when we go to the polls. Or maybe I'm just an optimist.

Friday, October 24, 2003

This Christmas season...

...please remember to give generously to your local Home for Delusional Conservatives.

Sporkey Says:

Yeah, and give VERY generously, otherwise they may have to keep writing books to keep the home open. And the poor, poor children at the Budweiser School For Village Idiots will probably be forced by their rabid, Fox News-brainwashed teachers into reading these books.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Feds seek fee to track foreign students

The government plans to charge foreign students a $100 fee to pay for a tracking system created to prevent possible terrorists from using student visas to enter the country, a federal official said Wednesday.
Asa Hutchinson, undersecretary at the Homeland Security Department, said the one-time fee should generate more than $30 million annually for the program, known as the Student and Exchange Visa Information Service.
Any foreigner enrolled in a school approved by department must register with the service to enter United States. Some 800,000 students enrolled at 8,000 schools are now in the system.

Whatever happened to this?

"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she With silent lips.
"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

But only your poor, huddled masses with at least $100 to spare.

Update: Reading further on, I see that that's in addition to the $100 visa application fee, so make that the wretched refuse with at least $200 a head. Is INS being run by former bar bouncers or what?

"I love free speech"

Bush hecklers ordered out

This really seems to show enormous contempt for opposition members. As the Australian Senators were being ordered to leave the Parliament, Bush said in the interruption "I love free speech". I think this shows a bit about just how much he really values it, along with his "first amendment zones".

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Come back in two months...

Treasury Chief Sees a Jobs Boom, but Most Don't

In an interview with The Times of London on Monday, Mr. Snow predicted that the economy would grow at an annual rate of nearly 4 percent over the next year and add about 200,000 jobs a month.
"I would stake my reputation on employment growth happening before Christmas," Mr. Snow said in the interview, which a spokesman confirmed as accurate.

OK, let's come back to this around Christmas, and have a little chat with Secretary Snow about his reputation then.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Who's/whose elite?

Another broad observation, not related to anything current: why are the "liberal elite" always getting dissed? And why don't the dissers ever object to their friends in what you might call the "conservative elite" or the "wealthy elite" in a similar manner? If you're charging $2,000+ a plate just to have lunch with you, that's elitism much more so, I'd say.

Friday, October 17, 2003

God vs. Allah: Next Sunday on pay-per-view

Just a broad observation: Why is it that, whenever you see a translated interview of an interview, statement, speech, or whatever by/with a "good Muslim", they always translate the word as "God" when you know they're really saying "Allah"? But then, when they translate statements of "bad Muslims", you know, the "islamofascists", they always seem to make sure to leave the word as "Allah" in the middle of an otherwise English sentence?

I don't think I've ever noticed a translation (outside of the world of religious and theological writings, in day-to-day use) where the deity of the Jewish people was referred to as anything other than plain-english "God"; no "Yahweh"s, no "Jehovah"s, etc.

Thursday, October 16, 2003


Concerned about the appearance of disarray and feuding within his administration as well as growing resistance to his policies in Iraq, President Bush - living up to his recent declaration that he is in charge - told his top officials to "stop the leaks" to the media, or else.
News of Bush's order leaked almost immediately.

After reading a bit more into the article, I'm really disturbed by this bit further down:

At one point, as he discussed the question of providing some of the money as a loan, Bush slammed his hand down on the table and said: "This is bad policy."
When Collins tried to ask a question, the President replied: "I'm not here to debate it."
One participant told The Inquirer that some of the senators, particularly those who have never been on the opposing side of an issue with Bush, were "surprised by his directness." It was clear he was not there to engage in any give-and-take, the participant said.
Sounds rather dictatorial to me. He doesn't want to listen to what anyone else has to say? At least, outside his own administration.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Take note!

This Friday will mark 1000 days of Bush II.

The Second American Reich?

In one of the economics books, I've come across this passage describing Otto von Bismarck's role in the second German Empire:

Control of the Executive allowed Bismarck to orchestrate these complex tradeoffs. Each of the coalition partners had to be persuaded to pay the price, especially that of high tariffs on the goods of the other sector. Control of foreign policy offered instruments for maintaining the bargain once it had been struck.... The Chancellor used imperialism, nationalism, and overseas crises to obscure internal divisions, and particularly, to blunt middle-class criticism. Nationalism and the vision of Germany surrounded by enemies, or at least harsh competitors, reinforced arguments on behalf of the need for self-sufficiency in food and industrial production and for a powerful military machine.

