September 28, 2007
Bruce on the Today Show:
(Click for the MSNBC link to watch the entire performance)
*Although it is a little disconcerting to see people grinning and waving ("look at me, I'm on the teevee!") while Bruce is singing
Who'll be the last to die for a mistake
The last to die for a mistake
Whose blood will spill, whose heart will break
Who'll be the last to die for a mistake
Between the Mets, the Dems & Republicants, this illegal and unnecessary never-ending war, the Preznit and his SCHIP veto, the Jena 6 story, Myanmar and our dog Wahoo who just had a little surgical procedure and is pretty miserable (but fine, healthwise) -- well, let's just say I'm a tad depressed. Then I saw the following clips on fourfour and I cheered up immediately. Amy Sedaris is a national treasure:
(image "courtesy" of metsgrrl)
Well, I guess if you're going to fail, you might as well fail spectacularly.
Oh, and I know "it ain't over till it's over" but even if the Mets somehow back their way into the playoffs, does anyone think this team's spotty starting rotation, abysmal bullpen, inconsistent offense and sloppy defense will get them past the first round? Seriously, what's the point?
With that said, as a lifelong* Mets fan, I of course will be root, root, rooting for the home team tonight, tomorrow and Sunday. That's because all Mets fans are Metsochistic.
*From 1966-1968 I was a Brooks Robinson-Frank Robinson-Boog (!) Powell Baltimore Orioles fan. In 1969 I switched over to the Amazin's and never looked back except for a brief fling with the 1982 Cecil Cooper-Robin Yount-Paul Molitor Milwaukee Brewers (hey, give me a break, I was living in Madison, WI at the time) and I of course rooted for the 1987 Kirby Puckett-Kent Hrbek Minnesota Twins in the World Series -- this had to do with both family and the fact that I got to meet Puckett and Hrbek that Spring as part of a Nickelodeon "Kids Day" shoot. Kirby and Kent actually let a lucky young kid "hit" in the batting cage. Wonder how many laws we broke by participating in that?
September 27, 2007
"How is it done? How do you screw the taxpayer for millions, get away with it and then ride off into the sunset with one middle finger extended, the other wrapped around a chilled martini? Ask Earnest O. Robbins -- he knows all about being a successful contractor in Iraq."Thus begins a must-read article on war profiteering from last month's Rolling Stone magazine. Read it and I guarantee it will make you angry and it will make you embarrassed to be an American. And the article doesn't even cover the atrocities of Blackwater USA -- although it goes into great detail about Halliburton subsidiary KBR which subcontracted Blackwater:
The discovery shows the dense world of Iraq contracting, where the main contractor hires subcontractors who then hire additional subcontractors. Each company tacks on a charge for overhead, a cost that works its way up to U.S. taxpayers. [...]The whole thing is so tragically comical that, if it weren't for all the dead bodies, it would make a great movie. Oh wait:
The hidden contract not only cost taxpayers money, it also might have been illegal. The Halliburton subsidiary's main contract for military support services prohibited hiring subcontractors to provide armed security. That job is left to the U.S. military, unless the theater commander decides otherwise.
War, Inc. is set in the future, when the (fictional) desert country of Turagistan is torn by a riot after a private corporation, owned by the former US president, has taken over the whole state. John Cusack plays the role of a hit man, who suppresses his emotions by gobbling down on hot sauce and is hired by the corporation’s head to kill the CEO of their competitors.Because it's Cusack (who co-wrote the film), because it's a kind of sequel (but not really) to the brilliant Grosse Point Blank and because the film was partially based on Naomi Klein's Harper's article Baghdad year zero: Pillaging Iraq in pursuit of a neocon utopia, I'm going to pretend that this film will not really be making money off of the war (if it makes any money) and obviously, even if taxpayers have to pay to go see it, they will be doing so willingly. The trailer looks good, not great, but the film reunites John with his wonderful sister Joan so that's probably worth $10 bucks right there:
(Click to watch. It's a big file so it might take some time to load.)
And now, back to the outrage:
Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said the State Department had informed the committee that State employees could not discuss potential corruption in the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki unless the information was treated as a national security secret. Blackwater USA, the North Carolina-based security contractor involved in the deaths of civilians in Iraq this month, has also claimed that the State Department had banned company communication with Waxman's investigators, the lawmaker said.Apparently, according to the State Department, the whole thing was a "misunderstanding." Of course it was. I mean, Condi has proven herself to be soooooo trustworthy.
