Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Archives 04/02/2004 - 07/16/2004

AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: An Old Friday Five
CATEGORY: Remembering

DATE: 04/02/2004 04:43:14 PM
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BODY:
1. How many houses/apartments have you lived in throughout your life?

17, not including dorms

2. Which was your favorite and why?

The one in Hyde Park of Kansas City. It was absolutely huge -- so large that with all our clutter it still looked spacious.

3. Do you find moving house more exciting or stressful? Why?

Stressful. 300 boxes of books.

4. What's more important, location or price?

The best compromise of both works for me.

5. What features does your dream house have (pool, spa bath, big yard, etc.)?

30,000 square feet, enough closets and bookshelves, spa, fireplaces, and a maid and gardener :)

*******

That is enough biography for one week!

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COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Paula Helm Murray
EMAIL: dragonet@kc.rr.com
IP: 65.30.12.11
URL:
DATE: 04/02/2004 08:21:49 PM
Where did you live in Hyde Park? I live there now. WE MAY have enough room for the books, we've set a room on the ground floor aside and shelved ALL the non/fiction-humor-non-science fiction. 2nd floor, we've only gotten about 2/3 of the shelving constructed, will be all SF books and anthologies. Floor 3 has Jim's Nixonabilia collection (all proudly bought 2nd hand, none of the original authors got a buck off of him) and all the SF periodicals. Plus our rooms have our various personal stuff, like my writing references.
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AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: More Friday Trivia
CATEGORY: Remembering

DATE: 04/02/2004 09:28:07 PM
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BODY:
This goes along with the Friday Five I did -- a map with the places I've visited in red:



create your own personalized map of the USA
or write about it on the open travel guide

Some of the visits were almost pass-throughs, and others were years-long stays. I really want to see the ones I've missed.

Scorpio

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AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Red and Blue
CATEGORY: Politics
CATEGORY: Remembering

DATE: 04/03/2004 04:34:05 PM
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BODY:
Rivka at Respectful of Otters has a substantial post on Red and Blue states, discussing many of the characteristics that are used as catchphrases, but that only weakly reflect reality. David Brooks, whom she is quoting, lists many more.

I started to wonder if Brooks stopped and *talked* to people in the Red county he visited, or whether he looked around and then went home and created his impressions. [As if Pennsylvania were the Deep Midwest or something. Snort.] Then I found:

All we know, or all we think we know, about Red America is that millions and millions of its people live quietly underneath flight patterns, many of them are racist and homophobic, and when you see them at highway rest stops, they're often really fat and their clothes are too tight.

And apparently we don't want to know any more than that. One can barely find any books at Amazon.com about what it is like to live in small-town Americaâ€"or, at least, any books written by normal people who grew up in small towns, liked them, and stayed there. The few books that do exist were written either by people who left the heartland because they hated it (Bill Bryson's The Lost Continent, for example) or by urbanites who moved to Red America as part of some life-simplification plan (Moving to a Small Town: A Guidebook for Moving from Urban to Rural America; National Geographic's Guide to Small Town Escapes). Apparently no publishers or members of the Blue book-buying public are curious about Red America as seen through Red America's eyes.


Racist? Homophobic? As if "many" Blues are not? "Really fat", when Philly was the Fat Capital a few years back? Can we say prejudiced? After all, a bias is acquired after education -- a prejudice is formed in ignorance and clung to tightly despite evidence.

Appalling! Red America has more readers than I ever met in Blue USA. In Blue USA people with books in hand are freaks. In Red USA, ex-Marines, cops, and clerks carry books around and actually read them! Imagine That!

Blues do more paid theatre because there are more theatres (duh). In Red America I've seen more amateur efforts that are not school sponsored. Of course, free Shakespeare in the Park doesn't twang a Blue's pretension string, so it, like the rest of Life in the Red, goes under the radar of an observer like Brooks.

His characterization of indoor and outdoor guys is ludicrous, and if he saw a mullet, he must have taken a time machine rather than a car to get to his destination. Speaking of cars:

One man in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, told me about a friend who had recently bought a car. "He paid twenty-five thousand dollars for that car!" he exclaimed, his eyes wide with amazement. "He got it fully loaded." I didn't tell him that in Bethesda almost no one but a college kid pays as little as $25,000 for a car.


Do I detect Blue superiority creeping in?

The flat fact is that most Red State people live relatively contented lives. I met a man once who said to me "I grew up on Long Island. When it was time to go to college, I chose the University of Wisconsin. Very soon after I got there, I discovered you don't have to be an asshole. So I stopped."

I certainly understood that. People in the Red areas do not spend their lives putting down others and creating an atmosphere where one must be alert for instant defense. The defensive shell that often characterizes a latte-sipping, Saks-shopping, Anthropologie patron tends to be absent in Red communities.

Brooks finally addresses the fact that a majority of Reds feel they have enough -- they are satisfied with their cars and their houses, and they can afford most of the amenities in their communities. Blues have a much greater gap between haves and have-nots, and many more people daily confront things that will forever be beyond their reach. It is in the Blue states that poverty is most visible, where common houses cost half a million to well over a million dollars, where people drive giant SUVs that will never touch earth, and whose four wheel drive is a frill.

Brooks eventually gets around to *how* the people in Red areas live. He speaks of preachers who find that the people in this Red area have more diverse opinions. He speaks of others who don't condemn homosexuals, who try to work with younger folks who live together and do other things that a hardcore televangelist would thunder and spew about.

So. You knew I would get around to it. What does this have to do with George Bush?

Geroge Bush playacts the Red. Cutting brush. Gung-ho kickass pseudo-patriotic rhetoric. Religious keywords in speeches. I think an awful lot of Reds gave him the benefit of the doubt in 2000. I think that hammering at the wiggling and weasel-wording that Bush does would be the best tactic in Red territory. It would also be useful to outline how his stands are divisive and punitive, good to lay out how he asks for funds for good works and then fails to actually have them appropriated and delivered.

"Two Americas" might play best for the Blues, but for the Reds, hammering on truth will go a lot farther.

Scorpio



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COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Andrew Cory
EMAIL: punning_pundit@hotmail.com
IP: 68.121.52.88
URL: http://www.punningpundit.com/
DATE: 04/03/2004 06:29:34 PM
What? Are you kidding me? Free Shakespeare in the park hits the pretension meter so hard that it practically breaks. “This is the way it was actually meant to be watched!. Whee...
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COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Scorpio
EMAIL: eccentric_00@hotmail.com
IP: 24.31.233.177
URL:
DATE: 04/03/2004 10:22:01 PM
Heh. *Real* pretension is actually Princeton's pseudo-Globe theatre set. The park is deficient.

*Seriously* real pretension is hearing a 14 year old call Bertoldt Brecht's Mother Courage "significant". Living in the Blue zone is often incredibly unreal.
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AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Linking and Delinking
CATEGORY: Current Affairs
CATEGORY: Rants

DATE: 04/04/2004 04:13:09 PM
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BODY:
The Kerry web log, written by Dick Bell, announced that the link to The Daily Kos was being removed because Kos made a graceless statement about the deaths of American contractor/mercenary personnel in Iraq.
Atrios had an article about it ["Indeed Jerome speak. You listen."] , to which I responded in two separate comments:

*****
OK, what if Kos had said "They who live by the sword shall perish by
the sword." Would that have been nicer and more acceptable because
it is biblical?

If those on the right can both sneer at us for *being* PC and then
scream bloody murder when we are not PC, what does this say?

Does PC matter to us more than principles?

*****
If it's Dick Bell and the Faux Blog [caving to right wing pressure by removing Kos], just remove that from your blogrolls -- or post it with a strikethrough.

Write to Kerry and to Bell and complain.

Work on who's really responsible.

But indeed, don't let the blogs be picked off one by one because they have the termerity to speak.

*****
And I would add to that -- don't let a PC Kerry site weblogger reflect on the candidate. He is still miles better than the batch of appointees to office who are sitting in Washington right now acting like they had a mandate to govern.

We have to do what we can to stand firm and not be pressured -- especially by false arguments and right wing astroturf campaigns.

Today Atrios made a statement of principle -- he wrote and asked to have his web log removed from the Kerry blogroll, and has decided not to let fundraising via his web log be counted by the Kerry Campaign separately.

He said he does not want his web log to be a place whose words reflect on the Democratic candidate.

Indeed, as a blogger I do not want my words to be a weapon in the hands of wingnuts. It is at times like this when being a small fish is nice. Nothing I say will have a national impact.

Indeed, Kos is being held to a false standard. And he's being held to the disempowered part of a double standard, if you ask me. Ann Coulter is full of hate and venom. Is it a reflection on Hero Bush when Ann Coulter says that Arabs smell? Is the administration responsible for the rantings of Oxycontin [it was just a Prescription Drug] Limbaugh? And is Kerry responsible for Kos?

What crap!

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AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: From the Crystal Ball
CATEGORY: Current Affairs

DATE: 04/05/2004 07:28:52 PM
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BODY:
Yesterday in someone's comments I wrote that I did not expect the 9/11 Commission report to be released until at least December if the White House intends to vet every line.

Between the way they move their lips as they read and the way they use their index fingers, it will take a long time. Besides that, there is brush to cut! August will be devoted to cutting brush in Crawford. In September there is a big convention to attend. The whole month of October will be spent creatively repeating over and over "All is for the best in this best of all possible worlds."

And the photo ops! Has Homeland Security been on the job finding photo ops for Mr. Bush? He is awaiting all these anxiously as a break from people annoying him with all that boring reading. Of course, the *best* photo ops will be near fundraisers, so that he can do a twofer -- you know, like lay-a-wreath, raise-a-bundle for King Day.

The head of the Commission, Thomas Kean, says that he expects to see it out before the elections because

"Nobody has any interest in having the report sitting around Washington during the election period and pieces of it leaking out. Nobody has any interest in this thing coming out September or October, in the middle of the election," Kean said.

"So I think it is in the White House's interest, our interest, everybody's interest to get this out in July. And I believe they will."


I think he is an optimist.

Scorpio
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AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Well That Was Quick
CATEGORY: Current Affairs

DATE: 04/05/2004 09:06:59 PM
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BODY:
The sound you hear is of something going FLOP!

Thomas Kean of the 9/11 Commission is now saying that the report may be released after the elections.

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The chairman of an independent commission looking into US counterterrorism activities prior to the September 11 attacks said he could not guarantee that the panel's report will be released before the November presidential election because of a protracted White House vetting process.

Former Republican New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean said he was "surprised" by the situation, but saw no way around it.


I will try to relink this when the Yahoo! link expires.

For now, just remember how fast brush grows in Crawford, hm?

Scorpio

channelnewsasia.com has the same quote.
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COMMENT:
AUTHOR: ken Houghton
EMAIL: klh@technologist.com
IP: 207.162.229.12
URL: http://klh.blogspot.com
DATE: 04/06/2004 01:22:35 PM
No surprise. His dad did the same thing in 1992.
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AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Gee
STATUS: Publish
ALLOW COMMENTS: 1
CONVERT BREAKS: __default__
ALLOW PINGS: 1
CATEGORY: Rants

DATE: 04/07/2004 09:02:04 AM
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BODY:
Lawsuits usually pick on a particular grievance. The ACLU has filed a suit over the infamous "no-fly list' so that citizens with politically incorrect names may try to get some sort of relief from being detained and interrogated every time they fly.

I understand the feeling. Ever since September of 2001, not only has there be a no-fly list and profiling, there has also been very rigid and predictible anti-profiling -- on every flight I have taken, passengers in certain categories have been yanked aside to have their belongings pawed, their shoes removed, and other things done to theoretically ensure the safety of others.

One has always been a "frail old man on oxygen" -- half the time trailed by a helper. Another has been an "old fat lady" with so much junk that the minders are hard-put to repack it. A third type is a young blond male.

I understand that Newt Gingrich often gets searched, as well.

Somewhere I read someone sarcastically wondering if Newt was going to lead an uprising of the others on a flight someday.

Somehow, I think the number of terrorsts over 80 and on oxygen is limited, but it is as if some idiot somewhere decided that these kinds of stereotyped searches would be "proof" that security was not profiling. Sorry, but the uniformity of types, flight after flight, has merely demonstrated empirically to me that another sort of profiling is going on -- a different unfairness in the name of fairness.

It's a pity that no suit will ever get proof of this, because it happens every day.

Scorpio


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AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Pure Paranoia
CATEGORY: Current Affairs
CATEGORY: Rants

DATE: 04/07/2004 06:37:19 PM
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BODY:
/tinfoil hat on/

A friend was discussing his perspective on the Iraq war today. He served in Gulf War 1 -- if he wants to talk about the Middle East, I'll go along -- therefore I was mildly horrified when he launched into the topic of the war and religion. He honestly believes that this is primarily a religious/cultural clash.

I said that I'd read a helicopter fired on a mosque [via The Washington Post]. He said he believed that was going to be more and more necessary -- until Mecca was gone.

I was not only horrified, but I had a really paranoid thought. What if the target was going to become The Dome of the Rock first. Loony Christian end-timers probably think that's necessary. Is this where our government has been taking us? God of our fathers, I hope not.

/tinfoil hat off/

I certainly hope that Bush takes some decent polls and finds out that abandoning Iraq on June 30 so he can go off and campaign will be viewed as a Bad Thing by almost everyone. Iraq has gone way too long without local elections already.

What? Is the administration waiting until they can get enough properly programmed Diebolt machines over there or something?

We are 90 days from handing things over? That is unbelievable considering how much chaos is being reported. How many clerics will we have to hunt down and lock up before then?

Bush has such a stake in keeping his word when he is being especially wrong. Other words he has not watched half carefully enough.

Speaking of watching words, Ms Rice unloads tomorrow. That should be interesting. Bet tomorrow's speech was crafted twice as carefully as the one she was due to give 9/12/01 -- [via The Slacktivist] the one that is now "secret" because it would blaze brightly with bad intelligence and wrongheaded priorities.

You can count on it -- when this administration says something is "secret" they mean that their incompetence should be classified and hush-hush.

Scorpio


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COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Andy
EMAIL: oh@rightsoIcangetmore.SPAM?
IP: 208.186.59.87
URL: http://impolitic-politics.blogspot.com/
DATE: 04/08/2004 07:37:55 PM
You Scorpios are just plain scary.
I just read a blog entry about Being An Apocaliptic Cuckoo If I can't get link to work I'll put it under above URL
I know that author is a Scorpio too.
Your all unnatural LOL
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AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Around the Web
CATEGORY: Current Affairs

DATE: 04/08/2004 06:35:40 PM
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BODY:
In a post criticizing Kerry's ideas about a spending cap, Nathan Newman had the best pie chart of Bush Administration spending I've seen. On this pie chart, tax reductions are listed as expenditures -- this makes very clear that they have done more to increase the deficit than any other spending item -- and more than all the other items put together. A clearer indictment of the scheme would be hard to find.

Today, Avedon Carol has a new piece up at Daily News Online called Watching the Fabric Rip. I couldn't help but comment on it -- there were so many little bits that have crossed my mind in the last year.

South Knox Bubba did a good Shorter Condi Rice. I don't think that I should add to it, or I'll start flinging terms like "whiner" wildly about -- or maybe Margaret at Pudentilla's Perspective does it for me. Oh, and be sure to read SKB's Bush/Cheney testimony preview. He does not note that they should sit behind a table with a drape so that Dick can kick GWB's ankle until he creates the spin. That will no doubt be in a special White House Furniture Directive.

Meanwhile, King of Zembla blogs that John Ashcroft might be starting to do the job of Attorney General. What a shock! CNN has a longer article.

The Australian press is reporting that Bush is indeed becoming a uniter -- Shiites and Sunni are uniting to break the seige of Fallujah. I keep having nightmares about what the US withdrawal is going to look like -- especially in June. It is ironic that most of the people who were opposed to going into Iraq are the ones who think putting a June date on withdrawing is a Bad Idea, and those who were gung-ho to invade are counting the days until they can leave. I suppose that these attitudes relate to having a sense of responsibility and completing what you have begun. Mars, anyone?

Scorpio


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AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Headlines
CATEGORY: Current Affairs

DATE: 04/09/2004 08:44:15 PM
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BODY:
These were the headlines on ABC News today:

• White House to Declassify Pre-9/11 Memo on Bin Laden | Video

• Iraqis Threaten to Burn Hostages Alive | Video | Fighting Back

• Conspiratorâ€(tm)s Wife Reveals She Had Affair With Okla. City Bomber

• Cop: Man Accused of Killing Kids Planned Mass Suicide for Years

• Paper: Mom Who Stoned Sons Expected Oldest to Rise from Dead

• Teen Dragged Screaming Under Car Then Run Over in Gang Fight

• 9-Year-Old Handcuffed, Taken to Police Station Over Rabbit Theft

• Man Whipped, Nailed to Cross He Carried in Passion-Like Ritual

• Bloated? Real Cause Behind the Pressure You Feel | Quiz | Video

• Is Your Ex-Boss Bad-Mouthing You to Your New Boss? | Vote

• More News Headlines | More Video | Photo Gallery | News Quiz


After reading them, I decided that talking about the news today was a Bad Idea.


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AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Friday Five Strikes Again
CATEGORY: Remembering

DATE: 04/09/2004 10:05:05 PM
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BODY:
1. What do you do for a living?

Programming.

2. What do you like most about your job?

Making the data dance.

3. What do you like least about your job?

Documenting changes.

4. When you have a bad day at work it's usually because _____...

Many areas are calling for attention as you and everyone else head for a major deadline.

5. What other career(s) are you interested in?

Bookselling was good, and being a buyer was even better. Working for a major telecommunications company was fun. A career being independently wealthy would be good.

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AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Ancient Politics and Current Affairs
CATEGORY: Current Affairs
CATEGORY: Politics
CATEGORY: Religion

DATE: 04/10/2004 12:31:53 PM
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BODY:
In 1789, the US had a Constitutional Convention that produced the basic document we use today. The original Articles of Confederation had proved unsatisfactory. The government was therefore reframed -- and without strife or insurrection.

Presently, there are people who are supposed to be framing a government for Iraq. The times have changed. What pressures are they facing that the Founding Fathers did not have, and could not have imagined? Well, the government with the largest army in th world is looking over their shoulders -- a government that one can hardly call impartial.

They have a large and militant dominant religion with its own idea of laws. That religion is ready to make women second class citizens (not that their over-the-shoulder pals disagree, mind you), or perhaps non-citizens. If you look at pictures or Iraq, faces of women are noticeably absent except in those where there is a dead child -- and sometimes even those have a crowd of men around the tiny victim.

When Bagdhad fell, three were many pictures with women -- even women without hijabs. No longer do we see things like that. The situation in Iraqi territory has deteriorated drastically for women and girls. They are becoming invisible, as they are in so many Arab countries, because the men are becoming religious dogpacks.

The country has large oil reserves, and may be able to avoid taxing its poorer citizens, unlike those who are looking on. Bush suggested free medical care for all Iraqis and was greeted with a storm for it -- as well he should have been. Nevertheless, they might choose to fund that from native resources.

They have pressures of media and religion and kinship that are unlike those on the men who framed the US Constitution. I wish them the best, but I fear the results are going to be skewed.

Scorpio


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AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Toward a Democratic Iraq
CATEGORY: Current Affairs

DATE: 04/11/2004 03:22:08 PM
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BODY:
I know that the current US administration has a passion for secrecy. Nevertheless it seems to me that they could at least discuss in public what steps they plan (or once planned) to take to help Iraq toward self-determination.

There is an old web page on building a democratic Iraq that almost makes one nostalgic for that long-ago time of 2003 when chaos had not yet erupted.

Not long after the war, one town in Iraq actually had the temerity to elect leaders without US permission, and were told they could not. And even today, those upstart Iraqi are trying to govern themselves against a US insistence that they must wait:

No other province has held as many elections as Dhi Qar.

They have been organised largely by Tobin Bradley, an Arabic-speaking US state department official attached to the occupation authority in Nassiriya. Although the American government insisted that national elections could not be held in Iraq before the transfer of sovereignty on June 30, in Dhi Qar they went ahead using the ration card system - a method which could have been used nationally, according to many Iraqis.


The British handed over at least one town to local rule back in 2003:

"It is going to be, you know, a handover [of the civil authority over Umm Qasr from the British military to the Iraqi interim city council]. There is no key, there is no ceremony, etc. It is just the fact that they are going to now be in charge of their own destiny, which is probably the first time in 35 years or longer that they have had the ability to operate the town by themselves," Jones said.


It seems that the US has been resisting local efforts to organize. This insistence on top-down permission is probably the worst approach that the US could have taken.

It makes me wonder who wants to fix the election. It also makes me wonder just what kind of government these individuals are expecting from a democratically run Iraq. Anyone who would expect the Iraqi Army to participate in putting down the current uprisings doesn't understand "conflict of interest".

Oh right. Neither do quite a number of people in the US administration, so it's all of a piece.


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AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: A Time and Place
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 04/12/2004 07:41:36 PM
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BODY:
Via Norbizness:

Remarks by the President to the Travel Pool
Fort Hood, Texas


This is the most astonishing document. Just as I was starting to think that maybe Bush really meant that he did not get a sense of urgency from the now-infamous PDB of 8/6/01, he said the following:


Q Mr. President, could you tell us, did you see the presidential -- the President's Daily Brief from August of '01 as a warning --

THE PRESIDENT: Did I see it? Of course I saw it; I asked for it.

Q No, no, I'm sorry -- did you see it as a warning of hijackers? And how did you respond to that?

THE PRESIDENT: My response was exactly like then as it is today, that I asked for the Central Intelligence Agency to give me an update on any terrorist threats. And the PDB was no indication of a terrorist threat. There was not a time and place of an attack. It said Osama bin Laden had designs on America. Well, I knew that. What I wanted to know was, is there anything specifically going to take place in America that we needed to react to?

As you might recall, there was some specific threats for overseas that we reacted to. And as the President, I wanted to know whether there was anything, any actionable intelligence. And I looked at the August 6th briefing, I was satisfied that some of the matters were being looked into. But that PDB said nothing about an attack on America. It talked about intentions, about somebody who hated America -- well, we knew that.


Unbelievable! As if the FBI would go through him prior to making an arrest if they had something concrete! A time and place? :: shaking head :: What good does it do to brief someone who thinks that a briefing is a set of clear instructions? If we think Rice is incompetent waiting for instructions, we need only take a look at who appointed her and who her boss was to understand way too much about how things fail to work in this administration.

Q Are you satisfied, though, that each agency was doing everything it should have been doing?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, that's what the 9/11 Commission should look into, and I hope it does. It's an important part of the assignment of the 9/11 Commission. And I look forward to their recommendations, a full analysis of what took place. I am satisfied that I never saw any intelligence that indicated there was going to be an attack on America -- at a time and a place, an attack....


The 9/11 Commission is making sure each agency was doing what it should have? Do they know that? Finding out as much as one can about the circumstances surrounding 9/11 is hardly the same thing as finding out whether the various parts of the government are doing their jobs.

To conflate the two speaks of monstrous incompetence.

And again, he wanted a date and a time for an attack. Several posts back, I blogged that if a member of government starts to say "no one could have predicted that on June 20, dozens of small planes with various plant diseases in the spray systems started the plagues that ruined the crops growing in six states", that person is lying by overspecifying the truth. When a statement is qualified by a number of details, each detail takes the statement a step farther away from honesty.

Ready to believe Bush? Not after his performance Sunday.

Scorpio


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COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Andrew Cory
EMAIL: punning_pundit@hotmail.com
IP: 68.121.61.74
URL: http://www.punningpundit.com/
DATE: 04/12/2004 08:17:52 PM
So, here we have a president who defends himself with what amounts to “well, I was warned, but no one told me what to do about it”. And he acts as though that reaction is--beyond question-- a good reaction...

I wonder:

If the PDB were subtitled “12 September 2001 will be a bad day for America”, would he be using the date a defense?

