Monthly Archives: April 2005

Dobson going “Straight to Hell” according to Phelps

From the Rocky Mountain News:

COLORADO SPRINGS – Gay rights supporters from around the country, angry at James Dobson’s stance against homosexuality, are expected to converge Sunday and Monday on his Focus on the Family headquarters.
A second demonstration is also set for Sunday by a handful of extreme anti-gay activists from the Rev. Fred Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan.
Ironically, both groups will be protesting the stand taken by Dobson and his ministry on homosexuality. The gay rights advocacy group Soulforce accuses Dobson of “spreading lies about same-gender families.”
Phelps’ group says Focus officials are headed to hell because the ministry is soft on homosexuality.

“I think the whole country should be afraid of Dobson, not just gay people. Anyone who’s not a Christian white male should be trembling,” said the Rev. Mel White, founder of Soulforce.

Opposite White’s group will be a handful of demonstrators from Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church, whose members conduct frequent pickets carrying signs such as “God Hates Fags” and “Thank God for Aids.”
A spokeswoman for the church, Shirley Phelps-Roper, says Dobson’s ministry “does not follow scripture” on homosexuality.
“They (Focus) enable that sin because they have the big lie that God loves everyone,” said Phelps-Roper.
“If that’s true, then Soulforce is correct, and they should be able to live like the devil himself and still go to heaven,” she said. “Soulforce and Dobson are two animals with a slightly different coat. All the parts of those two groups are going straight to hell, and there’s nothing they can do about it.”


Take that, SpongeDobStickyPants – it’s not enough to just sniff the underwear in the drawers of cartoon characters in America. Oh no – if you aren’t a completely crazed and vicious zealot who believes that God hates everyone but you – you ain’t going to heaven. Phelps is going to be there all by his lonesome.
To use a very overworked phrase these days, you couldn’t make this shit up.

Your Daily Bolton

From Holden:

Another day, another Powell loyalist.

A fourth senior member of Colin L. Powell’s team at the State Department expressed strong reservations on Friday about the nomination of John R. Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations.

The official, A. Elizabeth Jones, is a veteran diplomat who stepped down in February as assistant secretary of state for Europe and Eurasia. Among those who have now voiced public concerns about Mr. Bolton, Ms. Jones joins Lawrence Wilkerson, Mr. Powell’s chief of staff; Carl W. Ford, Jr., who headed the department’s intelligence bureau; and John R. Wolf, who was assistant secretary of state for nonproliferation. Associates of Mr. Powell have said he has expressed concerns of his own in private conversations with at least two Republican senators.

“I don’t know if he’s incapable of negotiation, but he’s unwilling,” Ms. Jones said in an interview. She said she believed that “the fundamental problem,” if Mr. Bolton were to become United Nations ambassador, would be a reluctance on his part to make the kinds of minor, symbolic concessions necessary to build consensus among other governments and maintain the American position.

Ms. Jones spoke as the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which is reviewing Mr. Bolton’s nomination, was holding closed-door interviews with former senior intelligence officials who clashed with Mr. Bolton during his tenure as under secretary of state for arms control. Congressional officials who heard the testimony said John E. McLaughlin, a former deputy director of central intelligence, used strong language on Friday in telling the group that he regarded as totally inappropriate an attempt by Mr. Bolton in 2002 to seek the ouster of Fulton Armstrong, the national intelligence officer for Latin America, in a dispute over reports on Cuba.


Among new disclosures under committee review are some included in previously undisclosed testimony by Mr. Armstrong, now a senior C.I.A. official. Within days of Mr. Bolton’s delivering a speech in May 2002 that warned of attempts by Cuba to develop biological weapons, Mr. Armstrong has told the committee, the Central Intelligence Agency took the rare step of circulating within the Bush administration a classified assessment that was more cautious than Mr. Bolton’s approach.


But Mr. Armstrong told the panel that he believed the publication of the assessment, in the Senior Executive Intelligence Brief, had been “seen by Bolton and his staff as a direct insult to Bolton.” Mr. Bolton’s top aide, Frederick Fleitz, later sent to Mr. Armstrong what the intelligence officer described in his testimony as an abusive e-mail message.

Weekend Open Thread

On the road today. Sorry for the lack of ferrets yesterday – when I get home tomorrow and they forgive me for leaving them alone with Heather the Petsitter for three days, I’ll make them vogue for you.

In the meantime, something I’m curious about. What’s the best meal you’ve ever eaten? Was it the food? The company? The location? Tell me all about it.


