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Showing posts from July, 2007

Congressional Democrats begin impeachment of Gonzales

Jay Inslee (D-WA) has introduced a bill to begin an impeachment investigation of Gonzales. Follow the link to C&L for news video. There's a diary on Kos, but it doesn't seem to have more information. It does have some transcript of the NBC coverage:
From NBC's Mike Viqueira
A group of House Democrats will introduce a resolution calling on the Judiciary Committee to begin impeachment proceedings against Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) will sponsor the measure. It will be dropped in the hopper tomorrow.It's too early to say whether it will actually get anywhere.Here's the text of resolution...RESOLUTION
Directing the Committee on the Judiciary to investigate whether Alberto R. Gonzales, Attorney General of the United States, should be impeached for high crimes and
misdemeanors.
1 Resolved, That the Committee on the Judiciary shall
2 investigate fully whether sufficient grounds exist for the
3 House of Representatives to impeach Alberto R. Gonzal…

Republicans going down with the president

Digby quotes Matthew Yglesias on the very odd behavior of the current Republican party:
Much of the crisis in Washington today boils down precisely to the congressional GOP's unwillingness not so much to "do the right thing" but unwillingness to even be petty and power-hungry; their decision to see their job as backstopping the president come what may rather than to jealously horde[sic] the powers of their own offices.Then she goes on to say:
This is why our institutions are failing. The founders never counted on politicians "doing the right thing." Profiles in courage are always in short supply and no government can depend upon good intentions. But they did assume that they would, at least, want to preserve their own careers and constitutional prerogatives. The modern Republicans are so committed to their party that they will follow their 28% president over the cliff, and that is a mindset we haven't seen since the civil war.
The big question in my mind is wh…

The housing slump

Atrios' explanation for what's happening with housing:
While it's rather obvious, sometimes I think the "how'd it happen" of the housing bubble isn't explained clearly. The short answer is that cheap money was made available to more and more people.

Potential home buyers for the most part don't really care what the sticker price is on the house; they care about the monthly mortgage payment. In the early days of the house price boom, the "culprit" was simply low long term interest rates. People with good credit were getting cheap 30 year fixed rate mortgages, allowing them to buy a more expensive home for a cheaper monthly payment. As housing prices started to go up, subprime lenders started to jump in and widened the pool of people for whom cheap money, at least temporarily, was available. Uncle Alan Greenspan blessed the use of ARMs, and lenders began offering very low teaser rates that would balloon after a few years. People either didn'…

Oh great, now we're fighting the Kurds, too?

According to Bob Novak (yes, the same Novak who originally outed Plame as a covert operative):
The morass in Iraq and deepening difficulties in Afghanistan have not deterred the Bush administration from taking on a dangerous and questionable new secret operation. High-level U.S. officials are working with their Turkish counterparts on a joint military operation to suppress Kurdish guerrillas and capture their leaders. Through covert activity, their goal is to forestall Turkey from invading Iraq.(HT: quaoar on DailyKos) This whole Turkey-Kurd conflict has been simmering for some time. A skillful U.S. might be able to finesse it and keep these two allies from going at it. But now it looks like we might be taking sides. Of course, this carries big risks:
Edelman's listeners were stunned. Wasn't this risky? He responded that he was sure of success, adding that the U.S. role could be concealed and always would be denied. Even if all this is true, some of the briefed lawmakers left wo…

BREAKING: Christianity revealed as Jewish prank

The game is up:
In a breathtaking announcement today, Rabbi Soyvitch Goldberginsky told a slightly confused gathering of End Timers at a How to Dress for the Rapture: Boxers, Briefs or Dangler’s Puffery seminar in Las Vegas, Nevada that the basis for their religion, the founding gospels of the New Testament were in fact part of an elaborate gag perpetrated by “…a few wisenheimers back in the day. The guys were sitting around, tossing shrimp at pigs for who-knows-why, when one of them says “Hey, what if we say that God shtupped a zaftig and Jr. will give everyone a Get Out of Hell card? And they will have to sing ass-kissing songs and feel bad a lot of the time, just like us.”
Isn't this kind of similar to Nietzsche's conception Christianity: a vehicle for spreading slave morality and ressentiment to the gentiles?

Of course, there's a lot more to Christianity than belief in the idea that "God shtupped a zaftig", but that is a central tenet of orthodox (with a lower-…

Venn diagrams online

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This diagram, from a DailyKos diary, was made with this online applet. Unfortunately, it is impossible sometimes to get the areas proportional to your data:
The applet draws Venn Diagrams with 3 circles. It attempts to make each of the zones (the set intersections) proportional to the population (value) assigned to the zone. Note that, in general, the areas will be approximate, as an ideal solution is generally not possible using circles.

