Saturday, September 27, 2008

Lest any of you harbor illusions

About the glamor of the recent road trip, that is, here is a dose of reality.

Much of the time the road looked like this:

Somewhere in the Arizona-California desert

And the scenery to the side was like this.

It has a beauty that I have come to appreciate more after living in high desert, though I rather prefer what Albuquerque really is: high grassland. With a river in the midst, gloriously adorned by the bosque.

We did not mind the vast spaces at all. Time to look, talk, nap, explore ideas vigorously, or just be in silence. All very companionable.

I admit, I would hate to drive it alone.
--the BB


The Lone Ranger rides in but does not save the town.

Josh Marshall at TPM has an extensive quote from Jonathan Weisman on what took place when McCain, Obama, Bush, and Congressional leaders met in the Cabinet room of the White House.

A short excerpt:
No, Boehner replied, he just wanted his members to have a voice. Obama then jumped in to turn the question on his rival: "What do you think of the [insurance] plan, John?" he asked repeatedly. McCain did not answer.

One Republican in the room said it was clear that the Democrats came into the meeting with a "game plan" aimed at forcing McCain to choose between the administration and House Republicans. "They had taken McCain's request for a meeting and trumped it," said this source.

Congressional aides from both parties were standing in the lobby of the West Wing, unaware of the discord inside the Cabinet room, when McCain emerged alone, shook the hands of the Marines at the door and left. The aides were baffled. The plan had been for a bipartisan appearance before the media, featuring McCain, Obama and at least a firm statement in favor of intervention. Now, one of the leading men was gone.

Marshall concludes that this might "explain some of what happened last night."

I know I was certainly intrigued by what might happen amid all this political posturing and high visibility. Earlier I had read that Obama asked lots of questions of Paulson and that McCain said virtually nothing in the entire meeting, even when prompted.

Makes you go, "Hmmmmmm."
--the BB

Just because we're not talking about it doesn't mean the United States has stopped doing it

I have left this topic alone for way too long. Yes, the headlines, the votes, the brouhaha had all died down but the reality stills simmers away under a lawless regime.

Only one Senator attended the meeting yesterday (Carl M. Levin, D-Mich.) as an Air Force instructor testified.

The Washington Post reports:
What Kleinman witnessed in Baghdad in September 2003 prompted him to order a stop to three interrogations, and to warn his superiors that the military's interrogation practices were abusive and, in his opinion, illegal.

"I told the task force commander that the methods were unlawful and were in violation of the Geneva Conventions," he told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
We all, of course, were too excited, curious, anxious about the first presidential debate last night to pay much attention.

So I am posting this to keep us all aware.

Read the Post article here.

Read Digby's comments here. She observes: "This is the major reason I have such a visceral loathing of this man [John McCain]. Ask yourself what kind of a person would undergo torture, then help legalize it against others while falsely taking credit for standing against it? It's perverse and immoral in the extreme. It's evil."

Fight like hell to eliminate this evil from our nation.
--the BB

I do, I do, I do love YouTube

This is straighter talk than we got last night.

"But I don't really know of anybody,with the exception of a handful, who said, 'wait a minute, this thing is getting out of hand and is over-heating.' I'd like to be able to tell you I anticipated it, but I have to give you straight talk, I did not."
--John McCain

h/t to Juan Cole at Informed Comment
--the BB

Damn skippy!

A businessman and student of economics writes:

For McCain to shed tears for corporate tax rates first gives us some insight as to who he really cares about and second, is just wrong. McCain still thinks it's the 1980s with his Reagan trickle down economics talk. It didn't work then and it definitely isn't working now. Corporate America does not need a tax break, especially while the middle class is stuck with yet another bill. Let them be good citizens like the middle class and pay their fair share and modernize the tax code to prevent this offshore nonsense that is illegal for regular Americans. Regardless, the entire McCain pitch was yet another 1980's retread with the same tired old talk that brought us here today. It doesn't register with McCain that we've been trying the 1980's GOP theory for a few decades and it just imploded. After last night, it wasn't clear to McCain that the event even occurred.