Friday Captioning

From Holden:

Several readers have alerted me to this Reuters image of Rummy, to which Jason_in_Amishville provides the definitive caption:

Rummy: “Hey, the Cap’s even making my *spidey sense* tingle!”

Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden:

Confused about the Social Security “plan” Chimpy introduced last night? So are the gagglers, and Little Scottie ain’t helpin’ much.

Q Under the President’s new proposal unveiled last night, would average workers see a cut in their Social Security benefit?

MR. McCLELLAN: Steve, right now under the current system, all Americans are facing significant benefit cuts. If we do nothing, all Americans will see significant cuts in their Social Security benefits.


Q Under the Pozen plan, he has a specific formula on who gets what and how benefits are determined. Is the President signing on to all elements of this Pozen plan?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, he was saying that he’s proposing an approach that is based on what Mr. Pozen outlined.


But the President did last night in his remarks make it clear that any solution ought to make sure that the benefits for lower-income Americans will continue to grow under what is promised under the current system. But the current system cannot deliver that promise. And so lower-income American benefits will grow faster than the wealthiest.


Q Scott, can you just explain how the President’s plan would work?

MR. McCLELLAN: How the President’s plan would work?

Q Yes. I mean, you explained it in the gaggle when —

MR. McCLELLAN: I think you look at the Pozen model —

Q — you talked about low income, sliding scale. Can you —

MR. McCLELLAN: Right, there would be a sliding scale. And that’s what — we put out a fact sheet on this last night, I think it explained it all for you. And I think the Pozen model is a good way to look at it, because it is based on that kind of approach. It’s a progressive approach and the President believes it’s the way we ought to proceed on a comprehensive solution, while also providing personal accounts.

Walks like a cut, quacks like a cut…

Q Scott, if you’re expecting a benefit check of a certain level, and a benefit check comes in that’s a lot less than that, isn’t that a cut?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, let’s talk about — let’s talk about this, because there are essentially two options —

Q Why isn’t it a cut?

MR. McCLELLAN: — two options we have right now.

Q Can you explain why that’s not a cut, though?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, what are you comparing it to?

Q A check that you’re expecting versus the one that you get.

MR. McCLELLAN: The current system — the current system if we do nothing will lead to significant benefit cuts for all Americans. All Americans. That’s why we need to fix the system. That’s why we need to make it permanently sound. And the clock is now starting to tick on Democratic leaders. They need to come forward with ideas and quit simply standing in the way of solutions. The American people expect their leaders to work together to address problems and not engage in partisan schemes that simply block solutions.

Q I understand the nature of the debate, Scott. The use of the word “cut,” if you’re expecting a check of a certain level, and another one comes in that’s less than that, why is that not a cut?

MR. McCLELLAN: It’s a question of how fast the benefits grow, Mark. That’s what the question boils down to. Under the current system — that’s why I’m pointing to — there’s the promise of the current system, but that promise is an empty promise. And if we continue on the current course, Americans — all Americans, including low-income Americans — are going to see significant benefit cuts. That’s the “do nothing” approach.


Q So what you’re saying, though, is that either way it’s a cut — it’s just, you pays your money, you takes your choice? Either way benefits would be cut, the President wants to do it one way —

MR. McCLELLAN: What I’m saying, under the current system if you do nothing, there are going to be significant benefit cuts. That’s why the President believes we need to have a permanent solution; that’s why he believes personal accounts are so important, because personal accounts — personal accounts will enable you to realize a much greater rate of return.

And suddenly, like Dear Leader last night, Scottie has a change of heart and asserts that those government IOUs ain’t so bad after all.

MR. McCLELLAN: But the President also added an additional option, which was that if you want to invest in even a safer option, then you could put it aside in all Treasury bonds. So what you need to do, Mark, I think is go to Democratic leaders and go, you are talking about problems, well, what ideas are you putting on the table — because it’s time to come to the table with ideas and quit blocking solutions.

Walks like a cut, quacks like a cut… Part II.

Q I’m asking about the use of the word “cut,” because earlier today you called — you said it was irresponsible to use that word, and I’m just trying to figure out —

MR. McCLELLAN: No. No. Actually — Q — whether that would appropriately apply.

MR. McCLELLAN: — let me correct you. That’s not what I said. That’s not what I said. I said it’s irresponsible when a headline says that, Bush cites plan that would cut Social Security: affluent more effective. That leaves the impression, one, that it’s affecting everybody now; and, two, that that applies to everybody across the board. That’s not the case, and you know that that’s not the case. And that’s not what — I disagree with the way you characterize the way I cited it.

