Friday, November 30, 2007

They also claim that they are morally superior, smarter, and Fox News claims they are "fair and balanced"

All of which calls the conclusions of this study somewhat into question. Seems to me that the factor of objectivity is missing, and would most likely yield a different result. Or, to put it another way, WTF???

Jackson Pollock may have called this "Number 1A"...

....but I like to think of it as "The Bush Administration Plan For Iraq" which, of course I realize, gives the BA waaaay too much credit, but I feel like being generous.

Pot and Kettle Headline of the Day

"Iraq Lacks Plan on the Return of Refugees, Military Says"

Story to be found here and more here.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Thing Of Beauty To Behold

No, NOT the GOP YouTube "debates" last night, you ninnies! There has been plenty of erudite commentary on that sorry episode, such as
29 Shorter Entire Right-Wing Blogosphere

Posted at 18:40 by Gavin M.
Republican Post-Debate Wrap-up

Oh my God, the CNN YouTube debate showed the entire country what malignant, bonk-headed wackos we are represents a shockingly outrageous conspiracy by CNN and YouTube not to screen questioners for party loyalty — thus totally unfairly showing the entire country what malignant, bonk-headed wackos we are.

and if you want more of THAT, go here.

No, what has moved me to almost start quoting Shakespeare again is the continuing smack-down by Glenn Greenwald of Joe Klein, Time magazine, and the establishment political media in general. That man has been all over this issue like butter on grits. He deserves an award or something!

Happy Birthday John Mayall


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

My Neighbors Go To Austin

BubbleShare: Share photos - Print Christmas Coloring Pages.

H/T: The Kendallian Voice

It's not lost - We know where it is.

Bush has lost his mind and his moral compass. This statement is an outrage. A lie and a blood libel. Israel has never committed any acts of terrorism. What a tool of Islamic jihad. Based on that, Bush is a terrorist, anyone that defends himself, his family, his country is a terrorist.


Hitting the Nail on the Head

I think Bill Clinton did a damn fine job as President and I think he's an affable fellow that would be a very pleasant companion to sit down and have a beer with. And I think Hillary has a razor-sharp intellect and all of the experience and capabilities that it would take to be a perfectly competent chief executive. That said, I read this piece by publius this morning and found myself agreeing with every single word. I was always amused by the rightwing's paranoid hysteria treating the Clintons as if they were somehow the equivalent of Noam Chomsky in the White House because, as a true-blue, down-to-the-bone liberal I was always aware that the Clintons were nothing if not completely Centrist. As far as I could tell, Clinton's centrism was a GOOD thing, (in the '90s) in spite of the fact that it meant that his position on some things was not to my liking, because certainly his position on other things was plenty to my liking and getting legislation through on SOME things was better than nothing (or, as has been the case since 2000, moving BACKWARDS). But centrism is not what we need now. I don't believe we need a reactionary swing to the left just for the sake of some kind of return to equilibrium, but we desperately need someone who is willing to act boldly in order to repair the damage that has been done to our country by the Bush administration, and Hillary's pandering centrism is not going to do the trick, and nothing brings that home more quickly than hearing her make noises about somehow putting Colin Powell to use in her administration, an idea that Digby has the proper response to. I don't know if Barak Obama has what it takes to be the kind of leader that we need, but I'm more and more certain that Hillary doesn't.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007



A friend just called to remind me that today is Jimi's birthday, he would have been 65 years old as I would have known if I had been over to Doghouse's place in a timely manner today, so that'll teach me to be such a slacker! I like to think that he would be belting out this tune still with all the force and passion that today's climate calls for, and for all we know, maybe he is!

Look out, she's waxing poetic again....

Glenn Greenwald is a hound on the trail of Joe Klein and Time magazine, along with Jane Hamsher at Firedoglake. As Atrios points out, civility has not necessarily been our friend, but smarts and persistence sure has, and this episode really highlights the potential for positive change that is in the hands of the progressive online community - This happy breed of men (and women), this (not-so-)little world....This blessed plot, this (non)earth, this realm, this Blogtopia!

"True Conservatism"

My gal Maha demonstrates, once again, why we must read her every single day:
There’s a difference between strength and toughness. There’s a difference between courage and swagger. There’s a difference between results and spin. There’s a difference between resolve and stubbornness. There’s a difference between action and ideology. But try to explain any of that to a rightie.

One could go on and on, right? There's a difference between the truth and a lie, but try explaining that to a rightie. There's a difference between science and religion, but try explaining that to a rightie....


Digby does an excellent dissection of the stupid "immigration reform" issue. To wit:
This time, of course, the stupid irrelevant issue they are forcing into the ether is illegal immigration. And, like "the deficit" it is virtually designed to twist the Democratic candidates into pretzels as they help the Republicans once again misdirect the public to blame something other than the corrupt plutocrats who just pillaged the treasury for their woes

and also:
The Latino community -- the fastest growing voting bloc in America -- is rightfully very concerned by these condemnations of "illegals" as being diseased, dirty and criminal, since those who say such things don't bother to make certain important distinctions.

Which reminded me of this little snippet from Ask A Mexican!:
CONFIDENTIAL TO: The state of Oklahoma, which recently enacted one of the harshest anti-immigrant laws in the country. Don’t give Mexicans mierda about H.B. 1804 being anti-ILLEGAL immigration — your Sooner ancestors and Okie grandparents sure as hell didn’t make such distinctions when invading the Unassigned Lands and California, respectively. May a Dust Bowl of pedos afflict your slack-jawed state. ¡Viva Tom Osborne!

Heh. Indeed.