--Chris in Paris at Americablog

[Emphasis mine]

For more context, click above and read the preceding paragraphs.
--the BB

Vets give to Obama at about 6 to 1 over McCain; think about it

h/t to BarbinMD at Daily Kos
--the BB

Getting to know you

Allora, chi รจ il vero McCain?

Questions are beginning to arise but he still gets away with, shall we say, astonishing inconsistency.

This YouTube has surpassed 5.5 million views. Way to go, my intertubal chums!

h/t to Robert Greenwald and Brave New Films
--the BB

Friday, September 26, 2008


Latest Coalition Fatalities

09/26/08 MNF:
MND-C Soldier killed by roadside bomb near Iskandariyah
A Multi-National Division - Center Soldier was killed Sep. 25 when a roadside bomb struck a vehicle that was part of a combat patrol near Iskandariyah.

09/25/08 MNF:
MND-N Soldier attacked by SVEST (Baqubah)
A Multi-National Division - North Soldier was killed by a suicide bomber while conducting operations in Diyala, Iraq Sept. 24. The name of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense.


I dozed off

So much for lively debate. Lots of decorum. I rather like decorum, actually, though I appreciate a good zinger too.

Who forgot his flag pin tonight? Commie.

Trapper John said, "Obama won this on graciousness and composure. Period. He was the adult in the room." I may not have been consciously present for all of it but that is my impression also. He looked and sounded presidential. Grampy occasionally seemed on the verge of ordering the kid off his lawn.

Not too sure how comforting his "I've been around forever" leitmotiv is, frankly. He almost seemed to hobble off afterward.

Eddie was catching a few Zs as well. I had to wake him up when it was over. Since he is a member of the Platypus Party he finds human debates rather irrelevant. I did hear him mumble something about more shrimp in every pot. New Orleans seems to agree with him.

Maha frets that most viewers might not notice that McCain often does not answer the question put to him. Think Progress documents McDisaster's, um, inaccuracies.

McLiar trotted out some of his faves this evening. He just can't stop. From Crooks and Liars we read about something I'd like see Grampy get called on:
It turns out that presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain has attended even fewer Afghanistan-related Senate hearings over the past two years than Obama’s one. Which is a nice way of saying, McCain, R-Ariz., the top Republican on the Senate Armed Service Committee, has attended zero of his committee’s six hearings on Afghanistan over the last two years.
I expect a run on popcorn before the VP debates. For a preview of the junior-high-school edition of political finesse check out Wilda Wolfkiller:

Should Senator Biden show up in a black hat just to scare the bejeebers out of the little lady? (I know that was a belittling sexist remark but JFC, she's a cross between Attila the Hun and a Valley Girl just emerging, barely, from magical thinking.) Governor Palin should scare every sentient being to the polls to ensure she never gets near the White House.

h/t to SilentPatriot at Crooks and Liars

I think Digby speaks for me:
It's very hard for me to gauge this debate because to me John McCain is quite obviously a crazy, intemperate, nasty old bastard. He was sarcastic, contemptuous and patronizing. I really, really loathe him.
Whenever someone, especially a lifelong Democrat, says they can't quite bring themselves to vote for Obama because there's just something about him they can't quite name, is it just me or do you want to scream with me, "You mean because he's black?!!!"? That's my inner reaction anyway.

--the BB

Hey, Sarah, need a gay best friend?

I love Dan Savage's column. I loves me some Dan Savage (but he's taken, so I don't stalk). I think he has a fab idea for Governor Palin and the First Dude:

Dan has more thoughts here.

h/t to John Aravosis at Americablog
--the BB

Keating 5 ring a bell?

Rosa Brooks at the Los Angeles Times writes:
Once upon a time, a politician took campaign contributions and favors from a friendly constituent who happened to run a savings and loan association. The contributions were generous: They came to about $200,000 in today's dollars, and on top of that there were several free vacations for the politician and his family, along with private jet trips and other perks. The politician voted repeatedly against congressional efforts to tighten regulation of S&Ls, and in 1987, when he learned that his constituent's S&L was the target of a federal investigation, he met with regulators in an effort to get them to back off.

