I don’t know about you, but I learned that it is much more effective to walk directly up to your target and smush the pie into his face…
.. than it is to lob the pie from across the room.
Today the Assistant to the President and Homeland Security Advisor, Frances “Pinball Wizad” Townsend, was gaggled.
Q It’s been three-and-a-half years since the September 11th attacks, when the President first issued the call for the intelligence agencies to reform themselves to meet the threats of the 21st century. Here we have another report saying that they haven’t done that. Scott said it this morning, that they haven’t done that. What’s the problem? Is it that these agencies are so unwieldy that they can’t reform themselves? Have they not been listening to the President? What’s going on?
MS. TOWNSEND: Well, in fairness, I think the commission, when you look at the whole report — I grant you, it’s a large document — when you look at the whole report, even the commission acknowledges we’ve enjoyed some successes, particularly in the counterterrorism area, because of the efforts of the CIA’s counterterrorism center, the FBI — we have disrupted some plots. [That deaf, dumb, and blind boy… – snip-]
Q But the report would suggest that it’s far more than a few hiccups. It’s more like a massive case of gastroenteritis here that you’re trying to deal with. (Laughter.)
MS. TOWNSEND: Well, look, there is no —
Q With an additional case of diverticulitis on top of that. (Laughter.)
MS. TOWNSEND: No question, more needs to be done, and it will require the attention of the DNI.
On Schiavo, Chimpy plays Good Cop to DeLays Bad Cop.
Q On the Terri Schiavo case, in a statement, Tom DeLay expressed disappointment at federal courts for what he says was their ignoring the intent of the Terri Schiavo law. His statement actually was quite forceful. He said a time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior, but not today. Given the fact that the President felt strongly enough to interrupt his Easter recess to rush back here to Washington to sign that very legislation, does the President share that sentiment?
MR. McCLELLAN: The President is always going to stand on the side of defending life. He’s made that very clear through his words, as well as through his action. We have taken important steps, through legislation, to promote a culture of life in America. But, ultimately, the President believes that we have to change our culture and we have to change hearts. And that’s something that will require continued diligence on behalf of all Americans who want to build a culture of life. There are many ways we can work together to promote a culture of life in America.
Now, in terms of this specific situation, I think you’ve heard the President’s views on it. We would have preferred a different decision from the courts. That’s why the President supported the legislation that was passed by Congress, and he is saddened by this situation, and he is saddened on this day.
Q Does he feel that the courts erred?
MR. McCLELLAN: He would have preferred a different outcome. But, ultimately, we have to follow our laws and abide by the courts.
But he’s not above sticking a shiv in the one honorable person involved in this mess.
Q Does the President have a message today specifically to Michael Schiavo?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think you heard the President’s message earlier today.
And, yes, Les Kinsolving is back and he’s going after the Clenis.
Q One year ago, the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York confirmed reports that for the fourth year, they were still conducting a criminal investigation of Bill Clinton for “pardongate.” And my first question, is this and the absence of any reported action on the Sandy Berger case due in any way to the President’s wish that neither of these two men go to prison, like Martha Stewart did?
MR. McCLELLAN: I still welcome you back to the briefing room. (Laughter.) Les, the President is very much focused on his agenda and on the future and how we can move forward together to get things done. I think those questions are best directed elsewhere.
Les also loves him some vigilantes.
Q The President’s fellow Republican and Congressman, Tom Tancredo, has announced that he will be in Tombstone, Arizona tomorrow to address the Minutemen and tell them they are not vigilantes, but a neighborhood watch to help the Border Patrol, because poll after poll reports that 80 percent of Americans want our borders secured against illegal entry. A question, does the President believe that Mr. Tancredo is right or wrong?
MR. McCLELLAN: The President agrees that we need to continue to take steps to improve our border enforcement. We’ve taken a lot of steps to better control our borders and to prevent people who shouldn’t be coming into this country from entering the country.
Q What about Tancredo?
MR. McCLELLAN: And in terms of the issue of the Minutemen, I think we talked about this on Tuesday. The views —
Q Does he agree with Tancredo or not?
MR. McCLELLAN: — the views I expressed the other day are still the same. If you’re talking about individuals who are looking at — for suspicious activity, it’s important that they report that activity to the proper authorities for action. And if you’re talking about people roaming around that are armed and untrained and seeking to take action into their own hands, that raises a lot of concerns.
