Saturday, June 30, 2007

Signs of progress

Bears: The Globe and Mail reports that the last of Europe's dancing bears has finally been set free, courtesy of the Bardot Foundation.

How about those Riders?
Austin wins in Roughriders head coaching debut. Go team go!

Taking a stand: Watch this -- MSNBC news anchor Mika Brzezinski not only refused to read the lead-off story in her newscast about Paris Hilton but she grabbed the pages so that Joe Scarborough and the other fellow couldn't read the story either, and then, having failed to set them on fire, she shredded them. Then she went on with the rest of the news. It was priceless. The two men seemed shocked -SHOCKED- that she actually was taking this stand. Apparently the clip is circulating around the world.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Great line of the day

From TBogg:
Shorter Recently Concluded Roberts/Alito Court Term:
Well, lessee... we screwed over the atheists, the coloreds, the tree-huggers, consumers, the pregnant sluts, and we were this close to killing a crazy guy. ..It's Miller time!
UPDATE: Remember the phrase "you can never be too rich or too thin"? Well, in our society, you can never have too many rights. The Canadian supreme court knows this. They know that any decision they make which erodes people's rights would be like a crack in a dam, where a trickle would become a torrent -- because there is still a pent-up pressure of racism and sexism, particularly in people of my age, which could explode if it is let loose. The Roberts Court thinks it is rolling American society back to a mythical Conservative Golden Age of the '50s, but it has actually unleashed a racist, sexist beast. This won't be a very happy time for America.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

President Griswold?

If you haven't already read about this, here is the story that Ana Marie Cox was all over today:
The white Chevy station wagon with the wood paneling was overstuffed with suitcases, supplies, and sons when Mitt Romney climbed behind the wheel to begin the annual 12-hour family trek from Boston to Ontario . . . Before beginning the drive, Mitt Romney put Seamus, the family's hulking Irish setter, in a dog carrier and attached it to the station wagon's roof rack. He'd built a windshield for the carrier, to make the ride more comfortable for the dog.
Then Romney put his boys on notice: He would be making predetermined stops for gas, and that was it.
The ride was largely what you'd expect with five brothers, ages 13 and under, packed into a wagon they called the ''white whale.''
As the oldest son, Tagg Romney commandeered the way-back of the wagon, keeping his eyes fixed out the rear window, where he glimpsed the first sign of trouble. ''Dad!'' he yelled. ''Gross!'' A brown liquid was dripping down the back window, payback from an Irish setter who'd been riding on the roof in the wind for hours.
As the rest of the boys joined in the howls of disgust, Romney coolly pulled off the highway and into a service station. There, he borrowed a hose, washed down Seamus and the car, then hopped back onto the highway . . . It was a tiny preview of a trait he would grow famous for in business: emotion-free crisis management.

Unbelievable, isn't it? Only dogs that are absolutely miserable, hysterical, or in pain will crap in their crates. I'm surprised the dog didn't die.
And also unbelievable is the attitude of the reporter, who thinks that strapping a dog to the roof of a car for a 12-hour drive demonstrates great judgment. And then he gives Romney credit for "managing" a "crisis" that he created himself by strapping the dog to the roof in the first place and then forgetting about him as he howled.
The "hulking" terminology that the reporter used is to imply that the poor Romney family had no other choice for traveling with such a large dog. Irish Setters weigh 55 to 65 pounds.
As Ana Marie Cox says:
... the truly out-of-the-box solution he hit upon here is strapping his dog to the roof of his car. Who else thought this little story would end with the dog not crapping itself but, you know, dead? Also, if this really is some kind of trademark approach, I can't wait to hear what he thinks the "roadmap to peace" means. Israel calls shotgun!
And the five Romney boys don't come out of this looking like boys who love their dog either.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

-Great line of the day

RossK is back and opens his newest post with this saying:
Why are there so many old people in church?
They're cramming for the final.
You know, Paul Anka is coming here to do a show and I said to my husband that, while I wouldn't really mind seeing him, I couldn't possibly handle a thousand grey-haired ancients (when they have hair at all), singing along to "And they called it puppy love."

Monday, June 25, 2007

Just fill in the blanks

Auguste at Pandagon finds the grand philosophical allegory for modern American life:
When the “Underpants Gnome” story first came out, we all mistook it for an e-Business allegory . . .
Phase 1 - Collect Underpants
Phase 2 - ?
Phase 3 - Profit
. . . Parker and Stone didn’t just nail the Internet bust with the underpants gnomes idea. They stumbled upon a grand philosophical allegory for modern American life.
Look how this can be applied to so many other other intractable problems. Like running out of oil:
Phase 1 - Run out of oil
Phase 2 - ?
Phase 3 - Alternative energy-based society
And winning in Iraq:
Phase 1: Escalate hostilities
Phase 2: ?
Phase 3: Peace
Hey, sounds easy to about:
Phase 1 - Harper Conservatives break equalization promises
Phase 2 - ?
Phase 3 - All provinces treated fairly

Phase 1 - Coastal cities flood due to climate change
Phase 2 - ?
Phase 3 - New cities built

Carry on...

Cheney is ridiculous

Once again, the Republicans say something totally ridiculous and the Democrats and the media fall all over themselves developing arguments and position papers and analysis.
Of course the Vice-President is part of the Executive branch. There is absolutely nothing to argue about.
And of course Dick Cheney doesn't want to be subordinate to anybody so he has declared himself King of the World.
But that doesn't make it so.

On and on

I heard a talk show host today express his surprise that Harper said he would bring the troops home from Afghanistan in 2009 if that is what Canadians want.
But that's not what he said .
What he actually said was this:
... Harper hinted that a consensus might be possible if Canadian troops took on a different and perhaps less dangerous task should the current deployment be extended beyond the February 2009 deadline.
. . .
"I would hope the view of Canadians is not simply to abandon Afghanistan. I think there is some expectation that there will be a new role after February 2009, but obviously those decisions have yet to be taken."
So apparently we may have a "new role" but likely we will still be there.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Great post of the day

From August J. Pollak:
This is simultaneously the funniest and most horrible thing ever:
The most creative way to use a cat as a weapon happened in World War II. The United States' OSS (Office of Strategic Services, the precursor of the CIA) needed a way to guide bombs to sink German ships. Somebody hit upon the inspiration that since cats have such a strong disdain of getting wet and always land on their feet that if you attached a cat to a bomb and drop it in the vicinity of a ship, the cat's instinct to avoid the water would force it to guide the bomb to the enemy's deck. It is unclear how the cat was supposed to actually guide a bomb attached to it as it fell from the sky but the plan never got past the testing stages since the cats had a bad habit of becoming unconscious mid-drop.
If you do anything but visualize this, break into hysterical laughter, and then suddenly feel really terrible as a person, then I don't know what's wrong with you.