That politician was John McCain, and his generous friend was Charles Keating, head of Lincoln Savings & Loan. While he was courting McCain and other senators and urging them to oppose tougher regulation of S&Ls, Keating was also investing his depositors' federally insured savings in risky ventures. When those lost money, Keating tried to hide the losses from regulators by inducing his customers to switch from insured accounts to uninsured (and worthless) bonds issued by Lincoln's near-bankrupt parent company. In 1989, it went belly up -- and more than 20,000 Lincoln customers saw their savings vanish.


But the savings and loan crisis mushroomed. Eventually, the government spent about $125 billion in taxpayer dollars to bail out hundreds of failed S&Ls that, like Keating's, fell victim to a combination of private-sector greed and the "poor judgment" of politicians like McCain.

Read it all. People need to be aware of this. McCain was "exonerated" of wrongdoing but he certainly played a major part in that fiasco and we are going into re-runs nowadays.

h/t to Meteor Blades
--the BB

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I have fallen way behind

It is over a month since we had our first visitors from these three nations and they bring our virtual flag collection up to 131. We have, however, had visitors from 140 nations (as you can see in the sidebar), so I need to do some catching up.

St. Kitt's is one of the places in the world that I have visited when we did our "treasure island" cruise in the Caribbean on the Star Clipper some years ago. It is the smallest nation in the Americas and is among the Leeward Islands. [Wiki] It was a land of sugar cane plantations. While there we took a walk into a rainforest (and swung from liana vines - yes, like Tarzan in the movies but not quite so high up and without the fearsome call of the white ape).

Guyana is located east of Venezuela and west of Suriname. Prior to this year I had no personal link to Guyana but for the past five months I have been working side by side with a gentleman from Guyana. He tells me of life at the coast where one may go out to a levee and fish or take fruits of many kinds from the trees, as though sea and land alike were eager to offer their bounty and feed you.

We think of South America as being primarily Spanish-speaking, and so it is. The four exceptions are Brazil (Portuguese) - the best known - Suriname (Dutch), French Guiana (French), and Guyana (English). Guyanese Creole and several indigenous languages are also spoken there. I could not quite figure out my coworker's accent as he seemed culturally quite attuned to the Caribbeans in our group but his English had a different music to it. Guyana is a Commonwealth nation.

English, French, and Seychellois Creole are spoken in the Republic of Seychelles, an archipelago nation in the Indian Ocean. (Check out the geography post on East Africa and the Indian Ocean.) Lots of foreign investment going on there these days. I heard folks say this week that they don't extradite for any reason, so who knows, maybe Dick Cheney will retire there. I also recall friends talking about a trip there many years ago.

I think I skipped Mali. My bad. I will return to it on the next flag posting.

Sorry, no music this time around. I am far too far behind to do that too and it is already past my bedtime.

A hearty welcome to our visitors from these (and all) nations!
--the BB

Of galluses and other suspenders (or not)

Joe Sudbay at Americablog notes the following:
Until the traditional media types can show some shred of evidence that John McCain suspended his campaign -- besides McCain saying it -- the traditional media types should stop saying McCain suspended his campaign. He didn't.

Evidence abounds that McCain's campaign is operating at full speed. We've been able to document here and here and here. Think Progress found five instances of McCain campaign flacks on t.v. spinning their message. There's active campaign underway in Virginia. And, by doing some actual investigating, Huffington Post confirmed that the McCain campaign is very active today in key battleground states.
But Johnny boy has rushed back to the Senate (for his first visit in months) as though working toward a solution to our economic woes hinged on his presence. Last time I checked, he has been a long-standing champion of deregulation, which is how we got in this mess in the first place. Unless he is willing to stand up and say "I helped fuck over the American economy and I repent in dust and ashes and will now work to restore regulatory oversight and limit the activities of rapacious predators" then prove it with his votes I think he should just STFU. Oh, and get his ass over to Ole Miss for the debate so we can listen to him lie.

Irresponsible shithook twit.
--the BB

Collect them all!

Yes, boys and girls, you'll want to have each and every one of the Pale 'n' Palin yard signs. Click on over to here to see more. You can even make your own!

