November 29, 2005
Borat wants to be your "friend." Go here and "rite" to him.
The authorities in Kazakhstan, angered by a British comedian's satirical portrayal of a boorish, sexist and racist Kazakh television reporter, have pulled the plug on his alter ego's Web site...
"We've done this so he can't badmouth Kazakhstan under the .kz domain name," Nurlan Isin, President of the Association of Kazakh IT Companies, told Reuters. "He can go and do whatever he wants at other domains."
...Borat, hosted the MTV Europe Music Awards in Lisbon last month and described shooting dogs for fun and said his wife could not leave Kazakhstan as she was a woman.
Afterwards, Kazakhstan's Foreign Ministry said it could not rule out that he was under "political orders" to denigrate Kazakhstan's name and threatened to sue him.
(Borat) responded to the legal threats on the www.borat.kz site (snip) saying: "I have no connection to Mr. (Sacha Baron) Cohen and fully support my government's position to sue this Jew."
In typical vein, he went on: "Please, captain of industry, I invite you to come to Kazakhstan, where we have incredible natural resources, hard working labor and some of the cleanest prostitutes in all of Central Asia."
- Rapper 50 Cent, stating the obvious at the $10 million Bat Mitzvah of Elizabeth Brooks, the daughter of multimillionaire Long Island defense contractor David H. Brooks. Also on the bill: Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Tom Petty, The Eagles' Don Henley and Joe Walsh performing with Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks; DJ AM (Nicole Richie's fiance) and rap diva Ciara. Overheard by one of the guests at what The Daily News dubbed "Mitzvahpalooza":
"Hey, that guy looks like Kenny G."Sadly, it was Kenny G. who had the dubious honor of playing sax during pre-dinner cocktails.
November 28, 2005
This incredibly sad story from The L.A. Times perfectly demonstrates how badly we've failed in Iraq:
One hot, dusty day in June, Col. Ted Westhusing was found dead in a trailer at a military base near the Baghdad airport, a single gunshot wound to the head.And then, of course, there's this:
The Army would conclude that he committed suicide with his service pistol. At the time, he was the highest-ranking officer to die in Iraq.
The Army closed its case. But the questions surrounding Westhusing's death continue.
Westhusing, 44, was no ordinary officer. He was one of the Army's leading scholars of military ethics, a full professor at West Point who volunteered to serve in Iraq to be able to better teach his students. He had a doctorate in philosophy; his dissertation was an extended meditation on the meaning of honor...
In e-mails to his family, Westhusing seemed especially upset by one conclusion he had reached: that traditional military values such as duty, honor and country had been replaced by profit motives in Iraq, where the U.S. had come to rely heavily on contractors for jobs once done by the military...
A note found in his trailer seemed to offer clues. Written in what the Army determined was his handwriting, the colonel appeared to be struggling with a final question.
How is honor possible in a war like the one in Iraq...
"He was sick of money-grubbing contractors," the official recounted. Westhusing said that "he had not come over to Iraq for this"...
Then there was the note...
"I cannot support a msn [mission] that leads to corruption, human rights abuse and liars. I am sullied," it says. "I came to serve honorably and feel dishonored.
"Death before being dishonored any more"...
In the military report, the unidentified colonel told investigators that he had turned to Michelle, Westhusing's wife, and asked what happened.
Human rights abuses in Iraq are now as bad as they were under Saddam Hussein and are even in danger of eclipsing his record, according to the country's first Prime Minister after the fall of Saddam's regime.America & The "New" Iraq: Winning hearts & minds, one water-boarding at a time.
"People are doing the same as [in] Saddam's time and worse," Ayad Allawi told The Observer. "It is an appropriate comparison. People are remembering the days of Saddam. These were the precise reasons that we fought Saddam and now we are seeing the same things."
November 26, 2005
The Vatican, in it's apparent attempt to kill millions of people while at the same time replenish the world's population with unwanted babies, once again refuses to join the 21st century (let alone the 20th or 19th):
A Brazilian singer who promoted the use of condoms in an anti-AIDS campaign has been dropped from the lineup of next month's Christmas concert at the Vatican, organizers said Friday.However, the pope will still be able to enjoy the vocal styling's of Paul Anka (I kid you not). Wonder if he'll sing his swinging cover of "Smells Like Teen Spirit":
Daniela Mercury was dropped after Vatican authorities read statements by her in the Brazilian press that went "against the moral doctrine of the church," said Eligio Ermeti, a spokesman for the agency organizing the event...
