September 30, 2006


The Dodgers are in the playoffs! The Dodgers are in the playoffs!

(Take that, Russ Hodges! On your team's home field, no less!)

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September 29, 2006

Republican "values"

Originally uploaded by Kier42.
Hey, Democrats, here's a free ad for you.

Caption it

Republican values, not American values.

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September 28, 2006

Day of Infamy, Revisited

It's official. The United States now has torture, detention with no recourse and presidential authority to "interpret international standards" as he/she sees fit on its lawbooks.

Take that, moral authority.

The wishy-washy Arlen Specter tried to amend this abomination to get habeas corpus included, then turned around and voted for it, as did the sainted McCain, the noted centrist Lieberman, the other two "independents" Warner and Graham, and, to their everlasting shame, eleven Democrats.

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R.I.P., Great Writ

What the hell. Habeas corpus has only been part of law for seven hundred years; why keep it around? How did your Senator vote on the retention of the legal principle which allows a prisoner to contest his imprisonment in front of a judge?

Oh, Mr. Broder? Your favorite "Independents," McCain, Warner, and Graham? They voted in lockstep with the Bush Administration. Specter's amendment was defeated 48-51.

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September 27, 2006

Action alert

The torture bill is S.3930. Call your Senators (R or D) and tell them that codifying torture into law and denying detainees habeas corpus goes against 230 years of American history, not to mention ethics and Judeo-Christian teachings.

Find your Senator's contact information here.

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Streaming, flaxen, waxen

Ah, memories. I walked into the Dollar Store to pick up cigarettes today, and the oldies radio station was playing a song from "Hair."

Back in 1969 or 1970 my fraternity (Alpha Kappa Lambda) was teamed up with (I think) the Chi Omega sorority to perform this song during Greek Week. Picture a whole bunch of 18-19 year-old boys and girls rehearsing a string of nonsense syllables and then singing them in front of various fraternity and sorority houses.

I'd much rather have been singing the title song from the musical:

She asks me why
I'm just a hairy guy
I'm hairy noon and night
Hair that's a fright
I'm hairy high and low
Don't ask me why
Don't know
It's not for lack of bread
Like the Grateful Dead

Gimme head with hair
Long beautiful hair
Shining, gleaming,
Streaming, flaxen, waxen

Give me down to there hair
Shoulder length or longer
Here baby, there mama
Everywhere daddy daddy

Hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair
Flow it, show it
Long as God can grow it
My hair

Let it fly in the breeze
And get caught in the trees
Give a home to the fleas in my hair
A home for fleas
A hive for bees
A nest for birds
There ain't no words
For the beauty, the splendor, the wonder
Of my...

Hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair
Flow it, show it
Long as God can grow it
My hair

I want it long, straight, curly, fuzzy
Snaggy, shaggy, ratty, matty
Oily, greasy, fleecy
Shining, gleaming, streaming
Flaxen, waxen
Knotted, polka-dotted
Twisted, beaded, braided
Powdered, flowered, and confettied
Bangled, tangled, spangled, and spaghettied!

Oh say can you see
My eyes if you can
Then my hair's too short

Down to here
Down to there
Down to where
It stops by itself

They'll be ga ga at the go go
When they see me in my toga
My toga made of blond
Biblical hair

My hair like Jesus wore it
Hallelujah I adore it
Hallelujah Mary loved her son
Why don't my mother love me?

Hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair
Flow it, show it
Long as God can grow it
My hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair
Flow it, show it
Long as God can grow it
My hair

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September 26, 2006

Constitutional risk

Trust the Republicans to allow the White House to broaden the definition of unlawful combatants to include anyone who "has engaged in hostilities or who has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States or its military allies." That's sufficiently broad, don't you think? My goodness, as Rummy would say, there might be a guy who tithes 10% of his income to a mosque somewhere, and that mosque (or synagogue, or church) might indirectly feed people who might do us harm.

Then there's the NSA wiretapping bill. Some previously-balky Senators have now agreed to provisions which will seemingly broaden the President's authority to bug anybody's mail, phone, or e-mail.

Under the change, the lawmakers said, the administration would be expected to obtain a warrant if the attorney general cannot certify a "reasonable expectation" that the warrantless surveillance will not involve a U.S. citizen.

