Monthly Archives: April 2006

For Those Galactica-Hungry First Drafters Out There

Mr. A alerted me to this:

NEW YORK—SCI FI Channel announced the development of Caprica, a spinoff prequel of its hit Battlestar Galactica, in presentations to advertisers in New York on April 26. Caprica would come from Galactica executive producers Ronald D. Moore and David Eick, writer Remi Aubuchon (24) and NBC Universal Television Studio.

Caprica would take place more than half a century before the events that play out in Battlestar Galactica. The people of the Twelve Colonies are at peace and living in a society not unlike our own, but where high technology has changed the lives of virtually everyone for the better.

But a startling breakthrough in robotics is about to occur, one that will bring to life the age-old dream of marrying artificial intelligence with a mechanical body to create the first living robot: a Cylon. Following the lives of two families, the Graystones and the Adamas (the family of William Adama, who will one day become the commander of the Battlestar Galactica), Caprica will weave together corporate intrigue, techno-action and sexual politics into television’s first science fiction family saga, the channel announced.

I don’t know how much more coolness our TiVo can take before utterly melting down.

A.

Another New Low

From Holden:

Today it’s the right-leaning Rasmussen poll:

Thursday April 27, 2006–Thirty-eight percent (38%) of American adults approve of the way George W. Bush is performing his role as President. That’s the lowest level of support ever measured by Rasmussen Reports.

Sixty-one percent (61%) disapprove, including 45% who Strongly Disapprove. One additional sign of the President’s weakness is that Democrats lead by twelve percentage points on a generic 2008 Presidential Ballot.

The President earns approval from 66% of Republicans, 13% of Democrats, and 33% of those not affiliated with either major party.

I believe the 66% approval among Republikkkans is an all-time low for ANY national poll.

Caption This…errr the second one

From Scout:

Bush made his 11th trip since Katrina to the Gulf Coast today including stops in New Orleans’s 9th Ward…..

Caption Anyone? (See below)

bush katrina debris

(Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

UPDATE: MY BAD. An astute commenter caught what I missed when viewing the above photo…it is from March. My Deepest Apologies.The photo appeared close in order to today’s pics of the trip at Yahoo…and it looks like he’s wearing quite similar clothes as today (as seen below) all which lead me to assume rather than closely read the caption. I got it wrong so apologies.

May I offer my second choice photo (today’s really) which now I am painfully aware should have been my first for…. Caption This:

bush construct 9th ward

(Photo: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Or Compare and contrast with Howard Dean working in NOLA’s 9th Ward on April 21.

dean 9th ward

(Photo: Rueters/Lee Celano)

“Let Us Solve Our Problems By Ourselves”

From Holden:

Two Thumbs Down for The Condi and Rummy Show.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld paid a surprise visit to Baghdad on Wednesday to express support for Iraq’s new leaders, but drew criticism from Iraqi politicians who said they feared the unannounced visit might do more harm than good.

“We didn’t invite them,” said Kamal Saadi, a Shiite legislator close to the new prime minister-designate, Nouri Maliki.

Saadi said Iraqi leaders had not been given advance notice of the visit, which came just days after Iraqi politicians broke through a months-long impasse on the selection of a prime minister.

“Maybe Rumsfeld’s visit can be justified” because of American troop presence, “but I can’t see a clear reason behind Rice’s visit,” Saadi said. “The crisis is over and negotiations are taking place.”

The carping continues, Read More…

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”Let Us Solve Our Problems By Ourselves”

From Holden:

Two Thumbs Down for The Condi and Rummy Show.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld paid a surprise visit to Baghdad on Wednesday to express support for Iraq’s new leaders, but drew criticism from Iraqi politicians who said they feared the unannounced visit might do more harm than good.

“We didn’t invite them,” said Kamal Saadi, a Shiite legislator close to the new prime minister-designate, Nouri Maliki.

Saadi said Iraqi leaders had not been given advance notice of the visit, which came just days after Iraqi politicians broke through a months-long impasse on the selection of a prime minister.

“Maybe Rumsfeld’s visit can be justified” because of American troop presence, “but I can’t see a clear reason behind Rice’s visit,” Saadi said. “The crisis is over and negotiations are taking place.”

The carping continues, Read More…

Continue reading

They’re Not Tammy Fucking Wynette, That’s For Sure

From Holden:

Hearty support for Don Rumsfeld among Republican senators? Eh, not so much.

“He still is in the confidence of the president. The president reiterated that the other day, so I’ll continue to try to work with him,” Sen. John McCain (news, bio, voting record), R-Ariz., said Wednesday.

