Saturday, December 31, 2005

Blithering Idiocy at CNN

Joe Klein a fool? His recent hire removes all doubt.

CNN signs Bill Bennett as an analyst.

Bill Bennett's main fall from grace is his stunningly voracious gambling --his quasi-racist recent comment is just icing on the cake.

The Abramoff scandal, repeatedly called the largest corruption case in DC in decades, involves to a great extent Indian tribes and casinos.

One thing that Dems should point out is the hypocrisy of Christtian conservatives like Ralph Reed supporting gambling by lobbying for these groups. I'm sure there are other aspects of casino gambling that will be important too.

Of course, personal relations among those on the panel with Bennett will likely mute those comments.

So CNN will cripple itself in covering one of the great corruption scandals in history.


Friday, December 30, 2005

Daily Kos: Scared

Daily Kos: Scared:

If we are relying on George W. Bush to protect the US, then God help us.

I won't rely on him to protect the United States.

Protecting his poll numbers? He'll try to do that.

Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal: More High-Quality Thought From National Review's Electronic Archives

Did you know that in the pages of National Review Martin Luther King was a really lousy public speaker?

True, dat.

And they haven't improved by picking up Jonah Goldberg.

Carrying on the distinguished history.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Public Domain Movie Torrents has scores of movies for download via Bit Torrent. For those so inclined, they offer alternate rendering formatted for Ipod or other handhelds, as well as standard renderings (Mainly Divx).

I can't vouch that every movie there is public domain, but the ones I checked apparently are. A few movies not from the early part of the century are included, and I'm sure many of them have interesting reasons for being Public Domain (like Plan 9 from Outer Space or Night of the Living Dead). has quite a few movies no longer under copyright control, too -- including many of these. But the highly seeded torrents here can give you a pretty impressive download speed.

To give you an idea of the selection, here are the ten top seeded films at


The site holds many more movies, too. There are many good movies there, a lot of schlocky kitch, and a few great movies,too--such as Metropolis and some of the Keaton movies.

For those who don't know about BitTorrent technology, find out about it here. You're realling missing something if you don't have it, particularly if you're on broadband. My current preferred client, for what it's worth, is Azureus.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Does This Thing Still Work?

"Hey, Ahmad, maybe you could get the United States to invade Iraq to restore democracy."

Seen Here

Friday, December 16, 2005

War on Jews?

Wow, this seems pretty blatant to me:

During the debate, Democratic members asked the Republican author of the resolution, Rep. Jo Ann Davis (R-VA), if she would permit the symbols of Chanukah and other holidays to be included in the protection of the resolution -- and she refused.

Protect Christmas, which is not actually under attack, and refuse to protect Chanukah.

You Jews are on your own. Watch your crystal.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Scissors, pocket knives, clippers -- OK by me

Since republicans seem to paint Democrats as crazy inhuman idiots, I figure I should occasionally point out that the caricature they paint of us is idiotic.

I have no problem with small scissors, pocket knives, and clippers being allowed on planes. I have lost at least a couple well-loved pocket knives to TSA screening at airports.

Plan to Allow Scissors on Planes Opposed

Not by me! I don't oppose these things being brought on board, and I'm about as strong a Democrat as can be imagined.

I'd prefer they were scanning checked baggage more thoroughly, if all things were equal. But the pilot door is strengthened now, so a Swiss Army Knife isn't about to break through it and kill the plane's captain.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Bullshit, Rinse, Repeat

Bush Speaks:
Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the Battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country.
The Battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September the 11th, 2001, and still goes on.
The liberation of Iraq is a crucial advance in the campaign against terror. We have removed an ally of al-Qaida, and cut off a source of terrorist funding. And this much is certain: No terrorist network will gain weapons of mass destruction from the Iraqi regime, because the regime is no more.

Yeah, those excerpts are from the disastrous "Mission Accomplished" speech of May 2, 2003. The whole tawdry text is worth rereading, particularly in light of his horseshit speech today.

Update: Uggabugga takes a closer look at the nothingness in the heart of Bush's "victory" document. Nothingness is being kind: Horseshit is more like it.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Marc Maron and Morning Sedition are Ending It

I hoped this would not happen, but Air America Radio is ending Morning Sedition. Marc Maron just announced that Dec 15 will be his last day.

Air America Radio has offered him an evening slot "in Los Angeles" (they're still negotiating so questions like "would that be national but broadcasting from LA?" are unanswerable: Marc did say such a show may be syndicated elsewhere later in the evening or perhaps on weekends). Mark Reilly stays -- his show will be from 5-7 a.m. eastern time, and Rachel Maddow will take over from 7-9 a.m.

That's really too bad. Maron, who I liked pretty well as a standup, really came alive as a radio voice . The scripted bits were hilarious and his unscripted patter was striking, thoughtful and often guffaw-inducing. Funny but not idiotic stuff for early mornings.

I have to largely agree with the WFMU blog (they did two good posts: one, and two about Air America's schedule). AAR is changing to all-earnest and mostly boring all the time. I can't stomach Randi Rhodes' mainly mindless screeds. Jerry Springer sounds lke he's lecturing second graders--and putting them to sleep. Al Franken more and more drifts into civics lessons and dull-as-dust Goo-goo features. I like Sam Seder fine but Janeane Garofalo (who spends lots of time making useless blanket pseudo-psychiatric pronouncements about conservatives) makes me hit the off button. (I often like her in other contexts but not in political commentary and especially not on her radio show).

Ok, Franken has a big name, and all the others have their followings I'm sure. But to keep all those people who either make me snore or wretch, yet get rid of what I find a really funny and insightful stretch of radio indicates I'm not the listener they're looking for--and I'm a firm Democcrat and pretty liberal. If they are losing me then, well ... I just hope their current market research is better than their startup business plan.

There's really no reason for me to listen to AAR anymore. Virtually all the news and commentary on AAR I get days or hours earlier from the bigtime media or blogs. There are few moments when anyone there is saying something new to me or in a compelling or original manner.

Preaching to the choir is fine but don't all use the exact same friggin arrangements and please vary the tempo a little bit.

I wish AAR well. I'll probably sample them now and then but I hope to God they get their act together. If they think they're gonna take on rightwing clowns like Limbaugh with a snoozefest, they're insane. When I was in radio wasteland recently I actually tuned in to Limbaugh a little (he was on at least four separate radio stations I could receive at the same location in central Pennsylvania!) and while I didn't enjoy him, I listened for a bit and didn't reflexively turn off the radio like I do when I hear Springer, Rhodes, or Janeane. The guy's a radio entertainer, even though he's full of shit. AAR should at least have learned the lesson by this time that radio needs to entertain -- and started by canning Springer.

(Yes I did write AAR about this, as did many others. Didn't work. )

Bullshitting Us Into a War of Choice

Jacob Weisberg
Powell's old colleagues now defend themselves by saying they didn't know their claims about Iraq weren't true. But the truth is most of them didn't care whether their assertions were true or not, and they still don't.
Mark Schmitt:
The President could have been given every bit of intelligence information available, and he and/or Cheney would have reached the same decision because they would have discarded, discounted, or disregarded most of it. Information that was Useful to that goal was put in one box, Not Useful put in another. Entire categories of information were assigned to the Not Useful box because their source was deemed an opponent of U.S. military action, or assumed to have some other motive.
Harry Frankfurt on Bullshit:
It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullshit requires no such conviction. A person who lies is thereby responding to the truth, and he is to that extent respectful of it. When an honest man speaks, he says only what he believes to be true; and for the liar, it is correspondingly indispensable that he considers his statements to be false. For the bullshitter, however, all these bets are off: he is neither on the side of the true nor on the side of the false. His eye is not on the facts at all, as the eyes of the honest man and of the liar are, except insofar as they may be pertinent to his interest in getting away with what he says. He does not care whether the things he says describe reality correctly. He just picks them out, or makes them up, to suit his purpose.
The Bush Adminstration:
The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."
Well, not quite all of us. The thousands of Americans and tens of thousand of Iraqis who have died won't get a chance to study anything.

Finally, Juan Cole:
Let me finish with a word to W. As for your legacy two decades from now, George, let me clue you in on something--as a historian. In 20 years no Iraqis will have you on their minds one way or another. Do you think anyone in Egypt or Israel is still grateful to Jimmy Carter for helping bring to an end the cycle of Egyptian-Israeli wars? Jimmy Carter powerfully affected the destinies of all Egyptians and Israelis in that key way. Most people in both countries have probably never heard of him, and certainly no one talks about the first Camp David Accords anymore except as a dry historical subject. The US pro-Israel lobby is so ungrateful that they curse Carter roundly for all the help he gave Israel. Human beings don't have good memories for these things, which is why we have to have professional historians, a handful of people who are obsessed with the subject. And I guarantee you, George, that historians are going to be unkind to you. You went into a major war over a non-existent nuclear weapons program. Presidents' reputations don't survive things like that. Historians are creatures of documents and precision. A wild exaggeration with serious consequences is against everything they stand for as a profession. So forget about history and destiny and the divine will. You are at the helm of the Exxon Valdez and it is headed for the shoals. You can't afford to daydream about future decades.
Worst President ever? It's very likely.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Titles of Bob Shrum's Book

Oliver Willis » Contest: Guess The Title Of Bob Shrum’s Book

I wrote a few.