No Mystery

So Hastert and Lott are jumping ship - big surprise. And for reasons that are also completely in line with the Republican MO. More Republicans extending their middle fingers to the voters who put them in office. Yawn, right? What else is new? Do you suppose said voters might be....beginning to wonder? Yeah, me neither.

UPDATE: As we watch the Texas sharks circle it's worth remembering that Every Kick-In-The-Ass Begins With Kay:
A source close to Hutchison confirmed she was in Washington and was calling senators for support in her bid for the conference chairmanship.

One question Hutchison confronted: How her rise in leadership might be affected by her decision not to seek re-election in 2012 and possibly step down well before then if she runs for governor in 2010.

Interesting though, that while the article helpfully mentions that Mz. Kay "confronted" this question, it says nothing about how she actually answered it.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Rockin' and Rollin'

We have plenty of great home-grown talent here in Texas but then there's those that got here as soon as they could, and we're fine with that:


I wish the sound quality was a little better on this. That gal has a voice just made for the blues.

Of course, that's why Bill loves him so much....

Anonymous Liberal on the "true conservatism" of Mike Huckabee. Seriously, we Democrats can only WISH that Republicans would land on this guy as their nominee.


Welcome back, blogbuddies! Everyone have a good weekend? Anyone have to work (boo!)? Yours truly had a great weekend, thank you very much. Ate a lot, drank a lot, played dominoes, went to see "No Country For Old Men" at the new Alamo Drafthouse down on 6th street. Our friend who has been in Kuwait for the last two years is home and joined us, and it was good to catch up with him. He has been invited to interview for a position he applied for as a librarian at NATO headquarters in Brussels, and will be leaving in early December for that. So, on Black Friday, we bundled into a car and headed over to a nearby Half-Priced Bookstore to browse. After searching unsuccessfully for awhile, he approached a little twenty-something at the help desk and asked where he might find some books about NATO. "NATO,...." she said, apparently thinking quite hard. "How would you spell that?"

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

What A Great Story

This image originally provided by Sotheby's auction house in New York shows the 1970 painting, "Tres Personajes" (Three People), by Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo. The abstract painting was found, lying in trash on the street on Manhattan's Upper West Side. (AP Photo/Sotheby's, file)

From our local rag, the San Antonio Express-News, comes something to brighten our day. As a veteran flea market/rummage sale/scavenger-hunting shopper I, too, have no small collection of art treasures - okay none of them worth a million bucks, but that's BESIDE THE POINT! Someday when I figure out how to use this goddam scanner that came with the digital cameral I just bought, I'll post some of them here.

Meanwhile HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO YOU ALL! To Mike and RickyBones and heydave and Freewheel and D. Sidhe and capconundrum and all of you who stop by and don't leave comments - Thank you! I am going to Austin to visit friends for the weekend, and I may or may not get around to - how could I not steal this from Scott - "drunk-blogging" but my thoughts will be with you all. Really, I mean it! Don't laugh!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

426 more days, 6 hours and 26 minutes and counting...

When I think of the smug self-satisfaction and utter robotic obsequiousness with which my ex-associates in wingnutville used to (and still do) regurgitate the bald-faced, lying swill spit out by the jackbooted propaganda division of the US Military in the service and glory of the worst foreign policy disaster directed by the most transparently corrupt and incompetent administration to ever wield control of our country, all the while sneering at any and all who object as "traitors" who "have no honor" and who "want us to lose" and then when I read about things like this and this, well, I feel a tendency toward violence that requires every ounce of good upbringing and personal fortitude that I possess, and then some, to dispel.

UPDATE: No doubt about it, they're Assholes.

Oh yeah, THAT Liberal Media...

I present here for your reading pleasure a perfect confluence of great posts on the subject of that snarling mythical beast that righties love to get all puffed up about: The Liberal Media. Digby writes about the latest disgusting episode involving Robert Novak, our Good Friend (for real!) Mike Thomas points to our own local issues of editorial malfeasance, and the inimitable Glenn Greenwald brings us that paragon of journalistic "neutrality", Brian Williams. Here's the money quote from that last one:

But would it ever be possible to compile enough evidence to force an abandonment of that most sacred, petulant and patently false Article of Faith among our right-wing warriors and their media allies -- namely, that our establishment press is a "liberal media" that is hostile to conservatives?

Short answer: "No."

Monday, November 19, 2007

Heroes and Heroines

In the comments a few posts ago, I mentioned that Doghouse Riley is a hero of mine, and here is a perfect example of why. And in the comments to that post (Doghouse's) our friend D. Sidhe provides her own example of the sharp wit that has earned her my undying envy. Oh YEAH? But can you do THIS? (hops up and down and spins around, arms flapping wildly...)

Redefining Moral Depravity

A must-read post from Digby.

What on Earth Happened to this Man?

Over at Obsidian Wings, hilzoy and publius deservedly rip Tom Friedman a new body orifice, and by the time Glenn Greenwald gets done with him, there's pretty much nothing but orifice left.

Snake Oil Salesmen

When I read stories like this and this I can't help but wonder why it is that people keep giving money and support to these crooks. There must be some powerful forces at work to cause so many people to delude themselves. Baffling.

Sweet Baby James


"So goodnight you moonlight ladies, and rockabye sweet baby James! Deep greens and blues are the colors I choose, won't you let me go down in my dreams, and rockabye sweet baby James."

