Friday, March 30, 2007
From 2001 to 2006, no voting discrimination cases were brought on behalf of African American or Native American voters. U.S. attorneys were told instead to give priority to voter fraud cases, which, when coupled with the strong support for voter ID laws, indicated an intent to depress voter turnout in minority and poor communities...Well, come on folks, you have to admit it would be hard to find Republican candidates with civil rights experience.
...This administration is also politicizing the career staff of the Justice Department. Outright hostility to career employees who disagreed with the political appointees was evident early on. Seven career managers were removed in the civil rights division. I personally was ordered to change performance evaluations of several attorneys under my supervision. I was told to include critical comments about those whose recommendations ran counter to the political will of the administration and to improve evaluations of those who were politically favored.
Morale plummeted, resulting in an alarming exodus of career attorneys. In the last two years, 55% to 60% of attorneys in the voting section have transferred to other departments or left the Justice Department entirely.
At the same time, career staff were nearly cut out of the process of hiring lawyers. Control of hiring went to political appointees, so an applicant's fidelity to GOP interests replaced civil rights experience as the most important factor in hiring decisions.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
And there's no tenderness like before in your fingertips.
You're trying hard not to show it, baby.
But baby, baby I know it...
You've lost that lovin' feeling,
Whoa, that lovin' feeling,
You've lost that lovin' feeling,
Now it's gone...gone...gone...wooooooh.
Now there's no welcome look in your eyes when I reach for you.
And now you're starting to criticize little things I do.
It makes me just feel like crying, baby.
'Cause baby, something in you is dying.
You lost that lovin' feeling,
Whoa, that lovin' feeling,
You've lost that lovin' feeling,
Now it's gone...gone...gone...woooooah
Baby, baby, I get down on my knees for you.
If you would only love me like you used to do, yeah.
We had a love...a love...a love you don't find everyday.
So don't...don't...don't...don't let it slip away.
Baby (baby), baby (baby),
I beg of you please...please,
I need your love (I need your love), I need your love (I need your love),
So bring it on back (So bring it on back), Bring it on back (so bring it on back).
Bring back that lovin' feeling,
Whoa, that lovin' feeling
Bring back that lovin' feeling,
'Cause it's gone...gone...gone,
and I can't go on,
(Thanks to Skyler's Dad for the inspiration)
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Today in a speech to the Arab League summit, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia referred to the war in Iraq as an “illegitimate foreign occupation."
So...I guess we'll just be going, then, eh?
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Maybe not such a good idea to have your attorney invoke Scooter Libby and the Plame case when arguing that it is impossible not to perjure yourself in some circumstances, no matter how honest you are, because:
1. It's a moronic fucking argument. Libby was convicted for lying under oath, not for failing to successfully dodge telling the truth.
2. At least you have a choice between career suicide and falling on your sword. What choice did Valerie Plame have?
And sweetheart, I wish you all the luck with your little taking of the 5th that Susan McDougal had.
Monday, March 26, 2007
I refuse to testify on the grounds that I might be shown to be a shameless, soul-free stooge for the worst president ever, so help me god.
Friday, March 23, 2007
Ladies & Gentlemen, I give you Senator James Inhofe, Le Douche Extraordinaire, bringing his great big bag of douchery to the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works:
INHOFE: All right. Now, I'd like to put up the little pledge thing here. I'm going to ask you if you would like to commit here, today. You know how many hundreds of thousands of fans you have out there that would like to follow your lead? And this pledge merely says -- as you can read it up there -- that you're agreeing to consume no more energy in your residence than the average American household by one year from today, not right now, but you've got a whole year to try to do this.
Now, the one thing I'd like to have you not use in response to this question, which is a yes or no question, is the various gimmicks. Now, I have something I want to submit for the record, Madame Chairman, that talks about the effects -- the offsets and the credits are gimmicks used by the wealthy so they don't have to change their lifestyles. This -- and I have an article that is last Sunday's United Kingdom Times, I'd like to add -- to submit for the record at this time.
