Whenever I'm feeling a bit under the weather, a hearty laugh always makes me feel just a bit better. Right now, I've got a fever... and the only remedy is more cowbell!
Saturday, January 6, 2007
Friday, January 5, 2007
As reported earlier, Pat Robertson, the wing-nut extraordinaire, is predicting Armageddon is on the way for '07 after having a conversation with God. Right-wing Watch has the full transcript. Here is the video:
Janie is sick (wish her well!) and I'm swamped and away from my PC for most of the day.
* Dem Leaders to Bush: Don’t Surge
*Texas Boy Hangs Self; Mimicking Saddam Hussein's Execution
*Ghost Riding: The dangers of this new trend (CNN Video)
*Newsweek: Warming leaves polar bears on thin ice
*The best, worst and weirdest car names
McAuliffe criticizes the 2004 campaign that he was responsible for defending but ultimately lost to what he describes as a more organized Republican machine. McAuliffe calls the Kerry campaign gun-shy, distracted and incompetent.Kerry is no doubt an easy target for the right (and left) to attack. However, the right's obsession with Kerry is approaching some sort of clinical manifestation of a mental disorder.
McAuliffe said Kerry's camp was so afraid of offending swing voters that it didn't defend his record or criticize Bush. He said he was muzzled by Kerry's aides from assailing Bush's military record.
When Bush said in an interview on the first day that he didn't think the U.S. could win the war on terror, Kerry did not respond. The Massachusetts senator was windsurfing off Nantucket, unaware of the president's comments.
McAuliffe said he was "flabbergasted" to learn after the election that Kerry had $15 million left that he could have spent in the final push. "It was gross incompetence to hoard that money when the race was bound to be so close," McAuliffe said.
Now, I admit I am sick and tired of the Kerry bashing (if you couldn't tell), but it's still refreshing to know that Democrats are not afraid to criticize their own. The right believes this is an imbalance or in-fighting. The right is not accustomed to dissent within the ranks. They get their talking-points and their little troopers/sheeple fall in line.
On the contrary, the left and their large tent allows for a wider range of opinions and stances. With that, the left is tolerant to dissent within ranks. This is just another example of why it's great to be Democrat, a leftist, a liberal, and a progressive. Digby sums it up nicely:
"I am a liberal because it is the political philosophy of freedom and equality. And I am a progressive because it is the political path to a better future. And I am a Democrat because it is the political party that believes in freedom, equality and progress."
Thursday, January 4, 2007
President Bush announced today that Retired Vice Admiral John "Mike" McConnell will be replacing John Negroponte as Director of National Intelligence.
McConnell, who served under both Bush 41 and Clinton as the head of the NSA, left politics in 1996 to become a Vice President of Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc., "a prominent defense and intelligence consulting and engineering firm."
During the summer of 2006, The New York Times reported on an "international financial surveillance program" run by the Bush Administration, referred to as "TFTP" (Terrorist Finance Tracking Program) in which the United States received banking information through SWIFT, "a worldwide financial messaging network by which messages concerning financial transactions are exchanged among banks and other financial institutions."
According to Wikipedia:
"A series of articles published on June 23, 2006, by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Los Angeles Times revealed that the Treasury Department and the CIA, United States government agencies, had a program to access the SWIFT transaction database after the September 11th attacks called the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program. The Belgian government said in September 2006, that the SWIFT dealings with the US government authorities were in breach with Belgian and European privacy laws."
After an international outcry, the United States government hired an outside contractor to monitor the transactions and to ensure that the access to SWIFT was not abused.
And who exactly was the contractor hired to monitor for abuse? McConnell's very own Booz Allen Hamilton.
And Republicans wonder why Affirmative Action is still necessary.
When discussing how Bush and Pelsoi will work togther, White House spokesman Tony Fratto said Pelosi will be considered "an equal leader in government", and that "There are no questions of whether they sit and talk as equals," adding, "I think it's impressive that no one has any questions of whether they can work together regardless of gender." (H/T CNN)
Why in the world would anyone question whether a man and woman can work together? Where does this Fratto come from? 1952?
This type of thinking does not bode well for a nation that is supposed to pride itself on its equality. No wonder we haven't had a female president to date - there are still assholes like Fratto wondering if men and women can work together.
As a new day dawns on the United States, brought with it is a fresh start, and on this particular day comes a fresh start for America.
Welcome back to oversight.
Welcome back to investigations.
Welcome back to checks and balances.
Democracy is a wonderful thing, and it's on a day like to today that you can feel the ultimate pride of living in such a wonderful system.
Here's to the end of Bush 43's unfettered rule, and to living in a one-party system for 6 long, painful years!