I wonder if there are any mothers from the last 30 years who have had sons named James that didn't sing this to them! Well I did - I sang it to him as I held him in my arms, as I sat by his bed at night, and many, many times - upon request - as we rode in the car together. When James received an Ipod for his 18th birthday, it was one of the first songs he programmed into it, then handed me the earpiece so I could listen. My sweet baby James turns 20 today and this seems an opportune time to reflect on just what a true blessing his presence in my life has been.

True story: James had just had his fifth birthday and I was a few weeks away from giving birth to his younger brother. We lived in the country at the time, and the morning trip from house to car was somewhat of an adventure - we were always carrying armloads of stuff, and there are no handrails on the stairs leading from the deck to the driveway. On this particular morning, there was the added element of rainfall which made the deck a little slippery. So as we gingerly made our way across the deck and approached the stairs, I heard James behind me say, "Careful, Mom!" to which I muttered some lame reassurance. Then he said something else, so softly I almost didn't hear him - it was as if he were really talking to himself. He said, "Don't worry. I'll catch you if you fall."

Today James is a strapping young man, six-foot-something-or-other with a grin as big as Texas and a heart even bigger. I love you, James, and if you receive back even a fraction of the joy that you have brought to me and your dad, then your pastures will be forever green.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Friday, November 16, 2007

Who's Deranged?/ TPS Chapter

Annie Hall: So I told her about, about the family and about my feelings towards men and about my relationship with my brother. And then she mentioned penis envy. Do you know about that?
Alvy Singer: Me? I'm, I'm one of the few males who suffers from that.

Our good friend Freewheel alerts his readers to a, er, growing phenomenon in Republican circles known in the medical profession as Tiny Penis Syndrome. Given how widespread this affliction is among those who are currently in control of our country, it behooves us all to familiarize ourselves with some of its more common manifestations.

TPS sufferers are most commonly and easily identified by their propensity for swaggering arrogance that has no identifiable basis or justification. Behold:

Victims of this terrible malady also seem driven to claim exclusive alliance with powerful entities such as the US Military or God. They have an obsessive fondness for weaponry, especially "big guns" and, while studiously avoiding circumstances which might result in themselves being placed in harm's way, are the most ardent advocates of sending others off to deploy such weapons. They reserve their strongest rage for women who dare to be sexual or, in fact, powerful in any way. Researchers are scrambling to find a cure and are hopeful that advances in new stem cell technology may yield results. Meanwhile it is incumbent upon the rest of us to practice tolerance and understanding for our stricken brethren. Their plight is truly "sad."

Be there, or be square!

This news is very cool.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Who, exactly, IS it a country for?

The San Antonio Current interviews the Coen brothers, Kelly MacDonald and Josh Brolin about "No Country For Old Men." Good quote:

Talk about shooting in West Texas. People still think of it like it’s the Wild West.

JB: But it is. West Texas is the part of the country you want to get through as fast as you can when you’re driving east to west, west to east — it really is. I don’t mean it as a total insult. But if you stop there, you get to discover it for what it is: West Texas is a character. We’re afraid of characters like we are character actors; they’re not the leading man you’re going to trust all the time. Characters are characters for a reason, because they’re unpredictable, they change — like the freak weather of West Texas. •

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Follow-up, sort of.

In the post I linked to this morning, which talked about us old folks knowing a thing or two about What's Going On (Thank you, Marvin Gaye!), I couldn't help but drift a bit down Memory Lane to revisit some of the music of my youth and I came upon this priceless YouTube of Smokey Robinson. I was born in 1952, was 14 when this video was made, and I cut my teeth on Motown music. It was THE music that was blaring out of our little transistor radios in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 1966. I remember when the University of Virginia booked The Temptations. Oh. My. God. They sold out in 5 minutes. What a scene! The genius of Berry Gordy was the selling of black music to middle class White America who absolutely ate it up and begged for more, which gave a considerable jumpstart to the civil rights movement at the time. But look at this video!! How lame are those whiteys! Poor Frankie Avalon just needs a tattoo of LOSER stamped on his forehead, and those chippies in the cages can't even hold a beat! No wonder Smokey looks like he's thinking, Good God just let me finish this song and get the hell out of here.....

For you dieters, I bring you...

...Lame Duck Stew. Courtesy The Internet Weekly.

A tip of the helmet to...

...The General, God love him! Whatever you do, DON'T MISS looking very closely at the GOP elephant logo included in this post.


I still venture over to Bill's swamp occasionally (no, I'm not going to link to it; believe me, you DON'T want to go there) and was amused to find Bill's commentary on the debate about Reagan's race-baiting consisted of this: "All I have to say here is that Ronald Reagan was no racist, and to imply so is despicable. Reagan believed in the American dream for all Americans, black and white. The depths to which the Left has sunk is truly disturbing."

Wow. Color me smacked down! Of course, one of his commenters dutifully cites and quotes at length the now-all-over-the-web David Brooks column which attempts to patiently explain to all of us lowly ignoramuses how egregiously "misunderstood" Reagan is, and since Bill has made it now a policy to block anyone who disagrees with him, Brooks' column is viewed over there as the last word on the subject. Period. No further examination of THAT story is needed, thank you. So, as a contrast, I had to bring you, dear readers!, this publius post from this morning that includes links to not only the original Krugman post, Brooks' rebuttal, and subsequent responses to Brooks' rebuttal, but also what I thought was an excellent examination of the question of why righties are scrambling so to defend Reagan on this issue. I highly recommend it!

