You Would Think They Have Something to Hide

From Holden: Israel, the next OJ. I’m sure they won’t rest until they find the killers. [Israel’s U.N. ambassador] Dan Gillerman also said Israel would not allow the United Nations to join in an investigation of an Israeli airstrike that demolished a post belonging to the current U.N. peacekeeping mission in Lebanon. Four U.N. observers were killed in the Tuesday strike. Meanwhile, the wife of the Canadian soldier who is missing and presumed dead in the attack lashes out. The wife of a Canadian observer who was killed when an Israeli jet attacked a United Nations post in Lebanon blamed … Continue reading You Would Think They Have Something to Hide

Mr. Bush, Tear Down Your Secret Prisons

From Holden:

The UN Human Rights Committee cites the Bush Assministration for flagrant violations of international law (Hat-tip to Moonbootica).

A United Nations human rights body told Washington on Friday that any “secret detention” centers for terrorism suspects it operated abroad violated international law and should be shut immediately.

Saying it had “credible and uncontested” reports of such jails, the U.N. Human Rights Committee said the United States appeared to have been detaining people “secretly and in secret places for months and years”.

“The state party should immediately abolish all secret detention,” it said, echoing a similar demand in May by the U.N. Committee Against Torture.

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How Blackwater Helped Us Lose The War

From Holden: Not that the war was ever winnable, but the war profiteers certainly made the situation worse. The U.S. Marines, who had military responsibility for the Sunni Arab heartland in and around Fallujah, knew it was a tinderbox and had been trying hard not to set it aflame. “Patient, persistent presence” was their motto. The attack on the Blackwater convoy changed everything. The convoy had entered the city by bypassing a Marine checkpoint without the Marines’ knowledge. The Marines learned of the ambush the same way the rest of the world did: from the grisly pictures on TV. President … Continue reading How Blackwater Helped Us Lose The War

Our Cooling Economy

From Holden: Feel the Bush Boom, as the rate of growth in the quarterly Gross Domestic Product fell by a whopping 3.1% between the first quarter of 2006 and the second quarter of the year. The U.S. economy grew at a 2.5 percent annual pace from April through June, less than expected, as business investment in equipment fell for the first time in three years and consumers reined in spending. The government’s first estimate of the quarter’s gross domestic product, the value of all goods and services produced in the U.S., compares with a 5.6 percent gain in the first … Continue reading Our Cooling Economy

Your Friday Morning Republican Juggernaut Update, Part I

From Holden: Rep. Katherine Harris’ poll numbers continue to plummet, yet she keeps saying she can beat Bill Nelson with 53% of the vote. Then again, Harris is not known for her firm grip on reality. As poll after poll shows U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris trailing Bill Nelson in the race for Senate, Harris has clung to a figure that she says suggests she can win. If her base supporters get to the polls, Harris says at virtually every campaign stop, she will beat Nelson and carry 53 percent of the vote. “When people know that,” she said during a … Continue reading Your Friday Morning Republican Juggernaut Update, Part I

Your Friday Morning Republican Juggernaut Update, Part II

From Holden: Jebbie wants no part of the Florida GOP’s DeLay strategy. Gov. Jeb Bush said Thursday he would not be part of a bizarre plan Republican strategists have contemplated to replace U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris as a candidate for U.S. Senate. Party strategists confirmed earlier this week that they envisioned Harris, who is trailing badly in the polls, withdrawing from the race after she won the Sept. 5 primary. That would give party officials the power to name a more viable replacement. Bush’s name came up as a potentially strong challenger for Nelson. [snip] Speaking with reporters after addressing … Continue reading Your Friday Morning Republican Juggernaut Update, Part II

Gutting the War Crimes Act, Keeping Bush Out Of Prison

From Holden:

The Bush Assministration is trying to weaken the War Crimes Act of 1996, claiming that they are trying to protect soldiers who were simply following Chimpy’s illegal order outlining the torture to be inflicted on detainees and POWs in the GWOT. Howerver, the Assministration is actually trying to protect Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld from future prosection, a possibility Gonzales warned the president about in 2002.