Does anyone really believe that the Senate won't blindly accept whatever crap Atty. General Gonzales offers them as a "reasonable expectation?"

The Democrats have to win in November or this country's Constitution will become nothing more than last week's fishwrap.

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September 25, 2006


The man who extemporaneously wrote Mammoth Salad as a comment to a blog post has just died. If you can judge a man by the number and quality of his friends, then Mike Ford will be greatly missed. Here's part of the text at the first link:

Hot Gingered Pygmy Mammoth & Jumbo Shrimp Salad

Feeds your whole tribe.

1 pygmy mammoth, boned and cubed (about ½ ton)
½ ton jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined (many many ordinary shrimps, or one Ebirah claw)
10 buckets sesame seeds
60 pounds bean thread noodles if you are an Eastern tribe, whatever your tribe uses for noodles otherwise. If you have not yet invented the noodle, this might be a good time to do so.
1 bucket vegetable oil
1 bucket sesame oil
10 buckets minced fresh ginger
6 buckets minced garlic
15 buckets dry Sherry
15 buckets rice wine vinegar
60 pounds sugar
60 buckets diced fresh mangoes
15 buckets chopped green onions
Big Snorgul’s helmet full of red pepper flakes
10 buckets chopped fresh cilantro, plus 5 Big Snorgul’s helmets fresh cilantro, garnish
1000 large heads lettuce, cored and leaves separated (a raid on the People Who Grow Stuff may be necessary)
30 buckets thinly sliced, peeled, seeded, drained cucumbers, or just chop up the damn cucumbers and say "Fie to thee!" a lot
All the chives you got

I only knew him through his comments at Making Light, of which the above was one. The man could make words jump through hoops there.

Click the first link to read the full cooking technique. Click the second one to read moving tributes and find a bibliography of his works.

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September 24, 2006


Yow. Chris Simms of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers played part of his football game today with a ruptured spleen. "Losing a spleen is not life-threatening, though the lack of one can increase the risk of infections."

Query: How do proponents of Intelligent Design explain the fact that we have organs like the spleen and the appendix which aren't necessary to our survival? Did the Designer just have some spare parts?

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Fridge full

If I've learned one thing about hosting a pot-luck party at your house, it's that you needn't do any cooking for a couple of days afterward. Leftovers include pasta salad, green salad, fruit salad, mochiko chicken and ahi poke.

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September 22, 2006

A plan

Even though the US media wants to talk about Hugo Chavez, Michael Bérubé has a suggestion for Democrats:

...get out there and say something like this: “Torture and ‘extraordinary rendition’ are contrary to everything this nation stands for, every tradition of liberty and the rule of law for which our brave fighting men and women have died over the past 230 years. This administration’s craven and reckless policy will not only endanger our servicemen and women overseas, all for the sake of ‘interrogations’ that have gotten us precisely zero useful intelligence in five years, as we have tortured mentally ill detainees whose pain-induced babblings have led us on one wild goose chase after another; it will also erode our moral fiber and damage us irreparably in the fight against totalitarianism and political extremism around the world. No one who proposes such a policy is fit to lead this land of the free, and the political party that supports such a policy, and such a leader, can rightly be called anti-American.”

Sounds good to me.

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Get your waterboards ready

So the oh-so-moral dissident Senators made a deal with the White House to resolve the detainee and torture bill. Looks to me like those highly upright men got rolled.

The agreement says the executive branch is responsible for upholding the nations’ commitment to the Geneva Conventions, leaving it to the president to establish through executive rule any violations for the handling of terrorism suspects that fall short of a "grave breach." Significantly, Senate aides said, those rules would have to be published in the Federal Register.(My italics).

The agreement provides several pages describing "grave breaches" that would not be allowed, starting with torture and including other forms of assault and mental stress. But it does not lay out specific interrogation techniques that would be prohibited.

Wonderful. This President has already shown that he's willing to defy any constraints (see "signing statements") the Congress tries to put on his exercise of power, so why not just cede him all the authority upfront?

Whaddya bet the press once again fawns all over that "maverick" McCain, even though he essentially let the Administration run roughshod over his stated goal of keeping American soldiers safe from torture?