Maliki not too keen on this whole "arming the Sunnis" thing

Iraq's prime minister, Maliki, doesn't like Petraeus arming the Sunni militias and has asked Bush to remove him:
Relations between the top United States general in Iraq and Nouri al-Maliki, the country’s prime minister, are so bad that the Iraqi leader made a direct appeal for his removal to President George W Bush.Although the call was rejected, aides to both men admit that Mr Maliki and Gen David Petraeus engage in frequent stand-up shouting matches, differing particularly over the US general’s moves to arm Sunni tribesmen to fight al-Qa’eda.One Iraqi source said Mr Maliki used a video conference with Mr Bush to call for the general’s signature strategy to be scrapped. “He told Bush that if Petraeus continues, he would arm Shia militias,” said the official. “Bush told Maliki to calm down.”What are we doing in Iraq again?

Republicans: "We're losing the youth! Quick, quash the YouTube debate!"

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Image from KCRG.com

Seems young folks are turning away from the Republican party in a pretty big way. Given this reality, one would think Republicans would jump at the chance to engage young voters by having a YouTube sponsored debate like the one the Democrats had. But it look like it might not happen:

NYT:
The Republican CNN-YouTube debate, scheduled for Sept. 17 in Florida, may move to another date, given reservations that some of the presidential candidates have expressed about both the date and the format.Xinhuanet.com (why does China's official news agency often come up first in Google searches about American politics?):
Four days after the Democratic presidential debate hosted by CNN/YouTube.com, only two of the nine Republican presidential candidates have agreed to participate in a similar debate for their party on Sept. 17. Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona and congressman Ron Paul of Texas are the only two that have agreed to take part in the debate, co-hosted b…

Friday baby blogging, part 2

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Photo by Kristyn Stroble

Bush administration: winning the war against data

According to the LA Times, the Bush administration is going to stop reporting on the number of hours of electricity per day Baghdad is getting:
WASHINGTON -- As the Bush administration struggles to convince lawmakers that its Iraq war strategy is working, it has stopped reporting to Congress a key quality-of-life indicator in Baghdad: how long the power stays on.

Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week that Baghdad residents could count on only "an hour or two a day" of electricity. That's down from an average of five to six hours a day earlier this year.

But that piece of data has not been sent to lawmakers for months because the State Department, which prepares a weekly "status report" for Congress on conditions in Iraq, stopped estimating in May how many hours of electricity Baghdad residents typically receive each day.
Kudos to my Senator Barbara Boxer for calling bullshit on this:
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Ca…

Aquafina and Dasani are tap water

Buying bottled water may be convenient, but you're basically getting filtered tap-water:
Pepsi's Aquafina and Coca-Cola Co.'s Dasani are both made from purified water from public reservoirs, as opposed to Groupe Danone's Evian or Nestle's Poland Spring, so-called spring waters shipped from specific locations that the firms say have notably clean water.
(HT: Feministe) I once talked with a water engineer at a party and he said bottled water is a racket. He said the FDA actually has much stricter standards for what comes out of your tap than what goes into those bottles.

VLWC on Libertarianism

I like VLWC's take on Libertarianism:
"Libertarian" is an impressionistic term like "emo," for which no two people agree on a definition. It can mean:I'm an independent thinker who cherry-picks the best parts of right- and left-wing politicsI hate any sort of government or governance (see also: "fair-weather anarchist")I'm a Republican in sheep's clothing (see also: "I'm an Independent" and "Reynolds, Glenn")I'm a disgruntled DemocratAt my high school, the cool kids read Ayn RandI'm attracted to fringe candidates

Was Pat Tillman fragged?

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Image taken from kestral9000 on DailyKos

There's a lot of evidence coming to light that NFL player-turned soldier Pat Tillman's friendly fire death was not an accident:
(AP)SAN FRANCISCO U.S. Army medical examiners were suspicious about the close proximity of the three bullet holes in Pat Tillman's forehead and tried without success to get authorities to investigate whether the former professional football player's death amounted to a crime, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

"The medical evidence did not match up with the scenario as described," a doctor who examined Tillman's body after he was killed on the battlefield in Afghanistan in 2004 told investigators.

The doctors — whose names were blacked out — said the bullet holes were so close together that it appeared the Army Ranger was cut down by an M-16 fired from a mere 10 yards or so away.See TPM Muckraker and kestrel9000's diary on DailyKos for more information and analysis.