Q Like the Minutemen? Are they armed and untrained?
MR. McCLELLAN: That raises a lot of concerns, because it can lead to people getting hurt. And that’s why the proper authorities are the Department of Homeland Security officials, and our border control agents who work on a daily basis to prevent people from entering this country.
Q You won’t even mention Tancredo. Has he been kind of wiped away or what? He’s your fellow Republican.
MR. McCLELLAN: Les, I think you’ve heard his views and you’ve heard the President’s views, as well. And what we need to do to —
Q Not on Tancredo, I haven’t.
MR. McCLELLAN: — you’ve heard the importance of making sure we have a safe, orderly and humane migration system. Members of Congress express their views all the time. The President does, too.
I may detest Les’ politics, but he’s no Jeff Gannon. Les asks adversarial questions, then follows up. That’s what the press is supposed to do.
Tom DeLay’s office just issued this press release:
To: National Desk
Contact: Dan Allen or Shannon Flaherty, 202-225-4000, both for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay
SUGAR LAND, Texas, March 31 /U.S. Newswire/ — House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) today released the following statement mourning the passing of Terri Schiavo:
“Mrs. Schiavo’s death is a moral poverty and a legal tragedy. This loss happened because our legal system did not protect the people who need protection most, and that will change. The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior, but not today. Today we grieve, we pray, and we hope to God this fate never befalls another. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Schindlers and with Terri Schiavo’s friends in this time of deep sorrow.”
Is Hot Tub Tom making a terroristic threat?
And who are the “men responsible for this” DeLay promises will “answer for their behavior”?
The 11th Circuit Court?
The Supreme Court of the United States of America?
I wrote this short letter to the Dallas Morning News today in response to a front page story about a local biology teacher under siege for teaching evolution.
Sir: On the subject of teaching evolution, the Reverend Ray Mummert of Dover, Pennsylvania, who is trying his best to ban the teaching of evolution there, made what I consider the definitive statement on the subject. “We’ve been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of the culture,” he complained.
Pretty much sums it up for me. I’ll only add this – I’ve been around long enough now that I remember the days when America led the world in scientific discoveries. I remember when we landed on the moon. Now we’re being governed by people who think the moon is only about 6000 years old and that people lived with dinosaurs. We’ve gone backwards. We risk becoming an intellectual backwater. This isn’t progress, obviously.
Belgium’s interior minister was left red-faced after it emerged that photos comparing US President George W. Bush to a chimpanzee had been used in a police training manual.
The pictures in question — reprinted by the newspaper — showed a series of the US leader’s facial expressions next to shots of a chimpanzee making apparently similar faces.
They were intended to help trainee police officers in the western city of Bruges to recognize the importance of body language in dealing with the public. Bush is shown in poses ranging from pensive to finger-waving debating mode.
The pictures are all the more embarrassing for Dewael since he had signed a letter calling on Belgian municipal authorities and other police chiefs to use the manual.
Some wounds never heal.
As many as one out of four veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq treated at Veterans Affairs hospitals in the past 16 months were diagnosed with mental disorders, a number that has been steadily rising, according to a report in Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine.
Today’s Action comes from the Natural Resources Defense Council:
Kimberly-Clark is one of the largest disposable paper product companies in the world, producing the popular Kleenex, Scott, Viva, and Cottonelle brand facial tissues, toilet paper, and paper towels. Although Kimberly-Clark claims to be an environmental corporate leader, the company manufactures the vast majority of its disposable tissue paper products from freshly cut trees instead of from recycled fiber.
Many of the trees used in Kimberly-Clark products are logged in Canada’s pristine boreal forest, an ancient forest that stretches across the country and is home to hundreds of wildlife species, including moose, caribou, lynx, bears, wolves, eagles, hawks, owls, and 30 percent of North America’s songbirds. What this effectively means is that Canada’s boreal forest is being destroyed to manufacture products that are used only once and then thrown away (often down the toilet).
What to do:
Send a message urging Kimberly-Clark to stop destroying Canada’s boreal forest and to switch to post-consumer recycled materials for its paper products.
