Thursday, September 30

Florida Voting -- What Could Possibly Go Wrong?


Wall Street Journal Reporter from Baghdad

This personal email from a WSJ reporter stationed in Baghdad has been making the rounds. It paints a pretty bleak picture -- he's basically afraid to leave the house. And it paints a very bleak picture of the prospects for democracy there. Below is an excerpt, but it's definitely worth reading the whole thing.

Iraqis say that thanks to America they got freedom in exchange for insecurity. Guess what? They say they'd take security over freedom any day, even if it means having a dictator ruler.

I heard an educated Iraqi say today that if Saddam Hussein were allowed to run for elections he would get the majority of the vote. This is truly sad.

Then I went to see an Iraqi scholar this week to talk to him about elections here. He has been trying to educate the public on the importance of voting. He said, "President Bush wanted to turn Iraq into a democracy that would be an example for the Middle East. Forget about democracy, forget about being a model for the region, we have to salvage Iraq before all is lost."

One could argue that Iraq is already lost beyond salvation. For those of us on the ground it's hard to imagine what if any thing could salvage it from its violent downward spiral. The genie of terrorism, chaos and mayhem has been unleashed onto this country as a result of American mistakes and it can't be put back into a bottle.

The Iraqi government is talking about having elections in three monthswhile half of the country remains a 'no go zone'-out of the hands of the government and the Americans and out of reach of journalists. In the other half, the disenchanted population is too terrified to show up at polling stations. The Sunnis have already said they'd boycott elections, leaving the stage open for polarized government of Kurds and Shiites that will not be deemed as legitimate and will most certainly lead to civil war.

I asked a 28-year-old engineer if he and his family would participate in the Iraqi elections since it was the first time Iraqis could to some degree elect a leadership. His response summed it all: "Go and vote and risk being blown into pieces or followed by the insurgents and murdered for cooperating with the Americans? For what? To practice democracy? Are you joking?"

Dilbert's Ultimate House

Pretty damn interesting. Thousands of Dilbert fans design a house.

The Ownership Society

One of Bush's talking points has been wanting the U.S to become an "ownership society." He likes to cite the rise in home ownership under his watch, and you have to give him credit for that -- it was made possible entirely due to the low interest rates that were implemented to try to shore up a failing economy. (Though, if he's going to blame Clinton and al Quaeda for the recession, shouldn't he also credit them with the housing boom?)

Anyhoo, another part of this "ownership society" is the privatizing of Social Security. Bush wants people to be forced to invest in the stock market rather than pay into a guaranteed government account. Setting aside the idiocy of having the retirements of every citizen depend on how well they know how to gamble on the stock market, I think there's another, sinister side to this plan, and I think it's intentional. Forcing citizens to be invested in the stock-market causes them to be, de facto, part of Big Business. You're not going to be as tempted to object to policies that benefit G.E. when your retirement is based on G.E. doing well. You'll be more likely to overlook government bailouts, monopolistic practives, corrupt governemt contracts, and the occasional oil spill, if it means you can afford that retirement condo in Florida.

I am of course, just talking out of my hat about this -- I haven't seen any commentary from actual political analysts or economists that support this notion. However, it's such a brilliant, evil plan that I just have to believe that it's true.

Rather Telling

Looks like Justice Scalia might want to go the way of Russia, and stop electing officials:

In one of the more bizarre moments of the evening, Scalia mentioned—in passing—that he thought the 17th Amendment was “a bad idea.”

The 17th Amendment provides for the direct election of senators.

Wednesday, September 29

Why Does He Hate America?

Can you guess who our Mystery Speaker from 1992 is, speaking about the first Gulf War?

"And the question in my mind is how many additional American casualties is Saddam worth? And the answer is not very damned many. So I think we got it right, both when we decided to expel him from Kuwait, but also when the president made the decision that we'd achieved our objectives and we were not going to go get bogged down in the problems of trying to take over and govern Iraq."

About 146 Americans were killed in the Gulf War. More than 1,000 U.S. soldiers have died in the invasion of Iraq and its aftermath.

Going to Baghdad, Mr. X said in 1992, would require a much different approach militarily than fighting in the open desert outside the capital, a type of warfare that U.S. troops were not familiar, or comfortable fighting.