More fun than a barrel of mavericks!
--the BB


09/23/08 :
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Capt. Bruno G. Desolenni, 32, of Crescent City, Calif., died Sept. 20 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. He was assigned to the Joint Forces Headquarters...


Father of all, we pray to you for those we love, but see no longer: Grant them your peace; let light perpetual shine upon them; and, in your loving wisdom and almighty power, work in them the good purpose of your perfect will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Latest Coalition Fatalities

DoD Identifies Army Casualty
1st Lt. Thomas J. Brown, 26, of Burke, Va., died Sept. 23 in Salman Park, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his patrol came under small arms fire during dismounted operations. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment...

DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Chaplain (Col.) Sidney J. Marceaux Jr., 69, of Beaumont, Texas, died Sept 14 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C., from a non-combat related illness. Following evacuation from Camp Arifjan...

DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Staff Sgt. Matthew J. Taylor, 25, of Charleston, S.C., died Sept. 21 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when he received small arms fire during dismounted operations. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment...

09/23/08 MNF:
MND-C Soldier killed in attack
A Multi-National Division – Center Soldier was killed as a result of a small-arms fire attack west of Salman Pak Sept. 23. The name of the deceased is being withheld pending next of kin notification and release by the Department of Defense


Give rest, O Christ, to your servants with your saints,
where sorrow and pain are no more,
neither sighing, but life everlasting.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Thursday Eve Constitution Blogging

Well, it's not quite the Constitution, but it invokes the Constitution, so there!

United States Code
Title 18. Part 1. Chapter 67. Article 1385.
§ 1385. Use of Army and Air Force as posse comitatus

Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.

--courtesy of Cornell University Law School

The Wikipedia short translation: "The Posse Comitatus Act and the Insurrection Act substantially limit the powers of the federal government to use the military for law enforcement."

Now you can read Glenn Greenwald's article at Salon titled "Why is a U.S. Army brigade being assigned to the 'Homeland'?"

In his second update he notes the following:
There's no need to start manufacturing all sorts of scare scenarios about Bush canceling elections or the imminent declaration of martial law or anything of that sort. None of that is going to happen with a single brigade and it's unlikely in the extreme that they'd be announcing these deployments if they had activated any such plans. The point is that the deployment is a very dangerous precedent, quite possibly illegal, and a radical abandonment of an important democratic safeguard. As always with first steps of this sort, the danger lies in how the power can be abused in the future.
Just keeping an eye on what the gummint is up to. Oh look, a shiny object! A McCain stunt! The economy is falling! Drill, baby, drill! Terr'ists!
--the BB

When presidents were presidential

This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.

h/t to Digby
You may read more of that great speech by clicking the link.

Don't blame me, blame Tom

Mimi has Doug to supply her with humor (and poor Doug does get blamed a lot, almost as much as I blame Eileen for leading me astray). I got this e-mail from my friend Tom in California this evening.

While suturing a cut on the hand of a 75 year old rancher, whose hand was caught in the gate while working cattle, the doctor struck up a conversation with the old man. Eventually the topic got around to Palin and her bid.

The old rancher said, "Well, ya know, Palin is a 'Post Turtle'".

Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a 'post turtle' was.

The old rancher said, "When you're driving down a country road you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that's a 'post turtle".

The old rancher saw the puzzled look on the doctor's face so he continued to explain.

"You know she didn't get up there by herself, she doesn't belong up there, and she doesn't know what to do while she's up there, and you just wonder what kind of dummy put her up there to begin with".

--the BB

Strike Two

Do you recall my "interview over" post where Scary Sarah was asked for specific skills and failed to name any?
Asked for "specific skills" she could cite to rebut critics who question her grasp of international affairs, she replied, "I am prepared."
Well, to switch analogies, if that was strike one this might be strike two:
COURIC: You've said, quote, "John McCain will reform the way Wall Street does business." Other than supporting stricter regulations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac two years ago, can you give us any more example of his leading the charge for more oversight?