Sorry for the back-to-back posts regarding the mail. This was not intentional.
The unhinged right are always on the lookout for some feeble and desperate attempt to slam John Kerry. Lois Roman over at the WaPo scrapes the bottom of the barrel for this failed attempt:
A Complex GreetingWhat's wrong, Lois? Have you lived too long in the digital age that mailing an envelope is too "complex" for you and not "simple"? Are you angry that a fellow American believes in recycling? Lois is obviously suffering from Kerry Derangement Syndrome or possibly the broader disease of Democratic Derangement Syndrome. Nonetheless, the unhinged right can always be counted on for a laugh and self-mockery. Thanks, Lois! Cheers to the 110th Congress' first day on the job!!
Nothing is ever simple when it comes to John Kerry.
The senator from Massachusetts and his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, sent out 75,000 Christmas cards with pictures of trees at each season. The Kerrys gushed over their "gratitude for the beauty of these trees and the life they represent."
But it didn't end there.
The card came in an odd-looking envelope, one of those with a return-mail flap and instructions to send it to . . . well, to a recycling company, so "it can be made into new carpet tile."
We want a "world without waste . . . where every product either returns safely to the soil or becomes a new product."
So the card instructs: "1. Remove this panel and insert it along with the card into the envelope. 2. Expose adhesive strip and fold the flap over to seal the envelope. 3. Drop this mailer into any U.S. mailbox."
Who else would send a Christmas card with a to-do list?
Experts said the new powers could be easily abused and used to vacuum up large amounts of mail. The legislation in question, the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, is mostly mundane, but as the New York Daily News noted, it also explicitly reinforced protections of first-class mail from searches without a court’s approval. Bush's...signing statement said he’d ignore the privacy provisions under “exigent circumstances.” That could refer to an imminent danger, or it could refer to “a longstanding state of emergency.”Once again, Bush has pushed the limits of the executive branch. I do not understand how any American could support such behavior. A nearly completely incompetent man now was the right to read our mail. This is truly disgusting and frightening.
Since 2003, Bush and the Republican-led Congress have cut funding for the National Cancer Institute (NCI), a branch of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), by 12%. But, Joe Finkelstein writes, "the NIH will have friends in high places when Democrats take over control the House and Senate...but how generous lawmakers can be is unclear with tight budgets curbing spending for the near future. From the latest issue of the JNCI:
After a 5-year period when the budget doubled, funding for the institutes has foundered for the past few years under a Republican-controlled Congress. What small increases the NIH has seen have been largely wiped out by government-wide budget cuts and the rising cost of research. When the 110th Congress convenes in January, the new Democratic leadership is expected to shift the legislative agenda and funding priorities. They are also expected to take up NIH reauthorization legislation, which would bump up the budget goals and probably include provisions designed to encourage cross-institute collaboration.If you do not have access to The Journal, click here for the PDF File.
Wednesday, January 3, 2007
Today, Pentagon officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, stated the U.S. will send a second aircraft carrier group to the Gulf, "as a warning to Syria and Iran and to give commanders more flexibility in the region" (Comment: "flexibility" to do what??) .
Specifically, the USS John C. Stennis strike group would deploy this month to join the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier group. The move would put 5,000 more U.S. sailors in the region, bringing the total to 16,000.
Anyone else think this is a bit of a suspicious move? Rumors of this deployment have been circulating for the last few months even prior to Bush's latest "surge". We'll see what "The Decider" has in store for our servicemen and -women at sea.
As most of you have already heard, George Bush wrote an Op-Ed that was featured in today's Wall Street Journal discussing his desire for bipartisanship with the 110th Congress.
However, what was published was not his first submission. TPT has obtained a copy of the original:
Click on image to enlarge
In the upcoming issue of "Vanity Fair", St. McCain shows in an interview just how far he's willing to go to pander to the base Bush is leaving behind.
The so-called "moderate" Senator uses the interview to refer to the "New York Times" as "communist paper." But after failing to keep his promise about the outcome of the 2006 election, who can really believe this nut job anymore?
Evangelical broadcaster Pat Robertson said Tuesday that God has told him that a terrorist attack on the United States would cause a "mass killing" late in 2007.
"The Lord didn't say nuclear. But I do believe it will be something like that. Robertson said God told him about the impending tragedy during a recent prayer retreat. God also said, he claims, that major cities and possibly millions of people will be affected by the attack, which should take place sometime after September."I would like to file this under "political comedy", but sadly this is "reality"...well, at least for one person this is reality.