Good news

From an Anglican newsletter:
The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada has decided that same sex blessings, such as those carried out in the Diocese of New Westminster, are "not in conflict" with the core doctrine of the Church. [The vote was] 21 to 19 in the House of Bishops, and 152 to 97 by clergy and lay members voting together . . .

UPDATE: Well, not quite yet:
The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada has narrowly decided not to affirm same sex blessings in its 30 dioceses by turning down a “local option” resolution.
While lay members were in favour of affirming the jurisdiction and authority of local diocesan bishops to authorize the blessing by a vote of 78 to 59, and clergy delegates also approved 63 to 53, the Church’s bishops turned down the motion by two votes – 19 to 21.

Fire away!

I don't intend to snark about the innocent Afghanis who have been slaughtered by the Taliban suicide bombers and attacks. The civilian deaths that NATO troops are causing in Afghanistan are in no way comparable.
But I did think this story made it sound like NATO is writing off civilian deaths as just unfortunate collateral damage:
'If these things happen, they are mistakes, it's never intentional,' [NATO secretary-general Jaap de Hoop Scheffer]said . . . 'It can happen because our enemies use children and civilians as human shields.'
But our hearts are pure:
Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor, who was also in Quebec City, called for the civilian deaths to be put into perspective.
'From our point of view, a civilian gets killed and it's an error,' he said. 'But just recall that last week the Taliban killed 35 policemen and civilians in Kabul and they continue to do this. They continue to blow bombs off in their cities with indiscriminate actions. They don't care who gets killed.'
We, on the other hand, do.
But apparently, we fire anyway.
UPDATE: Boris has more at The Galloping Beaver: Self-Defeating Prophecy

Saturday, June 23, 2007


I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!
'Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.


Digby highlights Sidney Blumenthal's new piece in Salon about how the Bush Court is disintegrating.
Here's the classic line, quoting some unnamed Bush legal official:
"Not everything we've done has been illegal."
Sorta gobsmacks you, doesn't it? How can one respond to that -- well, at least they have SOME standards? Or, so this is the gang that brought dignity back to the White House? Its an epitaph for the whole Bush administration. Though speaking of epitaphs, here's one from George Will, too:
When, against the urgings of the Israelis, we pressed for the elections that overthrew Fatah, who we were backing and put in Hamas, Condoleezza Rice said nobody saw it coming. Those four words are the epitaph of this administration.

Great post of the day

From Kung Fu Monkey, Irrational Fear? IRRATIONAL?
The roller coaster in Montreal was plainly cobbled together from demolished lake-house decks and railroad ties. So although I waited for a half-hour in line with my comedian friends, I felt perfectly justified in stepping into the car, considering my options, and then stepping right on out the other side.
Oh, how they mocked. But my momentary cowardice still allowed me to retain a shred of dignity, and so was worth indulging. Because if I'd gotten on that ride, my friends would have actually heard me scream. Like a little girl. Like a little girl who just woke up because somebody licked her foot. Like a little girl who just woke up because somebody licked her foot, and then when she turns on the light there's an evil clown sitting in the middle of her bedroom, eating her pony.
There's no comeback from the clown-pony scream . . .
Read the whole thing, it gets better.
And don't miss the comments -- more stories to be read with the lights on. Because, as James Wolcott says, we all owe it to our friends to find some new stories:
. . . it's also imperative that I pay attention to what others say because, to be frank, I'm running dangerously short of personal, dispensable anecdotes. The winsome, self-mocking, namedroppy anecdotes that stood me in good stead for so many years have acquired so many age spots and faded hues that I can't bring myself to haul them out of the potato sack one more time.

Friday, June 22, 2007

You can set your clock by them

Kagro X at Daily Kos notes that June is the month when the Bush administration talks about closing Guantanamo.
And looking at the BBC Iraq timeline, September seems to be the month when Iraq is really turning a corner, while January is the month when significant progress is being made. April is the month when casualties skyrocket, thus demonstrating the imminence of American success.
At this rate, the US should be achieving the milestone of 5,000 troops killed right around the time of the 2008 Presidential election.
Or maybe faster -- now the American troops are being told to patrol on foot because Iraqi bombs are getting too good. And Robert Farley at Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that the return to "sweeps" is a demonstration of bankrupt strategy:
. . . maybe this offensive [in western Baquba] will achieve what no other counter-insurgency offensive has achieved (barring perhaps some minor local successes), and actually trap the 500 or so fighters that look like everyone else amid a civilian population that hasn't fled. If history is any guide, however, they won't; they'll catch and kill some, many more will escape, plenty of civilians will either be killed or have their houses destroyed, and little of any significance will be accomplished.
Somewhere else in the blogosphere, a link I cannot find now, I also read a question about what are they're doing in Baquba when it was supposed to be Baghdad that the surge was going to target. Oh well, that was last month's idea. Another day, another "plan" to win Iraq!

Try to imagine how little I care

'Serious flaws' in Saddam's trial, says HRW
The criticism is that the court "essentially assumed" Saddam's guilt, that the judges did not always maintain an impartial demeanour, and that the defendants were not allowed to properly confront witnesses.
Try to imagine how little I care.
Hussein had spent the previous 50 years killing tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis, including members of his own family. At least he got a trial, and while it may not have been as perfectly fair as it could have been, it was not a travesty of justice.
I don't understand why organizations like Human Rights Watch should spend their time trying to generate any sympathy for Saddam Hussein.