PALIN: I think that the example that you just cited, with his warnings two years ago about Fannie and Freddie--that, that's paramount. That's more than a heck of a lot of other senators and representatives did for us.

COURIC: But he's been in Congress for 26 years. He's been chairman of the powerful Commerce Committee. And he has almost always sided with less regulation, not more.

PALIN: He's also known as the maverick though. Taking shots from his own party, and certainly taking shots from the other party. Trying to get people to understand what he's been talking about--the need to reform government.

COURIC: I'm just going to ask you one more time, not to belabor the point. Specific examples in his 26 years of pushing for more regulation?

PALIN: I'll try to find you some and I'll bring them to you.
h/t to Billary Redux at Daily Kos

Face it, Wolfkiller, you're not ready and neither is he.
--the BB

Grampy McCain's afraid to debate - updated

What a weenie!

You cannot convince me that his input is going to save the American economy or that anyone deserving to be president cannot multi-task.

The time to be apolitical and work for the stability of the American economy was
(1) years ago
(2) all along
(3) both of the above

I certainly believe we are in for very dire economic years ahead. Chickens do come home to roost, after all. But there is a lot of hysteria going around, the sort that inflates everything into a crisis.

Consider timing. Do you really think a mess that has been years, if not decades, in the making will be resolved in a week or two or a couple of months? MUST it be solved right now? I really don't think so. Must we address it now. Yes, And long overdue, too. Will those who threw us all to the corporate wolves cop to their complicity in this mess? Probably not. Am I going to start trusting them now? Not on your life. Do we need knee-jerk reactions and knee-jerk solutions to this fiasco? Absolutely not. Just saying.

And now let's consider the dollar figure. I wonder whose ass that was pulled out of.

Why $700 billion?
"It's not based on any particular data point," a Treasury spokeswoman told Tuesday. "We just wanted to choose a really large number."

Now you know.


Me neither.

Hold their fucking feet to the fire. Trust no one and verify everything. Checks and balances all the way. Not just guidelines but rules. Laws. Regulation. Oversight. The works. This is no time to pour good money after bad and compound our stupidity for the sake of some folks' cupidity.

As for John McCain - I think he's wrapping himself in the flag to run from a debate he knows he is not prepared to have.

He may have been a hero once but he sure as hell isn't one anymore.

Or maybe it's just a plan to postpone the whole affair so that a vice-presidential debate somehow never gets rescheduled.

To Obama and Joe I say: Chew 'em up and spit 'em out. Let's get on with governing this country under a rule of law again.

At Daily Kos I saw this - David Letterman according to Drudge:
"You don't suspend your campaign. This doesn't smell right. This isn't the way a tested hero behaves." And he joked: "I think someone's putting something in his metamucil."

"He can't run the campaign because the economy is cratering? Fine, put in your second string quarterback, Sara Palin. Where is she?"

"What are you going to do if you're elected and things get tough? Suspend being president? We've got a guy like that now!"
This is leading to a lot of great quotes from all over the place. The late night shows are going to have a field day.
--the BB

Dewey Decimal Visualized - updated

Here all my photos of the Dewey mural in the Main Branch of the Fresno County Free Library on Mariposa Street. I mention the street because Mariposa as one of the streets that bordered the block I lived on as a boy. It was only a 4-block walk down Mariposa to Jefferson Elementary School (where my mother had also attended in her day) and about another seven blocks, with some minor zigs and zags, to the library.

Wikipedia on the Dewey Decimal Classification:
The Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC, also called the Dewey Decimal System) is a proprietary system of library classification developed by Melvil Dewey in 1876, and has since then been greatly modified and expanded through twenty-two major revisions, the most recent in 2004. The system is a method for placing books on library shelves in a specific and repeatable order that makes it easier to find any specific book or to return it to its proper place.

The DDC attempts to organize all knowledge into ten main classes. The ten main classes are then further subdivided. Each main class has ten divisions, and each division has ten sections. Hence the system can be summarized in 10 main classes, 100 divisions and 1000 sections. DDC's advantage in choosing decimals for its categories allows it to be both purely numerical and infinitely hierarchical. It also uses some aspects of a faceted classification scheme, combining elements from different parts of the structure to construct a number representing the subject content (often combining two subject elements with linking numbers and geographical and temporal elements) and form of an item rather than drawing upon a list containing each class and its meaning.