The popular singer participated in a government campaign to fight AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases during this year's Carnival celebrations in Brazil. Mercury appeared in TV ads promoting the distribution of millions of free condoms and encouraging people to use them...
"We lament that the Vatican and the pope will not have an opportunity to listen to her," said Pedro Chequer, who heads Brazil's anti-AIDS program. "It's the pope's loss."
Load up on gunsHe had me at the 8th "Hello." Thank you, I'll be here all week. Be sure to stick around for the late show. And remember kids, always wear a hat:
Bring your friends
It’s fun to lose
And to pretend
I know I know
A dirty word
Hello (x 16)
With the lights out it’s less dangerous
Here we are now
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now
November 25, 2005
The first soccer pin-up (and cover boy for an excellent Wedding Present album) has passed away:
George Best, an Irish soccer star who captivated the public with his flamboyant skill on the field and his playboy exploits off the field, died today in London's Cromwell Hospital of multiple organ failure, a hospital spokesman said.Since famous people always seem to die in threes, there are of course two more on the hit list:
He was 59.
Mr. Best had been in the intensive care unit for a month, when his condition deteriorated drastically on Wednesday. Dr. Roger Williams, in charge of his care at the hospital, said that the former soccer star had internal bleeding, most likely from his bowel.
Mr. Best was hospitalized in 2000 for a liver condition and had a liver transplant in 2002. He had waged a lifelong battle with alcohol and lost.
Self-proclaimed Hip Nip, Pat "Wax On, Wax Off" Morita (73, natural causes)
and the scariest performer I've ever seen, Chris Whitley (45, "lung cancer").
Whitley had his lifelong battles as well -- that's why I put lung cancer in quotes and named him the scariest performer ever. My wife and I sat about two feet away from him at Joe's Pub in NYC on a night when he couldn't play in the same key as the rest of his band, blamed it on his guitar tech and kept telling the audience, "I have a snub-nosed pistol and I know how to use it." My wife has been unable to listen to his often wonderful music ever since.
November 24, 2005
November 23, 2005
From the AP:
A dozen war protesters including Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers, were arrested Wednesday for setting up camp near President Bush's ranch in defiance of new local bans on roadside camping and parking.Ellsberg is 74. Most people would say "I'm too old for this shit." Gotta admire the man's convictions...
About four hours after the group pitched six tents and huddled in sleeping bags and blankets, McLennan County sheriff's deputies arrested them for criminal trespassing. Many in the group held up signs, including one that said "Give me liberty or give me a ditch."
...Ellsberg, the former Defense Department official who leaked the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam war, estimated it was his 70th arrest for various protests since the 1970s.
"Those of us who finally saw through the Vietnam war saw through this war, and all the actions that were necessary to end the Vietnam war will be necessary here," Ellsberg said Wednesday before his arrest. "I think the American people will get us out of this (war)."
Ellsberg became famous for his release of the secret documents, which indicated the government had deceived the public about whether the Vietnam war could be won and the extent of casualties.
According to Ireland Online:
Hot Hollywood couple Charlize Theron and Stuart Townsend are planning to wed the day it becomes legal for gays and lesbians to wed across America.If I can actually be serious for a moment (yes, it's very, very hard for me): I applaud Ms. Theron for taking a stand. Perhaps when Tom Cruise gets married again, Charlize & Stuart can finally plan their dream day. (I couldn't resist.)
The longtime couple are tired of being asked about their marriage plans so they've come up with a novel line to keep the press happy.
Theron tells US news show Extra: "We came up with a new idea that we said that we would get married the day that gays and lesbians can get married - when that right is given to them.
"We've decided that we're gonna use that in a positive way, so the day that law gets passed then we'll get married."
(Courtesy of some ridiculous site called The National Ledger)
From the man who gave us Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf, one of the greatest plays of the 20th Century:
"Right now, I’m deeply enamored of a really bad show called That ’70s Show. It’s fucking funny."- Edward Albee in this week's New York Magazine
The mind reels...
