Friday, May 21, 2004

"Waingroh from Chino, you're on the air"

Larry King interviewed former Texas Governor (and past victim of the Rove slime machine) Ann Richards last night, and besides her usual good sense of humor, she plugged us bloggers:

The interesting thing about our times that are different than they have been before, and this whole prison scandal proves it, is that with the Internet, you can't keep any secrets anymore. You can't have the collaborative process that it takes to hide stuff, because it's all out there on the Internet. I heard tonight on television that they had a worse prison over at the airport in Baghdad than the one where all of these photographs occurred. And we had that on the Internet from bloggers weeks ago.

So I think what's happening is that the mainstream press begins to pick up that stuff from the Internet, regardless of its source, and then slowly check it out, and then it becomes a mainstream news story.

Shout out to Al Gore for making blogging possible with his neat invention.
Good Message
Soldier Found Guilty of Desertion in Iraq

He faces up to a year in jail and a bad conduct discharge and was to be sentenced Friday afternoon.

Compare that to...
Sivits Sentenced for Role in Iraq Abuse

Spc. Jeremy C. Sivits wept and apologized after receiving the maximum penalty of a year in prison and a bad conduct discharge Wednesday in the first court-martial stemming from abuse of Iraqis at the Abu Ghraib prison.

Apparently deserting on moral grounds is the equivalent of torture.
A Must Read

"I killed innocent people for our government. For what? What did I do? Where is the good coming out of it? I feel like I've had a hand in some sort of evil lie at the hands of our government. I just feel embarrassed, ashamed about it."
Fun for the Whole Family

Bush Family Quiz:
How well do you know your Bushes?

Sample Questions:
1. When did W. first run for public office? Who was his major backer?
W. Ran for Congress in 1978, backed by Enron and employees. See also this article for list of Bush backers and what Enron wanted from W. as president. Though Enron itself was formed from two oil companies in 1985, W. claimed at the time, "There's no such thing as being too closely aligned with the oil industry in West Texas."

2. Texas law mandates that gubernatorial records be placed in a state archive subject to Texas's stringent Public Information Act. What has happened to the papers of Gov. Bush?
He put them in his father's Presidential library, out of reach of public.

3. Where does W. have a brand, received as part of a frat initiation?
On his butt. "The resulting wounds only resembled 'a cigarette burn' claimed W."

4. After George W. Bush admitted he lied about his arrest record and 'fessed up to a conviction on drunken driving, what was his response to questions about other arrests?
This is a trick question. No reporter has asked W. about OTHER arrests or probed at all about his interesting new Texas drivers license number.

To take the full quiz go here.

Just last night I saw that Sullivan was citing Juan Cole, and it kind of pissed me off. Well, I woke up this morning and Juan had some things to say about Andy, here.
Further evidence why Juan Cole is one of the best.
Well...Umm...Take it Easy
U.S. releases Mayfield
I like how members of the administration pretty much assume there is going to be terrorist attack before the election, but don't seem to be doing anything to stop it. But they will arrest a man for a terrorist attack 6000 miles away who had nothing to do with it.


Thursday, May 20, 2004

Daily Death Toll
While the media is properly focussing on the Iraqi prison abuse, let's not forget all the people dying over there every day:

As of Thursday, May 20, 789 U.S. service members have died since the beginning of military operations in Iraq last year.

The British military has reported 58 deaths; Italy, 18; Spain, eight; Bulgaria, six; Ukraine, four; Poland, three; Thailand, two; Denmark, El Salvador (news - web sites), Estonia and the Netherlands have reported one each.

Since May 1, 2003, when President Bush (news - web sites) declared that major combat operations in Iraq had ended, 651 U.S. soldiers have died

The latest deaths reported by the U.S. military:

A soldier was killed Thursday in a grenade attack in Baghdad.
A 1st Infantry Division soldier was killed Wednesday in an attack near Samarra.

And of course the (at a minimum) nearly 10,000 CIVILIAN Iraqis killed since all this started, in addition to the 40 Iraqis celebrating a wedding yesterday.

Nice Goin' Assholes
Spanish police: Fingerprints on Madrid train bomb bag traced to Algerian

But Brandon Mayfield is still being held. Totally ruined this guy's life, for what? Because he tried to make sure someone got a fair trial? Assholes.
Sign Up!

Waingroh just registered for the draft here. Don't forget to complete the entire form, including your postmortem transportation preference. I took package 3.