Tuesday, January 2, 2007
For over 200 years, the nation's capital has faced "taxation without representation", an ideal that spurred our founding fathers to seperate from England and create a nation where every citizen has a say in how their tax dollars are spent. DC residents have paid taxes, fought in wars, abided by national laws, and served as the seat of our federal government for over two centuries without having a say in how this government was run.
Finally, after 200+ years, the US House of Representatives might be expanding to include the voices of our capital's residents.
"The turning point in this long battle for enfranchisement may be an unlikely partnership with the people of Utah.
The new Democratic majority is expected to take up a bill in the first months of the new Congress that would increase the voting membership of the House from 435 to 437, giving new vote each to Utah, a Republican stronghold, and the District of Columbia, dominated by Democrats.
The bill is backed by incoming Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Rep. John Conyers, the next chairman of the House Judiciary Committee that will be responsible for moving it.
Prospects are also good in the Senate. Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, who calls himself an independent Democrat, will chair the committee of jurisdiction there. Lieberman is a leading supporter of the measure, and Utah's two Republican senators have endorsed it as well."
It's about damn time!
Now, I admit that I'm on the fence when it was comes to the casual factors associated with Global Warming/Climate Change. As a scientist, it is my job to carefully and responsibly dissect scientific data. In fact, that is the general job description of ANY scientist. This is not the job description of politicians, pundits, wing-nuts, and every other hack that wants to pretend to have a working knowledge of the scientific method.
So, with that stated, my view of Global Warming/Climate Change is still one of speculation. I agree that we are witnessing a worldwide phenomena. However, I believe we do not have enough data to make a causal link between man-made factors to the endpoint of Global Warming/Climate Change. Obviously, additional research is still required and of course we need more time to study the possible relationships.
Scientists, particularly epidemiologists, use the Bradford-Hill criteria to assess causation. The criteria include many important measures, which are certainly important for the issue of Global Warming Climate Change, including plausibility, strength of association, alternate explanations, consistency of the evidence, and temporality.
The last point, "temporality", is in bold because it is a critical point to the issue of Global Warming/Climate Change. Hence, more time is required because we know the planet is cyclic when it comes to climate change. Plus, if we can intervene and reverse this course of climate change, this adds to the body of evidence and provides more data to suggest causation. In short, there is not enough proof to suggest OR refute man's impact on Global Warming/Climate Change. However, there appears to be a substantial association (Please note that causation and association are two different concepts).
Right here I could go on to a long tangential rant about multifactorality (i.e. multiple factors contributing to an endpoint), but I'll save that for a later date.Today, yet another wanna-be scientist attempts to refute Global Warming/Climate Change. This time it's from NBC's Willard Scott....you know, part of the "liberal media" NBC. H/T to MMFA
Now, I'm not belittling the field of meteorology. But, "weathermen" like Scott are not performing hypothesis-driven experiments or studies. Scott is using an observation to refute another observation. This is analogous to stating "the world is flat" because it looks that way from our perspective.....classic wing-nutism.
"Send 500,000 impeachment letters to Pelosi by her first day as speaker Jan. 3.Flashback: Impeachment proceedings of Nixon:
While arguing about whether we should demand impeachment [of Bush]...there [has] to be a "groundswell of support" like there was for the impeachment of Nixon and cited this article:""More than 50,000 telegrams poured in on Capitol Hill today, so many, Western Union was swamped. Most of them demanded impeaching Mr. Nixon." ~John Chancellor, NBC News on a Special Report on October 20, 1973.
Steve Martin may just be my favorite comedian of all time, and he never ceases to make me laugh. Martin currently has a piece on the execution of Saddam Hussein over at the Huffington Post.
"Your loyalty to family is rare in our times. When your half-brother was assassinated, Oh how we wept for you, thinking, what a terrible accident this assassination is. My Saddam, I wish we had more time with you, to find out what makes you tick, tick, tick. How your golden toilet seat will miss you!
You loved to laugh! Not many people know how to do that anymore. Real laughter doesn't come from sit-coms and comedians, real laughter comes when someone bows before you, accidentally stumbles, and then is beheaded. Especially on a staircase. Heads will roll, ha ha! Oh Saddam, if I had you back for just one moment, I would ask, if you could shoot just one person in the back of the head, who would it be? I wish it were me!"
You can read the rest here.
Instead of admitting he was wrong and that Iraq is a complete disaster, Bush is planning to pour more fuel on the fire and is planning to send more troops to Iraq. The BBC was told by a senior administration source that Bush is planning to give a speech setting out changes in his Iraq policy. The speech is likely to come in the middle of next week. From the BBC.
US President George W Bush intends to reveal a new Iraq strategy within days, the BBC has learnt.As usual, Bush is not listening to the will of the people and more importantly the will of our own troops!