For the record, Bismarck generally receives a big chunk of the blame for creating and nourishing the militaristic, racially superior social & political atmosphere that would later allow the Nazis to come to power in the Third German Reich, which I'm sure you've heard about.

Somehow, it mostly sounds rather familiar....
On the other hand, at least he was willing to indulge the workers with a bit of nationalized health care... 120 years ago! And we still haven't caught up.

Postscript: While we're at it, let's compare the Reichstag Fire Decree to the "PATRIOT" Act, shall we?


I'm doing a fair bit of reading in economics etc. this week or so, so I'll be making observations on the stuff I'm reading. Probably nothing completely novel or earth-shaking that hasn't been observed for a century or two already, but my thoughts, anyway.

I'll start you off with a little quote from Karl Marx, 1852, taken rather out of context by me:

Hegel says somewhere that all great events and personalities in world history reappear in one fashion or another. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce.
I'd like to nominate Bush the Elder as tragedy, and Junior as farce.

Just what we need

A little more tension in the Middle East.

Making the world safe for democracy?

Iraq war 'swells al Qaeda ranks'

War in Iraq has swollen the ranks of al Qaeda and galvanized the Islamic militant group's will, the International Institute for Strategic Studies says in its annual report.
The 2003-04 edition of the British-based think tank's annual bible for defense analysts, "The Military Balance," said Washington's assertions after the Iraq conflict that it had turned the corner in the war on terror were "over-confident."
The report, widely considered an authoritative text on the military capabilities of states and militant groups worldwide, could prove fodder for critics of the U.S.-British invasion and of the reconstruction effort that has followed in Iraq.

"ha ha ha"

-A direct quote from Joby Fortson, a moron, oops, I mean "Rpublican", in an email to various "Rpublican" staffers. (As printed at DNC website.)

This is good for a laugh or two...Joby certainly is laughing but for a different reason. The spelling alone made me twitch. (And this guy works for a "Rpublican"? Apparently, you don't even have to know how to spe...oh, wait. Yeah. The Shrub. He can't even SPEAK. I guess the more stupid you are, the better your chances are at being somebody.) And this guy is mean...which is to say, he's about as mean as MiniMe. Too bad all of the "Rpublicans" aren't as small. We could step on them! "ha ha ha ha ha"

But it also is scary. When you combine this with the redistricting, then you get a full portrait of what is going to come. Maybe you and I and a few thousand of our closest friends should go down to Texas and pretend we're "Rpublican"s. Then we convince them to "break away from the Union". Yeah. I like that. I think I have to go start organizing now....

Oh, and while we're at it, we should all pitch in a few cents to buy Joby a dictionary. Maybe then he'll never rise above the job of an office lackey....oops, I mean "staffer". ("ha ha ha")

(The first link is from DNC: Kicking Ass -- and very worth your time -- and the second is from Calpundit.)

He needs to work on his "evil laugh" - it really ought to start out with at least one "mwah". And perhaps a few more alternative spellings of "district" (30) than just "distrcit" (3) and "dsitrict" (1). - John

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

The true visionaries

Just a little link I came across in my reading recently, to something I'd been reminded of repeatedly during the events of the last couple of years. Who had the foresight to know what these four years would be like? The Onion. Go figure.

Added much later: The Onion has changed their archives, and apparently you can no longer see that article without a subscription. For the record, it was the one titled "At Last, Our Long National Nightmare of Peace and Prosperity Is Finally Over".
Added not so much later after that: Found a copy of it.

Added 2007/01/31: Updated links. Oldest link was The Onion's old archive, then there was the copy. All links above this note now pointed to the current Onion article.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Further title dispensation

Oh yes, and in the spirit of dubbing people with titles such as "the Benedict Arnold of our times", henceforth all former "dittoheads" shall be known as "Continmouths".

Saturday, October 11, 2003

"Air raids" explained at last!

That "air raids" quote from bush that's been bugging me for so long is finally explained. The White House apparently mistranscribed it.

"Not much air rage on Air Force One,"Bush jokingly told a fund-raising audience as he offered a ride on the presidential plane to Labor Secretary Elaine Chao. The audience seemed baffled by the off-the-cuff remark about angry outbursts on planes.