“There really is only one person he needs to please, and that’s the president,” added Sen. Susan Collins (news, bio, voting record), R-Maine. “The president’s made clear that the secretary is his choice and that really ends it.”

“Is he still here?” joked Sen. Trent Lott (news, bio, voting record), R-Miss.

Yes. Should he not be?

“That’s up to him and the president. I don’t see that his performance has changed,” said Lott, who has said he’s “not a fan” of Rumsfeld.

Hardly glowing endorsements.

They send home videos

From Scout:

augie parents

(photo: Lindsay Semple/Akron Beacon Journal)

The story of this war found in soldier’s videos and the many hometown papers like the Akron Beacon Journal….

Rosemary Palmer and Paul Schroeder watch the last video their son sent home from Iraq before he was killed.

SNIP

“He’s dead,” Paul Schroeder says, pointing to a Marine on the screen. He points to another group of Marines: “All those guys are dead.”

Augie sent the video in June. The 23-year-old lance corporal died Aug. 3, along with 13 other 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines when their amphibious assault vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb.

SNIP

As Schroeder and Palmer continue to watch the video their son produced, the music playing is Social Distortion’s Reach for the Sky.

“Reach for the sky cause tomorrow may never come,” the band sings as the images of Augie and his fellow Marines, most of whom are now dead, flash on the screen.

At the end of the video, Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World accompanies other images from Iraq.

augie's pltn

(All but 2 of the Marines above were killed. Photo: Lindsay Semple/Akron Beacon Journal)

Augie’s parents are urging withdrawal from Iraq. Click here to Read the rest and to See Part of The Video (look for video links under pic at that site)

Fixing FEMA

From Scout:

From NYT

The Federal Emergency Management Agency was so fundamentally dysfunctional during Hurricane Katrina that Congress should abolish it and create a new disaster response agency from scratch, according to a draft of bipartisan recommendations proposed by a Senate committee.

Senator Susan Collins, the Maine Republican who is chairwoman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said the new agency would be “better equipped with the tools to prepare for and respond to a disaster.”

The committee’s ranking Democrat, Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, also endorsed creation of what would be called the National Preparedness and Response Authority. But the full committee has not yet debated or voted on the draft recommendations. FEMA is a broken shell of its former self and something must be done. However Lieberman and Collins “led the effort to create the DHS that swallowed up FEMA.” And it was the Bush administration that began a process shortly after coming to power that eroded FEMA’s capabilities with policy changes and budget cuts …..

In June, [2004] Pleasant Mann, a 16-year FEMA veteran who heads the agency’s government employee union, wrote members of Congress to warn of the agency’s decay. “Over the past three-and-one-half years, FEMA has gone from being a model agency to being one where funds are being misspent, employee morale has fallen, and our nation’s emergency management capability is being eroded,” he wrote. “Our professional staff are being systematically replaced by politically connected novices and contractors.”

Given this bunch ruined FEMA it is now difficult to trust them with fixing FEMA. Yet the state of FEMA now is so bad that for the safety of Americans something must be done. I suggest they follow the 2004 testimony of former FEMA head James Lee Witt who had built the agency up to the success it once was before they got a hold of it.

(click Read More for that testimony)

Continue reading

My Bush Boom Stumbles

From Holden:

Must be all those layoffs in the auto industry.

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose to the highest level since early March, the government reported Thursday.

The Labor Department said that 315,000 newly laid off workers applied for jobless benefits last week, an increase of 11,000 from the previous week. The claims total was the highest since 319,000 laid off workers applied for benefits the week ending March 11.

Private economists had been forecasting a much smaller rise of around 2,000 applications last week.

“Exceptionally Worrisome for Republicans”

From Holden:

A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll was released last night.

According to the poll, Bush’s approval rating fell by one point from last month to 36 percent, his lowest mark in the survey. But the troubling news for Bush doesn’t stop there: [Democratic pollster Peter D.] Hart explains that Bush has now spent nine consecutive months at 40 percent or below in the poll, a feat exceeded only by Richard Nixon (13 months) and Harry Truman (26 months).

[snip]

Yet Bush’s approval isn’t the only measure that has declined. In the poll — which was taken April 21-24 of 1,005 adults, and which has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points — just 24 percent believe the nation is headed in the right direction, a drop of two points since last month and seven points since January. What’s more, only 17 percent think the nation’s economy will improve in the next 12 months, a decline of seven points since March.

[snip]

But if the public is dissatisfied with gas prices, its opinion of Congress isn’t much better. According to the poll, just 22 percent approve of the job Congress is doing, a drop of 11 points since March. “That’s a lot of movement in a four- to six-week period,” says [Bill] McInturff, the GOP pollster, who attributes the drop to a sharp decline in approval by Republican respondents.