And the freakin' Democrats, by relying on the Republican Senators, are now once again in the awkward position of having to vote for something I hope most of them gag even thinking about, right before an election.

Here's Marty Lederman on the legal aspects, including the abolition of the detainees' habeas corpus rights.

Here's Digby on the politics.

It amazes me. The duly-elected representatives of this once-great nation are so cowed by a bunch of semi-literate guys with bombs that they're willing to scrap all the moral standing this country once had. In Bush's case I'm not surprised, but I thought there were still some Senators with courage.

It's pretty simple, really. Torture is immoral. It is not something the United States of America should engage in, no matter the circumstances.

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September 21, 2006

Who drives what?

Today on NPR's Talk of the Nation there was a lively discussion about the problems of American automakers. One of the panelists (I think it was the LA Times' Dan Neil) said he was fairly bullish on their prospects; the other two, not so much.

I drive a 1997 Geo, which was made by GM in partnership with Suzuki. Mine's a four-door sedan which really does seat four fairly comfortably and has a reasonably good-sized trunk. It has about 45,000 miles on it (no, the odometer hasn't tripped over); when I bought it it had 13,000 miles already in its previous life as a National/Budget rental car. I bought it in May of 1998, and it's been a good little car.

So what do you drive? American or import? Big boat or sub-compact?

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September 20, 2006


We have a fair number of people coming over on Saturday. That happens to be primary day, so I went down to my local satellite city hall and voted early. The State of Hawai'i uses the SAT-style forms and electronic scanners, although they're moving toward the touch-screen variety of voting machine (with paper trail). It was fairly painless, other than the mild confusion of having a Board of Education contest for a district fifteen miles away from me on my ballot. I asked about it and was told that my district's BOE seat wasn't up for election till 2008 because of staggered terms. There are three at-large seats up, and I have a right/obligation to vote for those, but why was I allowed to vote for a representative in the Windward District? Nobody knew.

Board of Education seats are non-compensated, so the people running for them are presumably dedicated folks, and the elections are theoretically non-partisan, so there's little danger of the loonies taking over the Board and trying to foist creationism on the munchkins. But, in part because they're non-partisan, there's very little money for advertising, so the people who win basically do so because of name recognition. It's very hard to learn just what any newcomer might have in mind should he/she be elected. Either you pin the list of candidates up on the wall and throw darts, or you hunt really hard to find the single article in each paper which offers you a paragraph about each one of them.

Ah well.

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September 19, 2006

To catch a thief

From the NY Daily News today:

There is so much political corruption on Capitol Hill that the FBI has had to triple the number of squads investigating lobbyists, lawmakers and influence peddlers, the Daily News has learned.

For decades, only one squad in Washington handled corruption cases because the crimes were seen as local offenses handled by FBI field offices in lawmakers' home districts.

But in recent years, the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal and other abuses of power and privilege have prompted the FBI to assign 37 agents full-time to three new squads in an office near Capitol Hill.

Posted without comment.

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I don't believe what I just saw!

That was the most amazing baseball game I've ever watched. Down 9-5 in the bottom of the 9th inning, the Dodgers got consecutive solo home runs from Jeff Kent, J.D. Drew, Russell Martin and Marlon Anderson to tie it and send it to extra innings. It's only the 4th time in Major League history a team has hit four consecutive home runs. The Dodgers' pitcher gave up a go-ahead run in the top of the 10th, so the game went to the bottom of the 10th with the Dodgers needing one run to tie, two to win. Kenny Lofton walked and Nomar Garciaparra hit a 2-1 pitch into the left field bleachers to win it 11-10.

Considering they had to come back from 4-run deficits twice in the game, that's unbelievable.

That means the Dodgers started the four-game series 1/2-game ahead of the Padres in first place, and after the series they're still 1/2-game up with 11 games to go in the season.

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September 18, 2006

Where's the difference here?

The Pope recently quoted the 14th century Emperor Manuel II Paleologus as follows:

'Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.'"

Bush said this about democracy in Iraq in 2003:

"We did not charge hundreds of miles into the heart of Iraq and pay a bitter cost of casualties and liberate 25 million people only to retreat before a band of thugs and assassins," Bush said. "We will help the Iraqi people establish a peaceful and democratic country in the heart of the Middle East."