Disobeying the President's Orders

Digby has been on a great tear today responding to the perfidy of Woodward. He's really nailed it -- the DC faux-journalist class is a set of courtiers to the Bush administration.

One thing I haven't seen noted by anyone (though I'd say someone has indeed pointed it out) is that this Senior Adminstration Official or White House Official who implicated Woodward did so just recently-- in the past couple weeks.

This official came forward after two years of investigation, after the grand jury had closed, after indictments were handed down. In fact, they weren't fully forthcoming with the investigation despite Bush's orders.
"The president has always said that leaking classified information is a serious matter, and certainly no one wants to get to the bottom of this more than he does, so that we can find out the truth,'' McClellan said. "The president has said from early on that if anybody has information, they should come forward and share it with those who are leading this investigation.
Whoever this official was, they are at least subordinates who are insubordinate. They didn't do what Bush ordered them to do.

Who does that sound like?

Friday, November 04, 2005


He looks animatronic, she looks undead.

That is the picture as presented on Yahoo news. Link to the photo in context of the page is here.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Secrets of Jay Sekulow

Many of us are familiar with Jay Sekulow. He's a lawyer who goes on air to defend -- whether defensible or not -- the far reaches of the fringiest Christian legal faux-theory. has an interesting profile of Sekulow. Good quote:
"Some of us truly believed God told us to serve Jay," says one former employee, who requested anonymity out of fear of reprisal. "But not to help him live like Louis XIV. We are coming forward because we need to believe there is fairness in this world."
Man, these fundies are strange. And they pick strange bedfellows.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Bush's Endzone Dancing - Bush sets out to salvage 2nd term: "'This president doesn't dance in the end zone when things are good, doesn't throw in the towel when things are bad,' says Mark McKinnon, media director in Bush's presidential campaigns."

Bwahahah, that's really funny, McKinnon. Remember the ridiculous "mission accomplished" premature celebration that Bush did?

Bush waylaid an aircraft carrier, then waylaid a jet, was flown in the jet to the carrier where he had the seamen line up behind him for a photo op, and stood in front of a huge banner saying "Mission Accomplished."

That may be the largest "Dance in the end zone" in American political history.

And, of course, Iraq has really gone horribly since then, and Bush's reasons for invading Iraq have all proven false.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Libby's Bad Bets

Why do Libby's lies seem so stupid in retrospect?

I can guess at two reasons:

1) When he concocted his scheme he thought that Ashcroft would dispatch the Plame inquiry quickly.
2) He thought that reporters would hold firm and not reveal him as a source.

1) The Ashcroft Angle: Libby's initial lies to the FBI that led to the false statement charges were in October and November, 2003. From the press release accompanying the indictment:

The false statement charge in Count Two of the indictment alleges that Libby lied to FBI agents on October 14 and November 26, 2003, regarding the conversation with Russert on July 10, 2003. Count Three charges Libby with making false statements to FBI agents during the same FBI interviews in October and November 2003 relating to his July 12, 2003 conversation with Cooper.

Ashcroft's recusal came after those initial Libby lies, in late December 2003. I bet Libby wasn't happy when he found out that Ashcroft had recused himself.

2) The Journalist Backstop: Kevin Drum puts it well in this post. "Apparently Libby figured he'd never be caught out because the reporters would stay mum and go to jail on his behalf. He lost that bet."

So long Scooter. Let's hope "Official A" joins you soon.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Merry Fitzmas: It Speaks to All of us

Merry Fitzmas

I hate the commercialization of Fitzmas.

Years ago, Fitzmas didn't used to be about the money.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Miller, the Opposite of a Reporter

Jay Rosen has a good quick take on the Judith Miller Lie-A-Culpa:
"Miller cannot recall where the name at the center of the case came from? Wowzer. Sure to be the center of controversy over the next week. Claiming memory loss about the most important fact in the story is weak. Very.

Miller actually subtracts from public knowledge in this part, a feat. She introduces into the narrative a new “source” who must have been around to plant the name on her, and then promptly tells us she cannot remember anything about him. So we know less if we believe her." [emph. added]
"So we know less if we believe her." That's sterling work by a faux reporter!

I'm sure Rosen's more in depth followups will be worth reading.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Some Things You Can't Take Back

Let's hope Howard Fineman is right about the Conservative Crackup.

Everyone keep your eyes peeled and your recorders running: People will definitely say things they will regret later.


Monday, October 10, 2005

Serious As A Federal Indictment

Atrios wrote:
A few people wrote in to say that a little while ago on Hardball, Tweety and the gang were suddenly taking the whole Fitzgerald investigation very seriously. Anyone see it?
I think this segment of Hardball is repeated at 7 PM eastern. Guests in the opening segment about the Plame crimes were Howard Fineman of Newsweek, Michael wolff of Vanity Fair, and one of the authors of Bush's Brain (I believe).

They were certainly taking it seriously. Matthews, even. (Tweety had his usual adoration of the republicans by going out of his way to indicate that probably no crime had been committed (huh?). Recently he asked a guest if Fitzgerald understood how hardball politics is played, indicating that any crime involving national security is ok by Matthews so long as a republican is doing it. Matthews really is a horrible creature, and none to bright or detail-oriented.)

My favorite aspect of the show were several archival footage montages of Rove in different settings (walking with Bush, talking to the camera, in an office, etc.).

These are precisely the type of montages used on live news coverage when a public figure dies. This time, let's hope, it's a political death. Of course, Republicans resuscitate criminals to be either pundits (Oliver North, Gordon Liddy, Lawrence Kudlow, et al.) or within the administration (Eliot Abrams, anyone?).

I was pleased to see Rove in these "bye-bye" montages. Let's hope he is indicted.

Update: I thought of another aspect of Hardball that made it far better than the usual Tweety-fest. Matthews and David Shuster both pointed out how the White House slapback against Wilson (which dragged in Plame) was over the lies about Iraq's nukes. Matthews essentially held that the fear-mongering about Iraq's nonexistent nuclear capability was what pushed American public opinion over to support the invasion of Iraq.

If there were no fake story about Hussein with nukes, there would have been no Iraq war. That's why they started sliming Wilson-- to ensure their war. And that's a very strong case that the war was waged on knowingly false pretenses, not just "mistaken intel."

That point should be rammed home over and over. It is the moral abcess at the center of the Bush administration. And Americans have died due to this lie.

Matthews colored in a bit of that story in his Hardball show on Monday.

Firedoglake is a great stop for Plame-crime-related writing. They pointed out to me that Crooks and Liars has some of Monday's Hardball up for viewing online.

Well worth watching.

Bad People

Look at what William Kristol is saying. Think Progress has a great catch, and caps it with a plaintive call:

"The best way to stop the criminalization of politics is to get the criminals out of politics."

I think instead one should say "If you don't want criminals in politics, tell folks in your party not to talk about CIA agent's identities to reporters."

Bill Kristol has a point, just not the one he was trying to make.

Don't out CIA agents should be a firm rule. I hope it's a firm law.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

John M. Barry, Mr Synchronicity

Radio and TV bookers have had John M. Barry on speed dial in recent weeks.

The Katrina disaster got him on many media outlets and his book Rising Tide into reprint.

I saw him tonight speaking about his book The Great Influenza with Avian flu as the appropriate peg.

When I checked a couple hours ago, both books were in the 120s in Amazon's bestsellers list. Kudos to Mr. Barry for writing historical non-fiction that speaks to our day.

Oddly enough, another book he wrote is Ambition and Power, about the fall of former House Speaker Jim Wright.

What synchronicity. Tom Delay isn't speaker, but no one could seriously say he was less powerful than Denny Hastert.

John M. Barry, you have eerie powers.

Monday, October 03, 2005

The Mind of Harriet Miers

All you need to know about Harriet Miers, just appointed by Bush to a Supreme Court seat. From staunch Conservative David Frum:
"In the White House that hero worshipped the president, Miers was distinguished by the intensity of her zeal: She once told me that the president was the most brilliant man she had ever met. She served Bush well, but she is not the person to lead the court in new directions - or to stand up under the criticism that a conservative justice must expect"

It's cronyism squared. It's like nominating your puppy to a seat.

Or it's the "Michael Brown-ing" (Brown being "Drownie" of FEMA) of the entire Federal government. Apparatchiks everywhere.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Not the Combo He Was Going For

Bush, Cheney and Rove were not doubt looking to have Bush cast as a combination of Reagan and Teddy Roosevelt-- or something like that.