Not so Fast

U.S. Soldiers Raid Chalabi's Home in Iraq

This looks like a calculated move to raise Chalabi's standings with ordinary Iraqis, whom who has repeatedly polled in the single digits. A sort of neo-cons last ditch con with an end game to install Chalabi at a high position in The New Iraq.

Chalabi, who has visibly tried to create an alliance with al-Sistani, has been very critical of UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi's plan for post transition Iraq. It appeared his influence was on the decline in Washington, but most neo-cons never lost faith in Chalabi.

What better way to get Iraqis on Chalabi's side than to have the Americans start breathing down his neck. Along with the revelation that Chalabi's INC funding had been cutoff by congress, this looks like one of those maneuvers this administration has become famous for. One that ends in total failure.

Public Relations

Well, the PR campaign to fix America's image in the wake of the torture scandal is well under way. Abu Gharib's name has been changed to "Camp Redemption" at the "suggestion" of the IGC.

What a great Idea. While they're at it, I suggest some other positive name changes:

al Fallujah could be al Falwelljah.

L. Paul Bremer could change his name to Mel Paul Gibson.

The Coalition Provisional Authority's name should suggest more compassion, maybe The Passion of the Pentagon.

While they're at it, they might as well change the name of the country to something American's can relate to more, how about OilMart.

Go ahead and post other ideas...

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Sivits Sentenced for Role in Iraq Abuse
    * Torture gets you one year in a military jail with demotion of rank.
The horror
Iraq: U.S. strike kills 40-plus at wedding party
BAGHDAD (AP) - A U.S. helicopter fired on a wedding party early Wednesday in western Iraq, killing more than 40 people, Iraqi officials said. The U.S. military said it could not confirm the report and was investigating.
Abstinence education... well, sort of...

For some reason I don't think the "abstinence education only" Bush administration will go along with the Brits on this one...

Oral sex lessons to cut rates of teenage pregnancy
Encouraging schoolchildren to experiment with oral sex could prove the most effective way of curbing teenage pregnancy rates, a government study has found.

Pupils under 16 who were taught to consider other forms of 'intimacy' such as oral sex were significantly less likely to engage in full intercourse, it was revealed.

I've gotta say promoting blow jobs to middle school kids instead of sex is a bit weird, but at least it's proactive. We all know that simply telling kids not to have sex and ending the conversation there doesn't work. But as we've seen over and over, Bush and his ideologues have this problem with facing reality...
Media Catching Up?

It appears as though the media (albeit the NY Times) is finally starting to catch up a bit and calling bullshit on some of the crap coming out of the Bush campaign
WASHINGTON, May 18 - Like many of its predecessors, the Bush White House has used the machinery of government to promote the re-election of the president by awarding federal grants to strategically important states. But in a twist this election season, many administration officials are taking credit for spreading largess through programs that President Bush tried to eliminate or to cut sharply.

A few examples:
Tommy G. Thompson, the secretary of health and human services, announced recently that the administration was awarding $11.7 million in grants to help 30 states plan and provide coverage for people without health insurance. Mr. Bush had proposed ending the program in each of the last three years.

The administration also announced recently that it was providing $11.6 million to the states so they could buy defibrillators to save the lives of heart attack victims. But Mr. Bush had proposed cutting the budget for such devices by 82 percent, to $2 million from $10.9 million.

In April, Secretary Thompson announced that the administration was awarding $3.1 million in grants to improve health care in rural areas of Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, New Mexico and New York. He did not mention that the administration was trying to cut the same rural health program by 72 percent, to $11.1 million next year, from $39.6 million.

...and my favorite:
Mr. Thompson likewise recently boasted that the administration was awarding $16 million to 11 universities to train blacks and Hispanic Americans as doctors, dentists and pharmacists. But at the same time, the administration was urging Congress to abolish the program, on the ground that "private and corporate entities" could pay for training.

The article also touches on the blurry line between official work related travel and campaigning and how the Bush admin is using our tax dollars to pay for their travel... It's great to finally see this stuff mentioned on something other than the op-ed page.

What He Said


It has for some time been obvious to me that the Bush foreign policy in the Middle East is driven by irrational and often puzzling considerations. But I hadn't stopped to consider, until Perlstein's excellent piece, that the White House is trying to bring about an apocalypse that would hasten Christ's return. And a damn fine job they're doing of it, if that's what they are up to. Why the place is more apocalyptic every day. The one downside for Bush is that he is beholden not just to the far right Christian looney fringe but also to Wall Street, and the latter can't actually be very happy with the roller coaster ride his policies are producing for their investments. Unlike poor people, moreover, the monied both vote and give to political campaigns.