I hesitate to call Bush's adventure in Iraq "evil", but a case could be made for "inhuman."

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September 17, 2006


The other night I participated in a telephone survey about our local elections. The primaries are next Saturday, and one of our two House Representatives (Ed Case) is challenging a long-time Senator (Dan Akaka) for his Democratic seat in Washington. At the end of the survey I was asked if the local news station could contact me for a follow-up if it was so inclined. I said sure, gave my name, and thought no more about it.

Yesterday I got a call from a reporter at the station suggesting he'd like to do that follow-up. I agreed, and about half-an-hour later he showed up with a cameraman. They liked the visuals of my driveway or something, so we did a five-minute interview right there. I expressed my opinions about Representative Case (I don't like his stance on issues -- he's Republican-lite), and they aired the spot last night.

I've never done that before. It's a credit to the reporter (Stephen Florino) that I completely forgot the camera was running. He asked good questions and kept my attention on him. I had about a minute-and-a-half of air time, and my family has been teasing me all morning about being a TV star.

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September 16, 2006

President of Torture

So yesterday during his press conference, talking about the torture bill, Bush said this:

"The professionals will not step up unless there's clarity in the law," Bush said. "So Congress has got a decision to make: Do you want the program to go forward or not? I strongly recommend that this program go forward in order for us to be able to protect America."

I find it incredible that the President of the United States advocates torture. Worse, he seems to be saying that if Congress doesn't vote his way, he'll just stop all interrogations altogether. That's quite a threat, don't you think? "Vote my way or we all might die!"

This country was once claimant to a position of moral leadership in the world. Not any more.

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September 15, 2006

Clever line

NPR's Bob Mondello reviewed the new movie The Black Dahlia today on All Things Considered. He's not impressed with the film, but he gets off a really good line when discussing the director's use of actors:

"Scarlett Johansson playing a... um... sweater."

Having seen Ms. Johansson in a few films, I can only add that I'm sure it's a very attractive sweater.

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Voters arise

This has been said elsewhere but it bears repeating. From Balkinization:

Our President-- with his prevarications and euphemisms, like "alternative sets of procedures"-- has been unwilling to speak the truth about what he has done in the past and what he wishes to keep doing in the future. He wants to be free of Congressional and judicial oversight when he spies on people in the United States. He wants to hold, imprison, and detain people without letting them know the evidence used to condemn and convict them. He wants to let the CIA and other operatives continue to use abusive and inhumane interrogation methods. And he wants to make sure that those who have engaged in torture and inhumane treatment are never brought to justice or held responsible for their crimes-- including especially those who authorized these terrible practices.

In short, this President wants legislation that will confirm that he is a law unto himself.

Damn straight. And we have to rely on the Democrats plus Warner, McCain and Graham to keep it from happening immediately. Then we have to elect Democrats in numbers great enough to win at least one half of Congress in order to block this man from doing what Jack Balkin describes.

The very nature of our country will change if he continues to get his way.

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September 14, 2006

R.I.P. Ann Richards

When I heard that former Texas Governor Ann Richards had died, I knew I'd find a good remembrance of her over at Off the Kuff. Charles has links to various obituaries and bloggers' posts, along with a story I'd never heard before from Molly Ivins, which I'm going to quote in full because it's so good:

Several years ago there was a big political do at Scholz Beer Garten in Austin and everybody who was anybody in political Texas was there, meetin' and greetin' at a furious pace. About halfway through the evening, a little group of us got the tired feet and went to lean our butts against a table by the back wall of the Garten. Like birds in a row were perched Bob Bullock, the state comptroller; me; Charlie Miles, a black man who was then head of Bullock's personnel department (and the reason Bullock had such a good record on minority hiring); and Ms. Ann Richards.

Bullock, having been in Texas politics for thirty some-odd years, consequently knew every living sorry, no-account sumbitch who ever held office. A dreadful old racist judge from East Texas came up to him, "Bob, my boy, how are yew?" The two of them commenced to clap one another on the back and have a big greetin'.

"Judge," said Bullock. "I want you to meet my friends. This is Molly Ivins with the Texas Observer."

The judge peered up at me and said, "How yew, little lady?"