BOXER: You may.
INHOFE: All right, what's your answer?
GORE: Well, first of all, Senator, thank you so much for your question. I --
INHOFE: Sure. I noticed Tipper didn't say thank you for the question.
GORE: Oh, I'm sure she would, but -- you know, one of the other recommendations that I would have is that we -- is that you also set standards for green energy produced by utilities. And, one reason I say that, in response to what you're saying here, is that that's what we purchase, and we pay more for it because it's still relatively --
GORE: -- uncommon. If I may --
INHOFE: Senator Gore --
GORE: If I could just finish my --
INHOFE: Well, you can't --
BOXER: If you could allow -- you've asked the Senator an important question. He's answering it. Give him a minute or so to answer it.
GORE: We purchase wind energy and other green energy that does not produce carbon dioxide, and that does cost a little more, now, and that is one of the reasons why it costs a little more. We're also in the process of renovating an old home, and I live -- we live not far from where [Sen.] Lamar [R-TN] and [his wife] Honey Alexander do and we --
INHOFE: All right, Senator Gore, you've had so much more time. I'm going to have to have my --
GORE: Can I make one other point because a lot of communities actually have laws preventing the installation of solar photovoltaic cells?
INHOFE: So, I assume the answer's no. Let's go to the next question.
GORE: And, if I could continue --
INHOFE: No, you can't.
GORE: I do believe that there should be a federal provision that overrides any local restrictions.
INHOFE: But, what I'm going to do in the last time, since my time has expired, I'm going to ask you, on your film -- the last frame on your film -- and it's kind of interesting because yesterday, I ran into a parent of a student at school in Maryland that said that her students were, in an elementary school, were watching your movie, under the instructions once every month.
The last frame in that movie was -- would you put that frame up? You're asking and you've asked people all over America, "Are you ready to change your way of life? Are you ready to change the way you live?" I would have to ask you that same question, because we started my term on "Would you take a pledge to do that?" I think the answer to that is no. But in terms of changing the way you live, I think it's very difficult for you to ask other people to do it, unless you are willing to do it. Are you willing to do it?
GORE: We live a carbon neutral life, Senator, and both of my businesses are carbon neutral. We buy green energy. We do not contribute to the problem that I'm joining with others to try to help solve. We pay more for clean energy, and I think that utilities ought to provide more green energy that doesn't produce CO2, and we are in the midst of installing solar panels.
Again, I think that we ought to have a law that says communities and localities ought not to be able to prevent that. I never made that public, by the way. The community where I live, it's a city within a city, I didn't want to -- because I asked them to change it and they said, "We will. It just takes time." So, these kinds of things are what people are going through all over this country: They're buying the new light bulbs; they're putting in more insulation. People are changing. People are changing.
The American people are ready to help solve this problem, but we have to have legislation that takes away the right to pollute without any accountability or without paying a price for it because when we have cap-and-trade, when we have laws that make it -- that allow us to use the market in our favor, then those of us who are part of the solution rather than part of the problem will be able to leverage what we're doing.
Thanks to Media Matters for the transcript.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
gimme a break before I die:
grant me wisdom, will & wit,
purity, probity, pluck & grit.
Trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind,
gimme great abs & a steel-trap mind,
and forgive, Ye Gods, some humble advice -
these little blessings would suffice
to beget an earthly paradise:
make the bad people good -
and the good people nice;
and before our world goes over the brink,
teach the believers how to think.
I'm so tired, I need a new word for tired.
On that note, don’t think those meme things don’t tempt me. They do, but I feel about them the same way I feel about karaoke: I’m very supportive and interested in other people’s contributions, but I remain convinced that no one wants to hear mine. No one wants to hear me sing “Love Lifts Us Up Where We Belong,” no matter how ironically I sing it, and no one wants to know if I have a tattoo, or whether I’ve been up in a hot air balloon.