November 22, 2005
November 21, 2005
Hermann Goering, Nazi Reichsmarshall and Luftwaffe-Chief (speaking to Gustave Gilbert, a German-speaking intelligence officer and psychologist who was granted free access by the Allies to all the prisoners held in the Nuremberg jail):
"Why, of course, the people don't want war," Goering shrugged. "Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship."Dick Cheney, speaking three years ago at the Veterans of Foreign Wars 103rd National Convention:
"There is one difference," (Gilbert) pointed out. "In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars."
"Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."
"...the President and I never for a moment forget our number one responsibility: to protect the American people against further attack, and to win the war that began last September 11th.And Cheney, today, speaking at the American Enterprise Institute, a pro-republican think-tank:
The danger to America requires action on many fronts all at once. We are reorganizing the federal government to protect the nation against further attack. The new Department of Homeland Security will gather under one roof the capability to identify threats, to check them against our vulnerabilities, and to move swiftly to protect the nation.
At the same time, we realize that wars are never won on the defensive. We must take the battle to the enemy. We will take every step necessary to make sure our country is secure, and we will prevail.
Much has happened since the attacks of 9/11. But as Secretary Rumsfeld has put it, we are still closer to the beginning of this war than we are to its end. The United States has entered a struggle of years -- a new kind of war against a new kind of enemy. The terrorists who struck America are ruthless, they are resourceful, and they hide in many countries. They came into our country to murder thousands of innocent men, women, and children. There is no doubt they wish to strike again, and that they are working to acquire the deadliest of all weapons.
Against such enemies, America and the civilized world have only one option: wherever terrorists operate, we must find them where they dwell, stop them in their planning, and one by one bring them to justice...
Nine-eleven and its aftermath awakened this nation to danger, to the true ambitions of the global terror network, and to the reality that weapons of mass destruction are being sought by determined enemies who would not hesitate to use them against us...
The case of Saddam Hussein, a sworn enemy of our country, requires a candid appraisal of the facts. After his defeat in the Gulf War in 1991, Saddam agreed under to U.N. Security Council Resolution 687 to cease all development of weapons of mass destruction. He agreed to end his nuclear weapons program. He agreed to destroy his chemical and his biological weapons. He further agreed to admit U.N. inspection teams into his country to ensure that he was in fact complying with these terms.
In the past decade, Saddam has systematically broken each of these agreements. The Iraqi regime has in fact been very busy enhancing its capabilities in the field of chemical and biological agents. And they continue to pursue the nuclear program they began so many years ago. These are not weapons for the purpose of defending Iraq; these are offensive weapons for the purpose of inflicting death on a massive scale, developed so that Saddam can hold the threat over the head of anyone he chooses, in his own region or beyond.
On the nuclear question, many of you will recall that Saddam's nuclear ambitions suffered a severe setback in 1981 when the Israelis bombed the Osirak reactor. They suffered another major blow in Desert Storm and its aftermath.
But we now know that Saddam has resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. Among other sources, we've gotten this from the firsthand testimony of defectors -- including Saddam's own son-in-law, who was subsequently murdered at Saddam's direction. Many of us are convinced that Saddam will acquire nuclear weapons fairly soon.
In a post-9/11 world, the President and Congress of the United States declined to trust the word of a dictator who had a history of weapons of mass destruction programs, who actually used weapons of mass destruction against innocent civilians in his own country, who tried to assassinate a former President of the United States, who was routinely shooting at allied pilots trying to enforce no fly zones, who had excluded weapons inspectors, who had defied the demands of the international community, whose regime had been designated an official state sponsor of terror, and who had committed mass murder. Those are the facts.Are you completely terrified? If so, I guess that makes you a true patriot. If you're not sufficiently scared, you obviously are a coward and a traitor to your country.
Although our coalition has not found WMD stockpiles in Iraq, I repeat that we never had the burden of proof; Saddam Hussein did. We operated on the best available intelligence, gathered over a period of years from within a totalitarian society ruled by fear and secret police. We also had the experience of the first Gulf War -- when the intelligence community had seriously underestimated the extent and progress Saddam had made toward developing nuclear weapons...
Some have suggested that by liberating Iraq from Saddam Hussein, we simply stirred up a hornet’s nest. They overlook a fundamental fact: We were not in Iraq on September 11th, 2001 -- and the terrorists hit us anyway...