With the scandals creeping up the White House ranks, and with his so-called "malaise" speech, he's starting to look like another hybrid altogether: a combination of Nixon and Carter.

Maybe when the "declare victory and get out" of Iraq day finally comes, we can add LBJ. And, when the economy goes all to hell due to energy costs and Bush's mishandling, maybe Hoover too.

Christ, how much pain does the US have to go through for the greater glory of George W. Bush (aka Nixon + Carter)?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Dividing Line

There are a lot of dividing lines in the US. I suspect one dividing line in the death photos for porn is between those who are more upset about the porn versus those who are more upset about the necrophotographia.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Comrade, Celebrate the Party's Martyrs! or else....

Steven Clemons catches (and modifies just a bit), a voice mail that Commerce Department employees got encouraging them to march in the ironically named "Walk for Freedom."

And apparently the voicemail workd -- at least a bit:
"When I consulted with various members of the media who covered the so-called Freedom Walk that co-mingled a memorial to 9/11 victims with a rally for our actions in Iraq, they reported that many of those who attended the several-thousand person rally were "unenthusiastic civil servants" from the Labor, Commerce, and other Departments who were pressured to attend."

Apparatchiks unite!


Will they try to undercount the deaths due to the Hurricane? Maybe so.

Looks to me like the undercounting may have already started, and in a huge way:

From the Times-Picayune blog:

Lee reports on deaths in Jefferson
Friday, 10:05 p.m.

"Sheriff Harry Lee said Saturday night that the Jefferson Parish Coroner’s office had processed 152 bodies, but only 20 of those were deaths related to Hurricane Katrina. He said the coroner’s office was picking up bodies that are reported lying in the street and handling them to FEMA’s specifications. He also said that body count does not include bodies that may have been taken to the morgue in St. Gabriel. "

They've processed 152 bodies, but only less than 1/7 of those deaths are due to the Hurricane? Huh?

Does FEMA have standards for what counts as a "death due to Hurrican Katrina?" If so, what are those standards?

State, Local, Federal

Republicans and republican mouthpieces want to blame the local and state authorities for the response to Katrina. At least for this Democrat, I'm fine with that.

With the added caveat that follows: who is surprised when the notoriously clueless governments of Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana really screw things up? If they'd have done an exemplary job I'd have been more suprised.

But one expects the Feds to actually get things done, and they failed horribly.

And, of course, Bush's failures -- from hiring Republican hacks with no emergency experience for Fema jobs, to staying on vacation while people were dying -- were a big part of that failure.

Saturday, September 10, 2005


Macy Gray wearing a "Barack Obama 2008" tee shirt tonight on CNN.

I've been thinking about Barack Obama recently. And he's got some good things to say about the current situation.

That is the deeper shame of this past week - that it has taken a crisis like this one to awaken us to the great divide that continues to fester in our midst. That's what all Americans are truly ashamed about, and the fact that we're ashamed about it is a good sign. The fact that all of us - black, white, rich, poor, Republican, Democrat - don't like to see such a reflection of this country we love, tells me that the American people have better instincts and a broader heart than our current politics would indicate.
His whole statement is really nice.

Even worse than the 38 per cent

Quite a few have pointed out the 38 per cent approval rating Bush enjoys in the recent Newsweek poll

Just as important to me is the dawning realization among the public that Bush isn't much of a leader in a crisis:

More critical to President Bush—and the GOP’s future as the nation’s majority party: most Americans, 52 percent, say they do not trust the president “to make the right decisions during a domestic crisis” (45 percent do). The numbers are exactly the same when the subject is trust of the president to make the right decisions during an international crisis.
And, from the same poll:
Demonstrating the widespread havoc that Katrina has wrought on the president’s political fortunes—even far from issues of disaster response—for the first time in the four years since 9/11, more Americans disapprove of Bush’s handling of terrorism and homeland security than approve of it.
Remember, Bush was taking an extra long vacation (and avoiding meeting Cindy Sheehan) so he could make crisp decisions:
"I think the people want the president to be in a position to make good, crisp decisions and to stay healthy," he said when asked about bike riding while a grieving mom wanted to speak with him. "And part of my being is to be outside exercising."

I'd hate to see how horrible the Katrina aftermath would have been if his decisions hadn't been so damned crisp.

Karen Hughes Defines Her Job

Karen Hughes was appointed to help mend America's image abroad in spring. Showing how important this image-mending is to Bush, she was sworn in on Friday, mere months after her naming!

Also showing how skilled she will be in communicating with the world, she opens her tenure with this horseshit:
"The images of crime being committed in the face of an awful natural disaster is hard for anyone to understand, people around the world and Americans. It sickens me as an American," she said. "How could criminals prey on vulnerable elderly citizens and children during a time of such horror?"

I'm pretty sure she didn't check a single foreign public opinion poll about Katrina or even get an honest sampling of foreigners before saying that. I'm willing to bet that the looting was not the main thing that non-Americans will take away from the Katrina fiasco. Maybe massive poverty in the richest nation on the world would be noted above looting. Or third-world conditions in the first world. Or the suffering and death caused by the utter incompetence of this government.

One of those is probably top of the heap, since everyone knows the US is a violent nation and has its share of crime -- that's common knowledge and it's an idea exported via our popular culture. But Hollywood blockbusters don't generally depict utterly hopeless poverty and the existence of an ignored black underclass on the scale the world saw on CNN International.

However, to Karen Hughes reflexive Bush-promoting mind, looting at least isn't something Bush did directly, so it takes the focus off his pathetic failure.

If Karen Hughes is going to continue speaking solely to make Bush look good and not to communicate to the world at large in good faith, she is doomed to failure. Which is bad for the US. But probably not the worst failure of the Bush administration.

Also, whatcha wanna bet that she doesn't speak Arabic? What language does she speak, if any?

This little bit from her remarks indicates she probably isn't much of a linguist:

"I've got to tell you, it's impressive to be with Condi, when you're with the Russian officials, to hear her speak the Russian language"

Wow, an American who speaks one of those funny languages -- not just pidgin Spanish. It's so impressive!

Everything this Administration touches turns into a joke.

Bush's Baby

Don't forget that it wasn't just any federal agency that failed all those people along the Gulf Coast.

It was the Department of Homeland Security, created in secret by Andrew Card with input and ultimate authority of George Walker Bush.

Bush's baby. Bush's brainchild. A brand spanking new department designed and staffed (such as it is) by George W. Bush.

Bush: Massive undeniable failure.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Adminstration at Odds with itself.

Scott Mclellan claims he doesn't want anyone to play the "blame game."

Karl Rove and Dan Bartlett are doing nothing but "playing the blame game," blaming everyone but Bush for his failure.

Seems like that would warrant a few questions to McLellan and others.

What Was Said at that Photo Op?

Here's our pseudo-compassionate leader not listening to two human props for his photo op:

Bush strides up to two African American women, who are sisters. Hovering nearby is a white guy wearing shades and shorts.

With the cameras rolling, Bush hugs the two women, one of whom starts sobbing.

Here's a partial transcript:

Bush to women: 'There's a Salvation Army center that I want to, that I'll tell you where it is, and they'll get you some help. I'm sorry . . . They'll help you. . . . '

Woman 1: 'I came here looking for clothes. . . . '

Bush: 'They'll get you some clothes, at the Salvation Army center. . . . '

Woman 1: 'We don't have anything. . . . '

Bush: 'I understand. . . . Do you know where the center is, that I'm talking to you about?'

Guy with shades: 'There's no center there, sir, it's a truck.'

Bush: 'There's trucks?'

Guy: 'There's a school, a school about two miles away. . . . '

Bush: 'But isn't there a Salvation center down there?'

Guy: 'No that's wiped out. . . . '

Bush: 'A temporary center?'

Guy: 'No sir they've got a truck there, for food.'

Bush: 'That's what I'm saying, for food and water.'

Bush then turns to the woman who's been saying how she needs clothes and tells her: 'You need food and water.'"

I'll tell you what you need, even though I met you sixty seconds ago. I won't listen to what you say. You're a prop in my photo op.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Red Tape? - Cut the red tape, Lott says - Sep 5, 2005: "Sen. Trent Lott berated both the Federal Emergency Management Agency and his own state's emergency management, MEMA, for being mired in red tape at a time of urgent need given the devastation left by Hurricane Katrina."

Of course, even blaming red tape is blaming Bush and his FEMA. "Emergency management" means you have the red tape worked out before the emergency, or find means to overcome it quickly during the emergency.

Therefore, this is not due to red tape: it's just more of the atrocious planning and management we've come to expect from this administration. Incompetence, thy name is Bush.