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AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Sigh
CATEGORY: Politics
CATEGORY: Rants

DATE: 04/13/2004 05:06:01 PM
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BODY:
I suppose, just to be honest, I have to say that I believe there is very little Bush himself could have done to avert the terrorist attack of 2001.

What I am objecting to is the way he is weaseling around, and the way he suggests that he should have been given a timetable.

The other thing that disturbs me is the way he has pushed a thoroughly alien agenda since his inauguration. Missle Defense. Tax cuts for the wealthy. "Faith" dragged into places it does not belong. The dogged agenda items that point to the fact that he and the men around them believe that pregnancy is the punishment for sex and that all women should be forced to serve a nine-month sentence if found guilty; this is demonstrated in his vicious slashing of all support for contraception in any place that even mentions abortions. That care about fetuses ends when they hit the air -- education and real support for families has eroded markedly in the last three-plus years.

So.

He lowered the priority of many things, and terrorism was one of them. Then all hell broke loose on his watch.

Via The Sideshow is a link to an alternate universe where Bush became a great man instead of the useless puppet he is today.

The Bush we are saddled with *wasted* one of the greatest opportunities in the world on posturing, photo ops, and vacations in Texas.

I don't think I've ever looked forward to November so much in my life.

Scorpio


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COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Paula Helm Murray
EMAIL: dragonet@kc.rr.com
IP: 65.30.12.11
URL:
DATE: 04/13/2004 07:31:56 PM
I'm with you on Bush. He reminds me of those young men I didn't like in college who let the Frats mentality run them. Sigh. I can't wait to vote either, if he allows us. Part of me expects him to declare a security emergency that makes it 'unsafe to vote." Sponsored by Mr. Ashcroft. I'm sooo tired of all this. It's going to be a long summer.
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COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Mooser
EMAIL: mooser42001@yahoo.com
IP: 208.170.200.245
URL: http://moosehall.com
DATE: 04/14/2004 12:09:31 AM
I see a world war in our future, courtesy of bush
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AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: A Response
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 04/15/2004 11:32:00 AM
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BODY:
Digby [via Atrios] writes about the coordinated viewing with alarm the Smear Machine is doing over the Democratic members of the 9/11 commission.

Ever since the [R] head of the 9/11 Commission said that the results would be "surprising" and could contain "bad news", something like this has been inevitable.

What would shock me is if the talking-point troops ever came out with truth all at once and uncoached. Now *that* would be real news.

Unfortunately, we're destined to spend our days poiinting out blatant lies.

These folks *do* make the Nixon administration look statesmanlike, honest and responsive, don't they?

The Smear Machine plays the same sorts of tunes over and over. One can usually go out to a public site for the GOP and find them standing in a line.

And these people have the temerity to call someone else "partisan"! It's breathtaking.


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Taking Sides
CATEGORY: Current Affairs

DATE: 04/15/2004 05:34:05 PM
-----
BODY:
Most US Presidents have tried not to take overt sides in the conflict between Israeli and Palestinian, preferring to work toward peace.

Bush, perhaps in repayment for the Israeli statement that the Middle East would be in trouble unless the US wins in Iraq, went ahead and put his stamp of approval on Israeli's keeping land they have acquired on the West Bank.

I don't think it is even crazy to suggest that he is moving toward the path that Fundamentalists dream about. Can you see him cheerily suggesting that he is the "Apocalypse President"?

Anyone who can be so proud of being a "War President" needs to start attending some military funerals. Until then, he's a faker and a coward. 550 days of vacation and no memorial services makes him a disgrace to our country.

Scorpio


Afterword:

I went out to King of Zembla, who pointed to this Guardian opinion article by Sidney Blumenthal:

At his press conference, Bush was a confusion of absolute confidence and panic. He jumbled facts and conflated threats, redoubling the vehemence of his incoherence at every mildly sceptical question. He attempted to create a false political dichotomy between "retreat" and his own vague and evolving position on Iraq, which now appears to follow senator John Kerry's, of granting more authority to the UN and bringing in Nato.

The ultimate revelation was Bush's vision of a divinely inspired apocalyptic struggle in which he is the leader of a crusade bringing the Lord's "gift." "I also have this belief, strong belief that freedom is not this country's gift to the world. Freedom is the Almighty's gift to every man and woman in this world. And as the greatest power on the face of the earth we have an obligation to help the spread of freedom." But religious war is not part of official US military doctrine.


This came right after a discussion of the tattering "War President" image. Somehow, it seems I am not the only one who makes that kind of connection.

--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: TGIF
CATEGORY: Remembering

DATE: 04/16/2004 08:32:47 PM
-----
BODY:
1. What is your favorite restaurant and why?

Macaroni Grill -- interesting food and ok desserts.

2. What fast food restaurant are you partial to?

Arby's

3. What are your standards and rules for tipping?

Good service gets near-to 20%. Indifferent gets a bare 15.

4. Do you usually order an appetizer and/or dessert?

Heh. The choice is salad/dessert or a meal. Sometimes the meal is appetizers.

5. What do you usually order to drink at a restaurant?

Coffee. Water. Lemonade. Red wine. White wine.


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Vengeance
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 04/17/2004 02:38:29 PM
-----
BODY:
Lately, the primary reason to declassify documents has been venageance.

I guess Clarke's 2000 testimony must not have much in it that will either embarrass him or forward the administration's agenda, because it has not been released.

On the other hand, Jamie Goerlick is now a victim of declassification by Mr. Smug-and-Holy Ashcroft, the man whose campaign finances are being investigated.

Truly, this administration has many disgraceful characteristics, and petty abuse of power with no regard for national security has been a major one.

Scorpio




--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Things to Read
CATEGORY: Current Affairs

DATE: 04/17/2004 10:18:46 PM
-----
BODY:
The Punning Pundit notes that a Treasury Department press release and an RNC press release are worded identically.

Skippy writes that Tom Delay is unhappy. The 911 Commission is actually asking questions. Imagine!

Over at Pacific Views Magpie has an article about the 9/11 Commission's Jamie Gorelick getting bomb threats.

And John-Paul at everythingsruined has a nice little examination of the reporting about a Kerry appearance, comparing the New York Times to the LA Times.

Go read some good stuff!

Scorpio


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Say What?
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 04/18/2004 10:59:28 AM
-----
BODY:
I just finished reading an ABC News article headlined "Rice: US Bracing for Terror Before Polls". Most of this article is reasonable and sensible. I had no particular difficulty with it until I got to a paragraph near the bottom:

ABC said the minister hopes to show American officials that Spain wants to maintain its current good relations with the United States, despite Zapatero's plans to pull Spanish troops from Iraq by June 30 unless the United Nations takes over political and military control of the occupation.

"That will not be good for Spain, not a good day for the coalition, and a very good day for those who don't want stability and democracy in Iraq," Aznar said.


I looked at the date of the proposed Spanish pullot, and it occurred to me that that is when the US president claims that control of the government of Iraq will be turned over to its citizens.

If Bush plans to let someone else have control, what exactly is the problem with the Spain taking its 1500 troops home?

Nathan Newman [via Juan Cole] reported a statement by Brig. Nick Carter of Britain:

Brig Carter, of the 20 Armoured Brigade, who has been in Iraq for four months, said British forces would stay in Basra with the consent of local Shia leaders, or not at all.


So on July 1, if the Shia leaders want to send the British home, the British may very well pack up and leave.

Does Bush see the US role differently from the British or Spanish view? Is Iraq conquered territory, or will its government have the right to tell foreign troops to leave, including US troops? Has Bush ever said anything substantial about our role after June 30? Has he made plans for the possibility that the US will be asked to leave? Do those plans include the continued presence of troops without the consent of the Iraqi government?

And what if the Iraqi government wishes to hire locals to rebuild and sends foreign contractors packing? Will the US government cut off its [way overpriced] aid?

Do US reporters ever ask questions like this?

Scorpio

Afterword:

Hours after his swearing-in, Zapatero has given orders for Spanish troops to withdraw from Iraq as soon as possible.



--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Yes
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 04/18/2004 09:58:51 PM
-----
BODY:
Jesse at Pandagon has said the Right Thing.



--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Let's Not Be Republican About This
CATEGORY: Current Affairs

DATE: 04/19/2004 06:50:44 PM
-----
BODY:
I have read (and commented) at everythingsruined and at Eschaton about the story in the New York metro.com about Condi Rice's slip at the dinner party. Neither behaved badly about reporting this -- The following is not intended to judge their posts.

I have to say that this time I find no glee in the story that is circulating. I work for a fairly large company, and there are many sets of what I call "office spouses" there. One woman who's an office spouse to a long, thin geek is, outside the office, married to another long, thin geek. She says that her husband's office spouse is another guy.

Realistic people aren't particularly bothered by the phenomenon. It's very human to pair for support. Unfortunately, there are going to be people who just can't resist making a big thing of this.

Let's not behave like Republicans and make a slip into an ugly incident, OK?

Scorpio


-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: IXLNXS
EMAIL: incubus52@comcast.net
IP: 68.34.154.51
URL: http://home.comcast.net/~incubus52/index.html
DATE: 04/20/2004 01:42:21 PM
I'll try not too. Tho the picture on my web site might be a little snarky.


-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: John-Paul
EMAIL: pvtpyle@hotmail.com
IP: 153.104.161.21
URL: http://everythingsruined.blogspot.com
DATE: 04/21/2004 12:10:49 PM
Yeah, this definitely should not get ugly. I didn't want to make it ugly. It is part of the general discourse, though. Americans psychoanalyze their presidents, just as we do a lot of people. We like to know what makes them tick. I don't think there's anything special about Condi's slip, as I've seen plenty of office spouses in my time. As my post shows, I'm more interested in HIM and how he cultivates that.
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Condolences
CATEGORY: Weblogs

DATE: 04/19/2004 07:59:48 PM
-----
BODY:
To Andy of Impolitic Politics. Come back when you can.

Scorpio

-------------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Supreme Court Enshrines a Lie
CATEGORY: Current Affairs
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 04/20/2004 05:12:43 PM
-----
BODY:
There is a landmark case, U.S. vs. Reynolds, which the Supreme court used as the launching point for the government's ability to classify events as secret.

Yahoo Reports a story from the LA Times:

The government in 1950, Olson maintained, never stated that "the particular accident reports or witness statements in this case in fact contained military or state secrets." Rather, the Air Force secretary was "legitimately concerned" that classified information might be embedded in the Air Force's internal memos and in the letter Frank Folsom of RCA wrote to Gen. Hoyt Vandenberg weeks after the crash. This Olson argued even though Folsom's letter had made only vague, passing reference to Project Banshee and hadn't been the issue back then. In truth, the Air Force's experiments with remote-controlled aircraft had not even been a secret: A drone plane had been featured in Washington, D.C., newspapers in January 1947, when it flew over the nation's capital carrying members of the news media, who reported that the "purpose of the flight is to demonstrate the effectiveness of remote control of bombers, which will be a major aerial weapon in the future."


There had been an accident and an Air Force B-29 had crashed. A woman named Judy Palya lost her father in this accident. She started to look for information on her father as an adult. In 1999, she typed his name into a search engine. She also found an ad where she could purchase declassified documents:

By the end of February, Judy Palya Loether held in her hands the Air Force accident report that her mother and the patrician Philadelphia lawyer Charles Biddle had so strenuously but vainly sought from the government half a century before.

For a moment, she hesitated to pull it from its large envelope, fearing what gruesome details it might contain. But pull it she did.

As she began to read, she felt disappointment. There was nothing about confidential research being done on the plane. In fact, other than a reference to removing secret equipment from the crash site, there wasn't anything about her father's project.

Shoot, Judy thought. This doesn't have what I want.

She kept reading though, and as she did, her consternation grew. While this report didn't describe anything secret, it seemed to involve all sorts of mistakes and negligence. It looked to Judy as if an awful lot of bad things had happened in that plane. She understood human mistakes, such as the pilot turning off the wrong engine. But the maintenance supervisors â€" why hadn't they complied with those technical orders? Why hadn't they installed heat shields to fix the B-29 engines' fire hazard?


[abridge]

The lack of national security secrets didn't draw much conversation. Judy still didn't know there'd been a pivotal battle with the government over the state secrets privilege. Not until this lunch did she even know there'd been a Supreme Court case. When Susan Brauner told her, she felt stunned.

As soon as she got home, she looked up U.S. vs. Reynolds on the Internet. It wasn't easy to read all the legalese. Still, it seemed clear to Judy that the justices were talking about an accident report full of national security secrets.

No, Judy thought. That's not in the report. It's not there.

Now she was full of new questions. Once more she read through her pile of newspaper articles, court documents and correspondence. She laid everything out in chronological order. She forced herself to digest the legalese. She tracked the process as it unfolded through the district court, the court of appeals, the Supreme Court. Clearly, the Reynolds decision was all about national security. But she had the accident report right in front of her, and it contained nothing related to national security.

No longer was Judy thinking about negligence. Now she was thinking: What's going on here?


[abridge]


Something else gnawed at her. Why did those top government officials lie? Why on earth? There hadn't been a lot of money involved, not for the United States government. The federal district judge had said, if you don't want to show the accident report, pay the money. The government could have just done that. Judy didn't understand why the secretary of the Air Force and the judge advocate general would instead lie to the Supreme Court. There was a difference between the pilot making a mistake under stress and these guys sitting in a conference room deciding. Often Judy had an image in her mind of that room, of those two high officers signing false affidavits. She didn't know where a person got the wherewithal to lie before the Supreme Court.


She and two women whom that accident had widowed decided to file a suit. The case was presented to the Supreme Court:

George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley â€" whose own office had been sealed by a federal court concerned that it might contain state secrets related to a sensitive case â€" said: "For the Supreme Court to address the fact clearly that it had been lied to would open difficult issues. It would be like Claude Rains saying, 'I'm shocked, I'm shocked.' The court used the facts of Reynolds to say the government could be trusted…. Reynolds was based on trust, on willful blinders. There's much danger in going back now, in recognizing that the government routinely lies. For that reason, they won't reopen this. I think Reynolds is like discovering an unfaithful wife after 50 years of marriage. You're hurt by the betrayal, but you can't turn back half a century. You preserve the marriage for the children's sake."


And then?

On Monday of that week, the Supreme Court delivered a simple one-sentence ruling in the case titled In Re Patricia J. Herring, Et Al: "The motion for leave to file a petition for a writ of error coram nobis is denied."


What does this say? Like Judy Palya, my intital reaction is to wonder at the temerity of those who lied to the Supreme Court. My second reaction is absolute fury that the Supreme Court effectively defended those lies by refusing to hear the case. La-la-la-la-la. The Supreme Court is more willing to accept lies than to endanger current politics by putting some safeguards in place against government lies.

Perjury at that level -- even 50 years ago -- is criminal.

I am very much afraid that the precedent of government abuse and the ability of both civilian and military branches to skate past crimes under an excuse of secrecy was established along with the principle of security secrets.

Scorpio

Afterword:

Amygdala has the Supreme Court story as links.

The Sideshow must have linked to the same story almost simultaneously with my post.

Baen's Bar even had a post on the same topic -- submitted by a veteran.





COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Mooser
EMAIL: mooser42001@yahoo.com
IP: 205.162.15.2
URL: http://moosehall.com
DATE: 04/20/2004 09:27:42 PM
Good work.
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Argh!
CATEGORY: Current Affairs

DATE: 04/21/2004 11:54:07 PM
-----
BODY:
To cap a long day, the flick of a wrong key blew a lovely tin-foil hat digression on terrorism away. It's too late tonight to rewrite it, but it had links to Blah3 and to Pacific Views.

Tomorrow I'll put on my tinfoil hat and rant for you -- and I may even find more juicy links.

Good night!

Scorpio
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: We Can Guess What Concerns
CATEGORY: Current Affairs

DATE: 04/22/2004 11:39:23 AM
-----
BODY:
Tammy Silicio, the woman who took a photo of coffins being strapped down for transport in the hold of a plane, was fired from her job in Kuwait. And just for good measure, Maytag Transport also fired David Landry, who had recently married Silicio.

The Seattle Times reports:

Maytag's Silva said the decision to terminate Silicio's and Landry's employment was made by the company. But he said the U.S. military had identified "very specific concerns" about their actions. Silva declined to detail those concerns.

"They were good workers, and we were sorry to lose them," Silva said. "They did a good job out in Kuwait and it was an important job that they did."

Landry, in an e-mail to The Times, said he was proud of his wife, and that they would soon return home to the States.

We can only imgaine what kind of "concerns" the military might have. The story below on how the military used secrecy to conceal negligence gives one a fine measure of the concerns that likely dominate in the current climate.

If we don't see coffins and don't go to funerals, then death does not affect us, right?

See the comments at Blah3 where Xan makes long remarks on journalists as well. The photograph was run with a credit that almost guaranteed that this woman would lose her job, yet Robert Novak continues to shield a probable felon. Something about our systems and ethics is wildly screwed up.

Scorpio

-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Nightmare #1
CATEGORY: Rants

DATE: 04/23/2004 10:45:11 AM
-----
BODY:
There were so many things floating around this week -- the rumors that the draft will resume. The Republican attack on Jamie Gorelick, which I suppose they think is not partisan [choke! choke!]. The bill in Michigan which would allow medical personnel to refuse to treat those who have different beliefs(!).

But the thing I was ranting about the other night, and which I lost with a keystroke, is still with me.

/tinfoil hat on/

I keep trying to speculate about what is in the minds of terrorists, and I really wonder whether they want Bush to be president again -- or whether they want him to continue in the role without benefit of an election. Consider: he does enough things to give them an excuse to wage a war that they obviously want to fight. He does things so impolitic that even moderate Arab leaders are starting to disassociate themselves from support for the US.

So. What would a terrorist want of the near future? A terrorist would want to see the US brought down in any way -- physical or philosophical. A terror incident in October, or even in late September, could encourage Bush to declare martial law -- or even make him try to postpone the election. This would not be good for the US -- and unfortunately I feel that there are many lunatics on the right who would greet such a turn of affairs with barely suppressed glee.

In talking about my paranoias to a friend, he pointed out more things, and worse. Suppose, he said, the loonies who want that kind of thing are domestic rather than foreign? Could you see a domestic group making a hit on the Democratic convention and framing anti-abortion folks, for example, as the perpetrators? Could you see someone trying a hit on the Republican convention, and trying to make it look as if someone on the left had done it?

Heh. I pointed out that liberals are not noted for their expertise with explosives, and he conceeded that.

But I also noted that an attempt by a domestic group could be set up to make it look like Arabs were hitting again -- and I can think of some hate groups that might think this strategy would work to attain their ends.

I am hoping that Homeland Security is considering many scenarios and making lists of what they will check for if there is another major terrorist incident. And while I hope that any future terrorist attempts are caught before they work, I would not put money on such an outcome -- nor would I bet that all will be peaceful here from now to the next inauguration.

/tinfoil hat off/

Now for the links that show the seeds of this:

It turns out that The Daily Kos blogged this, and still, I wish I had a more mainstream link, but here's a quote:

(Albuquerque, New Mexico) The New Mexico Republican Central Committee

has voted to censure the Sandoval County clerk, who issued marriage

licenses to same-sex couples.

The resolution says Republican Victoria Dunlap has brought disgrace to

the party.

"Other than assassination, all we can do is censure her," said

committee chairman Richard Gibbs.


Emphasis mine. Threat, his. And I suppose no one is going to unseat this man, or charge him with making threats. The title of the Clarke book, Against All Enemies, was not chosen accidentally.

I also came across this link from a Pakistani web site after my first effort to discuss terror wiped out, and it echoes the idea that bad times in the US are bound to bring Bush back -- and perhaps terrorists want this because it will not only help destabilize the Middle East, but will also lead to further opportunities for the US to alienate possible allies.

Over time I will probably return to this subject, and collect links to think about.

Once more, I leave you with my nighmares.

Scorpio
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Sovereignty
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 04/24/2004 02:00:47 PM
-----
BODY:
Merriam-Webster online:
3 entries found for sovereignty.
To select an entry, click on it.
sovereigntypopular sovereigntysquatter sovereignty

Main Entry: sov·er·eign·ty
Variant(s): also sov·ran·ty /-tE/
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -ties
Etymology: Middle English soverainte, from Middle French soverainetÃ(c), from Old French, from soverain
1 obsolete : supreme excellence or an example of it
2 a : supreme power especially over a body politic b : freedom from external control : AUTONOMY c : controlling influence
3 : one that is sovereign; especially : an autonomous state

Here is another entry:

One entry found for autonomy.


Main Entry: au·ton·o·my
Pronunciation: -mE
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -mies
1 : the quality or state of being self-governing; especially : the right of self-government
2 : self-directing freedom and especially moral independence
3 : a self-governing state


Something is supposed to happen in Iraq on June 30, but I am not at all sure that either of the words above should be used to describe it. According to the LA Times:

Administration Details Plan for Returning Power to Iraq
Transition government will have limited powers, officials say. U.S. is to seek a U.N. resolution

By Mary Curtius, Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON â€" Bush administration officials offered Congress on Thursday their most detailed explanation yet of U.S. plans for turning power over to Iraqis after June 30, saying that although the nation's sovereignty will be limited, the transition government will be in charge of most ministries, oil revenues and an international development fund.

The administration will also seek another U.N. Security Council resolution on Iraq, the officials said, in hopes of winning more international support for the rebuilding effort, though they did not yet know what the resolution might say or when it might be offered.

But three days of administration testimony, including closed-door briefings Thursday from national security advisor Condoleezza Rice, also made it clear that security would remain the responsibility of the United States. The officials reiterated that United Nations plans call for a transitional Iraqi government whose primary purpose would be to prepare for elections next year but which will not have the power to enact laws


It is good that the US Administration wants to take responsibility for stabilizing Iraq. I am not opposed to that. I am opposed to the sovereignty charade. Our president wants points for something he has not yet achieved. Putting on this little play will let Fox viewers believe that all is well when Iraq "has the government turned over to them" -- but very few others are going to be fooled for long.

No More Mister Nice Blog said something similar, quoting both USA Today and The New York Times:

Meanwhile, The New York Times suggests that the June 30 "transfer of sovereignty" will be even more of a sham than we suspected:

The Bush administration's plans for a new caretaker government in Iraq would place severe limits on its sovereignty, including only partial command over its armed forces and no authority to enact new laws, administration officials said Thursday....


You know, Iraqis should have had the power to do these things all along on a local level. Instead the US balked at letting local groups launch spontaneously into self-government. I will never understand why the administration has stifled the Iraqi urge to unionize, rebuild their own country at reasonable prices, and elect leaders locally. But then, this administration hasn't been very hot on any of that here in the USA, either, has it?

Scorpio

Afterword: In browsing the web today, I find that Talk Left discusses the same topic of Iraqi un-soveriegn sovereignty.


-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Real Support for Troops
CATEGORY: Current Affairs

DATE: 04/24/2004 09:06:13 PM
-----
BODY:
Do you really support the troops, wherever they are stationed? This new web site lets you get a phone card for one of the military relief societies, and even lets you designate a card for use by a wounded or deployed service member.

Thanks to QuickSauce at It's In There for the great idea. Pass it along.
-----

--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Roundup
CATEGORY: Current Affairs

DATE: 04/25/2004 11:19:18 AM
-----
BODY:
Impolitic Politics quotes an entire article from deal-with-it! on presidential lies.

Blah3 links to an opinion piece by a veteran in the Baltimore Chronicle that makes you want to pray for the continued safety of the author, even if you are agnostic.

Margaret at Pudentilla's Perspective, Patrick at Electrolite, and John Paul of everythingsruined all have words to say about religion in both politics and public discourse. Me, I believe that "By their acts shall ye know them", and that talk about a loving and compassionate religion don't speak as loudly as the acts of those who call themselves religious.

Even Atrios has a long piece at Eschaton quoting patriotboy's long article at American Street. Looks like many lefties spend Sunday in religious discussion -- just not the same kind as Fundamentalists have.