An obscure law approved by a Republican-controlled Congress a decade ago has made the Bush administration nervous that officials and troops involved in handling detainee matters might be accused of committing war crimes, and prosecuted at some point in U.S. courts.

Senior officials have responded by drafting legislation that would grant U.S. personnel involved in the terrorism fight new protections against prosecution for past violations of the War Crimes Act of 1996. That law criminalizes violations of the Geneva Conventions governing conduct in war and threatens the death penalty if U.S.-held detainees die in custody from abusive treatment.

In light of a recent Supreme Court ruling that the international Conventions apply to the treatment of detainees in the terrorism fight, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales has spoken privately with Republican lawmakers about the need for such “protections,” according to someone who heard his remarks last week.

Gonzales told the lawmakers that a shield is needed for actions taken by U.S. personnel under a 2002 presidential order, which the Supreme Court declared illegal, and under Justice Department legal opinions that have been withdrawn under fire, the source said. A spokeswoman for Gonzales, Tasia Scolinos, declined to comment on Gonzales’s remarks.

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Extremely Unpopular President

From Holden: There’s a new Diageo/Hotline Poll [PDF press release] out this morning, and it’s a beauty. Bush Job Approval Rating Approve: 38% (down from 41% in June) Disapprove: 59% (up from 56% in June) Bush Viewed Favorably/Unfavorably Favorable: 42% Unfavorable: 54% Bill Clinton Viewed Favorably/Unfavorably Favorable: 53% Unfavorable: 41% Al Gore Viewed Favorably/Unfavorably Favorable: 43% Unfavorable: 48% Generic Congressional Ballot Would Vote Democratic: 48% (up from 41% in June) Would Vote Republican: 32% (down from 36% in June) Bush’s Handling of War in Iraq Disapprove: 61% Country is on the Right Track or Wrong Track Right Track: 25% Wrong … Continue reading Extremely Unpopular President

Michael Brown Again

From Scout: He’s still trying to rebuild his “reputation,” this time in a Playboy interview. Ya that’ll work.. WASHINGTON (AP) — A Mississippi congressman hit back at Michael Brown on Thursday after the former FEMA director described him as “that little twerp. “Brown is an incompetent fool, and everyone in South Mississippi knows it,” said Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss. In a Playboy magazine interview, the fallen Federal Emergency Management Agency chief took issue with Taylor for harshly questioning him during a hearing into the government’s sluggish response to Hurricane Katrina last year. “He said I didn’t recognize the death and … Continue reading Michael Brown Again

No it’s not New Orleans 8/29+/2005 but Today in Madison WI

From Scout:

New Orleans was unprecedented and a man made flood but flooding is the #1 natural disaster in America and guess what it can happen anywhere…..even here. Downtown and campus area of Madison flooded today after severe storms.(story here) My place is ok but my place of employment flooded a bit. I’m told one employee walked home for lunch and got caught in it. She was walking back through waste deep water. Cars were floating down the street in front of where I worked. Everyone says they’ve never seen anything like it here.

(photos from Capital Times and Wisconsin State Journal)

madison flood 9

madison flood 6

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“The force of water in the apartment, located at intersection of Mills Street and Spring Street, blew out the front door.”

madison flood 10

More Photos at Read More

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Lebanon oil spill

From Scout: Horrible (photo from glass garden) BEIRUT, July 27 (Reuters) – Along Lebanon’s sandy beaches and rocky headlands runs a belt of black sludge, 10,000 to 30,000 tonnes of oil that spilled into the Mediterranean Sea after Israel bombed a power plant. Lebanon’s Environment Ministry says the oil flooded into the sea when Israeli jets hit storage tanks at the Jiyyeh plant south of Beirut on July 13 and 15, creating an ecological crisis that Lebanon’s government has neither the money nor the expertise to deal with. “We have never seen a spill like this in the history of … Continue reading Lebanon oil spill

