Monthly Archives: December 2006

Ford’s Heaven-dential campaign asks Bush not to stump [UPDATED]

Pearly Gates HVN (HP)– The Heaven-dential campaign staff of former US president Gerald R. Ford has requested that current president George W. Bush not appear on behalf of Ford’s campaign to enter The Pearly Gates. Citing Bush’s low popularity in the Heaventh Congressional district, Ford’s choir of angels announced that Bush will not be invited to appear at the next and most important campaign stop, Ford’s funeral in Arlington next week.

Ford’s heavenly people have been trying to distance the affable dead Michigan Republican from Bush, as polls have shown that most angels in heaven would not vote for Bush, if the election were held today. In Ford’s latest posthumous speech, delivered by fallen angel Bob “Thou Art the Glory Forever” Woodward, Ford distanced himself significantly from Bush’s most sinful act, the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, and all the “over the sin-line” behavior that followed therefrom: lying, killing, rape, torture, greed, probably some lust, a whole lot of coveting thy neighbor’s petroleum deposits, and boocoo taking the name of the Lord thy God in vain. Bush’s standing in heaven has been further compromised by recent photographs suggesting, shall we say, at least an aura of evil:
Free Image Hosting

The Pew poll this week indicates the iffy nature of Ford’s chances at this point: of angels who are likely to vote, Ford holds a slight plurality 45% voting for heaven, 43% for hell, and 12% undecided, with a margin of error of 3%. Ford’s other big liability besides Bush, the pardon of Richard Nixon, has lost him considerable votes among the “judge the quick and the dead” wing of the angels.

Word from the Bush camp in Texas is that Bush will allow Ford to Run in Peace (RIP), and comply with the request from “on high,” to remain out of public view during the Ford funeral, perhaps the most important Ford Heaven-dential campaign stop [UPDATE: Bush will participate in the viewing, on Jan. 1, in the Capitol Rotunda; there are rumors that he will be required to wear a hood to prevent him from spitting on the remains.]. [UPDATE II: Bush risked a lightning strike by actually speaking at the funeral. I can only guess at what this might mean for Ford's chances for eternal salvation/damnation.] During the funeral, many godly and truthful persons will testify to the goodness of President Ford, citing his involvement with football, Grand Rapids, and an occasional person of color, during his long and faithful stint in the Republican Party. It is hoped that these final testimonials will pursuade the undecideds among the heavenly host to vote in favor of opening the pearly gates to Ford, whose campaign slogan
“ETERNAL MORE YEARS”

has proven to be a non-starter.

Bush’s prepared funeral speech, (a draft of which circulated through the Ford camp) reportedly included a number of references to Republicans who are not (and apparently never will be) residents of the Heaventh Congressional District, such as Donald Segretti, Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Nixon, Abu Gonzales, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, John Bolton, Bill Kristol, Jack Abramoff, and Henry Kissinger.

Other personal and political issues are also a concern for the angels: first, of course, there’s the farting. And even more importantly, Ford’s people have been informed that Bush’s failure to address “climate change” has made the Texan very unpopular in Heaven, where rising temperatures prompted one resident to comment, “Jesus H. Christ on a biscuit, it’s hotter than Hell here today!”

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Bush’s new CD: Had to be re-recorded

Laura Bush reportedly gave the President a CD for Christmas: “Overnight Sensational”, by Sam Moore, of the duo from so many years ago, “Sam and Dave.” The preznint appreciated the syntactically incorrect title.

But some of the songs were just…well, not to the W’s liking. Not constrained by facts, Bush ordered the titles changed, and the songs re-recorded. It took some time, what with the preznint having to spend 12-15 minutes a day figuring out our next misstep in the Middle East. But here is the finished version. Bush is reported to be very pleased. I, however thought it was a little over the line.

