Monthly Archives: August 2006

I Used To Get Mad At My School

From Holden:

Getting better, Stand Up/Stand Down Division.

SAMAWA – Clashes between Iraqi police and civilians turned away from an army recruitment centre killed one civilian and wounded nine, including five policemen. Iraqi police said hundreds hoping to land jobs turned violent after they were turned away and threw rocks at policemen, who fired at the crowd.

Getting better, No Longer A Threat To Her Neighbors Division.

Kuwait has reported renewed border tension with Iraq.

On Aug. 21, a Kuwaiti border patrol came under fire from Iraq. Officials said this was the most serious incident in months and could mark renewed tension between the two neighbors.

Two days later, Kuwait’s Foreign Ministry relayed a protest to Iraq. A ministry statement urged Baghdad to help improve border security.

Officials said the shooting was part of heightened insurgency activities in southern Iraq. They said an Iranian-sponsored Shi’ite militia in Basra has been threatening the Kuwaiti border and vowed to kill security officers from the sheikdom.

“There have been at least five recent attacks on Kuwaiti border patrols,” an official said.

Torquemada Speaks!

From Holden:

Alberto Gonzales is a fucking disgrace.

“It is a somewhat difficult decision as to where to draw the line,” Gonzales said, referring to possible measures that Iraqi police might use to extract information from suspected insurgents and death squad leaders.

“It is difficult to decide what is appropriate and what is allowed under law,” said Gonzales, who has drawn criticism in the past for describing the Geneva Conventions against prisoner abuse as “quaint”.

Gonzales, who arrived in Baghdad Tuesday, told reporters the issue of interrogation tactics came up during his meeting with Saleh but said the techniques to be used were a decision for the Iraqi government.

But he stressed that the US government was against any kind of torture.

“Our President is very clear that government does not engage in torture. The US is not engaging in torture. We are part of a convention against torture.”

Juggernaut Update No. 1: The Most-Hated Woman In American Politics

From Holden:

Katherine Harris is reviled, yet Florida Republicans are likely to go to the polls next Tuesday and nominate the candidate least likely to unseat Senator Bill Nelson.

The poll, conducted Aug. 25-27 by Strategic Vision, a Republican political consulting firm based in Atlanta, shows that Harris’ unfavorability rating increased to 61 percent from last month. Her favorable rating is 17 percent.

The poll also shows that 38 percent of likely Republican primary voters would choose Harris, down from 45 percent in the firm’s last poll. Will McBride, an attorney from Windermere, stayed essentially the same at 21 percent. LeRoy Collins Jr., a retired Navy admiral who has recently won a number of prominent newspaper endorsements, jumped to 19 percent. Peter Monroe, a developer from Safety Harbor with federal policy-making experience, came in with 5 percent.

[snip]

In a matchup against incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson, however, McBride and Collins fare better than Harris. According to the poll, the numbers are: Nelson 63-Harris 20; Nelson 58-McBride 22; Nelson 57-Collins 23; and Nelson 63-Monroe 15.

Juggernaut Update No. 2: Show Me The Money

From Holden:

What ever happened to Rep. Katherine Harris’ nationally televised pledge to pump $10 million of her own money into her flagging Senate campaign? Not much, apparently.

After months of hearing members of even her own party second guess her run for the U.S. Senate, Katherine Harris said she would pump $10 million of her own money into her financially strapped campaign.

In an emotional announcement on national TV in March, Harris said she would use every penny her late father had left her.

Minutes later, while still in the New York studio where she made the announcement, Harris received a call from her sister. She and their brother were furious that she had not told them she was going to spend family money on her campaign, according to her former senior consultant Ed Rollins, who was with her that night.

In the days that followed, several former staffers, including Rollins, said Harris learned she would not directly receive any inheritance from her father. Instead, his assets, reported to be as much as $100 million, were left to her mother, Harriet.

[snip]

“She’s crazy if she puts in $10 million of her own money,” said Brian Ballard, a Republican fundraiser in Tallahassee.

“She might as well put it in the middle of the street and light a match,” said Pat Roberts, a Republican lobbyist and longtime Harris friend.

Harris refuses to answer questions about the money, and rarely mentions the pledge in her campaign speeches anymore.

“That’s a process question, that’s a matter of strategy,” she said recently. “I’m not going to tip my hand.”

Her latest campaign reports, released Friday, show she has raised $4.8 million, and that she did not give herself any more money in the latest reporting period. She has about $2.2 million in the bank, while the incumbent, Sen. Bill Nelson, has more than $12 million.