I …

Friday baby blogging

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Photo by Kristyn Stroble

Here's Quinn with his cousins. It was easy to make him laugh: saying "Buh buh buh buh buh buh buh!" with an ascending intonation cracked him up without fail.

Happy Birthday Sarah!

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Today is my wife's birthday, and everyone should celebrate! (The image above was yanked from someone's myspace page, though I don't know why I'm giving them credit because I'm sure they yanked it from somewhere else.)

A fun gay marriage song

(via Sullivan, of course)

Gonzales perjurs himself

Liar liar liar:
WASHINGTON - Documents show that eight congressional leaders were briefed about the Bush administration's terrorist surveillance program on the eve of its expiration in 2004, contradicting sworn Senate testimony this week by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
The documents, obtained by The Associated Press, come as senators consider whether a perjury investigation should be opened into conflicting accounts about the program and a dramatic March 2004 confrontation leading up to its potentially illegal reauthorization.A Gonzales spokesman maintained Wednesday that the attorney general stands by his testimony.(HT: BarbinMD on DailyKos) This sounds pretty clear cut. Can we prosecute the guy yet? Or at least impeach him?

Gonzales: you can't make this stuff up

A snippet of Gonzales testimony, as quoted by Kos:
SCHUMER: I'll let you speak in a minute, but this is serious, because you're getting right close to the edge right here. You just said there was just one program -- just one. So the letter, which was, sort of, intended to deceive, but doesn't directly do so, because there are other intelligence activities, gets you off the hook, but you just put yourself right back on here.GONZALES: I clarified my statement two days later with the reporter.SCHUMER: What did you say to the reporter?GONZALES: I did not speak directly to the reporter.SCHUMER: Oh, wait a second -- you did not.(LAUGHTER)OK. What did your spokesperson say to the reporter?GONZALES: I don't know. But I told the spokesperson to go back and clarify my statement...SCHUMER: Well, wait a minute, sir. Sir, with all due respect -- and if I could have some order here, Mr. Chairman -- in all due respect, you're just saying, "Well, it was clarified with the repo…

Contempt

It's not just what I feel for the Bush administration, it's what the House Judiciary Committee is voting on today. A summary of the options:
Try to negotiate a settlement acceptable to both the Congrses and the White HouseRoll the dice on statutory contempt and see what the U.S. Attorney doesUse the inherent contempt procedure, either after statutory contempt has failed, or as a concurrent threat to encourage the U.S. Attorney to moveCreate some new procedure legislatively, and hope it stands up to court challenges from the "administration" when Congress actually tries to use itMove to impeach, whether the target be Gonzales (as the U.S. Attorney's boss), Bush (for misapplying executive privilege claims), or Cheney (if Congress believes it has established a connection between him and this particular obstruction, which to this point they apparently do not, despite Senator Whitehouse's revelations yesterday)Do nothing, and hope some future administration does th…

Harry Potter and the Fundie Freakazoids

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With all the Pottermania going on, we should remember that some people REALLY don't like Harry Potter:

That's an excerpt from the movie Jesus Camp. Of course, some people derive enormous sadistic pleasure from the fact that Harry Potter drives some Christian wackos nuts:
In any event, my enjoyment of the books is enhanced by the knowledge that it also drives the fundamentalist right nuts. Ever since the books gained great popularity, they've been on the warpath against Harry Potter, as you can see from the excerpt from Jesus Camp above, in which we see the head of the camp telling children that Potter should be put to death. (Talk about Republicans for Voldemort!) To be fair, the woman doesn't say Potter should be put to death. She says that had it been in the Old Testament, Harry Potter would have been put to death. Of course, if Harry Potter had been in the Old Testament, then I imagine it would have been quite different. Maybe sections of it would be less excruciating…

A Harry Potter product you won't see

From an interview with Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling:
"The funniest one ever -- it was a product proposal that was sent to them -- was a Moaning Myrtle lavatory seat. We've got the plans for it framed in the office loo."From that same interview:
On criticism of the books from Christians in Britain and the United States:"I had one letter from a vicar in England -- this is the difference -- saying would I please not put Christmas trees at Hogwarts as it was clearly a pagan society. Meanwhile, I'm having death threats when I'm on tour in America."