“I Can’t Stand the Rain Hard Work”- with Wynonna, Special guests Bekka Bramlett and Bebe Winans (vocals) and Billy Preston (Hammond B-3)

“Better To Have Make War And Not Need Peace” – with Bruce Springsteen

“Blame It On The Rain Democrats” – with Fantasia

“Lookin’ For A Love WMD” – with Jon Bon Jovi

“Ain’t No Love Stay the Course” – with Steve Winwood

“None Of Us Are Free enlisting in the military” – with Sting

“It’s Only Make Believe a number” – special guest vocals by Mariah Carey and Vince Gill

“Don’t Play That Song (You Lied)” – with Bekka Bramlett deleted

“If I Had No Loot I’d go back to Wyoming” – with Van Hunt and Nikka Costa, special guest Billy F.Gibbons Dick Cheney (guitar)

Riding Purple Thumb” – with Travis Tritt, Special guest Robert Randolph (pedal steel)

“We Shall Be Free of Helen Thomas in two years” – with Paul Rodgers

“You Are So Beautiful Sleeping So Well” – with Billy Preston, special guests Zucchero (vocals), Eric Clapton (guitar) and Robert Randolph (pedal steel)

I don’t think these new versions are up on iTunes yet, but I intend to keep checking every hour or so, and will post an update when they come up.

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war in Iraq/neglect of Afghanistan: deadly heroin epidemic in US

LA Times

More blowback from Bush’s ridiculous and illegal invasion of Iraq.

Afghanistan is a failed state, but a sweeping success in growing poppies. As a result, the price of a hit of heroin in the US is now about the same as the price of a candy bar. Literally. Lower prices, bigger doses, more OD’s, more addiction.

Poppy production in Afghanistan jumped significantly after the 2001 U.S. invasion destabilized an already shaky economy, leading farmers to turn to the opium market to survive.

Not only is more heroin being produced from Afghan poppies coming into the United States, it is also the purest in the world, according to the DEA’s National Drug Intelligence Center.

Despite the agency’s own reports, a DEA spokesman denied that more heroin was reaching the United States from Afghanistan. “We are NOT seeing a nationwide spike in Afghanistan-based heroin,” Garrison K. Courtney wrote in an e-mail to The Times.

He said in an interview that the report that showed the growth of Afghanistan’s U.S. market share was one of many sources the agency used to evaluate drug trends. He refused to provide a copy of DEA reports that could provide an explanation.

The agency declined to give The Times the report on the doubling of Afghan heroin into the U.S. A copy was provided by the office of U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), a member of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control.

Maybe once it hits the suburbs of Dallas, somebody will figure out that this is over the line.

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Noka chocolate: It costs more, doesn’t that make it better?

[Crossposted at dailykos]

This is one of the funniest “over-the-line” stories (and best reporting) I’ve seen in a long, LONG time. The rich folks in Texas, in part through the gold-plated auspices of Niemann-Marcus, have been paying greater-than-caviar prices for this slyly marketed but quite ordinary chocolate.

Vintages Collection (i.e., molded tablets) — Signature Box (i.e., stainless steel).
96 piece — approximately $464 per pound
48 piece — approximately $795 per pound
24 piece — approximately $1,146 per pound
12 piece — approximately $1,760 per pound
4 piece — approximately $2,080 per pound

Let’s compare that with the products of some commonly known chocolatiers. Godiva chocolates range from about $30 to $65 per pound. Joseph Schmidt chocolates range from around $30 to $55 per pound. Fran’s chocolates cost around $55 to $70 per pound. Michael Recchiuti’s chocolates run from $58 to $85 per pound. And La Maison du Chocolat ranges from about $65 to $85 per pound.

My only regret is that a “Sideways”-kind of movie wasn’t made of the faux-connoisseur chocolate buffs who made a lot of bucks for these entrepreneurs.

The piece is quite long and detailed, explaining some of the intricacies of the chocolate industry. Briefly, there are bean grows, chocolate processors, and “chocolatiers”, who basically melt down bulk chocolate, pour it into molds, and then put it in fancy boxes.

Noka has slyly implied by its statements and its evasiveness that it is not simply a chocolatier, and that its chocolate is somehow the best. In reality, as the reporter brilliantly shows, Noka seems to simply buy bulk chocolate from Bonnat, one of the many chocolate processors, whose product is by no means the highest rated.

How much does Bonnat cost? The bars I used for the taste-testing in this report were purchased from Chocosphere for $33.99 per pound. Keep in mind that this is retail pricing for individually molded and wrapped 100-gram bars. Buying the same bars from the authorized US distributor (with a minimum order of a case of 6 bars) pushes the price down to $17.82 per pound. By purchasing blocks of couverture (rather than individual portioned bars) and cutting out the middleman, I’d be very surprised if Noka is paying more than $11-12 per pound.