"All of a sudden you've got a battle you're fighting in a major built-up city, a lot of civilians are around, significant limitations on our ability to use our most effective technologies and techniques. Once we had rounded him up and gotten rid of his government, then the question is what do you put in its place? You know, you then have accepted the responsibility for governing Iraq."

If you guessed Dick Cheney, you're right!

More on the 9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act

The bill is available here.

See Section 3009 -- the paragraph at line 24 of page 132, which says, in effect, that any claims under the UN Convention Against Torture must be settled in US Circuit Courts -- effectively rejecting UN restrictions for the US against employing torture.

Section 3032 (starting on p. 135) serves to further defang the UN Convention Against Torture, and places the burden of proof on the defendant to prove that they will be tortured if they are sent to whatever country we choose to send them to.

The bill doesn't come out and say "The US hereby reserves the right to arrange for the torture of prisoners, and rejects any UN jurisdiction in the matter, despite whatever treaties that soft pinko Reagan administration may have signed in 1984." But unless the Left Blogosphere (and Mass. Representative Edward Markey) are completely misreading all the legalese, that's basically what it says.

See two posts down for a link on how to contact your Representative about this.

Bush Relying on the 'Dumb Guy' Vote

Check out the second chart -- Bush is trailing Kerry by 21 points among those with post-grad education. This scales down to a 9-point Bush lead among those with high school education or less. Additionally, Kerry leads by a point among dames, but trails by 5 among dudes.

Don't let the Stupids win on Nov. 2!

Write Your Representative

There's an Act before the house next week called the "9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act of 2004." Republican Brownshirts are trying to use this Act to sneak in some language which basically will legalize the use of torture on "suspected" terrorists. If you're reading this blog, that probably horrifies you. It bothered me enough to write my Congress Critter, which I rarely do. Below is my letter to my rep, Congresswoman Jane Harman. I urge you to drop a line to your representative, as well.

Regarding the provisions to legalize the use of "extraordinary rendition" in the "9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act of 2004," introduced by House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL), as referenced in

It is unconscionable that we employ torture on suspected terrorists. While openly legalizing it would at least bring this shameful practice out into the open, I think those benefits are outweighed by the prospect of our interrogation techniques becoming even more outrageous if they are publically endorsed. It's quite possible that the only reason our intelligence methods aren't even more repugnant than they are, is that at least people have to break the law to commit these inhumane acts.

The scandal of Abu Grabe has shown that Americans, your constituents, are appalled by the use of torture. Given your voting record, I believe you probably are, as well. Please do whatever you can to oppose this heinous bill.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter -- it will truly be a black stain on our Democracy if we allow such barbarism to be codified into law.

EDIT: See two posts up for more detail.

Tuesday, September 28

CIA Plan to Influence Iraq Elections Uncovered, "Thwarted"

What happened to the America I grew up in, that we have a spokesman for the NSA announcing "we have adopted a policy that we will not try to influence the outcome of the upcoming Iraqi election by covertly helping individual candidates for office."

OK, I know it's always been like this....

But, y'know, in this case, if the US doesn't influence those elections somehow, the terrorsts actually will have won -- Iraq seems very likely to move toward theocracy if there's a fair election.

And if we rig the elections, of course, in another sense, we also lose.


Jody Doll

Paul Frank and Barbie team up to produce a doll of my lovely bride.

Jack Daniels Lowering Alcohol Content

Odd. They cite marketing research showing "the majority of people wanted a less potent drink."

I don't really like Jack much, anyway, but I object on principle. You want a less potent drink? It's called "Jack & Coke." You want a LESS potent drink? It's called "Why don't I just kick your ass, Nancy? Now get the fark out of my bar."

Moonshadow Still Sucks

But Yusuf Islam (apparently aka "the Cat!") has an interesting article in the LA Times.

Do You Know Any Undecideds?

Send them this link.

Monday, September 27

Special Alert For Both Female Readers of the DG

Our y-chormosone-deficient readers can win a lunch date with Fabio.

Yer welcome.

Virgin boss in space tourism bid

Branson's buying some rockets. I'm skeptical that the time is right yet to make a viable business out of space travel. But I applaud the effort and vision of those doing this.