Well, that’s clear. But does the president really support the Pozen Plan?

Q Scott, could I ask one quick technical question about the Pozen plan? He envisions a hike in the wage ceiling. Does the President support that?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, what he’s — he hasn’t endorsed every single element of the Pozen plan.

I hope you all understand now.

Today on Holden’s Obsession with Helen and Les

From Holden:

Great questions from Helen Thomas and Les Kinsolving in today’s Gaggle.

Here’s Helen:

Q Why is it that the President, who considers himself a compassionate President, is giving the biggest tax cut to the richest people in this country and cutting Medicare — Medicaid, I mean, and programs for the poor? I mean, how can you justify that?

MR. McCLELLAN: You actually asked me this question earlier today —

Q I did. I didn’t get a satisfactory answer.

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, only in Washington, D.C. is a 35-percent increase in funding for Medicaid considered —

Q Who’s going to pay for this war? Who’s going to pay for the deficit?

MR. McCLELLAN: — a cut. And in terms of the tax cuts, the tax cuts were for all Americans. And the largest percentage —

Q The biggest to the richest people?

MR. McCLELLAN: — of tax cuts go to the lower income Americans. And the tax cuts were important to get our economy growing. And our economy is growing because of the policies we have implemented. It is growing strong and forecasts are that it will continue to grow strong in a very sustained way.

Q So the rich should get the richest — the biggest tax cut?

MR. McCLELLAN: Go ahead. Helen, you’re not letting me respond. Go ahead.

That’s the way you do it, gagglers!

Now, heeeeeeeeere’s Les!

First, Les needles Scottie about the scripted press conference.

Q Scott, Drudge reports that at last night’s presidential news conference, “CBS, NBC and Fox cut off President Bush in mid-sentence as NBC rushed to Donald Trump, Fox to Paris Hilton, and CBS to Survivor.” And my first question, why does the President recognize for questions those reporters whose networks treat the White House with such despicable contempt?

MR. McCLELLAN: Les, the President was glad to answer questions from a diverse group of reporters and he was —

Q Oh, it was?

MR. McCLELLAN: — pleased to answer their follow ups, as well. The President took questions for I think well over 45 minutes — well, probably even more, closer to an hour, in terms of questions.

Q ABC radio affiliate. (Laughter.)

MR. McCLELLAN: But, now, look, in terms of cutting away on the last question, look, I don’t think the President took any offense to that. He was trying to wrap it up so that they could do that very thing.

Q In recognizing reporters last night, it appeared once more as if the President were following a script of pre-selected names. And my question, does the President believe that the American people really want to see questions by essentially the same old pre-selected reporters every time?

MR. McCLELLAN: Les, some of your colleagues in this room might not like that kind of question here. (Laughter.)

Q That’s just tough duck.

MR. McCLELLAN: But in terms of — it is good to have you back, though. In terms of your question, the President typically likes to start with some of the larger news organizations and some of the traditional media, and then open it up from there. That’s just the way he approaches it.

Q You mean those networks that are losing — they are losing and those newspapers that are losing circulation?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think Wendell had a question.

Then another gaggler asked Little Scottie about one of Les’ favorite topics, the immigrant-hating “Minutemen”…

Q Scott, organizers of the Minuteman Project were here in Washington this week and they were claiming success for their 20-day effort patrolling — they say legally patrolling — a stretch of the U.S.-Mexican border. I’m wondering if the White House has any — had any chance to review their efforts at all, and what the President’s view is of citizens taking this kind of action?


Q So if they do that without weapons then the President would welcome that sort of activity?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, again, I would leave it there. I’m not going to try to speculate a hypothetical situation. But that’s the distinction I would make.

…which left an opeing for Les.

Q They’re not vigilantes, in other words.

MR. McCLELLAN: I’m sorry, Les?

Q The Minutemen are not vigilantes.

MR. McCLELLAN: Are you talking about the President’s comments earlier during the summit down in Waco? Is that what you’re referring to?

Q Where he — I think he —

MR. McCLELLAN: And that was before — let’s —

Q — certainly implied that all these people were vigilantes.

MR. McCLELLAN: I think —

Q And I don’t know they hanged anybody. I never heard of them hanging anybody.

MR. McCLELLAN: I think that was a question that was asked before some of those activities took place, and there were a lot of reports about people taking things into their own hands. And that would be something that would greatly concern the administration.

Q The Minutemen didn’t take it into their own hands, did they?