Lake George

A fitting name for the shit and poison soup that is currently New Orleans. George diverted funds to Iraq from levees and other flood control for New Orleans.

Lake George it is.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Bush Luck

I've said it before but it's pertinent again.

A major American city evacuated and unihabitable for over a month? Thousands possibly dead?

George W. Bush is bad luck for the United States.

Of course, it's not just bad luck. Bush making a patronage pit of FEMA didn't help. Hunter at DailyKos sumarizes it well with his headline: Category 4 Hurricane Determined To Strike U.S.

And, for that reason, New Orleans needs help more than it would otherwise. So find a worthy charity and give.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Is that book Who's Who?

Josh Marshall finds Kaus making an interesting assertion.

So, is that book on the table Who's Who?

I don't know. This is the best image I could extract from the video:

I sure can't read the text, and I am not familiar enough with Who's Who to identify it at sight from a distance.

That's a promotional image of the current Who's Who from the publisher's website. Looks like a probable match to me. TV color is off, of course, and there may have been some design changes in the intervening years, but it looks probable.

Thursday, July 28, 2005


I always wondered why Atrios and others called Chris Matthews "Tweety".

Monday, July 18, 2005

Quick, Enemy of the Good

I see that Bush is planning on nominating someone to the Supreme Court more quickly than he intended. This is probably due, in part, to the flap over Karl Rover outing a CIA agent.

Hurring this process can't be such a great idea for Bush. I hope they have the same person vetting the justice nominee as they had checking up on Bernard Kerik.

And then they push the vettor to hurry up.

A Voice of the CIA

If you've wondered what a rank-and-file CIA person thinks of the Plame affair, you should stop in at, where ex-CIA agent Larry Johnson is a guest blogger. He currently has three posts up, and they're all informative both about the facts of this case and the larger issues of how Rove has hurt national security. The link above may not last long so I'll link to all three of his posts below, in reverse chronological order:
  1. Mr Bush, Have You No Shame?
  2. The Intelligence Challenge: Can We Trust Our President? [The meat of this post is a statement made in a Capital Hill hearing in October 2003 made by several people who worked with Plame at the CIA.]
  3. The Big Lie About Valerie Plame
He shoots down most of the Republican echo chamber talking points, including "Wilson said Cheney ordered him to go to Niger" [False.] "But Saddam was trying to buy uranium from Niger!" [False.] "Plame was the one who sent Wilson to Niger!" [False.].

In addition to Johnson's contributions to correcting falsehoods in Republican talking points, it's also helpful to get a feeling for how CIA agents past and present feel about the whole disgusting business. Not happy in the least.

Highly recommended in addition to your other Plame-related readings. And, to top it all off, he's a registered Republican.

Saturday, July 16, 2005


Uggabugga has a decent bumper sticker idea. But an anonymous commenter there has an even better one:

"Who do I have to blow to get a president impeached?"

Friday, July 01, 2005

What Crappy Idiots

One major thing wrong with the Iraq debacle was the utter incompetence of the Bush Administration, as evidenced by the nutcases they sent over there.

From a Larry Diamond OpEd, excerpted at TAPPED:

TAPPED: June 2005 Archives:
One young political appointee (a 24-year-old Ivy League graduate) argued that Iraq should not enshrine judicial review in its constitution because it might lead to the legalization of abortion.

Make sure to populate the US people in Iraq with those who think preventing abortion is the most important thing in the world.

Infuriating and idiotic.

Someone had a good putdown in reply, but a good retort doesn't make up for those dead and maimed due to idiocy like the above.

A much more senior Iraqi interlocutor (a widely experienced Iraqi-American lawyer) became so exasperated with the young man's audacity that he finally challenged him:

'You must have thoroughly studied the history of the British occupation of Iraq.'

'Yes, I did,' the young American replied proudly. 'I thought so,' said the Iraqi, 'because you seem determined to repeat every one of their mistakes.'

You can't trust these idiots to do anything important. Except, I guess, have an echo chamber that gets idiots elected.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Not Hard To Guess Who Said This

President Urges Patience on War:
"Why must we take this painful road? Why must this nation hazard its ease, its interest, and its power for the sake of a people so far away?

We fight because we must fight if we are to live in a world where every country can shape its own destiny, and only in such a world will our own freedom be finally secure.

This kind of world will never be built by bombs or bullets. Yet the infirmities of man are such that force must often precede reason and the waste of war, the works of peace.

We wish this were not so. But we must deal with the world as it is, if it is ever to be as we wish."

On a blog-related note, we're still here, but posting may be sparse for a bit.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Comparitive Morality

So the rightwingers believe that Amnesty International is biased against the US.

The Poor Man finds that others have made very similar complaints for having human rights complaints leveled at them -- sometimes even n vigorous language!-- by Amnesty.

And, yes, the US under Bush isn't as bad as Idi Amin and others on this list. But is "not as bad as the most horrible in history" really a position you want to retreat to? "Yes, we're moral lepers, but not as leprous as the worst to have trod the earth."

I can't be surprised by the moral positions taken by Bush supporters anymore. But it's worth noting how moral standards have slipped and moral relativism is rampant nowadays.

Derrida Bush.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

And On That Bombshell

Tonight BBC America begins to air I'm Alan Partridge, a hilarious sitcom featuring Steve Coogan's most famous creation, the failed chat-show host Alan Partridge.

In the sitcom he's working as an overnight DJ on Radio Norwich and attempting to get the BBC to renew his chat show (Knowing Me, Knowing You) for a second season. The first words of the first episode of the series are as follows, which Alan announces over the fadeout of a Joni Mitchell song:

"That was "big yellow taxi" by Joni Mitchell, a song in which joni complains that they paved Paradise to put up a parking lot, a measure which actually would have alleviated traffic congestion on the outskirts of Paradise, something which Joni singularly fails to point out, perhaps because it doesn't quite fit in with her blinkered view of the world."
Watch and enjoy, and thank the BBC.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

By Design

H. Allen Orr in the New Yorker writes a good piece on Intelligent Design, including this bit:
In 1999, a document from the Discovery Institute was posted, anonymously, on the Internet. This Wedge Document, as it came to be called, described not only the institute’s long-term goals but its strategies for accomplishing them. The document begins by labelling the idea that human beings are created in the image of God “one of the bedrock principles on which Western civilization was built.” It goes on to decry the catastrophic legacy of Darwin, Marx, and Freud—the alleged fathers of a “materialistic conception of reality” that eventually “infected virtually every area of our culture.” The mission of the Discovery Institute’s scientific wing is then spelled out: “nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies.” It seems fair to conclude that the Discovery Institute has set its sights a bit higher than, say, reconstructing the origins of the bacterial flagellum.

On so many fronts, this is the type of things we're up against. People with extreme agendas who are relentless in continuing to push for any crack they can to advance their cause. We think a stake was driven through the heart of an issue years or decades ago, but the retrograde groups take a new form, adopt new language and tactics, and keep pushing at every chink they can find. They're relentless and largely immune to reason. And they win a lot of battles, and may likely win some wars.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Jesusland's Air Force

You may recall that at the Air Force Academy, evangelical students and instructors are apparently harassing non-evangelicals. The Air Force ordered an investigation and a report.

Two prominent crtitics -- a Yale professor who documented harassment previously and a Academy alum who is Jewish, has a child currently attending, and who has reported harassment as well -- were not contacted during the investigation.

They really are intent on keeping the Air Force just for the red states it seems.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Crocodile Tears

Ken Layne on the Newsweek non-scandal:
"Beautiful: The White House just announced the total retraction was a “good first step.”

Ah, and Rumsfeld says “People need to be careful what they say, as well as careful what they do.” Thanks, you sociopathic bag of shit! I’ll keep that in mind!"
If the Pentagon had bothered to dispute the story when it was run by them before publication I'd have a harder time scoffing at this deplorable spectacle.

Layne nails quite a few aspects of this story, including the "crocodile tears shed by the Bush-apologist crowd."

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Unpopularity Contest

Actually, it's no contest. From Editor & Publisher
Gallup: Bush Approval Rating Lowest Ever for 2nd-Term Prez at this Point: "It's not uncommon to hear or read pundits referring to President George W. Bush as a 'popular' leader or even a 'very popular' one. Even some of his critics in the press refer to him this way. Perhaps they need to check the latest polls.

President Bush's approval rating has plunged to the lowest level of any president since World War II at this point in his second term, the Gallup Organization reported today.

All other presidents who served a second term had approval ratings well above 50% in the March following their election, Gallup reported.

Presidents Truman and Johnson had finished out the terms of their predecessors, and then won election on their own for a second term.

Bush's current rating is 45%. The next lowest was Reagan with 56% in March 1985.