Here’s a sample letter:
Chief Executive Officer
351 Phelps Dr.
Irving, TX 75038
Dear Mr. Falk:
�I am concerned about the lack of recycled content in your tissue products, and urge you to increase the post-consumer recycled content in these products, especially in the brands that I regularly see in the store (and purchase) such as Kleenex, Scott, Viva, and Cottonelle.
Kimberly-Clark is one of the leading tissue paper manufacturers in the world, yet your at-home products have roughly only 19 percent post-consumer recycled content. Most of the Kimberly-Clark products that I see in the grocery store do not have any recycled content at all.
I oppose destroying natural forests such as the boreal forest in Canada to produce toilet paper, paper towels, and facial tissues. Canada’s boreal forest is a natural treasure of global significance whose health is critical to the survival of both people and wildlife.
A commitment from Kimberly-Clark to protect, and not destroy, these forests is long overdue. Again, I urge you to increase the post-consumer recycled content in your company’s paper products.
Thanks for taking today’s action!
Norm Olson, senior adviser to the Michigan militia and pastor of a strong right-to-life church in Wolverine, said Tuesday he had put together an unarmed coalition of state militias that were prepared to storm the Florida hospice where Terri Schiavo has been left to die, and take her to a safe house.
Olson said that last Thursday he phoned Gibbs’ secretary with a message that he had organized 1,500 to 2,000 militia members from Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia and Michigan, who were ready to remove Schiavo from the hospice and take her in a convoy to a safe house.
“We would have overwhelmed the local law enforcement,” Olson said, adding the militias would not have been armed.
Olson said the other reason for the plan was to put Florida Republican Gov. Jeb Bush, the brother of the U.S. president, on the spot.
“He would have had to send in state police or the National Guard to turn us away,” Olson said. “None of us believe that he is helpless. He is the chief officer of the state and has the power of executive clemency. (Jeb) Bush was a liar when he said he couldn’t do it. He knows his office has to represent the people. And judges have to know they are not infallible. All this was thwarted by Gibbs.”
“We were just going to push people out of the way. It was the mood and the heartbeat of America,” he said.
“In reality there are four branches of government in America, and we the people are the fourth. That’s what our march was going to do: Show the American people that we were still in control.”
“We the people are the final judges, not the black-robed demons. I do not believe that 70 percent of the American people thought it was wrong for government to get involved. They turned around when they believed Terri Schiavo’s was a lost cause and wanted to be on the winning side.”
And just so you know where your president get’s those nifty catchphrases…
“We should all err on the side of life, whether it’s an unborn American or someone facing the end of life. The feeding tube is like an umbilical cord or premature babies in an ICU (intensive care unit).
In the week ending March 26, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 350,000, an increase of 20,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 330,000 [originally reported at 324,000 initial claims]. The 4-week moving average was 336,000, an increase of 8,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 327,500.
The other day while strolling through the garden of opinion I commented that I’m really not much of a writer. This statement was met with choruses of flattering disagreement. But, really folks, there’s a difference between being witty and being a good writer. I know my strengths, and they reside in the snarky headline and the scathing caption (I’m also an accomplished cut-n-paster).
Here’s a bizarre story, read the transcript of Amy Goodman’s interview of Eli Chavez on Democracy Now. Mr. Chavez’s son Ron, a Halliburton employee in Iraq, was severly beaten by a group of fellow employees known as the “Red Neck Mafia” who apparently run Halliburton’s portion of the Baghdad International Airport. It’s not clear at this point whether Ron Chavez was beaten because he is Hispanic or because his efforts to strengthen security at the airport made him unpopular, but Eli Chavez is trying to get the Justice Department to do something about the beating.
You might start booking those flights to Canada within the year.
If American forces aren’t pulling out of Iraq in a year, a draft will be needed to meet worker requirements, military analysts warned Wednesday.
With recruitment lagging and no end in sight for U.S. forces in Iraq, the “breaking point” for the nation’s all-volunteer military will be mid-2006, agreed Lawrence Korb, a draft opponent and assistant defense secretary in the Reagan administration, and Phillip Carter, a conscription advocate and former Army captain.
The U.S. military cannot deploy and sustain enough troops to succeed in countries such as Iraq while still deterring threats elsewhere, Carter said at a symposium where he debated Korb on the draft.