"This is Charles Miles, who heads my personnel department." Charlie stuck out his hand and the judge got an expression on his face as though he had just stepped into a fresh cowpie. It took him a long minute before he reached out, barely touched Charlie's hand and said, "How you, boy?" Then he turned with great relief to pretty, blue-eyed Ann Richards and said, "And who is this lovely lady?"

Ann beamed and said, "I am Mrs. Miles."

She will be missed.

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September 13, 2006

Light meal

Following yesterday's humongous lunch, it was light meal time last night. For years we've enjoyed microwaved burritos for lunch, but I've always felt annoyed that if you zap the things long enough to get the inside good and hot, the corners turn to rock. So when I saw these Chimichangas in the freezer case, I thought they'd be worth a try.

Not bad. The flavor's good (Straight from the product description: Shredded beef, real cheddar & Monterey Jack cheeses, zesty green chiles and authentic seasonings & spices, wrapped in a freshly-baked flour tortilla!) and the corners stay pretty soft. You don't need to add salsa, either, unless you're a hard-core spicy-food freak (I am).

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September 12, 2006

Sandwich review

Last week I went to the dentist; today was Mom's turn. The appointment was for 11:45, so we decided to get lunch afterwards.

I can tell you that Jack in the Box's Bacon Cheese Ciabatta burger is very very big.

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Should have been said long ago

Here's the NYT editorial board, commenting on Bush's speech last night:

It’s hard to figure out how to build consensus when the men in charge embrace a series of myths. Vice President Dick Cheney suggested last weekend that the White House is even more delusional than Mr. Bush’s rhetoric suggests. The vice president volunteered to NBC’s Tim Russert that not only was the Iraq invasion the right thing to do, "if we had it to do over again, we’d do exactly the same thing."

As the Times says, it's a breathtaking thought. Not only was this Administration stupid to begin with, it's learned nothing in the three years since it invaded Iraq that might give it pause if confronted with the same decision again?

Where were they when the brains were handed out?

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September 11, 2006

Five years on

Five years ago today I woke up to a horror which had already (what with time zones) been going on for some five hours. Like most other people not living in the New York/Washington/Pennsylvania area, I watched it all unfold on television. I remember the disbelief I felt and the urge to hit back at whoever had done this. I had no problem with going into Afghanistan, since that's where we were told the perpetrators were. When Bush started pushing to go into Iraq, I thought he was misguided and wrong; given what the Senate Intelligence Committee's reports released Friday tell us, I feel justified. I'm horrified at the loss of American and Iraqi life for specious and false reasons. However, I had no clue as to what the next five years would hold for this country.

Neither did Eric Alterman. He has some questions:

I look back on that moment when so many of us wanted to trust our president and I wonder:

Who would have imagined in their worst nightmares that these political usurpers would employ the human catastrophe of 9/11 to continue the terrorists work for them? Who would have imagined that they would embark on a course that would eventually kill more Americans than died on 9/11 in wars that do nothing to ensure the nation’s security but much to inspire more Arabs to hate us and wish to attack us? Who would have imagined they would dissipate the global solidarity and support the world had offered us? Who would have imagined that, having ignored all of the signs of a certain attack, they would continue to ignore the most obvious steps to protect us against future catastrophe, leaving our ports, our nuclear facilities, our chemical facilities invitingly unguarded? Who would have imagined that they would willingly allow bin-Laden to escape?

He has several more equally good questions at that link, which I suggest be read and thought about.

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September 10, 2006

Facts matter

Read this story from a former reporter about VJ Day. This is why people are up in arms about Disney/ABC's insistence on showing a film about 9/11 which has been proven to be wrong on the facts.

It's incumbent upon us as citizens to get it right, and you can't get it right if you're selective with the facts. The only way to get the facts is to listen and investigate. We as a nation have yet to do either in any satisfactory way.

Posted by Linkmeister at 10:46 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 09, 2006

Take your plans and shove 'em

Holy cow. The guy who was the Army's logistics chief says Rumsfeld threatened to fire planners who wanted to discuss post-war strategy in Iraq:

"The secretary of defense continued to push on us ... that everything we write in our plan has to be the idea that we are going to go in, we're going to take out the regime, and then we're going to leave," Scheid said. "We won't stay."

Scheid said the planners continued to try "to write what was called Phase 4," or the piece of the plan that included post-invasion operations like occupation.

