Monthly Archives: May 2007

I do need to lose a little weight, but….

….I really resent the Living XL catalog offering me this:

Siltec® Heavy Duty Electronic Platform Scale 500lb. Capacity

Built to industrial specifications from reinforced sheet steel and aluminum, this extra-strong scale has a 1000-lb. capacity. Features include a remote keypad and display module with readout display, on/off switch, lb./Kg switch, and tare control that is linked to the weighing platform by a flexible, six-foot cable. Includes a double-sided mounting pad for easy viewing. Solid-state technology ensures state of the art accuracy and shows weight in increments of 0.5 lb. or 0.2 Kg. The extra-large 15″ x 15″ platform is sturdy and easy to step on and off. Stable readings are fast-in as little as 3 seconds. Runs on either an AC adapter (included) or go portable with 6 “C” batteries (not included). Full one-year warranty on all parts and labor. Repair and calibration service available worldwide. Item #X1136.

$239.95

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Filed under food/drink, gadgets, healthcare, Humor

In case you didn’t get the full story on the Brits kidnapped in Baghdad…

This is how good bad the security situation has gotten in Baghdad:

From the Guardian UK

It was one of the most brazen attacks on a government building in Baghdad. More than 40 men in police uniforms drove up in a convoy of 19 government-issued SUVs, to the technology and information directorate of the finance ministry. They sealed off the building, set up roadblocks outside it, walked into a hall where a British consultant was giving a lecture on computers, and shouted: “Where are the foreigners?” The consultant and his four British bodyguards were led away by a man in a police major’s uniform, without a shot being fired.

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Filed under Bill Kristol: is he smarter than you?, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Iraq, Middle East, Politics

al Qaeda didn’t follow the Russians home from Afghanistan

just sayin….

Osama bin Laden got his start helping to boot the Ruskies out of Afghanistan back in the late 90’s. Last time I checked, he and al Qaeda didn’t follow the Russians home. And Russia was a lot closer to Afghanistan than we are to Iraq.

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Filed under domestic terrorism, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Iraq, Karl Rove:Bush's brain or Bush's as'hole?, Middle East

Dallas Morning News: Bush “setting up Iraq” so we can’t get out???

I pay special attention to Bush stories that come out of Texas. Maybe that’s wrong…maybe with his Texas pals Bush talks more “macho” (not to say he might be drinking…).

Who knows…but this story out of Dallas is yet another disturbing reminder of the dark and unpredictable side of the man who somehow became the most powerful man in the world. It may be that the “Koreanoid occupation” is more than a pipe dream.

Georgie Ann Geyer in the Dallas Morning News:

…Iraq, where we were supposed to be “containing terrorism,” is now clearly exporting insurgents to other regions – to Lebanon, to Syria, to Gaza, to Bangladesh, to Kurdistan.

And so, on the one hand, you have weakened societies vulnerable to the “new answers” of “new insurgencies,” and on the other hand, you have Iraq set up as a school for terrorists with American troops and policy providing the constant inspiration for their fight.

This, of course, is not the way the Bush administration sees it.

The White House sees terrorists as born, not created by history, bearing the mark of Cain, not the mark of circumstance. There is a scarlet “T” written on their foreheads at birth and the only answer is to destroy them. This kind of thinking, of course, relieves the thinker of any responsibility for the presence of the insurgent-terrorist-whatever in our innocent midst.

What’s more, there is not much real give in the administration’s policies. True, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other American diplomats met Memorial Day weekend with the Iranians in Baghdad (a good first move but limited, since the Iranians have most of the power because of our incredible stupidity in Iraq). But by all reports, President Bush is more convinced than ever of his righteousness.

Friends of his from Texas were shocked recently to find him nearly wild-eyed, thumping himself on the chest three times while he repeated “I am the president!” He also made it clear he was setting Iraq up so his successor could not get out of “our country’s destiny.”

We have recently learned that Bush is planning on a prolonged US presence in Iraq, making some bizarre analogy to our 50 year South Korean occupation. Yet many have assumed that Bush’s influence on Iraq will cease in 2009, if not before.

