Monthly Archives: August 2005

Demand an Apology

From Holden:

Jonah Goldberg thinks that the suffering of his fellow Americans is hillarious!

ATTN: SUPERDOME RESIDENTS [Jonah Goldberg]

I think it’s time to face facts. That place is going to be a Mad Max/thunderdome Waterworld/Lord of the Flies horror show within the next few hours. My advice is to prepare yourself now. Hoard weapons, grow gills and learn to communicate with serpents. While you’re working on that, find the biggest guy you can and when he’s not expecting it beat him senseless. Gather young fighters around you and tell the womenfolk you will feed and protect any female who agrees to participate without question in your plans to repopulate the earth with a race of gilled-supermen. It’s never too soon to be prepared.

Posted at 10:05 AM

Yes, it’s just one whacky hijink after another in the Superdome.

Desperate for fresh air, dozens of refugees from Hurricane Katrina slept on the walkway surrounding the Louisiana Superdome as conditions inside worsened and even more people were brought to the huge arena Tuesday.

National Guardsmen let some of the 10,000 people sheltering inside the arena take their bedding out onto the concourse, where it was cooler and the breeze was welcome.

[snip]

The bathrooms were filthy, and barrels overflowed with trash. With the air conditioning off since power went out Monday morning, the bricks were slick with condensation.

[snip]

A groan rose from a group listing to a newscast when the devastation was detailed and officials in suburban Jefferson Parish said residents wouldn’t be allowed to return until Monday. One woman cried.

“We’re doing everything we can to keep these people comfortable,” Gen. Ralph Lupin, commander of the National Guard troops at the Superdome, said Tuesday morning. “We’re doing our best. It’s not getting any better but we’re trying not to let it get any worse.”

“I know people want to leave, but they can’t leave,” he said. “There’s 3 feet of water around the Superdome.”

[snip]

The situation was especially difficult for those in wheelchairs, who were lined up in rows five deep along a wall. One patient’s IV bag was attached to a stadium seating sign.

Officials were considering moving the patients to areas with better accommodations.

“This is just too hot, too primitive, too uncomfortable for the patients and too hard to work in for the medical people,” said Dr. Kevin Stephens Sr., head of the medical shelter in the Superdome.

Two people had died, according to Doug Thornton, a regional vice president for the company that manages the 77,000-seat Superdome, of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints. He provided no details.

Contact The Corner and demand an applogy and retraction from the sorry excuse for a human being that goes by the name of Jonah Goldberg.

UPDATE: Call NPR Listener Services, (202) 513-3232, or send them an e-mail (click on “NPR Program” next to “Recipient”) and tell them you don’t want to hear Jonah’s flabby ass on Weekend Edition ever again.

Dan Froomkin’s Greatest Hits

From Holden:

Two juicy tid-bits from today’s Froomkin column:

“Hundreds of protesters lined his motorcade routes in Arizona and California, holding up signs such as ‘Bush the Lying Turd’ and ‘Chicken George,’ a reference to his refusal to meet again with Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq who set up camp near his Texas ranch demanding an audience.

And later…

Several readers e-mailed me to express their surprise about an item in yesterday’s column .

I noted that Julie Mason had written in the Houston Chronicle that at “Bush, who gave up drinking years ago, drank a non-alcoholic Buckler,” at his off-the-record dinner with the press corps.

Apparently, many if not most recovering alcoholics avoid non-alcoholic beers because they do contain some alcohol, and may in some cases trigger a relapse of drinking.

America Agrees With Cindy

From Holden:

According to the latest Washington Post poll:

The survey found that 52 percent of the public says Bush should talk to Sheehan, who has repeatedly asked for a meeting with the president, while 46 percent said he should not. Fifty-three percent support what she is doing while 42 percent oppose her actions, according to the poll.

September Will Be The Month of Plame

From Holden:

With the federal grand jury term expiring in October, Patrick Fitzgerald must drop the case, empanel a new grand jury and go back to square one, or indict.

My pony sez indict.

August 30, 2005 — There are indications that Rovegate Special Prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald will be wrapping up his two-year probe of the CIA/Valerie Plame Wilson leak sometime between the end of the Labor Day Congressional recess and the end of September. Informed rumor has it that there will be indictments of at least two senior-level Bush administration officials. [Holden Note: Scooter and Karl]

Have You Seen My Bush Boom?

From Holden:

The Poverty Rate rose for the fourth straight year under President George W. Buttmunch.

The nation’s poverty rate rose to 12.7 percent of the population last year, the fourth consecutive annual increase, the Census Bureau said Tuesday.