At least it's better than "there is no air raids", even if I wouldn't have gone so far as to laugh.

N.B.: Thanks to Calpundit for this clarification.

Double(u?)speak in action!

Gee, now here's an idea whose time has come:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to change its policy to permit the importation of endangered species, their parts and products from countries that promote wildlife conservation programs.

Such a program could give incentives to countries to create stronger wildlife and habitat programs, the agency said in its draft rule, which is open for public comment until October 17. But some conservationists see the policy as a bad precedent and predicted it will face strong opposition.

And they're calling it the "proposed enhancement-of-survival policy". Yeah, that's one way of putting it.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Saving the U.N. from itself!

At least somebody thinks the U.N. is important:

"The credibility of the United Nations would have been in tatters," she told the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations.

"The effectiveness of the Security Council as an instrument of enforcing the will of the world and of keeping the peace would have been weakened."

Thing is, that's NSA Condi talking, about if Saddam were still in power. I guess the tatters the administration is making are the good tatters.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Gov. Schwarzenegger?!?

Serves 'em right, I sez. After all, they gave the rest of the nation President Reagan to deal with.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

He doesn't care about "nuances"

Is Bush's Freudian slip showing?

I mean this town is a -- is a town full of people who like to leak information. And I don't know if we're going to find out the senior administration official. Now, this is a large administration, and there's a lot of senior officials. I don't have any idea. I'd like to. I want to know the truth. That's why I've instructed this staff of mine to cooperate fully with the investigators -- full disclosure, everything we know the investigators will find out. I have no idea whether we'll find out who the leaker is -- partially because, in all due respect to your profession, you do a very good job of protecting the leakers. But we'll find out. (emphasis added)

Could that be interpreted as meaning "we'll disclose everything the investigators would find out anyway"? Seems like a reasonable take to me, though I'm sure it's not what was consciously intended.

Saturday, October 04, 2003

Another beauty from Bush's speech here in Milwaukee:

Today, I met with three business owners here from the Milwaukee area....

I talked to John Stollenwerk today. He runs Allen-Edmonds. I happen to have one of his products on my feet. (Laughter and applause.) You probably think this is a gross pander. (Laughter.) But I wear John Stollenwerk's products nearly every day, except when I'm running. (Laughter.) He makes a great product. One of the world's finest shoes.

He bought the company 20 years ago, he made the conscious decision to fix it up to make the right decisions so he could keep people working here in Wisconsin. He says, not only am I successful because of the products we make, but I'm successful because of the people that work with him. I appreciate that attitude. You see, there's a company, CEO, that focuses on his employees, and understands that without good employees, he's not going anywhere.

He bought a million dollars worth of equipment because of the incentives we put into the tax package. That's a million dollars of purchases in the marketplace. Somebody is meeting the demand for that million dollars' worth of equipment. He says, I will take the money and invest it. This is the money that he has saved from the tax relief plan. He's a subchapter S corporation. They pay taxes at the individual rates. When we cut the individual rates, he ends up with more cash flow, plus the incentives on the investment side. He says, I will take that money and invest it and spend it, and I will do it more efficiently than the federal government could. (Applause.)

Short version: tax cuts good, see how this guy can keep his workers making shoes thanks to them?
The very same day, this story appeared in the local paper:

Weyco's last shoe factory in U.S. to close its doors

Beaver Dam plant production will be moved to India

Weyco Group, the Glendale-based marketer of men's footwear, plans to close its last U.S. factory - a plant in Beaver Dam that has been making shoes since 1937 - by the end of the year.

Becky Wendt, the plant manager, said Friday that production of the Nunn Bush and Stacy Adams shoes made in Beaver Dam will be handled in India. Of the 60 Beaver Dam workers, 45 will be terminated; 15 will stay on for warehousing and processing customer returns. The employees average 25 years at the plant, Wendt said, and 80% of them are older than 45.

You win some, you lose some.

What the hell is this supposed to mean?

BUSH: We had a great visit on the plane. There is no air raids on Air Force One, by the way. (Laughter.)

Friday, October 03, 2003

From the "be careful what you wish for" department

Remember President Bush saying "Bring 'em on"? Looks like the local "freedom fighters" are taking him up on the offer.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Golly, now here's a great idea!