More bad signs for the president: Gallup's survey now finds only 38% expressing satisfaction with the 'state of the country' while 59% are 'dissatisfied.' One in three Americans feel the economy is excellent or good, while the rest find it 'only fair' or poor. "
There's more at that page.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Santorum's Mind Gutters Again

A New York Times article about the upcoming nuclear showdown in the Senate includes the following paragraph, with the creepy Santorum quote emphasized by me:
At Center of Senate Showdown, a Boxer Takes On a Surgeon - New York Times: "Senator Rick Santorum, Republican of Pennsylvania, said Senate minorities had previously restrained themselves from using the filibuster to block nominees with majority support. 'Senator Reid has refused to do that,' Mr. Santorum said. 'Now we are forced to do something that societies often do when people can't control their desires. We have to pass laws to stop their desires.'"

Report Due

I was under the impression that the Theresa Schiavo autopsy would be completed by early May.

This interesting profile of the pathologist performing the autopsy says his report will be ready in two to three more weeks. Of course, it's difficult to assess the competency of the pathologist from a news story, but I suppose it's good that he's depicted as being independent.

For those of you who missed the news in mid-April, there's this story: "State investigators found no evidence that Terri Schiavo had been abused or exploited by either side of her family, according to documents released by Florida's Department of Children and Families."

Those who were accusing the husband of abuse should apologize. Likelihood: minimal.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Mullah as Pimp

Pleasure marriages' regain popularity in Iraq

One thing freedom has re-introduced to Iraq: "Pleasure marriages," which can last from an hour to ten years. The Mullah gets a cut when he approves the contract.

Contracts for pleasure marriage strongly favor men.

Married women can't enter a muta'a, although a married man can. Men can void the contract at any time; women don't have that option unless it's negotiated at the outset. The couple agrees not to have children. A woman who unintentionally gets pregnant can have an abortion but must then pay a fine to a cleric

One thing many "kill the Arabs" idiots didn't realize was that Saddam, while a horrid scumbag, was also secular: he'd outlawed this practice.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Exorcism in Lieu of 911

Here's a PDF file of an unusual employment discrimination case in Michigan. Quoting:

One day, plaintiff [Michelle Howard, a Child Protective Services (CPS) worker for FIA (Family Independence Agency of Michigan)] made an unannounced visit to A.P.’s home. According to plaintiff’s report, A.P. had been drinking alcohol when she arrived. Plaintiff learned that plaintiff was prone to seizures and that doctors had given her a prescription to prevent them, but A.P. had not filled the prescription. Plaintiff also learned that that drinking alcohol enhanced A.P.’s susceptibility to seizures. Plaintiff’s report went on to state that, during the visit, plaintiff and A.P. discussed how church counseling and prayer could help A.P. and her relationship with her boyfriend. During this discussion, A.P. began to convulse and go into a seizure. Plaintiff believed A.P.’s behavior to be demonic in nature rather than medically related, so she prayed for A.P. during her seizure. In her deposition, plaintiff stated that when A.P. went into the seizure, she began to speak a different language and “come up off the floor.” Plaintiff admitted praying for A.P. during the seizure and pouring water on A.P.’s mouth. Plaintiff testified that she poured water on A.P.’s mouth to prevent her from swallowing her tongue, but later stated that she did not hold A.P.’s mouth open because A.P. did not appeared to be in any danger of swallowing her tongue. Plaintiff admitted that while she was sprinkling water on A.P.’s mouth, she stated, “Lord help her in the name of Jesus, bind everything that’s not like you, Satan the Lord rebuke you, loose your hold now.” The seizure lasted for approximately twenty to twenty-five minutes, during which time A.P.’s son periodically entered the room and plaintiff assured him that his mother would be fine. After A.P.’s seizure ended, plaintiff explained to her that her behavior appeared to be demonic and that she should pray about the situation.

Approximately one week later, A.P. contacted the CPS office and told plaintiff’s supervisor, Jan Kuirsky, that plaintiff had performed religious acts on her. During the course of several conversations with Kuirsky, A.P. complained that during her seizure, plaintiff laid her on the floor, pushed on her stomach, threw up on her, sprinkled water on her face, and told her that she had to drive the demons out of her. A.P. said that, after the seizure, plaintiff told her that she would return another time to finish driving out the demons. A.P. indicated that she had not given plaintiff permission to touch her or pray for her and that her son was terrified because of the incident. A.P.’s son told Kuirsky that he had given plaintiff water and a paper towel while plaintiff was trying to drive the demons out of his mother. In plaintiff’s answers to interrogatories, she denied that A.P. threw up or that plaintiff pushed on A.P.’s stomach and threw up on her. Plaintiff also denied telling A.P. that she would come back at another time to finish driving the demons out of her.
FIA fired Howard and she sued claiming the termination was due to religious discrimination. Fortunately, the Michigan Supreme Court opinion linked above finds that was not the cause of her termination.

I wonder if Dobson and his crowd would like these judges replaced?

Friday, April 29, 2005

Stephen Fry on Douglas Adams

The film version of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy [HGTTG] opens today in the US. I like HGTTG, but I'm not a fanatic (I haven't read Hitchiker or any other Adams books, and have only experienced HGTTG in radio and TV versions). I look forward to seeing the movie soon.

Also, I've never owned a Macintosh or Apple computer.

I am, however, a great fan of the incomparable Stephen Fry, who was a friend of Adams and provides the voice for The Guide in the movie. For those Adams, HGTTG, and Apple/Mac fanatics out there, here's a little sound file from a radio remembrance of Adams done shortly after his death. When the Macintosh went on sale in Europe, Fry and Adams bought the first three machines. You can listen to Stephen Fry for the rest of the story. [1 minute MP3 file, 600 kb in size]

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Theocracy Datapoint

'Hardball with Chris Matthews' for April 25 - MSNBC Transcripts

Pat Buchanan:
"Look, John Paul II could not get approved for a federal appellate bench. He would get 100 percent negative vote by the Democrats, because abortion is an issue they won‘t let go of. Homosexual rights is an issue they won‘t let go of.
The Pope couldn't be a US Judge. Buchanan thinks that awful. I don't.

By the way, Buchanan's litany immediately continues with:

"Affirmative action is an issue, quota."

Pope JPII was against affirmative action? I tend to think Buchanan was just reeling off GOP talking points and trying to imbue them with the imprimatur of religion.

Sounds about right.

Against People of Sociobiology

Cathy Young responds to a response by Professor Stephen Bainbridge.

"Take a hypothetical nominee for the federal bench who has publicly stated that male dominance is essential to a healthy social system. He is (a) an evangelical Christian whose beliefs are rooted in his understanding of biblical principles, or (b) an agnostic whose beliefs are rooted in his understanding of sociobiology. It seems that according to Prof. Bainbridge, the Senate would be allowed to hold the nominee's views against him in scenario (b), but not in scenario (a). Personally, I think that this particular belief ought to disqualify him whether it's based on the Bible, the Koran, Confucius, Darwin, Nietzsche, or the Gor novels."

There's more good argument in the post I link to, but I find that paragraph particularly compelling. And, to name just one hot-button "religious" issue, there are atheists who are opposed to abortion rights.

Furthermore, it's not just vague "religious beliefs" that the current republicans are upset about, it's a fairly narrow range of beliefs (abortion and gay rights, mainly). There are quite a few deeply held religious beliefs that I'm pretty sure most Republicans would use to vote against a judicial nominee (opposition to the death penalty -- even for minors. Or drug use for religious purposes. Or, say, polygamy.)

Mystery Solved?

Why did US Olympic basketeball team perform so abysmally at the 2004 games?

Maybe some of the best players contributed to Democrats.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Slightly Modified

Vote right or go to hell: "Is it a sin not to vote for the people who are most religious?'"

[Only slightly modified.]

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Changing the Rules

Seems like the Republicans can't stop changing rules that stand in the way of any impediments to raw majoritarian power. Filibusters are just the current issue. But Republicans aren't only changing rules that make big news. Part of the reason the filibuster debate raises such a ruckus is that other, lesser known rules have already been changed to benefit the Republicans.

For instance, consider the Blue Slip Rules, which formerly allowed off-the-wall judgets to be blocked before they got to the judiciary committe vote. Kevin Drum's analysis of the blue slip rule from 2003 is still worth reading. One of the current judicial nominees Democrats are objecting to, Janice Brown, is from California and certainly wouldn't pass the old Blue Slip rule with senators Boxer and Feinstein.

Also, Kevin looks at more ways the Republicans have changed boring Senate rules to consolidate their power.

It's worth remembering the changes in Senate rules that Republicans have enacted which marginalize anyone who doesn't agree with them. The filibuster is just the latest in a long line, but most of the prior changes were boring inside baseball.

All these smaller rules changes don't get much attention. But the changes make the filibuster more important, and give the Republicans a much smaller target to focus on and make a media storm about.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Don't Trust a Cardinal ....

... because they don't trust each other.