Great line of the day

Today Digby writes about the concern-troll pseudo-Democrat in the New York Times who thinks Democrats can get pro-life votes if they just start lying about whether they really support abortion. What Dibgy says:
The pro-choice movement has never made a moral judgment against any woman who chose to bear a child. In fact, we worked hard to allow her to be able to make that decision freely by working to eliminate the stigma that was once attached to divorce, out of wedlock births and other social restrictions on motherhood. We support every program out there that will help her raise her children if she decides to have them. We believe that women and men alike should be able to make enough money to support a family with a decent wage.
The other side treats women with unwanted pregnancies as either selfish sluts or childlike innocents who can't be trusted to make moral decisions at all. They would deny women birth control to help them avoid such circumstances and they believe the traditional nuclear family is the only legitimate way to raise children.
In other words the anti-choice movement makes it simultaneously more difficult for women to have children and more difficult for them to avoid it. So let's not fool ourselves. It's not about children. It's about women. And that means it is simply more conservative resistance to the long march of progress this country has made toward equal rights for all its citizens. The same philosophy that fought tooth and nail against every advance made to ensure that this is truly a free country by denying equal rights to all its citizens also animates those who argue that the rights of the fetus are paramount. It's just another way of ensuring that the rights of women aren't.
Emphasis mine.

More on Edwards

Another John Edwards hit piece, with no substance and a lot of vague innuendo.
Because if Edwards can get the democratic nomination, he would be unstoppable as a presidential candidate.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth Edwards is breaking new ground by speaking at the San Francisco Pride Parade.
Interesting contrast, isn't it -- in some Canadian pride parades, the politicians are so thick there is talk that they have to be limited just so they don't overwhelm the real participants.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Joe Friesen at the Globe is becoming one of my "go-to" writers -- everything he covers is interesting, well-written and well-researched. Lately he has been covering the Saskatchewan high school student suspended because he told his classmates alcohol is worse than marijuana -- which, of course, it is.
The more I read about this story, the more obvious it is that this was an hysterical overreaction on the part of school officials -- drama queens who would rather lock down their school and call in the RCMP instead of just talking to an intimidatingly-brilliant 15-year-old boy. I guess he's just too scary!

Great line of the day

From Some Guy with a Website (August J. Pollak):
It seems almost insane how right-wingers are in some advanced state of denial that there might be a president in the near future who isn't George W. Bush, let alone isn't a Republican. It continues to fuel my partial interest in seeing Clinton become president just for the entertainment value.
It might be useful to get a lot of Senators on record right now about their feelings on signing statements, because if Hillary Clinton becomes president next year I'm pretty sure a lot of them are going to have a massive epiphany about Executive powers.
Emphasis mine.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Ohhh, hot!

It is, of course, completely trivial and ridiculous to focus on what political candidates look like.
But all this pundit swooning over how sexy the Republicans are is ridiculous too.
Compare this group:

to this one:

The only way these three could be considered sexy is if "hotness" is now an index of balding, jowly, squinty-eyed, pudgy, double-chinned, wispy-haired and bulbous-nosed.
Oh, yeah, mama, bring it on!

Infuriating phrases

The Cursor refers us to this Telegraph contest for infuriating phrases -- like this:
. . . Stakeholders will be fully engaged in a consultation exercise breaking down barriers, pushing the envelope towards a seamless, one-stop shop service. Safety and value for money will be paramount so we are investing a funding stream to put in place a supportive multidisciplinary team to head up this exciting upcoming project, provide local ownership and robust clinical governance. Doing nothing is not an option...
But I think the Telegraph missed one. The world's most infuriating phrase is this one -- Homeland Security spokesperson Fran Townsend's statement about the US failure to capture Osama Bin Laden:
"It's a success that hasn't occured yet."

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Great post of the day

I was just going to quote a line or two from this, but the whole thing expresses so clearly what I feel. From Ian Welsh, Hanging Is Too Good For Them:
. . . Let's be real clear - people were raped and tortured at the behest of America's government, with the knowledge and approval of the highest members of government. This rot didn't start at the bottom, it spread from the very very top.
And it was known in 2004, and the US re-elected George Bush anyway.
I'll never forget that, and until George Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and a number of generals are behind bars, I'll never entirely forgive it either. There is no greater crime against humanity than torturing someone. There is nothing more despicable than rape. And there is nothing more pathetic than senior officers refusing to accept responsibility for what their soldiers do, especially when there is every evidence they knew.
Abu Ghraib was the grave of America's soft power; of its reputation as, for all its complicity in other countries unfortunate policies, a basically decent nation that didn't step over the line. It is when bin Laden's rants about the US were given weight, and for many Muslims, made true.
It's when the US became no better than those it fights. Oh, "pre-emptive war", for which the US hung Nazis, had pushed the US close - war based on lies, on classic big lie propaganda scare mongering no different in nature than anything any fascist or totalitarian dictatorship would use, for all that "reporters" bent over backwards to help the administration spread their lies, had pushed the US close to evil.
But Abu Ghraib sealed the deal in the eyes of the world.
America the Good, the city on the Hill, had become a country that tortured. And then, in 2004, in full knowledge of that torture, the US's citizens re-elected George Bush.
There's no fall so far that there can't be redemption. But redemption in this case means facing up to what happened. And that means, in part, that George Bush and his enablers have to go to jail. Really, they should probably be hung, and hanging is too good for them, but since their crimes were those against all human kindness and decency; against all standards of civilized behaviour, the death penalty is not appropriate. Let them rot in jail.
Until the US does this, until the US cleans house, many in the rest of the world will always believe that it could happen again - that George Bush was not; is not, just an aberration, but he is what America is becoming, that your system of "checks and balances" is so broken, so non-functional, that the country is ripe for demagoguery and totalitarian impulses of the worst and darkest kind.
I hope, as someone who believed in America as a bastion of freedom, for all its flaws; that you do clean house. Failure to do so will not just have moral consequences, it will have realpolitik ones as well.
Emphasis mine.
I agree. Unless there is truth and reconciliation, it will take a long, long time -- 50 years? 75? a century? -- certainly the rest of my lifetime, and perhaps my children's as well -- before the world might trust the United States again, or believe then when they say they stand for justice.

Summing up Harper

Two recent Globe and Mail columns about Harper and the Conservatives provide a lot of food for thought.
Macleans magazine Megapundit site summarizes the columns of Rex Murphy and Lawrence Martin summarizing our recent session of parliament:
In The Globe and Mail, Rex Murphy says it’s not so much “the arcane principles of equalization, or the particular dispute on the Atlantic Accord that has hurt the Harper government,” but rather its attitude in dealing with it. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s dismissal of the complaint - "Our government is not in the process of making any side deals for a few extra votes” - is evidence, he suggests, of “a chilly haughtiness that has become all too readily the signature key of the Harper administration.
“This is not an attitude that will widen his quite closeted appeal. And it is surely not an attitude that will have the multitudes strewing palms on the road when he seeks a re-lease on the comforts of 24 Sussex Dr.”
The Globe’s Lawrence Martin is of like mind. Referring to published accounts of Stephen Harper’s early life by William Johnson and Preston Manning, he attempts to psychoanalyze the Prime Minister’s “angry-man syndrome,” which he says dominated this nearly-ended session of Parliament. “The Harper idea of consensus-building was through consultations - with his own mind,” Martin writes. “His life in the cauldron of politics has seemingly taken away soft edges, making him even more partisan and more contemptuous than other practitioners of the sport.”