"I urge you to reconsider the unusual positions you are taking," Waxman wrote to Rice. "You are wrong to interfere with the committee's inquiry." The State Department said it was cooperating with the committee and is providing the information requested.
"Blackwater has been informed that the State Department has no objection to it providing information to the committee," said Tom Casey, a State Department spokesman. "We have offered to make available for testimony those officials in the best position to respond to the specific issues the committee has raised."
Waxman said his staff was told Monday that State Department officials with what he called "direct knowledge of corruption within the Maliki government" were barred from giving the committee "assessments which judge or characterize the quality of Iraqi governance," or Baghdad's ability to address corruption, unless the material was withheld from the public.
In the Blackwater matter, Waxman said the company claimed that the State Department insisted on reviewing and approving any documents the company gave to the committee. He also said Rice has refused to testify before his committee about the status of political reconciliation in Iraq, potential corruption or the Blackwater incident. Rice has ordered a review of security practices for U.S. diplomats in Iraq following the killing of 11 Iraqis this month while Blackwater guards were protecting a U.S. Embassy convoy.
September 26, 2007
September 25, 2007
Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee can recite Republican talking points ad nauseum about MoveOn, The New York Times and the "General Betray Us" ad. But when Tucker Carlson substitute David Shuster asks her to name the last soldier from her district who was killed in Iraq, watch her get all flustered and draw a blank:
This is the type of thing we need to see on television every single day.
We all know (except for "the stupids") that President Bush is "All Hat, No Cattle" -- but now we need to add "No Horsies" to the list:
Vicente Fox, the former president of Mexico, derided his political friend as a “windshield cowboy” – a cowboy who prefers to drive – and “the cockiest guy I have ever met in my life”.By cockiest, I believe Fox meant that Bush doesn't have one, he just is the biggest cock Fox has ever met. Besides, everyone knows who the real cocksman is in the Bush Administration:
He recalled a meeting in Mexico shortly after both men had been elected when Mr Fox offered Mr Bush a ride on a “big palomino” horse.
Mr Fox, who left office in December, recalled Mr Bush “backing away” from the animal.
"A horse lover can always tell when others don’t share our passion,” he said, according to the Washington Post.
(thanks to reader g.m.)
September 23, 2007
September 21, 2007
Yes, baseball. More specifically, the Atlanta Braves (with Braves general manager John Schuerholz, former second baseman Mark Lemke and Hall of Fame pitcher Phil Niekro, no less).
(Click to watch)
As a diehard Mets fan (and trust me folks, I'm dying hard this season), I find it hard to believe that anyone with half a brain could choose the Braves as "his team" -- especially a man who is married to another man. The Braves, of course, are the team of homophobic pticher John Smoltz ("What's next? Marrying an animal?" he said in reaction to the prospect of legalizing Gay marriage) and dumb-as-a-rock former relief pitcher/homophobic bigot John Rocker (''Imagine having to take the 7 train, looking like you're in Beirut next to some kid with purple hair, next to some queer with AIDS, right next to some dude who got out of jail for the fourth time, right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids. It's depressing.'').
Perhaps Elton had some influence on the Braves' decision to disinvite Focus on the Family to future "Faith Day" events at their ballpark after the organization distributed anti-gay materials at what was called "the first promotion of 'intentional Christian ministry' in Major League Baseball." We'll never know. But one thing I'm pretty sure of: When John Schuerholz nodded his head in agreement with Elton's statement that watching baseball is "one of the most poetical things," Schuerholz had no idea that the producer of the interview was going to dissolve to a shirtless man doing an interpretative dance as Elton John sang
"Love is simple, hate breedsEasily the most surreal baseball interview I've ever seen...
Those who think difference is the child of disease
Father and son make love and guns "
(Click to Watch)
...the President, behaving a little bit more than usual, like we all interrupted him while he was watching his favorite cartoons on the DVR, stepped before the press conference microphone and after side-stepping most of the substantive issues like the Israeli raid on Syria, in condescending and infuriating fashion, produced a big political finish that indicates, certainly, that if it wasn’t already – the annual Republican witch-hunting season is underway.(Video "courtesy" of onegoodmove)
“I thought the ad was disgusting. I felt like the ad was an attack not only on General Petraeus, but on the U.S. Military. And I was disappointed that not more leaders in the Democrat party spoke out strongly against that kind of ad.