I woner if they'll serve those really good honey-roasted peanuts.

What Would Jerry Falwell Say?

The Advice Goddess has a nice selection of quotes about religion and government.

Turning Over a New Leaf

Today I started following some good advice I read over the weekend. That advice is: dress for the job you want, not the job you have.

It has always been my dream to replace Ace Frehley in Kiss. My cube-mates are looking at me with a new-found respect this morning.

Petition to Ask Jon Stewart to Endorse Kerry

That's just odd. The man's a comedian. A really good one, but still.... And it's not like it isn't obvious that he thinks the Bush administration is reprehensible.... If folks really think Kerry desperately needs Jon Stewart's endorsement, the Kerry campaign may be in worse trouble than I thought.

Carrot-topped funnyman to replace lantern-jawed loser!

Conan to succeed Leno, but we have to wait until 2009.

Saturday, September 25

Falwell: Republican Party is MINE!!!!

Falwell says evangelicals control GOP, Bush's fate: "I tell my Republican friends who are always talking about the 'big tent,' I say make it as big as you want to, but if the candidate running for president is not pro-life, pro-family . . . you're not going to win."

Republican Party Desperate in Arkansas

They sent out fliers claiming "liberals" will ban the bible and there will be lots of gay, gay marriage if you don't vote Republican in the upcoming election.

Atrios has a pic of the flyer.

Friday, September 24

Hall of Douchebags

Somewhat Not Safe For Work, but only because you'll be snickering too loudly.

Let's talk baseball

This weekend, the Giants and Dodgers meet in a key diamond tilt. The NL West is on the line, and the loser of this series might not even make the playoffs.

I am a lifelong Dodgers fan. And I have recently joined the Oakland Athletics bandwagon after reading "Moneyball." (Buy it!) Yet, as this scribe from San Francisco writes, West Coast ball gets scant attention back East. I've had enough of the Yankees and Red Sox. Bring on L.A. vs. S.F.

As they say on Jim Rome's radio show: War, Dodgers. War, A's. I'm out.

Thursday, September 23

Another Mother Bothered by Blather from der Furher

They can't arrest all the moms.

Can they?

More George Bush Mashups

imagine...walk on the wild side. This is an interesting trend.

If You Care how Politicians Fare at Pop Music....

The Electras have a treat for you.

Satan Beating Bush for Klingon Vote

Gotta love Portland.

If You Care What Pop Stars Think of Politics...

...Rolling Stone has a treat for you.

Kerry Ahead in Presidential Race

Not in polling, but for reals.

John Waters is ... A Dirty Shame!

It somehow seems appropriate that the death of Russ Meyer and the release of a new John Waters movie should come in the same week. The new one, "A Dirty Shame," is rated NC-17 and includes Tracy Ullman, Chris Isaak and Johnny Knoxville in the cast.

I want to like John Waters. He's always funny on talk shows, and his "Simpsons" cameo some years ago was great. Unfortunately, his last good movie was "Hairspray" in 1988. I think the death of Divine took something out of him.

Cinematic footnote: Long before Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller made dodgeball cool again, "Hairspray" had a great P.E. scene, with the coach barking to the students: "Let's play dodgeball!"

Wednesday, September 22

S.F. says nekkid yoga is OK

The Naked Yoga Guy can keep doing his thing at Fisherman's Wharf. I'm sure the tourists from Omaha love it.

"Simply being naked on the street is not a crime in San Francisco," said Debbie Mesloh, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office.

Told you I was Ghandi

Actually, I ended up closer to being the Dalai Lama. Find out where you fall.

Faster, Russ Meyer! Die! Die!

That's what it should say on the nudie director's tombstone. He died over the weekend at age 82.

Bush Writes a Novel

Even though, like fellow author Pam Anderson, no one believes he's ever actually read one....

Hey, it could happen!

Monday, September 20

One born every minute

I admit it. I fell for it too. Be sure to watch for me next season.

Sunday, September 19

War photog Eddie Adams dies

He was the guy who got the famous photo of the street execution during Tet in 1968.

Interesting quote:

"Sometimes a picture can be misleading because it does not tell the whole story," Adams said in an interview for a 1972 AP photo book. "I don't say what he did was right, but he was fighting a war and he was up against some pretty bad people."

He's on NPR Radio...

Stan Ridgway of Wall of Voodoo fame tells all.

Cultural footnote: Ridgway's song "I Wanna Be a Boss" from 1991's "Partyball" was way ahead of anti-job cinematic rant "Office Space." And Scott Adams was drawing "Dilbert" then, but the strip had yet to reach a national audience.

Inspirational Ridgway lyric:

I said I wanna be a boss
And I just wanna take a four-hour lunch
And eat a steak with A1 Sauce

Saturday, September 18

Mmmmm. Beer.

Attending Oktoberfest looks like a good Dullard Feat of Strength.

Macaulay Culkin busted in OKC!

The "Home Alone" star was booked Friday night in Oklahoma after John Law found some marijuana and pills in a car that he was riding in.

At least he was wearing his seat belt.

Friday, September 17

The Mysterious Case of the CBS Memos

A FAIR (and balanced) overview of the brouhaha.

Roger Ebert Launches New Site

The cleverly named makes searchable all of his reviews from 1967 onward. Which is good for reminding you of why you liked the skinny guy better. This oafish vulgarian gave Brazil a miserly two stars!

How to Fold a Shirt

News you can use.

Rick James' Heart was Just Too Big

Cause of death was officially determined to be acute cardiac dysfunction due to idiopathic cardiomyopathy, or an enlarged heart. Contributing factors? Xanax, Valium, Wellbutrin, Celexa, Vicodin, Digoxin, Chlorpheniramine, methamphetamine, and cocaine.

Larry David on Undecideds

"You may be fooling everyone else with your little "undecided" act, but you're not fooling me." More a CS (Chuckling Silently) than a LOL, but worth a read.

How is this Race Even Close?

It's mind-boggling to me. The only reason left to vote for Bush is if one of two things are highest on your agenda: banning abortion, or protecting marriage from sodomites.

Other than that, I don't see how a supposed conservative could vote for him (and, indeed, a fair number of Republicans are turning their backs on Bush). He's not fiscally Republican, bloating government and driving the national debt to a staggering all-time high (and losing over a million jobs in the process). He's seemingly done his best to subvert the war on terror by detouring into Iraq. And his foreign policies have done more to destabilize Asia and the middle east than anyone could have thought possible four years ago.

The thing that bothers me the most is that he then just turns around and lies about it all, just like he lied to get into office ("I don't believe in nation building") and get his agenda through (manufactured Saddam/al Quaeda/WMD connections).

Of course, the thing that bothers me the second most is that he's killing 2-3 of our soldiers a day without any plan to get them out of Iraq.

Thursday, September 16

Soldiers Threatened with Iraq Deployment if they Don't "Voluntarily" Reenlist

Nice way to "support the troops."

W's Father Weren't So Dum, After All

At least, he seems to agree with reasonable folk about the wisdom of going into Iraq.


Sometimes you shouldn't have to call it. A pretty good Onion column.

Nekkid Raelians!

The fabulous babes of Clonaid are taking it off for Playboy.

With the recent "pictorial" featuring nekkid videogame characters and now the clones, the men's mag is looking increasingly desperate. I will leave it to this blog's dear readers to find such pics on the Web, but here is the official press release from the Raelians on this latest round of media exposure for the group.

I'm getting old....

There's only one surviving member of the original Ramones.

Jesus F*ck

I Didn't Do It

Check the name and address of this screenshot.


It's All Too Much

We're averaging over 60 deaths a month in Iraq, and we're on track to lose 80+ kids in September. We're losing ground on a weekly, if not daily, basis. I'm generally from the Colin Powell "You broke it, you bought it" camp, but: with no clear path to establishing a sustainable government there, and factoring in all the additional Iraqi civillian deaths, it's hard to justify throwing more bodies on the funeral pyre we've created. I don't know if we'd do more harm than good if we just left at this point. We're f*cked if we stay, they're f*cked if we leave, and they may or may not be more f*cked if we stay, it's hard to tell.

Thanks a lot, George. This f*cker really thinks God is on his side. And about 50% of the voting population seems to agree. If he gets re-elected, I really will be embarrassed to be an American for the first time in my life.

Wednesday, September 15

All the News Unfit to Print

Top Ten Censored Stories of 2003-2004

Jay Leno: Does Mr. Middle-of-the-Road Lean Left?

Inneresting interview with The Chin.

Secret Service, White House Charged with Violating Free Speech Rights

Couple arrested for wearing anti-Bush t-shirts.

Everybody sing! I'm proud to be an Amurikan, where at least I know I'm free....

Flashlight Takes Batteries Of Different Sizes

More useful invention than it sounds like at first. And I must add, I'm glad Mona never posts comments on this blog....

Alert for Jody: California Changes Revokes Tax Break for Teachers

California previously made it easier for teachers to get reimbursed for school supplies they pay for out of pocket by giving them a tax credit. Not anymore.

Don't know how this applies to private school teachers, but this may help.

Tuesday, September 14

Sunday, September 12

C-3P0 disses Lucas!

"George's devotion to digital effects over-balanced the films. Too many digital funky characters become a little bit wearing. The storytelling always gets subsumed." -- Anthony Daniels, voice of C-3P0, on the "Star Wars" prequels

There's more from Daniels, including his disturbingly close relationship with the droid character, for all you disillusioned fans out there.

R2-D2 could not be reached for comment.

Friday, September 10

Our Very Own SS

I'm tired of those partisan hacks... the Secret Service.

Tivo + NetFlix

= YUM!

Newsflash: Boondocks is Funny Today

McGruder's just been coasting the past year or so (and doesn't even draw the strip anymore), but this one's worthwhile.

(Doonesbury is still maintaining its edge, thank goodness -- kudos to nonogenarian G.B. Tredeau and his two wives. And if anyone knows where to get a book of past Gasoline Alley strips let me know -- I'm not even kidding.)

You Want Cussing?

OK Tim, this warrants cussing. What an asshole.

Wednesday, September 8


Josh Marshall has the complete text of CBS's interview with White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett, including this gem:

He was not getting out of drills, he wasn't going to be physically there to do the drills because he was going to be in another state to perform his civilian occupation, which was very common in the Guard then, and it is very common in the Guard today -- that it's a civilian occupation which allows them to also fulfill their military obligation. And President Bush was working with the commanders at that point, at that time, to find out how he could fulfill his duties, as well as meet the duties in civilian life. That's one of the beauties of the National Guard system, that you can do both.

Yeah, try telling that to our men and women of today's National Guard, who have been back-drafted into serving in Iraq for 12-18 month stints and counting.

60 Minutes Was Good....

...if a little overly-restrained, not taking the opportunity to point out how the presentation of these new documents not only contradict Bush's story, but possibly point to non-compliance with the Freedom of Information Act.

The fun could be just beginning, though somehow I think the so-called liberal media will let the White House sweep this under the rug.

The question is: will the Democrats?

Two Months 'til Uninstallation


For the First Time as an Adult

I'm actually looking forward to seeing 60 Minutes this evening. Looks like they've got some fresh poop on the Prez.


So we hit that grim milestone in Iraq (not counting "civilian contractors" and various other hangers-on). With that stat trending upward, I expect we'll surpass the 3000 that died in the tragically unrelated 9/11 attack long before we're out of this quagmire, no matter who gets elected in November.

But come November, remember who got us into this mess, despite all the mission accomplishing; whose Secretary of Defense calls fatalities so far "relatively small"; who hasn't attended one soldier's funeral, and won't allow the press to photograph their coffins.

I couldn't agree more with VP Cheney, that it is absolutely essential on Nov 2 that we "make the right choice. Because if we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we'll get hit again, and we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating."

Newspaper copy editors and their fans talk shop

Really, that's how the site bills itself, assumedly tongue-in-cheek. Though, I am a big fan of a couple newspaper editors -- Ange and Kyrie O'Connor.

Diversity in the White House

Yes I read Wonkette. It's the only place where you can get a daily dose of politics and occasional reference to @ss fu(king.

Anyway, after all the hoopla about the monochromaticity of the RNC, it's nice to know that Bush has reached out to diversify the seat of government.

Yes, I understand that this really has very little to do with Bush as most of these people have been around longer than him, but apparently, it is okay to imply something that isn't true (such as Osama and Saddam playing bridge every other Wednesday or Condi being caught with a Peeche's folder with "Condoleezza Bush" signed all over the front), as long as you don't say it outright.

Ooooh, Snap!

Former peanut farmer bitch-slaps Zell Miller.

Now You're Cookin' With Twinkies

Just a little Tuesday morning gastronomic horror show. Though I gotta admit, the Twinkie Sushi looks pretty cute.

Monday, September 6

Having Kids Makes You Dum?

This may explain why I eked out a victory over Ange on that estimating quiz, as I don't have any kids.

That I know of!

Pentagon to Check Kerry War Record?

The London Telegraph is the only source I've seen for this, but if true, it would be outrageous. Just a tiny bit partisan, no? Considering there's much more evidence that Bush's military records have an inconsistency or two?

Bah. I'm starting to think we get the leaders we deserve. I miss America.

I, Too, Would Like to Practice My Love

Wotta maroon.

Sunday, September 5

Team America: World Police

Will it rock, suck or be so-so? It's always hard to tell with the South Park guys. No matter what, you have to admire them for getting Paramount to fund a movie with "Thunderbirds"-style puppets. (Or Orbitz-style for you kids out there.)

The movie comes out next month. Pre-judge for yourself at the official site.

Friday, September 3

Zell Miller

More kookiness.

This was their keynote speaker??!? And we're behind in the polls?!!?

Andrew Sullivan

Just watched him on Bill Maher, where he seemed to still have one foot in the Republican party. If you haven't heard of him, he's a conservative, old-school (meaning fiscally conservative, small-government) Republican who happens to be gay. This leads to obvious cognitive dissonance when he tries to be supportive of the current administration, and he finally seems to have cracked.

Read the whole post -- it's a bit long, but worthwhile.

Lucy is Forever

Or could be, if I want to pony up a couple of grand to wear that dumb cat on my finger after she sloughs off this mortal coil.

Sometimes Democrats Lie, Too

Say, when giving the keynote address at the Republican National Convention.

Yahoo's second-most popular pic

The flip side of the one Frank warned you about...

Thursday, September 2

Don't look at this pic.

Really, don't click here.

(You were warned.)

Kerry: Bush Is 'Unfit To Lead'

Ooooh, snap!

We all saw the anger and distortion of the Republican Convention. For the past week, they attacked my patriotism and my fitness to serve as Commander-in-chief. We’ll, here’s my answer. I’m not going to have my commitment to defend this country questioned by those who refused to serve when they could have and by those who have misled the nation into Iraq.

The Vice President even called me unfit for office last night. I guess I'll leave it up to the voters whether five deferments makes someone more qualified to defend this nation than two tours of duty.

Let me tell you what I think makes someone unfit for duty. Misleading our nation into war in Iraq makes you unfit to lead this nation. Doing nothing while this nation loses millions of jobs makes you unfit to lead this nation. Letting 45 million Americans go without healthcare makes you unfit to lead this nation. Letting the Saudi Royal Family control our energy costs makes you unfit to lead this nation. Handing out billions of government contracts to Halliburton while you're still on their payroll makes you unfit. That's the record of George Bush and Dick Cheney. And it's not going to change. I believe it's time to move America in a new direction; I believe it's time to set a new course for America.

We're Officially a Banana Republic

We've got a fascist leader who aspires to dicatorship, smears his critics as unpatriotic liars who give aid and comfort to the enemy, and walks around in military garb and medals he never earned. Sounds a lot more like Idi Amin than Abe Lincoln to me.

Two More Months! Two More Months!

There are video clips of the RNC 1/3 the way down this page (Flash 7 required).

Wednesday, September 1

Kobe Rape Charges to be Dropped

Prosecutors will ask for Kobe dismissal. Alleged victim unwilling to testify.

Lakers still expected to suck in coming season.

Text of Last Night's Speech by Jenna and Barbara Bush

Apparently it was squirmingly bad -- even Republicans who watched it seem embarrassed by it. I didn't see it, but on paper, it's just dull and unfunny.