--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: From the Crystal Ball
CATEGORY: Current Affairs

DATE: 04/26/2004 09:51:03 PM
-----
BODY:
The crystal ball is warming up again --

If George Bush takes the oath of office again, there will be a draft by February 2005. Whether by strongarming Congress or by executive fiat, young men will once again be put in uniform to fight overseas.

The future is cloudy.

The Slacktivist had a long discussion of the draft this last Sunday. He cited an editorial from Delaware Online that was seriously discussing the statements of Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., and Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb, both of whom are proposing that a draft will fill needs they forsee.

Read the piece from The Slacktivist, complete with its links, and don't come ask me about my crystal ball.

Scorpio


-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Andrew Cory
EMAIL: punning_pundit@hotmail.com
IP: 68.122.185.189
URL: http://www.punningpundit.com/
DATE: 04/26/2004 10:19:34 PM
I don'€(tm)t believe it. Perhaps I should. But I just don'(tm)t. There are far too many people who have wrought far too much rhetorical skill against the draft for anyone to truly welcome its return. Thus I can only assume that if Bush tried, every Legislator in the nation would be up in arms against it...

That, and the right wing gets far too much play out of the 'volunteer army' for them to be willing to scrub it...
-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Scorpio
EMAIL: eccentric_00@hotmail.com
IP: 64.219.128.40
URL:
DATE: 04/26/2004 10:30:25 PM
From your mouth to God's ear.

Better that you should be right than I.
-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Pudentilla
EMAIL: mimber@bates.edu
IP: 134.181.25.118
URL: http://pudentilla.blogspot.com
DATE: 04/27/2004 11:05:43 AM
I was preparing for my Latin 101 class on 9/11 when the planes hit the towers. The administration decided that those scheduled to teach should go to class and offer students the chance to talk about what had happened. Later in the day we would hold a campus wide meeting.

So I went to class and explained that while I knew a fair bit about Latin and ancient Rome, my expertise in international terrorism was no greater than theirs. Nevertheless we could and should talk. Did anyone have questions. First question. "Will there be a draft?"

My answer: I don't know. The military in my observation has come to prefer the volunteer army because a draft subjects military actions to intensely interested scrutiny by citizens with loved ones in the army.

Second question. "But a draft won't affect us, right? We're in college."

My answer: I don't know. It seems to me, however, that one of the greatest problems with the Vietnam draft was that, especially in its early years, it disproportionately affected poor and minority communities. So it wouldn't surprise me if there was intense political pressure to fashion a draft that did not create all the college deferment exemptions.

Third question: "Will they draft women?"

My answer: I don't know, but I suspect, yes. As a feminist, even if I supported a draft, I could hardly support a draft that precluded women from the opportunity to serve their country.

Fourth question: I never got around to filling out my draft registration. Will I get in trouble if I do it now?

My answer: I think the FBI has bigger things to worry about than you right now.

Silence. Fifth question. Can we just do Latin?

Pudentilla's conclusion: Middle class college kids will be radicalized by the draft in about 36 seconds - as will their parents, who become irate if Johnny gets a B, much less a humvee without armour plating.

If Rummy had wanted a draft, he should have done it in November 01. But he didn't want a draft because he had a theory about war he wanted to test. The generals who opposed him were all wet ninnies. When the wet ninnies have turned out to be right - he's stuck in a political and military mess of his own making and a lot of American kids, drafted or not, are going to die or be maimed for life because of his arrogance and stupidity.

He may have to institute a draft - but if he does, aWol and his Merry Men will have to create an environment of extraordinary fear in the political community. Those who think aWol and his Merry Men are truly dangerous should be prepared to suffer for opposing them.
-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Scorpio
EMAIL: eccentric_00@hotmail.com
IP: 64.218.106.190
URL:
DATE: 04/27/2004 03:51:15 PM
You should cut that out and use it for a blog entry! It will cause an uproar, but look at the crap they have managed to get away with during these past years -- acting like they had a mandate instead of squeaking in 5 to 4.
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Editorial Creep
CATEGORY: Current Affairs
CATEGORY: Rants

DATE: 04/27/2004 11:12:21 PM
-----
BODY:
Have newspapers become so large that editors cannot ride herd on their news content? Or have editors decided that implied opinions in the form of leading questions with a slant and descriptive adjectives are consonant with "objectivity"? Have they decided that a headline can say anything, no matter what the story contains?

Lately, especially on web news sites, I've noticed some very snarky headlines in the form of questions. Like the one "Admission of Guilt?" What does a headline like that say? It suggests guilt. It suggests that the answer to the question is in the story. Usually, the latter is false and the former is an unjust approach to the material. There have also recently been headlines that have made a positive statement about Kerry which have been filled with nothing but quotes from administration officials instead of followup material to the headline. If one actually wanted news about Kerry or his stands, one would have to look elsewhere.

Remember the concept of the Fair Witness Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land? I think it's time for such a thing to become reality. I'd rather hear "It's painted white on this side" than hear the endless, twisted speculation that currently passes for news.

It is time for a cadre of people who can describe what is happeneing without the evaluations that are both subtly and overtly foisted on the viewing public, and without the juxtapositions of statements meant to draw people to mistaken conclusions. The next administration official to mention 9/11 followed by a statement about Saddam Hussein should immediately be nailed about whether he is trying to conflate the two -- and that should happen *every* time one of the administration attack squad tries to reinforce a carefully crafted myth.

Of course, news conferences could get to be a drag as reporters attempt to get at the truth, but better that than the passel of press releases they have so blithely reproduced for the past several years.

And of course, senior editors could actually *edit* the material destined to be called "news".



--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Take a Break
CATEGORY: Science

DATE: 04/28/2004 12:49:12 PM
-----
BODY:
Go to a nature blog, a real treat -- The Biomes Blog.

It has joined the blogroll since I go there at least once a day.
-----

-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Mark H
EMAIL: biomes_@cox.net
IP: 68.9.18.71
URL: http://biomesblog.typepad.com/the_biomes_blog/
DATE: 04/28/2004 05:13:19 PM
Cool. I get two blogroll links! ;-)
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: A Symbol
CATEGORY: Current Affairs

DATE: 04/29/2004 01:58:59 PM
-----
BODY:
At Body and Soul, Jeanne has a substantial aritcle on Abu Ghraib, and the treatment of prisoners that has caused the US Army to relieve six prison guards and their command staff from duty.

She quoted from CBS News

60 Minutes II has a dozen of these pictures, and there are many more â€" pictures that show Americans, men and women in military uniforms, posing with naked Iraqi prisoners.

There are shots of the prisoners stacked in a pyramid, one with a slur written on his skin in English.


General Mark Kimmit gave his reaction to Dan Rather:

"What can the Army say specifically to Iraqis and others who are going to see this and take it personally," Rather asked Kimmitt, in an interview conducted by satellite from Baghdad.

"The first thing Iâ€(tm)d say is weâ€(tm)re appalled as well. These are our fellow soldiers. These are the people we work with every day, and they represent us. They wear the same uniform as us, and they let their fellow soldiers down,” says Kimmitt.


There are photos of Abu Ghraib online. After looking through them, it seemed to me that if the US wanted to make a statement about Iraqi sovereignty, they would flatten this building and pave over the place where it stood.

That would be a mighty symbol of an intent to right wrongs.

Scorpio

Afterword:

Digby's post, Rule of Men at American Street addresses how this connects to the "enemy combatant" issue currently before the Supreme Court.
-

-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Emphyrio
EMAIL: a@a.us
IP: 64.119.3.222
URL: http://emphyrio.blogs.com/e_m_p_h_y_r_i_o/
DATE: 05/02/2004 08:32:20 PM
Superb suggestion! Flatten Abu Gharib, put a Nam-Memorial style monument there.

It's hard to believe, even given the sheer practicality, that they rehabbed and used the most notorious prison in Iraq.

It begs charges of equivalence.

I'm going to point people to your blog via mine.
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Friday at Last
CATEGORY: Current Affairs
CATEGORY: Rants

DATE: 04/30/2004 06:13:44 PM
-----
BODY:
In many ways I am glad I came across the Abu Ghraib torture story yesterday. By last night I caught a spring cold, or else every plant I am allergic to decided to bloom at once, one or the other, and it left me without the energy for the kind of indignation that one outght to have when reading something like that.

The question I keep asking myself after reading all the accounts is 'what should we do about the 'contractors'?' A lawless and armed group is a Very Bad Idea. Perhaps they should be given to an Iraqui court. If, as was alleged, there are no Iraqui courts, perhaps sending them to the Hague for war crimes when they commit them is a reasonable thing to do.

At this time, I'm just draggy and out of interesting ideas.

The only summary I have is that if we brought them there, and into a place where we think that we are currently the rule of law, then the responsibility for reigning them in or judging them is ours. If Guantanamo is an example of how we carry out our responsibility, then we have a long way to go before we can be proud of how well we do.

*****

Oh good grief! Change for America points to this Reuters story -- the person being put in charge of the Iraqi prison rules is Major General Geoffrey Miller, former Guantanamo warden. People are not actually born this impolitic, are they? They have to work hard and study to do something like that, right?

I'd scream if it wouldn't absoulutely hurt.



COMMENT:
AUTHOR: IXLNXS
EMAIL: incubus52@comcast.net
IP: 68.34.154.51
URL: http://home.comcast.net/~incubus52/index.html
DATE: 04/30/2004 11:45:36 PM
Don't scream. Inhale deeply. Thats right the first few puffs will hurt but it's alot better than what they're doing.
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: More Heinlein
CATEGORY: Books
CATEGORY: Current Affairs

DATE: 05/01/2004 09:31:42 PM
-----
BODY:
Among the pieces of recommended reading for the USMC, the most notable work of fiction is Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers. This book is probably the most pro-service piece of fiction ever written. If you have only seen the movie, you may not understand a word I say about it, because the movie was a parody [and meant to be, according to the director].

In light of the developments in Iraq's notorious prison, I think it is time and past time for the US military to take up something similar to one particular piece of training that young Johnny Rico got at boot camp. Every morning, the fictional soldiers were read the "Thirty-one Crash Landings." These were the things that would get them thrown out of the service.

I honestly think that the US military needs to have pieces of the Geneva Conventions read to them every morning. What an illegal order is. What to do when they get an illegal order. What illegal treatment is.

And the US has to stop pretending that "enemy combatants have no rights". Anyone who says that sort of thing is just asking to be tried for war crimes. I know that many of my fellow citizens think that it is perfectly OK to do that sort of thing to foreigners. It is not OK. Every person has a right to a trial, to representation, and most often, to repatriation.

This "enemy combatants" dodge is going to be one of our shames, and it is going to lose us more than it ever gains us -- in security, in dignity, and in moral stance.

Scorpio

-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Andrew Cory
EMAIL: punning_pundit@hotmail.com
IP: 68.122.185.189
URL: http://www.punningpundit.com/
DATE: 05/02/2004 02:18:50 AM
Indeed, sir. Indeed.
-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Epacris
EMAIL: epacris@planet-save.comet
IP: 203.12.52.8
URL:
DATE: 05/03/2004 12:24:11 AM
I hardly know what to say about the recent story with photos of US troops/reservists/contractors abusing Iraqi prisoners, but one question leapt out.

A higher officer was quoted as saying that the people who were doing it "hadn't been trained in the Geneva Convention". Surely, surely all soldiers & personnel likely to be in nor near combat would need to know at the least what the convention is in respect of themselves as POWs?

My major guiding principle - seen in several spiritual traditions - is "do as you would be done by". This stuff just gives ammunition to your enemies.
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Web Hopping
CATEGORY: Current Affairs
CATEGORY: Weblogs

DATE: 05/02/2004 02:30:51 PM
-----
BODY:
In Skippy's Blogtopia is a pointer to both Billmon and Tom Tomorrow posts about mercenaries hired by the US. Tom Tomorrow concludes that someone owes Kos an apology. Indeed, Kos's distaste for mercenaries is looking more and more realistic, isn't it?

Today Mary Kay at Gallimaufry lists reasons for "outrage fatigue" complete with links. I added a number of things in the comments without links, but I assure you that the links are out there, oh yes. Thanks to everythingsruined for the pointer.

Pudentilla's Perspective has a wry piece on "How to Lose Moral Authority". I especailly liked the last line.

Sargent Stryker has some very firm words to say about the Abu Ghraib torture events. He is not happy. Gary Farber at Amygdala has probably the most exhaustive article on the subject, and he points to Sgt Stryker, as does Rivka at Respectful of Otters.

The week has certainly been long, hasn't it?
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: What a Hoot!
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 05/03/2004 07:33:53 PM
-----
BODY:
Am I the only one who is amused by lines like this one?

Bush's campaign is paying for this trip, unlike his other recent visits to battleground states, which were billed as White House events and thus funded by taxpayers.

Bush campaigned by bus in battleground states such as Ohio and Florida in 2000, but months later than he is beginning this year.


OK, so let me get this just right. When he uses Air Force One, he calls the campaigning "a White House Event" and we-all pay for it. When he uses a bus, the cost come out of his campaign funds.

Gosh, I'm glad we have that all cleared up.
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: T Time
CATEGORY: Politics
CATEGORY: Rants

DATE: 05/04/2004 04:05:44 PM
-----
BODY:
You can smell when an article about the Democratic Party or a particular Democrat is going to be snide, vicious, or spun right until dizzy. People who are going to do this inevitably sink to using "Democrat" as an adjective. "The Democrat Party" -- that's the hallmark.

Well, it's time to give our language another twist. At first I was considering using "Republic" as a mate to "Democrat". I decided that just was not lingusitically up to carrying the freight that the word should have. The freight appended to the use of "Democrat" is the implication that democrats are not democratic -- though why anyone should buy that when Diebolt and E & S are both owned by Elephant Men is one of the mysteries. Perhaps they think we're all stupid.

Then I pondered the Party of the Radical Right, and realized that they:

can't clean the air because they've been bought
can't preserve national wilderness areas because they've been bought
can't ensure fair elections because they wipe minority voters off the rolls for specious reasons
can't appoint anyone to office who is reasonably close to the center
can't win without redistricting in Texas
can't win without lying about the effects of their legislation
can't support education
can't balance a budget

... they are the Republican'ts.

and when they are writing lying aritcles, and tucking in juicy, knife-edged and poisoned words, they are the Republi-cants.

Choose your weapons, folks.

COMMENT:
AUTHOR: IXLNXS
EMAIL: incubus52@comcast.net
IP: 68.34.154.51
URL: http://home.comcast.net/~incubus52/index.html
DATE: 05/05/2004 12:21:37 AM
I'm with ya. Republicants is a good slogan.

And then there were more.
-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Simbaud
EMAIL: simbaud@att.net
IP: 68.164.175.246
URL: http://simbaud.blogspot.com
DATE: 05/08/2004 03:45:52 AM
I once heard Dick Cheney refer to the "Democrat Party" on one of the Sunday morning talk shows, and I thought to myself: this is the LAST guy who should be dropping syllables.

So ever since then, I've been calling him "Dick Chain."
-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Static Brain
EMAIL: iron_creek_nanny@yahoo.com
IP: 12.156.145.83
URL: http://staticbrain.blogdrive.com/
DATE: 01/25/2006 03:25:58 AM
"Republicants" is good but I also like Re"thug"licans.
-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Thad Enouf
EMAIL: dirtytricks@anonmail.de
IP: 66.227.197.95
URL: http://www.dirtytrix.blogspot.com
DATE: 01/25/2006 12:16:33 PM
I traditionally replace the "a" in Republicants with a "u" and the true nature of the GOP comes to life, so to speak.

Keep up the good work.
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: No Tinfoil Hat Today
CATEGORY: Current Affairs

DATE: 05/05/2004 05:24:22 PM
-----
BODY:
If I put one on, it would burn me. There is steam coming out my ears. If I hear one more moral midget chirp "But it's not as bad as Saddam!", or one more slimeball declare "It's no worse than fraternity hazing!" I"m going to let off the steam that has been building.

Is it one's height of aspiration to be "not as bad as Saddam"? I am astounded that anyone who feels that way can look in a mirror.

A buddy of mine who is in law enforcement was lamenting to me a few weeks ago that we in the US were going the way of the ancient Romans. Unable to resist yanking his chain, I declared in mock surprise "Oh -- I don't think Bush is quite as bad as Caligula." The difference is that I was joking. Much as I despise the things Bush has done to liberty, to habeas corpus, to the rights of the accused, to the economy; the petty acts of vengeance declassification of documents, his blaming Clinton for failings after January 2000 -- all that and I still don't quite confuse him with the worst of the Romans.

But there really are moral slime molds who think torture is OK -- and murder, too, evidently. Rush Limbaugh was quick with the fraternity analogy. I wonder if he is going to tell us how someone stuck glo-sticks where the sun don't shine in order to make him a brother -- and I certainly hope they put him on the bottom row of the naked pyramind, too, or they wound up with greased pledges underneath him.

Revolting idea, yes? He doesn't seem to think so, and that speaks for itself.

The callous, near-criminal disregard for others is astounding and infuriating. Don't say anthing like that in front of me -- just don't.

Evidently Miller, the general from Guantanamo, has been on duty in Iraq for a month. In that month, he has not seen fit to pull one of the CIA agents that Taguba specifically cited as a torturer. I am really afraid that any cleanup is going to be way too slow, and that many, many innocents are going to fester in jail until this individual gets his act together -- if he ever does. I am sure that what possessed the US to send him is that he has been running a jail where at least stories were not getting out. But Guantanamo is isolated. It is a place whose prisoners are completely cut off from families, friends, and even legal counsel.

The sooner that changes, the better.

It's time for the Supreme Court to make sure that we are being clean and decent, for we have proved that even the best people can have very bad things done in their names.

Scorpio



-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Pudentilla
EMAIL: mimber@bates.edu
IP: 69.49.138.130
URL: http://www.pudentilla.blogspot.com
DATE: 05/05/2004 06:02:08 PM
You're looking at the wrong era of Roman history, Scorpio. We are in the fall of the republic phase, not yet the principate (in which we will pretend we have a republic), nor the period of transformation from principate into explicit imperial domination (from whence the analogies to Caligula and Nero).

How do we know that we are in the fall of the Republic phase? The failure of Congress to properly oversee the executive's exercise of it's authority.

Think of all the Congressional investigations that haven't happened during aWol's presidency. Why this dearth (especially in comparison to the Clinton years)? Because the Republi-can'ts (god bless you) have transformed Congress into a subordinate institution of their party (the Supreme Court is pretty much out of commission as well).

We'll need some sort of conflict to make this Congressional decline apparent, and then some sort of rhetoric to mask it over. Note, some classical historians might say that I am too optimistic in my analogies - that the Republic has already fallen, Congress embraced it's supine status in its vote on the war in Iraq, and that we are already in the period where political activity is mostly for form's sake. By the time Jeb's president, we'll start cutting back on elections if Tacitus is any indicator, according to this view.


-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Andrew Cory
EMAIL: punning_pundit@hotmail.com
IP: 69.104.40.83
URL: http://www.punningpundit.com/
DATE: 05/05/2004 09:08:35 PM
Iâ€(tm)ve argued in the past that the best analogy would be to the Late Republic.

Quick:
Attempt and Failure of Drusus.â€"At this crisis there appeared it new reformer, the tribune M. Livius Drusus, son of the Drusus who opposed Gaius Gracchus. He was a well-disposed man, who seemed to believe that all the troubles of the state could be settled by a series of compromises. Of a noble nature, of pure motives, and of generous disposition, he tried to please everybody, and succeeded in pleasing nobody. First, to please the populace, he proposed to increase the largesses of grain; and to make payment easy by introducing a cheap copper coin which should pass for the same value as the previous silver one. Next, to reconcile the senators and the equites, he proposed to select the jurors (iudices) from both classes, thus dividing the power between them. Finally, to meet the demands of the Italians, he proposed to grant them what they asked for, the Roman franchise.

It was one thing to propose these laws; it was quite another thing to pass them. As the last law was the most offensive, he began by uniting the equites and the people for the purpose of passing the first two laws. These were passed against the will of the senate, and amid scenes of great violence. The senate declared the laws of Drusus null and void. Disregarding this act of the senate as having no legal force, he then proposed to submit to the assembly the law granting the franchise to the Italians. But this law was as offensive to the people as the others had been to the senate. Denounced by the senate as a traitor and abandoned by the people, this large-hearted and unpractical reformer was at last murdered by an unknown assassin; and all his efforts came to nothing.

Sound like Clinton to anyone?

And, of course, Drusus had an awful lot of detractors. Those detractors formed a party in the Senate dedicating to snubbing their Allies at any opportunity. Sound like the modern Republican Party to anyone else? Bush would, I think, find his natural home there...

-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Andrew Cory
EMAIL: punning_pundit@hotmail.com
IP: 69.104.40.83
URL: http://www.punningpundit.com/
DATE: 05/05/2004 09:13:52 PM
Gosh darn it! You must have HTML turned off. that link should have been around "quick" (http://www.forumromanum.org/history/morey20.html), and the two paragraphs after it are quotes from there...
-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Scorpio
EMAIL: eccentric_00@hotmail.com
IP: 204.167.177.68
URL:
DATE: 05/06/2004 11:32:16 AM
Sorry, Andrew. I don't seem to have any choice about the comments format. I may have to upgrade to be able to do some things.


-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: IXLNXS
EMAIL: incubus52@comcast.net
IP: 68.34.154.51
URL: http://home.comcast.net/~incubus52/index.html
DATE: 05/07/2004 12:49:31 AM
While I am one of those moral midgets who did equate it to looking like a frat party. I also was one who suggested there is a place in warfare for torture because war is the ultimate in immorality, the killing of other humans, that if interogation and torture would end a conflict that left continued could kill thousands more would support it. But no these pictures were not matters of state that would save the world. They were indeed a frat prank.

But this frat prank is against the Guineva Code of Conventions.

Will the US honor this anymore than they have honored any UN resolution?
-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Scorpio
EMAIL: eccentric_00@hotmail.com
IP: 65.69.71.80
URL:
DATE: 05/07/2004 04:14:54 PM
IXLNX, at least you face the idea without flinching.

Of all things, I don't particularly object to S&M or recreational torture -- only to the kinds that don't have consent. Fraternities are consensual organizations. Jails are not.

Some of this torture walked over religious lines, some caused permanent damage, some killed the victims -- and violating the Geneva Conventions means that others can now commit obscenities upon our captives. The penalty for breaking them is to be vulnerable to having the same done. I am sure that most of the people in the armed forces are furious -- at least the ones I have heard from.

It has endangered the people who are on the front lines even more than they were.

And the replaced Karpinski with *Miller*, the GITMO commandant. The administration is cetifiable.
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: "One Small Step for a Man...."*
CATEGORY: Current Affairs

DATE: 05/06/2004 04:36:37 PM
-----
BODY:
* The post below was retracted on 6/4/04

Today, George, W, Bush, President of the US, made the first small step toward repairing the reputation he has built over the period of his presidency.

That reputation has contained little of mercy, justice or compassion.

Today, however, he brought himself to the point of saying he was sorry for the humiliation of the Iraqi prisoners.

That's better, Mr. President. Now keep up the good work.

Scorpio

--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: "More Coming"
CATEGORY: Current Affairs

DATE: 05/07/2004 06:38:14 PM
-----
BODY:
During the Rumsfeld interview today, various people said there is more to come -- and worse.

Not that it is not bad enough already.

Before I get into another talk about the severity of what happend at Abu Ghraib -- and probably at most of the other prisons the USA is operating outside the strictures of the Geneva Conventions -- let me define very specifically the difference is between even the most extreme hazing and the very least damaging torture.

Fraternities are consensual organizations. The people in them have applied to join, and have usually been overjoyed to receive an invitation. The hazing is something that members expect, and sometimes it is brutal and sadistic -- but the participants consent to go along with it initially. True, accidents happen. True, some people go too far and don't stop even when consent is withdrawn. Nevertheless, in principle the participants are volitionals. Likewise, I don't particularly object to S&M when the people are consenting.

Prisoners are not volunteers. Prisoners are never asked for consent. Torture is clearly defined by laws, and participating in illegal actions is punishable by a court.