I haven’t, by the way. Been up in a hot air balloon. I’m sure it’s fabulous, but I’ve never done that. And I’ve never been in a helicopter, either, let alone fly over Hawaiian volcanoes in a helicopter, like some lucky people have. I’m sure it’s the most amazing thing ever, to do that, but I’ve never done it. That’s someone else’s life, those things. I did fly once in my uncle Jack’s little Buddy Holly death machine-type airplane, and it made me so sick I threw up all over my little sister. She cried, when I did that, and I really can’t say that I blame her. But what was I supposed to do? Throw up on myself? It was a small area, and my choices were limited.
So I’m tired, and I want our servicemen and women to stop dying in
Excuse me, I have to go lay down now.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
The first time any of us probably ever heard of Blackwater, the U.S. mercenary firm, was two years ago, when 4 of their employees were ambushed and torn apart on the streets of Falluja, and their burned bodies were hung from a bridge.
That was a rare public moment for a very private firm that is rapidly expanding its operations not only in
Did you know that Blackwater was hired by the Department of Homeland Security to patrol the streets of New Orleans after Katrina, and that they did so heavily armed, and in unmarked cars, and they were authorized to use lethal force to prevent property damage?
Did you know that the founder of Blackwater, Erik Prince, is a right-wing fundamentalist Christian with close ties to BushCo? Erik Prince worked for Bush Sr.’s administration, but found 41 too liberal on social issues. 43, Rumsfeld & Cheney are, shall we say, a little more friendly not only to his ideas about the rights of gays and women, but also to the idea of creating a private military force that is involved in the highest levels of government military operations. More than one journalist has compared Blackwater to the Praetorian Guard of ancient
Did you know that the families of those four dead men are suing the company, and that Blackwater is currently being represented by our old buddy Ken Starr? Before Starr, they were represented by Fred Fielding, who recently replaced Harriet Myers as White House Counsel. Remember when Myers resigned, and everyone wondered why, because no one resigns from BushCo without a very good reason? Maybe Fielding was the reason.
Did you know that Blackwater is currently maneuvering in order to establish that itself and its employees are not subject to the laws of the
Did you know that Henry Waxman, the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, was denied access to Blackwater contracts for services in
And as a special bonus for my
No good can come of this, my friends. Once outfits like this are created, they don’t go away overnight once the name plates on the desks in
Friday, March 16, 2007
I remember thinking at the time of the flood that devastated New Orleans, that the US has been reduced by BushCo to a Soviet-era state - so pathetic, so meager, so jaw-droppingly fucked-up, and so entrenched in party-line ass-covering was our response.
And then, of course, there was the populating of important Iraq reconstruction positions with incompetent Bushies. No wonder that billions (with a "b," bitch) of American taxpayer dollars went missing, and that the residents of Iraq, four years later and in an oil-rich country, still cannot count on the fucking lights staying on or the toilets flushing for 24 hours in a row.
And now, we appear to have interrupted BushCo in the midst of replacing every competent and non-partisan U.S. Attorney with a Harriet Myers or Alberto Gonzales pod-person. I'm not sure they appreciate that the words "Justice Department" were not meant to invoke ironic sniggering.
Ted Koppel has quite rightly pointed out that a recent film about life in East Germany before the wall fell has reminded him quite a bit of the political climate in this country in the past 6 years.
At one time, there was much sturm und drang in US politics about the threat of communism. Much time was devoted to the discussion of how to keep the weaker countries of the world from falling like dominoes to the overpowering influence of the Commies. Vast political empires were built on fear of a communist government invading and ruling the United States.
But when our government, and every vital program it administers, and every agency that stands between us and goodbye, cruel world, is run by people whose only qualification is party loyalty, well, what's the fucking difference between us and a Soviet state? That I don't have to sign up on a four-year waiting list for lightbulbs?
Great. I'll try to remember that the next time they decide not to let Democrats vote anymore, and get away with it.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
After the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff blurted out some goode ole' tyme a-hatin' about the immorality of homos, reporters thought it might make for good copy to ask the Democratic "front-runners" what they thought about the whole deal.