At Conclave, A Prediction And Promise
Following centuries-old procedures revised by John Paul in 1996, each voted by writing the name of his preferred candidate on a folded piece of paper, then held it up to show the entire assembly that it was a single ballot before depositing it into a urn.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Air Force Academy Again

Yahoo! News - Air Force Cadets See Religious Harassment
There have been 55 complaints of religious discrimination at the academy in the past four years, including cases in which a Jewish cadet was told the Holocaust was revenge for the death of Jesus and another was called a Christ killer by a fellow cadet.


"They are deliberately trivializing the problem so that we don't have another situation the magnitude of the sex assault scandal. It is inextricably intertwined in every aspect of the academy," said Mikey Weinstein of Albuquerque, N.M., a 1977 graduate who has sent two sons to the school. He said the younger, Curtis, has been called a "filthy Jew" many times.

But what's the real problem? Anti-Christian bigotry.

Two of the nation's most influential evangelical Christian groups, Focus on the Family and New Life Church, are headquartered in nearby Colorado Springs. Tom Minnery, an official at Focus on the Family, disputed claims that evangelical Christians are pushing an agenda at the academy, and complained that "there is an anti-Christian bigotry developing" at the school.

These people really are crazy. And they're running the country, and apparently the Air Force, too.

Not Boring

Congressional hearings are usually boring, but the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing today concerning the John Bolton nomination was not. Leah Rozen did a play by play that's worth reading, and this thread at crackles.

The hearing will be repeated by C-Span 2 this evening at eight p.m. eastern. I'll be watching on cable but C-Span will stream it for web consumption -- it may subsequently be archived there, too.

Biden referred to hearing from people at Bolton's old law firm that they wouldn't have him back (or something similar to that). Does anyone know what the substance of that allegation is?

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Not Going Where You Expect

This is an odd AP Headline: Man Living in Closet Charged in Homicide.

Those who mention it will probably crack wise about being closeted. But I'm not going to go there.

Here's the pertinent bit from the story:
A man was beaten to death after catching his wife's lover living in a closet in their home, police said Tuesday. Rafael DeJesus Rocha-Perez, 35, was charged with homicide in the slaying of 44-year-old Jeffrey A. Freeman over the weekend.
He'd apparently lived there for about a month.

That's nothing compared to the notorious "Bat Man" case of Otto Sanhuber, who lived in the attic above Fred Oesterriech and his wife Dolly. Otto was Dolly's lover.

He lived in their attic in Milwaukee for ten years Then, when the Oesterreich's moved to Los Angeles, he went and lived in their attic there, too, before shooting Fred Oesterreich to death.

A lot more information is at Crime Library in their section All About Otto Sanhuber.

And this strange story of Otto and Dolly all started about a century ago, when things were not as crazy as they are today. Or so some would have you believe.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Karen L. Brauer, Pharmacist for Life

"'Our group was founded with the idea of returning pharmacy to a healing-only profession. What's been going on is the use of medication to stop human life. That violates the ideal of the Hippocratic oath that medical practitioners should do no harm', said Karen L. Brauer, president of Pharmacists for Life, who was fired from a Kmart pharmacy in Delhi, Ohio, for refusing to fill birth control prescriptions." - Washington Post, March 28, 2005.

Karen Brauer (included in this nice Media Matters post) has presented to the media the image of a concerned professional dealing with ethical issues. But that's only one side of a woman who has a very political side, tinged with a vivid interest in the sexual lives and practices of people with political opinions different than her own.

Long before she hit the mainstream media as President of Pharmacists for Life International, Ms. Brauer was active on a conservative women's website, now essentally dormant. But you'll still find her self-portrait from December 1997 (updated in 2001) there, where she describes herself as "Born conservative. Kinda' lean towards the Republican party, but lately they are getting awfully liberal." She was a supporter of Alan Keyes for President in 2000.

To get the full flavor of Ms. Brauer's thoughts, however, nothing beats reading her posts to the Usenet newsgroup alt.politics.rightgrrl, where she was an active and outspoken participant. Here's a sample of her comments posted Nov 22 1998 as "Responsibility/Contraception" :

For all the NOW gal types who might be lurking.... See what the Domestic Farm Animal style Birth Control has gotten you? When you get pregnant, you did it to yourself. The man does not participate. It's not his fault. That little head works by remote control, and is totally disconnected from the big head. It's just a whackoff. That comes from drinking the water that ya'll have been peeing the hormones into..... hehe, just kidding). But that "environmental hazard" is one reason that B.C. pills are still illegal in Japan!!!

NOW gals, ya got what you wanted. Total autonomy. So don't ask some of these guys for child support. Thanks for screwing things up for women who want their kids to have a daddy.

I'm all for chastity requirements in the military uniform code of justice. Dishonorable discharge and loss of benefits for anyone caught having sex outside of marriage. Male or Female. Whaddaya think??? Wouldn't a chastity patrol be wild! ;-) Finally: constructive employment for voyeurs!! And I'm for no sex at all for people who cannot accept a baby. Not even a B.J., 'cause they don't deserve one.

Ms. Brauer saves most of her sexually explicit fantasies for President Bill Clinton, but she openly expresses her interest in the sexual life of anyone who supports Clinton too. In a post titled "Sexual McCarthyism: Dershowitz's Clinton Spin" she writes:

Doesn't stuff like this make you wonder about the sexual practices of Dershowitz and other Clinton supporters??

There is a political rag in Cincinnati which calls Clinton supporters and contributors "all those people who would not mind seeing the first Phallus in their own daughters' mouths". Very gross, but it sorta makes sense!! The circulation of this political publication, the Whistleblower, threatens to outstrip that of the local news papers. hehehe

But she spends time thinking about the sexual proclivities of Republicans, too:

I'm sorta surprised that the Republicans aren't kinkier. I thought that once you got to Washington, you had to be a major pervert to be a member of the club. I've found the Republicans to be kinda boring. Some of them don't even fool around at all!! Poor Larry Flynt could only get a little dirt on less than 10 percent of them. That's below background level for Americans. Do you know what that means??? Statistically, their personal lives have been shown to be cleaner on average than the people that they serve. Thanks to that old Jabba the Hut, pervert, Larry Flynt. I think he inadvertently did conservatives a favor.

But you find a Republican that has perjured himself, obstructed justice, and raped at least one woman, and I will call for the guy's resignation right away, and ask Dr. Lorena Bobbitt for a surgical consult .........;-)

Ms. Brauer's explanation for why so many people opposed Clinton's impeachment? You'll find it here in "allgirlthang/Hostile boyz"

My guess is there are a few men out there who might have had a little problem with date rape. Things mighta gotten a little out of hand at the frat house... Know whut I mean???? A little cognitive dissonance is going on.

You know why there is so much excusing of Clinton's behavior??? All those rich boyz (daddies bought 'em off instead of raising them) remembering their college days, or maybe even their current behavior. Hard to get down on a guy who is only acting the way that they do... Love listening to all those liberal lawyers finding excuses for him.
Love listening to the nina-burleighs and rich boyz in the media getting all over Linda Tripp for turning against a "friend" who was trying to get her to commit perjury. HA!
In response to a post about Neil Horsley , author of the infamous Nuremburg Files website that listed personal information about physicians who performed abortions and marked through their names when they were murdered, Ms. Brauer defends him, denies that he advocates violence, and compares her own situation to his:

hehe, we all know that he has the site up there to intimidate the abortionists and make them paranoid that they are being judged. When a person becomes famous for any reason, info about them and their families is publicized in the media. I guess that abortion is a gross reason for a person to become a public figure, huh?

. . . . .

As of 1996 I was out about 50,000 bucks a year in salary due to proaborts deciding that I couldn't practice pharmacy unless I abort. (Do you think that is extortion? ) Also, it has made me a little bit of a public figure, and that leads to a fair amount of opposition too.

. . . . .

That's the thing. The Nuremburg site does not advocate violence. Horsley does an amazing job of walking that fine line and really sending the media up a wall. He is a really interesting guy to watch. When the media publicizes his site, it serves his purposes. Also, you have to admit that with FACE and RICO laws, the abortionists have stripped prolifers of a lot rights of free speech and assembly. What do you think will happen when prolifers have no legal way left to oppose abortion?? The media serves my purposes with their hysteria, by scaring all the med students away from abortion practice. Abortion is aborting itself ;-) Kinda cool huh???

Here she is hoping Jesus will fill her in about Clinton's "little head." Her curiosity about Clinton's penis is prodigious:

I'd ask to meet with Jesus Christ. Because he could tell me how a guy like Clinton can live, with only his little head in a state of potency. And maybe he could tell me if there is anything good about Bill, 'cause I don't think so. hoHO

Moving from Usenet to the Web, Ms. Brauer used to have a websites she called "Hoosier Pharmer" which peddled rants typical of the most rabid wingnuts. The site has disappeared from its old URL, but is still available via

Again, her interest in the sex life of others is on display:

Don't let Bill kiss the babies!
You don't know where that boy has been!
Check out Footnote 210!