If the US fails to bring their "contractors" to justice and fails to yield them to the World Court, I see no reason why they should expect immunity from prosecution themselves. Condoning crime is bad, and condoning murder is worse.

When I was in 4th grade or so, we had to recite a long piece daily -- "America's Creed" by William Tyler Page. I can probably put most of it down here without going to the web for a quote, but let's not test a memory that goes back to 1957 :)

“I believe in the United States of America as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes. “I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it, to support its Constitution, to obey its laws, to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies.”


Not bad -- what I remembered differently was the end -- "its enemies". Notice that there is not one word about supporting a President or a political party. There is nothing about respecting secrecy.

The thing that is the most infuriating about the administration's reactions is that the main issue that is irritating them is they got caught. They are more ticked off about those pictures being public than they are about the crimes that are pictured.

They want all future pictures suppressed.

Yes. That is one of the main topics on their minds.

Seems to me that the release of them is an heroic defense against our enemies -- the ones who turned "America, the bold" into folks "not quite as bad as Saddam." [What an accolade. Bush must be so proud of the Republicants who are spouting that line!]

Pictures of Auschwitz and Buchenwald are hideous. At least the jackbooted weren't mugging for the camera like Miss Lynndie. Every bit of the ugly should be out there in the light. Not to inflame the Iraqis. They should be out there for the sake of honesty, and so that our leaders understand "wrong". Nothing impressed them before the pictures out of Abu Ghraib. If pictures are what it takes to get through to them, why "bring 'em on."




--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Whew!
STATUS: Publish
ALLOW COMMENTS: 1
CONVERT BREAKS: __default__
ALLOW PINGS: 1
CATEGORY: Current Affairs
CATEGORY: Weblogs

DATE: 05/08/2004 08:13:10 PM
-----
BODY:
Here is a huge, important discussion of politics, the media, and terrorism -- Orcinus is on a tear, and you have to read this. Parts of it lock into recent nightmares I've had. I woke someone last week to tell them a bomb had gone off, and then I realized I'd been alseep. I haven't had one like that since the late 1960's.

And Mark Kleiman points out some small things that Rumsfeld did *not* say -- and discusses some really ugly implications of a Bush victory in November.

Avedon Carol at The Sideshow thanks Gary Farber at Amygdala for his apology. It is a rather handsome apology, as such things go.

Here is a fascinating article from the New Catholic Times with this snappy lead paragraph:

WASHINGTON DC -- According to freelance journalist Wayne Madsden, "George W Bush's blood lust, his repeated commitment to Christian beliefs and his constant references to 'evil doers,' in the eyes of many devout Catholic leaders, bear all the hallmarks of the one warned about in the Book of Revelations--the anti-Christ."


Looks like the Catholic Church doesn't like *any* of our choices for President this coming election -- unless one assumes that the four noisy bishops and the one noisy Nigerian Cardinal who don't like Kerry are dissidents.

Well, that is a pretty short tour of blogtopia*, but if you read all the blogs I've linked to you will have plenty to think about.

*yes! Skippy coined that term!

-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: A Brief Pause
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 05/09/2004 05:15:18 PM
-----
BODY:
Everyone needs a change of topic now and then.

Lest anyone think that the outsourcing fad is going to go away, check out this link to Conceptual Guerilla. This essay is enormously accurate in outlining the Republicant economic position in its most basic form.

Avedon Carol at The Sideshow [entry for 7/22] wrote about this piece -- and it was evident then that this web entry really pegged the Republicant way of looking at business.

There are all sorts of articles on the web that blast Wal Mart. Wal Mart is probably, after the outsourcers, the foremost proponent of paying a less-than-living wage to its employees. Once upon a time it was a company that featured American-made goods at reasonable prices -- and now, even that is no longer true. Wal Mart is diving for the bottom, and going for cheap labor in both its stores and its suppliers.

And since they don't feature American goods any more, I avoid them in favor of places that at least try to provide their employees with decent wages.

Maybe tomorrow I'll take out my tin foil hat and say more about current events. For today, a little bit of economics is enough.

Scorpio

--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: A Letter
STATUS: Publish
ALLOW COMMENTS: 1
CONVERT BREAKS: __default__
ALLOW PINGS: 1
CATEGORY: Letters

DATE: 05/10/2004 12:51:27 PM
-----
BODY:
Dear Laura,

If you think it is difficult to look at the Iraqi torture pictures, imagine how horrible it would be to stand on the other side of the lens in your skin.

There is a book by Jerry Mander called "Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television". One of Mr. Maders's arguments is that we are programmed by our evolution to believe our eyes on a visceral level, and that negative visual images strike us particularly hard. Whether you personally believe in evolution or not, you must admit that those pictures finally communicated to you what all the words about torture did not -- and could not.

Your husband heard back in January that abuses were occurring. Until he actually saw the images on telvision, the words washed right past him without having meaning. Now he gets it. Now you get it.

John 3:20:
For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the
light, lest his deeds should be reproved.


When you read that quote again, remember that suppressing visual evidence is the moral equivalent of hating the light, and that as distressing as you, and I, and every decent person finds these photographs, it is necessary to subject ourselves to them as responsible adults, so we cannot pretend that we know not what we do. As we claim the victories, we must also claim the shames -- to grasp the first without accepting the second is to show oneself to be without worth.

There has been too much blaming of the messenger in the last three years. Mostly, your spouse leaves the blaming and destruction to his partisans. While he has not participated in the character assassinations, he has not spoken against them, either. Catholics call this kind of misbehavior a sin of omission. We Methodists aren't so methodical about classifying sins, but I think the Catholics have the right of it.

These last three years, it has become a Bad Thing to bring bad news to your home. Your husband has run out of chances. Those who suppressed the worst of the news because they knew they'd be torn apart -- well, they were somewhere in the chain below him. He got only the sketchiest of words, because no one would have survived telling him the glaring truth with pictures -- until the whole world got that truth.

Do you think he understands that this is because of the world he has crafted, himself? Alas, he probably does not. I'm sorry, lady. He's yours.

Scorpio


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Let's Not
CATEGORY: Current Affairs
CATEGORY: Rants

DATE: 05/11/2004 04:56:20 PM
-----
BODY:
Let's get this out of the way first thing: Al Quaeda are sick, brutal f**ks.

Let's hope we are not.

There is no such thing as ex post facto justification. That leads to approving of violence, and to the exact kind of thing the Middle East stands for -- "but he hit me". They did not cut off Berg's head because the US abused prisoners. They did it becase they are sick, brutal f**ks.

US soldiers tortured and abused people in their custody. The ones who did it went against the law. We need to come down on them -- all of them including contractors and CIA -- like the wrath of God. Meanwhile, the US cannot recommence torturing prisoners to get back at these vermin.

We need to hunt down and exterminate Al Quaeda. If you hear Bushies muttering "Iran", "Syria", or any other nation, drown them in a "NO" they can hear without electronic assistance. Iraq has already taken them away from dealing with the real terrorists. That makes me more angry than anything else about the death of Berg -- that it might have been prevented had our "tough on terror" administration bothered to actually address terror instead of perpetrating foreign adventurism.

What are we doing going after Castro with 25 accounting people and after Al Quaeda with 4?? What are we doing, occupying Iraq when Afghanistan can't even register enough voters for a democracy and the Taliban is regaining strength? What are we doing, leaving the hunt for bin Laden to Pakistan?? And why did Bush fail to pick up Abu Musab al-Zarqawi?? Because he was the lone Al Quaeda in Iraq, and he was of use in justifying a war? And Bush has the temerity to whine that Clinton failed?

Faugh!

-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: IXLNXS
EMAIL: incubus52@comcast.net
IP: 68.34.154.51
URL: http://home.comcast.net/~incubus52/index.html
DATE: 05/11/2004 11:36:05 PM
The video is buried in this link.

If you take the time to look at it don't forget that even tho Bush is indeed detrimental to our country, we have greater enemies to worry about.

http://home.comcast.net/~incubus52/lestweforget.html
-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Scorpio
EMAIL: eccentric_00@hotmail.com
IP: 204.167.177.68
URL:
DATE: 05/12/2004 12:07:18 PM
Can't watch them at work :)

I realize we have worse out there -- I think we need a more effective strategist at the top. One of the last men I ever expected to tell me I was on the right track did so this morning.

I honestly don't think Bush has been "tough on terror". I think he needs to be. It is not the organized and land-fixed groups we need to worry about most. I don't think all the US Al Q cells suicided at once, either. I think they are out there, biding their time.
-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: IXLNXS
EMAIL: incubus52@comcast.net
IP: 68.34.154.51
URL: http://home.comcast.net/~incubus52/index.html
DATE: 05/12/2004 05:58:48 PM
In the late 60's the idea of cell structured terrorism came about. Our government back then was terrorfied of the consequences.

Striking the heart is what these people do. The only answer is to strike back twice as hard. However immoral it might sound striking the families of the terrorist is the way to go. As one group goes, and the family dies as revenge a strong clear message is sent to all Islam.

Do it you family dies. No if's ands or but's.

If you are appalled it is because you are an American. Muslim's would understand what I just explained to the letter.
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: They Call This News?
CATEGORY: Current Affairs
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 05/12/2004 07:30:43 PM
-----
BODY:
I call it a no-brainer.

/tinfoil hat on/ My nightmare is that Al Quaeda wants to have Bush elected in November -- for internally that might well destroy us. My nightmare is that they will succeed at this by perpetrating another huge act of terror just before the election, and that with his "tough on terror" chant, the man who has been anything but will get a huge and undeserved boost. And then, with the election of Bush confirming that the US stands behind someone on whose watch the Geneva Conventions were broken, the jihadists, Middle Eastern and US, will have at each other; and as the war spreads all over the MidEast, as it comes home to us here, the terrorists continue to live safely in their ratholes, crawling out to detonate bombs or decapitate random hostages, while our country turns into what it claims to fight. Bad enough? Bush taking oath again is a horrible nightmare. /tinfoil hat off/

Scorpio



-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Pudentilla
EMAIL: mimber@bates.edu
IP: 69.49.138.130
URL: http://www.pudentilla.blogspot.com
DATE: 05/13/2004 11:51:24 AM
I'm not sure. Bush's approval rating is melting so quickly it's possible if the trend continues that an al-Q attack will confirm/cement the growing suspicion that aWol and Merry Men are utterly incompetent - couldn't stop it then, can't stop it nowl. Having been reasonable, I will now concede that you have described my worst nightmare.
-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: IXLNXS
EMAIL: incubus52@comcast.net
IP: 68.34.154.51
URL: http://www.damnyouyoubloggeryou.com
DATE: 05/13/2004 07:28:19 PM
Tin Foil Hat on. The latest killings were perpetuated by operatives of the CIA. It was done to sway American public opinion away from the torture scandal. Osama actually envisions a democratic Saudi Arabia, and is working with the Bush administration to work public opinion in a grand operation that involves America going into the middle east and forcing democratic rule on all middle eatern countries.
-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: FZR
EMAIL: blog@mn.rr.com
IP: 65.25.219.207
URL: http://www.bigwhitecoolbreeze.com/blog
DATE: 05/16/2004 12:27:04 AM
I came to that exact same conclusion:

http://bigwhitecoolbreeze.com/blog/C1190118524/E278221043/index.html

and pretty much got shouted down with "America will abandon Bush if he lets 9/11 v2.0 happen."

I disagree with that, of course. I think the country will latch on to him like piglets on sow teats.
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: I Don't Think So
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 05/13/2004 04:31:20 PM
-----
BODY:
Rick Santorum:

"If the intent in beheading Berg was to intimidate the American people, Santorum said, 'they continually misread the United States and the American public.'"

-------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: What Did He Expect?
CATEGORY: Current Affairs
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 05/13/2004 05:41:51 PM
-----
BODY:
This is the first article:

Our World-Historical Gamble by Lee Harris

This is the second article:

The War of Images by Lee Harris

The opening of the first article, The Problem, rings with irony today:

The war with Iraq will constitute one of those momentous turning points of history in which one nation under the guidance of a strong-willed, self-confident leader undertakes to alter the fundamental state of the world. It is, to use the language of Hegel, an event that is world-historical in its significance and scope. And it will be world-historical, no matter what the outcome may be.


Essentially the Harris article lays out in great and articulate detail, the argument for trying to remold the entire Arab world, step by step, starting with Iraq, because otherwise, inevitably, the cultural clash will happen at a less favorable time and place.

The second article is recent. It is also pitiful compared to the first, for Mr. Harris mourns the power of negative images like atrocities and beheadings as opposed to noble sentiments uttered by Mr. Bush such as "bringing justice". He claims there are no pictures of "good Iraqis" (or happy ones) to fix on that are even half as powerful as the negative images.

Pardon me, but what the hell did he expect?

It's like no one has bothered to recognize exactly what kind of power our current media have, which is ridiculous, since that power is explicitly explained in the old book Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television by Jerry Mander. Mr. Mander pointed out that a picture of clear-cutting would always trump a picture of a living forest, because the second is a complex experience that cannot be conveyed adequately with a photo, whereas the first is ugly and has a huge and dramatic impact.

Well, Mr. Harris, tortures and beheadings are ugly and shocking and have a huge impact, and their medium is television and other pictorial methods. A picture of a group of people in a market, smiling and waving, just does not have the impact that ugly pictures do. If you want to see nice pictures of Iraq, check out Citizen Smash's Photo Pages or other photographic web sites done by the innumerable military members overseas. There are more nice ones than torture pictures. Unfortunately, they are not high-profile, and even if they were, they would not have the gut-level impact of atrocities. I am pretty sure humans are wired that way -- to pay more attention to danger and terror than to cheer and joy.

Meanwhile, Mr. Harris, we went into the Middle East with mixed motives, some of which you outlined. How dare you whine that Middle Americans are tired of Iraq, and mad at all Arabs, and upset that our kids will face courts but that demonic enemies will not -- just how dare you?

We expect that since your pet neocons got us into this, that they might have a plan for dealing with terrorists -- after all, it is approaching three years since the towers fell, and Mr "Tough on Terror" doesn't seem to have a clue how to actually deal with terrorists yet. We perhaps expected that there would not be rampant graft, corruption, and jingoistic cronyism associated with rebuilding. We expected that perhaps money would be spent in ways that substantively improve the lot of people in Iraq -- not wasted on gun-toting "contractors" or spent getting bags to put over the heads of prisoners, and not stolen by large, well-connected American corporations with former exectives in high office. Was that too much to expect? I suppose it was, Mr. Harris.

We expected that none of our troops would commit war crimes, forgetting that with a mentality of "All Arabs are Terrorists", some agents, contractors, and slime in the chain of command would set up their own little operations for breaking others for sport -- it certainly was not for guilt, Mr. Harris, for even guilt should not have yielded anything like that. Our own MP's said that up to 90% of the people in Abu Ghraib were innocent. We also know that the great majority of our troops are decent human beings -- as a matter of fact, the strongest denunciations of the tortures have been from active and retired military. I think your opinion is less important than theirs, and I am glad to say that all those that I know have reacted with commendable outrage.

Mr. Harris, what we have done may be world-historical, but not in any way you intended. It has been a world-historical botch, starting from the head, and the only thing that has salvaged any good has been the acts of individual members of the armed forces. An now we will create an historical puppet government to hand pretend sovereignty to so that Mr. Bush can claim victory in time to get into heavy campaigning. Mr. Harris, I am revolted.

I think I'd better stop here and cool down a bit.

Scorpio



-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: IXLNXS
EMAIL: incubus52@comcast.net
IP: 68.34.154.51
URL: http://home.comcast.net/~incubus52/index.html
DATE: 05/14/2004 01:31:30 PM
Yeah gets me angry when these guys cheer on fools who think of this as nothing but a giant game of "RISK". Might as well be to them tho. They take no personal chances themselves, and shield their families from the possibility their decisions might effect them as well.
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Today --
CATEGORY: Current Affairs

DATE: 05/14/2004 06:02:03 PM
-----
BODY:
I have dyslexia of the fingers. Can't spell anything right. So go read a week of Doonesbury starting here. Trudeau still knows his people.

Oh, and a big thanks (I think ::grin::) to Matt Yglesias for pointing to the article by Lee Harris.

--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Weekend
CATEGORY: Random Events

DATE: 05/15/2004 02:29:19 PM
-----
BODY:
Today the kid gets his BA. Today there are meetings to go to. Tomorrow there are meetings to go to. And Monday will be spent in the clutches of medical tests, oh joy! So blogging will be light unless the tinfoil hat has to come out for commentary.

Oh, and for a scary tin-foil hat essay, [via The Sideshow] comes Mark Perkel's scary blogrant It's the Same Chair!!!! OMFG!!. I was hearing bits of this out on the net, but here is The Whole Thing.

And try not to miss The General today.

King of Zembla does a good job summarizing what US laws there are against torture by our citizens in a foreign place. Someone is going to make a nice career out of suing on behalf of Iraqi prisoners.

Parkway Rest Stop points to a Peggy Noonan opinion on terrorism. It made me wonder what planet she lives on when she suggested that the government should be issuing citizens a "get out of Dodge" kit with a suit and mask to use in case of a terrorist attack. I am shocked that *anyone* thinks this administration would admit that things are a lot worse, and that those on the coasts are particularly vulnerable. What, Bush worry? She needs a Scorpio Tin Foil Hat (tm).

More as I see them.


-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Andrew Cory
EMAIL: punning_pundit@hotmail.com
IP: 68.125.110.47
URL: http://www.punningpundit.com/
DATE: 05/15/2004 08:32:28 PM
Well! Congrats to your kid!
-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Scorpio
EMAIL: eccentric_00@hotmail.com
IP: 64.216.141.122
URL:
DATE: 05/15/2004 10:39:25 PM
Thanks -- with honors, no less.
-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Pudentilla
EMAIL: mimber@bates.edu
IP: 69.49.138.130
URL: http://www.pudentilla.blogspot.com
DATE: 05/16/2004 09:54:08 AM
Off the family payroll? Time for the folks to buy new computers? I hope the kid took Latin - if not, work on grandchildren. There's always hope. Congrats.

Pudentilla
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Living in a Swing State
CATEGORY: Politics
CATEGORY: Remembering

DATE: 05/16/2004 03:36:13 PM
-----
BODY:
I used to live in a fairly large city in a swing state -- one that was almost notorious for turning down government spending initiatives no matter how many times a year they held special elections to tout this project or that.

This city government was also notorious for violating the terms under which a special tax was collected, dumping the revenue into the general fund, and then doing what they wanted to.

I soon became a confirmed resident, trotting to the polls a minimum of four times a year to tell them "no" about this reason to spend or that. Buried in each proposition in later years was the rationale that they wanted to increase sales taxes and use it for X, but put the money in the general fund to do this. Such spending issues never had a sunset clause. They never told how the money would be accounted for; and they went down in flames, time after time.

George Bush asked for and got 87 billion from the Congress to use toward rebuilding Iraq. That money could have given Federal health care to every citizen, and supported the unemployed on a continuing basis as the economy tanked. Instead, KBR absconded with millions; Halliburton, which paid Cheney 170K this year, got billions; the troops are still without body armor and their vehicles need armoring as well; and most of the rebuilding projects are stalled because of the level of unrest. Basically, like the leaders of the swing state city I mention, Bush and his folks have had their chance and blew it.

Congress must now use the oversight that they are supposed to exercise, and make sure that any additional money is not wasted in graft and cronyism, as they miserably failed to do with the first 87 billion. Congress must make sure that in addition to gasoline and parts, our armed forces get the armor that they need. And until reasonable spending is assured by decently crafted legislation, Congress must appropriate money a dribble at a time for specific purposes to make sure it does not melt away in unaccounted-for projects.

And when Bush says "trust me", Congress needs to be better than Charlie Brown kicking the football. Congress needs to set boundaries and not be suckered again by giving trust where no trust is due.




-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: IXLNXS
EMAIL: incubus52@comcast.net
IP: 68.34.154.51
URL: http://home.comcast.net/~incubus52/index2.html
DATE: 05/17/2004 03:46:27 PM
Congress? But aren't both Houses of the legislature Republican controlled? If any thing goes wrong every bit of this will fall on Republican leadership. When the scandals come to light, and it is shown how complicit the Republicans have been in aiding and abetting the theft of America to Bush and Cheney's whims, American sentiment might vote negative against them for several years to come. Leading to a Democratic led legislature, and presidency. Just imagine. If the Dems win like this one can only conjecture what laws they'll pass behind closed door meetings Rpublicans aren't invited to.
-----

PING:
TITLE: Won't be fooled again?
URL: http://www.punningpundit.com/archives/week_2004_05_16.html#000705
IP: 64.94.227.1
BLOG NAME: The Punning Pundit
DATE: 05/16/2004 03:46:08 PM
Eccentricity: Living in a Swing State George Bush asked for and got 87 billion from the Congress to use toward rebuilding Iraq. That money could have given Federal health care to every citizen, and supported the unemployed on a continuing...
-----
PING:
TITLE: Won't be fooled again?
URL: http://www.punningpundit.com/archives/week_2004_05_16.html#000705
IP: 64.94.227.1
BLOG NAME: The Punning Pundit
DATE: 05/16/2004 03:46:22 PM
Eccentricity: Living in a Swing State George Bush asked for and got 87 billion from the Congress to use toward rebuilding Iraq. That money could have given Federal health care to every citizen, and supported the unemployed on a continuing...
-----

--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Who'd Rather Have Malaria?
CATEGORY: Current Affairs

DATE: 05/17/2004 06:53:50 PM
-----
BODY:
Raise your hands [UPI]:

Like Pogany, some soldiers at Fort Carson are worried that some of the emotional turbulence may be long-term side effects from Lariam, an anti-malaria drug heavily used among troops deployed from the base. The Food and Drug Administration warns that Lariam may cause long-term depression, psychosis, aggression, anxiety, panic attacks and sleeping problems, and it warns about reports of suicide among users. Combat stress -- post-traumatic stress disorder -- also can produce those symptoms. Howell, the Special Forces soldier who committed suicide, took Lariam in Iraq.


[via Mooser at Moose Hall]

Especially when the military has a history of dealing anything from poorly to uselessly with mental problems, it is shocking to realize that they have given this drug out wholesale. It is not even a surprise that they are refusing to deal with the fallout wholesale.

Scorpio
-----

-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Mark
EMAIL: secret_sam007@yahoo.com
IP: 64.103.37.69
URL: http://scorpio.typepad.com/eccentricity/2004/05/whod_rather_hav.html
DATE: 02/14/2005 04:09:58 PM
I went travelling to Nepal when I was 22, and I took Larium at altitude; and like my sister (and the guides also warned me later) I had severe reactions to it.

Ive been at altitude before and since without any such problems; but I started getting terrible nausia when on a bus (which I never get), and had a really bad set of quite distressing dreams (and I never have bad dreams at all).

In the end I decided Id prefer to get Malaria to the nightmare I was going through, threw away the pills and felt much better shortly afterwards. (and yes, I did take malaria precautions as much as possible!).

Anyone who thinks these pills dont have potential mental side effects has obviously never spoken to those who've had them after taking them!


-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Opus One Hundred
CATEGORY: Random Events

DATE: 05/18/2004 09:55:56 PM
-----
BODY:
This is my one hundredth eccentric post. Thank you for reading them.

Today someone with whom I've talked politics ever since the last election quietly admitted that his position had become unsupportable, and that he could no longer give the current administration leeway. He will not vote for the incumbent in the fall.

I told him that actually, I took no joy in being right. It is not something to be delighted about. The current administration is a failure and a disgrace, and all we can do is overwhelmingly reject them in the coming election.

Here is to letting the light in so we can start to recover.
-----


-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Pudentilla
EMAIL: mimber@bates.edu
IP: 69.49.138.130
URL: http://www.pudentilla.blogspot.com
DATE: 05/19/2004 09:38:10 AM
Mazel Tov on your 100th post! And may your interlocuter be one of many.
-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Just Me
EMAIL: justme@email.com
IP: 24.34.39.188
URL:
DATE: 05/19/2004 09:00:25 PM
Let the light in.