This story raises several unpleasant possibilities: first and most importantly, that Bush is an irrational and egomaniacal person. But we should also wonder: What is he planning? yet another “strongman” installed by the US as a puppet regime in a dependent state? Widening of the war to include Iran or Syria? Tampering with the American system of government?

Neither Bush nor Cheney are the sort of person who should trusted with the immense military power of the United States. Yet they are virtually unchecked. This story should add to the concern that they will do even more harm to the Republic and the world than they have already accomplished, if they are left in power until 2009.

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Filed under Bill Kristol: is he smarter than you?, Dick Cheney: Hannibal Lector in disguise?, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Iran, Iraq, Middle East, Politics, Texas

Waas spotlights role of GOP operative Hearne in US Attorney scandal

Murray Waas at National Journal unravels some of the involvement of GOP operative and Karl Rove protege Mark Hearne in the Arkansas and Missouri chapters of the US Attorney scandal. Hearne is probably involved in all of the those situations where USA’s were being pressed to bring “voter fraud” charges. Hearne, who was legal counsel for Bush Cheney in 2004, is known as the head of the bogus and now defunct American Center for Voting Rights.

Waas’ story clearly shows the bending of the Justice Department to partisan purposes. And it shows the importance of getting Karl Rove’s testimony; he is the dot that connects the White House to political intervention in the investigation and/or prosecution of individual cases.

Mark (Thor) Hearne, a Republican Party operative who had served as national election counsel for the 2004 Bush-Cheney presidential campaign and played a behind-the-scenes role in both cases. Hearne’s role provides a window into how a Republican activist was pushing Bush administration officials — and perhaps in some cases working in concert with them — to use the Justice Department for partisan purposes.

[ex-USA for Arkansas] Cummins said in an interview that a former senior Justice Department official from the Bush administration, William Mateja, repeatedly contacted him during the investigation and asked whether Blunt was implicated in the corruption probe. Cummins said he was unaware at the time that Mateja was making his calls at the behest of Hearne, whose law firm had retained Mateja on Blunt’s behalf.

In the case involving ACORN, Hearne had urged the Justice Department long before the election to investigate the activist organization and similar groups that registered Democrats. When Hearne came to believe that the U.S. attorney for western Missouri, Todd Graves, was not taking seriously allegations that ACORN workers were registering people who did not qualify to vote, he took his complaints to senior officials in Justice’s Civil Rights Division and to the White House, according to a former Justice official and a private attorney who worked with Hearne. The private attorney said in an interview that Hearne boasted to him about having discussions with administration officials who wanted Graves replaced.

The White House declined to comment on any of its discussions with Hearne.

At the insistence of the Bush administration, Graves resigned on March 10, 2006. Graves has said publicly that he believes his dismissal was the result of clashes he had with his superiors for not aggressively pursuing voting-fraud cases.

When Graves resigned from Justice, Bradley J. Schlozman, one of his superiors, replaced him. The two had disagreed on the voting-fraud cases when Schlozman was acting head of the Civil Rights Division’s voting-rights section.

Schlozman had pressed Graves to bring a civil suit against Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, a Democrat, for allegedly failing to crack down on voting fraud. Graves expressed serious reservations about the case, saying it lacked merit. Subsequently the voting-rights section filed the suit. Later, U.S. District Court Judge Nanette K. Laughrey dismissed it, concluding: “It is … telling that the United States has not shown that any Missouri resident was denied his or her right to vote as a result of deficiencies alleged by the United States. Nor has the United States shown that any voter fraud has occurred.”

Hearne found his niche in the GOP’s operation in Florida in 2000:

Among his mementos are personal letters from President Bush and Karl Rove thanking him for his work in the 2004 campaign and a picture of Hearne holding up and examining a ballot with a “dimpled chad” in Broward County as a representative of the Bush campaign during the contested 2000 Florida recount.

In February 2005, with encouragement from Rove and the White House, Hearne founded the American Center for Voting Rights, which represented itself as a nonpartisan watchdog group looking for voting fraud. Critics, including the liberal group People for the American Way and state chapters of the League of Women Voters, say that the group was a Republican front and pursued only allegations of voting fraud by Democrats. The group now appears to be defunct.