Taking the Word of a Rapist

From Holden: Oh, my, the wingy side of the blogosphere is enraptured today with a story published by the Ottawa Citizen about the UN observation post destroyed yesterday by Israeli bombs. Every one from Atlas’ Juggs to the Doughy Pantload is all moist and gooey over email messages supposedly sent from the now-deceased Canadian UN observer to General Lewis MacKenzie which MacKenzie interprets to mean that Hezbollah forces were using the UN post as a “shield”. Funny thing is, the alleged email message never uses the word “shield” at all, nor does it claim that Hezbollah fighters were “swarming all … Continue reading Taking the Word of a Rapist

Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden:

I was quite surprised today when Pony Blow claimed that Condi’s little trip to Rome (which left her shedding tears of frustration) resulted in several “significant victories”.

Speaking of which, it’s probably worth opening at least a little bit, and then we’ll get to questions, with a little bit of perspective on what did and did not happen in Rome. I’ve seen a number of press accounts describing this as not going anywhere, and as a matter of fact, there were significant victories achieved in Rome.

Ed Chen of the LA Times was surprised as well.

Q I just want to follow up on you saying that Secretary Rice had significant victories in Rome. How can you say that when she came away with no cease-fire? And also —

MR. SNOW: Because —

Q — we’re hearing she’s going back probably within the next few days. So she — the job is not done.

MR. SNOW: Because, Ed, you’re laboring under the presumption that she was supposed to come with a magic wand and say a cease-fire. What she has said is, what on earth is the good of having another empty-handed cease-fire in the Middle East? What is the purpose of having something that is not enforceable at this juncture and is not realistic? The purpose —

Q It was —

MR. SNOW: No, because — I want to push back a little bit, because the presumption was, it wasn’t success unless you had a cease-fire.

Then Chen struck at the hypocritical heart of the Assministration’s position on a cease-fire in Lebanon.

Q Yes, but you just said a moment ago that it would be — it would not be an enforceable cease-fire. How do you know until you have a cease-fire? Why not get a cease-fire, and then if Hezbollah does not follow it, the world community sees that they’re to blame.

MR. SNOW: In other words, why not — because we are — because what you’re asking for is a PR move rather than a strategic move. The question of why not —

Q Why would it be PR if people are not dying?

MR. SNOW: No, no, no, wrong. Again, Hezbollah is firing, what, 150, 200 rockets a day. Do you seriously believe they’re going to stop if somebody in Rome says there’s going to be a cease-fire?

Q Nobody knows until you do it, right?

MR. SNOW: No, no, no, don’t play “what if.” That is naive, Ed, it’s naive.

Q You’re playing “what if” by saying it’s not enforceable. You don’t know that. Nobody knows that.

MR. SNOW: Yes, we do. Yes, we do. Yes, we do.

Q Well, then, if it’s not enforceable, at that point, the whole world will see Hezbollah is not playing by the same —

MR. SNOW: How many times do peace efforts have to fail? Do you really — apparently, what you’re saying is it didn’t make us happy because we expected a cease-fire. What Secretary Rice went for was to get people to roll up their sleeves and take a realistic look at the region. And that’s important.

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The Crimes of DeLay and Company

From Holden: Add a record number of threats against Federal judges to the bill. Threats against federal judges and other court employees have reached record numbers, the U.S. Marshals Service says. The number of threats in fiscal year 2005 increased 63% from 2003. Marshals investigated 953 threats and inappropriate communications in 2005. Threats this fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, are outpacing last year: Marshals have investigated 822 incidents. Continue reading The Crimes of DeLay and Company

You See, There Is A Precedent

From Holden: Butt-sex promoter hits the big time. Ana Marie Cox has been named Washington Editor of, it was announced today by Richard Stengel, managing editor of TIME. Her appointment is effective July 31, 2006. You see, there is a precedent. We all remember alleged Homeland Security pedophile Brian Doyle, right? Well, prior to coming to DHS Doyle filled another position. Friends and former co-workers say Doyle was disciplined by Time magazine after he allegedly used company computers to view adult pornography in the publication’s Washington bureau office. Interesting office Time has there in DC. I wonder if Cox … Continue reading You See, There Is A Precedent