"Real" Questions

So Chris Matthews is at a Washington conference asking Hilary questions about Scooter Libby and finally the audience starts yelling at him to "ask a real question". Then Hilary chimes in with "A question about the people in this audience and not what goes on inside of Washington." Matthews was visibly upset at first but finally he went along with it and switched to a question about the labour movement.
I wonder if Tweety will think about this at all.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Hooray for winter!

Galloping Beaver notes that the 2007 Failed States Index has now been published.
Here's the map:

You may not be able to read the legend, but the darker green, the better.
Seems like many of the most successful nations are the ones that have the worst winters. I'm not sure if this means anything, but maybe we can thank our winter for keeping us focused -- because if we screw up our country, then everyone freezes to death right quick, like in about one Friedman Unit ...

Just for fun

Some recent dog photos from Yahoo

At a Japanese swimming pool for dogs.

French poodle Smash wins Best in Show at the 2007 World Dog Show Mexico 2007.

Boy and his dog in Geneva.

A West Highland Terrier named Skye waits as his owner looks at a Christie's auction of painting and sculptures of dogs.

Rusty Lu at a Spring Fashion Show for dogs in California. Hope he won.

Littleton, Colorado broke the Guinness record for largest mass dog "wedding", with 50 "couples", surpassing the previous record of 26 set in the Netherlands. Oh, good!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Making the right decision on Iran

I read here and there in the blogosphere about how very difficult it was in 2003 to decide whether the Iraq War was right or not.
Actually, I don't think it was a hard decision at all.
The war on Iraq was based on a unjustified doctrine of preemptive war. It was a war of choice on a nation which had not attacked either the United States or Britain or their allies. And it was a war which was not authorized or supported by any recognized group of nations, like the UN or NATO.
Therefore, of course it was wrong.
Now we're reading the same hysterical arguments promoting war with Iran. This would be just as illegal, immoral and wrong as the Iraq War was. And given the record so far of the Bush administration -- which consistently screws up because it hires incompetent Republican hacks -- a war with Iran would likely be just as incompetently executed.

The latest on Abu Ghraib

Another huge story from Seymour Hersh about General Taguba who investigated, honestly, the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuses. And then spent the next three years watching his career go down the tubes while his Pentagon and Defense Department superiors repeatedly lied about what had actually happened.
Though Abu Ghraib may be considered as old news, there's a lot in this story that is new. Here's an incident from Taguba's first meeting with Rumsfeld:
At that point, Taguba recalled, “I described a naked detainee lying on the wet floor, handcuffed, with an interrogator shoving things up his rectum, and said, ‘That’s not abuse. That’s torture.’ There was quiet.”
And there is evidence of abuse that has never been made public:
. . . the first wave of materials included descriptions of the sexual humiliation of a father with his son, who were both detainees. Several of these images, including one of an Iraqi woman detainee baring her breasts, have since surfaced; others have not. (Taguba’s report noted that photographs and videos were being held by the C.I.D. because of ongoing criminal investigations and their “extremely sensitive nature.”) Taguba said that he saw “a video of a male American soldier in uniform sodomizing a female detainee.” The video was not made public in any of the subsequent court proceedings, nor has there been any public government mention of it. Such images would have added an even more inflammatory element to the outcry over Abu Ghraib. “It’s bad enough that there were photographs of Arab men wearing women’s panties,” Taguba said.
Another new element in this story is that Taguba was actually prevented from investigating any one other than the privates and corporals who were guarding the prisoners -- the orders given by CIA and higher-level military, and their actions, were out-of-bounds:
Taguba eventually concluded that there was a reason for the evasions and stonewalling by Rumsfeld and his aides. At the time he filed his report, in March of 2004, Taguba said, “I knew there was C.I.A. involvement, but I was oblivious of what else was happening” in terms of covert military-intelligence operations. Later that summer, however, he learned that the C.I.A. had serious concerns about the abusive interrogation techniques that military-intelligence operatives were using on high-value detainees.
. . .
Abu Ghraib had opened the door on the issue of the treatment of detainees, and from the beginning the Administration feared that the publicity would expose more secret operations and practices. Shortly after September 11th, Rumsfeld, with the support of President Bush, had set up military task forces whose main target was the senior leadership of Al Qaeda. Their essential tactic was seizing and interrogating terrorists and suspected terrorists; they also had authority from the President to kill certain high-value targets on sight. The most secret task-force operations were categorized as Special Access Programs, or S.A.P.s.
. . .
The former senior intelligence official said that when the images of Abu Ghraib were published, there were some in the Pentagon and the White House who “didn’t think the photographs were that bad”—in that they put the focus on enlisted soldiers, rather than on secret task-force operations. Referring to the task-force members, he said, “Guys on the inside ask me, ‘What’s the difference between shooting a guy on the street, or in his bed, or in a prison?’ ” A Pentagon consultant on the war on terror also said that the “basic strategy was ‘prosecute the kids in the photographs but protect the big picture.’ ”
. . .
A recently retired C.I.A. officer, who served more than fifteen years in the clandestine service, told me that the task-force teams “had full authority to whack—to go in and conduct ‘executive action,’ ” the phrase for political assassination. “It was surrealistic what these guys were doing”
And what did Bush know? Hersh says:
. . . Bush made no known effort to forcefully address the treatment of prisoners before the scandal became public, or to reëvaluate the training of military police and interrogators, or the practices of the task forces that he had authorized. Instead, Bush acquiesced in the prosecution of a few lower-level soldiers. The President’s failure to act decisively resonated through the military chain of command.
But Bush wasn't just failing to deal with the abuse, he was actively cheering it on. Maybe Hersh forgot the creepiest line in the 2003 State of the Union speech, when Bush said:
All told, more than 3,000 suspected terrorists have been arrested in many countries. Many others have met a different fate. Let's put it this way -- they are no longer a problem to the United States and our friends and allies.
Because they're dead. Sounds sorta familiar, doesn't it?