In light of the commitments our country has made, and given the stated intentions of the enemy, those who advocate a sudden withdrawal from Iraq should answer a few simple questions: Would the United States and other free nations be better off, or worse off, with Zarqawi, bin Laden, and Zawahiri in control of Iraq? Would we be safer, or less safe, with Iraq ruled by men intent on the destruction of our country?
It is a dangerous illusion to suppose that another retreat by the civilized world would satisfy the appetite of the terrorists and get them to leave us alone. In fact such a retreat would convince the terrorists that free nations will change our policies, forsake our friends, abandon our interests whenever we are confronted with murder and blackmail. A precipitous withdrawal from Iraq would be a victory for the terrorists, an invitation to further violence against free nations, and a terrible blow to the future security of the United States of America.
November 20, 2005
November 19, 2005
"Stay The Course, From My Cold Dead Hands, Read My Lips, 9/11 Changed Everything,We're Hunting Wabbits, Not On My Watch"
Today, before an audience of prop soldiers who are actually serving their country instead of avoiding active duty and going A.W.O.L. during their stint in the Texas National Guard, President Bush tried to defend his mistake of a war with this declaration:
"If they're not stopped, the terrorists will be able to advance their agenda to develop weapons of mass destruction, to destroy Israel, to intimidate Europe, and to break our will and blackmail our government into isolation. I'm going to make you this commitment: This is not going to happen on my watch."So there you have it: John Wayne has spoken. No matter what the people, experts or elected officials have to say about the complete disaster known as the War in Iraq, George W. Bush is not going to be a "cut and run" sissy-boy (you know, like his Daddy). Instead, this is what we're getting on Georgie's "watch":
• 2,086 dead American soldiers (and counting)Is it any wonder that our so-called Dear Leader is not getting a whole lotta love from the American people?
• A bankrupt economic policy of seemingly endless tax cuts that benefit the rich
• Rampant cronyism and incompetence
November 18, 2005
Seldom overtly political, (Rep. John) Murtha (a decorated Korean War and Vietnam combat veteran) uncharacteristically responded to Vice President Dick Cheney's comments this week that Democrats were spouting "one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges" about the Bush administration's use of intelligence before the war.For more Murtha and less Dick, go here.
"I like guys who've never been there that criticize us who've been there. I like that. I like guys who got five deferments and never been there and send people to war, and then don't like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done," Murtha said.
November 17, 2005
The "2,000 dead" figure in the Iraq war was completely insignificant. In a matter of weeks, we're already up to 2,080:
The US military announced the death of a US soldier killed in Iraq, the 10th serviceman to die in two days at a time when US opinion is turning against the war.Gosh, everything seems to be going swimmingly well in Iraq. I'm so glad we saw the last throes of the insurgency earlier this year.
The latest victim, who died Wednesday of wounds sustained in a Baghdad bomb explosion, brings to at least 2,080 the number of US military personnel killed in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion, according to an AFP tally based on the independent Iraq Coalition Casualty Count.
Five marines also died Wednesday in a firefight in Ubaydi near the Syrian border in western Iraq, the military said.
The New York Times newspaper, which has a correspondent with troops in the area, said 11 marines were also wounded in the clash which erupted after they were caught in an ambush on a farm on the outskirts of the town.
November 16, 2005
This is the funniest fucking song I've ever heard (hat tip to Steve Gilliard's News Blog for the link).
Keith Olbermann weighs in with a custom made video along with this assessment:
"Hey, if you're gonna make propaganda music, you gotta make it good."Bonus: You can even sing-a-long:
Bush Was RightEnjoy?
Written by: Frank Highland
Freedom in Afghanistan, say goodbye Taliban
Free elections in Iraq, Saddam Hussein locked up
Osama’s staying underground, Al Qaida now is finding out
America won’t turn and run once the fighting has begun
Libya turns over nukes, Lebanese want freedom, too
Syria is forced to leave, don’t you know that all this means
Bush was right!
Bush was right!
Bush was right!
Democracy is on the way, hitting like a tidal wave
All over the middle east, dictators walk with shaky knees
Don’t know what they’re gonna do, their worst nightmare is coming true
They fear the domino effect, they’re all wondering who’s next
Ted Kennedy – wrong!
Cindy Sheehan – wrong!
France – wrong!
Zell Miller – right!