Props to Ron Paul and Mike Gravel on drug policy

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One issue I feel strongly about but haven't blogged about for a while is the futility and stupidity of our nation's drug policy. According to the recent article in the NYT Sunday Magazine,
[Republican candidate Ron Paul] detests the federal war on drugs; the LSD guru Timothy Leary held a fundraiser for him in 1988.While I disagree with Ron Paul on government spending on social programs and health care (he's against it, I think we need more & better) and numerous other things, I think he deserves mad props for being against the war on drugs. As far as I know, he's the highest profile politician to publicly take this position. Where are the Democratic candidates on this? Back in April, Ariana Huffington lamented their silence:
But a quick search of the top Democratic hopefuls' websites reveals that not one of them -- not Hillary Clinton, not Barack Obama, not John Edwards, not Joe Biden, not Chris Dodd, not Bill Richardson -- even mentions the drug war, let alone o…

Happy 2nd Anniversary to us!

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Photo by Kristyn Stroble

Not my blog anniversary, that's a while off yet. But my 2nd wedding anniversary is today! Here's a recent photo of us in the park near our house.

I'll spare my other readers the puke-inducing mushy sentiments that I wish to express on this happy occasion, and confine them to a medium where only their intended recipient will need to be confronted with them.

JetBlue: "We only have room for the right wing"

JetBlue recently caved to pressure from FOX News viewers and sort of withdrew its sponsorship from YearlyKos. Apparently, all it took was 1,200 e-mails. This is sad, but it makes me feel like the occasional angry e-mail I send out probably does do some good. Anyway, the Kossacks are annoyed with JetBlue, and so some folks came up with this little video to make fun of them:

Republicanism makes us weaker

This Krugman column in todays NYT really got me angry. It turns out that France and Japan have faster and cheaper broadband than we do:
The numbers are startling. As recently as 2001, the percentage of the population with high-speed access in Japan and Germany was only half that in the United States. In France it was less than a quarter. By the end of 2006, however, all three countries had more broadband subscribers per 100 people than we did.Even more striking is the fact that our “high speed” connections are painfully slow by other countries’ standards. According to the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, French broadband connections are, on average, more than three times as fast as ours. Japanese connections are a dozen times faster. Oh, and access is much cheaper in both countries than it is here.Grr! Having a lame health care system I can live with. But having slower Internet connections is absolutely intolerable. Why has this happened? According to Krugman:
Bad polic…

Fred Thompson: Pro-choice lobbyist

Republican right-wingers hoping that Fred Thompson will save them from the current crop of Republican candidates will be very disappointed to find out that their guy did pro-choice lobbying work. Now some on the right think this isn't that big a deal.

I, for one, am happy to know that someone isn't as firmly anti-choice as their current stance in the Republican party would suggest. But I'm tired of the Republican party's cynical posturing on this issue. It's pathetic to see candidates like Giuliani with pro-choice records pander desperately to the right-wingers. Who are they fooling?

The Pasport Backlog

Kos posts about the current backlog of passport applications, citing it as an example of how Republicanism can't work. I happen to have some inside info on this story, from my ultra-secret contact in the State Department, known on this blog only by the code name "Maestro". Here's my comment to Kos's post:
It's even worse than you think(0 / 0)I have a friend who works in counter-terrorism in the State Department. The friend's area of expertise is Central Asia. You'd think he'd have some pretty important business to attend to these days, what with everything going on there. But guess what my friend will be doing for the next few months?Passport backlog work.Yep, and my friend is not alone. Counter-terrorism specialists are being pulled from all over and flown to special offices to work six days a week on clearing out the passport backlog. So critical counter-terrorism desks are sitting empty. This increased emphasis on passports is actually decreasin…

Context is everything

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You can control the content of your ad, but you can't control what gets put next to it. 14 more if you follow that link. (HT: Sullivan)

Robotron 2084 watch

Checkers has been solved, i.e. reduced to tic-tac-toe. If played perfectly, it will end up a draw (HT: Sullivan).

I may be a fanatical D&D Miniatures collector...

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...but at least I didn't have them on my wedding cake:

HT: Wizards of the Coast. Apparently, the cake is a re-creation of one of their Dungeons & Dragons Online adventures. The Huge Red Dragon figure in the center would set you back about $65 on e-bay these days. I'm glad I already got one. The wedding must have been recent, because those ice elementals are pretty new.

Kansas Republicans try loyalty oaths

Not a good sign for the Kansas GOP.

Swords vs. Guns

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In fantasy, swords beat guns, as evidenced by this little video here from Academie Duello (HT: Almost Infamous) and by the fact that in Star Wars, light sabers are better than guns.

I think deep down, we hate technology, and long for nature, our true unfettered human spirit, to pour forth and wipe it out. I think Lucas played on this desire in Return of the Jedi, when he has the primitive, naturalistic ewoks triumph over the tech-heavy imperial stormtroopers.