“And that leads me to come to this conclusion: that most Democrats are afraid of irritating a left-wing group like Moveon.org or more afraid of irritating them, than they are of irritating the United States military.”
The Republican Hamstringing of Captain Max Cleland and the lying about Lieutenant John Kerry, those met with your approval? But a shot at General Petraeus, about whom you conveniently ignore it is YOU who reduced him from four-star hero to political hack, that merits this pissy juvenile blast at the Democrats on national television?
Your hypocrisy is so vast that if we could somehow use it to fill the ranks in Iraq you could realize your dream and keep us fighting there until the year 3000.
September 20, 2007
"I think we would demean their service if we were to say to them that there had to be a parity between the time in service out of the country and the time at home." - Florida Sen. Mel Martinezvia Salon:
"Hours after blocking a vote on restoring habeas corpus rights to detainees held at Guantánamo Bay, Senate Republicans and Joe Lieberman blocked consideration Wednesday of a bill that would have guaranteed U.S. troops as much time at home as they spend deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan.Wouldn't it be nice if the people who are actually sacrificing their bodies, minds and lives in Iraq could have a say in these matters? Time for a TV Movie:
Both measures had bipartisan support, but not enough to get Senate Democrats over the 60-vote hurdle that a Republicans-plus-Lieberman filibuster would have presented. Republicans Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe, Chuck Hagel, Richard Lugar, John Sununu and Gordon Smith joined all Democrats in voting to move forward on the habeas corpus bill. The same group -- minus Specter and Lugar, plus Norm Coleman and Susan Collins -- joined all Democrats in voting to move forward on Jim Webb's troop bill.
After the remaining Republicans joined Lieberman in killing Webb's bill, the Senate considered whether to proceed with a watered-down, nonbinding "sense of the Senate" measure John McCain proposed as a way to provide cover for Republicans who didn't want to be seen as voting against the troops. Although Evan Bayh, Joe Biden, Tim Johnson, Mary Landrieu, Ben Nelson and Bill Nelson crossed over to support what Webb called a "fig leaf" of a bill, enough Democrats stuck together in opposition to block McCain's measure from getting an up-or-down vote either.
Having thereby blocked actual consideration of three different measures aimed at addressing two of the most critical issues facing the United States today, the Senate adjourned for the evening."
Adding insult to injury, today Republicans blocked a bill that would have cut off funds for the Iraq war by June. But the Senate did pass a bill condemning MoveOn.org's "General Betray Us" ad. Democrats Max Baucus, Evan Bayh, Ben Cardin, Thomas Carper, Bob Casey Jr., Kent Conrad, Byron Dorgan, Dianne Feinstein, Tim Johnson, Amy Klobuchar, Herb Kohl, Mary Landrieu, Patrick Leahy, Blanche Lincoln, Claire McCaskill, Barbara Mikulski, Ben Nelson, Bill Nelson, Mark Pryor, Ken Salazar, John Tester and Jim Webb and independent Joe Lieberman "joined every Senate Republican in voting for the measure." Glad everyone seems to have their priorities straight...
September 19, 2007
September 17, 2007
“If mothers ruled the world, there would be no god-damned wars in the first place.” - Emmy winner Sally Field whose sound was cutoff after the word "no"
Apparently our upstairs neighbors understand freedom of speech a lot better than we do:
September 14, 2007
but he won't get fooled again:
Bring the Boys Home, now (the girls, women and men too). Stop this endless war.
September 13, 2007
Bill Maher asked Senator Hillary Clinton, "Why should Americans vote for someone who can be fooled by President Bush?" Her answer was, to say the least, less than satisfactory (and her phony laughter was downright creepy):
For more of the Democratic Candidate Mashup, go here.
September 12, 2007
September 11, 2007
"Today marks six years into the New Madness, with, I suppose, 94 more to go. At least. Warmongers from all sides worship this day, as well they should, for it gave the green light to mass murder, torture, theft, ceaseless misery, as well as the political/religious cover needed to keep the sick flames alive. Friends tell me that the cracks are showing, that the people are seeing more and more through the lies and chaos and are turning against the larger narrative. How I wish this was so. Apart from weariness with the Iraq debacle, faith in America's unique and unprecedented decency and goodness remains among the many, for without that faith, what do the powerless have left to imagine? And we are powerless -- powerless to stop the major players from launching fresh wars, from pushing more and more of us into debt, from turning what's left of this country into a banana republic strip mall with just enough distractions to make us feel, if not free, then somewhat amused until the next round of bills arrive, when the cycle renews itself, and round and round we go, again and again and again.Our nation had the opportunity to become great again in the weeks following 9/11. So sad that our country was/is being run by a bunch of psychopaths rather than healers, diplomats and human beings.