The percentage of people without health insurance did not change.

Overall, there were 37 million people living in poverty, up 1.1 million people from 2003.

And the rest of us ain’t gettin’ any richer.

The real median income in 2004 totaled $44,389, unchanged from 2003.

Your President on Corporate Responsibility

From Holden:

Yesterday, at the Pueblo El Mirage RV Resort and Country Club in Arizona.

I want to thank Walmart. That’s called corporate responsibility — is to help people understand what’s available.

No Support in the Region

From Holden:

It’s hard to imagine that Iraq’s draft constitution can be successful without the backing of the Arab League.

In an interview with the BBC, the secretary-general of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, said, “I do not believe in this division between Shiite and Sunni and Muslims and Christians and Arabs and Kurds. … I don’t buy this and I find in this a true recipe for chaos and perhaps a catastrophe in Iraq and around it.”

The only non-Iraqi’s who have voiced support for the draft constitution other than Chimpy are the Iranians. Are we setting up a situation in Iraq where the Iranians are backing the Iraqi Shiites while the Arab world support the Sunnis? Will the Turks tolerate an autonomous Kurdistan on their border? It hardly seems like the road to peace winds through this constitution.

Buzzflash Petition: Call Up the Bush Brigade!

From Holden:

The good folks at Buzzflash have formulated a petition urging that the Bush Brigade be pressed into service:

“I demand that George W. Bush’s daughters, and his eligible nieces and nephews, serve in Iraq to prove their support of Bush’s ‘noble war for a noble cause.’ If the Bush family does not believe in ‘sacrificing’ for the war and is not willing to put their lives on the line, then Bush must bring the troops of middle class and poor Americans home now.”

Sign the petition here.

And, if you need a reminder, here is my photo lineup of the Bush Brigade:

NotJenna Bush, hit the campaign trail supporting her father and his war.

Jenna Bush, ditto NotJenna.

Pierce Bush, promoted his uncle and his war on CNN.

Lauren Bush, has not given her opinion of the war; refused to wear“Arab” fashins in public.

Ashley Bush (left), has not given her opinion of the war in public.

George Pee Bush, campaigned vigorously for his uncle and his war in the Southwestern US.

John Ellis “Jebbie” Bush, Jr., has not given his opinion of the war in public.

Noelle Bush, has not expressed her opinion publicly about this war.

Marshall Bush (center), also joined the Bush/Cheney campaign last year promoting Chimpy’s Vanity War.

Ass

From Holden:

Katrina leaves 55 dead and counting and an estimated $26 billion in damages but it’s all one big joke to the B-movie obsessed Doughy Pantload.

ATTN: SUPERDOME RESIDENTS [Jonah Goldberg]

I think it’s time to face facts. That place is going to be a Mad Max/thunderdome Waterworld/Lord of the Flies horror show within the next few hours. My advice is to prepare yourself now. Hoard weapons, grow gills and learn to communicate with serpents. While you’re working on that, find the biggest guy you can and when he’s not expecting it beat him senseless. Gather young fighters around you and tell the womenfolk you will feed and protect any female who agrees to participate without question in your plans to repopulate the earth with a race of gilled-supermen. It’s never too soon to be prepared.

Posted at 10:05 AM

Damn Anti-Christian Air Force

From Holden:

Discriminating against people of faith by denying them the right to convert the heathens.

The Air Force issued new religion guidelines to its commanders yesterday that caution against promoting any particular faith – or even “the idea of religion over nonreligion” – in official communications or functions like meetings, sports events and ceremonies.

The guidelines discourage public prayers at official Air Force events or meetings other than worship services, one of the most contentious issues for many commanders. But they allow for “a brief nonsectarian prayer” at special ceremonies like those honoring promotions, or in “extraordinary circumstances” like “mass casualties, preparation for imminent combat and natural disasters.”

The Air Force developed the guidelines after complaints from cadets at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs that evangelical Christians leaders were using their positions to promote their faith.

The guidelines apply not just to the academy, but also to the entire Air Force. They will be made final later this year after Air Force generals meet and consider recommendations from their commanders.

In The Navy

From Holden:

In the navy

Come on, protect the motherland

In the navy

Come on and join your fellow man

In the navy

Come on people, and make a stand

In the navy, in the navy, in the navy (in the navy)

AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi

Over There! Bloggers! Expressing Opinions On the Internets!

Via Froomkin I found Julie Mason on the “off the record” party the president threw and the press corps attended:

The off-the-record evening was intended as a pool party, but the Washington-based press corps, who spent the past month in Texas eating barbecue, declined to wear bathing suits around each other or the buff and tanned president.