The speech will reveal a plan to send more US troops to Iraq to focus on ways of bringing greater security, rather than training Iraqi forces.
Its [the speech] central theme will be sacrifice.
The speech, the BBC has been told, involves increasing troop numbers.
The exact mission of the extra troops in Iraq is still under discussion, according to officials, but it is likely to focus on providing security rather than training Iraqi forces.
Remember Gen. Eric Shinseki? The General that, before the Iraq war began, said the US would need "something in the order of several hundred thousand soldiers" to win? The General whose authority was undercut and who was pushed out shortly after making that comment?
Well, it looks like General Shinseki wasn't the final casualty in the "War on Truth".
From the "New York Times":
"The original plan, championed by Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the top commander in Baghdad, and backed by Donald H. Rumsfeld, then the defense secretary, called for turning over responsibility for security to the Iraqis, shrinking the number of American bases and beginning the gradual withdrawal of American troops. But the plan collided with Iraq’s ferocious unraveling, which took most of Mr. Bush’s war council by surprise...
Over the past 12 months, as optimism collided with reality, Mr. Bush increasingly found himself uneasy with General Casey’s strategy. And now, as the image of Saddam Hussein at the gallows recedes, Mr. Bush seems all but certain not only to reverse the strategy that General Casey championed, but also to accelerate the general’s departure from Iraq, according to senior military officials.
General Casey repeatedly argued that his plan offered the best prospect for reducing the perception that the United States remained an occupier — and it was a path he thought matched Mr. Bush’s wishes."
Apparently, the only thing that can get you fired from the Bush Administration (without a medal of freedom, of course) is telling the truth.
In July, Bush stated:
"General Casey will make the decisions as to how many troops we have there. He'll decide how best to achieve victory and the troop levels necessary to do so. I've spent a lot of time talking to him about troop levels. And I've told him this: I said, 'You decide, General.' "
According to an interview published in today's "New York Times", Casey said, "It’s always been my view that a heavy and sustained American military presence was not going to solve the problems in Iraq over the long term."
Now that Casey isn't in lockstep with the direction Bush wants to take, and feels that adding more troops would make the U.S. look like an occupier (i.e., "the truth"), his "departure from Iraq" has been accelerated.
Casey will follow in the footsteps of General Shinseki now that he has told the truth not only to the Bush Administration, but to the world. Bush on the other hand, remains content with lying to the American people and trying to cover up his own mistakes by sacrificing the lives and careers others.
Here's to General Casey: the latest victim in Bush's "War on Truth."
Monday, January 1, 2007
This bowl may be the Granddaddy of Them All -- USC is facing Michigan in it for the eighth time -- but both teams would much rather be playing a week later in the BCS title game against Ohio State.
The Trojans (10-2) were in position to do just that after a win over Notre Dame bumped them past Michigan (11-1) for the No. 2 spot in the BCS standings. A stunning 13-9 loss to unranked UCLA the following week, however, closed USC's regular season and ended its hopes of reaching a third straight BCS title game.
USC has a 21-9 record at the Rose Bowl, including 5-2 against Michigan, despite losing there to Texas in last season's national championship game. The Wolverines are 8-11 in this bowl, including losses in their last two appearances.
"The day will never come in my lifetime where there'll be a disappointment in playing in the great tradition of the Rose Bowl, where every kid in the country will be watching and cheering for somebody," Carr said. "It's been a special team, a special year. We'd like to win one."
Rose Bowl (8) USC 5:00pm (3) Michigan ET
The song was originally released by Seger in 1973 on his Back in '72 album. Seger's version never made the charts, but an evocative live performance on his 1976 Live Bullet album became a mainstay of album-oriented rock radio stations, and still gets significant airplay to this day on classic rock stations. He revealed at his concert in Milwaukee, Wisconsin durring his 2006 tour that he had written the song in a hotel room in Eau Claire Wisconsin.
"Turn the Page" is about the emotional and social ups and downs of a rock musician's life on the road, against a slow tempo and a mournful saxophone part. It is generally considered one of the best of many such songs, on a par with Jackson Browne's "Load Out/Stay" and Journey's "Faithfully".
Another terrorist attack, a warmer planet, death and destruction from a natural disaster. These are among Americans' grim predictions for the United States in 2007.
Only a minority of people think the U.S. will go to war with Iran or North Korea over those countries' nuclear ambitions. An overwhelming majority of those surveyed think Congress will raise the federal minimum wage. One-third see hope for a cure to cancer.
These are among the findings of an Associated Press-AOL News poll that asked people in the U.S. to contemplate what 2007 holds for the country.