Noka, according to the piece, then does a rather amateurish job of melting it into candy in a modest strip mall storefront in suburban Plano, TX, but a masterful job of marketing it to snobby Texans who have too much money for their own good.
I say congratulations to the reporter, but also to the two ex-accountants who started Noka; they have both done a spectacular “take-down”.

(link)

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GOP flip flops on Iraq: now “too much violence…”

After years of complaining about the “liberal media” not getting out “the good news” on Iraq, and pooh-poohing the violence/civil war, we know have poor Lindsey “rug shopper” Graham telling us that

“You’re not going to have a political solution with this much violence,” Republican Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina told ABC’s “This Week” on Dec. 24. “So the surge of troops is, I think, very necessary. Additional combat capability co-joined with political reform will be successful.”

Gee, where were you when all this happened, LG? not tending to the nation’s business, I guess….

But at any rate, we can now anticipate the Buscheneocons’ next little toe dance: they have somehow magically get from

a)Laura Bush’s “refurbished schools” Iraq

to

c)”Shopper’s” “too much violence” Iraq

WITHOUT

b) a civil war.

Because a civil war would strongly imply that the US is just occupying and meddling, and needs to withdraw. Must be the danged turrists, eh, Dubya?

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Paul Sanford, 1956-2006, advocate for free speech and for the homeless


Paul Sanford, 1956-2006
I did not know Sanford personally, though I had occasion to write about him last year, when, as a mysterious unknown, he made headlines at a White House Press Conference. Sanford asked Scott McClellan whether if the Bush administration exposed a secret CIA operative, did that not constitute treason:

Q Yes, thank you. There has been a lot of speculation concerning the meaning of the underlying statute and the grand jury investigation concerning Mr. Rove. The question is, have the legal counsel to the White House or White House staff reviewed the statute in sufficient specificity to determine whether a violation of that statute would, in effect, constitute treason?MR. McCLELLAN: I think that in terms of decisions regarding the investigation, those are matters for those overseeing the investigation to decide.

Most of Sanford’s efforts, however, were in the areas of free speech and civil rights:

Paul Sanford, an attorney who made his mark on Santa Cruz with his defense of homeless and indigent residents and once asked the U.S. Supreme Court to strike the words “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance, died Sunday in an apparent suicide. (link)

Sanford, 50, was raised in Boston and earned a master’s degree in political science at Boston College. He moved to Santa Cruz about 20 years ago and in 1996 earned his law degree from Monterey College of Law, where he also taught Constitutional law classes and volunteered with the school’s small claims clinic. He worked at the Volunteer Centers of Santa Cruz County for 14 years.

Friends and colleagues remembered him as a brilliant and creative attorney and a tireless advocate for poor people and the principles of the Constitution, a copy of which he always carried in a pocket.

“We lost a gem,” attorney Kate Wells said. “He was a champion of the poor and a wonderful asset to the legal community and the community at large.”

There are indications that the White House episode resulted in major distress for Sanford:

…Sanford was in court on his own behalf, in a breach of contract and defamation lawsuit against Michael Zwerling, the owner of KSCO and KOMY radio stations. According to his attorney and friend Shawn Mills, Sanford alleged that Zwerling broke a 2005 agreement to sell airtime to Sanford and provide him with media credentials. Zwerling declined to comment.

According to media accounts, the disagreement between the men started after Sanford used a KOMY press credential to join the White House press corps and asked then-press secretary Scott McClellan if the administration’s leak of Valerie Plame’s identity was tantamount to treason. It’s unclear what will happen with the case, which was set for trial in February.

“I know it was particularly troubling for him,” Brennan said. “He felt he was treated very poorly and it was difficult for him to understand.”

A tragic (and somewhat mysterious) end to a brief but admirable career. Possibly a casualty in Bush’s war against the world and the US Constitution.

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E-freakin-ormous Sandy Claus

But shouldn’t these people have been shopping?

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Bush’s surge has already begun, fools…

You thought he was THINKING about something? George W. Bush?

He’s already got the 2nd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne, from Ft. Bragg, packing their bags.