There is such an ocean of good stuff to read, isn't there? I just got in the mail my copy of Krugman's "The Conscience of A Liberal" and I can't wait to get into it. But I would be remiss if I didn't also point you to two great posts that Atrios linked to: This one about Hillary and feminism, and this one about Obama, which references an essay by Tom Hayden and includes the following:

The Republican Party politicians are extremely adept at exploiting divides in this country. Like the generational divide. Almost anyone born from 1960 on - voters now 18-47 - have few, if any memories of voters age 48-63 who were caught up in the thick of one or more of the Civil Rights, antiwar, Women’s Rights, UFW, reproductive rights, environmentalism movements, or the beginning of the GLBT liberation movement. Us boomers are not trapped in some time warp fighting the same battles, advocating the same tactics, or even suggesting we have all the right answers.

But what we do have are important memories. We’ve been the canaries in the current coal mine whose dust has darkened everyone’s future. Much of what we’ve seen in Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld and Powell and Armitage and Abrams and Perle and Wolfowitz and so many others tied to this White House is not new to us. Most of us spotted these phonies miles away, using old methods and old law violations to pursue policies and rights encroachments that are recycled failures, dusted off in pursuit of the same corrupt ends.

Our capacity to remember is your first line of defense. And in another three decades, yours will be necessary to warn and protect some future generations. We may not always know how to solve every problem. But we can see problems brewing. We can provide some answers. We can point to some things previous generations tried that didn’t work, too.

Ooooo-rah! Take THAT all you whippersnappers!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Courtroom Hijinx

Being called up for jury duty the other day reminded me of this, though I must hasten to add that my experience was in NO WAY similar, thank you very much:

More Dada!

For heydave:

Marcel Duchamp. (American, born France. 1887-1968). Network of Stoppages. Paris 1914. Oil and pencil on canvas, 58 5/8" x 6' 5 5/8" (148.9 x 197.7 cm). Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Fund and gift of Mrs. William Sisler. © 2007 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris / Estate of Marcel Duchamp

More about this painting and about Dadaism in general is here and of course here.

From the Wikipedia article:

Dada was an informal international movement, with participants in Europe and North America. The beginnings of Dada correspond to the outbreak of World War I. For many participants, the movement was a protest against the barbarism of that War, against the bourgeois nationalist and colonialist interests which many Dadaists believed were the root cause of the war, and against the cultural and intellectual conformity — in art and more broadly in society — that corresponded to the war. [1]

Many Dadaists believed that the 'reason' and 'logic' of bourgeois (capitalist) society had led people into the horrors of war. They expressed their rejection of that ideology in artistic expression that appeared to reject logic and embrace chaos and irrationality. For example, George Grosz later recalled that his Dadaist art was intended as a protest "against this world of mutual destruction".[2]

Seems that today we have a bit of a different problem - the scales tipped too far away from "reason" and "logic" (which certainly didn't lead the current Powers that Be, and hasn't for a long time!), and too far toward chaos and absurdity. What say you?

Monday, November 12, 2007

How long will it take?

Yay - they let me out! I went, fully prepared to serve on the petit jury if they chose me but, ugh. It looked to be a nasty little civil case whose outcome, I am very glad to say, rests in someone else's hands. So I am treated to an afternoon off, and it looks like I might grab a friend and go see Ang Lee's new movie, "Lust, Caution."

Meanwhile, I thought I would share with you some thoughts I had upon hearing this story on NPR this morning. The very first thought I had was: I wonder if the Bush administration will ever be held to account for its war crimes, and if so, how long will it take? Some time ago (in another universe, it seems!) I mentioned in a blog conversation that I thought the Bush administration's crimes in Iraq were going to be a moral shame that we Americans will have to reckon with for generations to come, not unlike what the Germans are still having to do with regard to Hitler and the Nazis. Naturally, shrieks of outrage ensued from the nest of righties that I happened to be embroiled with at the time, and I was roundly excoriated for being a lefty-traitor-loser-despicable-terrorist-loving-fringe-lunatic, etc., which, strangely enough, still appears to be the consensus of opinion in those circles to this day. Then Frank Rich wrote his column about The 'Good Germans' Among Us and he said essentially the same thing I was arguing only, of course, he said it much better. There's a really interesting discussion of Rich's column and the issues he raises over at D.Sidhe's place in which she posits (I think) that average, every day Americans who are consumed with the burden of just getting by in our lives can't be expected to know the extent of the Bush administration's criminality and mendacity, given the power structure that is in place to hide and obfuscate, and while I appreciate her point, I still find myself feeling a dreadful foreboding about the future of our country post-GeorgeW. I think what I am afraid of is that the damage this administration has wrought is far more extensive and long-lasting than we have yet begun to understand. And I wonder how long it will take for Americans to find the moral courage necessary to do whatever it takes to find our way out of this wasteland. Personally, I think the criminal conviction of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld is only one step, but a crucial one. What do you think?

Change of Routine

Pablo Picasso. (Spanish, 1881-1973). Guitar. (after March 31, 1913). Pasted paper, charcoal, ink, and chalk on blue paper, mounted on ragboard, 26 1/8 x 19 1/2" (66.4 x 49.6 cm). Nelson A. Rockefeller Bequest. © 2007 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Off for jury duty today. Come on in, make yourself at home.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Intent To Deceive

One question: Do Republicans even know how NOT to lie?

UPDATE: From hilzoy:

So unless we are to believe that all these FEMA staffers found themselves in a room full of FEMA staffers they knew and worked with, and sat down in the chairs where journalists normally sit, and asked the questions that journalists normally ask, all without noticing a thing, I don't see how we can conclude that this is anything other than a deliberately staged fake press conference about which FEMA staffers subsequently lied.