Start to recover.

Yay.

-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Point Counterpoint
CATEGORY: Current Affairs
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 05/19/2004 05:17:52 PM
-----
BODY:
Compare and contrast.

An honest man:

In other testimony, Sanchez, the top commander of ground troops in Iraq, vowed that the investigation of abuse at Abu Ghraib will follow the chain of command, adding, "and that includes me."


A whiny politico:

The hearings themselves became the subject of controversy on Tuesday when a Republican House committee chairman said they were “disserving” the military effort in Iraq.

The Senate committee is “basically driving the story” of prisoner abuse, said California Rep. Duncan Hunter, who heads the House Armed Services Committee.

-----

--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Focus
CATEGORY: Current Affairs
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 05/20/2004 08:47:39 PM
-----
BODY:
I have lost count of how many times Bush has dismissed questions about his policies or questions about events by stating that he is "focused" on Iraq and/or on "the war on terror" -- suggesting that he cannot be bothered with anything else.

Considering how long this statement has been his staple, it is downright amazing that he is so late to get the news about what happens in Iraq. It is shocking that it took until now for someone to hit the Chalabi residence for some of those papers he grabbed during the first days of the war.

And it is nearly unbelievable that there is no government waiting to take control in Iraq, no exit strategy for US troops, no end to the callup of reserves.

Focused? Pray, what would have happened if he had paid no attention at all? By now he should be completely humiliated that his "focus" has resulted in such a botch. I think he is going to be sorry he ever started that "war president" nonsense.

/tinfoil hat on/ I also think that public discussion should start to determine what to do if he or his attempts to hold off either the election or an inauguration to replace him. No, I do not think either a terror incident or even multiple terror incidents should be grounds for him to do so. /tinfoil hat off/

Supposedly, the Bushies are convinced there will be a major terror incident before November.

From the White House, a nightmare scenario

White House officials say they've got a "working premise" about terrorism and the presidential election: It's going to happen. "We assume," says a top administration official, "an attack will happen leading up to the election." And, he added, "it will happen here." There are two worst-case scenarios, the official says. The first posits an attack on Washington, possibly the Capitol, which was believed to be the target of the 9/11 jet that crashed in Pennsylvania. Theory 2: smaller but more frequent attacks in Washington and other major cities leading up to the election. To prepare, the administration has been holding secret antiterrorism drills to make sure top officials know what to do. "There was a sense," says one official involved in the drills, "of mass confusion on 9/11. Now we have a sense of order." Unclear is the political impact, though most Bushies think the nation would rally around the president. "I can tell you one thing," adds the official sternly, "we won't be like Spain," which tossed its government days after the Madrid train bombings.


So tell me, is "we won't be like Spain" a threat? If sanity prevails, the people of the US will be giving George Bush a lifetime vacation at that fabulous ranch in Crawford, Texas. If we are not going to rubber stamp the breaking of the Geneva Conventions during George Bush's watch, we *will* be quite exactly like Spain. Spain's President lied. Our president isn't doing too hot in the forthrightness department, either. So -- is it a threat? And who is the official?

Scorpio

------
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: blondesense
EMAIL: blonde@blondesense.net
IP: 24.46.203.172
URL: http://blondesense.blogspot.com
DATE: 05/20/2004 11:06:11 PM
It better not be a threat.

Bush will take a permanent vacation clearing brush and faux fishing on his Bush Davidian Ranch no matter what kind of shit they pull leading up to the elections.
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: One link to start
CATEGORY: Current Affairs

DATE: 05/21/2004 09:40:27 PM
-----
BODY:
... and I will add more links as they occur to me.

So many people today refused to blog about Abu Ghraib. Scaramouche at Body and Soul did what Kevin Drum at Political Animal could not.

And yes it is hard. It has been going on forever, about 23 days now. The administration has been reduced to releasing videos of Saddam's torturers so that everyone can become even more numb. Comparing tortures. It's come to that.

Scorpio
-----

-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Scaramouche
EMAIL: scaramoucheblog@netscape.net
IP: 216.175.103.38
URL: http://scaramoucheblog.blogspot.com/
DATE: 05/28/2004 09:08:10 PM
My ear were burning so I had come check it out...

I finally jumped the blog waggon too...so please pardon my [ http://scaramoucheblog.blogspot.com/ ] shameless plug


-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Like Spain
CATEGORY: Current Affairs
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 05/22/2004 04:17:27 PM
-----
BODY:
Recently (see post of 5/20) an administration official said that we would "not be like Spain" if there was another major act of terror.

/tinfoil hat on/
All I can say is that the planning for such an eventuality had darned well better be both bipartisan and outlined beforehand; and that such planning had better not involve either suspending elections or suspending the Constitution.

The latter two things are major points that make us who we are, and guarantee that rights not enumerated are *not* guaranteed to the Government.

The administration has fostered an international situation almost guaranteed to provoke terrorist atrocities, and they are planning on such happening. What I want to know is have they planned to include their political opponents in the coming power grab? And have they planned what to do if Congress decides to impeach them instead of yielding?

Congress needs to plan ahead. There is nothing worse than voting in a storm of emotion, as they should have learned by now -- not that they have, but one can always hope.

I live in a blue dot in a very red state, and I cannot trust that my senators will not just roll over and show their bellies and throats to the administration. I will vote against them every time they come up for office, of course. But there is not going to be time to replace them before the crunch. Until the last couple of weeks Congress has been a gaggle of supine toadies in collective attitude, with actively disgusting grace notes like Miller and Leiberman adding to the repulsive whole.

There have been a few bright notes, such as McCain, Pelosi and the Senators from Maine. Not enough to save us when push comes to shove.

We need to make up our minds now that democratic rules and processes cannot be suspended. And if defeating Bush makes us just like Spain, I'd find that a proud thing. /tinfoil hat off/

One of my buddies keeps trying to talk me into shopping for more firearms. I keep twitching.

Scorpio




--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Great Line
CATEGORY: Weblogs

DATE: 05/22/2004 07:28:38 PM
-----
BODY:
This week's best line comes from Norbizness:

3) Bush-Cheney '04 Campaign Chairman Marc Racicot addressed John Kerry, saying, "As leader of the Democratic Party, John Kerry needs to repudiate Nancy Pelosi's efforts to blame American deaths in Iraq on the President. No one is to blame for these deaths in Iraq but the terrorists who are trying to prevent freedom from coming to the Middle East." Thanks for that insight, you.... hmmm... John Kerry impersonator. I can just see the historical analogue: "Eugene McCarthy needs to repudiate those protestors on the Capitol Mall who are shouting stuff about LBJ and the number of kids he killed today. Nobody is responsible for those deaths except those black-pajamaed Commies who would enslave America if they had the chance


Yes! Yes! Sing it! Shout it!

"Re-puuuuuuubs!
They whine, in rowses...."

They throw venom and then whine if anyone points out their deficiencies -- and their candidates are definite deficiencies. The only ones who can't see that are the big-name cheerleaders like DeLay and Gingrich -- and of course, those elephants in donkey clothing, Leiberman and Miller.

Pelosi, you go, lady! That wasn't vicious, it was observant.

Scorpio

-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Paula Helm Murray
EMAIL: dragonet@kc.rr.com
IP: 65.30.12.11
URL:
DATE: 05/22/2004 11:33:12 PM
Even if I can't remember exacly who your are (I'm just about certain I know you) I'm in your court. I'm almost certain Shrub will try to disrupt elections this year, because he's (and his administration) proving to be so totally incompetent. Right on.
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Trashy Novel Sunday
CATEGORY: Books

DATE: 05/23/2004 04:37:53 PM
-----
BODY:
Today will be spent both reading trashy novels and planning what trashy novels to use to seduce others. Always a fine thing to do.

I didn't even look at the news at all until five minutes ago. I don't suppose that it will stop just because I'm doing something else :)

Meanwhile, look over to the left and go read some good stuff. Have fun.

Scorpio
-----

-----
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: To Save You Time
CATEGORY: Current Affairs
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 05/24/2004 03:20:03 PM
-----
BODY:
Go read Adam Felber at Fanatical Apathy to get the lowdown on Bush's speech tonight.

--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: They Just Don't Get It
CATEGORY: Current Affairs

DATE: 05/24/2004 09:38:44 PM
-----
BODY:
Tonight CNN announced that the US intends, in conjunction with the new Iraqi government, to tear down Abu Ghraib. The story is also on Yahoo News.

But.

They plan to build a new maximum security prison before deciding whether to raze it.

"When will they ever learn.

When will they ever learn."

-----

--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: A Two-Edged Sword
CATEGORY: Current Affairs

DATE: 05/25/2004 02:38:58 PM
-----
BODY:
According to the latest reports, it is not true that all digital cameras and camera phones have been banned from use by members of the military in Iraq. The [pdf] directive was more general [via BoingBoing].

Almost all the "good news" pictures out of Iraq have been sent home and blogged by members of the military with such equipment. By banning cameras, the military would ensure that there were almost no "good news" pictures at all.

Owning a digital means not having to go through developers. For good or for ill, digital technology has made spur-of-the-moment snapshots cheap and easy. There have always been coincidental photos of evidence or of wrongdoing. Spreading them all over has been more difficult, but it has happened.

One risks that the amount of pornography and ugly snaps has increased -- and one is now fortunate that the number of pictures of good cheer, construction, and landscape has grown enormously. When, except in "picture of the week" roundups, have we ever had as much opportunity to see houses, gardens, shops and roadways all over the world?

You won't get one without the other, and the Pentagon needs to get real.
-----

--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Not Jumping
CATEGORY: Current Affairs

DATE: 05/25/2004 06:56:38 PM
-----
BODY:
I have to admit that lately, I have been waiting rather than jumping on news stories. And even after days, sometimes, the conclusions are more muddied than clarified. Two examples are the "sarin shell" and the "wedding attack". I really wish there were better dissemination of evidence. I suppose it is the lefty in me that thinks Kimmit is doing CYA. He probably doesn't know much better than I do, all things considered. As a matter of fact, he is more likely to be lied to than someone whose opinion matters not.

And even Rumsfeld put off reacting to the roadside bomb that may or may not have been made out of an old munition. I rather resent one gas shell being referred to as "weapons of mass destruction"; I tend to chalk that up to my liking for precise language. One gas shell cannot create mass destruction, period. And I suppose that is why I find those who think there is incontravertible proof that Saddam was stockpiling weapons to be delusional. Until one finds a stockpile, there is no proof of stockpiling.

And I suppose I have been waiting around on other stories that have developed in the last couple of weeks. Am I growing judicious or something? Am I leaving my nice, shiny foil hat up there on the shelf when it comes to news?

Probably not.



--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: The Sound You Hear is Grinding Teeth
CATEGORY: Current Affairs

DATE: 05/25/2004 07:17:02 PM
-----
BODY:
And while I was writing "Not Jumping", this was posted to Yahoo News by the Associated Press:

AP: Terrorists Planning Summer Attack

10 minutes ago Add Top Stories - AP to My Yahoo!

By CURT ANDERSON, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - U.S. officials have obtained new intelligence deemed highly credible indicating al-Qaida or other terrorists are in the United States and preparing to launch a major attack this summer, The Associated Press has learned.

The intelligence does not include a time, place or method of attack but is among the most disturbing received by the government since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, according to a senior federal counterterrorism official who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Tuesday.

Of most concern, the official said, is that terrorists may possess and use a chemical, biological or radiological weapon that could cause much more damage and casualties than a conventional bomb.

"There is clearly a steady drumbeat of information that they are going to attack and hit us hard," said the official, who described the intelligence as highly credible.


[via Blah3]

You know, all this does is just piss me off. Mr "Tough on Terror" has been a nightmare for our country, conflating his war with terrorism and prating that said war is making us safer. How bitterly wrong will he have to be before we repudiate him and his entire gang?

I am afraid that he probably thinks that another attack will make the nation turn to him. And I am afraid that there are many who will do exactly that -- follow the man who led to a worse-than-ever world because they believe him instead of thinking critically about exactly what he has and has not done.

/eyeing tinfoil hat/ OK, now that I have reacted instantly to a news article -- though it hardly contained anything one would call "news", I believe I'll go away and choose another trashy novel.


-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: natasha
EMAIL: natasha_l_c@hotmail.com
IP: 4.5.82.111
URL: http://www.pacificviews.org
DATE: 05/26/2004 01:58:17 AM
There's been a lot of eyeing of tinfoil hats lately. I think there's a new fashion trend just waiting to happen ;)

Trashy novels are much healthier for the psyche, and the blood pressure.
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Heigh Ho! Heigh Ho!
CATEGORY: Current Affairs

DATE: 05/26/2004 10:15:24 PM
-----
BODY:
Tomorrow I check into a hotel for a weekend science fiction convention. This is good -- I won't be listening to news for several days running.

Fortunately, there are about thirty SF conventions in the USA this weekend. Lots of them will begin tomorrow and go through Monday, one way or another. Hey, at least I'm not running one this year. The gods must be smiling on me!

Y'all be good and have fun. Yes, it is possible to do both at once.

Scorpio
-----

--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: I'm Baaaaack ...
CATEGORY: Current Affairs
CATEGORY: Remembering

DATE: 05/31/2004 02:07:17 PM
-----
BODY:
... sort of, anyway. When you go to something that is a huge social gathering all day and far into the night, and party for several days running, getting home has an interesting feel to it.

It's so quiet here! The computer works!

But symptoms of the economy still being very depressed were pretty evident. Sales were down, and sometimes far down. People weren't there who have been showing up faithfully for many years. It's disconcerting to see.

And when I see this as a second-year trend, I wonder what next year will bring. Next year will be post election [Lord be willing]. There was a lot more sober political talk this year. One of the oddest discussions I watched the start of and then fled -- one extreme lefty and one extreme righty came into the same area. Clash. Clash. The lefty growled something in Arabic. The righty answered in Arabic.
"Where did you live?"
"Riyadh. You?"
"Iran."


At that point I decided that being somewhere else might be a Good Thing. One of them reported later that the discussion was interesting, but not fun. I suspect he was being generous.

Well, I still have not looked at the news since Thrusday. If something strikes me as interesting, I'll be back. If not, imagine me wasting out the last of the holiday weekend in a good book.

Scorpio




-----


-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: IXLNXS
EMAIL: incubus52@comcast.net
IP: 68.34.154.51
URL: http://home.comcast.net/~incubus52/index.html
DATE: 06/01/2004 10:31:51 PM
Good to see you back. Ready to start running th Bush war machine into the ground awhile longer? Good, let's get busy.
-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Paula Helm Murray
EMAIL: dragonet@kc.rr.com
IP: 65.30.12.11
URL:
DATE: 06/05/2004 08:02:04 PM
Glad you had a good time at Conquest. The various out of towners we had come visit from way far away (they'd met us while we were doing the Worldcon 06 bidding, came to see us in our natural habitat) also enjoyed themselves. The Californian did get a bit twitchy about the tornado warning, but took Margene's lead about it since we all knew it was going north, we could SEE the storm. And we failed to make "furthest travel' certificates - Steven Boucher hails from Melbourne, Australia, which is the farthest I think anyone has come to be here, and Grant Kruger, who currently lives and works (Resident Alien) near Jackson, MS, hails originally from Johannesburg. Grant came to the con early and we went to the Negro Leagues Museum Friday, which is really, really cool. Gonna go back to visit the Jazz museum, it will take an whole afternoon (it's a listening kind of thing, with LOTS of stations).
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Interesting Bits
CATEGORY: Current Affairs
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 06/02/2004 12:35:53 PM
-----
BODY:
Hurray for Herseth!

Meanwhile, Ahmed Chalabi turns out to have been more than a bad idea.

Avedon Carol at The Sideshow seems to think there's a draft in the halls of Congress.

She quotes paragraphs from John Sutherland's Guardian story. Gee, the Guardian can say things that I need my tin foil hat for!

One essay, with stingers. [via Mooser at Moose Hall]

--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Number Three
CATEGORY: Current Affairs
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 06/02/2004 04:43:34 PM
-----
BODY:
Tonight is the third of Bush's Iraqi Booster Speeches. The first was at the War College, and failed to make his numbers tick upward. The second was lost within the holiday weekend -- or maybe it was drowned in the discovery that Chalabi was passing information to Iran or the discovery that Cheney was directly mediating Halliburton's war profiteering.

Tonight? Tonight it will have to compete with someone with CIA ties being chosen to lead the "new, sovereign Iraq", as if that is even believable; and with the revelations of the Enron tapes. The newly publicized tapes portray the bragging of casual consumer-rapists that is so blatant they take the breath away. What can Bush say to compare with the devastating things that his policies and his appointments have brought to our current affairs?

How have all the liars and crooks avoided censure at a minimum, not to mention the impeachment that is their due? I think it is time for Congress to start repudiating corruption wherever in this administration it occurs. The stink makes DC rival Secaucus, NJ.



--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: But Should He Have?
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 06/04/2004 09:54:40 AM
-----
BODY:
via the Slacktivist:

This got buried in the previous post, so let me highlight this again, from President Bush's remarks to a small group of religion writers:

I said I am sorry for those people who were humiliated. That's all I said. I also said, "The great thing about our country is that people will now see that we'll deal with this in a transparent way based upon rule of law. And it will serve as a great contrast." But I never apologized to the Arab world.


I'll bet the King of Jordan was left with a different impression.

And I'll bet it was on purpose.

OK, so I take it back. The apology was a crappy job, Chimpy -- a bit of monkey business that awards you the appropriate nickname, one I've refrained from using until this point.

What are you sorry about? That your people from Rummy downward got caught? That your approved tactics and techniques made for such ugly photos? That photos of humiliation should have been hidden, even from you?

An apology to the country you allegedly lead would be in order. An apology to all the people in the world who had to see photos of your torture policies made real is also in order. Arab world? How about the whole world, for whom you tarnished the vision of the USA -- you, the pretender at the desk where the buck stops? I personally hope that in November, you become one of the new jobless. I'll do every legal thing I can toward that end.

Scorpio


-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: IXLNXS
EMAIL: incubus52@comcast.net
IP: 68.34.154.51
URL: http://home.comcast.net/~incubus52/index.html
DATE: 06/05/2004 01:44:24 PM
He's just afraid if he says he's sorry everyone will just smile and agree.
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Good Advice
CATEGORY: Film

DATE: 06/05/2004 11:54:49 PM
-----
BODY:
Someone told me that if I wanted to see Harry Potter in peace this weekend, I should go to a casino theatre. So I did, and it was deserted, as promised. I think I may have to go there more often just to look around. Seems to be a fun, adult playground.

-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Andrew Cory
EMAIL: punning_pundit@hotmail.com
IP: 68.122.190.130
URL: http://www.punningpundit.com/
DATE: 06/06/2004 12:20:27 AM
You like? I did...
-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Scorpio
EMAIL: eccentric_00@hotmail.com
IP: 65.64.102.110
URL:
DATE: 06/06/2004 12:02:27 PM
Oh yes. So far my favorite for scenery was #2, which had all those great bits of the inside of Hogwarts.

This one was good, although not as clear as the book at filling in backstory. One of the things I liked about the book was how evidence came out and Harry made up his own mind about Sirius.

I've enjoyed all the Potter books -- none of this idiotic rejecting them because they are "too popular".
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Sunday Afternoon
CATEGORY: Current Affairs
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 06/06/2004 04:28:22 PM
-----
BODY:
At lunch today with a friend we mulled over what a week it was. He says that although he doesn't pay much attention to politics, it nevertheless impinges on his consciousness.

He mentioned, in particular, the Pentagon memo about clearing Halliburton no-bid contractis with the VP as a juicy bit from the week. I passed on to him that both Bush and Cheney were checking out lawyers in anticipation of upcoming action in the Plame case. It just makes you want to shake your head. In a blog called Slack Tide was a little riff on "the jig is up", wondering why we have to wait to replace the incumbents.

Oh do I wish it were that simple!

And then yesterday, Ronald Reagan ended his long bout with Alzheimer's at the age of 93. R.I.P.




-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: A Long-Ago Conversation
CATEGORY: Remembering

DATE: 06/06/2004 09:18:28 PM
-----
BODY:
Probably 20 years ago, I was driving down a main street in a red zone town, and said to the people riding with me "Nero had nothing on us."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean that we are burning resources at a furious rate. In 1971 or so, gasoline in Germany was over 2.00 a gallon, and here we cry when it is less than half that. We are burning oil so fast that we are going to run out, and probably within my lifetime. It is going to get very, very ugly."

One person listening to this was the author of a story called "Occam's Scalpel."

Good story. Go find it and read it sometime.

And go check out Kevin Drum at Political Animal, who has graphs on energy consumption and a followup post. Looks like we are getting ever closer to the future I was seeing then.


-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Anon
EMAIL: anon@anon.com
IP: 68.107.225.62
URL:
DATE: 06/13/2004 09:56:20 PM
You were riding around with Theodore Sturgeon? I've like reading several of his books. I'll look up Occam's Scalpel. Thanks
-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Scorpio
EMAIL: eccentric_00@hotmail.com
IP: 66.142.229.204
URL:
DATE: 06/14/2004 07:14:29 PM
No one really lives in a vacuum. Lots of well-known people have very invisible friends. Yes, I knew Theodore Sturgeon.
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Yo Ho Ho
CATEGORY: Current Affairs
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 06/07/2004 06:06:09 PM
-----
BODY:
via Hullaballoo:

Rumsfeld fears U.S. losing long-term fight against terror

The United States and its allies are winning some battles in the terrorism war but may be losing the broader struggle against Islamic extremism that is terrorism's source, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Saturday.


OK. I think it's time and past time to ask just who-the-blazes is planning this "war on terrorism" and specifically what objectives it has. If Rummy is not in charge, and Ridge is not in charge, and the Joint Chiefs are not in charge, just who is planning or coordinating efforts to eliminate or moderate terrorism?

It seems that Rumsfeld has just admitted that no one is steering the boat. I'm not terribly surprised that the "war President" is on deck swilling Mai-Tais and singing about just how ferocious he is instead of seeing that we have reasonable and intelligent plans.

But I still want to know -- just who is in charge of the work?

---
-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Andrew Cory
EMAIL: punning_pundit@hotmail.com
IP: 68.122.190.130
URL: http://www.punningpundit.com/
DATE: 06/08/2004 12:37:21 PM
To recap: Theyâ€(tm)ve given themselves broad new powers to use against US citizens claiming that restricting us will help against the terrorists. Then they tell us that they have no idea what will hurt the terrorists. If this is true, I want my civil rights back, damnit!
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: What Do We Vote For?
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 06/08/2004 12:37:37 PM
-----
BODY:
When we are deciding what candidate to support, most of us use a range of issues, including points in both domestic and foreign policy.

OK, sometimes the news makes it difficult to see that candidates even have points rather than hairstyles, clothes, and bizarro characteristics that are somehow supposed to matter to us (French? What the dickens does French have to do with anything?).

There are many people who are one-issue voters. My landlord has a bumper sticker that says he votes pro-life. I am not under the naive impression that he is declaring opposition to the death penalty. He's a fetus-voter -- or perhaps a sperm-n-ovum voter. Others will vote for anyone who says that taxes will be cut. Never mind that a whopping majority of voters think that we need to pay enough taxes to be fiscally responsible. Never mind that most people voice a willingness to pay more. Some people are swayed by tax cuts, and no other issues matter to them.

And then there are the Swift Boat Veterans Who Hate Kerry -- the issue these people care about is one that no normal, sane American in a normal, everyday American frame of reference spends a lot of time brooding about. These people think their sole duty is to vote for a Commander in Chief. Lay aside that their current one cannot actually lead beyond shouting "attack!" or "terra! terra! terra!". To these people, letting slip the Dogs of War is the most important issue they have, and they have decided -- based on a thrity year old grudge -- that a decorated veteran is incapable of fighting.

Never mind that Kerry's status proves he can both volunteer for combat and fight when he has misgivings about the ultimate usefulness of a war. Never mind that Bush's lawyers in lots of places have been obsessed with justifying torture and the abrogation of the Geneva Conventions. These guys have their minds made up, and they are not going to thank you if you mention facts.