Friday, June 15, 2007

Very strange

During one of the recent Democratic debates, Barak Obama made some remark to Wolf Blitzer that a question about English as a national language was unnecessarily divisive and meanspirited. I thought this was a brave attempt to challenge both a meta-narrative and journalist prejudices. Hey, maybe this guy's different!
Then today Obama produces two press releases that insult East Indians and call Hillary Clinton "D-Punjab".
And earlier this week Obama's legal advisor said Scooter Libby should be pardoned.
So who is this Obama guy really?

I read the news today, oh boy

"Incompetent"? Moi? You can always tell when a Democrat has said something true. The Republicans get simply furious.

Scooter Who? Now that Scooter is actually supposed to go to jail, and now that the judge made it clear that he is going to jail for lying to investigators and obstructing justice, watch for all those Scooter supporters to start backing away -- particularly as they realize that their hero Scooter could save himself from jail by testifying truthfully about Cheney's petty, ridiculous and creepy campaign to trash Joe Wilson. Today the judge not only said Scooter should go to jail, he also called shame on all of those people who spent the last week whining and bullying. He described the threatening letters and emails he had received and he slapped down the law professors too:
Walton: With all due respect, these are intelligent people, but I would not accept this brief from a first year law student. I believe this was put out to put pressure on this court in the public sphere to rule as you wish. [Reggie pissed]
Robbins: These 12 scholars believe this is a close question.
Walton: If I had gotten something more of substance from them, maybe.

Don't they think we'll notice? At some point, won't Canadians realize who is to blame for the problems the Conservatives are having in running the government?

We can always take the bus, I guess So Canada's very own no-fly list is going to be implemented next week -- just in time for the summer holiday season. Oh, yeah, that oughta work real smooth!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Great line of the day

From Scott, talking about the federal budget. First, Scott reminds us of Flaherty's budget speech:
"the long, tiring, unproductive era of bickering between the provincial and federal governments is over"
Then Scott reviews all the recent bickering:
I wonder if Flaherty really believed what he was saying when he said that now infamous line in his Budget speech. Harper still has not held a First Ministers meeting with the provinces 18 months into his “new government” mandate. Besides the aforementioned Budget squabbles, you also have several provinces objecting to Harper’s proposed piecemeal Senate “reform”. Relations between provinces and the feds were never this bad under any recent Prime Minister that I can think of - not Chretien or Martin, and not even Trudeau or Mulroney in the midst of their constitutional crises.
You’d almost think Harper and the Conservatives were doing this on purpose to try and prove that Canada is ungovernable. They’re doing a fine job of showing that right now, and most of it is of their own doing.
Emphasis mine.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Great post of the day

Television writer Ken Levin on what would have happened if THE SOPRANOS were on a major network:
The finale would be at least two hours.
There would be a one hour clip show hosted by Bob Costas preceding it.
There would be live coverage of the cast party on the network’s local 11:00 news. It would be the lead story even if Hurricane Katrina hit that day.
There would be a little animated promo swooshing across the bottom of the screen after every commercial break of every other prime time show on that network for two weeks. A little gun would shoot a little mobster. The blood would spell out SOPRANOS.
Also, on the bottom of the screen there would be a little countdown clock for a month leading up to the finale.
The cast would be on that network’s late night talk show. If the network didn’t have a late night talk show they would create one just for this purpose.
An online contest would offer prizes if you guessed who would be whacked and when. That way you could watch the final episode and play along at home.
They would spin off Janice. Coming in September: WIDOW WITH CHILDREN.
They would insist that Tony’s mother return despite the fact that the actress who played her has died.
They would NEVER EVER EVER allow an ambiguous ending.
They would want the following changes in the last scene. Meadow should drive a Ford because that’s who is sponsoring. She should have no trouble parallel parking because Fords are easy to parallel park. The restaurant must be TGI Fridays – also a sponsor and much more colorful. The threat should come from a singing waiter wearing a straw hat, suspenders, and hundreds of fun buttons. A secondary threat should be an Arab terrorist with a scar. The Arab should pull his gun. The waiter should point his banjo (which is also a semi-automatic rifle). It looks like Tony, Carmela, and A.J. are done for it. Final commercial break. We come back just as Meadow bursts in the door with an Uzi and blows the bad guys away. Meadow, it seems, has just come from dance class and is wearing nothing but a hot leotards. Tony says, “That’s what I get for going to Fridays on Tuesday.” The family shares a laugh. Meadow sits down. Everyone hugs and declares their love for each other. Carmelo calls out, “Can we get ANOTHER waiter?” They laugh. One more hug. Long fade out, as music swells – Dino’s “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head”. Fade out. Your local news is next.
So if you’re still pissed at David Chase for the way he really ended the series just think of the alternative.
Well, yeah, when you put it that way...


Shorter APC reporter Ron Fournier:
The way to be a better reporter is to work at it.

Then and now

In the opinion of Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party, the people of Saskatchewan are just being absurd.
Promise? What promise?
But it's pretty simple, really.
Here's what Harper said then:
• Work to achieve with the provinces permanent changes to the equalization formula which would ensure that non-renewable natural resource revenue is removed from the equalization formula to encourage economic growth. We will ensure that no province is adversely affected from changes to the equalization formula.
Here's what Harper is saying now:
Calvert said he is taking legal action against Ottawa because he feels his province is being singled out and treated unfairly under equalization . . . [because the federal government] capped the amount of funding a province can receive under the program . . . In the House of Commons question period on Wednesday, Harper seemed to mock Calvert's action.
"I think this debate is getting a bit to the level of the absurd. We're being accused of breaking the contract of the Atlantic Accord. Now the premier of Saskatchewan, who has no accord, is going to sue us for breaking his accord. Mr. Speaker, I don't even understand what they are saying anymore," he said.
Calvert responded angrily on CTV's Mike Duffy Live, saying the prime minister "fully understands what I'm saying -- you can be sure of that."
"Here's a prime minister who came from the West. Here's a prime minister who came directly out of that non-renewable resource sector -- the oil patch. Here's a prime minister who made a promise to the people of Saskatchewan, in fact the people across Canada, including our good friends in Atlantic Canada ... knowing full well what this promise means. He knows full well that he has betrayed the promise. He also knows we don't have an accord -- he wouldn't offer us one."
Calvert earlier said the province isn't treating its case as a broken contract. "Our approach will be constitutional," he said.
The Constitution recognizes that resources belong to the province and that equalization is a constitutional provision. Fairness must be a part of any equalization policy change, and Saskatchewan has clearly been singled out, he said.
As I have said before, politicians break promises all the time, for good reasons or bad. And then it's up to the voters at the next election to decide how important it was.
But at least be honest about it.
Harper is simply lying, over and over-- and so are the Saskatchewan Conservative MPs -- when they argue that they "substantially" kept their promise. No, they didn't. How stupid do they think we are?