Asked to rank the top one or two reasons for their disapproval of Congress, 44 percent say they are tired of Democrats and Republicans fighting with each other, 36 percent say Congress doesn’t seem to get that much done, and 34 percent say members are corrupt and unethical.

How will that anger play out in November’s midterm elections? Forty-five percent of registered voters say they prefer Democrats controlling Congress, compared with 39 percent who say they want Republicans in charge.

[snip]

All of this, Hart says, adds up to a political environment that is “exceptionally worrisome for Republicans.” And he believes that as we head toward November, “the die is getting close to being cast” — that Americans are unhappy and want change.

No title is worthy

From Scout:

Well Holden christened the new press secretary today….Pony Blow. Oddly enough the moniker is also befitting of this video Keith Olberman dug up. Or maybe it’s vice versa. At any rate this is well…awful:

VIDEO NO Longer Available

SORRY

Milch

Al Swearengen: Pain or damage don’t end the world. Or despair or fucking beatings. The world ends when you’re dead. Until then, you got more punishment in store. Stand it like a man… and give some back.

— Deadwood

Milch on TV, Osama, Bush and Iraq:

He likened the media coverage during the beginning of the war in Iraq with that of a “three-week miniseries with a beginning, middle and end,” where the ending was the act of the Iraqis tearing down the statue of Saddam Hussein.

“When the series was over, the president’s approval rating was 98% — that was a good show,” Milch said. “What’s left is ‘reruns’ with people dying, but,” speaking as he was imagining a viewer might, “‘I’m done with that “show.” Now you’re showing me people being blown up by bombs? I’m done with that — bring those boys home. Put something else on. Go back to Osama bin Laden — that “show” was never finished.”‘

He went on to say that “people spend more than a third of their waking hours watching TV, which is weird, especially given the s— we’re delivered. The consequences are that if we have one more plane (hit) a building, (the public response will be) ‘They’re all ragheads, they all look alike. We gave them a chance, now let’s kill them all.”‘

A.

Leave George at Home

From Scout:

From Knight Ridder:

With President Bush’s popularity tanking to all-time lows, and Vice President Dick Cheney’s approval ratings even lower, Laura Bush is filling a vacuum and becoming a strong political money machine, raising cash for GOP candidates and venturing into districts where her husband might be political poison.

The first lady is riding a wave of popularity. Americans gave her an 82 percent approval rating in a January CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, among the highest ratings Gallup’s ever recorded for any first lady. She fared well across party lines, with 97 percent of Republicans, 81 percent of independents and 69 percent of Democrats approving of her.

SNIP

That isn’t lost on the president, who may have been only half-joking at a Las Vegas fundraiser Monday for Rep. Jon Porter, R-Nev., when he said that “the truth of the matter is Porter said, `Why don’t we invite Laura and leave you at home, George W.?'”

Ouch

Buh-Bye, Karl

From Holden:

From Jason Leopold, who has been scooping up Plame case leads like Brooks Robinson in his heyday.

Karl Rove’s appearance before a grand jury in the CIA leak case Wednesday comes on the heels of a “target letter” sent to his attorney recently by Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, signaling that the Deputy White House Chief of Staff may face imminent indictment, sources that are knowledgeable about the probe said Wednesday.

Hat-tip to Eshaton commenter MissusB.

Looks like Rove’s button proved to be prophetic.

Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden:

Scottie may be a short-timer, but there’s no way he’s going to give a straight answer to any question about Karl Rove.

Q Scott, Karl Rove is making his fifth appearance in front of the grand jury today. And I’m wondering how you would characterize its effect on the administration? Is it a disruption, a distraction?

MR. McCLELLAN: Jim, I have no new information on that matter, and even if I did have new information, I wouldn’t be in position to share it with you, as you know.

Q We have confirmation that he’s making his appearance, so I’m just wondering if you can tell me, not in any kind of judicial way, but if you can tell me just in terms of its effect on the business of the administration?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, as you know, there’s a policy we have in this administration. That policy hasn’t changed. Does anyone else have questions on this topic matter?

Q Yes, Scott, I’ll jump in on that one. I think the question is just if you can give us a comment, just the daily workings and whether this —

MR. McCLELLAN: No, my answer is what I just — my answer is what I just gave you. This administration remains focused on the priorities of the American people.

Go ahead.

[snip]

Q Would you mind my going back to Rove for just one brief moment? Had Mr. Rove alerted Josh Bolten prior to his decision to change Rove’s duties here at the White House —

MR. McCLELLAN: He already answered that. I told you I didn’t have any new information on it.