Harris has been failing to come anywhere close to the national party’s fundraising goal for her of $2 million a month.

The Fading GOP

From Holden:

Brand Name Republican is becoming the Mark of the Beast, as the GOP just can’t seem to recruit anyone to run against Democratic incumbents.

Missed opportunities, stumbles and bad breaks in a half-dozen states or more in 2005 have tilted the map toward the Democrats in ways that are still unfolding.

“In every single state where they were challenging one of our incumbents they did not get their first choice and in many cases they did not get their second,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, head of the Democratic campaign committee.

As a result, he said, “we can spend our time and money challenging their incumbents.”

Continues, click Read More…

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More Official Bush Corruption

From Holden:

Remember Kenneth Tomlinson, Karl Rove’s pal who lost control of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting after he tried to push PBS’s programming to the right?

The dood is slimy but the Bush Assministration stands by his renomination as chair of the the Broadcasting Board of Governors.

State Department investigators have found that the head of the agency overseeing most government broadcasts to foreign countries has used his office to run a “horse racing operation” and that he improperly put a friend on the payroll, according to a summary of a report made public on Tuesday by a Democratic lawmaker.

The report said that the official, Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, had repeatedly used government employees to perform personal errands and that he billed the government for more days of work than the rules permit.

The summary of the report, prepared by the State Department inspector general, said the United States attorney’s office here had been given the report and decided not to conduct a criminal inquiry.

The summary said the Justice Department was pursuing a civil inquiry focusing on the contract for Mr. Tomlinson’s friend.

[snip]

Three Democratic lawmakers, Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut and Representatives Howard L. Berman and Tom Lantos of California, requested the inquiry after a whistle-blower from the agency had approached them about the possible misuse of federal money by Mr. Tomlinson and the possible hiring of phantom or unqualified employees.

Mr. Tomlinson, a Republican with close ties to the White House, was ousted last year from another post, at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, after another inquiry found evidence that he had violated rules meant to insulate public television and radio from political influence.

His renomination to a new term as chairman of the State Department office that oversees foreign broadcasts, the Broadcasting Board of Governors, is pending before the Senate.

[snip]

The State Department report noted his use of his office to oversee a stable of thoroughbreds but did not mention one specific way in which his professional responsibilities and personal interests appear to have intersected. The horses, according to track records, include Karzai, as in Hamid Karzai, and Massoud, from the late Ahmed Shah Massoud) references to Afghan leaders who have fought against the Taliban and the Russians, as well as Panjshair, the valley that was the base used by forces to overthrow the Taliban.

[snip]

The lawmakers who requested the inquiry sent a letter to the president on Tuesday urging him to remove Mr. Tomlinson from his position immediately “and take all necessary steps to restore the integrity of the Broadcasting Board of Governors.”

A spokeswoman for the White House, Emily Lawrimore, said President Bush continued to support Mr. Tomlinson’s renomination. Ms. Lawrimore declined to comment on the State Department report.

Continues…

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Thomas Kinkade, Asshole of Light

From Holden:

If bad art were a crime Kinkade would be riding a needle by now.

The FBI is investigating “Painter of Light” Thomas Kinkade and company executives over allegations that they fraudulently induced investors to open galleries, then ruined them financially.

Relying on information from former Kinkade dealers contacted by federal agents, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday that the FBI is focusing on issues raised in civil litigation by at least six former Thomas Kinkade Signature Gallery owners.

At least 10 former dealers in Michigan, Virginia and other states have alleged in arbitration claims that Kinkade – a California native beloved by some but reviled by the art establishment – exploited his Christianity to persuade people to invest in the galleries, which sell only Kinkade’s work.

After they had invested tens of thousands of dollars each, the ex-owners said, the company’s policies drove them out of business. They say they were saddled with limited-edition prints no one wanted to buy, forced to open stores in inappropriate venues, and undercut by discount galleries peddling the same items at lower prices they couldn’t match.

Some also say Kinkade – who claims he’s the most widely collected living U.S. artist – schemed to devalue his public company, Media Arts Group Inc., so he could buy it on the cheap. In 2004, Kinkade and other investors paid $32.7 million to take Media Arts Group private, changing its name to Thomas Kinkade Co.

“These dealers became investors primarily because they were believers in faith, love, family and God, and the paintings reflect those values,” said Joseph Ejbeh, a Rochester Hills, Mich.-based attorney who tried an arbitration case that began in San Francisco in December 2004. “A lot of these people were pulled into this scheme because of this representation, but what Thomas Kinkade’s company did to them was despicable.”