Even if the troops didn't stay, "at least we have to plan for it," Scheid said.

"I remember the secretary of defense saying that he would fire the next person that said that," Scheid said. "We would not do planning for Phase 4 operations, which would require all those additional troops that people talk about today.

So the idea was to anoint Chalabi the new ruler of Iraq, have him declare peace in our time, recognize Israel, and thank the US profusely. What the Shia and Kurds thought about this was evidently not the United States' problem.

Senator Fulbright wrote a book about Washington politics entitled "The Arrogance of Power." If he were still alive he'd have to write a sequel.

Via Kevin Drum, who has more thoughts on this.

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September 08, 2006

Intelligence reports, parts 1&2

Oh, by the way, remember all those claims about Saddam and al-Qaeda being linked? Absolutely false.

The disclosure undercuts continuing claims by the Bush administration that such ties existed, and that they provided evidence of links between Iraq and Al Qaeda. The Republican-controlled committee also sharply criticized the administration for its reliance on the Iraqi National Congress during the run-up to the war in Iraq.

The Republicans are all saying "old news, old news," of course. But two weeks ago Bush made the claim that Saddam and Zarqawi were linked.

As recently as two weeks ago, President Bush said at a news conference that Mr. Hussein "had relations with Zarqawi." But a C.I.A. report completed in October 2005 concluded instead that Sadddam Hussein’s regime "did not have a relationship, harbor, or even turn a blind eye toward Mr. Zarqawi and his associates," according to the new Senate findings.

Oh what the hell. Lying is only a problem if you don't get away with it. That appears to be the Bush modus operandi. It sure might have been useful to have these before the 2004 elections, though, which is undoubtedly why Chairman Pat Roberts delayed them.

Here's a link to the first report (pdf) about those non-existent links between Iraq and al-Qaeda. Here's a link to the one which reports (pdf) on the misuse of information received from Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress.

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Discworld update

I've read twelve of the nineteen books I had on reserve. Four to go by the Monday due date. What a comedic writer Terry Pratchett is!

Of the library bunch, I've read Equal Rites, Sourcery, Eric, Small Gods, Lords and Ladies, Men at Arms, Soul Music, Feet of Clay, Interesting Times, Hogfather, and Jingo.

Still to go: The Last Continent, Carpe Jugulum, The Fifth Elephant, and Thud.

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September 07, 2006

ABC's propaganda

ABC plans to show a "docudrama" called "The Path to 9/11" this weekend. According to some of the people depicted in the film, it is full of misinformation and made-up scenes with a conspicuously anti-Clinton Administration slant. Moreover, it has distributed some 900 copies to early reviewers, who just happen to be right-wing bloggers like Hugh Hewitt and talk-show hosts like Rush Limbaugh. At the same time it gave out those copies, it has refused to allow people like Madeline Albright, Sandy Berger, and even Bill Clinton to see it. Counter-terrorism experts Richard Clarke and Roger Cressey have refuted parts of it, 9/11 Commissioners Jamie Gorelick and Richard Ben-Veniste have refuted parts of it, and even conservative critics of the Clinton Administration have objected to it. It claims to be based on the 9/11 Commission Report, but it misstates many of the conclusions found in that document.

Here's a good roundup of the controversy.

I emailed our local ABC affiliate to ask what it planned to do about this. I got a quick response from the general manager of the station. He told me that he has no choice but to air it, saying his station is contractually obligated to do so. I pointed out that his station declined to show the movie "Saving Private Ryan" in 2004 for fear of FCC sanction, so it seemed to me that there were loopholes available in the station's contract. He said the situations were completely different. Well, maybe.

He did tell me that ABC had put his station in what he called "an untenable position." Hmm. defines untenable as "indefensible," which I suppose could be considered accurate. I then asked him if he'd advised the network about the difficulty ABC had put his station in, and he told me yes.

I urge you all to write/call your local ABC affiliate and ask them what they plan to do about this blatant piece of pro-Administration propaganda (did I mention that the movie doesn't even show Bush in his most famous picture of that day, the one of him sitting stunned in that classroom?). Also write to ABC itself here.

Note that Democratic Senators are furious as well; they've just written a blistering letter to Disney/ABC's CEO.