Hilary said, "Well, I am going to leave that to others to conclude."
Ouch. You can practically hear her campaign workers smacking their heads in frustration, right?
I'm sure the charismatic Barack "Call me rock star, bitch" Obama came up with something better than that, right?
Ummm....only if longer means better.
Obama: "I think traditionally the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman has restricted his public comments to military matters. That's probably a good tradition to follow."
Both candidates had to send out spokespeople after the fact to correct their respective records on love for the man-love.
You know who didn't fucking waffle? John Edwards.
Check it: "I don't share that view. And I would go further than that ... I think the 'don't ask, don't tell' [policy] is not working. And as president of the United States I would change that policy."
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
So Gonzalez refuses to fall on his sword, even though he has now admitted that his office misled Congress about how the eight
One interesting aspect of this whole deal is that, after briefly considering firing all 93
But why would they even entertain the thought of dismissing ALL the prosecutors, which would certainly be a huge story, unless by doing so they could hide, or justify, something else they’d been longing to do?
Like the firing of a certain prosecutor that they would certainly never dare fire on his own?
A certain untouchable prosecutor who has shone a teeny tiny little ray of light into the dark chasm of despair that is the Bush administration?
Mostly it made me sad. I don’t mean that in a superior way. But the kids in the movie, and I mean even little children, are being told by their parents, and by the people in that camp, that the world is sinful, and it is up to them to save it. What’s the big deal about that, you say? Well, the big deal is that the kids believe them. They believe that how hard they pray, and how well they obey the rules that are laid out before them, means life or death for the people of this country and of this world. And that’s not only bullshit, it’s wrong. And if you ask me, it’s criminal.
Those kids believe that they are at war with people who do not believe, and that if they are having some harmless kid-type fun, say, or telling scary stories, or doing anything that is not about praising god, then they are squandering their lives and there will be, literally, hell to pay.
In short, the kids are fucked up. And the parents and the ministers and the teachers in the movie think that’s fine, as long as they are fucked up in the name of god. That’s not hyperbole. At the end of the film Becky Fischer, the woman who is the head of camp, basically admits to a radio host that yes, they are using children to further their cause, but it’s okay, because their cause is righteous.
The other thing that struck me about the movie, and watching how intensely those kids believe, and how convincingly they hurl themselves about and cry and speak in tongues is, I now have absolutely no problem believing that a small group of children managed to bring about the deaths of twenty-four people in the village of Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692, and ruin the lives of hundreds more. I’m sure those kids believed that every time they pointed a finger, they were doing the Lord’s work. I used to read about the Salem witch trials and think “How the fuck could that happen?” Now I know.
Monday, March 12, 2007
Yesterday morning a heat wave hit
No, I am not making that up to be spiteful to my northern clime friends.
I got up around 10 and made breakfast while listening to Harry Shearer’s Le Show, which is one of my favorite things to do on a Sunday morning. Then Spooney and I headed out to Sunland Water Gardens to get some water hyacinths for the pond to replace those that were killed in our recent freeze. Yeah, we’re experiencing just a little bit of swing in our weather recently. Let’s just say I spend a good part of my day either opening or closing windows.
Anyhoo, it was hot as fuck up in Sunland, which is at the tippy tippy top of the eastern San Fernando valley, in an area that Spooney and I call “little Mexico.” There are more taquerias and donut shops than you can count, and the while the young men all dress in the typical shaved-head-and-baggy-manpris style of dressing that all young men everywhere seem to have adopted, the older men still favor the look of gentlemen in rural Mexico, which is to say that they all sport a neatly styled pompadour, boot cut jeans, cowboy boots, large silver belt buckles, western-style shirts, and cowboy hats.
To pull off this look correctly, it is preferable for the hat to coordinate in color with the shirt, by the way.