Katrina Death Toll

From Scout:

Since I have been following this closely for a year I just had to say these numbers are not correct.

The official death toll in Louisiana was reduced recently leaving the total Katrina number of dead which is least controversial at….

1720

The number missing in Louisiana is 135

See also Robert Linsdey who has also closely followed this and puts the deaths at 1723 as he includes 3 deaths of some controversy which he explains.

She’s just saying

From Scout:

our fate is your fate

(New Orleans 8/29/2006 Photo:scout)

Bush big on Promises….

From Scout:

To the people…

And he said local communities could count on him to do everything he could to make sure the government did its part. He said his administration had committed to spend $110 billion to rebuild scarred areas, and “$110 billion is a lot of money.”

Delivery not so much…..

According to figures compiled by the Bush administration, only about 40 percent of the money available — or about $45 billion — has been doled out by the federal government. And the bulk of that money has gone for the initial rescue efforts, debris removal and the emergency repairs to New Orleans’ ruptured levees, proving that even in Louisiana water flows faster than money.

What an Asshole

Long Live New Orleans

From Scout:

I rented a bike today to go to the jazz funeral procession from the Superdome to St. Augustine Church. As the guy in the bike shop said when he leaned what I was doing…”I’m so sick of this anniversary shit.” I think many New Orleanians feel that way.

As you’ll see there were not many people marching but a whole lot of media was there. I didn’t see any of the big outfits though. The media thinned out by the end and some people joined in along the way. I had the camera in one hand and was steering the bike with the other all while trying to dodge media out of the corner of my eyes so a bit bumpy at times……. .

The first is part of the procession (4 minutes)….

2 songs in St. Augustines. One lead by one of the Mardi Gras Indians (9 minutes)….

The very end….All on a Mardi Gras Day (3 minutes)…..

Scout!

Because she’s way too modest to pimp this, here are pictures from the NOLA conference, including some of our very own Scout (on the right) speaking on the bloggers’ panel:

A.

Nashville, We Have A Problem

From Holden:

Bill Frist lied in writing to the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners when he renewed his medical license.

And it’s serious.

Courage

You know, back during Monicagate I used to tell non-journo friends and relatives worried about “media bias” that the real problem wasn’t bias, it was a lethal cocktail of laziness and stupidity:

It was a great two-week story, and a horrific misappropriation of priorities. Think of the thousands of reporters who went chasing after this non-story. Wasn’t there anything else going on in the world? What about a couple of wars?

The Washington Post had it on page 1. Did this flimsy news really deserve 2,478 words on the front page of the New York Times?

Look at all the New York Times reporters working on the story:

“By RICK LYMAN and RALPH BLUMENTHAL; Rick Lyman reported from New York for this article, and Ralph Blumenthal from Boulder, Colo. Additional reporting was contributed by Raymond Bonner in Jakarta, Indonesia; Nick Bunkley in Charlevoix, Mich.; Dan Frosch and Mindy Sink in Boulder; Brenda Goodman in Atlanta; Virginia Heffernan, Jennifer 8. Lee and Ben Sisario in New York; Carolyn Marshall in Petaluma, Calif.; Jim Noles in Birmingham, Ala.; and Scott Shane in Washington.”

Because seriously, the justification is getting out of hand. It reminds me of the swift boat liars: political reporters have to cover crap spewed at war heroes by former Nixon bagmen because it’s “out there.” Forget if it’s true, forget if it’s relevant, just … it’s “out there,” it’s “a phenomenon” (oh, the horrifying days of stories about the DaVinci Code and the Passion of the Mel, same disease), it’s “all abuzz on the Interweb.” Have a little fucking self-respect, would you please?

I really didn’t have that much of a problem with the tabloids fapping away about all this because, really, is there anybody who reads the New York Post for any other reason than gossip and silly headlines? Whatever. Smacking them around for unserious coverage is like complaining about the caloric and fat contents of a funnel cake.

What I have a problem with is everybody else who jumped all over the story and now wants to act like it was beneath them, really, but they were forced into it by TV, or those kids with their MySpaces, or the Media Hive Mind or something. Here’s a clue for the clueless: If you don’t want to cover something, don’t cover it. You can in fact refuse to run the story on the front page. You can in fact not put sixteen reporters on it. You can in fact make those decisions. I don’t know who from the Vast Media Conspiracy was going around holding editors and news directors hostage in the past two weeks, putting guns under their chins and saying “Cover this or die,” but you’d think that was the scenario the way all these spineless assholes are acting right now.