Economy is on the rise kicking into overdrive
Angry liberals can't believe it's cause of W's policies
Unemployment's staying down, Democrats are wondering how
Revenue is going up, can you say "Tax Cuts"
Cheney was right, Condi was right, Rummy was right, Blair was right
You were right, we were right, “The Right” was right and Bush was right
Bush was right!
Bush was right!
"Who needs $125 million when I can just as easily cure you with my healing powers?"From the AP:
Congressional budget negotiators have decided to take back $125 million in Sept. 11 aid from New York, which had fought to keep the money to treat sick and injured ground zero workers, lawmakers said Tuesday.
New York officials had sought for months to hold onto the funding, originally meant to cover increased worker compensation costs stemming from the 2001 terror attacks.
But a massive labor and health spending bill moving fitfully through House-Senate negotiations would take back that funding, lawmakers said...
The tug-of-war over the $125 million began earlier this year when the White House proposed taking the money back because the state had not yet spent it.
New York protested, saying the money was part of the $20 billion pledged by President Bush to help rebuild after the Sept. 11 attacks. Health advocates said the money is needed to treat current and future illnesses among ground zero workers.
November 15, 2005
Harry Reid continues to give 'em hell (via Atrios):
“Let me tell you the President’s strategy in Iraq - no plan and no end in sight. Our troops deserve better. That’s why Democrats forced Republicans to admit that “staying the course” is not an option.Of course, the idiot Republican'ts blocked the Democrat's original proposal which would have pressured President Bush to outline a timetable for a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Why do Republicans hate our troops so much?
“As stated in the amendment, the Senate just voted overwhelmingly to change the policy of the United States with regard to Iraq. Republicans admitted what Democrats have been saying all along – the administration’s strategy is aimless and rudderless. It’s a victory for our troops and the American people. If Democrats hadn’t acted, our Republican colleagues would have been fine going along with the administration’s “no plan, no end” approach.
“The contrast between Democrats and the Bush Administration could not be clearer. Democrats offered a clear way forward and a strategy for success in Iraq. Rather than trying to score political points and mischaracterizing the Democratic amendment with language that isn’t even in there, we think the top priority of Republicans should be succeeding in Iraq.
“Democrats know that the road to success requires a plan and accountability from the administration. That’s all we’ve asked for, and our troops deserve nothing less.”
November 14, 2005
November 12, 2005
While I applaud Milbank and Pincus for today's article in the Washington Post, why can't they just come out and directly say our President is a big, fat LIAR:
President Bush and his national security adviser have answered critics of the Iraq war in recent days with a two-pronged argument: that Congress saw the same intelligence the administration did before the war, and that independent commissions have determined that the administration did not misrepresent the intelligence.
Neither assertion is wholly accurate.
The administration's overarching point is true: Intelligence agencies overwhelmingly believed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, and very few members of Congress from either party were skeptical about this belief before the war began in 2003. Indeed, top lawmakers in both parties were emphatic and certain in their public statements.
But Bush and his aides had access to much more voluminous intelligence information than did lawmakers, who were dependent on the administration to provide the material. And the commissions cited by officials, though concluding that the administration did not pressure intelligence analysts to change their conclusions, were not authorized to determine whether the administration exaggerated or distorted those conclusions.
...Bush does not share his most sensitive intelligence, such as the President's Daily Brief, with lawmakers. Also, the National Intelligence Estimate summarizing the intelligence community's views about the threat from Iraq was given to Congress just days before the vote to authorize the use of force in that country...
Bush, in his speech Friday, said that "it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began." But in trying to set the record straight, he asserted: "When I made the decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power, Congress approved it with strong bipartisan support."
The October 2002 joint resolution authorized the use of force in Iraq, but it did not directly mention the removal of Hussein from power.
The resolution voiced support for diplomatic efforts to enforce "all relevant Security Council resolutions," and for using the armed forces to enforce the resolutions and defend "against the continuing threat posed by Iraq."
November 11, 2005
November 10, 2005
- Delegate David B. Albo, a Republican who narrowly defeated his Democratic challenger in Fairfax County, VA (from a Washington "Moonie" Times article headlined, "Bush 'sank' GOP in Virginia"). By George, I think they're starting to catch on.
I'm back but busy. Very light posting until next week. Expect some vacation photos whether you want them or not.