I must say that I am instantly charmed by these guys and how much care they take in their dress. It is a source of pride to them that they are well-groomed, which is an invaluable asset in any culture, if you ask me. As we were admiring one particularly dapper gentleman outside the check-cashing store, Spooney wondered out loud if the young men of Sunland would always continue to dress like all other young American men, or whether they would, at some point, revert to the style of their elders. It was amusing to think that at some point they would be told “Today you are a man. You must wear your pants tight, now.”
I, for one, would find it a welcome change if young men no longer resembled their fat uncle’s clothesline.
After shooting the breeze with the salespeople at
But not without stopping first at Sunland Produce. Awesomest. Grocery. Ever.
My friend Alana turned me on to this place, which not only sports a HUGE inexpensive produce section (Cilantro! 8 bunches for a dollar!) that actually smells like dirt, but features cheap goodies from Latin, Middle Eastern, and Asian cuisines. We bought oil-cured olives, pickled eggplant and onions, orange blossom water, taramosalata, queso fresco, sheep’s milk feta, spices, nuts, wine, pomegranates, pears, and a proper pan ($6) for making Turkish, I mean Armenian, coffee.
We spent the rest of the afternoon working in the yard, and trying not to get too much sun. Around 5:30, when it started to cool off, we got out our bikes and tooled around the neighborhood. I showed Spooney the place down the block where the tree roots had pushed up the sidewalk and created a pretty decent jumping ramp. I’m sure the sight of two dorks in their forties riding over that and laughing was pretty funny. Then, on the next street over, we saw so many people driven outside by the weather. There were teenage girls sitting on a stoop, talking (and I don’t mean talking on their cell phones, I mean talking to each other), and a guy working in his driveway on his 60s-era Nova, and several boys playing stickball…we even saw our neighbors teaching their 3-year-old how to ride her tricycle for the first time. It was like freakin Norman Rockwell time, readers. I was even wearing pigtails.
Round about dusk we headed home. Spooney plated up some of our Sunland treats, and I found enough mint in the yard to whip up a couple of mojitos, and we sat by the pond, watching the fish and wondering what more one could possibly want from a day.
(thanks to Norman Walsh for the image)
Friday, March 09, 2007
Ho-ly fucking shit. Is this guy for real?
- Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was having an extramarital affair even as he led the charge against President Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky affair, he acknowledged in an interview with a conservative Christian group. WASHINGTON
”The honest answer is yes,” Gingrich, a potential 2008 Republican presidential candidate, said in an interview with Focus on the Family founder James Dobson to be aired Friday, according to a transcript provided to The Associated Press. ”There are times that I have fallen short of my own standards. There’s certainly times when I’ve fallen short of God’s standards.”
I love how he characterizes infidelity as a “standard” he’s “fallen short of.” It’s a characterization I doubt he would have extended to
Gingrich argued in the interview, however, that he should not be viewed as a hypocrite for pursuing
’s infidelity. Clinton
I can’t wait.
”The president of the United States got in trouble for committing a felony in front of a sitting federal judge,” the former Georgia congressman said of Clinton’s 1998 House impeachment on perjury and obstruction of justice charges.Gingrich here conveniently forgets about all the hypocritical harping he did on “family values” and
”I drew a line in my mind that said, ’Even though I run the risk of being deeply
embarrassed, and even though at a purely personal level I am not rendering judgment on another human being, as a leader of the government trying to uphold the rule of law, I have no choice except to move forward and say that you cannot accept ... perjury in your highest officials.”
See how dedicated he is? He risked deep embarrassment in order to drive home the point that there is a difference between lying to your wife, your constituents, your colleagues, the press, and the nation, and lying to a prosecutor.
Also, apparently perjury in the lowest officials - not such a big deal.
You know what? I hope he does run for president. Because I would love to see the “gotcha” press interview his first wife, the one he served with divorce papers in the hospital while she was recovering from cancer. Oh, she’s also the one who had to be supported by the charity of their church, since Newt apparently refused to pay alimony or child support. Or his second wife, the one he cheated on his first wife with, or his third wife, the one who’s the former congressional aide, as in, she was a subordinate to Newt before he left Congress.