God. Grow a pair, make a decision, and then defend it, but stop acting like you’re powerless in the face of the words “everybody’s talking about it.” Everybody’s talking about a lot of stuff. The slight on blogs used to be that news organizations had gatekeepers who decided what needed to be covered and why. Say that now and it just sounds like the funniest joke ever.

And then there’s this journalism prof, saying the pursuit of Karr was courageous.

Um, no, poppet. This is courageous.

Schmucks.

A.

She’s just saying…..

From Scout:

bush ass nola

(New Orlean 8/29/2006: photo by scout prime)

Still In Pony Land

From Holden:

There’s a new Quinnipiac Poll out.

American voters disapprove 53 – 39 percent of the job President George W. Bush is doing. Approval ratings on specific areas are:

Disapprove 54 – 40 percent of his handling of the overseas war on terror;

Approve 53 – 42 percent of his policies to prevent terrorism in the U.S.

By a 48 – 39 percent margin, American voters would like the Democrats to take control of Congress in the November elections.

If a candidate for Congress supports President Bush, 21 percent say they are more likely to vote for that candidate, while 38 percent say they are less likely and 41 percent say it won’t make a difference.

American voters oppose the war in Iraq 53 – 43 percent and 36 percent of all voters feel strongly enough to vote against a political candidate just on that issue. This includes 62 percent of Democrats and 12 percent of Republicans.

Your President Speaks!

From Holden:

Chimpy returns to the scene of the crime.

Does He Know What It Means?

We need to get homes available for people. A renewed New Orleans is a New Orleans with new homes. Everybody understands that. The people here, and those who have left, they all tell me one thing — particularly those who — “I miss New Orleans,” is what they say.

I Think I’m Beginning to Be Sick

That’s the spirit we want people who are watching from afar to understand, this home is beginning to be.

Yale Shmale

There needs to be better sewers and better infrastructure, around which a new New Orleans can emerge. I listened carefully, and to the extent there’s bureaucracy standing in the way, me and Don Powell will — or Don Powell and I — excuse me, darlin’ — Don Powell and I — Don Powell and I will work to get rid of them.

Be Charge of the Future

It’s very important, however, that people understand that the best way to make sure the school system delivers excellence is there be local control of schools, that people be charge of the future — local people be in charge of the future of the New Orleans schools.

Click Read More… to get a better UNDERSTANDING of all this.

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Cheney: Against Sanctions On Iran Before He Was For Them

From Holden:

Yesterday I pointed out that John Bolton is advocating additional US sanctions against Iran regardless of what the UN Security Council decides to do.

Which seems a bit odd as the man from whom Bolton is certainly getting his marching orders, Dick Cheney, is on record as being staunchly against sanctioning Iran, and against economic sanctions in general.

During a trip to the Middle East in March 1996, Cheney told some U.S. businessmen that Congress should ease sanctions in Iran and Libya to foster better relationships with those countries.

“Let me make a generalized statement about a trend I see in the U.S. Congress that I find disturbing, that applies not only with respect to the Iranian situation but a number of others as well,” Cheney said at the time. “I think we Americans sometimes make mistakes…There seems to be an assumption that somehow we know what’s best for everybody else and that we are going to use our economic clout to get everybody else to live the way we would like.”

[snip]

“I think we’d be better off if we, in fact, backed off those sanctions (on Iran), didn’t try to impose secondary boycotts on companies … trying to do business over there … and instead started to rebuild those relationships,” Cheney said during a 1998 business trip to Sydney, Australia, according to Australia’s Illawarra Mercury newspaper.

Bush Less Popular Than Everyone Else

From Holden:

There’s a new Cook/RT Strategies Poll out today that shows Chimpy’s approval rating unchanged at 39% (however his disapproval rating has risen four points to 55% since their last poll in July).

That’s cool, but check out this question and the compiled responses.

For each of the following individuals, please tell me how much you like them as a person, using a scale from 0 to 100, where:

0 means you do not like that person at all, and

100 means you like that person a great deal.

George W. Bush 43.6

John Edwards 49.1

Hillary Clinton 43.9

John McCain 54.8

Rudy Giuliani 59.4

John Kerry 44.9

Ha! Good thing for the Chimpster that they didn’t have Hitler on their list as polling lower than Der Fuehrer would be embarrassing.

And things are not looking good for the GOP in November, either.

Which party would you like to see in control of Congress after the congressional elections in November?

Democrats 51%

Republicans 40%