Hmmm -- I just think it's a little odd, that's all. The Conservative Party website front page has five (5) photos of Stephane Dion and one (1) photo of Steven Harper.

Dog days

Jason Cherniak writes about Peter MacKay's ironic dilemma:
For all his self-sacrifice, Peter MacKay has been treated by Stephen Harper like a dog. He is allowed to speak when called on in Question Period. He is allowed the treats of foreign travel. But always, always he is at the beck and call of the Prime Minister. This most recent shock of the collar - this one more request to put principle aside - should surely be the final straw. For what good is the "greater good" when it can only lead to the destruction of the Conservative Party in Atlantic Canada and an end to all for which MacKay has worked these long years? . . . It is time for Peter MacKay to make a decision. Is he a man or is he a dog?
Linda McQuaig says Harper is Bush's new 'poddle'
Perhaps the most notable thing Stephen Harper did at the G-8 gathering last week was signal his intention to take over retiring British Prime Minister Tony Blair's role as George W. Bush's most helpful foreign ally.
The implications of this go far beyond whatever embarrassment Canadians may come to feel about our Prime Minister assuming the role of what has sometimes been referred to as Bush's “poodle.”
Members of our corporate and academic elite have long pushed for Canada's Prime Minister to adopt the “poodle” role (without, of course, calling it that), arguing that closer ties with the White House will bring us more influence in U.S. corridors of power.
But as Tony Blair's experience illustrated, the influence tends to go the other way — with the lesser power helping to advance Washington's agenda, rather than Washington advancing the agenda of its finely-furred friend.
Personally, I always thought dogs had more dignity than Conservative politicians, but I could be wrong.

Monday, June 11, 2007

More stupid people

Oops. I forgot to mention these idiots:
. . . the proposal from the Air Force's Wright Laboratory in Dayton, Ohio . . . suggested, "One distasteful but completely non-lethal example would be strong aphrodisiacs, especially if the chemical also caused homosexual behavior."
The documents show the Air Force lab asked for $7.5 million to develop such a chemical weapon.
"The Ohio Air Force lab proposed that a bomb be developed that contained a chemical that would cause enemy soldiers to become gay, and to have their units break down because all their soldiers became irresistibly attractive to one another. . . The notion was that a chemical that would probably be pleasant in the human body in low quantities could be identified, and by virtue of either breathing or having their skin exposed to this chemical, the notion was that soldiers would become gay," explained Hammond.
Oohhh, getting a bunch of 19-year-old guys to want to have sex, what a breakthrough weapon that would be!.
And becoming gay -- obviously, in their opinion, some kind of fate worse than death.
Because then they wouldn't be allowed to be soldiers anymore
...oh, wait, I guess they forgot that just about the only army in the civilized world that still even CARES whether soldiers are gay is the American army.

Why do people believe such stupid stuff?

What is wrong with these people?
They believe abortion and hormonal contraception is murder . . . banning the most effective forms of contraception will lead to more unwanted pregnancies than ever—and thus to more back alley abortions, if they get their wish and abortion is banned. Women’s lives are at stake here, and there is no more room for compromise with the majority of anti-choicers.
Or these people?
Can you believe we are actually reading stuff like this?
Although many scientists accept evolution as the best theoretical explanation for diversity in forms of life on Earth, the issue of its validity has risen again as an important issue in the current 2008 presidential campaign.
It's enough to make you hang your head in despair.
Or this guy?
With a "strike plan in place," according to U.S. military officers, and 'a neo-conservative international' targeting Iran, Sen. Joe Lieberman lets out "centrist war cries" militating for "aggressive military action" against Iran.
And these guys?
“This is a very serious undertaking,” Mr. Bar-Tur said. “This is not some hokey park that we’re talking about.” . . . The park, described in promotional material as “edutainment,” would cost $150 million to $200 million. With a Galilean village as its centerpiece, one side of the park would present Old Testament stories like the Exodus; the other side would have New Testament stories like Jesus’ birth and crucifixion. The only displays in writing would be excerpts from Scripture, and parts of the park would be reserved for Bible study.
Boy, doesn't that sound like fun, kids?
And Dave has tracked down the Bible Park/Hard Rock Cafe connection. I wonder how many people still believe that Elvis lives?

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Bye, Steve

Tens of thousands of people like me loved Steve Gilliard and there is no way we could have attended his funeral on Friday.
There were a few bloggers who did but they seem to think there's something wrong with either
telling us about it or giving us the opportunity to talk together about what Steve meant to us all.
So that's that, I guess.
Maybe someday, somebody will gather his writing up and present it on a blog that advances what he tried to achieve in blogging. He was a pioneer and he knew, better than anyone, how important and valuable was the community he created. Every time there was a post on The News Blog about his illness, his community gathered round and we all tried so hard to send messages of strength and support and caring. It was a remarkable outpouring.
The community is scattered now and has no place to meet anymore. Maybe we'll find each other again someday. In the meantime, bye, Steve.

The end

And from a million homes across North America comes the cry "What the fuck was that all about?

Great line of the day

DBK describes the media frenzy over Paris Hilton:
The news story ... has gripped the nation's consciousness like a rottweiler on a lamb chop...
How's that for a memorable image?

Friday, June 08, 2007

Call the CDC -- its an epidemic

Bush-Exasperation Syndrome
An intensive study of 1,000 randomly-selected Americans has yielded conclusive evidence of a heretofore unnoted contagion, an offshoot of Tourette's Syndrome doctors have labeled BES, or Bush Exasperation Syndrome . . . [which causes] involuntary outbursts of projectile cursing whenever the name or image of President George W. Bush is flashed before sufferers of this malady . . . those stricken with Bush Exasperation Syndrome are more likely to be volatile, unable to control their bodily movements when seized by a fit of cursing, with arms flailing, and digits involuntarily making obscene hand gestures at television screens or other triggering stimuli.
. . . words and phrases widely known to be associated with George W. Bush can increase the severity of these seizures. For instance, the phrase "the decider" has been shown to be nearly fatal to people with advanced cases of the disease, and there have been a handful of documented fatalities attributed to BES patients exposed to the phrase "Is our children learning?"