I mean, presidents have been investigated for less.
(thanks to RanMan for the link)
(thanks to RanMan for the link)
I know it's so terribly college-sophomore of me, but I fucking love e.e. cummings.
And I was delighted to see Ms. Megan of By and By link to a wonderful poem of his about spring.
I'm tad jealous this time of year. There is no spring in
And so, in honor, somehow, of spring in the city of angels, I share with you my own favorite e.e. cummings poem:
no time ago
or else a life
walking in the dark
i met christ
and lay still
while he passed(as
close as i'm to you
made of nothing
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Monday, March 05, 2007
You might have heard about the city manager in Largo, Florida, who was fired by the City Commission after 14 years of exemplary service because he was about to undergo a sex-change operation.
A huge crowd of supporters attended the commission meeting in city hall, but an even bigger crowd of religious idiots also attended. Pastor Ron Saunders of the Largo Lighthouse Baptist Church had this to say: "If Jesus was here tonight, I can guarantee you he'd want him terminated."
Dammit! I guess I have once again grossly misinterpreted the teachings of Jesus!
You know, I wish that when preachers and other religious folks feel free to speak for Jesus, that they would perhaps throw in a quote or two, or other example of what their understanding of Jesus is based on, because when I think of Jesus, I keep coming up with stuff like this:
Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.
You know, pansy-ass shit like that.
But you know, every time I hear some genius like Pastor Ron Saunders flap his stupid pie-hole, I am reminded of the wisdom of Frederick, who said "If Jesus ever came back and saw what is going on in his name, he would never stop throwing up."
Or was he fired to stop him from testifying before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform about a memo he wrote that said that the privatization of services at Walter Reed could put "patient care services at risk of mission failure"?
Reportedly, the privatization of Walter Reed, which began in 2000, has caused an erosion of services and an exodus of qualified individuals.
What company was awarded this lucrative gig, you ask?
Why it's IAP Worldwide Services, run by Al Neffgen, a former senior Halliburton official.
I know, babies. It would be funny, if it weren't so damn sad.
Oh, and will someone please tell Michele Malkin (who apparently is missing the right wing harpie spotlight since Ann "men who don't find me attractive are faggots" Coulter has been hogging it recently), so she'll stop writing about how Walter Reed is a lesson about the failures of "government-run health care"?
Thursday, March 01, 2007
I need to get serious for a minute. Very, very serious.
I know some of you out there live in Chicago, and Denver, and Boston, and Milwaukee, and somewhere in buttfuck Michigan that might be close enough to Ann Arbor to make the trip.
The Long Winters are touring again. And the good news for you is that they're not yet popular enough that they play the big clubs. You can see them in a small club. With probably some decent sound.
You must go. You must. They just fucking rock. They just do. You will love them. Especially the lead singer/songwriter, John Roderick. Gals, you will want him for your boyfriend. Guys, you will want him for your best friend. Unless you are gay...in which case you might have to reverse the gal/guy thing. Any way, the point is, you cannot resist him. Resistance is futile.
Go. Go, go, go.
I wonder, if I made some joke about Rose Mary Woods, how many of you would I send scrambling to Wikipedia?
It's an important idea to uphold, the whole fair-trial-and-no-torture-allowed thing, no matter what you may think of Jose Padilla personally.
Ah, but did torture take place? Padilla says yes, the government says no, and the secret video made of his "interrogation" has been misplaced by the Defense Intelligence Agency.
As in they lost it. Can't find it anywhere. Just can't seem to put their finger on where it could be.
And yes, they tried retracing their steps, because they had it last week, right before the thing, and then they went to the dry cleaners, and they may have left it in their pants pocket, or maybe it got mixed in with those old videotapes of the The Rifleman that they donated to Goodwill...
But don't worry, Jose Padilla's defense team. It'll turn up. Probably in the last place we look!