But of course we're smart enough to know that it's just a fantasy. The ewoks of the real world get slaughtered. And technology has become too much a part of us to ever cast it aside. We are Darth Vader: we couldn't survive without the technologies that make us strong. We are the imperial stormtroopers.

Economics term of the day: Sunk Costs

Atrios recommended reading up on the term "sunk costs". Wikipedia is of course the font of all knowledge:
In economics and in business decision-making, sunk costs are costs that have already been incurred and which cannot be recovered to any significant degree. Sunk costs are sometimes contrasted with variable costs, which are the costs that will change due to the proposed course of action. In microeconomic theory, only variable costs are relevant to a decision. Economics proposes that a rational actor does not let sunk costs influence one's decisions, because doing so would not be assessing a decision exclusively on its own merits.A useful term to know when discussing what our future involvement in Iraq should be.

The disappointment of fine print

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Oh, it's only temporary. And Cheney will take control. Darn. (Via VLWC.)

Badges!?!?! Romney needs those stinking badges!

In an incident that is sure to spawn endless The Treasure of the Sierra Madre references, one of Romney's aides apparently made false law enforcement badges for campaign staff:
In an apparent violation of the law, a controversial aide to ex-Gov. Mitt Romney created phony law enforcement badges that he and other staffers used on the campaign trail to strong-arm reporters, avoid paying tolls and trick security guards into giving them immediate access to campaign venues, sources told the Herald.
The bogus badges were part of the bizarre security tactics allegedly employed by Jay Garrity, the director of operations for Romney who is under investigation for impersonating a law enforcement officer in two states. Garrity is on a leave of absence from the campaign while the probe is ongoing.

A campaign source said Garrity directed underlings on Romney’s presidential staff to use the badges at events nationwide to create an image of security and to ensure that the governor’s events wen…

If you think civilian air travel sucks...

...try getting to Baghdad as a civilian:
Getting from BIAP to the IZ (the International Zone, aka the Green Zone) is an adventure all by itself. First you haul your gear to a bus stop that feels like Crematoria. Then you get on the bus and ride for 45 minutes to an army base. Then you get off that bus and wait an hour to catch another bus. Then you get off that bus and wait for an hour to catch yet another bus to yet another base. Then you wait in the sun yet again – and by this time you’re totally fragged from the heat – and take another damn bus to a helipad. All this takes hours. You will be no closer to Baghdad than you were when you started. There are no short cuts. Once you make your way to the helipad you will wait for a flight on a Blackhawk or a Chinook. If you’re a civilian like me, you will fly last.(HT: Sullivan)

American monarchy watch

Bush says it's justice department won't prosecute any contempt charges Congress might make against people stonewalling the U.S. Attorney firing investigation:
Bush administration officials unveiled a bold new assertion of executive authority yesterday in the dispute over the firing of nine U.S. attorneys, saying that the Justice Department will never be allowed to pursue contempt charges initiated by Congress against White House officials once the president has invoked executive privilege.

The position presents serious legal and political obstacles for congressional Democrats, who have begun laying the groundwork for contempt proceedings against current and former White House officials in order to pry loose information about the dismissals.All you impeachment doubters: I told you so. There is no other mechanism by which to reign in this administration. They see themselves as above everything. The hubris of these people is absolutely disgusting. This is who Republicans are: suppo…

We definitely felt this...

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Image from San Jose Mercury News.

A 4.2 magnitude quake happened nearby early this morning at 4:42, when Quinn had finally gotten to sleep after a difficult wakeup. He slept right through the quake, but it was pretty scary. Some store windows in Berkeley were shattered, and some people in Oakland lost power. Everything seems OK here.

Apparently Kos felt it, too.

This is very bad: Cheney in power during Bush colonoscopy

TPM:
Be Afraid, Be very, very afraid. This headline is now running at CNN as a Breaking News flash ... President Bush temporarily will transfer power to Vice President Dick Cheney while Bush has a colonoscopy Saturday.So making Dick Cheney acting president for maybe an hour or two. Hmmm. Checklist. 1. Invade Iran. 2. Rule Pat Leahy 'Special Legislative Enemy Combatant' ...

Assessment, assessment, I love you, assessment, you're always a Friedman away!