Good, Bad, Ugly

The Supreme Court of Canada has overturned a B.C. legislation that effectively tore up union contracts in 2002 and ruled collective bargaining is protected under the Charter of Rights . . . It's the first time the Supreme Court has recognized the right of collective bargaining. It sided with a group of B.C. health unions seeking to overturn Bill 29, the Health and Social Services Delivery Improvement Act, rushed through in January 2002 in just three days by the B.C. Liberal government . . . The Supreme Court justices agreed the B.C. government was facing a dilemma but shot down its lack of consultation with its unions and failure to try less intrusive and heavy-handed ways to find a compromise. The "measures adopted by the government constitute a virtual denial of the (charter) right to a process of good faith bargaining and consultation," the decision said. "The government presented no evidence as to why this particular solution was chosen and why there was no consultation with the unions about the range of options open to it."
Two of world's most famous anti-poverty activists [Bono and Bob Geldof] tore into Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Friday, accusing Canada of blocking other G8 nations from making clear targets in the group's humanitarian aid package to Africa. . . The high-profile activist-musicians cited sources inside the summit who alleged Harper personally blocked the G8 leaders from accepting accountability for fulfilling their promises. "It's as if we have the place bugged, because everybody tells us," Bono said.
245. Detainees were taken to their cells by strong people who wore black outfits, masks that covered their whole faces, and dark visors over their eyes. Clothes were cut up and torn off; many detainees were then kept naked for several weeks.. . .
247. Detainees went through months of solitary confinement and extreme sensory deprivation in cramped cells, shackled and handcuffed at all times.
248. Detainees were given old, black blankets that were too small to lie upon at the same time as attempting to cover oneself.. . .
252. A common feature for many detainees was the four-month isolation regime. During this period of over 120 days, absolutely no human contact was granted with anyone but masked, silent guards. . . .
256. Detainees were exposed at times to over-heating in the cell; at other times drafts of freezing breeze.. . .
266. There was a shackling ring in the wall of the cell, about half a metre up off the floor. Detainees’ hands and feet were clamped in handcuffs and leg irons. Bodies were regularly forced into contorted shapes and chained to this ring for long, painful periods. . . .

Thursday, June 07, 2007

How stupid do they think we are?

I don't care how they try to parse and triangulate and rephrase and reinterpret. They broke their promise to Saskatchewan. And now they don't even have the integrity to tell the truth about what they are doing:
During the last election, the Conservative platform stated that non-renewable resource revenues would be excluded from the federal-provincial equalization formula. However, the spring budget didn't include such a commitment.
"Those who voted for the Conservatives in Saskatchewan and Atlantic Canada put their trust in the commitments made by Mr. Harper," Dion said.
"That trust was broken."
OK, sometimes politicians break their promises, for good reasons or bad.
But after all of Harper's talk-talk-talk about accountability, I would have expected him and his Saskatchewan Conservatives to at least have the guts to admit what they have done.
Harper and the Conservatives keep lying about it, over and over.

Great line of the day

From Accidental Deliberations
Shorter Peter MacKay:
I would never have said our party is willing to tolerate MPs voting their conscience if I'd thought one of our members still had one.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Just another day

Just another day down at the old watering hole:

And here we thought that ungulates were sorta wimpy...

Robert Kennedy

I had forgotten that June 5, 1968 was the day Robert Kennedy was assassinated. Here is one man's remembrance:
It was still dark outside when I felt my mom’s hand shaking my shoulder. “You need to get up,” she said and started out of my room.
“What’s going on?”
My mother hung her head. “Bobby Kennedy’s been shot,” she said softly and walked out.
I was out of bed at warp speed and parked in front of the TV in the den. There the flickering pictures proved my mom’s information true. Another Kennedy assassinated. Another senseless act of violence on a man who asked only for peace and justice for those less fortunate than himself.
For me, the “last, best hope” gone.
I became a cynic in my political thinking, indifferent to a system that killed its best. I devoted my energies to rock and roll and wretched excess in the ensuing years. Except for a spite vote for McGovern in 1972 to piss off my Nixon loving father, I took no interest in politics, especially Presidential politics, until 1992 when an Xer friend shamed me into finally standing up again. I voted for Clinton because he reminded me a little of that hero of my youth - Bobby Kennedy.
And every June 5th I stop for a few moments and remember how I believed in what America could be once - try to get some of that belief back - and, to use an old Boomer chestnut, “keep on keeping on.”
And I ask Bobby to forgive me - and my generation - for failing to pick up his torch.