I hate to think that our armed forces currently has the C-in-C they deserve. I think they deserve much better.




--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Decision
CATEGORY: Current Affairs

DATE: 06/09/2004 08:52:21 PM
-----
BODY:
via Eschaton:

June 9 - Justice Department lawyers, fearing a crushing defeat before the U.S. Supreme Court in the next few weeks, are scrambling to develop a conventional criminal case against “enemy combatant” Jose Padilla that would charge him with providing “material support” to Al Qaeda, NEWSWEEK has learned.


The Padilla case has been the clear warning that being a citizen of the good ol' USA no longer means a thing -- that your constitutional rights can be abrogated on the say-so of Bush or one of his lackeys.

Say what you will of him -- all our fates hang with Padilla.

May the Supreme Court realize the enormity of what they are deciding here, as they did not realize the enormity of what they did in 2000. It is on their heads more than on any others. Either they will uphold our rights or they will deliver us into the hands of evil.

Scorpio


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Party Affiliation
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 06/10/2004 04:12:37 PM
-----
BODY:
Today at Pandagon Jesse had a little post called Zell Watch that noted that Zell Miller is Republican in all but name.

Quite a long time ago, Strom Thurmond started a shift that had its roots in a sort of honesty as far as I was concerned. Noting that he was Republican in all but name, he switched to the Republican Party. That was the beginning of the end of the classic "Southern Democrat" who was nominally Democrat because of racism -- Repbulicans, being the Party of Lincoln, were a group that the South spurned for close to 100 years just to let the world know they were not pushovers, or perhaps for some other sort of spite. At some point, however, the philosophy of Southern Democrats and the philosophy of Republicans became indistinguishable from one another.

When you are surprised at the amount of racism that shows among Republicans ["brown people govern themselves! " -- how condescending!] consider that the Southern Democrats with their roots in the Civil War, have moved wholesale toward being Republicans, and they have taken their attitudes along with them. The Democrats became the party of civil rights and the honest if bigoted Southern Democrats moved out.

Republicans are welcome to them, and if Zell Miller were honest, he'd join them and be done with it.

Scorpio
-----

--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: What Else is Torture
CATEGORY: Current Affairs
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 06/10/2004 07:19:00 PM
-----
BODY:
At Eschaton, Atrios wrote about what differentiates abuse from torture:

But, that really isn't the conceptual or legal distinction between torture and abuse (I'm not sure if "prisoner abuse" has a real legal definition, so this is a bit murky.) The distinction between torture and abuse is one of intent.

If I'm a prison guard and I, for no good reason, beat the crap out of a prisoner then no matter what the severity of the beating I would not be guilty of "torture." If anyone cares and there happens to be video tape and the prisoner's lawyer gets his/her hands on it, I might find myself getting charged with some form of assault.

What would make that beating torture is if I were doing it to elicit information. From my reading of the various statutes, treaties, etc..., even fairly mild forms of "abuse" are considered to be torture, if the purpose of the activity is to elicit information.


OK as far as it goes, but tht is only half the story.

If a person is being held prisoner, and a guard decides to "punish" that person for a real or imagined infraction, chances are high that what will follow could easily go over the line into torture. Humiliation, painful positions, being kept in the dark naked or kept awake ao subjected to loud music -- all of these things can constitute torture in the injuries and aftereffects that follow the victim.

Likely, such "punishment" has nothing to do with guilt or innocence, and ablsolutely nothing to do with whether the person has information.

Sometimes, very frankly, the person in charge is sadistic, and gets personal pleasure out of the power inequality as well as out of the suffering of the victim. A large number of people who just enjoy exercising power take jobs in criminal justice and law enforcement. It is one of the facts of that kind of job. And sadists are also attracted to jobs where they can exercise power.

The memos that are being exposed this week indicate that there was a genuine move to purposefully humiliate prisoners and to rationalize inflicting as much harm to people who had not been tried or convicted of anything as the lawyers could slither their way around; -- and most of the prisoners in Abu Ghraib and other prisons were not only innocent, but without information of any sort. The way to excess was paved by the civilian ledership of the United States in as cold and calculating a manner as some old "final solutions" were devised.

I am sure that the North Vietnamese tiger cages were painful and used just because tormenting prisoners was part of the culture of warfare. The Germans hid some of their tortures behind a medical experimentation smokescreen. The US has been hiding theirs behind the rationale of getting information about terrorists. So why ride a 70 year old woman like a donkey, or put a cigarette in a prisoner's ear? To get information? I don't think so. And what information is there when a prisoner is killed in the process that allegedly was to lead up to questioning?

It is unfortunate that those who have stretched these definitions until a rational person would reject them will not have the joy of sampling the fruits of their labors directly. We have enough sadists in the US prison system that if they go to jail, they might encounter brutal treatment. Unfortunately, I suspect that these motherless sons shall escape from the consequences of their evil, and that the backlash will fall upon troops who are unfortunate enough to get captured.

I have no idea when we, the citizens of the United States, will see justice done upon those who have smeared our reputation as an honorable nation -- those who developed the policies as well as those who asked for the rationalizations and those who made it known that barbaric behavior was now allowed. Six barbarians is just the slime at the bottom -- we have an entire cesspool waiting to be drained.



-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Pudentilla
EMAIL: mimber@bates.edu
IP: 69.49.139.170
URL: http://www.pudentilla.blogspot.com
DATE: 06/11/2004 09:16:46 PM
I'm not convinced of the functionality of Atrios' argument (the purpose is info, etc.) It might be easier to observe a bright line if we defined torture in terms of the human dignity of the prisoner. Obviously, a prisoner's liberty interests are impaired, but should any of his/her other interests be impaired? If not, and they are, then it's torture.
-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Emphyrio
EMAIL: a@a.com
IP: 64.119.2.80
URL: http://emphyrio.blogs.com
DATE: 06/12/2004 01:39:44 PM
I came to your blog because of your line at Eschaton about Rush: "The Goodyear Blimp of Hypocracy." I think that bears repetition.

What I have yet to see, perhaps because the story is developing so quickly, is a timeline:

The torture memo, public comments on the subject by Bush officials, the policy at Guantanimo, the insurgency in Iraq, and then Abu Ghraib.

This story needs a coherent narrative if it's ging to be properly pinned on the Bushies. Hope somebody is working on it, with good sources.

Might be a good redemption for Bob Woodward, who seems to have seen at least a vague glimmering on the road to Damascus.
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: A New Task?
CATEGORY: Politics
CATEGORY: Religion

DATE: 06/12/2004 04:44:08 PM
-----
BODY:
In the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church had a quaint way of raising revenues. They sold indulgences, which were prepaid absolution from sins that one was likely to commit in the future. They were especially useful if one intended to go whoring without paying a spiritual penalty.

Is Congress going to be selling indulgences soon?

I've already written to my congresscritters about this. It's downright medieval.
-----

-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: IXLNXS
EMAIL: incubus52@comcast.net
IP: 68.34.154.51
URL: http://home.comcast.net/~incubus52/index.html
DATE: 06/13/2004 12:13:35 AM
Drop the altar boy and nobody gets hurt.
-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Scaramouche
EMAIL: scaramoucheblog@netscape.net
IP: 216.175.80.61
URL: http://scaramoucheblog.blogspot.com/
DATE: 06/13/2004 06:53:51 PM
If you think about, selling indulgences is like a real-estate scam. You know, selling plots in heaven.

Quick, we need a special prosecutor...


-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Scorpio
EMAIL: eccentric_00@hotmail.com
IP: 65.69.69.235
URL:
DATE: 06/13/2004 09:32:53 PM
Oh it is *much* better than a real-estate scam. For the faithful, it means buying permission to kill, steal, and covet wives with perfect impunity and a chance of heaven -- though one would hope that these were not for mortal sins, but only for the venial.
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: What a Blog!
CATEGORY: Weblogs

DATE: 06/13/2004 09:29:06 PM
-----
BODY:
I spent some time reading Talk Left today, including the article on Sanchez himself ordering a prisoner to be hidden from the Red Cross.

There is no doubt that Jeralyn Merritt is one of the best of pull-it-together web loggers, finding and lining up stories that are underplayed in the mainstream media.
-----

--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Box Office Gross
CATEGORY: Film

DATE: 06/14/2004 10:12:50 AM
-----
BODY:
Until the figures for box office gross are accompanied by an average ticket price, I'm afraid I've just lost any interest I ever had in hearing how much a movie took in during its first three days or its first week, ad nauseam.

Last week I actually went to two movies in one week. When you consider that I average three or four a year, this was a great deal of the amount I'll be going this year. Tickets for two, $17.00. Two drinks and one popcorn, $12.50 -- so 30.00 for two for about 2.5 hrs of distraction.

Obscene.

So until you price the package, cease to tell me what a movie grosses. Gross is about the right word.
-----

-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: QuickSauce
EMAIL: quicksauce@yahoo.com
IP: 65.150.221.87
URL: http://quicksauce.blogspot.com
DATE: 06/14/2004 11:41:19 AM
I'll try to find the info, but when movie grosses are adjusted for inflation, most recent stats look quite paltry. Off the top of my head, The Sound of Music (I'm pretty sure.) blows a lot of these movies away.
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Dawning Light Painful
CATEGORY: Current Affairs
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 06/15/2004 06:46:51 PM
-----
BODY:
Well, today a friend decided during work to get into a deep political conversation. He's badly adrift because the Republican Party has turned out to be filled with liars, crooks, incompetents, and people who have pretty much screwed over both the people of Iraq and the US military.

This makes it very difficult for him. As he said, he is just not used to seeing Democrats as the preferred party. He's not happy with Kerry and he is desperately unhappy with the Bushies.

Personally, I don't think that Kerry would further weaken the military support system -- though I am not sure he would build it back up adequately and put all the logistical and support components back the way they belong. I read a proposition somewhere that Congress should pass a special bill to draft all the contractors in Iraq so that they are under a rule of law and so that they cease to suck down blood money. Nice idea -- and yet a better one is to move KP, transport, and other support functions back to military personnel. The 40,000 troops Kerry wants to add would need 100,000 support troops to return functions to the military that used to belong to them and that have to be returned to them for the good of the military. Being at the mercy of contractors for food, fuel, parts and services has shown itself to be enormously wasteful and very chancy.

In the moral stances area, the Democrats have the Republicans beat. Civil liberties, the torture scandals, Plame, stolen memos, energy chicanery -- all these things have contributed to the view that the liars and crooks are sitting on the top of the heap and not even bothering to pretend to be honest anymore.

What I told this man is that if he is lucky, these things might come to a head before the convention, and the Republicans might rise and nominate someone honest. If we were really cleaning house, the current guys would be in jail and the Republicans might be able to start over.

It probably won't help this round because there is so much corruption to clean out, but he might find some hope for the future. Right now he is very distressed -- and I think that is a Good Thing if we are going to have a future. I hope he gets busy and communicates that to other people who have been Republican, but who are honest and decent citizens.

On Tuesday, Mooser at Moose Hall linked to a post at The Agonist that speaks in fundamental and brutal terms about the war in Iraq and the kind of administration we have been living with. The thing I agree with most is that we have to clean our own house, and we need to elect leaders who are willing to do this. If we do not visibly do justice, the repercussions will last for generations.

-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Mooser
EMAIL: mooser42001@yahoo.com
IP: 66.195.32.8
URL: http://moosehall.blogspot.com/
DATE: 06/18/2004 11:00:23 AM
Thanks for the link, Scorpio !! My tummy is all tingly, like a first kiss. "Gosh, it's never been like that before" she said, looking up into his eyes and standing on one leg, raising a shapely calf behind her.
-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Mooser
EMAIL: mooser42001@yahoo.com
IP: 66.195.32.8
URL: http://moosehall.blogspot.com/
DATE: 06/18/2004 11:10:58 AM
I hadn't even thought, before you mentioned it in your post, about undoing Rummy's "transformation" of the military. I simply assummed it was another evil we would have to live with, another crappy legacy of Republican rule. It has indeed been a failure on many levels, and there are structural flaws in the scheme which, I think preclude sucess. (And they are all coming to light in Iraq) Sometimes I wonder if Kerry has the belly-fire necessary to win the election. I look at what he has to face-jeez I know it would freeze my tummy solid.
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Belling the Cat
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 06/16/2004 02:57:28 PM
-----
BODY:
In talking to my distressed friend today, I had a light dawn.

He was talking about how he isn't hearing enough about how Kerry would handle things differently, and was not confident that what he looks for is a leader would be there. He then stated that Abu Ghraib was an atrocity, and not to be tolerated.

I pointed out to him that a vote for Bush was effectively a rubber stamp for said atrocity, and that a vote for Bush was a vote for the destruction of the Geneva Conventions.

And then it hit me. The most distressing about this election is that no one at all in the Republican Party is challenging Bush. He is raising buckets of money and seems to have a lot of wealthy Republican support. Are all these people monsters who support torture, rape and murder? Or is it just that the Republican party as a whole is too gutless to stand up to Bush?

I know Bush is a vindictive, nasty grudge holder -- but really, what is more important? To repudiate crimes, or to be a Good German?

The piddly little Nixon crimes were enough to make me register as an Independent, and Bush makes Nixon look like a statesman and a guy who just made a little oops. So how is it that Bush holds all that cash and wields all that nasty-power? Are Republicans really so lacking in courage?

Do they really want to win at the cost of our soldier's lives and well-being when our people are captured? Do they really want to win at the cost of rubber-stamping an administration that has built a chain of command that permitted torturers, murderers and rapists to operate in their name? Do they want to win at the cost of their souls?

Are there any of them with enough courage to impeach these wrongdoers and bring in a set of clean candidates?


Scorpio


-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Pudentilla
EMAIL: mimber@bates.edu
IP: 69.49.139.170
URL: http://www.pudentilla.blogspot.com
DATE: 06/16/2004 05:34:42 PM
Are Republicans really so lacking in courage? - Yes

Do they really want to win at the cost of our soldier's lives and well-being when our people are captured? - Yes

Do they really want to win at the cost of rubber-stamping an administration that has built a chain of command that permitted torturers, murderers and rapists to operate in their name? - Yes

Do they want to win at the cost of their souls? - Yes

Are there any of them with enough courage to impeach these wrongdoers and bring in a set of clean candidates? - No.

I find that the world makes more sense when I think of the Republican Party as a cult and not a political party. It helps in the dark hours.



-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Andrew Cory
EMAIL: punningpundit@gmail.com
IP: 68.126.141.254
URL: http://www.punningpundit.com/
DATE: 06/16/2004 10:36:41 PM
I think they must not _Believe_ that these things are happening. They've managed to convince themselves that the media is out to get Bush (rather than in bent over in -er- supplication to Bush), and therefore when bad things get reported, they simply dismiss it as bias...
-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: bellatrys
EMAIL: philosopher@oddlots.digitalspace.net
IP: 66.202.89.34
URL: http://www.livejournal.com/users/bellatrys
DATE: 06/17/2004 12:37:54 PM
Scorpio, you know how I feel from the bar. But you raise an important nuance and question to address. *Why* are they lying down and strangling their consciences? Because then some may be able to be split out of the herd if we know what it is, if it is delusion/wishthink/hope/denial.

And as for the rest, and their supporters, like Volokh - no mercy. This *is* the moral issue of our time. "Speak now, or ever after hold your peace, and be accounted evildoers or the enablers of evildoers" (or at best utter cowards) and no more to take part in the public discourse, since they are not willing to work for the common good.
-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Mooser
EMAIL: mooser42001@yahoo.com
IP: 66.195.32.8
URL: http://moosehall.blogspot.com/
DATE: 06/18/2004 10:51:43 AM
What those three said.
-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Sid the Fish
EMAIL: sidthefish@cox.net
IP: 68.228.239.102
URL: http://kirghizlight.blogspot.com
DATE: 06/27/2004 12:22:39 PM
I suspect that doubts and fears creep into the tortured souls of at least some supporters of this administration on a regular basis. Unfortunately, whenever that happens, they can just run to Fox News and get reassurance that everything's OK.

Seriously.
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: What About the Good Guys?
CATEGORY: Current Affairs
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 06/17/2004 05:27:00 PM
-----
BODY:
Bellatrys at Nothing New Under the Sun has a post called "Seduced to the Dark Side, part 2?" where part of the focus is on how Good People often think that they can take on the methods of the worst of the Bad People and still think they are good.

Especially in this day of torture revelations, this is not a small question.

Today Ezra at Pandagon had a short post on Sibelius 04. Much as I admire Sibelius, and much as she really does represent stands we want to take, I'm reluctant to cheer at the idea of her as VP. It looks like Edwards might be best. But as I said in the Comments:

No Gebhart. No Vilsek.

He needs someone strong -- and someone with some hammer-strength policies that are clearly explicated.

I have two nice Republican guys who loathe Bush and who *CAN'T* get behind Kerry because his web site has bland and vague policy statements.

He [Kerry] needs to put out there, clear enough so that teetering Republicans can understand 1) what he wants to do in specific policy areas 2) How he plans to manage it 3) what results he expects from the policy -- i.e. to patch x defect or achieve y goal.

These guys are desperate to even go to his web site, and they are *NOT* getting the talk they need.


The Kerry Campaign needs a very simple and strong introduction for newcomers. It needs to be tailored to people who never looked at the word "Democrat" before. Maybe a big link at the top that says "New to Looking at Democrats?" and then a list of hardcore positions.

Does anyone have a concise, coherent list of Kerry's policy stands and legislative goals?




-----
-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Mooser
EMAIL: mooser42001@yahoo.com
IP: 66.195.32.8
URL: http://moosehall.blogspot.com/
DATE: 06/18/2004 10:46:56 AM
Maybe I'm a pessimist (well no maybes about that) but it seems to me that there are only three things Kerry can possibly have as core positions: first, find out the truth about the multitude of things Bush&co are hiding, obscuring (I can't spell obfuscating) stonewalling on, or cooking the books about. Second, prosecute, prosecute, prosecute ! Third, try and clean up the mess and undo the damage where possible.
That'll take care of the first four years.
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Alas
CATEGORY: Current Affairs
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 06/18/2004 07:29:02 PM
-----
BODY:
Alas, today we were given one more reason to want this administration canned.

Paul Johnson, kidnapped by Al Quaeda, was killed. Pictures of his body were posted on the internet.

Johnson worked on Apache helicopters in Saudi Arabia. Terrorists decided that maintaining helicopters was a Bad Thing for them. They kidnapped him and demanded that Saudi Arabia release Al Quaeda prisoners. Saudi Arabia did not release prisoners, and Johnson was murdered. The Saudis then killed an Al Quaeda leader and two others. Perhaps they did it to discourage a repeat of the kidnapping.

The organization that did this, however, owes a lot of its good health to George Bush; and he has failed in his duty to do what is best for the defense of this country and its citizens.

It is George Bush who stopped the accountants who were tracking Al Quaeda by financial transactions just as soon as he got into office. It is George Bush who paid no attention to the warnings given to him by William J Clinton.

It is members of George Bush's administration who, just after 9/11, gave all the Bin Ladens in the United States safe passage out, and who gathered them in one place while all the travelling citizens of this country were grounded.

It is George Bush who diverted the fight against Al Quaeda into a war to assauge his personal bugaboo, a war against Saddam Hussein. It is George Bush who failed to preside over the capture of either Osama Bin Laden or Mullah Omar. It is George Bush who has 25 accountants pursuing Cuba, and 4 pursuing Al Quaeda.

In so many ways, it is George Bush who has cultivated the world we find ourselves in -- and it is not a better one than we had five years ago.


-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Mark H
EMAIL: biomes_@cox.net
IP: 68.9.18.71
URL: http://biomesblog.typepad.com/the_biomes_blog/
DATE: 06/24/2004 07:52:06 PM
Well put. These bastards make me sick.
I'm looking forward to two dates: 6/26 when I see F911 and Nov 2 when hopefully this national nightmare will be over.
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: What a Day for a Daydream
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 06/19/2004 09:55:24 PM
-----
BODY:
/eyes glaze over in a fantasy.../

What would be the best thing for our country? The best thing would be to levy charges against those who have broken the laws of this country and who hold jobs in this administration... all of them. War crimes. Being in the torture loop. Contempt of Congress. Lying under oath. Outing CIA officers. Stealing memos [Watergate II].

The Republicans could then choose a new slate of candidates, ones who are not as obscenely corrupt as those now in office. Who would they nominate? Someone who would put his assets in a blind trust for his term of office? Someone who had actually served in the military? Someone who was not dismissive of half the population? Someone who did not use spite and grudges as tools of state?

How about someone who would undo the military changes and put logistics back into the hands of the services that use them? Someone who would not permit no-bid contracts. Someone who would honor treaties with other nations. Someone who would acknowledge that the "doctrine of preemption" was the doctrine of naked aggression.

Someone who *WHAM*

/sits bolt upright/

Don't wake me up like that!


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Early Sunday
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 06/20/2004 10:04:28 AM
-----
BODY:
[cue Twilight Zone theme] "do do do do do do do do ..."

At least the 9/11 Commission has invited Cheney back for another chat. I hope they put the f**ker under oath -- he deserves no more courtesies.

Have you noticed how "talking points" is a polite term for "weekly deceptions"? You'd think that the So-Called Liberal Media [code word for righty dupes] would wise up, wouldn't you?

I keep asking my Congresscritters when they are going to exercise the oversight that the Constitution requires. Alas, I live in Zone Red, territory of the Puppet Masters. My Senators are especially hag-ridden. Remember, Heinlein was a native of Zone Red, himself.

-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: IXLNXS
EMAIL: incubus52@comcast.net
IP: 68.34.154.51
URL: http://home.comcast.net/~incubus52/index.html
DATE: 06/21/2004 12:38:50 AM
The HeeChee Chronicles? Is that Heinlin or someone else?
-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Scorpio
EMAIL: eccentric_00@hotmail.com
IP: 64.123.239.216
URL:
DATE: 06/21/2004 05:20:11 PM
The HeeChee are Fred Pohl's creation, starting with the novel _Gateway_.


-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Interesting
CATEGORY: Books
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 06/21/2004 05:28:40 PM
-----
BODY:
Lately Slacktivist has been discussing what writers reflect the values of Evangelicals. In the post I've linked to, he cites John Grisham's Street Lawyer as a a book that is compatible with those values.

I just happen to be reading it, myself, and what I noticed is how many times Grisham has mentioned that Ronald Reagan was the author of a great deal of the increase in poverty and misery. The book enumerates how many people were thrust deeper into misery, and how many were being starved and frozen by specific policies and bills he signed ito law.

So. Can one believe in doing what God wants and believe in the Gipper at the same time?

I leave it for the reader to decide.


-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Scaramouche
EMAIL: ScaramoucheBlog@netscape.net
IP: 216.175.100.231
URL: http://scaramoucheblog.blogspot.com/
DATE: 06/22/2004 09:39:17 PM
The Lord sent us the Gipper...



To test us...
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Sorry For All of Them
CATEGORY: Current Affairs
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 06/22/2004 07:24:20 PM
-----
BODY:
And today's hostage was Korean. This was just as sad as the taking of American hostages. "Pull out all your troops or we kill him" is just as outrageous as the excuses these vermin used before murdering Berg and Johnson.

I loathe the intrusive newsies who love to photograph the grieving. I am as sorry for the Kim family as for the Berg family and the Johnson family.

I loathe that the news is willing to show severed heads and body parts, but not flag-draped caskets. I am terribly sorry that there have to be either of these things to show [or not show].

I am sorry that we did not stay firmly on the path of cleaning out the Taliban and Al Quaeda in Afghanistan. We and our allies are in a place where hostages are as available as date palms due to the lying megalomaniacs in the US administration who put us in Iraq for the most specious of reasons.