The invitation was last-minute because Bush likes to restrict attendance to those who take time away from their lives and families to swelter it out with him in Texas.

Still, as it often can be when strange bedfellows find themselves at a party, the evening had a somewhat awkward atmosphere. Was it work or social? Neither side seemed sure.

Nothing the president said could be quoted, but it’s rare that reporters get uninterrupted access to him for 90 minutes, particularly when beer is served. Bush, who gave up drinking years ago, drank a non-alcoholic Buckler.

Leaving aside the obvious drooling going on here (really, Julie, he was “buff?” If he wasn’t in his Speedo, how the hell could you tell?), what interests me chiefly is this line:

Nothing the president said could be quoted, but it’s rare that reporters get uninterrupted access to him for 90 minutes,

Now, if he could not be quoted, what is the purpose of having uninterrupted access? If this was early in his presidency, say around the month of his first term, I’d buy an argument that you want to schmooze with the guy in the hopes that he’ll take you into his confidence, talk to you a lot, and thus give your readers (as opposed to your competitors’) a clearer picture of his thought process (even if it’s batshit insane).

But it’s five years in, guys. The only reason you want access is to use it to procure information for your readers. That’s the purpose of access, to get something, and that something is not a verbal blowjob from the commander in chief. Reporters know by now that this is a tightly managed and controlled White House, occupied by a guy who can’t put a forkful of bacon in his mouth without tasting some shoe leather and whose aides, consequently, do not let him speak off script. So why are you showing up at a thing to play footsie with a guy you can’t quote? Why waste your time pretending to be his bestest bud? Unless it’s to get some verbal stroking for your own sake, and not the public you serve.

Of course, I’m just some blogger with no ethical judgment. What the fuck do I know?

A.

Caption Contest

From Holden:

McCain:

“No, no, George – I said, “My dick.”

Needed at Home

From Holden:

YellowDogBlog has the number of Louisianna National Guardsmen currently serving in Iraq.

Ambassador Footinmouth

From Holden:

Zalmay Khalilzad, US Ambassador to Iraq, commenting on the draft Iraqi constitution yesterday on Meet the Press:

With regard to family law, which is a controversial article, it recognizes the freedom of choice, that people can choose which law, whether secular or religious, can–will govern their personal matters having to do with marriage, divorce, inheritance. This is no different than what is the case in Israel.

Hmmm…. I wonder if the US ambassador’s linkage of the Iraqi consitution with the Israeli consitution is why those who oppose the Iraq draft have labelled it Jewish?

Another Eason Jordan Reference

From Holden:

I seem to come across them everywhere.

More journalists have been killed in Iraq since the war began in March 2003 than during the 20 years of conflict in Vietnam, media rights group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said on Sunday.

Since U.S. forces and its allies launched their campaign in Iraq on March 20, 2003, 66 journalists and their assistants have been killed, RSF said.

[snip]

The death toll in Iraq compares with a total of 63 journalists in Vietnam, but which was over a period of 20 years from 1955 to 1975, the Paris-based organisation that campaigns to protect journalists said on its Web site.

During the fighting in the former Yugoslavia between 1991 and 1995, 49 journalists were killed doing their job, while 57 journalists and 20 media assistants were killed during a civil war in Algeria from 1993 to 1996.

No. 4 With a Bullet

From Holden:

In inflation-adjusted dollars, the newspaper said, the war on terror ranks behind World War II, Vietnam and the Korean War. By the end of September the military cost of the war on terror, which began shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks with the invasion of Afghanistan, will top $250 billion. Costs for the Korea War totaled $361 billion, Yale University economist William Nordhaus told the Monitor.

Linda Bilmes, with the Kennedy School of government at Harvard University, told the newspaper she figured that if the war lasts another five years, the total bill will be about $1.4 trillion.

Link.

Radical Christian Crod* Pickets Soldiers’ Funerals

From Holden:

Chimpy’s base says US soldiers deserve to die in Iraq because America is marginally tolerant of gay rights…. or something like that.

Members of a church say God is punishing American soldiers for defending a country that harbors gays, and they brought their anti-gay message to the funerals Saturday of two Tennessee soldiers killed in Iraq.

The church members were met with scorn from local residents. They chased the church members cars’ down a highway, waving flags and screaming “God bless America.”

[snip]

The Rev. Fred Phelps, founder of Westboro Baptist in Kansas, contends that American soldiers are being killed in Iraq as vengeance from God for protecting a country that harbors gays. The church, which is not affiliated with a larger denomination, is made up mostly of Phelps’ children, grandchildren and in-laws.