MR. McCLELLAN: You’ve had your questions, thank you.

It’s not easy being Little Scottie these days.

No Bush Boom for Consumers

From Holden:

Yet another economic indicator fails to meet expectations.

U.S. consumers’ attitude toward the economy softened in April, according to a report Friday.

The University of Michigan’s full-month report on consumer sentiment moved to 87.7 in April, down from 92.6 in March, according to media reports. The preliminary April reading had been 88.7. The April reading was under the 89 predicted by economists.

Monkey Montage

From Holden:

Reuters put this together from today’s Baboon-a-palooza event in Virginia.

Baboon-a-palooza In The Old Dominion

From Holden:

Although the White House has not (as of this writing) marked it on the official Baboon-a-palooza Tour Map, Chimpy was in Virginia today pushing his plan to destroy Social Security.

Once again, the lowlights:

Still casting doubt on Treasury Bonds and whether they are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States of America, I see.

Pay-as-you-go means, by the way, money comes in and it goes out; you pay, and we go ahead and spend. And we spend not only on retiree benefits, but we spend on every other program. And all that’s left is file cabinets full of IOUs. You know, people think, well, the government has collected our money and they’re going to hold it for us, and then when we retire, we’ll give it back to you. That’s just not the way it works.

But wait – turns out those pay-as-you-go, worhtless paper IOUs stuffed in a filing cabinet aren’t so bad.</P

Now, people often ask me, you know, can I — are there going to be wise ways to set up these savings accounts? Of course there will be. I’m not going to say, you can — we want you to have a retirement fund; you can take your money and put it in the lottery. In other words, there’s a conservative mix of bonds and stocks that will be available. If you’re risk adverse, you can buy Treasury bonds, as far as I’m concerned.

[And later…]

You know, people say, well, you know, what happens if I’m getting close to retirement and there’s a market swing? Well, when you get close to retirement, there are ways to diversify out of a mix of bonds and stocks and get into — get into strictly bonds — government-backed bonds.

[Later still…]

As you get older, you can transfer from, say, a mix of bonds and stocks to only bonds, relatively risk-free bonds, so that there’s more security the closer you come to retirement.

Somebody needs to ask Scottie about this contradiction.

Chimpy brought his favorite racist strawman back to Ol’ Virginny after an extended absence from Baboon-a-palooza.

There’s kind of a concept around that says maybe only a certain kind of people should own assets, an investor class, maybe only the rich. I firmly reject that idea. That’s not how I view America. >

[And later…]

Sometimes you hear what these personal accounts — I mean, asking people to do something they’re not capable of doing. Frankly, it’s kind of an elitist point of view, isn’t it?

And of course he can’t pass by an opportunity to heap derision on folks what gots book larnin’.

Doctor Olivia Mitchell is with us. She’s an expert on the subject. PhD?

DR. MITCHELL: Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: For those of you who are younger, I just want you to look at the examples being set here. Olivia is a PhD. I was a C student. (Laughter.) Olivia is the expert. I’m the President. (Laughter.) Anyway, thanks for coming. (Applause.) A couple of B’s, a couple of B’s, yes. (Laughter.)

Finally, just what the hell is this?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I asked Olivia to join a council headed by Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Unfortunately, he has gone on.

“Gone on”, has he? Sheesh.

Chickenhawks of a Feather

From Holden:

No wonder Chimpy loves John Bolton so deeply. The Yale Daily News (via Live Journal) reveals that John Bolton was also a Chickenhawk who ducked combat in Vietnam by joining the National Guard.

Though Bolton supported the Vietnam War, he declined to enter combat duty, instead enlisting in the National Guard and attending law school after his 1970 graduation. “I confess I had no desire to die in a Southeast Asian rice paddy,” Bolton wrote of his decision in the 25th reunion book. “I considered the war in Vietnam already lost.”

AAaaaiiiiiii yeeeeeeeeeee!!!

from the Denver Post:

Imagine two rape victims taken to the same hospital emergency room. Imagine them put in adjoining examination rooms.
Let’s say they have identical injuries.
Presume everything about them is the same except for where they are in their menstrual cycles.
Do they deserve access to the same medical treatment?
At most Catholic hospitals in Colorado, they can’t get it.
The protocol of six Catholic hospitals run by Centura calls for rape victims to undergo an ovulation test.
If they have not ovulated, said Centura corporate spokeswoman Dana Berry, doctors tell the victims about emergency contraception and write prescriptions for it if the patient asks.
If, however, the urine test suggests that a rape victim has ovulated, Berry continued, doctors at Centura’s Catholic hospitals are not to mention emergency contraception. That means the victim can end up pregnant by her rapist.