From Holden: Just finished listening to a bit of Rush Limpbaugh during lunch. Limpy has taken to calling Hebollah “Hezbo”, and Hezbollah leaders the “Hezbos”. Sometimes he “slips”, though, as he did when I heard him say… There are photos of Kofi Anan shaking hands with Nasrallah, the Lezbo leader. Slip of the tongue, I’m sure. Continue reading Lezbos

Aw Crap

From Scout: I think it’s too early to make a judgement but this isn’t good. Floyd Landis tested positive on his A sample from Stage 17 (yeah his phenomenal comeback stage) The Phonak team has confirmed the speculation that Floyd Landis returned a positive A sample after his win in stage 17 of the Tour de France. “The Phonak Cycling Team was notified yesterday by the UCI about an unusual level of Testosterone/Epitestosterone ratio in the test made on Floyd Landis after stage 17 of the Tour de France,” said the team in a statement. “The team management and the … Continue reading Aw Crap

Round Mound of Democrat

From Holden: Charles Barkley has the fame and the fortune. And after years of letting his fortune determine his party affiliation, he’s seeing the light. Basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley has changed his political uniform from red to blue and is talking again about running for governor of Alabama, possibly in 2010. “Alabama, that’s my home. I’m thinking about running for governor; they need the help,” Barkley said. His decision was received warmly by Joe Turnham, Alabama’s Democratic Party chairman. [snip] Barkley, a Leeds native, has been talking about running for governor of his home state since he was … Continue reading Round Mound of Democrat

Your Thursday Morning Republican Juggernaut Update

From Holden: Oh my, somebody just had his name scratched off of the Harris family Christmas card list. Katherine Harris’ former communications director has joined the campaign of one of her Republican opponents for the U.S. Senate, LeRoy Collins Jr. Chris Ingram, who was one of five senior staffers to leave Harris’ campaign two weeks ago, is now Collins’ campaign manager, according to a news release from the Collins camp. “Admiral Collins has the leadership abilities, integrity, and common-sense values Florida voters need for effective representation in Washington,” Ingram said in the statement. “Governor Bush was right when he said, … Continue reading Your Thursday Morning Republican Juggernaut Update

The Word of the Day is ”Pessimism”

From Holden: The morning finds us with two new national polls. The CBS News/New York Times poll pegs Chimpy’s job approval rating at 36%, while the Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll gives him a generous 39%. However, neither poll is spreading sunshine and lemon drops. CBS News/NYTimes: Americans generally approve of President Bush’s handling of the current Mideast crisis, according to a CBS News/New York Times poll, but six in 10 say the president is not respected by foreign leaders. [snip] More than 60 percent think the conflict [in Lebanon] will lead to a larger war in the region, and … Continue reading The Word of the Day is ”Pessimism”

The Word of the Day is “Pessimism”

From Holden: The morning finds us with two new national polls. The CBS News/New York Times poll pegs Chimpy’s job approval rating at 36%, while the Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll gives him a generous 39%. However, neither poll is spreading sunshine and lemon drops. CBS News/NYTimes: Americans generally approve of President Bush’s handling of the current Mideast crisis, according to a CBS News/New York Times poll, but six in 10 say the president is not respected by foreign leaders. [snip] More than 60 percent think the conflict [in Lebanon] will lead to a larger war in the region, and … Continue reading The Word of the Day is “Pessimism”

Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid…errr Lemonade

From Scout: (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) According to the Charleston Gazette Bush’s motorcade drove past protestors with signs reading “How Many More Bodies?”, “Dubya Dubya III,” “No War,” and “Thank God For Term Limits.” Others carried “banners marked with the names of dead soldiers.” Many flashed the peace sign and one man flipped Bush the bird. “Protesters outnumbered supporters until the motorcade got into South Hills.” The president’s motorcade came to a halt when Bush stopped to buy some lemonade from a South Hills girl on his way out of town. Charleston attorney John Miesner’s 8-year-old daughter, Mary Melinda, set … Continue reading Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid…errr Lemonade