-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Cloned Poster
EMAIL: bb@ff.com
IP: 194.46.85.17
URL:
DATE: 06/23/2004 03:09:59 PM
Great Blog

Someone over at Billmon recommended you. I can see why.
-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Mooser
EMAIL: mooser42001@yahoo.com
IP: 66.195.33.54
URL: http://moosehall.blogspot.com/
DATE: 06/24/2004 02:08:01 PM
A very odd thing is; the media seems to have no compunction about showing servicemen with missing limbs. (I have yet to see pictures of limbless women, but they may be there for all I know) But only one at a time, and always with the subtext: How well he's recovering, how well he's functioning with his prosthesis. I'm waiting for someone to write: 'We've made him better than he was before. We have the technology'
Do you think that each vet with a limb, or limbs blown off, is in line for six million dollars worth of treatment?
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Thank You
CATEGORY: Random Events

DATE: 06/23/2004 04:52:52 PM
-----
BODY:
I'd like to thank my readers. I appreciate the comments you leave, so do feel free to make remarks about the posts.

And even more thanks to those who say they like this site. I honestly started it so that I would not have to yell at news articles, and it cheers me up to know that some of you now listen when I yell at the papers, the government, the computer, and other news sources I encounter.

You are all welcome to add your voices to mine.
-----
-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: KissyO
EMAIL: kissyo_@comcast.net
IP: 24.34.39.188
URL:
DATE: 06/23/2004 10:37:21 PM
I just read it because I'm also a Scorpio - stubborn, passionate and damn smart.

Good blog.

-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Mooser
EMAIL: mooser42001@yahoo.com
IP: 66.195.33.54
URL: http://moosehall.blogspot.com/
DATE: 06/24/2004 02:00:02 PM
I just wish I made it over here more often. I read till my vision goes blurry, and I don't hit all the sites I'd like to. Blog on, Scorpio!
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Waiting
CATEGORY: Current Affairs
CATEGORY: Random Events

DATE: 06/23/2004 06:16:46 PM
-----
BODY:
This morning, as I was driving to work, I realized that something was bothering me. It was a very low-key mental nag.

Later in the day I realized that the feeling could more accurately be described as "waiting for the other shoe to drop", and that every day I expect that this will be the day that something violent happens on one coast or the other.

A man-made disaster? A natural one? I don't claim to see the future and I don't know what I am waiting for, but I cannot seem to escape from this daily feeling. It hasn't been going on all that long -- not before this year that I recall.

The news is a series of nibbling scandals, which hit our desensitized selves as "oh -- more lies". One blogger thought that something would be "the straw that broke the camel's back", and I pointed out that the straw would probably just be added to all the other straws to reinforce the mud bricks. This administration has a gift for pretending that every lie is something else.

I am proud that Clinton broke out and pinned his interviewer to the wall the other day, pointing out that Monica questions are what the interviewer chose to focus on, and that he should not pretend that he was doing anything other than what he *wanted* to do; and that likewise all the news people had given Ken Starr a free ride in his witch hunt by focusing on used-up or frivolous topics.

For all that our papers have daily reports on Iraq and Afghanistan, I still feel that what is happening there is not something we are hearing about -- that whatever "truth" is, we will find out about it the hard way. So I'm waiting. It's not fun.


-----
-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: KissyO
EMAIL: kissyo_@comcast.net
IP: 24.34.39.188
URL:
DATE: 06/23/2004 10:40:11 PM
I'm glad that I'm not the only one (because misery loves company). I also have the feeling that something is coming, something that's going to disrupt my life and the lives of many, many others. It's not a good feeling.

(Maybe it's just because I'm Irish and just a bit pessimistic).

-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Paula Helm Murray
EMAIL: dragonet@kc.rr.com
IP: 65.30.12.11
URL:
DATE: 06/23/2004 11:31:21 PM
I can think of lots of things... Scorpio has been party to a lot of my darker thoughts in the past.

And our Liar King only makes it worse and worse because he ignores facts in favor of what he perceives as the 'truth' in his eyes. His faith.

Whatever.

I try and take heart because it's my nature. But it's looking very bad from even my point of view. But it's hard.
-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Chuck Cliff
EMAIL: ccliff@compuserve.com
IP: 62.79.154.158
URL:
DATE: 06/24/2004 05:33:36 AM
I guess I've had this as an undertone ever since I was old enough to notice that everytime I had a birthday, it was also an anniversery for Hiroshima.

But, it was when the Berlin Wall, USSR and all the rest fell, that got this other feeling -- it was like hearing/feeling the movement of an enormous clockwork clicking and turning (I don't mean this literally, of course, it's just a description of a feeling.)

I figure I'm fortunate that life's pinball game got me ended up living in Denmark, but then, you never know. On the other hand, I find that I'm coming stateside for a family visit in September -- got a creepy feeling about that also.


-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Mooser
EMAIL: mooser42001@yahoo.com
IP: 66.195.33.54
URL: http://moosehall.blogspot.com/
DATE: 06/24/2004 01:54:21 PM
Very odd- Just before I came over here I Blogged about what I beleive is the very same thing, only its inverse. (Now that that's clear..) Not the feeling that something is going to happen, the awful feeling that nothing is going to happen. This is it- perpetual war, from now on. We finally got the answer to the question: Why? And the answer is: because I damn well feel like it, and who's to stop me?
And by November, no matter what happens, the perpetual war will exist of itself, and on it will go.
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Looking Backward
CATEGORY: Current Affairs
CATEGORY: Remembering

DATE: 06/24/2004 11:17:34 PM
-----
BODY:
One of the commentors in the last thread mentioned growing up during the Cold War with its constant reminders of Hiroshima -- though with the Senate approving of more nuclear bomb research, perhaps they should be sent for a small review of history. There was, indeed, an underlying knowldege of what the use of such weapons would bring, and the constant jockeying with the Soviet Union over the placement weapons and the constant threat of the major policy of the time -- the infamous Mutually Assured Destruction.

It is said that Ronald Reagan's genial and large arms spending increase is one of the major things that brought down the Soviet Union as we knew it and ended the Cold War.

The old international politics certainly ended with a whimper rather than with a bang, which is nothing those growing up in the shadow ot the Cold War expected. It was rather like finding oneself in a alternate universe. Look! No Berlin Wall! Look! No monolithic bloc of nations pointing nuclear weapons! Look! It all changed! It was amazing to look around. I often thought, and even voiced, the idea that our world had jumped track into another universe. The threat of wholesale destruction disappeared -- a combination of no more Soviet Bloc and a confidence that we would not launch such destruction. We ambled along in this alternate universe, hardly believing that the old threats were lifted.

Well, in the long run maybe all the universe changed but us. Some distance into Bush's term, we jumped the tracks into yet another destructive universe. Not at 9/11. Not with the invasion of Afghanistan -- but with the drumbeat and whipping faux-frenzy that led to the invasion of Iraq. This universe is a lot murkier than the one that had the Soviet Union. In this one we have a person at the helm who delights in making war so much that he has crowned himself "war president". If you read the background that was proposed by Perle, Wolfowitz, and other architects of his policy, you are aware that their position is based on a long series of wars in the Middle East -- a series we are ill-equipped to pursue with the armed forces that we currentloy have.

The universe we have jumped into is a lot uglier than the old Cold War. While its threats are not nation-based, the present administration continues to treat it as if it is, and the policies they have developed, from deploying a useless and non-working "missle defense" to occupying a country that had no ability to attack us, shouts that their policies were bankrupt before they had really started.

And here we are, in one of the less attractive alternate universes. I am not confident that anyone can jump us to a safer place, but I am positive that more of Bush will make it worse and more dangerous. I am sure that electing him would look like we, as a nation, back torture, invasion on a whim, and other policies that would make us the gravest threat to world peace since 1937. Personally, I don't want to go there. Building more nukes and deploying missles belong to a policy so out of touch with reality that we need to flood our representatives with protests -- not that they will listen.



--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Week's Best Summary
CATEGORY: Current Affairs
CATEGORY: Weblogs

DATE: 06/25/2004 05:01:19 PM
-----
BODY:
The best summary this week came from South Knox Bubba. It starts:

Bush accomplishments so far...
Wednesday June 23, 2004

Here's the updated list of Bush accomplishments so far:


Rigged an election in conspiracy with brother Jeb in Florida to take office.


Appoints administration made up of former executives and government officials who helped Saddam develop WMD, were involved in illegal arms sales, traded with the enemy in violation of U.S. law, and whose companies now profit from war.


Stonewalled GAO and Congress request for documents relating to Enron influence of Federal Energy Policy.


... and it links to many of SKB's posts. Bubba is one of my heroes because he tells it like it is.


Digby had a whole week of kickass posts at Hullabaloo. One of my favorites was Zero Sum Politics with a link to Washington Monthly article by Paul Glastris.

The weakness about the press that Glastris points out is one of the reasons that blogs have a real niche. Blogs will say that one side or another has been playing dirty, while news organizations are reluctant to be as critical. Well, most of us have no ad revenue to worry about, as well as no overhead and no owner. That probably helps a lot.
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: That Our Flag Was Still There
CATEGORY: Current Affairs

DATE: 06/26/2004 02:18:46 PM
-----
BODY:
Last night I went to a theatre performance in Zone Red.

Those of you on the coasts probably won't have a similar experience, which is why I relate it here. There was an MC for the theatre corporation who spoke before the performance, and his last line, as the curtain rose and the bottom of a flag appeared, was "Will you all rise and sing the National Anthem".

He did not mean "listen to" -- he really meant "sing".

The orchestra played music and all of us sang. While I sang, I became aware of a new and very uncomfortable reaction. Despite its vocal challenges, I'd always heard the words with a sense of pride -- up to yesterday. And yesterday? I had a feeling of mourning, as if the flag no longer represented the United States of decent behavior and pure good intention.

Back when Abu Ghraib broke, Teresa Neilsen Hayden at Making Light said:

Abu Ghraib

Iâ€(tm)ve taken down my flags and put them away until after the war is over. I love my flag and my country as much as ever, but Iâ€(tm)m mourning actions that have been committed by our troops, under our banner.


And last night I felt an echoed sadness, sorrow that our country has been led down the wrong paths.

Four more singings to go, and no idea whether our country can recover from Bush.

Meanwhile, my companion was having his own deja vu. He had served in the Navy, and was going through "I can't salute because I'm not in uniform, where do I put my hands?"

It was a strange start to the evening, that is sure.

Scorpio



--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Ipse dixit
CATEGORY: Film

DATE: 06/26/2004 03:15:20 PM
-----
BODY:
I just went hunting for theatres that will be showing Farenheit 9/11.

And let me tell you, it was a hunt! I was finally reduced to choosing "ALL MOVIES" and "ALL LOCATIONS", then clicking on the letter F. Well, well.

8 locations, 3 to 5 showings a day.

Garfield: 17 locations, 5 to 11 showings a day, heavy toward larger numbers.

Ipse dixit and res ipsa loquitur.


-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Andrew Cory
EMAIL: punningpundit@gmail.com
IP: 68.121.61.119
URL: http://www.punningpundit/com/
DATE: 06/27/2004 02:19:10 AM
Res Ips Loquitur: You said these things(?)

[it's 'Let the things speak for themselves.' --Scorpio]

Ipse Dixit: he himself said(?)
-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: lazarus
EMAIL: lazarus33pjf@cox.net
IP: 68.105.119.129
URL: http://ungodlypolitics.blogspot.com
DATE: 06/27/2004 01:53:30 PM
We're lucky, it's showing in 8 or 9 theatres here in San Diego. We're waiting until next weekend, as I have a hard time with crowds. Likely to catch the first showing on Sunday morning, that's usually pretty empty.
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Movie Time
CATEGORY: Current Affairs

DATE: 06/27/2004 12:59:50 PM
-----
BODY:
This afternoon we are going to try to see F9/11. Yeah, without getting tickets ahead. Well, if the theatre we picked is sold out, we can scurry across town to another one with a later showing. And we can always go for Very Late if we have to.

This has been one of those very busy and social weekends. I suppose that makes up for that fact that I'll be on call during the 4th.

The weekend after that is going to be filled with Science Fiction conference activities -- meals, parties, lectures, and visiting with old friends.

I always wonder why people on the coasts think that flyover country is boring. It certainly isn't!

***
Later: Well, the first two shows were sold out so we got tickets for early evening. The activists are out giving flyers to moviegoers. I read it and realized that my attitude is pretty set. IMO Bush has done so much damage with the things that are public and well-known that I really don't feel a need to look at conspiracies. He's bad for our liberty, death to our prosperity, and ripe to be booted out without hunting for even more reasons.
-----

-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: nonbush loyalist
EMAIL: nonbush@yahoo.com
IP: 168.166.80.209
URL:
DATE: 06/28/2004 09:57:45 AM
I(with friends) went to see it yesterday at 2:00 pm and when we left the theatre the 4:20 showing was sold out.

-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: It Occurs to Me ...
CATEGORY: Current Affairs

DATE: 06/27/2004 05:15:14 PM
-----
BODY:
...that Cheney was awfully emotional for someone with no ties to Halliburton.

It also seems to me that there is a big diference between criticizing how Leahy practices his religion versus criticizing how Cheney's former employer conducts business -- a business that Mr Cheney is not supposed to have ties to any longer.

I think we can pretty much see where Mr Cheney's feelings and loyalties lie.
-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: IXLNXS
EMAIL: incubus52@comcast.net
IP: 68.34.154.51
URL: http://home.comcast.net/~incubus52/index.html
DATE: 06/28/2004 06:54:30 PM
It is obvious. But those who plan on drinking the koolaid plan to keep drinking the koolaid no matter what.
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Abnormal Reaction
CATEGORY: Film
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 06/28/2004 03:22:12 PM
-----
BODY:
I saw Farenheit 9/11 last night.

I actually felt a bit sorry for Bush afterward, though that will certainly never get me to vote for him. I'm sure that is not the reaction Moore intended to engender.

Indeed, there were still lots of moments where one wanted to smack him -- "bring 'em on", "now watch this swing", and lots of those cutesy cocky shots of riding golf carts or playing.

But the vaunted seven minutes when he sat listening to My Pet Goat he actually looked pathetic and completely clueless. No wonder Cheney sent him off on a mad chase in Air Force One.

On the other hand, I can hardly bear to look at Cheney's face, and that only got worse.

I am sure that people who have paid no attention to the news over the years might see this in an entirely different way, but for me there was little new information; and that little made him look more like a dupe than a schemer.


-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: And Theirs Is, Too
CATEGORY: Current Affairs

DATE: 06/29/2004 01:31:29 PM
-----
BODY:
via Eschaton:

A link to a picture of the Iraqi flag -- yes, despite a move by the Bushies to replace it, their flag is still there.

It was most noticeable during yesterday's sovereignty ceremony, when a row of them stood behind the new head of Iraq's rulers.

I'm aghast that the Bush regime thinks that this "handover" will fool anyone, especially when Halliburton still has access to an enormous trough of "reconstruction" and "support" money.

--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: I'm Not the Only One
CATEGORY: Current Affairs

DATE: 06/30/2004 08:23:21 AM
-----
BODY:
...who can't stand to look at Cheney's face [via Eschaton]:

Cheney Booed at Yankees Game


It's far down in the story, but at the 7th inning stretch, when the cameras showed him on the big screen, he got a round of boos. The cameras hastily moved on.


---------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Really Chilling
CATEGORY: Current Affairs
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 06/30/2004 11:53:36 AM
-----
BODY:
via Atrios again:

WASHINGTON -- The government needs to establish guidelines for canceling or rescheduling elections if terrorists strike the United States again, says the chairman of a new federal voting commission.



I wonder if these people think that the military would remain "loyal" if they abrogated the Constitution?

/tinfoil hat on/ Does a tinfoil hat actually amplify the scarier things floating around? If it looks like Bush is behind, I would't put it past clinic bombers to become poll-bombers just in order to elicit a suspension of the democratic process. /tinfoil hat off/

What we need is an affirmative statement from Congress that elections will not be delayed for sleet or snow or gloom of night or rocket's red glare or Bushie power lust. Do you think that might work? And worse, do you think it's necessary?


-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Sid the Fish
EMAIL: sidthefish@cox.net
IP: 68.228.239.102
URL: http://kirghizlight.blogspot.com
DATE: 06/30/2004 08:01:38 PM
A tinfoil hat is designed to block emissions from the forces of evil. You probably need to have your old fillings taken out too, just to be sure.

You may need to take this refresher course.

Good luck!
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: I Don't Like This
CATEGORY: Current Affairs
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 06/30/2004 05:12:54 PM
-----
BODY:
It seems that Pentagon spokesmen are putting out statements that they think that the captured Marine, Wassef Ali Hassoun, had been absent without leave when he was kidnapped. Hassoun's brother is defending him against the Pentagon insinuations.

I really do not like the way the Pentagon is behaving. Do they know when he was captured? How? Or are they just behaving very badly?

/tinfoil hat on/ Here is an even nastier specualtion -- are they claiming he deserted lest they lose control of some members of the USMC? Ones who would do about anything to retrieve one of their own? Do they think that by impugning his fidelity, they can avert an internal (or international) crisis? /tinfoil hat off/

I don't know, but I don't like it much.

--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Really Chilling, Part II
CATEGORY: Current Affairs
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 06/30/2004 06:00:39 PM
-----
BODY:
OK, what kind of plans would I make for a possible attack on a polling place?

On voter registration cards, I'd list an alternate location for getting paper ballots in the event that a poll has to close, and I'd make paper ballots available to everyone in the district. Two colors -- white if the person had not yet voted, and green if they voted before an Event, Take name, address, signature on a numbered sheet of paper. Add number to ballot. Send the person to vote and place paper ballot in a locked box. You might have multiple drop-off points for the sake of paranoia.

If earlier votes could be retrieved along with the sign-in book, discard green ballots. Do not ever let sign-in sheet in the same room with the ballots, but ask for bad ballots by number and have them saved in a separate lockbox.

Check name/address sheet against master sign-in book for duplicates, and count all non-duplicate ballots. If no ballots are recoverable, check list itself for dups and against master book, and count all non-duplicate ballots.

I still don't think there is any reason whatsoever to stop elections. All the bizzarro righties thought that the bombing in Spain caused Their Boy to lose the election. It does not occur to them that he *lied* about the identity of the bombers, and that he was on the skids anyway.

Right now, there are folks who do not believe that Bush is on the skids, and many who would do anything to keep him in office. You may chuckle at my tinfoil hat, but it seems to me that the righties in this country do more belief-based violence than the lefties, from assassinations to clinic bombings; and between that fact and the precarious position of GWB, we have a recipe and an ulterior motive for homegrown mayhem of the worst sort. Once they grasp that their boy is going to be taking a permanent job brush cutting (ha! he will sell that place the second he no longer needs to cultivate a folksy image), do you really think that the crazy wing is going to graciously concede?

Having a plan might be good, but having a resolve not to suspend elections is even better -- even if it looks like the lying Norte Americano -- I mean Spanish -- incumbent is going to lose.



-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Googlebombs
CATEGORY: Current Affairs

DATE: 07/01/2004 10:35:56 PM
-----
BODY:
There are a couple of new Googlebombs out on the web. Spadehammer has a sensible one, in light of the FCC's delight in levying fines. In place of 'go fuck yourself' he has been using 'Cheney'. And since Cheney's remarks had some vagueness, the old favorite, 'fuck you', is also linked to The Big Dick. I figure we gotta use 'em before we lose 'em. On the other hand, Jesus' General is linking impotence to the Dick.

And in a spirit of renewal, 'miserable failure' is getting play at Cosmic Iguana.
-----

-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: IXLNXS
EMAIL: incubus52@comcast.net
IP: 68.34.154.51
URL: http://home.comcast.net/~incubus52/index.html
DATE: 07/05/2004 12:27:16 PM
George Bush

idiot

The White House

Washington

Republican

Some of my favorites.
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: The Scent of Cash
CATEGORY: Film

DATE: 07/02/2004 06:05:04 PM
-----
BODY:
Farenheit 9/11 will be in 12 locations with up to 6 screenings a day, up from 8 and 5 last weekend. I guess you can tell there is money to be had when the casinos bring it onboard.
-----
--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: New Gig
CATEGORY: Current Affairs

DATE: 07/03/2004 02:03:35 PM
-----
BODY:
After his storytelling gig at the UN at the behest of the Bush administration, it looks like Colin Powell is branching out. He put on a hardhat and sang the lead in a spirited rendering of "YMCA" at the end of a security meeting in Asia last week.

But he shouldn't get his hopes up. Madeline Albright performed to some acclaim dressed as Evita Peron during her stint, but she still seem to be working in boring old fields like law and speaking instead of pursuing a new career in Show Biz.


-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Mooser
EMAIL: mooser42001@yahoo.com
IP: 66.195.32.226
URL: http://moosehall.blogspot.com/
DATE: 07/05/2004 10:38:56 PM
I'm gonna go with the P. N. A. C.
Rule the world with the P. N. A. C.
If you're all alone
and your hegemon
is rising
And it would be so cool
with a world to rule
Just keep trying
I'm gonna go with the P. N. A. C.
Rule the world with the P. N. A. C.

Well, you get the basic idea
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: The Common Theme
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 07/03/2004 03:06:13 PM
-----
BODY:
I am really sorry to have to bring this up, but it has been a common theme when I have discussed politics.

Today I went to the SelectSmart site to put the policies I favor up against all the candediates (yes, I selected to allow minor candidates to compete) -- and then I ran the same questions against all the contenders of the major parties.

The first answer I got was unexpected and repellent: Nader actually represents more of the interests I favor than anyone else. Scratch that. And right behind him, where minors were allowed, came Sharpton. Kerry ranked sixth, just behind Mosley-Braun.

The second -- all contenders -- answer I got ticked me off one more time -- it showed Dean as my favorite --as indeed he was. He is the first candidate I ever gave money to, and I wish I'd sent ten times as much when that was a viable option. As far as I'm concerned, the media did a hatchet job on him for two solid weeks before Iowa, and successfully launched attacks on him to cripple the best political movement of my lifetime.

My results showed Clark, and Edwards to be my next two choices, with Kerry standing sixth. Sixth. YEEEAAAAHHH!

But every time, Bush ranked absolutely last.

This year, a lot of people are not going to get what they want out of candidates. The Republicans have not fielded anyone to challenge Bush, and there are an awful lot of Republicans, Libertarians, and others who feel disenfranchised because he is so generally loathed. Most of them aren't warming to Kerry, but a huge number might stay home rather than make the choice that is before them.

On the other hand, the Anybody But Bush movement has quite a bit of steam, and every move his campaign makes seems to add more power to that faction. He actually managed to annoy the Baptists wholesale -- and that took some real talent.

I hope the ABBs and the Independents add enough to the Previous-Gore-Majority to help get rid of the incumbent. But at the moment, it looks like nobody is really happy.
-----
-------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: For the Real News
CATEGORY: Books

DATE: 07/03/2004 08:00:37 PM
-----
BODY:
For the *real* news about the new Harry Potter, go here. You won't regret it :)
-----

-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Paula Helm Murray
EMAIL: dragonet@kc.rr.com
IP: 65.30.12.11
URL:
DATE: 07/03/2004 10:11:35 PM
That was brilliant, thanks for sharing.

(pooped at home from a day of Roh's family --- cousin Dee and the air show downtown. gotta keep reminding myself why I don't like big airshows....)

I needed a bit of cheering up.
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Legislation Now
CATEGORY: Current Affairs
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 07/04/2004 02:34:11 PM
-----
BODY:
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. -- from The Declaration of Independence



Right now we are suffering evils similar to those the colonists found to be a reason to rebel. I think that our Congress needs to legislate that elections shall not be cancelled or postponed for acts of terror -- and do it now -- or we may find ourselves in a tyranny before November.

As the quote above discusses, I am also not sure that the form of our government is at fault, especially since the laws were not precisely followed with regard to the 2000 election. Of course, the Founders would never have envisioned the chaos of the next millenium -- the insane gowth of lobbyists, the campaign contributions being turned directly into appointive positions, the political and religious litmus tests applied to those who work for the current administration. Most of the corruption in the current administration has little to do with the form of our government, and much to do with the character of its leaders.

So a New Revolution could not be born in intelligence and competence -- not in the current climate. To think so is to indulge in fantasy.