The Republicans try to move the goalposts figuring out whether what we're doing in Iraq is working or not, for about the umpteenth time. Sullivan reacts:
It seems to me that we should stick to what we were told in the first place.The surge can be definitively judged by September - eight long months and several thousand deaths after it began; it should be judged by exactly the same criteria the administration and Congress agreed upon in the first place; and the key criterion should be movement toward a political settlement, evidence that a national Iraqi government can begin to stand alone, as a unifying force in what was once Iraq. If there is evidence of a political breakthrough by then, if there are clear signs that the Shiites and Sunnis and Kurds are reconstituting a viable national government and want the US to stay to help them, then that is one thing. If we are supposed to judge the surge a success based on military progress against 5 percent of the insurgency, no deal. Thi…

A good summary of the Senate sleep-over

TPM Election Central has a nice guide to the all-night Senate session that took place last night. Their summary:
The GOP won -- today, at least. Sen. Mitch McConnell prevented the crucial ten Republican defections. Much of the media is portraying the Democrats as either obstructionists -- which must rankle them, since they weren't the ones filibustering the defense bill -- or as losers. And since the Dems didn't break the filibuster, that last part is true enough.Looking beyond the day's vote, however, reveals a more complicated picture. After the Democrats lost the Iraq battle over the supplemental appropriation in the spring and didn't launch another fight against the war, many on the left were disillusioned with the Democrats. Antiwar liberals appear much more energized now, so clearly today's events had one positive effect for Reid: It appeared to shore up his support on the left again. More importantly, by raising the Iraq debate in the summer, the Democrats ha…

More neocon jokes!

George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Joe Lieberman are all flying over New Orleans in a Blackhawk, surveying the progress that has been made in rebuilding the city and the levees. As they fly over the Ninth Ward, Cheney looks out the window, grins, and says, "You know, I could throw a thousand-dollar bill out the window right now and make one of those poor bastards very happy."Bush says, "Well, I could throw ten hundred-dollar bills out the window right now and make TEN people very happy."Not to be outdone, Lieberman chimes in, "Oh yeah? Well, I could throw a hundred $10 bills out the window and make a HUNDRED Americans very happy."Hearing this, the copter pilot rolls his eyes and says, "Man, I could throw all three of you out the window and make 300 million Americans very happy."From the same place as the others.

Get your dose of Comedy Central videos

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It's been a while since I've linked to Crooks & Liars for some Comedy Central political vids. So here's Colbert on the Sen. Vitter (R-flaming hypocrite) hooker scandal. The Daily Show does not let the opportunity to gloat slip by either. The video showing Vitter's wife standing next to him is pretty excruciating. She looks so miserable. Maybe he could resign and the governor could appoint her to fill out his term. It's the least she deserves after what he's put her through.

If you want something more substantive than sordid sex scandals, The Daily Show also covers the confirmation hearings for Bush's candidate for Surgeon General. Of course, the whole thing focuses on his notions about what's wrong with anal sex.

Neocon jokes

From Sullivan:
[W]hy do you never want to date a neocon? Because they always say they're going to pull out and they never do.And another:
Q. How many neocons does it take to screw in a light bulb?A. Neocons don't bother with light bulbs. They declare a War on Darkness and set the house on fire.

Larry Flynt has more names

The publisher of Hustler claimed in an interview with Larry King that he's got more names of politicians involved in prostitution, including another Senator. (HT: a gnostic on DailyKos.) Somebody needs to do a pre-emptive confession, I suspect. Or come out in favor of legalizing prostitution.

I'm surprised they don't carry these already

Walmart to test Bible action figures in US:
Wal-Mart said Tuesday it will test sales in some stores of biblical action figures whose makers say they are aimed at Christian parents who prefer their children play with Samson, David or Noah rather than with a comic book character or Bratz doll.

[...]
One2believe Chief Executive David Socha said his products were part of a "battle for the toy box" with dolls and figures that he said carry negative messages. "If you're very religious, it's a battle for your children's minds and what they're playing with and pretending. There are remakes out there of Satan and evil things," Socha said.I don't suppose it's occurred to them that Satan is a biblical character. I bet that if they included a Satan figure in their toy lineup, it would sell better than some obscure Old Testament prophet. I'd also like Leviathan and Behemoth action figures (from Job); they would make good D&D monsters. The figures f…

An unflattering portrait of a Democratic political consultant

From dday on DailyKos:
[...]In increasingly out-of-touch fashion, he claimed that there will be another terrorist attack between now and next November, that the public will run into the arms of the Republicans as a cause of that, and that Democrats are essentially helpless to do anything about that. This, of course, completely neglects what has happened in this country since the war in Iraq, and how America has given up on the idea of "strong on defense" Republicans, particularly given the facts of today's NIE, which suggests that, nearly 6 years after 9/11, precious little has been done to protect the homeland. Consultant X (I'm going with Consultant X from this point forward) argued that none of that matters, that people will trust Republicans more on security. This is a DEMOCRATIC consultant, mind you. Apparently he's made a conclusion that it's impossible for Democrats to argue that the imperial adventure in Iraq, that ignoring our allies, that engagin…

Handsoap

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(via Sullivan)

Republicans: still the party of Bush, still the party of occupation

Much has been made of recent Republican "defections" on Iraq. Mainly this is because a few Republican senators have made some meek little noises about the need for a change in strategy. But the overall Republican stance is still pro-Bush and pro-occupation. As Greenwald points out, no leading Republican presidential candidate has come out against the occupation. To do so would be political suicide.