Not that that's anything new; it's just that every so often I think it's important to keep track even of the smaller examples of this administration's mendacity. Because in an administration that had genuinely introduced a "new moral tone" into Washington, as Bush promised to do, people would know that to pull a stunt like this would cost them their jobs whether or not anyone found out about it.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Still at work for a few more hours.... that drink will have to wait. Let's see if this will do until then:



Gah! No sooner had Patches cheered me up than I received an email from a friend about this. Oh Lordy, if there is anything more gag-inducing than wingnuts waxing sanctimonious about the "Angry Left" it has to be Karl Rove delivering a sermon on the topic of (cough, cough) anonymous incivility. Emptywheel has a good response. I need a drink.

I know it's Friday and all

...but I find myself in need of some cheering up. What about you? I bring you (drum roll) Patches the horse:

They really love wars too

The only "life" that the grotesquely mis-named "pro-life" movement cares about is that which is either in a petri dish somewhere or in uteri. Once said life manages to make its way through the birth canal to become an actual sentient human being, these "compassionate" pinheads have no more use for it.

Weisie taking bids

...on getting the smell of sulpher out of her curtains.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

We laugh to keep from weeping...and sometimes it doesn't work.

Jonathan Schwarz:
If the Nazis could make it work, why not us?
This is an unusual rhetorical gambit from Alan Dershowitz:

Marginal Democratic candidates certainly benefit from moving to the left on national security issues, but serious candidates–candidates who want to have any realistic chance of prevailing in the general election–must not allow themselves to be pushed, shoved or even nudged away from a strong commitment to national security.

Consider, for example, the contentious and emotionally laden issue of the use of torture in securing preventive intelligence information about imminent acts of terrorism…

There are some who claim that torture is a nonissue because it never works–it only produces false information. This is simply not true, as evidenced by the many decent members of the French Resistance who, under Nazi torture, disclosed the locations of their closest friends and relatives.

You know, I was on the fence there about torture, until Dershowitz pointed out it really worked well for the Nazis! Color me convinced!

posted by Jonathan Schwarz at 11:35 AM | link

UPDATE: For all of you Compassionate "Christian" Conservatives who are still "confused" about this issue: Yes, waterboarding is torture. To wit:

Waterboarding was torture when it was used during the Spanish Inquisition; it was torture when it was used on Filipino rebels during the 1890s; it was torture when the Japanese Army used it on prisoners in World War II; it was torture when it was used by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia; and it's torture when CIA officers or others use it on terrorists.

When George W. Bush was the governor of Texas, the state investigated, indicted, convicted and sentenced to prison for 10 years a county sheriff who, with his deputies, had waterboarded a criminal suspect. That sheriff got no pardon from Gov. Bush.

Waterboarding is torture in the eyes of all civilized peoples, no matter how desperately President George W. Bush tries to rewrite the English language, with which he has only a passing familiarity, anyway. No matter how desperately his entire administration tries to redefine the word "torture" to cover the fact that not only have they acquiesced in its use, but they also have ordered its use.


Waterboarding is torture. Decent people have acknowledged that for centuries. We sent Japanese war criminals to the gallows for using it. We sent a Texas sheriff to prison for using it. One day, an ex-president and those who helped him and those he ordered to torture fellow human beings may have to plea bargain for their lives and their freedom.

Theme song for '08?


He has a Council? Who knew?

Make sure you've swallowed your coffee before you read this.

But we just have to give it more time!


Whenever one thinks that our discourse regarding the Iraq War just can't get any more inane, it always manages to find a way. If the violence in Iraq continues to decrease -- and even if one accepts the most dubious of premises in order to see it all in the best possible light (the decrease will endure, it's because of the Magical Surge, the de facto ethnic cleansing can reverse itself, etc.) -- that rather obviously doesn't mean that the war has achieved anything positive, either in that country or for our own. It just means that we have begun to contain some of the monstrous harm which our invasion unleashed there.

Acting as though a decrease in violence is now a positive reflection on the invasion itself is irrational in the extreme. It's basically akin to someone sitting on their couch and chewing up food and spitting it all over the floor and the walls and the furniture month after month until it piles up and congeals and grows into mold, turning the room into a repulsive, health-threatening mess. Guests come by and run away in horror at how repugnant it all is.

Then, one day, the person decides to pick up some of the congealed food from the floor and scrapes a little bit off the walls, making it a bit less filthy. Then he starts calling his friends, announcing: "You must come over. I've completely redecorated my home and it looks beautiful now. You have to see what I've done to it."

That is pretty much an exact analogy to what is now emerging as Beltway wisdom regarding Iraq. We took a country that was relatively stable and a sworn enemy of, and an important check on, Iran. We turned it into a cesspool of violence, instability, displacement, sectarian strife, Iranian influence, and rule by militia.

The best we can hope for is to reverse some of the damage that we did so that a Shiite regime far more loyal to Iran than to the U.S. can rule with some semblance of order. And to "achieve" that, we squandered hundreds of billions of dollars, thousands of American lives, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians (at least), and almost every ounce of credibility and influence we built up over the last six decades. That's the best case scenario.

And Bush is still waiting for his parade......

I think the market is flooded.

Sadly,No! gives us the Medved Awards. I think at least honorable mention should go to the guy who gave us this one:

Rule #1 in politics: When you have the moral high ground, milk it, don't ruin it with politics.

You know who it is, and if you don't, be glad.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Shameless Puppy Picture Exploitation

Hey, if Norbiz can do it, so can I.

Amanda's Very Good, Excellent, Wonderful, Not-To-Be-Missed Post

Is right here. Go ahead, she won't bite.