Goddamn it – this is insane. The only time a rape victim will get emergency contraception from these hospitals is when the hospital has determined that it isn’t necessary. Sweet Jesus, these people are crazy. They are as crazy as the people who are making it impossible for a 13 year old to end a pregnancy, but not an 18 year old.
Somebody shoot me now, please. Insanity on this level should just be chittering voices in their heads but they are making it into public policy. Public policy – Christ on crack – what kind of country is this? A child cannot end a pregnancy but an adult can. A rape victim can only get emergency contraception after it is determined she doesn’t need it – stand back – I am going to explode.

Your President Speaks

From Holden:

My favorite lines from what may have been the worst press conference ever, in terms of achieving it’s goals (gaining public support for Chimpy’s plans to destroy SOcial Security and calming public anxieties over high gas prices).

Clip 1: What Iraq have got.

But Iraq has — have got people there that are willing to kill, and they’re hard-nosed killers.

AFP/Paul J. Richards

Clip 2: Faith-based been berry berry good to me.

Faith-based is an important part of my life, individually, but I don’t — I don’t ascribe a person’s opposing my nominations to an issue of faith.

AFP/Paul J. Richards

Clip 3: Dancin’ with myse-elf, Oh-oh.

No, I know you asked me that. Well, I can only speak to myself, and I am mindful that people in political office should not say to somebody, you’re not equally American if you don’t happen to agree with my view of religion.

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Clip 4: Bolton handles his business (JimmyJeff loses a customer).

Well, John Bolton has been asked the questions about — about how he handles his business by members of the United States Senate.

AFP/Paul J. Richards

Clip 5: Some bonds are more equal than others.

And all that’s left behind is file cabinets full of IOUs [Treasury Bonds].

You can go from [Treasury] bonds and stocks to only [Treasury] bonds as you get older.

REUTERS/Jason Reed

Your Daily Bolton

From Holden:

With each day, another accusation.

A former senior intelligence official, who was responsible for coordinating American intelligence assessments, directed his staff in 2003 to strongly resist assertions that John R. Bolton sought to make about Syria’s weapons programs in Congressional testimony, the official, Robert L. Hutchings, said in an interview on Wednesday.


On Thursday, John C. Whitehead, who was deputy secretary of state under President Reagan, said in an interview that he had urged Republican senators to oppose Mr. Bolton’s nomination on the ground that Mr. Bolton was “a difficult person to work with” who would not command respect at the United Nations.

The same goes for Tom DeLay.

Chimpin Little

From Holden:

From Tom Paine:

Number of minutes President Bush spent in an underground bunker yesterday when a cloud was mistaken for a terrorist threat: 4

Denver Three Update

From Holden:

Dan Froomkin leads us to this report in the Rocky Mountain News indicating that the man who impersonated a federal agent and threw three citizens out of a taxpayer-funded town hall meeting in Denver may hvae been a White House staff member.

[T]he head of the Denver office of the Secret Service is now saying he never described the man in question as a Republican party staffer.

“Instead, he said the man was ‘a member of the Republican staff host committee.’. . . .

“Rachael Sunbarger, spokeswoman for the Colorado Republican Party, said, ‘The White House is the host committee.’ “

Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle [Summary]

From Holden:

Quite often, when the White House fails to promptly post gaggle transcripts, I visit as they often post gaggle summaries written by their reporter in the briefing room. These summaries are sueful because they let me know that a gaggle did indeed occur, and what was generally discussed. Normally I don’t obsess on TalkRadioNews’ obsession with the gaggle, but today reporter Gregory Gorman’s summary included this juicy exchange between Little Scottie and Heavenly Helen.

Press Secretary Scott McClellan suggested that this evening’s press conference will focus on two priorities, Social Security and energy. The White House believes that these are two important issues facing the American people and the President has been focused on both for a long time. McClellan also suggested that the President will speak in specific ways during the press conference about how to make Social Security permanently sound and how to reduce the United States’ reliance on foreign sources of energy.

Helen Thomas asked McClellan if the President would be taking questions in a more free-for-all format instead of taking, “only questions that are safe”. She commented that this is “getting to be a real pain”.

McClellan disagreed with her characterization that the President only takes safe questions. He commented that the President usually begins with questions from the larger news organizations and that he takes suggestions of which questions to take in the beginning but that he moves on to others afterwards.

HA! Go Helen!