As for the rank and file, Republicans still support Bush, the occupation, and even Bush's handling of the occupation by substantial margins. The latter is really quite baffling to me: Republicans support Bush's "handling of the situation with Iraq" by a 59-33 margin, according to the CBS poll to which Greenwald links.

These folks really are living in a different reality than the rest of us. It's pretty scary to realize how people can have completely different views of the same situation. So don't let Republicans off the hook for this disastrous occupation.…

How journalism works...by Tom Tomorrow

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Go see the whole This Modern World strip. (HT: Greenwald)

Least favorite task of political wives:

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Image from Pam's House Blend.

Standing by your husband after he gets caught up in a hooker scandal. Pam says "All I know is the woman's body language speaks for itself". Remember, this is the woman who publicly threatened to cut off his penis if he ever cheated the way Bill Clinton did. I feel pretty bad for her.

Remember Internal Monologue's sex scandal amnesty offer: If you come out in favor of decriminalizing prostitution, or even initiate a serious public discussion about taking a look at some of the really messed up ways our society deals with sex, I'll give you a break and not mock you mercilessly for your sexual foibles. But if you're a "family values" panderer who blathers on about the sanctity of marriage and how gay people and liberals and secularists are a threat to it, then I feel fully justified in making fun of you when your home phone number turns up on the call sheet of a Washington DC prostitution ring.

Who will be the first politi…

What I did this weekend

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My character, Rynthal Cormaeril, is the purple wizard in the center of the lower ship being flanked by the two green sahuagin. (Don't worry- he took a diagonal 5' step and blasted them both with a cone of cold, braving an attack of opportunity from one of them, which missed. And yes, I know you normally would cast defensively in that situation, but Rynthal is a conversion from 2nd edition AD&D and has only minimal ranks in concentration. Given his relatively high armor class, my choice of actions was the better one under the circumstances.)

The adventure was a great high-seas pirate epic put together by my awesome Dungeon Master, Paul (whose myspace page can be found in the sidebar and who occasionally comments here on IM.)

WWII Opinion polling

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From TPM

Yes, they had opinion polling back in the 40's. And unlike the current war, WWII polled pretty well. Maybe because we had achievable objectives, the backing of allies, and a president not in the grip of batshit crazy beliefs. As Josh Marshall points out, many war defenders says that if WWII and FDR were polled as much as Iraq and Bush, similar disapproval would be seen. As you can tell from the graph, that is utterly false.

Yay! Can we leave Iraq now?

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"We'll take it from here." Image of Maliki from msnbc.com.

Does anybody besides the Bush administration want us to stay? From a couple days ago:
BAGHDAD - Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Saturday that the Iraqi army and police are capable of keeping security in the country when American troops leave “any time they want,” though he acknowledged the forces need further weapons and training. (HT: VLWC)

IM Gaming Vacation

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Image from Paizo.com

Internal Monologue will go on vacation this weekend for a massive D&D marathon. I think that's OK since half my readership will be playing in the game along with me. OK, not half. But a substantial portion.

A special thanks goes out to my wonderful wife Sarah, who is a goddess for allowing me to disappear for an entire weekend. I love you so very much.

Why Republicans have trouble with the minority vote

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Image from The Detroit News

Here's yesterday's NAACP's Republican candidate forum: 8 empty lecterns and Tom Tancredo (R-CO). (HT: Jeffery Feldman on DailyKos). All the Democrats managed to show up when the NAACP invited them. Now of course there are other ways to reach out to minority voters than showing up at the NAACP. But you don't hear about Republicans doing a lot of those things either. It doesn't help that this cycle the Democrats have a very ethnically diverse group of contenders, while the Republicans present a monolithic facade of racial uniformity. After the Katrina response and the recent anti-Hispanic immigrant bashing, the Republicans should be jumping at the chance to symbolically say "you're important" to the non-whitefolk of the nation. But I guess they've strapped themselves to an obsolete vision of what America is. I hope their electoral obsolescence quickly ensues.