Of course, if we the people really wanted to, we could collectively pressure those who rule us into some kind of political concession, or at least irritate them enough to get their attention. But this isn't going to happen. Not anytime soon, anyway. So we stand slack-jawed, watching in slow motion the continuing carnage, listening passively to the lies spouted to justify it all, hands over hearts, misting up as Old Glory flutters above, pretending that we're not connected to the larger insanity." - Dennis Perrin
September 10, 2007
September 07, 2007
September 06, 2007
Dennis Miller can't wait until we stop killing innocent Iraqis so we can go and bomb the fuck out of innocent Iranians. When are these right-wing assholes going to realize that there's a huge difference between taking out despotic leaders and willy-nilly bombing their cities, villages, men, women and children?
What an unfunny, weakass douchebag. I bet he'd last less than 5 minutes in the military.
From the Washington Post:
The U.S. military's claim that violence has decreased sharply in Iraq in recent months has come under scrutiny from many experts within and outside the government, who contend that some of the underlying statistics are questionable and selectively ignore negative trends.Look, at this point, anyone with half a brain should not believe a single word that comes out of our Warlords' pieholes. I'll give you a perfect example:
Reductions in violence form the centerpiece of the Bush administration's claim that its war strategy is working. In congressional testimony Monday, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, is expected to cite a 75 percent decrease in sectarian attacks. According to senior U.S. military officials in Baghdad, overall attacks in Iraq were down to 960 a week in August, compared with 1,700 a week in June, and civilian casualties had fallen 17 percent between December 2006 and last month. Unofficial Iraqi figures show a similar decrease.
Others who have looked at the full range of U.S. government statistics on violence, however, accuse the military of cherry-picking positive indicators and caution that the numbers -- most of which are classified -- are often confusing and contradictory. "Let's just say that there are several different sources within the administration on violence, and those sources do not agree," Comptroller General David Walker told Congress on Tuesday in releasing a new Government Accountability Office report on Iraq.
On Sept. 18, 2002, CIA director George Tenet briefed President Bush in the Oval Office on top-secret intelligence that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction, according to two former senior CIA officers. Bush dismissed as worthless this information from the Iraqi foreign minister, a member of Saddam's inner circle, although it turned out to be accurate in every detail. Tenet never brought it up again.Angry yet? No? Time for a rerun:
Nor was the intelligence included in the National Intelligence Estimate of October 2002, which stated categorically that Iraq possessed WMD. No one in Congress was aware of the secret intelligence that Saddam had no WMD as the House of Representatives and the Senate voted, a week after the submission of the NIE, on the Authorization for Use of Military Force in Iraq. The information, moreover, was not circulated within the CIA among those agents involved in operations to prove whether Saddam had WMD.
("How to Create an Angry American" by Billy Vegas)
Still on the fence, dumbass? Billy's got a new video for you:
In conclusion, they lie, people die or lose their rights. We need new leaders, we need to reinstate our Constitution and we need to get out of Iraq. But, you ask, don't we have an obligation to fix the mess we've made in Iraq? Excellent question. I'll let a Republican candidate for President, yes a Republican, tell us why we need to leave now:
Thank you and good afternoon.
September 05, 2007
Looks like our Preznit had a heckuva fun time Down Under while he continues to be hellbent on killing as many people in Iraq as possible:
George Bush is a man who likes a short sentence. Which is not to say the President of the United States reduces ideas to bite-sized chunks. Or maybe it is.I'm sorry, but this just cannot go on any longer. Patton Oswalt, a genuine comedian, has a theory and a solution that of course will never come to pass:
Either way, during the course of his first 24 hours in Sydney, there were plenty of efficient exclamations. Like the exchange on the tarmac as Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile inquired how things were going in Iraq. "We're kicking ass," he declared. In a similarly thrifty oratory bent yesterday, he telegraphed his lunch order — "I'm a meat guy". Then he buttered up his host — "I admire your courage" — and insisted he was not playing a double game by hinting at moves to start cutting US troop numbers in Iraq: "Whatever you do, don't call me cute."