Q My question is had he notified him of today’s appearance prior to the change in his duties?

MR. McCLELLAN: That decision was made based on what I told you all previously.

[snip]

Q Going back to Karl Rove, was the decision made it was potentially too embarrassing to keep him in the position of the policy portfolio, as well as the politics portfolio, and that that was why he was moved out of it — knowing that these grand jury appearances and what might follow was coming up?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, first of all, he remains very involved in the policy aspect of things. I have made that very clear. And the reasons why the decision was made, in terms of now having three deputy chiefs of staff, as opposed to previously, when we had two, were for the reasons that I talked to you about on that very day.

The gaggle continues, Read More…

Continue reading

Let Chimpy Veto This One

From Holden:

Ha!

Too funny.

The Senate voted Wednesday to divert some of the money President Bush requested for the war in Iraq to instead increase patrols against illegal immigrants on the nation’s borders and provide the Coast Guard with new boats and helicopters.

Koppel For The Win

A righteous bitch-slap of the sort that would greatly benefit Michelle Malkin’s favorite t-shirt artist:

There’s not a one of us who’s covered wars and revolutions in other continents, whose families can’t tell you about the fear and sleepless nights that were an outgrowth of every one of those assignments.

I don’t want to pretend that any one of us is or was something that we are not. I love reporting from overseas. So did Peter. So does Bob.

But for all these years we have told our families and told ourselves that at least some of what we were doing is genuinely important, that Americans really need to know what is happening overseas…what is being done in their names…why it is that our nation’s best intentions are so often misunderstood or misinterpreted.

That’s what people with real experience say. T-shirt-writing pussies of the sports-bar bravado variety would do better to confine themselves to shoveling chicken wings into their flabby maws and cheering whatever team is ahead in the NBA playoffs. Leave the media crit to the professionals.

A.

We Have A Nickname!

From Holden:

Wow, we witnessed an overwhelming response to yesterday’s request for Tony Snow nicknames. I’m glad to see so many readers take an interest in keeping the gaggle posts running at a high level of quality.

So many nicknames, and really I don’t intend to pick just one winner. I’ll probably call the new mouthpiece by whatever name suits me at the time, depending on my general mood and the tone of the gaggle that day.

That said, I think I’ll begin with a nick suggested to me by B1 Bummer in the comment threads at Eschaton: Pony Blow.

It was a tough decision, and “Bush’s New Asshole” was my sentimental favorite. However, “Pony Blow” has so many things going for it that I found it impossible to pass up. First, there’s the play on the guy’s name — incorporating both first and last name, very nice indeed. Then there is the allusion to Bush’s favorite pasttime, sexual stimulation of the equine species. And, of course, like a president is distracted by a sparkly new mountain bike, I can’t resist anything with a pony in it.

Well done, readers. Tony Snow is now Pony Blow.

Spreading Peeance and Freeance to Saudi Arabia

From Holden:

Wonderful.

Let’s be sure we spread sectarian conflict throughout the Middle East, why don’t we.

The conflict in Iraq has begun to spill over onto this hardscrabble, sunburned swath of coast, breathing new life into the ancient rivalry between the country’s powerful Sunni Muslim majority and the long-oppressed Shiite minority in one of the most oil-rich areas of the world.

“Saudi Sunnis are defending Iraqi Sunnis, and Saudi Shiites are defending Iraqi Shiites,” said Hassan Saffar, Saudi Arabia’s most influential Shiite cleric. “There’s a fear that it will cause a struggle here.”

More Than 1,000 Secret Rendition Flights?

From Holden:

Jeebus.

The CIA has conducted more than 1,000 undeclared flights over European territory since 2001 — a clear violation of an international treaty, European Parliament investigators said Wednesday.

Lawmakers investigating alleged illegal CIA activities in Europe also said incidents when terror suspects were handed over to U.S. agents did not appear to be isolated, and that the suspects often were transported by the same planes and groups of people.

EU lawmakers presented a first preliminary report on their findings, working off data provided by Eurocontrol, the EU’s air safety agency, and information gathered during three months of hearings and more than 50 hours of testimony by individuals who said they were kidnapped and tortured by U.S. agents, EU officials and rights groups.

Data showed that CIA planes made numerous stopovers on European territory that were never declared, violating an international air treaty that requires airlines to declare the route and stopovers for planes with a police mission, said Italian lawmaker Giovanni Claudio Fava, who drafted the report.

“The routes for some of these flights seem to be quite suspect. … They are rather strange routes for flights to take. It is hard to imagine … those stopovers were simply for providing fuel,” he said.