The article he's refering to can be found here

Nice going Randy. Now go treat yourself to that commemorative 2112 album you wanted so bad.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Oregon Election Results

Results can be found here.
$2.35 a Gallon

That's what I just paid. No wonder Dickie Boy wants to keep the energy task force secret. I remember a lot of people supported the war on the sole reason of keeping gas prices low. Only these clowns could control a country with some of the worlds largest oil reserves and have prices go up.
Super! Thanks For Asking!
RNC offers 'Super Ranger' status

By Jonathan E. Kaplan

The Republican National Committee (RNC) is looking for a few good donors willing to cough up $300,000 by Aug. 15 to earn the distinction of becoming a "Super Ranger."

There was some debate whether to designate these donors as Fabulous Rangers rather than Super Rangers, but in the end Rove lost out, and they stuck with Super.
The Bushwacked Club

Monday, May 17, 2004

Kerry LIVE Report

Just got back from the Kerry rally, and I'm happy to say it was well worth the trouble. We waited in line for over 2 hours. Security was pretty tight, but I guess that's a reality in the New W. Order. The biggest surprise to me was how many people were there. Granted this is Portland, but there were probably more people outside of the rally than there were inside. I'm not a good judge of crowds, but there were several thousand people in Pioneer Courthouse Square and the surrounding streets.

Dean was there, but he was a lot more toned down than I was hoping, but it was still cool to see him. Jim Rassmann, the former Green Beret and Oregonian that Kerry saved in Vietnam also spoke. It was pretty amazing to hear his story, how all the other boats went right by him, swimming to avoid bullets, and Kerry pulls back under enemy fire and saves his life.

Kerry's speech was great, albeit a standard stump speech. He hit all the key points, Iraq, economy, health-care, etc.. All this talk about Kerry not defining himself is total bullshit. Just because he doesn't have a detailed plan to fix every one of Bush's fuck ups, doesn't mean he's not defining himself. A return to responsible leadership was the message I got tonight.

Kerry's lack of media exposure has been the biggest problem, and that is mainly due to the fact the news is dominated with Bush's colossal failures. After seeing him tonight I'm not gonna worry too much. It is still only May and once the campaign really kicks in, Kerry will get his message across with no problem. And I'm sure the current "grownups" in charge will come through with a few more fuck ups that the American people aren't going to be able to ignore.

...Oh yeah, and he waved at my 4 month old son.
Kerry LIVE

Going to see the next President tonight in downtown Portland. Encourage all other local like minded individuals to attend as well. Will report back later.
Making Friends Fast II

From Iraq Dispatches:
Yesterday at 5:30pm I tried to approach U.S. soldiers who had sealed off the Abu Hanifa Mosque in Al-Adhamiya, Baghdad. Holding my press badge up in the air, in loud, clear English from about 50 feet away I yelled to a soldier sitting behind a machine gun on a Bradley, "I am press! May I please get a comment from one of you about what the goal of your operation is here?"

Before I finished that sentence a soldier standing near the armored vehicle pulled his M-16 to his shoulder and held me in his sights. With a wave of adrenaline I yelled, "I am press! I just want to get a comment from someone!"

Two soldiers gestured their heads "no" with their heads while another waved me away, all the while the soldier kept his gun trained on me.

Freedom of the press in the "New Iraq."

I recently discovered a blog by Dahr Jamail of The New Standard. He's blogging from inside Iraq, and is a pretty good way to good way to get a glimpse at the brutality of the occupation, I mean liberation.
Making Friends Fast
Bomb Kills Head of Iraq Governing Council

I'm sure it will be confirmed that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi personally carried out the suicide bombing only to resurface once again...

Sunday, May 16, 2004

New Zogby Poll

Rush's favorite poll is out again, and it doesn't look good for Bush. The Blue State/Red State comparison is the most promising.

In the Blues States, those that were won by former Vice-President Al Gore in the 2000 presidential election, Kerry receives 49.1% of support, as compared to Bush with 38.4%. In Red States Kerry and Bush are in a statistically tie with 45% a piece. The results here are reflective of a polarized and partisan electorate.