Since Ms Brauer seems to be getting fairly fawning media treatment, and since she's defined herself as a "public character," I hope those questioning her will dig into her online writings a bit and ask about them. A few different posts are featured in this Daily Kos Diary.

[For those wanting to check out her posts on Usenet, search Google Groups for her old email address, which was There's more to marvel at.]

Monday, April 04, 2005

Pharmacists for Life

The group that's trying to make it commonplace for pharmacists to refuse service to women who want birth control (not just, say, RU-486, but plain old "the pill" and other contraceptives) is Pharmacists for Life (PFL).

The founder of the group is Bogomir (M.) Kuhar, a pro-lifer so radical that he's anti-birth control. Kuhar has calculated that many millions of lives are "terminated" each year by people who use contraceptives.
Dr. Bogomir Kuhar, a pharmacist concerned about chemical abortion, has calculated that in combining all forms of induced abortion -- the IUD, Depo-Provera, Norplant, surgical, and the Pill (and injectables, implants, and oral products that work in a similar fashion), between 9.6 and 13.4 million young lives are terminated in the U.S. alone each year.
Kuhar appears to have been involved in pro-life Catholic movement since at least the late eighties. On that single page he is identified in several diferent ways, including:
  • Bogomir M. Kuhar
  • Bogomir Kuhar PhD
  • Bogomir Kuhar PD
  • Bogomire Kuhar PD
The Pharmacists for Life group, though they claim to represent "over 1600+ pharmacists, and many hundreds of lay supporters, in the USA, Canada and worldwide," seems to be run out Powell, Ohio, probably in the Kuhars' home.

The contact phone (740.881.5520) and post office box for PIL is the same as the vitamin-selling business that the Kuhar's have at (known as Life Enterprises, though sometimes identified as Pro-Life Enterprises). Presumably the Marcia Kuhar listed there is Bogomir's wife.

She's also used the same PO Box and phone number as her contacts listed on the Central Ohio Association of Occupational Health Nurses, Inc., also known as COAOHN.

With this single phone number being used as Marcia's contact number, PFL's contact number, and the businesses' contact nubmer, PFL is probably running out of their house, which also houses their business.

And, as Media Matters has pointed out, "Pharmacists for Life's most recent IRS filings indicate that the organization has no paid employees and raised and spent less than $30,000 in 2003 (the most recent year for which figures are available)."

Good for them in one way -- at least for now they're apparently not an astroturf group, supported by a big PR firm but trying to appear home-grown. But it's bad for them in another way -- they're tiny and represent a very small number of religiously hyper=zealous pharmacists who do not want women to receive birth control.

Media Matters has also discussed Karen L. Brauer, the pharmacist fired by Kmart for lying to a patron, refusing to fill her prescription, and refusing to forward her prescription to another pharmacy. She's a piece of work and we'll have more about her soon. [Update: The post about Karen Brauer is up now.]

Saturday, April 02, 2005


Kieran Healy's written the only thing I'm likely to remember from today's coverge of the death of Pope John Paul: When the Pope came to Ireland. Part memoir, part social history, stirringly written.

One wonders how much the changes he mentions have to do merely with the events he cites, and how much impact the remarkable economic growth in Ireland has contributed, too.

Good wishes to all Roman Catholics on this day, though I don't generally support the power or purposes of the Vatican.

Get Me Rewrite

Washington Post headline:

DeLay Wants Panel to Review Role of Courts

Alternate headline "Criminal Blasts Courts."

Kontraceptive Kraziness

Pandagon's Amanda Marcotte is justifiably exuberant about Gov. Rob Blagojevich approving a law that requires pharmacists to fill prescriptions for birth control. But one has to despair that we've come to a state where that is necessary.

I see that this ridiculous witholding of contraception is being legislated in some states.
According to the NWLC, four states currently have passed laws allowing pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions based on religious beliefs, while four states have had legislation introduced that would require pharmacists to fill prescriptions for contraceptives.
I'm continually amazed that these lunatics are succeeding, even briefly, in dragging the US back decades. It's disheartening and infuriating.

Can allowing pharmacists to shirk their duties be a popular move? Even if cast as a "pharmacist's rights" issue, I can't imagine enough people hate contraceptives that restrictions on them wouldn't cause a backlash, but of course my imagination has been lacking in the past.

I can't recall where I read some wag suggesting this, but a way to a nice sinecure could be to convert to Christian Science and become a pharmacist (possibly not in that order). Then you could conceivably refuse to fill any prescriptions, sitting on your butt while the pharmacy presumably couldn't fire you for your religious objections. You may need to claim that you're part of a radical Christian Science sect that is against anyone using medications.

There are kooks and quacks everywhere you look -- often running the show.

Much more from Majikthise.

Pear Tree Productions Presents...

I noticed that BBC America has just begun to air season one of the television version of Knowing Me Knowing You with Alan Partridge (played by Steve Coogan).

As Partridge goes, it's nearly up there with the "Knowing Me, Knowing You" radio series and the "I'm Alan Partridge" mockumentary series. Quite fun. Check your local listings.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Not Reality-Based

From the AP: "Jacobson, who has been playing religious and patriotic music outside the hospice for the past three days,said he didn’t really believe that Terri was dead.

“I’m not believing the report of man,” the bearded man said. “God will raise her from the dead, and all the world will see it.”

Taking My Oyster for Walkies

A bit too much seriousness here, so I'm going to point to an MP3 file of a funny old song.

I'm Taking My Oyster For Walkies (MP3 file, mono, 3:32 min; 2.5+ MB.) written by Bill Oddie.
Discover Simple, Private Sharing at
From the BBC radio show "I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again" aka ISIRTA.

Though there's conflicting information, I believe this was originally broadcast April 1964.

The identity of the singer is also at issue. The announcer introducing the song in the program says the singer is [Bill] Oddie, though in looking around the internet, the singer of this song is usually identified as Graeme Garden. [Edited to add: I'm sure now that the singer is the composer, Bill Oddie--thanks to Jess and Paul Haden in comments for their knowledge.]

I don't know these things. But I do know that I enjoy this very silly song.

Maybe later I'll point to "It's a Long Way From Amphioxus."

---Edited August 2006 to add lyrics:
Well over a year later, this page has a few visitors. I wanted to make out the words as well as I could anyway, so I may as well post my transcript below.

Here are the lyrics as I hear them. There is one garbled line, because I'm sure that I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again didn't have a lot of rehearsal time. Still, it's a hilariously silly song.

by Bill Oddie

I often go out walking on a Sunday
I like to take a stroll down by the sea
There's a little shellfish stall
Down by the harbor wall
And there I stop and say hello
and think of how a year ago...

I bought myself a quite delicious oyster
I thought I'd save it for a special day
But gradually I found
It was nice to have around.
So now on Sundays if it's dry
the people stop and stare as I [... am ...]

Taking my oyster for walkies
She's really incredibly sweet
We walk very slow
because as you know
an oyster has very few feet [... if any...]
I'm talking my oyster for walkies
and my oyster is taking to me.

{whistle and confusion interlude}

I admit I've had affairs with other molluscs
Well, mussels have a certain sex appeal
And I well recall the twinkle
When I first saw a 'winkle
And surely nothing can conceal
The candor of a jellied eel

Alright! I caused a scandal with a scallop
But I'm really not so shellfish anymore
Cause a lovable crustacean
Has expended my frustration
You can stuff your cockles
'Cause instead I'm happy in my oyster bed

I'm taking my oyster for walkies
How I wish I could marry the girl
If only she could see we'd
be as happy as could be we'd
have an excellent chance of a pearl.. (let's try)
I'm taking my oyster for walkies
And my oyster is taking to me.

Taking my oyster for walkies
She's the daintiest dish ever made
With barnacles on it
in her oyster bonnet
she's the queen of the oyster parade
[she's lovely]

I'm taking my oyster for walkies
and my oyster is taking to me


Well I've been locked up with a limpet
And I thought it was swell
I've had relations with a lobster
And that was all very well
But ooo you should see my oyster
When she comes out of her shell

I'm taking my oyster for walkies
and my oyster is taking ..
my oyster is taking..
my oyster is taking to me

Give us a kiss (oyster kiss and cough) .. oooh, sorry.

Thank you Bill Oddie, for this spectacular song .. and for Springwatch.

-- Update Dec. 2009

Thanks to several commenters I've cleaned up and filled in one or two of the lines. Kudos to Martin Keegan and ChrisTheNeck.

This is the only version I've ever heard. I caught it on a BBC 7 rebroadcast of ISIRTA and I couldn't make out every last jot of it. It's a pleasure to get the help from people with a bit more familiarity with the tune.