News flash: Birth Control works

From Feministing:
A new report reveals that the teen birth rate has hit a record low, and not because of a decline in teens having sex (thanks, abstinence-only!), but an increase in condom use.
Speaking of birth control, why the hell are Democrats in Congress continuing to fund abstinence-only education, after it's been shown not to be effective?

Homer Simpson gets "Left Below"

Via Slacktivist, who continues to slog through the Left Behind series so he can tell us how it is both bad literature and bad Christianity.

Edwards says Bush's remarks "border on the delusional"

(I posted a slightly different version of this on DailyKos.)

Edwards earns some points with me:
The president's remarks today defending his Iraq policy without regard to actual facts border on the delusional. The president claimed that the same people attacking U.S. troops today are the ones who perpetrated 9/11. It must be nice to live in a world where your actions have no consequences. There was no group called Al Qaeda in Iraq before the president's disastrous mismanagement of the war gave them a foothold, a fact the president flagrantly ignores. After being discredited again and again, the president is still trying to link Iraq and 9/11 - a rationale for the war that virtually everyone except Dick Cheney has now recognized was false.
(HT: TomP on DailyKos) My only point of contention with Mr. Edwards is that I don't think Bush's remarks border on the delusional. They crossed that border some time ago. Frankly, I think the border between Bush and delusion needs a lot m…

Harriet Meirs claims to be immune to subpoena

Hunter's reaction on DailyKos:
This morning, Harriet Miers refused to appear after being subpoenaed by the House Judiciary Committee. I don't mean she refused to answer certain questions -- I mean she, through the White House, declared herself immune to subpoena, period.This is -- yet again -- a remarkable situation. Harriet Miers isn't merely refusing to answer certain questions under the rubric of executive privilege, the White House is asserting that her very person is immune to constitutional oversight, and that thus she may ignore congressional subpoenas in their entirety.That's an astonishing claim, if for no other reason than it is flatly, unambiguously, and laughably wrong. It's not even a debatable statement, but one of those now-regular White House quasilegal statements that mocks well-known and well-established laws to such an extent that no other conclusion can be reached but that the White House legal team is willfully setting out to break laws just to …

Humans and their virtual selves

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If you missed this feature in the NYT Magazine, you can see a slide show of it here. It's a series of game players and their avatars with a little bit of biographical info about each. (HT: Sullivan, who is shocked that someone would play a game 55 hours a week. Obviously, Mr. Sullivan has a good deal to learn about geekdom.)

George W. Bush: Felon

Apparently, it is a felony to order someone not to appear before a Congressional hearing. (Note that executive privilege is not an exception to this-you have to appear to invoke the privilege.) Bush ordered Harriet Miers not to appear before a House panel investigating the US attorney firings. He's in big trouble. This is rapidly developing...

The pathetic hypocricy of humanity

For some reason, the worst crimes of humanity (genocide, torture, rape, murder, unnecessary war) do not depress me the most. It's stories like this one from Reuters that make think humanity really needs to be wiped out and replaced by robots who have better brain design:
Many women who value the option of over-the-counter emergency contraceptive pills for themselves may worry that it's not a good idea for women in general, a small survey suggests.

[...]
All of the women had used an Internet service to get emergency contraception pills, and when surveyed, nearly all said they would have used non-prescription pills had they been available.Yet fewer than half said they fully supported making emergency contraception available over-the-counter to everyone.Many other women supported the idea of non-prescription pills, but expressed reservations. Often, they worried that easier access to emergency birth control would encourage other women -- though not themselves -- to be promiscuous or…

Nyuk nyuk nyuk

Jay Leno quote:
Sen. John Edwards began what he's calling his poverty tour today. He's visiting people who have no money and no hope. His first stop: John McCain's campaign headquarters.(via Sullivan)

Dave Kilcullen: The surge explained

Here's an article which my super top-secret mole (known on Internal Monologue only by the codename "Maestro") high in the government pointed out to me. Really, this mole exists. I promise you. And this mole does work in the Bush administration. OK, maybe not high in the Bush administration. But the tip did come from a .gov address, and I know my mole is not particularly skilled in e-mail address falsification, unless Maestro has learned these skills recently as part of some super top-secret training program. I fear for Maestro's job security in communicating with a known subversive such as myself, but fortunately for Maestro the article in question is already highly public and has been commented on by numerous folk, including Andrew Sullivan, so I'm surprised I hadn't come across it already.

The article is titled "Understanding Current Operations in Iraq" and was posted by Dave Kilcullen on June 26, 2007. It is an insider's view of "The Sur…