He decided long before Santa came down the chimney, and put off the announcement just to fool the leering press and those Americans who are under the delusion that we might, oh, reconsider a horrendously failed policy.

The Pentagon is expected to send 3,500 troops into Kuwait to stand ready for use in
Iraq, senior defense officials said on Tuesday as the Bush administration weighs adjusting force levels in the war.

The “call-forward” force was requested by Army Gen. John Abizaid, head of the military command responsible for the Middle East, and must be approved by Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

According to one official, Abizaid’s request came before Gates’ fact-finding trip last week to Iraq to assess possible alternative strategies…

He’s the Cheneocon puppet War President Decider, and he ISN”T GONNA CHANGE. GET OVER IT.

link

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Bush forced to admit polar bears are threatened

link

The Washington Post is reporting that the polar bear will be listed as a threatened species. The principle threat to these giant predators is, of course, global warming and the disappearance of the summer ice pack.
Don’t think for a minute that this represents some warm and fuzzy impulse by Buscheney and Co. The lede is buried in the story:

By submitting the proposal today, the Interior Department is meeting a deadline under a legal settlement with three environmental advocacy groups – the Center for Biological Diversity, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Greenpeace — that argue the government has not responded quickly enough to the polar bear’s plight. The department has been examining the status of polar bears for more than two years.

NRDC senior attorney Andrew Wetzler, one of the lawyers who filed suit against the administration, welcomed the proposal for listing.

“It’s such a loud recognition that global warming is real,” Wetzler said. “It is rapidly threatening the polar bear and, in fact, an entire ecosystem with utter destruction.”

From the NRDC press release:

The conservation organizations Center for Biological Diversity, NRDC, and Greenpeace sued the Bush administration in December 2005, because the government had ignored a petition to protect the polar bear. In response, the USF&WS completed the required first “90-day finding” in February 2006, and found that protection of polar bears “may be warranted,” and commenced a full status review of the species. The proposed listing is the result of that scientific study.

Before the proposed rule can be finalized, it will be subject to another round of public comments. Thus far the government has received more than 200,000 comments in support of listing the polar bear, including letters from eminent polar bear experts, climate scientists, and more than 35 members of Congress.

Congratulations to the NRDC, Greenpeace, CBD, and to the thousands of concerned citizens who made this happen. To Buscheney, my Christmas present is a festive Bronx cheer.

And a reminder to Dear Leader: these guys aren’t done with you yet.

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Those guys who do the yard, they could do the wars, too, right?

link

The armed forces, already struggling to meet recruiting goals, are considering expanding the number of noncitizens in the ranks, including disputed proposals to open recruiting stations overseas and put more immigrants on a faster track to U.S. citizenship if they volunteer, according to Pentagon officials.

Foreign citizens’ serving in the U.S. military is a highly charged issue, which could expose the Pentagon to criticism that it is essentially using mercenaries to defend the country. Other analysts voice concern that a large contingent of noncitizens under arms could jeopardize national security or reflect badly on Americans’ willingness to serve in uniform.

The idea of signing up residents who are seeking U.S. citizenship is gaining traction as a way to address a critical need for the Pentagon, while fully absorbing some of the roughly one million immigrants that enter the United States legally each year.

The Pentagon has evidently been thinking about this plan for some time:

Currently, Pentagon policy stipulates that only immigrants legally residing in the United States are eligible to enlist. There are about 30,000 noncitizens who serve in the U.S. armed forces, making up about 2 percent of the active-duty force, according to statistics from the military and the Council on Foreign Relations. About 100 such noncitizens have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A recent change in U.S. law, however, gave the Pentagon authority to bring immigrants to the United States if it determines it is vital to national security. So far, the Pentagon has not taken advantage of it, but the calls are growing to use this new authority.

Sorry, but this idea of using foreign nationals to fight our wars fails on so many levels. If we don’t feel the need ourselves to fight in Bush’s wars, that’s a pretty good sign that everybody knows that the wars were fighting in are not crucial, or self-defense. …this is just empire juice. It’s way over the line. And it’s not just the mercenary issue. Or the language issue. It is racist at its core, and would actually encourage more Bushlike military adventures.

It’s truly un-American and just trash. Like the American Enterprise Institute that’s serving it up.

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