Among other predictions for the U.S. in 2007:
35 percent predict the military draft will be reinstated.
35 percent predict a cure for cancer will be found.
25 percent anticipate the second coming of Jesus Christ.
19 percent think scientists are likely to find evidence of extraterrestrial life.
Sunday, December 31, 2006
Here are 2006's top 10 stories as chosen by US editors and news directors in the Associated Press's annual vote:
1. Iraq The war deteriorated into a dismayingly complex and savage struggle, with Iraqis by the thousands killed in sectarian reprisal attacks and the US military's death toll nearing 3,000.
2. US elections Unhappiness with events in Iraq was one of the driving forces behind the Democrats' surge in the Nov. 7 election. They took over the House with a large majority and gained a narrow edge in the Senate .
3. Nuclear standoffs The United States and its allies were frustrated in their efforts to rein in nuclear programs in North Korea and Iran.
4. Illegal immigration Congress tried to confront the influx of illegal immigrants from Latin America, but the effort collapsed amid deep divisions over whether to stress a crackdown or include provisions to help some illegal immigrants work toward citizenship.
5. Scandals in Congress Several GOP lawmakers were brought down by scandals: Mark Foley, Randy Cunningham, Tom DeLay, and Bob Ney.
6. Hussein trial Saddam Hussein was convicted in the slaying of 148 Shi'ite Muslims and was sentenced to death by hanging.
7. Mideast Israel and the Lebanon-based Hezbollah militia fought a monthlong war in the summer; more than 900 people were killed.
7. Rumsfeld A day after the midterm elections, President Bush announced the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.
9. Airliner plot British authorities said they narrowly thwarted a terrorist plot to bomb several jets over the Atlantic.
10. Darfur Violence worsened in Sudan's Darfur region, where the fighting between rebels and government forces has killed more than 200,000 people.
U.S. death toll in Iraq seen spurring anti-war protests
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of U.S. military deaths in Iraq has reached 3,000 since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, an authoritative Web site tracking war deaths said on Sunday.
The milestone comes as President George W. Bush weighs options, including more troops, for the deteriorating situation in Iraq, where daily violence plagues Baghdad and much of the country and has killed tens of thousands of Iraqis.
The Web site, www.icasualties.org, listed the death of Spec. Dustin R. Donica, 22, on December 28 as previously unreported, and said that 3,000 U.S. military personnel had now died.
In Kansas City, they will light candles and lay out more than 80 pairs of empty combat boots. In Chicago, anti-war activists will hand out black ribbons, each bearing the name of a U.S. soldier killed in Iraq.
And in New Haven, Connecticut, opponents of the war plan to read aloud the names of 3,000 dead U.S. soldiers.
In all, organizers say some 140 demonstrations in 37 states are planned to mark the 3,000th U.S. military death in Iraq, a milestone that is likely only days away. By Thursday, some 2,989 U.S. troops had died in Iraq since the start of the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003. Tens of thousands of Iraqis have been killed in the unrelenting violence.
Among those keeping track of the U.S. death toll, including soldiers' families, peace activists, politicians, veterans and others, many say they will commemorate the 3,0000 mark as both a way to honor the dead and demand an end to the war.
"This horrific and tragic milestone allows us to remind this country of the daily unending human toll of a war that didn't have to happen," said Nancy Lessin, who co-founded Military Families Speak Out after her stepson was called to serve with the Marines in Iraq.
"When we reach the 3,000 mark, it is 3,000 too many."
The Military Times released a new poll yesterday of 6,000 active duty U.S. military personnel. The results were revealing. Some highlights:
– Only 35 percent said they approve of the way President Bush is handling the war, while 42 percent said they disapproved.H/T to Think Progress.
– 50 percent believe success in Iraq is likely, down from 83 percent in 2004.
– 38 percent believe the United States should send more troops to Iraq. 39 percent believe we should maintain current levels or reduce the number of troops, including 13 percent who support complete withdrawal.
– 72 percent believe the military is “stretched too thin to be effective.”
– 47 percent disagree with President Bush’s mantra that the war in Iraq is part of the war against terrorism, while the same percentage agree.
– Only 41 percent of the military said the U.S. should have gone to war in Iraq in the first place, down from 65 percent in 2003. That closely reflects the beliefs of the general population today — 45 percent agreed in a recent USA Today/Gallup poll.
– 52 percent approve of the overall job President Bush is doing, down from 71 percent in 2004.
– 63 percent say the senior military leadership has the best interests of the troops at heart. That number is lower from President Bush (48 percent) and lower still for civilian military leadership (32 percent) and Congress (23 percent).