More from Wikipedia:

The system is made up of ten main classes or categories, each divided into ten secondary classes or subcategories, each having ten subdivisions of its own.

000 – Computer science, information, and general works

100 – Philosophy and psychology

200 – Religion

300 – Social sciences

400 – Languages

500 – Science and Mathematics

600 – Technology and applied science

700 – Arts and recreation

800 – Literature

900 – History and geography and biography

You may click on any of the photos to see more detail and identify the various visual representations used for the sections of Dewey.

Finally, a small replica of the famous Dying Gaul statue that was in the library back then and still is. This was the most erotic thing in my young life and I was very careful to glance at it but not stare.

To Rome he may have been the despised enemy but my queerboy heart belonged to him.

Updated to correct spelling of Dewey in the headline (Deewy?  My fingers were rushing.)

Also to note this - Susan S. in the comments says of her visit to Fresno:

I have only been to Fresno once or twice in the '70s where we went out on Shaw Ave. to 'Stanley's on Shaw' for Armenian food and a quick drive by the totally unimpressive (then) Cathedral of the DioSJ (remember, I am a convert from the Southeast where the Cathedrals are much older and more impressive). I didn't know then how new the Diocese was.

I am so glad you dined there, Susan!  When my parents were newlyweds they had a newlywed couple for neighbors, George and Gladys Kooyumjian.  George had witnessed the slaughter of his family by the Turks (do NOT talk to me about minimizing what happened around 1918 in eastern Turkey).  My sisters grew up with Stanley and his sister Dorothy (hello, Skinuts, if you are reading this!).

I thus grew up eating Armenian food cooked by my mother and Neighbor-Nell Gladys.  "Neighbor-Nell" was a nickname Mother and Gladys used of each other and of no one else.

George ran Home Market downtown, a meat shop and deli.  Stanley took it over after George's untimely death.  Later Stanley moved the operation (still downtown) and opened a lunch restaurant.  Mom helped out there.  Later still, Stanley went for the big time and opened Stanley's Restaurant out on Shaw.  Gladys was still working in the kitchen.  All the food there was just like Gladys cooked for family and friends.  From Gladys and the mothers of some of my classmates I learned at least the rudiments of Armenian cooking and I love it.

Stanley retired from the restaurant business and Stanley's is no more.  I have traded a few e-mails with Stanley and Dorothy Ann and her husband over the decades.

So thank you, Susan S., for giving me the opportunity for more nostalgia and rejoicing in people I have loved.  Sh'norhagal em ("I am grateful," in Armenian)!

--the BB

Monday, September 22, 2008

Getting to know you: let's deregulate health care!

h/t to Joe Sudbay at Americablog
--the BB

About that "elitist" meme

Don't you get tired of it? I do. I remember the "egghead" label being stuck on Adlai Stevenson, something that was anathema to the bulk of the American populace. Heaven forbid we should value knowledge or clear and critical thinking!

Yes, Obama is highly intelligent, educated, and articulate. Shouldn't we want that in the leader of a great nation? Do we really want a doofus? (Please don't remind me that we already have one. Look where that has gotten us.

I don't know how anyone can have the gall to insinuate that the Obamas cannot relate to ordinary working folk. They did not come from the realms of the idle rich.

Oh well, let's go for the graphic comparison.

h/t to Markos whence I nabbed the image.
--the BB

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Just for fun: Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco

Update: I don't think Firefox likes this but I was able to do it in Safari.  I have no idea about Explorer but assume it's fine.

provided by

--the BB

Looking back

[Posting links from my archives is a pain. If anyone wants the link to the items below, let me know in comments and I will provide them.]

Dan Rather was in hot water over reports about George Bush's National Guard service (or lack thereof). Because Bush won't allow records to be released, we may never know.

Ah, the smell of democracy in the air....