Who's Deranged? Part 5

I would imagine that Bill is enjoying being able to post crap like this without the worry anymore of mean ol' nasty libruls busting in on his little poop party to point out how mind-numbingly stupid it is. That's good, I hope he's having a good time. But since he won't allow Mike and me to engage directly with his community any more (we're too mean, doncha know - we hurt his widdle feelings) I'd like to take advantage of having my own forum to address some of the wingnutty nougats to be found in his post. To begin at the beginning:
Liberals say there is no war on terror. They say it's just a "bumper sticker" slogan dreamed up by Dick Cheney and the evil neo-cons to fool the American people in to giving up their civil liberties, but at the same time they blame President Bush for it.

(sigh) Of course, that is a gross distortion of the dispute that Thinking People have with the, yes, bumper sticker slogan of "War on Terror!!!" that the Bushies have thrown out as political cover for their criminal behavior. They discovered early on that one can holler "9/11!!" and "War!!" and get away with pretty much anything. Thinking People would like to strip them of this cover and call their behavior what it really is, which is war crimes and reckless endangerment of our country by, among other things, INCREASING anti-American sentiment and terrorism around the world.

Then there is this:
In light of this "new" information, this might be a good time to take a look at what Democrats are trying to do to "help" us in the war on terror.

They want to outlaw waterboarding in spite of its confirmed effectiveness:

Um, okay, why don't we begin with the fact that waterboarding is ALREADY illegal. Yes, that is right my friends. Just because George W. Bush gets his toady lawyers to tell him (and the country) what he wants to hear, doesn't mean that what they are saying is...accurate. This is what we have been subject to lo these last six nightmarish years - The Bush/Cheney cabal decides it wants to do something which is inconveniently illegal. They do it anyway, and they have a stable of Gonzo-style lawyers willing and able to twist themselves into moral and ethical pretzels in order to tell the world that what we all know is illegal really isn't. As Anonymous Liberal put it so well in this post:

When future generations look back on this era of American history, I'm increasingly convinced that the harshest verdicts will be saved for the lawyers, people like David Addington, John Yoo, and Alberto Gonzales. These were the people who were supposed to be the brakes, not the gas. They're the people who were supposed to speak up for the law and for the Constitution, the people whose job it was to ensure that we are governed by laws and not men. And not only did they abdicate this responsibility, they chose to use their power of interpretation to make a mockery of the law. That's the worse kind of betrayal. It's like a doctor who uses his knowledge to harm instead of heal. Such will be the legacy of the torture lawyers.

And nitwits like our Very Good Friend Bill eat it up with both hands. These Compassionate Conservatives tell us, first of all, that waterboarding is not torture and, secondly, even if it is, so what? 9/11 Changed Everything, doncha know, and we gotta be able to torture those goddam Islamohomoboogeymenfacists or else we're all gonna get murdered in our beds!! Please, dear God, save us from these fucking morons. And pass the Prozac.

UPDATE: Oooooo, Bill "feels sorry" for me! This, of course, is how a Compassionate Conservative tells you he thinks you suck while attempting to claim the High Moral Ground in doing so. I tell you what, it is truly fascinating what passes for "morality" in these circles.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Who's Deranged? Part 4

Righties are twisted, mother-fucking sons of bitches, if you'll pardon me for saying so. That makes me deranged? Pass the Prozac. From Democratic Underground the story of one Andy Stephenson. Behold:

That left only the money. Out of state patients must be prepared to pay the full costs of their surgeries in advance. So, a group of Andy’s friends set out to try to raise the funds needed, armed with only love and hope and a very short window to come up with the cash before we were all turned away.

That we did indeed raise $50, 000 in 11 days, in small donations and in many currencies is a measure of how beloved Andy was. None of us had the skill to open wallets, per se. This was for Andy.

And at this point, the story becomes bifurcated. One fork is the progress of love and hope and generosity that he elicited among the progressive community who shook junk drawers and upended sofa cushions and did without one trip to the mall to send in a donation. They made Andy’s surgery possible. And it is true that when I announced to an incredulous employee at Johns Hopkins that we had raised the money, I’m sure she heard me say, we found Monopoly Money and would she accept that? Paypal and Amazon accounts seem not to be used very often by Johns Hopkins clientele.

But the other fork of this story is the profound disturbance it created in the Bush right wing. I didn’t understand this until much later. But, the watchers saw our effort, watched the community response and were inspired with what can only be called hatred. Because only such a reaction could account for the vicious attack that was set into motion.

The first weekend of my fundraiser was without incident, but our jubilation of raising $25K in only one hundred hours must have goaded the Bush right. Before the week was out, the rumors of fraud and malfeasance began. I began to get anonymous email demanding to know Andy’s most personal information. During the second and last weekend of our effort, the contact information I had made available to donors resulted in my email box being spammed with hate mail. I at that point ignored it. It simply never occurred to my that our effort for our friend would become a political death match.

I was in no way prepared for what followed. And, although I have no proof, what followed was a concerted political attack on Andy, on our progressive community, and in specific on our ability to raise funds for our projects as well as, an attack on Andy’s productive work as an elections reform activist and watchdog.

What followed was a coordinated effort to block Andy’s medical care or his benefit from the medical care we could secure for him. In specific, the Bush right had its agents make small donations so they could then call Paypal with allegations of fraud that froze Andy’s account. They also called Paypal, misrepresenting themselves as the hospital to “verify” that this effort was a scam.

And it got more vicious from there. Due to the frozen funds and the confusion it caused us all, Andy’s surgery date was cancelled by Johns Hopkins. It was with great difficulty that we were able to persuade the doctor to be put Andy back into the surgical rotation. That cost him two weeks while he suffered from the most aggressive, invasive form of cancer.