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Filed under George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Karl Rove:Bush's brain or Bush's as'hole?, Politics, US Attorneys, voter intimidation

Scooter Libby, multiple felon, is a hero to “conservatives”

Anonymous Liberal today notes the ridiculous hero/victim cult that worships the remorseless felon Scooter Libby (which cult includes Norman Podhoretz, by the way).

Patrick Fitzgerald’s sentencing brief in the Libby case was released today. He concludes:

Mr. Libby, a high-ranking public official and experienced lawyer, lied repeatedly and blatantly about matters at the heart of a criminal investigation concerning the disclosure of a covert intelligence officer’s identity. He has shown no regret for his actions, which significantly impeded an investigation.

Yet conservatives continue to openly defend this convicted felon. As Newsweek reports:

Since his conviction last March, a number of conservative partisans—who shared with Libby his ardent support of the Iraq war—have mounted a vigorous public campaign in his defense and sought to lay the groundwork for a presidential pardon. In mid-May, Libby was a featured guest at a New York dinner honoring Norman Podhoretz, one of the neo-Conservative movement’s intellectual godfathers. According to reports from the scene, the dinner, organized by Commentary Magazine, opened with cheers and a “standing ovation” for Libby.

Think about that for a second. This is a man who was convicted of four felonies by a jury that was clearly conscientious and deliberative (they even acquitted him on one of the counts). He was prosecuted by a Republican political appointee, a man who is widely-regarded as one of the best and least political prosecutors in the country. He was represented at trial by the best legal team money can buy. Yet somehow this man has become the cause celebre among the conservative intelligentsia, the very symbol of injustice. How completely and totally absurd.

(Glenn Greenwald on the now totally clear proof that Valerie Wilson was a covert agent. )

Podhoretz obviously is part of the Cheney/Libby/BombIraq/BombIran/BombSyria circle of madmen. But there’s more to it than that. … worshipping lawlessness is a part of modern conservatism, and it is an important part of Bush’s (and certainly Rove’s) deliberate behavior.

Not my father’s conservativism, that’s for damned sure.

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Filed under Dick Cheney: Hannibal Lector in disguise?, Iraq, Politics

Baseball: A-Rod goes over the line (again).

link

Yelling at an infielder who’s trying to make a play.

Baseball has rules against baserunners interfering with fielders. In part, these rules are designed to keep order, but also to minimize the chance of injury; fielders have to concentrate on fast-moving baseballs.

Several years ago, in an obvious and illegal way, Alex Rodriguez (“A-Rod,”) while running the bases, slapped at an infielder, and was penalized for it.

Now he has invented a new way to interfere: yelling at an infielder who was trying to make a play. Apparently he got away with it. For now.

The setup: Yankees winning, 7-5, two out and two on, top of the ninth. Jorge Posada pops up to third. Howie Clark camps under it. Rodriguez trots by and yells “Ha!” (according to him). Clark thinks it’s the shortstop, John McDonald, calling for the ball. He backs off, the ball drops to the turf, the inning continues, and the Yankees score three more runs.

I asked Alex what his intention was, and he said, “To win a game. We’re desperate.” Later, he said, “I didn’t know what my intention was.” (I also asked Derek Jeter for his opinion on the play, and he wanted no part of the question.)

Rodriguez’s intent was obvious to the Blue Jays and the Yankees alike. Just as he did when he tried to slap the ball from Bronson Arroyo’s glove in Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS, Rodriguez was trying to give his team an edge however he could.

“He said, ‘Hey,’ when he was behind Clark,” [Toronto manager] Gibbons said. “The timing was perfect. The third baseman thought the shortstop called him off.”

Baseball has a way of taking care of things like this. “Brushback” pitches and the like. But if the rulebook doesn’t cover it, then it needs to be changed. Because when it happens in the seventh game of the World Series, there is no “next-day” payback.

Baseball fans and players call this “bush league;” I call it peeing on the great rug of baseball.

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Filed under baseball, sports, The Big Lebowski