The church members carried signs and shouted things such as “God hates fags” and “God hates you.”

About 10 church members protested near Smyrna United Methodist Church and nearly 20 stood outside the National Guard Armory in Ashland City. Members have demonstrated at other soldier funerals across the nation.

The funerals were for Staff Sgt. Asbury Fred Hawn II, 35, in Smyrna and Spc. Gary Reese Jr., 22, in Ashland City. Both were members of the Tennessee National Guard.

Hundreds of Smyrna and Ashland City residents and families of other soldiers turned out at both sites to counter the message the Westboro Baptist members brought.

So many counterdemonstrators were gathered in Ashland City that police, sheriff’s deputies and state troopers were brought in to control traffic and protect the protesters.

*Inside joke; a mild tweak for a partially-literate Eschaton troll.

Eason Jordan’s Analysis Confirmed Again

From Holden:

US forces in Iraq just can’t stop shooting journalists.

“A team from Reuters news agency was on assignment to cover the killing of two policemen in Hay al-Adil; U.S. forces opened fire on the team from Reuters and killed Waleed Khaled, who was shot in the head, and wounded Haider Kadhem,” an Interior Ministry official quoted the police incident report as saying.

“I heard shooting, looked up and saw an American sniper on the roof of the shopping centre,” cameraman Kadhem, who was wounded in the back, told colleagues who arrived at the scene.

The only known eyewitness, he was later detained by U.S. troops and was still in custody six hours later despite Reuters’ requests that he be freed to receive medical attention. His precise whereabouts were not clear.

Two Iraqi colleagues who arrived on the scene minutes after the shooting were also briefly detained, then released.

“They treated us like dogs. They made us, … including Khaled who was wounded and asking for water, sit in the sun on the road,” Reuters Television soundman Mohammed Idriss said.

[snip]

Reuters correspondent Michael Georgy, who arrived at the scene about an hour after the shooting, said the soundman’s body was still in the driver’s seat, the face covered by a cloth.

Entry and exit wounds could be seen on the face indicating shots from the victim’s right. There were several bullet holes in the windscreen and at least four wounds in the chest.

His U.S. military and Reuters press cards, clipped to his shirt, were caked in blood. In one, there were two bullet holes.

To the right of the scene, a U.S. soldier, apparently a sniper, was posted on the roof of a shopping centre.

A British security adviser working for Reuters said it seemed likely that high-velocity rounds had been fired at the car from roughly the direction of that building.

[snip]

As Waleed’s tearful relatives inspected the body at the scene, a U.S. soldier said: “Don’t bother. It’s not worth it.”

A few other soldiers joked among themselves just a few feet (metres) from the body.

An update.

Reuters demanded the immediate release on Monday of an Iraqi cameraman who was still being held by U.S. forces more than 24 hours after being wounded in an incident in which his soundman was killed.

[snip]

The U.S. military said it was still investigating and refused to say what questions it was putting to cameraman Haider Kadhem. It would not say where in Baghdad he was held nor identify the unit holding him.

[snup]

Reporters Without Borders, a Paris-based media rights group, called the shooting “extremely disturbing” and said the Reuters soundman was the 66th journalist or media assistant killed in Iraq since the invasion of 2003, three more than died in 20 years in Vietnam.

“Our outrage is compounded by the fact that they arrested Kadhem, the only eyewitness, who was himself injured,” it said.

Finally, Someone is Demoted Because of an Army Contracting Scandal

From Holden:

Unfortunately the person they demoted was the whistleblower.

A top Army contracting official who criticized a large, noncompetitive contract with the Halliburton Company for work in Iraq was demoted Saturday for what the Army called poor job performance.

The official, Bunnatine H. Greenhouse, has worked in military procurement for 20 years and for the past several years had been the chief overseer of contracts at the Army Corps of Engineers, the agency that has managed much of the reconstruction work in Iraq.

The demotion removes her from the elite Senior Executive Service and reassigns her to a lesser job in the corps’ civil works division.

Ms. Greenhouse’s lawyer, Michael Kohn, called the action an “obvious reprisal” for the strong objections she raised in 2003 to a series of corps decisions involving the Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root, which has garnered more than $10 billion for work in Iraq.

Dick Cheney led Halliburton, which is based in Texas, before he became vice president.

“She is being demoted because of her strict adherence to procurement requirements and the Army’s preference to sidestep them when it suits their needs,” Mr. Kohn said Sunday in an interview. He also said the Army had violated a commitment to delay Ms. Greenhouse’s dismissal until the completion of an inquiry by the Pentagon’s inspector general.