September 21, 2004
The Last Deception

It's Ayad Allawi week. President Bush, starting with his address at the U.N. today, will try to present Mr. Allawi - a former Baathist who the BBC reports was chosen as prime minister because he was "equally mistrusted by everyone" - as the leader of a sovereign nation on the path to democracy. If the media play along, Mr. Bush may be able to keep the Iraq disaster under wraps for a few more weeks.
Anybody remember Fahrenheit 911?
Inside dusty, barricaded camps around Iraq, groups of American troops in between missions are gathering around screens to view an unlikely choice from the US box office: "Fahrenheit 9-11," Michael Moore's controversial documentary attacking the commander-in-chief.

"Everyone's watching it," says a Marine corporal at an outpost in Ramadi that is mortared by insurgents daily. "It's shaping a lot of people's image of Bush."

The film's prevalence is one sign of a discernible countercurrent among US troops in Iraq - those who blame President Bush for entangling them in what they see as a misguided war. Conventional wisdom holds that the troops are staunchly pro-Bush, and many are. But bitterness over long, dangerous deployments is producing, at a minimum, pockets of support for Democratic candidate Sen. John Kerry, in part because he's seen as likely to withdraw American forces from Iraq more quickly.

"[For] 9 out of 10 of the people I talk to, it wouldn't matter who ran against Bush - they'd vote for them," said a US soldier in the southern city of Najaf, seeking out a reporter to make his views known. "People are so fed up with Iraq, and fed up with Bush."

Someone reporting on the post-Katrina scene in Bogalusa:
I went to check on my little 80 year old ladies today and stopped at another house with TWO TREES still through it and the couple living there...14 days AFTER the hurricane hit, they put a sign out on their lawn that said "this is how the government treats you"...FEMA went there the next day, gave them a $2k check and wished them good luck.

These people sent their kids to Texas and want to go's a town south of Houston, the name escapes me now. These people have NOT seen the RC and scavange for food/water. She drove for an hour and waited in line for 9 hours to fill out the paperwork for getting RED CROSS vouchers and then was given a NUMBER and told to come back on MONDAY. Now you might think, well they must be in the middle of no where...WRONG, these people are on the ROAD THAT ALL THE GOVERNMENT agencies take to the main control center at least 10 times daily. FEMA never even got people to remove the trees off their roof, they had FRIENDS show up finally.

At my little 80 year old ladies home, I find out they haven't seen the RED CROSS for 2 days and they were out of food and water and needed medical attention and meds. I got them all of that.
While there, their young neighbor talked with the photo journalists who requested I talk to him and I find out that the RED CROSS REFUSED to talk to him, much less help him. This is a 36 year old man who has a wife with POLIO and they are living in a church with NOTHING. FEMA won't talk to them, they have no phone, etc.

A Romanian who had been tortured, was freed, lived in several countries then came to the United States, chats about the bad things he foresaw under Bush.

"I think the same thing will happen as in Romania when I grew up there. It starts with fixed elections. First the 2000 election was fixed and then the 2004 election was fixed. It happened in Communist elections just like it happened here. The people who count the votes are all in the government that's in power. And even when it seems like people have had enough, the tyrant will always somehow come out winning just enough to make your conspiracy theories seem ridiculous. Just like in Romania and Bulgaria of the sixties and seventies, the press may even report problems with elections, but Bush knows that Americans are lazy. I am sorry my friend. Maybe not you. But Americans are lazy and they will not seek their freedoms. Because it is always frightening to fight the government. But you are mistaken if you think you will avoid trouble by going along with the government. One day you will write a letter to the editor and sign your name, and then the next time you are at a train station, they will tell you `you cannot ride'. Or at the airport they will say you cannot get on a plane. Or they will stop you are the border, and just like Romania and the other Communist countries, America will become your prison. When the 2000 elections happened, my 89 year grandmother-in-law asked if we could go back to Bucharest. You see, this smells just like the communists in Europe to her. Corrupt. Incompetent. Totally controlling the media, the elections. Once they have that, and a lazy press, that's it. I mean that's it. They will continue to install an overbearing government where idiots who wear white gloves and badges, low-level-small-paycheck bureaucrats get to stop you at airports and demand to know where you are from and where you are going and what your business is. They will ask if you support the Party, or "who did you vote for?' It will come down to the day when you will see the police jump on someone for no reason and you will turn your heads and act like you have seen nothing. Your neighbor's wife will knock on your door desperately at 3 in the morning and tell you her husband was arrested out of his sleep last night. And she will cry and ask where he is. And you will make her coffee and call the local police and they local gendarme or sheriff or whatever will come by and pat her on the shoulder and will say he was taken by the Feds and they have no idea where he is going."