The media is devoted to bringing a compelling show to the air. It is not dedicated to fairness, or to giving information. It is dedicated to bending over for owners and advertisers, and to being the kind of circus that was famed in Rome. No sex! Bring on the lions!

The news companies have construed "fair" to mean repeating lies and calling those who question them "unpatriotic", and "balanced" to mean televising every administration statement verbatim while doing a hatchet job on anyone who suggests different ways of approaching national policy or legislation. The line between campaiging and news has been obliterated for only one party.

Between the direct money and the media, government is being advertised and bought rather than elected. So far, campaign finance laws haven't worked very well. I'm not only not sure what would work, I am very mich opposed to haveing a second constitutional convention as long as corrupt influences occupy the high ground. Today, a constitution would not be 'conceived in liberty', as Lincoln characterized this nation; but rather sold to the high bidder or to the loudest and most dirty players.

I don't want to see democracy disrupted by dirty players. It is the duty of Congress to makes sure that doesn't happen, and make sure of it now.




-----

--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: That Was Quick!
CATEGORY: Current Affairs

DATE: 07/05/2004 04:57:08 PM
-----
BODY:
But weekends usually go past quickly. Tonight is another theatre trip, because next Friday night is a dinner for the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, the Sturgeon Award for best short story; and it is also the last time the Science Fiction Hall of Fame will have its induction ceremony in Lawrence, KS. The Hall of Fame is moving to its new home in Seattle at the Science Fiction Museum -- a much snazzier home than it has had to date.

Meanwhile, this blog should pass 5000 hits while I am out. That amazes me. Hey, if I convince even one person not to support the incumbent this fall, that is a Good Thing.



-----
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: The Continuing Drumbeat
CATEGORY: Current Affairs
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 07/07/2004 09:53:01 PM
-----
BODY:
Lawmakers Briefed on Terror Attack Threat

Lawmakers Briefed on Continuing Threat of Summer or Fall Terror Attack

The Associated Press


WASHINGTON July 7, 2004 â€" Top FBI, CIA and Homeland Security Department officials briefed House members Wednesday about a steady stream of intelligence indicating al-Qaida may seek to mount an attack aimed at disrupting U.S. elections.

All House members were invited to the 90-minute session at the Rayburn House Office Building with FBI Director Robert Mueller; Asa Hutchinson, Homeland Security undersecretary for border and transportation security; and John Brennan, a CIA official who heads the joint CIA-FBI Terrorism Threat Integration Center.

Rep. Christopher Cox, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said he could not discuss specifics of the presentation. But he said there are broad concerns that al-Qaida wants to strike inside the United States this summer or fall and hopes to influence the U.S. election, as terrorists did in Spain with the deadly Madrid train bombings in March.


Bush thinks he is going to lose the coming election, and seems to see this as a way to stay in power. The only term I can think of for this crap is "reprehensible".

He will lose if there is no terror incident, and he will lose if there is -- but in the second case, he is going to ease into a coup if he can.

You all know that Roosevelt stood for election twice while a major war was going on. The coward in office just doesn't have the guts to face a people he has abused for four solid years, so he will attempt to remain in power without ever being elected ...or so it looks to be shaping up.
-----

--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: The News
CATEGORY: Current Affairs

DATE: 07/08/2004 08:52:51 PM
-----
BODY:
The first news picture I saw today was of Ken Lay in handcuffs. Gee, I didn't think I had a kink like that, but it was an amazingly satisfying picture.

Then the hammering of the terror theme and the continued chant about terrorist acts as a threat to our political process headlined again.

Officials: Bin Laden guiding plots against U.S.

Ridge: Terrorists' aim is to influence presidential vote

...The planned attack is "an effort to disrupt the democratic process" before November's elections, Ridge said.

Ridge said he had no specific or credible information about threats to the upcoming political conventions. The four-day Democratic convention kicks off July 26 in Boston, Massachusetts, and the Republican National Convention begins August 30 in New York City.


Every spokesman says that, and it gets more ominous by the day. The news agencies are really pushing these quotes about suspending the democratic process. I can't think of anything more designed to let a terrorist win, myself -- and right now nothing makes me more outraged than seeing this theme repeated day after day. That is four days in two weeks. Take note, people, and start shouting. Better now than later, believe it.
-----

COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Paula Helm Murray
EMAIL: dragonet@kc.rr.com
IP: 65.30.12.11
URL:
DATE: 07/08/2004 10:34:12 PM
You already know what I think on this issue. The drumbeat has started. We'll see how it ends.
-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: DanInAlabama
EMAIL: dhestand@knology.net
IP: 24.214.118.215
URL:
DATE: 07/11/2004 06:08:29 PM

Of course they are talking about a terrorist attack prior to the election. Look at the mileage the Bush Administration got out of 9/11: Two wars that have enriched their personal and corporate friends: The USA PATROIT Act so they can keep real patriots in line, or in jails their friends at Wackhenhut run; Distract Americans for the criminal activities of their buddies at Enron and many other companies aligned with these professional criminals; and on and on and on.
They constantly say that the terrorist attacks in Spain changed the outcome of the Spanish election ignoring the fact that 80% of the Spanish people did not support their country going to war in Iraq â€" you might say the defeat of the incumbent was Democracy in action. They also ignore the fact that Spanish polls indicated the election was too close to call, (2% difference between the candidates â€" within the margin of error). But without any proof the Rep party line is the Spanish people caved to terror, and if an attack happens here that Americans will be caving, too, if they vote the lead “Terrorizer” out.
Months before the Spanish bombing I had read that the Bush administration was planning a terror attack before the elections so they could call off the elections. That was on a “crazy” site. Now we see open discussion in the corporate owned media saying if we are attacked the elections may be called off. It is called conditioning. If we are attacked just before the election ask just yourself who benefits, and then you will know who is behind the attack.
There is a little book “War is a Racket”, available free online at http://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket.html#c1, written by Major General Smedley Butler (Marine) in 1931 which explains the main reason for war - and it ainâ€(tm)t to spread “Freedom”.
To understand why we had to have a “9/11” and may need more read “The Grand Chessboard” written by Zbigniew Brzezinski in 1997 in which he says, twice, that it will take an event like Pearl Harbor to get the American people to support war. He also circles the map as to where the next conflicts will be. Guess what area of the world he circled.

-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: The Marine's Tale
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 07/09/2004 11:47:13 AM
-----
BODY:
I spend way too much time talking politics with one person at a time, gently convincing them that this year there is the Democrat, and there is disaster. Interesting conversations. Possibly Chinese Curse interesting.

The marine, in the course of one of those discussions, had an interesting tale about why Osama has not been captured.

"We used to have a lot of assets who were in Al Quaeda, spying and keeping us informed about what was happening. And then came the year 2000 -- do you know what Clinton did?"

"No," [said I, really waiting to hear what villany would be ascribed to him] 'what did he do?."

"He let the government foil 22 plots against the United States, and by stopping all those acts of terror, he blew away all those assets. Bin Laden targeted the spies and killed all of them and their families, too, so now we don't have information about him anymore!"

[Dumbfounded. I think he believes this.]

"And so," I gently inquired "just how many of these was he supposed to allow to proceed just in order to keep intelligence assets?"

"None."

Oh good. Stopping terrorist acts wasn't a *fault*. I'm relieved.

People have a curious level of understanding about fighting terror. I suspect that an intelligence asset realizes his life is on the line -- especially if his information is used to thwart a plot. And I am not sure what the marine thought this proved about Clinton, if anything.

I, like many others, reject the notion that terrorist organizations are tied to states and land. I think that the crime-fighting analogy is more accurate than the war metaphor that Bush so adores. Of course, "chief gumshoe" is not as manly as "war President", and doesn't even provide decent posturing material -- and we can't have that.



--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: The Evangelical Christian
CATEGORY: Politics
CATEGORY: Religion

DATE: 07/10/2004 10:06:07 PM
-----
BODY:
I work with many Evangelical and born-again Christians -- it's one of those things about living in Zone Red.

There is one who is very nice and very young -- and he has been a rabid Bush supporter. While he tries to convert me to Christianity, I try to convert him to Liberal Democrat Salvation.

I got rather exasperated with him last week, and said "I want you to try something. There is a web site called Select Smart. On it you answer questions about policies and their importance to you, and then it matches you up with the candidate that best reflects your views. It also ranks candidates by how much you and they agree. Would you be interested in that?"

"Oh yes! I always wanted to know how they stood compared to my beliefs."

"OK, then I will send you a link. By the way, I think you will be surprised by the results."

About 30 minutes later, he called me.

"I can't believe it. I can hardly get over it. I get a 60 % match with Kerry, and I can't get Bush up to more than about 53% agreement no matter what I do. I find it so hard to grasp this!"

"Well, " I said, "Kerry is a far better Christian than Bush. Christianity also has to do with helping the poor and the sick, and with being a good steward to the Earth -- and I'm afraid Bush fails at too many Christian values. If you want to be a two-issue voter and go with gay marriage and abortion as your hot buttons, you will have to abandon Christian values to do it. I know it is hard for you to understand that yet. The thing I hope is that this has given you something to think about."

"It certainly has. I'll be taking this home and talking to my wife about it."

And I am sure he will. He is basically an honest young man, and not a hater.

If you find a Christian with an open mind who thinks tht Bush represents their values -- send them somewhere they can get the truth for themselves.
-----

COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Michelle
EMAIL: mizchulita@yahoo.com
IP: 63.246.168.55
URL: http://nervous.typepad.com
DATE: 07/11/2004 03:21:06 PM
What a great idea! As a Christian, I feel so frustrated when folks equate Bush with Christianity.

Your blog is fantastic. Gonna keep reading...
-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: QuickSauce
EMAIL: quicksauce@yahoo.com
IP: 65.150.221.248
URL: http://quicksauce.blogspot.com
DATE: 07/11/2004 07:20:31 PM
That's a good story, Scorpio. One of the things that I hate most about American political discourse is how the opposition (and to be frank, the Dems, too) always recasts someone else's graduated priorities as absolutes. Yes, Kerry is nominally "pro-choice," but I'm imagining that his reason for being so is that he thinks other things are a higher priority than the abortion debate (i.e., better social safety net, health care, etc., for those babies once they're born). I think that's why he says he's pro-choice, but "against abortion."

Or when being against the war was being cast as "liking Saddam" or approving of his atrocities. Sure, I didn't think Saddam was a good guy, my priorities were just different.

But that's my idea in a nutshell...
-----


--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: The Fallacy
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 07/11/2004 11:23:04 AM
-----
BODY:
No More Mister Nice Blog had a post by Steve M on why Cheney is more visible on the campaign trail, and about the strategy of the New York Times in placing terror and Cheney stories near an article on Edwards.

He speculates that the tactic goes like this:

Surely the Bush people always planned to get Cheney out in public more around the time Kerry announced his running mate -- there's nothing sinister in that. But I think they also had a detailed plan for a pick of John Edwards (or, say, Tom Vilsack -- anyone who wouldn't instantly be associated with foreign policy, such as McCain or Clark or Graham). That plan, I think, is what we're seeing now. And the latest booga-booga terror warning is a part of it.

The message: We live in perilous times. In perilous times, you can't rely on lightweights. You need tough men, men who may even at times seem secretive and unsavory ... men like hardened, snarly Dick Cheney.

Cheney = safety and security. Edwards = mass destruction and death at the hands of terrorists.

I think Bush and Rove believe Cheney's story -- even the parts many of us find offputting or criminal -- confers certain advantages.


If that is the tactic, then the Bush campaign is heading for even worse failure. Cheney is disliked and distrusted. He is a totally corrupt human being who sees war as a Good Thing For Halliburton. It is a fallacy to equate Cheney with safety in any way, and large number of Americans know that.

By all means, I hope Bush clings loyally to the monster who will help take him down, terror or no terror. Trust Cheney? Look to him for safety? Not only no, but hell no!
-----
--------
AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: YEEEEAAAAAGGGGHHHHH!
CATEGORY: Current Affairs
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 07/11/2004 03:10:54 PM
-----
BODY:
Can I scream any louder?

Can you?

Scream.

Try.

Write to your representatives and Senators.
-----

-----
COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Crank Observer
EMAIL: cranky@observer.com
IP: 68.165.44.95
URL:
DATE: 07/11/2004 04:50:08 PM
Being discussed at Daily Kos
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2004/7/11/171013/617
and Talkleft
http://talkleft.com/new_archives/007238.html#007238
also.

Cranky
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AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: And Now, a Headline
CATEGORY: Current Affairs
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 07/12/2004 10:35:20 AM
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BODY:
Officials Discuss How to Delay Election Day

U.S. officials have discussed the idea of postponing Election Day in the event of a terrorist attack on or about that day, a Homeland Security Department spokesman says. While some on Capitol Hill are questioning the possibility of a delay as "excessive," others are saying the discussions are part of a prudent effort to plan for "doomsday scenarios."


I'll just let you guess the party affiliations of those who think that this discussion is "excessive", and the affiliation of those who think it is "prudent."

What? Sarcastic? Me?

Why, I haven't had to wear my tinfoil hat for several days now. The voices are not only plain, they are headlining.

Have you written to your congressmen yet?
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AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Well, There is Some Good News
CATEGORY: Current Affairs
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 07/13/2004 09:43:04 AM
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BODY:
It looks like the Homosexual Hate Amendment is not going to get past the Senate.

It is nice to think that there are enough sensible people in the Senate to block the worst excesses of the Malign Majority -- or was that Moral Migetry? -- something like that, anyway.

And the most delightful sidenote of this piece of foolery was the public statement by Lynne Cheney that she thought marriage laws should be left to the states. I suppose that as long as she is silent on Halliburton, ol' Dick won't break into a spate of obscenity.

I probably should not complain that they are wasting their time on foolishness -- it is better than their being intent on widespread malice. Nevertheless, I'd like to see them confirm that the federal government cannot interfere in elections instead of spending their time on a proposed amendment to the Constitution that would single out a group of citizens for discrimination.
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COMMENT:
AUTHOR: dragonet2
EMAIL: dragonet@kc.rr.com
IP: 65.30.12.11
URL:
DATE: 07/13/2004 09:51:25 PM
It's their "watch what the sock puppet is doing, yes, really WATCH it, while we sneak around in this other direction and relieve you of your rights.

but then Scorpio knows exactly my thoughts.
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AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Vocabulary
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 07/13/2004 12:44:14 PM
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BODY:
Oh, right.

"Clear skies" = "pollute away!"
"Healthy Forests" = "logging for profit"
"No child left behind" = "destroy special ed"


so of course a Bush-appointed

"US Election Assistance Commission" must "delay, postpone, cancel, or otherwise avoid elections for threats, not to mention disasters or terrorist acts"


What *was* I thinking?

Scorpio

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COMMENT:
AUTHOR: lazarus
EMAIL: lazarus@gmail.com
IP: 68.105.119.129
URL: http://ungodlypolitics.blogspot.com
DATE: 07/14/2004 12:26:00 AM
It's downright Orwellian, to be honest.

This folds in nicely with the way Bush will have a photo op at a company or plant or school, and within days it's been shut down.
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AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Hitting Their Buttons
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 07/14/2004 12:20:36 PM
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BODY:
Mary Beth Cahill issues a stinging letter to the Bush campaign manager's complaints about a fundraiser's party guests. After telling him that the Bush campaign needs to release documentation that Bush did finish his service to the Guard, and to release all correspondence regarding Halliburton, the energy task force, medicare, and prison abuse, she concludes:

We also wanted to wish you a happy anniversary. As we are sure you and the attorneys representing the President, Vice-President and other White House officials are aware, today marks one year since Administration sources leaked the identity of a covert CIA agent to Bob Novak in an effort to retaliate against a critic of the Administration.

In light of the fact that the Administration began gutting the laws protecting the nationâ€(tm)s forests yesterday, we hope you will accept the paper on which this letter is written as an anniversary gift. (The one year anniversary is known as the “paper anniversary.”)


Good job. As Don at Blah3 said, "It's great. Ken Mehlman must be steaming right now."

It certainly hits the top five places where this administration acts like it has plenty to hide. Mehlman surely doesn't believe the old chant of "sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me." If he feels wronged, perhaps it is time for him to consider what constitutes a wrong, and whether the practices of his partisans are those of a healthy political climate.
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AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Allons-y Citoyens
CATEGORY: Current Affairs

DATE: 07/14/2004 02:19:39 PM
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BODY:
By the way, a Happy Bastille Day to all.

It always struck me as the fitting answer to a tyranny -- to tear down a prison.


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AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Good Move
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 07/14/2004 06:06:41 PM
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BODY:
A few days ago, I tried to save a Smirking Chimp URL about Kerry hiring lawyers for the November election.

Today Alaska Girl made note of the same Chimp/SF Chronicle post.

Both links include this quote:

Kerry said his team will take "tough action" to prevent the kind of voter "intimidation and harassment" that kept an estimated 1 million African Americans from the polls in 2000 and prevented as many as 57,000 African Americans from casting votes in Palm Beach County, Fla.

The legal team is to be led by Washington attorney Robert Bauer and backed by groups of lawyers around the nation.


After the reported shenannigans in 2000, this is a good move. Perhaps those places that "run out of ballots" when the voter's melanin is high can be induced to produce more. Maybe there will be fewer irregularities if lawyers are waiting to go to bat.
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COMMENT:
AUTHOR: alaskagirl
EMAIL: alaskagirl@mac.com
IP: 68.46.222.95
URL: http://homepage.mac.com/alaskagirl/iblog/index.html
DATE: 07/15/2004 06:02:46 PM
Truly, this is encouraging news.
Thank you for your link.
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AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Predestination
CATEGORY: Current Affairs

DATE: 07/15/2004 07:09:06 PM
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BODY:
Avedon Carol at The Sideshow had a post last week on the trial of Saddam Hussein. She said

But I guess the thing that's really bugging me is that I expected to see something more akin to what we did after World War II - and we were trying real, genuine, not-a-metaphor, not-hyperbole Nazis that time.


She then quotes from an article by Robert Scheer which says, in part:

Salem Chalabi was picked by Bush's national security advisor, Condoleezza Rice. In a secret directive issued in January and leaked to the public in March, Rice authorized a delegation of 50 lawyers, prosecutors and investigators to be sent to Iraq to prepare for Hussein's trial. Chalabi is not only the prosecutor but chose the judge, whose identity is a secret.

It is thus a huge stretch to call the proceedings a fair trial or an Iraqi-run affair. Men long on the U.S. payroll are running the country and the trial; U.S. troops are still guarding Hussein. And the U.S. even chose what images could be broadcast and told pool reporters they could not record Hussein's voice. An unauthorized audiotape was, however, leaked to the media.

We have already grossly violated the standard of Nuremberg laid down by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson: "That four great nations, flushed with victory and stung with injury, stay the hand of vengeance and voluntarily submit their captive enemies to the judgment of the law is one of the most significant tributes that power has ever paid to reason." But the four great nations Jackson was referring to, led by our own, were not guilty of committing aggression but rather of stopping it. The first principle of the Nuremberg trials was to hold nations accountable for crimes against peace.


I wondered why the trial was being "shown" with no sound. Seems as if the sounds might make the US government look bad. When it was mentioned that Iran may have gassed the Kurds instead of Hussein, it started to look like all the other Bush productions -- make sure that no inconvenient facts get in the way of conclusions. And so the "trial" will progress, stage-managed by the US's choice of prosecutor, and *his* choice of judge. Tell me, do you think George Bush would willingly stand trial at The Hague? The judge he would have there would be more likely to be fair to him than one appointed by a Chalabi will likely be fair to Hussein. Yes, even a war criminall deserves a fair trial.


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COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Simbaud
EMAIL: simbaud@att.net
IP: 67.101.99.242
URL: http://simbaud.blogspot.com
DATE: 07/15/2004 10:40:30 PM
Scorp,

Supply-side-economics wackazoid Jude Wanniski has been proclaiming Saddam's innocence on the charge of gassing his own people (http://www.polyconomics.com/searchbase/12-14-00.html ) for years now. ("Genocide" too -- http://www.lewrockwell.com/wanniski/wanniski11.html .)

In the same vein, check out this article (http://www.newyorker.com/archive/content/?020930fr_archive02 ) from The New Yorker circa 1993, in which Sy Hersh challenges -- I guess I should properly say "dismantles" -- the standard assumption that Saddam tried to pop GWB's daddy.

Simbaud
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AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: Now It's The House
CATEGORY: Current Affairs
CATEGORY: Politics

DATE: 07/15/2004 07:45:38 PM
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BODY:
Glen at A Brooklyn Bridge writes:

Unwilling to accept defeat in the Senate yesterday, Republicans want to prevent the Supreme Court from ever addressing the issue of equal marriage.


Since the Senate couldn't muster even a majority toward Hate Legislation, House Republicans have a newer and nastier tactic:


Gay Marriage Opponents Pin Hopes on House

By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent

WASHINGTON - Unable to ban gay marriage, congressional Republicans are working to contain it, advancing legislation in the House to make sure federal courts don't order states to recognize same-sex unions sanctioned outside their borders.

"When federal judges step out of line, Congress has the responsibility to drop the red flag," Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, said Wednesday as the court-stripping measure cleared the House Judiciary Committee on a near party-line vote of 21-13.

Democrats objected, some strenuously. Rep. Maxine Waters of California called the legislation a political exercise, and Rep. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, the first openly gay woman elected to Congress, criticized it as "unnecessary, unconstitutional and unwise."


The new tactic essentially strips certain issues from the court's purview. Unwise is a mild term for this insanity. Old De Lay says it is not yet time to try to yank abortion from the supervision of the courts -- I suppose he wants it outlawed, first -- but he is eager to keep questions about same-sex marriage out of the hands of the lower court judges right now.

Someone should impress upon these thugs that what goes around, comes around. They should probably consider what each tool could be used for in the hands of Hillary Clinton before they employ it. But these boys are not that smart. They have tunnel vision and a sense of entitlement that is outrageous.

The body politic needs these warts scrubbed off it.

Write to your congresscritters!
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AUTHOR: Scorpio
TITLE: The SS: Earning Their Initials
CATEGORY: Current Affairs

DATE: 07/16/2004 02:44:38 PM
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BODY:
via Skippy:

a judge thursday dismissed trespassing charges against a couple who wore anti-bush t-shirts at a july 4 rally for the president at the state capitol because city ordinances do not apply to statehouse grounds.

assistant city attorney deloris martin said she advised the judge that the officers had no authority to charge nicole and jeff rank with trespassing under the city's ordinances…

police have said that after the couple showed the slogan on their shirts, the two were told to go to a designated protest area and did not do so. the ranks say they had obtained tickets to the statehouse rally and were given no such option of going to a separate area.

charleston mayor danny jones, a republican, said the officers who made the arrest acted under the direction of the secret service. "the officers are in a bind here," jones said. a phone call to the secret service's charleston office was not immediately returned… - AP



[emphasis mine]

OK, at least one court has ruled that the feds are operating under false assumptions.

How long are the people of this country going to put up with "first amendment zones?"

Yes, after seeing the inauguration sequence of Farenheit 9/11 I can well imagine that Bush is terrified of the citizens of this country. I also believe that he has handled his office as badly as he could have, and that he has aggravated the citizens of this country by appearing only at carefully stage-managed photo ops.


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COMMENT:
AUTHOR: dragonet2
EMAIL: dragonet@kc.rr.com
IP: 65.30.12.11
URL:
DATE: 07/16/2004 11:58:56 PM
Yes, he is afraid of the citizens. Mr. Bush reminds me of all the smirky frat boys, of privileged birth that I knew / met in college, that always felt they were entitled to the best treatment and were infallibly correct no matter what they did, even if it involved rape and mayhem. I've got no truck with them. And I have no truck with Mr. Bush.

I'm so concerned about a win this fall that when someone approached me at a grocery store about a petition about allowing the progressive party on our ballots, I just looked at her and said, "I'm a democrat and you're diluting our vote." She took a step back and drew away her clipboard.
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