The smears and the rumors were seeded all over the internet, to many sites. Ill, on hold waiting for his surgery, Andy and the rest of us cast about trying to answer questions that were more often simply calculated accusations meant to discredit us all, meant to make Andy’s health care as difficult as possible.

Andy called me one day, happy because he’d been given a new date. Then again, because they’d moved the date up. He was terrified, sobbing and I was caught flatfooted. Torn between trying to mind Andy’s care and trying to stop or answer the horrible accusations being sown all over our community, I had very little to offer his terror, dealing with my own.

After Andy was admitted to the hospital, the rumors turned into threats. A bounty was offered by the Bush right for anyone who could sneak into his hospital room. It was said he was getting a face lift. A telegram was sent just to see if it could be successfully delivered. The harassment was nonstop. And we tried to shield Andy from it, with less success than we would have liked.

A day or so after his surgery, Andy called me from his bed in ICU. I picked up the phone and he began to sing to me, “Come out, come out, wherever you are.” I started crying. And when we hung up, I offered that bit of good news to our on line progressive community at the Democratic Underground. Immediately, the opposition took that as evidence that Andy was not in fact recovering from a surgical marathon. And this was their pattern. Every specific I offered to comfort the community was taken up by Andy’s stalkers and used as evident that we were frauds.

There's much more - go ahead, read it all for yourself. You didn't really need that lunch you just ate, did you?


Just in case you might have thought that, well, we only have 440 days left of George W. Bush's presidency and How Much Worse Could It Get? you'd better get up to snuff on what's going on in Pakistan. Always a good place to start is with Professor Cole at Informed Comment. Money quote at the very end of the article:

If Bush and Cheney are ever tempted into extreme measures in the United States, Musharraf has provided a template for how it would unfold. Maintain you are moving against terrorists and extremists, but actually move against the rule of law. Rubin has accepted the suggested term of "lawfare" to describe this kind of warfare by executive which I would only add: "IF???"

This segues rather perfectly to a comment by Maha.

Another must-read on the subject is this article by hilzoy at Obsidian Wings who, with mulitple links and references, spells out our role in this mess rather clearly. Don't read it on an empty stomach.

And finally, over at the Carpetbagger Report, there is this article which includes this little gem:

As for the president’s vaunted “freedom agenda” — Bush repeated just a few days ago, “We are standing with those who yearn for liberty” — that’s no longer operative.

All of the above only serves to reinforce the point that every single person who cast a vote for George W. Bush in 2000 and in 2004 has a whole lot of bad karma to work off for putting our country in the hands of this guy:

Monday, November 5, 2007

Bet she coulda taught Dick Cheney a thing or two...

Another friend of mine makes these wonderful collages using old postcards and stamps. This one she made using a postcard (the huntress) that I gave her, so I thought I should include it in my home decorating here. You can see more of her work here.

Speaking of "Wow".....


Nettie's home

My good friend Jeannette has bid adieu to the south of France:

and is now back, happily ensconced here:

And she and I have returned to our happy routine of Sunday morning breakfast at our local bakery, where we caught up like the old school chums that we are. Welcome home Nettie!

How do we fix this?

It's the fact that no one seems to find this shocking that's so, well, shocking. I agree with Atrios.

UPDATE: Anonymous Liberal states the obvious, or, er, what SHOULD be the obvious: These were the people who were supposed to be the brakes, not the gas.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Schumer and Feinstein

Glenn Greenwald has written well on this subject, but publicus at Obsidian Wings has written a post that frames the Mukasey issue perfectly for me. Excerpt:

Essentially, the administration’s lawbreaking and DOJ-politicization have been so extreme that a candidate who refuses to call waterboarding torture is transformed into a “compromise” nomination. After all, says Feinstein, “he’s no Alberto Gonzales.” Boy, that’s a ringing endorsement. And sound logic too. Here’s a warm plate of tuberculosis for ya. Say what you will, it ain’t the bubonic plague.

Given our low expectations and mangled baselines, refusing to call Spanish Inquisition-era torture “torture” is now something a “compromise” candidate can do and still get through a Democratically-controlled Senate committee. But that’s the point. The Bush administration -- and the GOP more generally -- goes long. They push hard so that yesterday’s “extreme” becomes tomorrow’s “compromise.” And in this case (like so many others), the tactics have proven successful.

Then it ends with this bullseye:

My fear of course is that these episodes will cause people to throw their hands up and say “both parties suck equally.” That’s not true, but that fact doesn’t excuse Feinstein’s vote.

Boy, no wonder we're depressed. Republicans love to gloat (hilariously - I mean, really, they actually think they have something to GLOAT about! How desperate is THAT?)that polls show such low approval rates for the Democratic Congress. Of course, these same geniuses tell us that polls are meaningless when they point to the Chimp-in-Chief's approval ratings in the 30s. But back to Feinstein. These episodes DO, of course, reinforce people's notion that "both parties suck equally." And it's not true, but who is going to be able to lead the Democratic Party away from this lemming march to the cliff? To me, none of the current contenders for the Democratic nomination have both the leadership strength and commitment to progressive principles to be able to steer this country back to the CENTER. I hope I'm wrong.

UPDATE: Forget "chills" - it's a deep freeze.

Friday, November 2, 2007


Anonymous Liberal has an interesting post up about the electability of the Democratic frontrunners. Any thoughts?

Who's Deranged? Part 3

I can see this becoming a never-ending series, kind of like the "Rocky" or "Halloween" movies.....