Wouldn't it be funny if the WNP fiasco blew up so big that they started talking impeachment, and then the administration somehow tried to cover itself by saying an unelected President couldn't be impeached?
Certainly nothing I expect to happen, just a daydream/nightmare I had.

From the White House's regular press briefing by Press Secretary Scott McLellan:

The House right now is voting on the conference committee report on the legislation that would ban the brutal practice of partial-birth abortion. This is will be an important step toward building a culture of life in America. And we look forward to the House passage and urge the Senate to move quickly on this important piece of legislation, as well.

"Important step toward building a culture of life"?? And yet they call people paranoid when they say this is a foot in the door towards putting an end to a woman's right to choose altogether.
I guess this is the right time for it, though, when the press corps is distracted from making a fuss about it by the blood in the water.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

From The Washington Post's "Patriot Monitoring Claims Dismissed":

"The fact is, with just 11,000 FBI agents and over a billion visitors to America's libraries each year, the Department of Justice has neither the staffing, the time nor the inclination to monitor the reading habits of Americans," [Attorney General Ashcroft] said. "No offense to the American Library Association, but we just don't care. . . .

"The charges of the hysterics," Ashcroft added, "are revealed for what they are: castles in the air built on misrepresentation; supported by unfounded fear; held aloft by hysteria."

Ashcroft's comments came after the release yesterday of a memo he wrote disclosing that the Justice Department has never used a controversial section of the Patriot Act that allows authorities in terrorism investigations to obtain records from libraries, bookstores and other businesses without notifying the subject of the probe.

I don't know about you, but I feel so much better now that I know that in addition to being invasive, that particular Patriot Act provision was also completely useless in actually identifying or locating any terrorists. Why exactly was it "necessary", then?

Let the record show that, if the WNP culprit is eventually revealed, I was the first to suggest the title "the Benedict Arnold of our times" for this person. The title has been used before, but apparently only once in some joking reference to baseball player Roger Clemens during a State Department daily briefing.

Afterthought: In a rather fitting coincidence, tomorrow (the 2nd) is the anniversary of the hanging of Major John Andre, General Benedict Arnold's British courier.

The New York Times' "Bush Orders Full Cooperation in Leaking of Name":

"The general view inside the White House among senior staff is that this is going to create a few rocky political days, that it's mainly the Democrats pushing it and that if all the Republicans stay on board, the story goes away," a Republican worker with close ties to the White House said.

Goes away, unless you happen to have worked with Ms. Plame in some not-quite-overt capacity in the past three decades, I guess. But why would that matter?

Update/correction: It seems that Ms. Plame hadn't been with the CIA for a full three decades, most likely. Not relevant, but I'm not going that far in my emulation of right-wing style, to start telling blatant untruths.

Oh, and I thought it might be worth noting that, having recently read Al Franken's Lies and the Lying Liars who Tell Them, I was "inspired" to watch Hannity & Colmes, as he puts it. The first -- and only -- thing I heard Colmes say? "Ah-choo". He sneezed. That was it.
My, how very fair and balanced that is.

Some things in some of the more minor quotes about the Wilson-Novak-Plame (henceforth WNP) fiasco that might be fun to pick on:

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas:

Surprise, surprise, [Democrats are] calling for a special counsel. My goodness. Must be in their political handbook, their campaign handbook. It makes no sense to call a special counsel. You have special counsels if you think the administration is trying to cover up or obstruct justice or is not interested in this issue....

Is Ashcroft too partisan? I imagine those charges are coming from partisan people?

Aside from the "handbook" nonsense in the first part of the excerpt, about the second, although it might be trite: It takes one to know one. And yes, that point cuts both ways. His foes to know Ashcroft as partisan, Delay to know his foes as partisan. Now, which would I consider the more relevant partisanship?

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama:

Then the attorney general... can then bring in an independent counsel or somebody independent of the Justice Department. But I believe... in any situation like this, let the process work. This is a political season, and let's don't forget this. There are a lot of people running for president on both sides....

Hmm, how many people are giving a serious run at the Republican presidential nomination, exactly?

We've got our priorities

Funny how the official White House web site could be updated with three new stories on Monday, even two over the weekend, but they somehow couldn't find anything worth putting up there on Tuesday. Isn't it?