He also managed to remain gracious in the face of further niggling about the inconvenience to the people of inner Sydney. At a joint press conference with John Howard, Bush played comic to the PM's straight man. He grinned. He winked. He made eye contact with journalists as he argued that the Iraq war could be won. He joked around, and congratulated the PM on "your … like … grandfatherhood".
But there were a few faint hints of impatience. As Howard's opening statement dragged on, Bush pursed his lips and shifted his weight from foot to foot.
The rest of the day was a giddy social whirl. A bit of local rump at a lunchtime barbecue with the troops, and an hour of mountain biking in the North Shore suburb of St Ives. By nightfall, it was back onto a pleasure cruiser for a trip across the harbour to sign the visitors book at Admiralty House and dine with the Howards at Kirribilli House. Janette Howard greeted Bush at the door, thanking him for bringing rain.
And Bush owned the second killer line of the day, as he drew US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice into a photo to make up the foursome. "You can be my date," he purred, an invitation most straight men would kill to issue.
(Click Patton to listen)
You can get Patton's new CD Werewolves and Lollipops here.
Keith Olbermann on President Liar's "playing" of the troops:
(Click to watch)
Olbermann: As he deceived the troops at Al-Asad Air Base yesterday with the tantalizing prospect that some of them might not have to risk being killed and might get to go home, Mr. Bush probably did not know that, with his own words, he had already proved that he had been lying — is lying… will be lying — about Iraq.(Video courtesy of onegoodmove.)
He presumably did not know, that there had already appeared those damning excerpts from Robert Draper’s book “Dead Certain.”
“I’m playing for October-November,” Mr. Bush said to Draper.
That, evidently, is the time during which, he thinks he can sell us the real plan.
Which is, to quote him: “To get us in a position where the presidential candidates, will be comfortable about sustaining a presence.”
Comfortable, that is, with saying about Iraq, again quoting the President, “stay longer.”
And there it is, sir. We’ve caught you.
Your goal is not to bring some troops home — maybe — if we let you have your way now;
Your goal is not to set the stage for eventual withdrawal;
You are, to use your own disrespectful, tone-deaf word, playing at getting the next Republican nominee to agree to jump into this bottomless pit with you, and take us with him, as we stay in Iraq for another year, and another, and another, and anon.
Everything you said about Iraq yesterday, and everything you will say, is a deception, for the purpose of this one cynical, unacceptable, brutal goal — perpetuating this war indefinitely.
War today, war tomorrow, war forever!
And you are playing at it!
The Rude Pundit has more on Draper's book (not for the easily-offended but then again, dirty words aren't nearly as offensive as the man we call President).
September 04, 2007
Over the long weekend, my wife and I realized that basically our dogs lead the opposite lives that we do. Our weekends, in contrast to our hectic working weekdays, are all about doing a whole lot of nothing: Read, catch some rays, eat, drink wine, sleep. That's about it. For the dogs, weekday life is all about doing nothing: Sleep, eat, sleep, eat, sleep (don't worry, they get three walks a day). But on weekends, our dogs go to work: Digging holes, chasing after birds and frisbees, following me around all day pestering me to take them to the beach and, most importantly, barking at every single motor boat that passes by our house (sailboats, kayaks and jet skis do not interest them). Wahoo (the yellow lab) is basically the crew chief of this job. He's always the first to spring to action. Toast (the golden), simply follows his lead. Don't get me wrong, Toast is a good worker but Wahoo is the 125% guy. While Toast may be content to just run out of the house and bark from a safe distance, Wahoo always sprints to the end of our dock and let's every boater know who's the boss.
On Sunday, we closed our living room door (which faces the bay) because my wife and I wanted to take a boat ride, sans dogs. However, before we were fully ready to leave, we still had our bedroom door open which also leads outside. A boat came by and Wahoo, having been thwarted by door number one, simply turned around, ran into our bedroom and out door number two. We got him inside fairly easily and we closed the screen door in the bedroom (but not the glass door). Sure enough, another boat came by and Wahoo, remembering that the bedroom door was open, came charging through the bedroom and out the door. I heard a noise followed by the people on the boat yelling, "Oh man!" Yep, Wahoo tore right through the screen:
Didn't even phase him. Good work, boy...