"You will notice more and more changes. The leash will get shorter, little at a time. And so slowly even you will not protest because you will hardly notice. You will lose your freedoms little at a time. One day you will speak out against the president in hushed tones even at a party. Then you will drive home from the party and steam at yourself for being so much like a little pussy cat. Then you will wonder who heard you."
Executive power and the environment:
Wed Sep 20, 2006 at 04:24:15 PM PDT

The lead editorial in Nature vol 443 p 121 discloses another instance of the arrogant power grab by the Bush Administration.

...the Bush administration has reversed two decades of precedent and declared that important whistleblower protections in the Clean Water Act do not apply to federal workers.
I have not posted anything on torture in ages. How's this for a reminiscence?
The Road to Hell
No one can argue that the Iraqi people would be better off with the thugs and murderers back in the palaces. Who would prefer that Saddam's torture chambers still be open?
George W. Bush
Speech Marking First Anniversary of Iraq Invasion
March 19, 2004

Torture in Iraq is reportedly worse now than it was under deposed president Saddam Hussein, the United Nations' chief anti-torture expert said Thursday.
Manfred Nowak described a situation where militias, insurgent groups, government forces and others disregard rules on the humane treatment of prisoners.
"What most people tell you is that the situation as far as torture is concerned now in Iraq is totally out of hand," said Nowak, the global body's special investigator on torture. "The situation is so bad many people say it is worse than it has been in the times of Saddam Hussein."
Associated Press
Torture reaches new depths in Iraq
September 21, 2005
Something I still worry about in a major way: Back to Robert F. Kennedy Jr. -- Will The Next Election Be Hacked?

Will The Next Election Be Hacked?
Fresh disasters at the polls -- and new evidence from an industry insider -- prove that electronic voting machines can't be trusted

Deliberate acts

Devilstower has a great post up today titled "Three Times Is Enemy Action." The title comes from an utterance by James Bond's nemesis, Goldfinger.

The tragic tale of deregulation is about far more than coincidence. It is about an ideology that is either naive, or stupid, or simply evil.

Devilstower concludes:

This is enemy action. This is a bullet deliberately fired into the economy by men willing to exercise their ideology regardless of the cost to taxpayers. Men who have every expectation that they can plunder the system again and again, while the public picks up the tab. John McCain may not have had his finger directly on the trigger, but he was there. He assisted. These were his personal friends and philosophical comrades. He may not be the high priest, but he has been a loyal acolyte in the cult of deregulation.

It may come as a surprise to the champions of deregulation, but nobody likes regulation. The restrictions that were placed on banks, S&Ls, and other institutions in the 1930s weren't put there because someone thought it would be fun. They were put in place because they addressed problems that had just been clearly and painfully revealed. They were put in place because they were necessary.

It's bad enough if John McCain didn't know that. It's far worse if he did.
Read it all here.

I am waiting for Condi to say "nobody could have imagined...." Only many of us did, and expected it. There is no surprise here. More's the shame.
--the BB

# 100

As I announced at much greater length yesterday, today would have been my father's one hundredth birthday.

He's the scamp on his father's knee here.

The next generation of father and son

Happy Birthday, Dad! May you rest in peace and rise in glory.


Time for more music

I have not put up many music videos lately. I thought this was cute. "Les Misbarack" doing "One Day More" -h/t to Joe Sudbay at Americablog

--the BB

Delusional or duplicitous?

Without privatization, I don’t see how you can possibly, over time, make sure that young Americans are able to receive Social Security benefits.
- John McCain, 11/18/2004

h/t to Sam Loomis
--the BB