I would say that it's great people are visiting this over four years after I posted it -- and it is-- but of course it's even better that people are still searching for this small silly song over 45 years after it was broadcast on a BBC comedy program. Quite lovely. -- riffle, December 2009

More Doctors

One more post about physicians involved in the Schiavo case, since we've covered Hammesfahr pretty thouroughly. There are two more doctors who go against prevailing scientific and medical thought:

1) Dr Fred Webber
Webber played a part in an earlier part of the legal saga in this case. In June 2001, Dr. Fred Webber wrote a very schematic affidavit. The courts acted, apparently based largely on this affadavit. Webber's affidavit was removed from the Schindler's site but is available here.

A few points about Dr. Webber:
* His degree is as a D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathy). While not a slam, it's worth noting that he is not a Doctor of Medicine (MD).
* He's not a neurologist. In his remarkably skeletal affidavit, he makes no claim to be a neurologist.
* He states in his affidavit that he had not examined Ms. Schiavo.
* At the time he wrote his affidavit, Webber was working for the less-than-stellar Dr. Hammesfahr.
* After writing this affadavit and getting the judicial wheels to move, amazingly he did not appear in the trial subsequently. Very odd indeed, as the Guardian ad Litem noted:
By May of 2002, the physicians were selected by both sides but no agreeement could be reached about a fifth, so the court selected one. Curiously and surprisingly, Dr. Webber, who had served as the basis for this entire process at the 2nd DCA did not participate in the exams or the procedure.

* Dr. Webber says that he practiced in "the Minneapolis area" from about 1975 until sometime in the year 2000. Apparently the only physician licensed in Minnesota with the name Fred Webber is Fred Lawrence Webber. If this is indeed our affiant, then the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice lists that he has an (unspecified) disciplinary action. (To confirm, go here, and search for either
Licensee Name: Fred Lawrence Webber
License Number: 22801 )

* As a further note, the Guardian ad Litem identifies him as an osteopathic physician, which matches with the Minnesota physician (D.O.) who has the disciplinary action noted above.

2) Dr. William S. Maxfield.

* Dr Maxfield is not a neurologist, either. He's usually cited in press reports as a radiologist and/or a hyperbaric physician. Here's his CV.
* His affadavit (as above, it's removed from the Schindler's site but is available here) doesn't report any evaluation based on radiology. It begins: "As provided in the court order, I visited Terry Schiavo at your [ the Schindler's] request to make an independent assessment of her physical status without actually examining the patient. " So he admits he didn't examine Ms. Schiavo.
* He then reports a series of observations and extrapolations that do not rely upon his expertise as a radiologist or hyperbaric doctor.
* It does, however, appear that Dr. Maxfield is hoping to push hyperbaric therapy, ("I would then suggest a trial of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for one or two sessions with the SPECT brain scan then being repeated. ") which, as the Judge noted in his opinion, has no tested application to Ms. Schiavo's condition.

Once again, one has to appreciate Judge Greer's ability to assess untested therapies versus tested ones.

But the thin empirical gruel from these fellows feeds many news cycles. I would bet, however, that those commentators who find these guys compelling in the case of Ms. Schaivo would somehow find other practitioners to treat their family members if they were in medical crisis.

Bernadine Healey: will you hire Drs Hammesfahr, Webber, or Maxfield to treat you or your relatives when they have a serious neurological disorder?

I sure wouldn't, but then I haven't been implying that their work had any empirical validity. Over to you, Dr. Healey.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Hammesfahr Redux

My post about Dr. Hammesfahr below has provoked some questions via email. So, before I stop writing about him I thought I'd encapsulate more his story in a bullet-pointed post here. Some of this is in my previous post, but some is new.
  • Yes, Dr. Hammesfahr is an M.D., and he's a board certified neurologist.
  • No, he was not truly nominated for a Nobel Prize. At this writing, his claim of being Nobel Nominated is on his web page, meaning he is forwarding this misinformation himself.
  • He was disciplined by the Medical Board of Florida for charging for services he did not provide.
  • He has not published in legitimate peer-reviewed journals. Indeed, a 1999 St. Petersburg Times piece notes "His articles have been turned down by well-known medical journals," so it's not for lack of trying.
  • He is listed as one of the "Promoters of Questionable Methods" on, and an analysis of his treatments is posted there as well.
  • The only journal he's published in is one which is on a domain that's registered to his office (and for which the administrative contact phone number is his own office phone). He is on the editorial board, as is an employee of his and another Hammesfahr, likely a relative. The submission guidelines for this journal are laughable to anyone who has actually seen guidelines for a true medical or scientific journal.
  • The therapeutic regimen he has proposed has not been tested in any rigorous scientific manner; everything I've seen written about it is anecdotal.
  • He makes wild claims about his therapy being useful for a wide variety -- literally dozens -- of etiologically unrelated neurological and psychiatric disorders, without scientific validation.
  • He has not treated Teresa Schiavo: he examined her as one of five MDs which a Florida court asked to evaluate her. Two MDs were selected by Michael Schiavo, two (Hammesfahr, a neurologist, the other a radiologic/hyperbaric physician) by the Schindlers, and one neurologist was appointed by the court. All the neurologists except for Hammesfahr found her in a persistent vegetative state (the hyperbaric MD agreed with Hammesfahr that she wasn't). Here's what Theresa Schiavo's Guardian ad Litem (his report [PDF] is extremely worthwhile reading) wrote about the medical evidence of these five physicians (PDF File; pp. 16-17):
    The scientific quality, value and relevance of the testimony varied. The two neurologists testifying for Michael Schiavo provided strong, academically based, and scientifically supported evidence that was reasonably deemed clear and convincing by the court. Of the two physicians testifying for the Schindlers, only one was a neurologist, the other was a radiologist/hyperbaric physician. The testimony of the Schindler’s physicians was substantially anecdotal, and was reasonably deemed to be not clear and convincing.

    The fifth physician, chosen by the court because the two parties could not agree, presented scientifically grounded, academically based evidence that was reasonably deemed to be clear and convincing by the court.
    Following exhaustive testimony and the viewing of video tapes, the trial court concluded that no substantial evidence had been presented to indicate any promising treatment that might improve Theresa’s cognition. The court sought to glean scientific, case, research-based foundations for the contentions of the Schindler’s physician experts, but received principally anecdotal information.

    Evidence presented by Michael Schiavo’s two physicians and the fifth physician selected by the court was reasonably deemed clear and convincing in support of Theresa being in a persistent vegetative state with no hope for improvement.

  • On his webpage, Hammesfahr posts the following as an apparent selling point for his therapy:

    Dr. Hammesfahr has been identified as

    In fact, this quote is taken from the disciplinary action (PDF of the record of that proceeding) that found Hammesfahr had not provided services for which a patient had paid. Another issue in the disciplinary action was whether Hammesfahr had actually engaged in false advertising by claiming his results were "peer-reviewed" and for saying he was the first to use this treatment to help patients. The paragraph from which Hammesfahr extracted the quote above is, in full:

    The Judge essentially finds that, since Hammesfahr had run his so-called results by some friendly peers, he had actually had his results "peer-reviewed" in that narrow sense. And, since he was the first (and at the time, only) to use his therapies and some of his patients got better during the time he was treating them, the strict wording of his advertising was true.

    It's hard to believe, but the guy is using that snippet, from a Judge in Florida which indicates that no other doctors are using his therapy, as a testament on his webpage. Amazing.

    Also, the judge basically finds that his therapy is "alternative," which is protected under Florida law about alternative medicine. Thus we begin the slide to allowing doctors to use untested therapies.

Finally, to address a broader issue, many people seem to wonder why scientific evaluation should be necessary, if it seems that Dr. Hammesfahr is "helping people."

Since Dr. Hammesfahr resorts to anecdote, I'll illustrate the issues that arise with an anecdote. Let's say a patient was seen by Dr. Hammesfahr and given a treatment regimen to take home and have her physician implement. When this patient returned home, her doctor refused to administer the drugs Hammesfahr had indicated. She improved greatly anyway.

Would she likely have improved even more without paying for Hammesfahr's therapy? Would she have improved less, or the same amount? Would his therapies impede or improve her progress? These questions cannot be answered by a collection of anecdotes, no matter how high they mount. They must be assessed with rigorous, scientifically oriented, peer-reviewed studies.

Then, at least those who pay Dr. Hammesfahr money would know if they're throwing it away.

UPDATE: Here's a report by Dr. Ronald Cranford about the Schiavo case. It's interesting overall, and it includes lot more information about Hammesfahr, as well as other health care personnel who diverge from the overwhelming medical consensus in the case. Predictably, Dr. Cranford has been slimed for his medical expertise. I suppose he's not surprised.

FURTHER UPDATE: A look at two other doctors hired by the Schindlers. And a challenge to Dr. Bernadine Healey.

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