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In order to be a good dental hygienist, you must be:

A) Relentlessly cheerful
B) Mildly sadistic
C) Fond of sharp objects
D) All of the above

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September 06, 2006

Eight hours on the road

The Visitors Bureau will hate me for this, but I gotta dispel the notion that Hawai'i is nothing but surf and sand.

Photo by Ryan Ozawa

Yesterday about 2:00pm a nitwit driving a trailer with an excavator on board inadvertently took out the bottom section of a freeway overpass. This was the result.

Here are the professional photographers' pix.

Here are the shots the victims/amateurs took. If you look at the times of some of those photographs, you'll notice that a couple were taken fully 12 hours after the accident.

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September 05, 2006

Let the chips fall...

Did the Softwood Lumber deal the US just made with Canada include a $450 million slush fund channeled to the White House from the Canadians? Could be. Buried in the text of the recently-agreed softwood lumber agreement with our neighbors to the North is a clause which says that the Canadian timber industry must

... sign over $450 million to an escrow fund slated to be conveyed to the White House. The agreement does not mention Congress, and the Bush administration says that Congress will not be involved in any way with this agreement. The government of Canada thus is making a gift of $450 million to be spent by the president. That was more than a belt buckle, even more than a stetson, on July 6th. There is only one date certain in the deal: that the planned expenditure of the $450 million must be determined by September 1.

By law and by the US Constitution, all monetary gifts to the US must go into the Treasury. If this trade lawyer's analysis is correct, the Bush Administration is once again breaking the law. That's bad enough, but from a political point of view, imagine Karl Rove with $450M to spend on Congressional campaigns in this year's midterms.

There's a much more thorough analysis here. The full text of the lawyer's remarks can be found here.

Posted by Linkmeister at 11:16 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 04, 2006

Happy Labor Day!

Guess the source of this paragraph.

The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation's strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.

Why, it's the US Department of Labor's statement about Labor Day, of course!

To add to these achievements, President Bush has just appointed Paul DeCamp to head the Wage and Hours Division of the US Dep't. of Labor. Is he a good choice? From the corporate biography linked above:

Mr. DeCamp has represented employers in numerous class and collective actions involving the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and state wage and hour laws, as well as cases brought by individuals. Mr. DeCamp has defended employers against union organizing campaigns and unfair labor practice charges; provided advice regarding acquisition of unionized businesses, including successorship issues; and challenged union election-related misconduct. Mr. DeCamp advises employers regarding the full range of employment law issues, including wage and hour law compliance, internal investigations, equal employment opportunity concerns, employee discipline and terminations, and Service Contract Act issues.

Mr. DeCamp also represents businesses in a broad range of appellate matters involving issues of labor and employment, product liability, and insurance law, among others.

So here's a guy who has done nothing in his career to help labor. On the contrary, he's done everything he could, including helping employers combat union organization, to defeat it. Well then. In another example of the Bush Administration's "up-is-down" viewpoint, he's the perfect guy to help administer the Department of Labor.

Happy Labor Day, wage slaves. Your corporate masters just got a new club to beat you with.

Update: Bonus! Pete Seeger and The Weavers singing Solidarity Forever at YouTube.

Posted by Linkmeister at 09:43 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 03, 2006

Almost time for salad

Originally uploaded by Linkmeister.
This whacking big avocado tree grows just the other side of our hedge, and it leaves its fruit overhanging the yard. So we have almost too many avocados for the entire growing season.

One of my favorite salads is a really simple one which we call a Cuban salad, although I'm not sure that's the right name. Slice an avocado, slice some tomatos into wedges, slice some sweet or red onions, and drizzle some good olive oil over the whole plate. Salt and pepper to taste.
Posted by Linkmeister at 02:03 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 02, 2006

College Gameday, week 1

The college football season begins in earnest today, so here's my annual plug for Fanblogs, your source for news and gossip about most conferences. It really is extremely comprehensive; the proprietors do a great job.

Posted by Linkmeister at 09:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 01, 2006


birthday cake


Yup, it's that time of year. Worse, it's one of those birthdays which end in zero.

Ah well, think of the wonderful grandchildren you now have, Mom. And thanks for all the advice, help, and love.

Posted by Linkmeister at 11:13 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack