Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Deep Throat Revealed. Potty Mouth PO'ed. Krugman Cranks Okrent. Sox Beat Orioles.

Let's see. Deep Throat is W. Mark Felt, the number two man at the FBI during the Watergate scandal. Potty Mouth Cheney is deeply offended at Amnesty International's assertion that the US is guilty of grave human rights violations regarding Iraqi detainees at Gitmo and elsewhere. Paul Krugman is making Daniel Okrent eat it raw over Okrent's brainless and unfounded claims that Krugman cooks his numbers in the same manner that the Bush administration does. Of course, by now every other blogger out there has done, or is doing something about these stories, so I'll just step aside and leave them to it.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox just beat the Orioles at Fenway 5-1, thanks in large part to a fine seven-inning performance by starting pitcher Wade Miller, and a four-run fifth inning against Oriole starter Daniel Cabrera. The win evens the four game series at one win each as the two teams meet again tomorrow and Thursday. Unfortunately, Johnny Damon left the game after hitting the wall in deep center going after a triple by Jay Gibbons. Damon ended up with four stitches over his right eye, and is probably day-to-day.

Not a hell of a lot else going on as I'm in a bit of a lazy mood after the three-day weekend. I hope to have some better stuff tomorrow.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Red Sox Weekend In The Bronx

The Red Sox managed to take two out of three games from the Yankees in Yankee Stadium over the weekend. Things didn't get off to a good start when, on Friday night, the Sox squandered several chances to bury Yankee starter Randy Johnson.

Among those chances were two of the stupidest moves third-base coach Dale Sveum has ever committed. He sent two runners home on back-to-back plays and got them both thrown out by huge margins. The first was when Mark Bellhorn was sent from second base on a single to left field. The conventional wisdom was, "Hey, you've got a converted second baseman (Tony Womack) out there, why not test him?" Why not?
A. Because as an infielder he charges balls more aggressively than many outfielders.
B. Because when Womack picked the ball up, Bellhorn was still a full step away from third base!
Womack's throw was on the money and in plenty of time to get Bellhorn.

Sveum's second dumb-ass move was sending Johnny Damon, again from second base, on a ball that rookie second baseman Robinson Cano knocked down. Cano quickly sprang up and fired a strike to Posada to nail Damon. From there the Yankee bats wore Sox starter Tim Wakefield down, and then buried reliever Alan Embree.

Little did anyone suspect that the Sox would have an offensive breakout game Saturday afternoon. Beginning with Yankee starter Carl Pavano, the Sox pounded the Yankees for 17 runs on 27 hits as Sox starter Matt Clement gave the team yet another strong performance.

Sunday night featured a David Wells - Mike Mussina matchup, and the Sox scored first on a LONG two-run homer by David Ortiz (the first of two off Mussina) into the third deck in deep right field. Wells gave the lead back by surrendering solo homers to Derek Jeter and Gary Sheffield, but after that he was nearly unhittable and left the game with one out in the ninth as closer Keith Foulke got the final outs in the 7-2 victory.

As part of my annoyance with the erratic play of the Sox, I had to endure the even more erratic work of the ESPN broadcast team of Jon Miller and Joe Morgan. Morgan was a Hall of Fame player, but you'd never guess such a thing from the idiotic things he says during his "analysis". He tried to sell the audience on the notion that the Red Sox are not a patient team and that they don't have a high on-base percentage. In 2004, the WORLD SERIES CHAMPION Red Sox led the major leagues with a team on-base percentage of .360. There were many more such misleading statements out of Morgan's mouth, but they all blended in to background noise after a while.

The Sox begin a homestand tonight against the suddenly slumping first-place Baltimore Orioles, who, after a ghastly come-from-ahead loss yesterday saw themselves swept by the Detroit Tigers. The Sox are now in second place in the AL East.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Tom DeLay's Legal Troubles Continue. Light Sabers Don't Kill People, People Kill People... Red Sox Swept In Toronto.

Tom DeLay's Legal Troubles Continue

In a move that could well prove to be the first crack in the foundation that has the potential to being the house down on his crooked ass, House of Representatives Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R - Arrogant Prick) saw the treasurer of his PAC found guilty in Texas District Court of not having reported a shitload of money that was diverted to run several state campaigns for DeLay wannabes.

Yahoo News excerpt:

AUSTIN, Texas - The treasurer of a political action committee formed by U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay broke the law by not reporting hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions, a judge ruled Thursday in a lawsuit brought by Democratic candidates.

State District Judge Joe Hart said the money, much of it corporate contributions, should have been reported to the Texas Ethics Commission. The judge ordered Bill Ceverha, treasurer of Texans for a Republican Majority, to pay nearly $200,000 in damages. It will be divided among those who brought the lawsuit against Ceverha — five Democrats who lost state legislative races in 2002.

That sounds like a stiff fine until one remembers that DeLay steals that much money before lunchtime every day.

The civil case is separate from a criminal investigation being conducted by the district attorney in Austin into whether the PAC funneled illegal corporate contributions to GOP candidates for the state Legislature. Three of DeLay's top fund-raisers and eight corporations were indicted last year. Ceverha has not been charged.

DeLay has not been charged with any crime and was protected by congressional immunity from having to testify in the lawsuit, but he has been barraged on Capitol Hill with allegations of unethical conduct.

Which is why Howard Dean looked like such a doofus this past weekend when discussing this matter with Tim Russert. Of course, if Russert had any integrity at all he would have attacked DeLay when these matters first became public knowledge in the same manner in which he went after Bill Clinton during the impeachment nonsense...

Under Texas law, corporate money can be used by PACs for administrative purposes, but not for direct campaign expenses. In his ruling, the judge dealt with the election code reporting requirements, not with the how the money was spent. Hart found that contributions of corporate and non-corporate money totaling $613,433 should have been reported by Ceverha, along with expenditures of $684,507.

Ceverha's lawyers argued in court that the PAC operated legally despite confusing state campaign funding laws. The plaintiffs welcomed the judge's ruling as good first step in rooting out illegal corporate spending during the 2002 Texas elections. "It sheds light on the illegal acts of Texans for a Republican Majority," attorney Cris Feldman said.

Full story: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050526/ap_on_go_co/delay_committee_lawsuit

I can't wait to see what the gargoyles on Fox News have to say about this. O'Reilly and Hannity will be absolutely red-faced with fury that the poster boy for arrogance has been given what at this point is a mere slap on the wrist. I wonder if they'll pretend that this ruling is another case of the new conservative bugaboo, "judicial activism"? I just hope that the rest of this bastard's shady behavior can somehow be dragged out into the open. I'd bet that DeLay would end up exploding on the witness stand like Colonel Jessup in "A Few Good Men". Now that is something I would gladly pay to see!

Light Sabers Don't Kill People, People Kill People...

The following Yahoo News excerpt details the kind of stupidity that gives science fiction fans a bad name.

The Force--let alone common sense--was definitely not with them.

Two British Star Wars fans sustained critical injuries after constructing their own light sabers from fluorescent light tubes filled with liquid fuel.

According to British media reports, a 20-year-old man and his 17-year-old female friend were filming a mock duel in homage to Star Wars: Episode III--Revenge of the Sith, the latest chapter of George Lucas' record-breaking franchise. The duo were reportedly emulating one of Sith's key battles, a light-saber clash between Ewan McGregor's Obi-Wan Kenobi and Hayden Christensen's
Anakin Skywalker.

The two Brits suffered severe burns when their homemade sabers exploded. The two had been videotaping their clash. They have been hospitalized at Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire since the accident Sunday.

Full story: http://news.yahoo.com/s/eo/16633

In a related story, Charlton Heston took time away from his busy National Rifle Association schedule to comment on this unfortunate incident. "It is important to remember that these light sabers were of the homemade variety, and were therefore not subject to the rigorous tests that normal firearms routinely undergo," said Heston, who was gracious enough to take a few moments from an appearance at the annual Vegetarians In Favor Of Animal Testing convention in Afterbirth, Kansas. "I would urge people to exercise the type of good judgement when using these instruments as they would if they were handling a normal sidearm. After all, light sabers don't kill people, people kill people..."

Red Sox Swept In Toronto

The Red Sox lost 8-1 in Toronto to the Blue Jays tonight. The loss finished a three-game sweep as the Sox now face a weekend series in the Bronx against the surging Yankees. The Sox lost 9-6 as the bullpen blew up on Tuesday, then switched to the wiffle bats Wednesday losing 6-1. The wiffle bats were still being used tonight as rookie lefthander Gustavo Chacin kept the Sox off balance for six solid innings picking up his fifth win of the season. Wade Miller was roughed up for six runs in just two innings in his worst appearance in a Red Sox uniform.

The loss drops the Red Sox into third place in the American League East behind first-place Baltimore with the Blue Jays and Yankees in a tie for second place in the division.
This team is just plain flat. To illustrate this point, Kevin Millar doubled with two out in the 8th inning. So he takes his lead as Kevin Youkilis digs in to bat. Suddenly, acrobatic Blue Jays second baseman Orlando Hudson glides in and takes a quick throw from reliever Pete Walker, and bang, Millar is picked off. How the hell anyone can get picked off in the 8th inning of an 8-1 game is the big mystery here. It's not as if Millar, still gimpy from the foul ball he hit off his "inseam" a few nights ago, was going to steal third. It's just another nagging sign that this team is playing dead-ass baseball.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

I'll Take Religious Revisionist History For $200 Alex. Voyager 1 Leaves The Solar System.

I'll Take Religious Revisionist History For $200 Alex

In a story so ridiculous it reads as if it had been written by one of the madmen on The Onion, we have a religious fundamentalist with a lot of cash, and a plan to build a museum dedicated to the proposition that, among other things, the earth is, based on irrefutably logical calculations from the Bible, only 6,000 years old. Thanks to Senior Correspondent Em Jeigh for the leg work. Excerpt from livescience.com:

PETERSBURG, Ky. (AP) -- Ken Ham has spent 11 years working on a museum that poses the big question -- when and how did life begin? Ham hopes to soon offer an answer to that question in his still-unfinished Creation Museum in northern Kentucky.

The $25 million monument to creationism offers Ham's view that God created the world in six, 24-hour days on a planet just 6,000 years old. The largest museum of its kind in the world, it hopes to draw 600,000 people from the Midwest and beyond in its first year.

You'd think that someone with the ability to raise $25 million could find something a little more constructive to do with their time than something as goofy as this enterprise. I wonder if the trolls in Kansas who are busy trying to eradicate evolution from being taught in their state's public schools showed Mr. Ham some generosity?

Ham, 53, isn't bothered that his literal interpretation of the Bible runs counter to accepted scientific theory, which says Earth and its life forms evolved over billions of years. Ham said the museum is a way of reaching more people along with the Answers in Genesis Web site, which claims to get 10 million page views per month and his "Answers ... with Ken Ham'' radio show, carried by more than 725 stations worldwide. "People will get saved here,'' Ham said of the museum. "It's going to fire people up. If nothing else, it's going to get them to question their own position of what they believe.''

News Flash Ken: No it's not. The poor fools who believe this nonsense will flock to you to hear pleasing tales that don't rquire them to think about anything that goes against their indoctrinated beliefs. The people who think that you're a nutjob with too much money and time on his hands will simply stay away and mock you from a distance.

Ham is ready for a fight over his beliefs -- based on a literal interpretation of the book of Genesis, the first book of the Old Testament. "It's a foundational battle,'' said Ham, a native of Australia who still speaks with an accent. "You've got to get people believing the right history - and believing that you can trust the Bible.''

News Flash Number Two: Ken, baby, nobody is denying you the right to think silly thoughts. Hell, nobody is even denying you the right to build a shrine to display these idiotic ideas. What you need to know is that until there is compelling evidence to support your views, they remain wishful speculation at best, and coercive demagoguery at worst. And lest my eight readers think I'm being a bit harsh towards Mr. Ham, I urge you to read the next paragraph I've selected from the story:

Among Ham's beliefs are that the Earth is about 6,000 years old, a figure arrived at by tracing the biblical genealogies, and not 4.5 billion years, as mainstream scientists say; the Grand Canyon was formed not by erosion over millions of years, but by floodwaters in a matter of days or weeks and that dinosaurs and man once coexisted, and dozens of the creatures -- including Tyrannosaurus Rex -- were passengers on the ark built by Noah, who was a real man, not a myth.

Let's grant Mr. Ham the courtesy of accepting his claim that Tyrannosaurus Rex and Mrs. Rex were passengers aboard the Good Ship Noah. T. Rex was a forty-foot long, twenty-foot tall, six-ton killing machine. Despite these facts, Mr. Ham apparently believes the following:

A. That Noah could have been peacefully herded such a monster on to his ark.
B. That such a monster would have simply eaten whatever Noah gave it and left Noah, his family and the other animals alone.
C. That once the ark washed up on the slopes of Mount Ararat, such a monster would not have turned on the ark's occupants, animal AND human, in a fit of ravenous hunger when confronted with a dead landscape.

So if you, like Mr. Ham, can believe such things, then you are probaly well qualified to hold a cabinet post in the Bush administration.

Although the Creation Museum's full opening is still two years away, already a buzz is building. "When that museum is finished, it's going to be Cincinnati's No. 1 tourist attraction,'' says the Rev. Jerry Falwell, nationally known Baptist evangelist and chancellor of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. "It's going to be a mini-Disney World.''

Well at least this project is being endorsed by someone with impeccable scientific credentials. For a moment I was wondering if all voices of rational thought had been too shy to speak up about this matter...

Full story: http://www.livescience.com/othernews/ap_050523_creation_museum.html

Voyager 1 Leaves The Solar System

Voyager 1, a relic of a time when NASA was doing some terrific work, is nearing the edge of the solar system and will soon head out into interstellar space. Yahoo News excerpt:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - NASA's Voyager 1 has reached the final frontier of our solar system, having traveled through a turbulent place where electrically charged particles from the Sun crash into thin gas from interstellar space.

Astronomers tracking the little spaceship's 26-year journey from Earth believe Voyager 1 has gone through a region known as termination shock, some 8.7 billion miles from the Sun, and entered an area called the heliosheath. Voyager watchers theorized last November that the craft might be reaching this bumpy region of space when the charged solar particles known as the solar wind seemed to slow down from a top speed of 1.5 million miles per hour. This was expected at the area of termination shock, where the solar winds were expected to decelerate as they bump up against gas from the space beyond our solar system. It is more than twice as distant as Pluto, the furthest planet in our system. By monitoring the craft's speed and the increase in the force of the solar wind, Voyager scientists now believe the craft has made it through the shock and into the heliosheath.

Voyager 1 and its twin spacecraft Voyager 2 were launched in 1977 on a mission to explore the giant planets Jupiter and Saturn. The pair kept going, however, and the mission was extended. Voyager 2 went on to explore Uranus and Neptune, the only spacecraft to have visited these outer planets. Both Voyagers are now part of the Voyager Interstellar Mission to explore the outermost edge of the Sun's domain.

Both Voyagers are capable of returning scientific data from a full range of instruments, with adequate electrical power and attitude control propellant to keep operating until 2020. Wherever they go, the Voyagers each carry a golden phonograph record which bears messages from Earth, including natural sounds of surf, wind, thunder and animals. There are also musical selections, spoken greetings in 55 languages, along with instructions and equipment on how to play the record.

Nothing to add here except to say that this project was as ambitious as it got in the late 1970s. The tremendous amount of information we gained about the outer solar system can be of tremendous value if we ever decided to get off our collective asses again and begin to seriously explore the outer planets and their moons.

Full story: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/space_voyager_dc

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Nuke-Yuh-Ler Opshun Uhvoyded...For Now Anyway...

Nuke-Yuh-Ler Opshun Uhvoyded...For Now Anyway...

A bipartisan panel of Senate Democrats and Republicans reached an agreement whereby three of President Useless Moron's federal judicial nominees will get up-or-down confirmation votes. In return for the Dems throwing the Repubs this bone, the majority promised not to change the rules of the voting process to a simple majority.

Yahoo News excerpt:

WASHINGTON - Breaking years of gridlock, the Senate cleared the way for confirmation of Priscilla Owen to the U.S. appeals court Tuesday amid fresh debate over an ambiguous compromise on President Bush's current and future judicial nominees.

"Years of gridlock". Gee, could this be the same gridlock we saw when Newt Gingrich and Trent Lott pulled the same moves on Bill Clinton's nominees?

The vote was 81-18 to clear Owen for a final vote after Democrats abandoned four years of blocking action, well above the 60 votes needed to cut off debate. That made confirmation a mere formality, expected either late in the day or Wednesday.

So why even bother with a confirmation hearing now? Just get the damned rubber stamp out and be done with it.

At the same time, senators disagreed over the precise meaning and staying power of Monday night's centrists' compromise that averted a showdown over judicial nominees — including any to the Supreme Court — and the Senate's own filibuster rules.

Funny, but I don't recall the Republicans struggling over any ambiguity when they were picking off Bill Clinton's nominees like clay pigoens.

Majority Leader Bill Frist said the agreement, "if followed in good faith, will make filibusters of judicial nominees in the future, including Supreme Court nominees, almost impossible." At the same time, he said his ability to seek a limitation of the rights of Democrats to filibuster "remains on the table."

In other words, Frist reserves the right to bitch and moan the next time the Commander In Geek nominates another group of thugs that the Democrats can't stomach. Then we'll see another "negotiation".

Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada disagreed, and said so quickly. "The agreement that will allow Justice Owen to receive an up-or-down vote also had the effect of taking the nuclear option off the table," he said, referring to Frist's threat to strip Democrats of their ability to filibuster. "This agreement makes clear that the Senate rules have not changed. The filibuster remains available to the Senate minority."

That sounds to me like Reid is saying he'll use a weapon he has no intention of even bringing to the fight.

Under Senate rules, opponents of legislation or a nomination can prevent final action by erecting a 60-vote hurdle, a parliamentary device known as a filibuster.

Republican Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, one of seven Republicans and seven Democrats to sign the accord, sided with Frist's interpretation, although he and other members of the bipartisan group of negotiators said they expected good faith to prevail.

Those who say otherwise "are the same ones, I think, who said we would never get an agreement," said John McCain, R-Ariz. That accord was sealed Monday evening around a table in McCain's office.

Full story: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050524/ap_on_go_co/filibuster_fight_21

That last portion of the excerpt is a puzzler. McCain is one of the few well known Republicans who can consistently pass for human. But whenever he inserts himself into these types of situations, his own party inevitably stabs him in the back. In addition, the nitwits on the local knuckledrag radio station are calling him an outright traitor.

What I don't get is why McCain stays in this party in the first place. His 2000 presidential campaign was torpedoed by the lies of the Bush camp. The stories about Bush staffers calling voters in the deep south before their state's primary elections to tell them that McCain had fathered a black baby is just one sick example. Another is the insinuation that McCain was unstable due to his imprisonment during his Vietnam service (such service President Douchebag went to extraordinary lengths to avoid) and was therefore unfit to lead this nation. So what did McCain do when his campaign died? He endorsed the very man who slandered him on the campaign trail!

The real joke here is that McCain is ostensibly a candidate for President in 2008. Wanna bet that the Frist-Santorum tag team puts the fork to him early and often during the primaries? I'll have to get a sporting line on this action from my colleague, the esteemed Ken Kanniff, Connecticut's Most Wanted Gansta. Stay tuned!

Monday, May 23, 2005

Weekend Catch-Up. Sox Take Two From Braves.

Catch-Up Time

This weekend was a busy one that included my first ten-pin action since my work league ended back in early April. I went with Shy Stef from Inside Sales and we rolled four games. I managed to rack up scores of 164, 182, 190 and 190 for a four-game total of 736, or a 184 average for the day, a mere 18 pins above my average for the 2004-2005 season. Stef had an up and down afternoon with scores of 82, 137, 93 and 129 for a total of 441, or an average just a hair over 110.

I've been experimenting with a new delivery for most of the last season because I've gone about as far as I can throwing a straight ball. I've tried to put a spin on it, but I can never get the necessary rotation. The damned ball just spins on it's side. But after watching some of the other players I hit upon a new delivery (for me) that consists of getting as far to the right of the approach (I'm right-handed) and letting the ball go with my hand perpendicular to the ground instead of parallel. When I'm hitting the pocket the results are usually pretty explosive because I throw hard. Now I just have to work on my single-pin spare accuracy...

Sox Take Two Of Three From Braves And Other Baseball Musings

The Red Sox beat the Atlanta Braves at Fenway Park yesterday 5-2 behind the pitching of Matt Clement. Clement tossed a complete game and only had one rough inning, the fourth in which he allowed the two Braves runs.
But until the Sox got John Smoltz out of the game (112 pitches in 4 2/3 innings) and broke through against Bobby Cox's bullpen, they'd squandered opportunities to score in every inning.

Among the culprits was Edgar Renteria who just plain stinks right now. Over the weekend he must have left 200 men on base. His defense was nothing special either as he made two errors in the series to raise his total to eight, which leads all AL shortstops. He also got tossed out of Saturday night's game after looking at a borderline strike three in the bottom of the ninth, so that can't have helped his state of mind. I know this guy is a good player, and at times a great one, but right now he looks lost.

Speaking of lost, Mark Bellhorn looks as if he's trying to break his single-season club record for striking out. Last year he whiffed an amazing 177 times in 138 games to shatter the previous record of 162 set by Butch Hobson in 1977. Bellhorn takes a lot of pitches -- too many if you ask me. He gets behind in the count way too often, and then the pitchers just toy with him. How much longer can the Sox put up with his anemic bat?

Another Lost Boy is first baseman Kevin Millar. He fouled a pitch off of the "inseam" of his left foot (in the words of the immensely talentless Sox announcer Don Orsillo) late in Saturday night's game, and was replaced yesterday by Kevin Youkilis who got a key RBI single when the Red Sox finally got to Smoltz in the fifth inning. I hope Youkilis stays in the lineup, even if Millar's "inseam" injury isn't too serious. The kid can hit, and he is more mobile around the first base bag than Millar, although that isn't such a hard thing to manage.

Among other weekend baseball highlights was watching the Saturday Yankees-Mets game that pitted Randy Johnson against Kris Benson. Johnson wasn't sharp and the Mets got him out of the game in the seventh inning after relief pitcher Dae-Sung Koo hit a long double to center field over Bernie Williams. Koo then scored ALL THE WAY FROM SECOND BASE on a Jose Reyes sacrifice bunt that catcher Jorge Posada fielded. After making the throw to first, where rookie second baseman Robinson Cano covered, Koo saw that Posada was sort of hanging around about a third of the way down the first base line. Koo kept going, and Posada recovered to take a throw from Cano, but Koo slid in head first and was called safe (although replays indicate that Posada may have tagged him on the shoulder before Koo's hand touched the plate). Koo, who replaced a tiring Benson in the top half of the seventh, struck out all three men he faced. What is amazing is that the double came in just his second professional at-bat! Koo, 35, had spent several years pitching in Korea and Japan without ever once coming to bat. When he stepped in against Johnson, Koo, a lefty batter, nobody would have even guessed he'd even get a foul tip much less hit a 390-foot double. That, to me, is what makes baseball such a great game -- anything can happen.

Unfortunately, the Mets couldn't hold a 3-1 lead for Pedro Martinez yesterday as they let sloppy defense and erratic relief give the Yankees a gift 5-3 win at Shea Stadium. That bullpen bothers me. I haven't seen enough of Koo to know if he's real or not. Roberto Hernandez is washed up. Braden Looper is a terrible closer. Mets General Manager Omar Minaya is going to have to find Willie Randolph a legitimate closer if the Mets are to contend for the NL East.

Quick Notes

Not much else to say today. I know that the wingnuts are trying to portray Howard Dean as a traitor by claiming he dislikes Tom DeLay more than Osama bin Laden on Tim Russert's Butt Boy Sunday program. They are also attacking the Tillman family and saying that should shut the hell up about the fact that the army lied about the way their son Pat, the former NFL player, was killed by our own troops, and his death in combat used as a Bush campaign slogan before they came clean. To the Rush Limbaughs and Sean Hannitys of the world I offer the late, great Frank Zappa's most heartfelt curse: May your shit come to life and kiss you.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Talk Radio Goon To Kill Michael Moore? Don't Blame Bill O'Reilly If Michael Kinsley Gets Beheaded! Condi Buys Kuwaiti Bullshit About Women Suffrage.

Talk Radio Douchebag Wants To Off Michael Moore

The following story comes by way of Media Matters. The entire story is excerpted below:

Clear Channel radio host Glenn Beck said he was "thinking about killing [filmmaker] Michael Moore" and pondered whether "I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it," before concluding: "No, I think I could. I think he could be looking me in the eye, you know, and I could just be choking the life out -- is this wrong?"

From the May 17 broadcast of The Glenn Beck Program:

BECK: Hang on, let me just tell you what I'm thinking. I'm thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I'm wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it. No, I think I could. I think he could be looking me in the eye, you know, and I could just be choking the life out -- is this wrong? I stopped wearing my What Would Jesus -- band -- Do, and I've lost all sense of right and wrong now. I used to be able to say, "Yeah, I'd kill Michael Moore," and then I'd see the little band: What Would Jesus Do? And then I'd realize, "Oh, you wouldn't kill Michael Moore. Or at least you wouldn't choke him to death." And you know, well, I'm not sure.

Beck's program
is syndicated by Premiere Radio Networks (owned by radio conglomerate Clear Channel Communications on more than 160 radio stations across the country to an estimated audience of 6 million listeners. He has previously falsely accused Moore of "taking help and money from Hezbollah" and called Michael Berg, who criticized the Bush administration after his son Nick was beheaded in Iraq, "despicable" and "a scumbag."

Full story, just so you don't think I'm making this shit up like Ann Coulter: http://mediamatters.org/items/200505180008

What kills me is how these right-wing talk radio shitheads continuously cry that conservatives are under constant attack by mean-spirited liberals. Even if this was true, and it is not, does that give assholes like Beck the right to say things like this? Sure, this type of speech is protected under the First Amendment to the Constitution, and rightfully so. HOWEVER, when Harry Reid grew a temporary pair of balls a couple of weeks ago (as described in a previous post here) and called President Loser a loser, he got beaten up but good by the Fox phonies and their wannabees. Reid then apologized for his temporary lapse of sanity and begged Bill Frist not to give him an atomic wedgie.

Maybe the question should be re-phrased. How about this: If assholes like Beck have the right to say things like "I'm thinking about killing Michael Moore", then doesn't it logically follow that I, or anyone who is rightfully outraged by his outburst, can say something like "I'm thinking about ruining Glenn Beck's life"? Notice that I avoided using the "k" word. I wouldn't want any overly sensitive conservatives to get bruised feelings or anything. Instead, I would hope such ruin would come about as the result of massive boycotts of those companies and organizations that sponsor his show, but since his audience is likely to be of the same mindset as he is, that seems to be a slim hope. Maybe the FCC should investigate. After all, if they went after Howard Stern for twenty-odd years for saying sexually explicit things on HIS radio program, then it follows that they should be just as vigilant, if not more so, in prosecuting this ass clown for broadcasting his wet dreams on the public airwaves.

Bill O'Reilly Suggests A Headless Michael Kinsley Will Wake Liberals Up

Now we hear from Fox Foghorn Bill O'Reilly, aka The Man Who Is Never Wrong, And Even If I Was, It's All A Liberal Plot To Discredit Conservatives. Okay, so it's a long-winded title, but then again, it's owner is similarly long-winded. Well, lest you begin to think of my typing in a similar fashion, here is another excerpt from Media Matters where Big Bad Bill suggests that liberals will only "wake up" to the common sense of not giving Gitmo detainees legal representation when Michael Kinsley is beheaded by Al Queda. Read on:

Fox News host Bill O'Reilly said that Los Angeles Times editorial board wouldn't understand his objection to legal representation for detainees at Guantànamo Bay, Cuba, until terrorists "grab [editorial page editor] Michael Kinsley out of his little house and they cut off his head." He further opined: "And maybe when the blade sinks in, he'll go, 'Perhaps O'Reilly was right.'"

From the May 17 broadcast of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:

O'REILLY: No, no. I want you to read it. Go to LATimes.com. I want everybody in the country to read this editorial, 'cause it just -- I mean, you'll be sitting there pounding the table like I did. How can they -- how can they think this way? How can anyone think this way? You know, "Shutting down Guantànamo and giving suspected terrorists legal protections would help restore our reputation abroad." No, it wouldn't. I mean that's like saying, well, if we're nicer to the people who want to KILL US, then the other people who want to KILL US will like us more. Does that make any sense to you? Do you think Osama [bin Laden] is gonna be more favorably disposed to the U.S. if we give the Guantànamo people lawyers?

E.D. HILL (co-host): No, of course not.

O'REILLY: I mean, but this is what they're saying. It is just -- you just sit there, you go, "They'll never get it until they grab Michael Kinsley out of his little house and they cut his head off." And maybe when the blade sinks in, he'll go, "Perhaps O'Reilly was right."

Full story, again, for similar reasons as stated in the previous story: http://mediamatters.org/items/200505190003

Hey, at least he wasn't offering to do the cutting himself like Big Man Beck probably would have done. Still, I find it interesting that O'Reilly uses Kinsley as the example to state his case. Why Kinsley? He used to be good when he was on Crossfire with Pat Buchanan, but he seems to have burnt out and has all but disappeared from the scene.

Speaking of Buchanan, I wonder why O'Reilly didn't use HIS name as an example? Maybe it's because, as a staunch conservative, Pat has too much moxie to ever be taken hostage by Al Queda. Hell he'd probably "put a size ten cordovan where it would do some good" to the first terrorist stupid enough to try to mess with him. Just as he did to a police officer when he protested having been pulled over in his car as a young man, a story he proudly recounted in one of his books. Ah, law and order, extremist right-wing style! What it lacks in effectiveness is compensated for by its intricate subtlety...

Condi Buys Kuwaiti Bullshit About Women Suffrage

A mere 14 years after we "liberated" Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm, the Kuwaiti government granted women in their country the right to vote in elections. Secretary of State Condi Sleazy Rice congratulated the Kuwaitis on such a quick move into the 20th century. Of course, most of the rest of the world resides in the 21st, despite the best efforts of the Bush Administration to bring it back to the 13th. But then again, she wasn't about to antagonize an important Bush family business partner over a little thing like giving women the same political rights as men. Anyway, I proudly offer the following Yahoo News excerpt:

WASHINGTON - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice congratulated Kuwait on Thursday for granting women the right to vote and said the conservative state can be a political model for the Middle East.

Kuwait's parliament extended political rights to Kuwaiti women Monday, but religious fundamentalists who opposed women's suffrage succeeded in attaching a clause requiring future female politicians and voters to abide by Islamic law.
It was not clear whether that meant a strict dress code or just separate polling stations and election campaigns.
"It is a historic decision. It is a courageous decision," Rice said after a meeting with Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheik Mohammed Al Sabah. "With the empowerment of women, societies are complete. And now as Kuwait moves toward other reforms, it will do so with its entire population active in that process."

Al Sabah noted that it took six years to get the suffrage bill through Parliament. The change will take effect with the 2007 parliamentary elections.

So congratulations to the Kuwaiti parliament for acknowledging the fact that women are people too. But wait, there is always someone to rain on the parade:

Islamic conservatives called the law a "bombshell" and accused the government of bowing to foreign pressure. They believe women's participation in politics contradicts Islam's teachings and complain it will allow women to mix freely with men.

Full story: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_kuwait

Hmmm, maybe this "democratization " of the Middle East isn't the grand idea the Bush Administration claims it is. After all, if a non-hostile Arab - Muslim country takes 14 years after the consensus shows that they've been "converted" to democracy, what is the over-under on Iraq doing likewise? 50 years? 100? 200? Given the fact that the American colonies declared their independence from England in 1776, and women were given the right to vote in 1920, a mere 144 years later, maybe we shouldn't hold our collective breath...

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

George Galloway Bitch Slaps Norm Coleman. Dubya's Latest Lose-Lose. Sox Slammed In Oaktown.

George Galloway Shows Democrats How To Fight Back

It figures that Senate Democrats need a lesson in toughness from a Scottish Member of Parliament, but they got it as George Galloway made Norm Coleman (R-Bitchslapped) soil himself during a session to discuss improprieties involving the UN oil for food program.

Here are some of Galloway's best lines from the Yahoo News story:

"Everything I said about Iraq turned out to be right, and you turned out to be wrong, and 100,000 people have paid with their lives."

"You have nothing on me ... other than my name on lists ... many of which have been drawn up after the installation of your puppet government in Baghdad."

"I have a rather better record of opposition to Saddam Hussein than you do, and than any member of the British or American governments do."

"I was an opponent of Saddam Hussein at a time when British and American governments and businessmen were selling him guns and gas."

"Have a look at the real oil for food scandal. Have a look at the 14 months you were in charge of Baghdad when 8.8 billion dollars of Iraq's wealth went missing on your watch."

"Have a look at the other American corporations that stole not only Iraq's money, but the money of the American taxpayer."

"Have a look at the oil that you didn't even meter, that you were shipping out of the country selling, the proceeds of which went who knows where."

Full story: http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20050518/wl_uk_afp/usuniraqoilbritainpolitics_050518092417

Nothing more to add, except to say that I hope Harry Reid was paying close attention. Way to go Mr. Galloway!

Cuban Militant Gives U.S. Tough Choices

And if Mr. Galloway's insolence didn't cause the administration to throw a fit, their latest manifestation of Banquo's ghost, in the form of Cuban terrorist Luis Posada Carriles surely did.

ABC News excerpt:

MIAMI May 18, 2005 — Freedom fighter or terrorist? Illegal alien or persecuted Cuban refugee? The Bush administration faces a tough choice in deciding what to do with Luis Posada Carriles, wanted on suspicion of orchestrating the deadly 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner.

Posada, a 77-year-old Cuban exile, was being held Wednesday at an undisclosed location in the United States while U.S. immigration officials decided his fate. He was taken into custody Tuesday, two months after he slipped into the United States and asked for asylum.

The Bush administration has at least three choices: extradite Posada to Venezuela, where he is wanted in the airliner bombing that killed 73 people; send him to a third country willing to accept him; or let him stay in the United States.

Full story: http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=769413

Well, as stated in a previous post, it looks like the Bush Administration is once again in the awkward position of having to put the fork to a former employee. I can't imagine what Posada was thinking when he entered the U.S. Did he really expect his crooked bosses to protect his murderous ass? Bush is in a lose-lose situation here. He can have Posada sent to the plush accomodations at Gitmo, or, he can let him walk and look like the biggest hypocrite on the planet all because we have a 46-year-old hardon for Fidel Castro. Either way, it will be fun to watch this buffoon try to make up what passes for his mind about this situation. But then again, Uncle Dick and Puppet Master Rove have probably already decided what is going to happen...

Sox Shelled As David Wells Returns To Action

The Red Sox got clubbed 13-6 by the Oakland Athletics this afternoon in a game that saw the return of David Wells to the starting rotation. Wells didn't make it out of the second inning, giving up nine hits and seven runs. The loss ends the Sox west coast swing with a 2-4 mark. The team has the day off before resuming play at home against the Atlanta Braves, who are currently in first place in the NL East.

The Sox are plain flat right now. They look as lethargic as they did when GM Theo Epstein decided to make Nomar into a scapegoat. Will something similar happen this season? Some felt that Johnny Damon would be a likely candidate to be thrown under the bus because of his book, Idiot, in which he dissed his wife in what many considered to be a tasteless manner. Well, that may be true, but until his recent hot streak was snapped, he was hitting .380, so unless he goes into a real slump, say the type of funk in which we currently find Kevin Millar, he ain't going anywhere.

And speaking of Millar, is there a poorer defensive first baseman in the AL? I mean besides David Ortiz. And since Kevin isn't hitting worth a damn, his ugly glove work becomes more magnified. I think we may see more of Kevin Youkilis at first base if Millar doesn't straighten himself out -- and soon.

A final note: Thanks to Ken Kanniff, Connecticut's Most Wanted Gangsta for keepin' it real by getting the answer to last week's trivia question. Ken correctly identified actor David Leisure as the one who played Joe Isuzu in those famous ads back in the day. Nice job Ken. Thanks for playing!

Monday, May 16, 2005

Mexican President Blurts Racial Slur. Quran Desecration Part Deux. Syria This Week's Number One With A Bullet.

Brothers Can't Even Get A Break In Mexico Now?

Mexican President Vicente Fox stepped in some eyeball-deep shit last Friday when he made a remark stating that migrant Mexican workers were leaving his country for the United States to perform jobs that not even blacks would do. Somehow, Mr. Fox is puzzled that this statement is being viewed by some as racist.

Yahoo News excerpt:

MEXICO CITY - President Vicente Fox refused to apologize Monday for saying Mexicans in the United States do the work that blacks won't, a comment widely viewed as acceptable in a country where blackface comedy is still considered funny and nicknames often reflect skin color.

This story is NOT off to a good start for President Fox...

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City had raised the issue with the Mexican government. "That's a very insensitive and inappropriate way to phrase this and we would hope that (the Mexicans) would clarify the remarks if they have a chance," Boucher said.

Gee, way to take a strong stand on this issue Mr. Boucher...

Fox's spokesman, Ruben Aguilar, said the remark has been misinterpreted as a racial slur. He said the president was speaking in defense of Mexican migrants as they come under attack by the new U.S. immigration measures that include a wall along the U.S.-California border.

Well Mr. Fox, if you are so concerned about the welfare of these migrant workers, then why the heel don't you and your government do something about improving the economic situation in your country?

Stung by the U.S. crackdown on illegal immigrants, many Mexicans including Mexico City's archbishop said Fox was just stating a fact. "The president was just telling the truth," said Celedonio Gonzalez, a 35-year-old carpenter who worked illegally in Dallas for six months in 2001. "Mexicans go to the United States because they have to. Blacks want to earn better wages, and the Mexican because he is illegal takes what they pay him."

Oh, so it's sort of a classic "left-handed compliment". Actually, I don't think the archbishop and the carpenter were addressing the racial component of this story, just the economic impact. At least that's how I read it...

But the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Al Sharpton, two black U.S. civil rights activists, said Fox should apologize. "His statement had the impact of being inciting and divisive," Jackson said.

Thank you Rev. Jackson. It's a relief to see someone of your stature point out the inciting and divisive nature in others...

Lisa Catanzarite, a sociologist at Washington State University, disputed Fox's assertion. She said there is intense competition for lucrative working class jobs like construction and that employers usually prefer to hire immigrants who don't know their rights. "What Vicente Fox called a willingness to work ... translates into extreme exploitability," she said.

See previous remark critical of Mr. Fox and his government...

Fox made the comment Friday during a public appearance in Puerto Vallarta, saying: "There's no doubt that Mexican men and women full of dignity, willpower and a capacity for work are doing the work that not even blacks want to do in the United States."

Full story: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/mexico_fox_blacks

The emphasis in Fox's statement is the killer here -- "doing the wotk that NOT EVEN BLACKS want to do..." I believe the colloquial equivalent to the type of labor being described here is "n----- work. If that's not a racist statement then I'm a fire hydrant.

Newsweek Retracts Story on Quran Abuse

In a follow-up to yesterday's post about Newsweek backtracking on it's May 9th report about desecration of the Quran at Guantanamo Bay as an interrogation tactic, it appears that Newsweek is acting like Harry Reid being stared down by Bill Frist. Yahoo News excerpt:

NEW YORK - Newsweek magazine, under fire for a publishing story that led to deadly protests in Afghanistan, said Monday it was retracting its report that a military probe had found evidence of desecration of the Quran by U.S. interrogators at Guantanamo Bay.

Earlier Monday, presidential spokesman Scott McClellan had criticized Newsweek's initial response to the incident, saying it was "puzzling."

Bullshit. Newsweek's initial response was to double-check it's sources. One of those confirmed Isikoff's story while the other did a quick fade. Scott's response to Newsweek's initial response is what is puzzling here.

Newsweek had reported in its issue dated May 9 that U.S. military investigators had found evidence that interrogators placed copies of Islam's holy book in washrooms and had flushed one down the toilet to get inmates to talk. Newsweek acknowledged problems with the story and its editor, Mark Whitaker, apologized in an editor's note in this week's edition. The accusations spawned protests in Afghanistan that left 15 dead and scores injured.

Whitaker wrote in an editor's note that "We regret that we got any part of our story wrong, and extend our sympathies to victims of the violence and to the U.S. soldiers caught in its midst."

Full story: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050516/ap_on_re_us/newsweek_quran_13

What a fucking joke. Now the inevitable Dan Rather comparisons will be shouted out all over knuckle-drag talk radio. Whitaker is taking the U.S. authorities at their word that the story is now bogus -- the very same authorities that originally gave Newsweek the story in the first place!

So what, if anything has changed? As I stated in my previous post, the scenario, as reported in the May 9th issue, is more than plausible given the mindset and attitude of every member of this administration. The other alternative is that this was a setup job from the start engineered by none other than Karl Rove, the Man Behind The Curtain himself. It would be just like these hollow little bastards to fabricate such a story because they knew that there would be a quick and visceral reaction to it. These guys may lack credibility, but they aren't too high on the subtlety meter either.

Syria, YOU'RE NEXT!!!

It appears that Syria has moved to the front of the pack in the field of countries that have the greatest chance to be attacked by President Bush before the end of the year. Yahoo News excerpt:

SHANNON, Ireland - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Monday appealed to Syria's Arab neighbors to pressure Damascus to close its borders to foreign militants seeking to join the Iraqi insurgency.

Gee, could she have been talking about the same borders that President Useless and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld found too inconvenient to secure when we invaded? And has Syria moved ahead of Iran because of all the business Halliburton has been doing with Vice President Potty Mouth's close, personal Iranian friends?

She also voiced optimism about Iraq's emerging multi-ethnic government but predicted difficult negotiations as a constitutional deadline nears.

That may well be the first time she has ever told the truth as a member of this administration...

"Somebody will threaten to walk out and there will be a lot of drama around it because that tends to happen in political processes ... but they've shown remarkable ability to deliver," Rice said of the Iraqis as she headed home from a brief visit to that country. "As with any political process ... in any country, there will be some 11th hour character to it," she added.

Full story: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050516/ap_on_re_eu/rice

What a load of fertilizer. Deliver what? There is no clear majority in what passes for this new government, which is probably what Puppet Master Rove and Cheney wanted all along. Besides, anyone with more brains than Bush knows that when push comes to shove, we will write their constitution for them and that will be the end of it. We now have over 1,600 soldiers dead and thousands more wounded, not to mention the tens of thousands of civilian casualties since the beginning of the Iraq war. Do we really want to match or exceed these numbers in Syria?

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Weekend Update: Condi Visits The Mess She Helped Create. Is Newsweek To Blame? John McCain Pleads To Fellow Reps For Sanity. Red Sox Update.

More Success In Iraq

Secretary of State Killa Sleazy Rice pulled a surprise visit to Iraq yesterday amid more and more insurgent attacks on US troops and members of the new Iraqi "government" and civilians. Excerpt from the UK Times via Google News:

THE surprise visit of Condoleezza Rice to Iraq was upstaged yesterday as insurgents mounted a wave of attacks against those loyal to the shaky United States-backed Government. In the first visit by a member of the Bush Administration since Iraq formed its Government a fortnight ago, the US Secretary of State sought to give impetus to the country’s political transformation.

Yet even as she was shuttled across the country, insurgents stepped up their campaign of terror on a day in which 42 people died. It began with a double suicide-bomb attack against Raad Rashid, the Governor of Diyala province. He escaped unhurt, but four policemen and two civilians were killed. The attack followed assassinations of two government officials, one who worked at the Industry Ministry, the other at the Foreign Ministry. A Shia cleric was also murdered by gunmen.

Then police found the handcuffed bodies of 13 men near the sprawling Sadr City slum in Baghdad. They had been shot dead and abandoned in a rubbish dump. West of Baghdad, in the insurgent stronghold of Ramadi, the remains of ten Iraqi soldiers were found with their throats cut. South of the capital, in Iskandariya, the corpses of eleven more Iraqis, thought to be lorry drivers, were found in a field, four of them beheaded.

The killings pushed the death toll in Iraq to nearly 500 since the new Government was formed. Laith Kubba, the Government's spokesman, blamed foreign volunteers for the campaign, which included 70 car bombs, and accused these criminals of trying to prove that the Government is incapable of protecting the people.

American forces have tried to blunt the insurgent campaign and yesterday ended Operation Matador, a week-long offensive to halt the infiltration of foreign fighters into Iraq across the Syrian border. Nine US Marines were killed along with 125 suspected terrorists, but there was no appreciable impact on the insurgency.

Dr Rice said yesterday: The insurgency is very violent, but you defeat insurgencies not just militarily in fact not especially militarily you defeat them by having a political alternative that is strong.

Full story: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,11069-1614010,00.html

So Killa Sleazy, what is this brilliant political alternative that you and the gang of crooked thugs for whom you work have in mind to defeat these insurgents? If it is anything like the nonsense that President Brainless has been spewing lately, then I think it is safe to say that we will continue to see headlines from Iraq that read like this: Baghdad Car Bombs Kill ___ U.S. Soldiers And ___ Iraqi Civilians. The headline can be run every day with the press just updating the numbers day by day as you rotten bastards continue to pretend things are just fine in Mesopotamia.

Newsweek Apologizes For Colossal "Mistake"

Check this Washington Post report about Newsweek's supposed mistake regarding their report of the desecration of copies of the Quran that led to massive protests and casualties in Afghanistan last week. Excerpt:

NEW YORK -- Newsweek magazine has apologized for errors in a story alleging that interrogators at the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay desecrated the Quran, saying it would re-examine the accusations, which sparked outrage and deadly protests in Afghanistan.

Fifteen people died and scores were injured in violence between protesters and security forces, prompting U.S. promises to investigate the allegations.

"We regret that we got any part of our story wrong, and extend our sympathies to victims of the violence and to the U.S. soldiers caught in its midst," Newsweek Editor Mark Whitaker wrote in a note to readers.

In an issue dated May 9, the magazine reported that U.S. military investigators had found evidence that interrogators placed copies of Islam's holy book in washrooms and had flushed one down the toilet to get inmates to talk.

Whitaker wrote that the magazine's information came from "a knowledgeable U.S. government source," and before publishing the item, writers Michael Isikoff and John Barry sought comment from two Defense Department officials. One declined to respond, and the other challenged another part of the story but did not dispute the Quran charge, Whitaker said.

But on Friday, a top Pentagon spokesman told the magazine that a review of the military's investigation concluded "it was never meant to look into charges of Quran desecration. The spokesman also said the Pentagon had investigated other desecration charges by detainees and found them 'not credible.'"

Also, Whitaker added, the magazine's original source later said he could not be sure he read about the alleged Quran incident in the report they cited, and that it might have been in another document. "Top administration officials have promised to continue looking into the charges, and so will we," Whitaker wrote.

Full story: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/05/15/AR2005051500605.html

So now the story is all bullshit? Are we really supposed to believe that a bunch of evangelical neocon douchebags would not only not condone such behavior as desecrating another religion's holy book, but that they would actively seek to punish members of the armed forces at the detention center? Maybe they'll try to pin this on Lynndie England and Former General (now Colonel) Janice Karpinski too...

Okay, so Isikoff isn't exactly Sherlock Holmes, but he's never been accused of simply having made shit up like Ann Coulter either. So what do we have here? Did the unnamed Defense Department official lie when he didn't dispute the charge? If so, did he do so knowing that such a report would eventually see the light of day in the Middle East and thereby set off a whole new round of anti-American protests? I'd like to think that this was not planned by Cheney and the administration, but after seeing how many other things they've fucked up in this war it wouldn't surprise me a bit to find that this was intentional. Why? Easy. Dumbya has called this a crusade a number of times, and the stupid son of a bitch probably thinks he's living in the days that will usher in Armageddon, and that it's his job to help push things along. What better way to keep the shit stirred up in a country we've already "conquered" by pulling a stunt like this?

John McCain Just Wants Us All To Get Along

In yet another example of why it will take a few sane Republicans to stop Presi
dent Useless from destroying everything he touches, Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) is warning idiots like Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist to play nice or else the Reps could reap what they sow. Bloomberg News excerpt:

May 15 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Senator John McCain said the fight between Democrats and Republicans over Senate rules of debate on judicial nominees may jeopardize initiatives including President George W. Bush's proposal to revamp Social Security.

``There's a number of other compelling issues, whether it be deficit reduction or the war on terrorism, Iraq, many other legislative items'' that would get stalled by the fight over filibusters, McCain said today on ABC's ``This Week'' program.

Senator McCain is obviously mistaking Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid for a fighter. Christ, it's almost as if Tom Daschle was still leading the Dems...

Senate Republican leader Bill Frist is threatening to try to bar Democrats from using the filibuster -- a parliamentary tactic that allows unlimited debate -- to block Bush's appointments for judgeships. Democrats warn they will counter by using procedural rules to drag out Senate action.

Senator Frist, asshole that he is, at least understands that the Dems will pretend to fight, then cave in the end.

McCain, of Arizona, is one of two Senate Republicans who say they will buck party leaders and vote against changing the rules. Representatives of both sides said today they have enough votes to prevail if the issue comes to a head this week.

Democrats have used the filibuster to block votes on 10 of Bush's federal appeals court nominees, seven of whom have been resubmitted by the President. By comparison, the Republican-controlled Senate blocked 64 nominees of former President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, by refusing to hold votes or hearings rather than by filibuster.

Full story: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000087&sid=aBJauO2iqzgo&refer=top_world_news

I wish to hell someone would point that last sentence of the excerpt out to shitheads like Limbaugh, Hannity and O'Reilly. They are pretending that what the Dems did to Dubya's ten thalidomide appointees is the greatest Constitutional outrage in over 200 years while conveniently forgetting their slimy roles in helping the Reps gut Clinton's nominees.

Sox Lose Two Of Three In Seattle. Manny Hits Number 400.

The Red Sox (22-15) lost 5-4 today to the Mariners at Safeco Field as Manny Ramirez hit his 400th career home run. The milestone homer was a three-run shot to right-center field in the top of the fifth inning off of starter Gil "Ga" Meche.

Meche was impressive for most of the six innings he threw. He hit 94 MPH several times with his fastball and showed outstanding control. By the fifth, he was nearing 70 pitches, not an excessive amount, but allowed singles to Mark Bellhorn and Johnny Damon before Ramirez' homer. The relief work of Shigetoshi Hasegawa, the unfortunately named J.J. Putz and Eddie Guardado combined to keep the Sox bats at bay to close out the win.

Tim Wakefield had a quirky game. Wake surrendered two of the three hits catcher Miguel Olivo, who was hitting .127 entering the game, had on the day. The first of these came in the bottom of the second inning -- a squibber between the mound and third that eluded the Sox infielders, and led to Bret Boone scoring the first run of the game all the way from second base. The Mariners went on to score three more times in the inning to take a lead they would never relinquish. Wake would also allow Olivo's first homer of the year in the fourth inning.

In other AL action, the Orioles beat the White Sox 6-2 to move to two games ahead of the Sox at 24-13. The red-hot Yankees beat the A's 6-4 to get to .500 at 19-19. They are threatening to move into third place in the AL East, currently occupied by the Blue Jays (20-18) who beat the Indians 5-2.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Bolton Nomination Handjob Update. Mass Military Base Closings. Brainless Baseball Analysis.

Bolton Nomination Handjob Continues

The latest scoop in the Bolton nomination to be Minister of Cruelty at the UN is detailed in the following Yahoo News excerpt:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration on Friday dismissed demands to turn over additional documents on John Bolton despite Democratic threats to delay a U.S. Senate vote on his troubled nomination to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

The day after a Senate committee advanced Bolton's nomination to the full Senate -- but took the rare step of withholding its endorsement -- the White House defended its embattled nominee and said senators had all the information they needed.

Sen. Barbara Boxer
of California said she would delay a Senate vote on Bolton, currently the top U.S. diplomat for arms control, until the administration turns over classified documents that Democrats on the Foreign Relations Committee had sought before the committee's vote on Thursday.

Good for you Barbara. Now I hope to hell you have the guts to stick to your promise...

Democrats are weighing whether to use a broader procedural roadblock -- a filibuster that would require a 60-votes majority for confirmation -- to try to defeat the nomination. The Democratic caucus likely will decide that next week, and Boxer's action "should not necessarily be read as a step along the way to a filibuster," said Norm Kurz, spokesman for Sen. Joseph Biden
of Delaware, top Foreign Relations Committee Democrat.

Typical white flag maneuver by Biden. As my buddy Bartcop all too frequently asks, why is this hack cashing his Senate paychecks? I agree. His constituents should sued him for fraud.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan called Boxer's move "just a delaying tactic," and said the administration "has been very responsive to the needs of the Senate."

What a load of complete and utter bullshit. McClellan, like the rest of this crooked gang of thugs, should have the graphic "He's Lying" imposed over his image whenever he speaks, similar to the way the immortal Joe Isuzu was presented several years ago.

Pointless Trivia: Who played Joe Isuzu in those commercials?

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said, "We don't think anything further is required before a floor vote," adding that release of some materials on deliberations within the administration would have a "chilling effect."

A chilling effect? Really? As chilling as say, the document that the Brits released earlier in the week that showed British Prime Minister Blair and President Useless met to fudge the facts concerning WMD as an excuse to attack Iraq when Dubya swore he hadn't made up what passes for his mind to invade? That kind of a chilling effect?

McClellan defended Bolton as "a results-oriented kind of guy" after a bruising Senate committee session in which he was depicted by Democrats and some Republicans as a bully who tried to intimidate intelligence officials into making their findings support his hard-line views.

Full story: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20050513/us_nm/bush_bolton_dc_25

I'm quite certain Bolton is "a results-oriented kind of guy". He gets the results that fit his paranoid world view, and that of his puppet masters, while ignoring (at best) and attacking (at worst) results that don't fit into the Bush Administration One Size Fits All Valu-Pak. Why else would George Voinovich (R-Ohio) have lambasted him so badly during the final confirmation hearing? Or is referring to Bolton as the "poster child of what someone in the diplomatic corps should not be" not an obvious enough indicator that this fool is unfit for this position? We need the UN. We do not need a piece of excrement like Bolton to be the next UN ambassador. Ms. Boxer, I hope you are true to your word...

Help Is On The Way...NOT!!!

In a move that proves President Bush is the biggest lying mothershitter to ever occupy the White House, he and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announced a major military overhaul. The overhaul takes the form of massive military base closures, as is demonstrated in the following Yahoo News excerpt:

WASHINGTON - The Pentagon is proposing the most sweeping changes to its network of military bases in modern history, a plan that would close 33 major facilities in 22 states and reconfigure hundreds of others to achieve savings and promote cooperation among the armed services.

More than two years in the making, Friday's recommendations by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld represented his attempt to balance a whirl of competing forces. They include the changing threats facing the nation, massive federal deficits, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the economies of local communities and political pressures.

Are they referring to the federal deficits that resulted from increased spending and massive tax cuts for the rich?

While state officials, community leaders, lobbyists and members of Congress combed through a thicket of data the Pentagon presented, the overarching theme of Rumsfeld's plan was surprisingly simple: To be more combat ready and affordable, the individual services must become leaner and more unified.

An example: The Army would move the 7th Special Forces Group from Fort Bragg, N.C., to the Air Force's Eglin, Fla., base, so both services' elite troops could train together more easily. An airfield next to Eglin is the headquarters of Air Force Special Operations Command.

Out would go the crown jewel of the Army hospital system: the venerable Walter Reed hospital in Washington. The hospital would move staff and services to the National Naval Medical Center in nearby Bethesda, Md., to create a new, expanded facility carrying the Walter Reed name.

Oh, so one of the most prestigious medical facilities for the treatment of our veterans is being eliminated. And I don't believe for one nanosecond that nonsense about expanding the National Naval Medical Center.

The proposal submitted to Congress and an independent base closing commission evoked immediate howls of protest from members of Congress whose states stand to lose jobs civilian and military and the Pentagon pledged to lend a helping hand to the hardest hit communities.

"It is wrong. It is shortsighted," Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., said when he learned the closures would include the submarine base at Groton. He called it "cruel and unusual punishment" of his state, which would suffer a net loss of 7,133 military and 1,041 civilian jobs.

Hey Joe, fuck you. You signed up for this shit when you removed your trailer hitch from Al Gore's Cadillac and attached it to President Asswipe's Yugo. Do us all a favor and change your party affiliation.

Full story: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050514/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/base_closings

Everyone in this administration should be ashamed of themselves. Does anyone remember Dubya's Campaign 2000 pledge to the military that help was on the way? Better yet, can anyone who has served, or is currently serving in our armed forces explain to me why you support this asshole? He has proven time and time again, through not giving the troops the equipment they need, by letting Halliburton and it's centipede arms of subsidiaries gouge and steal from them, and now by closing these bases and medical treatment facilities that he is not a man of honor. I was under the impression that honor trumped everything in the military.

And how does this "overhaul" make the country safer? It stands to reason that by closing these bases, we are putting our eggs in fewer baskets, so to speak. That does two things: One, it decreases our readiness to fight, or to have a ready pipeline of resources for places in which we are already engaged. Two, it increases the likelihood that any terror attacks could take out larger portions of our military infrastructure as a result of this downsizing.

I hope these sons of bitches sleep well, and that these decisions do not come back to bite us in the arse.

Brainless Baseball Analysis

I just witnessed some exceptionally brainless baseball analysis on ESPN's SportsCenter. Jeff Brantley, former NL relief ace was asked to critique Bobby Abreu of the Phillies. Abreu is currently riding a streak in which he has homered in five straight games. Brantley's "analysis" consisted of him saying that, as closely as I can recall, "Bobby is one of those guys who gets his bat on the ball. He doesn't strike out much, and he's finally found a stroke that allows him to hit homers."

Brantley, as my grandfather would have said, is full of old shoes. First, Abreu DOES strike out a lot. Even though he owned a .305 career batting average entering the 2005 season, he has, since emerging as a regular in 1998, struck out over 100 times every season since then. He has struck out 858 times in the 1,096 games he has played in a Phillies uniform (and an additional 51 times in 74 games he played for the Astros in 1996 and 1997). That works out to 122.5 strikeouts a season. In fact Abreu had the tenth most strikeouts of National League batters in 1998 with 133 and in 2001 with 137.

The second issue with Brantley's assessment of Abreu's sudden power surge is equally wrong. Abreu has hit 163 homers for the Phillies from 1998 to 2004, an average of 23.3 per season and hit a career high of 31 in 2001 and hit 30 in 2004. He also swatted 25 big flies in 2000 and had 20 on the nose in 1999, 2002 and 2003, so it's not like he just found the secret to hitting homers, he's just hot right now.

Abreu has long been an overlooked star, consistently hitting over .300, averaging 23 homers, 41 doubles and 6 triples a season. He has also stolen an average of 29 bases a year making him a total offensive threat. He has also drawn an average of 105.6 walks a season, so his on-base percentage is always over .400 which leads him to score an average of 104 runs a year. And as a middle of the order guy he is also productive averaging 92 RBI a season. Add to that the fact that he is a good defender in right field and you will quickly see that Abreu is one of the most complete players in the major leagues.

I can understand the average non-Phillies follower not understanding these facts, but Brantley is a former major leaguer. Not only that, he was Abreu's teammate in 1999 and 2000! He has no excuse for being so ignorant of these facts.

Note: Through the Phillies first 36 games of 2005, Abreu is hitting .313 with 8 homers, 28 RBI, 24 runs scored and 10 steals. None of these numbers figure into the averages computed above.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

More NASA Cowardice. War On Drugs Update. Silly Superstitions for $400.

NASA Continues To Accept Lowered Expectations

The stagnation that has haunted the American space program since the mid-1970s continues with more mealy-mouthing by new NASA Administrator Michael Griffin.

Yahoo News excerpt:

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - NASA's new boss made an impassioned case Thursday for speeding up development of a new spacecraft so that the United States will not lose access to space when the shuttle is retired, but warned something else will have to be sacrificed.

Administrator Michael Griffin told a Senate subcommittee in Washington that to cover the cost of the shuttle replacement's accelerated debut, he may be forced to delay some space station and exploration research. "We can't do everything on our plate, and we have to have priorities and first things first," he said.

This is so goddamned typical of the way this country has dealt with the Final Frontier since the Apollo missions ended. We end up short-changing one program in favor of another one, and end up with compromises all around. A good example of this nonsense is the International Space Station. In the effort to squeeze every penny of funding for this important initiative we ended up with a huge orbiting ornament that has nowhere near the value it should have.

Done correctly, the ISS would serve multiple functions:
1. It would be a halfway point of delivery for spacecraft heading to the Moon and to other bodies in the Solar System. 2. It would also serve as a conduit for a well regulated space shuttle fleet to rotate scientists back and forth between Earth, the station and the Moon.
3. It would serve as a huge laboratory for conducting experiments and observations. Among these would be:
A. To observe the Sun's atmosphere.
B. To Observe the area around our planet for near-Earth asteroids.
C. To study the long-term affects of low gravity on humans.
And that's just off the top of my head!

But wait, there's more:

Griffin wants to fly the proposed new spacecraft as soon as possible once the space shuttle fleet is retired in 2010 — avoiding a four-year gap in which the United States would have no way to launch astronauts.

The current plan, which he inherited when he took over NASA last month, calls for the new vehicle to carry a crew into orbit by 2014 and be capable of traveling to the moon and Mars, with modifications, in the years beyond. Griffin said he finds that four-year launch gap unacceptable and hopes to have a plan for closing it by mid-July. The new crew exploration vehicle, or CEV, is a key part of President Bush's plan for returning astronauts to the moon by 2020.

Full story: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050512/ap_on_sc/nasa_chief

This is totally unacceptable. I was seven years old when Apollo 11 landed the first men on the Moon. This July that will have been 36 years ago, and we have little to show for it. The cheap Christmas toy of a space station is a joke. Sure, the Hubble Telescope has given us breathtaking views of the universe, but don't forget how we nearly fucked it up with shitty planning that resulted due to the very pussyfooting Griffin is proposing.

We should have at least a million people living on the Moon by now, with perhaps 100,000 living on Mars. In addition, we should have three permanent space stations in orbit in the Earth-Moon LaGrange points. Sound ambitious? Hell yes it is, but considering that we've been a space-faring nation, even with the recent compromised standards, for nearly 50 years, it stands to reason that we should already have made some progress in the areas I've detailed. Instead, it is sadly apparent that we have regressed in this vital area, and that we are likely to continue to do so as long as NASA is run by timid men like Griffin.

Perhaps the answer is to get billionaires like Bill Gates or Ted Turner involved with funding some of the projects I've discussed. That way, we'd be sure to eliminate certain members of Congress from the arena. Persons like the legendary William Proxmire, who, when representing Wisconsin, fought long and hard to gut NASA spending calling it wasteful, while accepting millions of dollars in dairy subsidy money that didn't do a thing to improve the lives of anyone for whom he claimed to stand. Mr. Gates, Mr. Turner, I eagerly await your correspondence to discuss some long-range plans...

FBI Nabs Troops, Officers in Drug Sting

The latest development in the War On Drugs gives us a case of corruption and smuggling that encompassed law enforcement personnel and some of our own soldiers.

Yahoo News excerpt:

TUCSON, Ariz. - Pretending to be cocaine traffickers, undercover FBI agents in Arizona snared 16 current and former law enforcement officers and U.S. soldiers who accepted more than $222,000 in bribes to help move the drugs past checkpoints, the government said Thursday.

Those charged include a former Immigration and Naturalization Service inspector, a former Army sergeant, a former federal prison guard, seven members of the Arizona Army National Guard, five members of the Arizona Department of Corrections and a police officer, officials said.

All 16 agreed to plead guilty to being part of a bribery and corruption conspiracy and were scheduled to enter pleas Thursday in federal court, said Noel Hillman, a Justice Department official.
Each faced a single conspiracy count carrying a maximum prison term of five years and a $250,000 fine, though all could be entitled to probation, Hillman said.

The defendants in the nearly 3 1/2-year-long sting were not arrested and agreed to cooperate with an investigation expected to bring more arrests and involve people from additional agencies, said Hillman and FBI Agent Jana D. Monroe, who is in charge of the bureau's operations in Arizona.

Hillman said the defendants drove cocaine shipments past checkpoints manned by the government while they wore official uniforms, carried identification and used official vehicles.

Full story: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050512/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/fbi_cocaine_sting

So much for "To Protect And To Serve". This kind of thing is going to continue to occur as long as the types of drugs that were confiscated remain illegal. I'm not a drug user, but I favor legalization as a common sense answer to this problem that only seems to get worse every year.

By legalizing these drugs, we eliminate the black market effect and expose our economy to a HUGE amount of money that could be used to do an awful lot of things we need to be doing. Things like fully fund education for all students, provide universal health care coverage, pay down the nation's budget and trade deficits and ensure the viability of Social Security (above the level of solvency it currently enjoys, and is projected to provide).

Unfortunately, as long as drugs are viewed as a law enforcement issue rather than a medical one, we will continue to see countless lives ruined while crooked politicians, police and military personnel make illicit money off of the misery of those who become addicts.

I'll Take Silly Superstitions For $400 Alex.

Here's a bit a craziness from England by way of the Yahoo News Oddly Enough section:

LONDON (Reuters) - A schoolgirl told a British court Thursday she was put into a laundry bag and was going to be thrown from a third-floor apartment window into a river by her mother and aunt who thought she was a witch.

Prosecutors say the girl, brought to London from Angola by a woman claiming to be her mother, had been regularly abused by members of her family after they had become convinced she was putting curses on members of her family.

The court has heard the abuse culminated in a plan by her 38-year-old "mother" and another woman, Sita Kisanga, 35, who says she is the girl's aunt, to kill her.

"They put me in a bag and said they would throw me away," the girl, sitting next to a large teddy bear, told police in a videoed interview shown to London's Old Bailey court.

Full story: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20050512/od_nm/britain_witch_dc

Upon reading the first sentence I couldn't help but recall the scene in the classic film "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" in which a group of serfs claimed to have found a woman they claimed was a witch, and were eager to burn her until the local knight, Sir Bedevere stepped in to guide the process of determining whether she truly was a witch. The rest of the scene is comedic gold.

Bedevere asks several questions of these idiots, all of whom are dumber than President Useless. The final determination was that if the woman weighed as much as a duck, then she would float on water, which then would have made her a witch. So the woman is weighed on a HUGE balance scale against a duck, and lo and behold, the two weighed exactly the same! "It's a fair cop," says the poor woman as she is hauled away off camera, presumably to be burned.

Unfortunately, the story from the excerpt contains no humor. It is a sad example of superstition and cruelty. I don't know what life is like in Angola, where the family is from, but this looks like a combination of child abuse and religious insanity.