Following up on yesterday's comment about torture, Tristero brings us yet another reminder of just what kind of a person George W. Bush is, and always has been.

Here's the link.

This is who the "Values Voters" of America foisted upon the country: a man who hasn't matured past the age of twelve, and who possesses all of the "compassion" of a pit viper.

Meanwhile, "moonbat" over at Maha's place points us to a podcasted interview with Bob Altemeyer who discusses authoritarianism and, perhaps more pertinent to my readers here, authoritarian followers. Note the characteristics she highlights. Sound familiar?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Who's Deranged? Part 2

I fail to understand why certain groups of people would rather see the Iraqi people under the brutal hand of Saddam than have a country of their own. I also don't understand why these people would rather see Iraq fail and turn into a giant bloodbath than to see it succeed.

You mean Democrats, yes? They want us to fail in Iraq because it would be a political defeat for Bush, a man they hate. They don't care who dies or who gets hurt so long as Bush looks bad. Those are the facts.

Posted by: Bill Crawford | November 01, 2007 at 06:34 PM

Behold, dear readers, two more perfect examples of the wingnut demagogic arsenal. First, The Strawman Puzzle: Can't you just see the hand to the chin, the knitted brow, eyes cast skyward as if in supplication for enlightenment? "I just don't understand...How can it be?"

Then comes The Voice Of Reason, Of Wisdom, Of Teaching: Yes, grasshopper. It is the Way of the Democrats. "Those are the.....facts."

In truth, I would like to feel some kind of pity for the poor fools that wrote the quoted passage above, because I'm certain there's a seed of a kind heart to be found in there, somewhere. But all I have to do is remember how eagerly they have enabled the Bush administration in all of its worst excesses - war, torture, lawbreaking, more war - and my pity just goes out the window. Fuck them. And pass the Prozac.

Who's Deranged?

Rightwing whackjobs love to sneer at anyone who criticizes the Bush administration as someone who has "Bush Derangement Syndrome" - yeah, like rightwing derangement hasn't been on flagrant display since Bill Clinton began to show promise as a presidential candidate. Like most of what they say, it's lazy rhetorical bullshit that serves to keep them from having to answer any one of the literally thousands of legitimate charges against George W. Bush and his so-called administration. Of course, this type of lazy and dishonest demagoguery is part and parcel in the wingnut toolbox: Criticize Israel's actions or policies? You're an anti-semite. Don't like the war in Iraq? You're a traitor who gives aid and comfort to The Terrorists! Think GWB is an asshole? Well, you just have Bush Derangement Syndrome, and therefore we don't have to listen to or address anything you have to say! See? It's a cinch! As Mike and I, and most of the rest of the reality-based world have discovered, it does little good to attempt to engage these folks in dialogue; my friend freewheel may remember that I compared my attempts to do so as being like a hamster on a wheel, running like crazy and going nowhere, so I'm glad I finally got off.

That said, I am here to declare, unequivocally, that I do despise George W. Bush and if that makes me "deranged" well then, I'm in good company. This should be read in its entirety but here's the best part:

Bush claims that if we don't give him the right to make people scream out in sheer agony at what American officials physically inflict on them, he will not be able to keep you and me safe. George W. Bush is completely full of shit. I am prepared to accept whatever risk that goes along with living in a country that doesn't ever torture its enemies. Because I know that there is no such risk, that in fact torturing people places a country at greater risk, morally and existentially, than not. Whatever the reasons he has for torturing people, he is not doing it for the good of ordinary Americans and I reject his insinuation that either my fellow Americans or myself are somehow the reason he feels he must indulge in such perversions.

A word about Bush-hating seems appropriate right about now. It is a subject which deeply concerns so many thoughtful members of the cowardly, fainting classes, ie, Republicans and the mainstream press. When people like me speak out in disgust at what this sick man is doing, it is cause for moral outrage - at the person speaking out! As if hating Bush was in any way morally comparable to the deliberate inflicting of mind-damaging pain on another human being! To those folks, we need to spell it out:

What Bush and his henchmen have done, and what they are presently doing is, in fact, truly hateful, if that word has any meaning at all. But not only are Bush's actions capable of being hated by all reasonable people (and deserve to be). They are also acts which themselves are full of hate and sadism. There's another thing I hate:

Bush will go down in history as the torture president. I hate that this country ever had a president who made the torture of human beings official government policy.

Amen. And pass the Prozac.

In Which I Attempt To Explain

(Not to be outdone by Mike, by God!)


There’s been a lot written and said about Texas and what makes it different from every other place on the planet – and much of this, okay most of it, comes from Texans. My father was military and I spent my childhood moving from place to place, but I’ve spent most of my life in Texas. So what I’m saying is this: I’ve seen a pretty good part of the rest of the world, and I’ve seen Texas, and yes it is, well, different.

Oh sure, you say, like we don’t know NOW. That part about everything being bigger in Texas? Well, sure, that includes Assholes, too. Exhibit A:

Everything is just done on a grander scale here: our assholes are more flaming, our wingnuts are more wingnutty, our crooked politicians more crooked. So what's a sane person, much less a liberal, to do? Well, as the saying goes, you do the math. I mean after all, sure we've got crap like this and this, but we also have the San Antonio Spurs, and Big Bend, and Lyle Lovett for crissakes! And if you had ever awoken on the finest of spring mornings in the hill country to the call of a distinctive song, sat up in bed and looked out your window to see a golden cheeked warbler perched on a branch less than a gasp away, well then you would know all you'd ever need to know about Texas.

After all, he's not a Republican

My friend Mike has discovered the joys of YouTubing which does NOT mean what you think, you perv!