Monday, June 04, 2007

No mercy

In children's sports, there is often what is called a "mercy rule" -- if one team is ahead by an extraordinary amount, like, say, by 10 runs in the 4th inning, then the game is called 'over'. In retrospect, I'm not sure if the mercy is for the kids or for the parents, but certainly by the time a mercy rule applies, the parents are quite happy to show "mercy" to the losing team. Good game, good try, too bad, better luck next week, see ya!
In politics, there are no mercy rules.
Republicans are asking for one now, starting to plead for one. They think they should just be able to agree that its too bad the Bush presidency is such a failure but its really not their fault, nobody's fault really, no hard feelings, see you on the diamond next year when we'll have a new pitcher.
Not so fast.
This is starting to get fun.
Well, we knew this day would come, and yet, who knew that it would taste quite so sweet? You see, my pretties, it seems that Peg Noonan was right when she said that the Right Wing base is cracking under the unbearable strain of the Bush administration's pro-corporate/anti-nativist stance on immigration. At this very moment, our enemies on the Other Side are fragmenting, breaking apart into a jillion little tiny glittering shards of impotent rage, and all right before our very eyes. Isn't it beautiful? . . . Ace has a message for us:
Message To The Left: I'm not saying you should impeach him, I'm just sayin', you know, go with your hearts.
Oh, nooooooo, not when he's making you all this unhappy. He's only there for another year and a half or so. I think we should leave him twisting in the wind for as long as possible just so he can continue to heap handful after handful of dirt on the coffin lid of conservatism.
I know I shouldn't enjoy your pain, Wingnut bloggers. It's spiteful and cruel of me; petty, bilious, and adolescent. And yet, seeing you all running around screaming like somebody kicked in your ant-hill, well...
James Wolcott:
Bush is not a liberal, never was; he's a messianic narcissist of mediocre abilities who needs hacks around him to keep his ego from collapsing like a dam wall. He isn't spurning his conservative base on immigration because he's longs to make nice with Ted Kennedy, he's spurning them because they disagree with him and he can't brook disagreement. If he didn't listen to his own father, a former president no less, do you really think he's going to lose winks at night over what Laura Ingraham or the NRO gang has to say? His head hits that pillow like a rock and there's no reasoning with a rock.
Glenn Greenwald:
The great fraud being perpetrated in our political discourse is the concerted attempt by movement conservatives, now that the Bush presidency lay irreversibly in ruins, to repudiate George Bush by claiming that he is not, and never has been, a "real conservative." This con game is being perpetrated by the very same conservatives who -- when his presidency looked to be an epic success -- glorified George W. Bush, ensured both of his election victories, depicted him as the heroic Second Coming of Ronald Reagan, and celebrated him as the embodiment of True Conservatism.
This fraud is as transparent as it is dishonest. . .
Lance Mannion:
The Bush Leaguers have poisoned and broken and just plain fucked up everything they've touched because they are an administration of flunkies. You don't get a job in that White House unless you know it's your first and only duty to see to it that nothing the Government does inconveniences Bush's base or costs them a dime they don't want to spend or makes them feel the least little bit guilty about exercising their privileges.
The supply of intelligent, talented, diligent, responsible people who would willingly devote their lives to being flunkies and making other people rich, while unfortunately not miniscule, is limited. Cheney and Rove have had to fill in all over the place with the stupid, the naive, and the desperate for work because they are incompetent, the Michael Browns and Monica Goodlings, the Tim Griffins and Douglas Feiths of the world, who can't help but poison and break and fuck-up everything they touch . . . They've made a mess everywhere, from the Smithsonian to the FDA to FEMA to the Justice Department, from New Orleans to Baghdad, and it should be the next President's job to fix it, but the Insider Media has decided that the most important issues of the upcoming election are Hillary's ambition, Bill's decades old sex scandals, John Edwards' haircuts, and Obama's middle name.
Listening to these phonies whine now about how Scooter didn't mean it and Lurita Doan never followed through and how the Democrats are "criminalizing" politics moves me not at all. In a world where Republicans hadn't impeached a president for purely partisan reasons, stolen elections, started unnecessary wars, pillaged the treasury and degraded the constitution I might be inclined to be compassionate toward someone like Doan, who was probably just doing what Karl Rove expected. Sorry, I'm fresh out of compassion for Republicans. As far as I'm concerned, Waxman should ruthlessly go after every single case. It is a moral hazard to allow these people to continuously get away with things of which they accuse others. It's got to stop.
Sadly, No!:
None of these former Bush cultists can admit that Dear Leader was the bee’s knees, gave them exactly what they wanted, was a living God, was the acme of conservatism. Because to admit that is to admit the fact that what they believe in — their ‘principles’, their ideology, all of which Bush personified — sucks and is a menace to humanity. It’s our job to deny them their grip, to kick them off the cliff along with Dear Leader. Because if we don’t, they’ll just find another Dear Leader, and the Cult will be restored. No mercy. Fuck these people.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Exam humour

See them all at They didn't study

Steve Gilliard is gone

I learned so much from reading Steve Gilliard over the years and I am grateful. Jane Hamsher provides a vivid portrait:
...An inveterate reader, he carried an enormous backpack filled with books and couldn't fathom that I was trying to negotiate New York City in a rental car. We spent the afternoon together eating antipasto and shellfish, wandering the streets looking for WiFi, drinking coffee and gabbing.
It was a crisp blue day, the five year anniversary of 9/11 and it made Steve extremely somber. He was very much affected by the experience of 9/11 and resented those who wanted to appropriate it for their own purposes, and didn't think that anyone who wasn't there that day could ever understand what it was like to have their whole existence shaken in such a profound way. Like many New Yorkers, he felt quite proprietary about that day and it very much shaped who he was and fueled his passion for blogging. He'd spent most of the morning grumbling online at those he felt could not possibly know what they were talking about.
Steve was unique, and it struck me as odd how someone could be such a pragmatist and a purist at the same time. He was eloquent, fierce, irascible, passionate, brilliant and brave. And I'll just shut up now before I let the cat out of the bag and tell everyone how gentle and caring he came across in person. He'd no doubt be furious with me for blowing his cover.
Eventually I had to get back to Connecticut and the last time I saw Steve he was walking away carrying that backpack, off to lay his hands on another military history book he hadn't been able to locate. I offered to drive him but Steve, being the consummate New Yorker, looked at me like I was insane and walked off into the chaos of the city that somehow seemed to center him.
Miss you, Steve.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Sgt. Pepper Day

People my age talk about when they first heard Sgt. Pepper, like we talk about where we were when we heard that John Lennon died.
Tristero explains why the Beatles made such an impact: you kiddies out there who want to know what all the brouhaha about The Beatles was all about, I strongly suggest you - hell, everyone should have it - grab the four Complete Ed Sullivan Shows with The Beatles . Now here's the thing: you have to watch one a night, all the way through, including Miitzi Gaynor sing what she calls "real music," and Frank Gorshin doing Kirk Douglas impressions. You will learn two things. First of all, that life in mainstream white America in 1964 was bereft of any positive cultural merit whatsoever. And secondly, this is the ideal society your average Republican politician has in mind for America, sans Beatles of course. It truly is hard to believe. You must see these shows in their entirety to understand how much this country has changed.

Great line of the day

From Digby:
Chris Matthews reminds everyone daily that voters want to vote for the man who seems the manliest (competence is for eggheads) but I can't help but suspect that the rest of the country is no longer so convinced that the right way to pick a president is to ask yourself whether he resembles a member of the Village People. We've just spent six years with the fake cowboy and look how well that's turned out.

Get real

The Washington pundits have to get real. Now they're all excited about Fred Thompson, an actor who was senator for a few years. Last week, they were all excited about Rudy Guiliani, a lawyer who was a mayor for a few years.
Just try to picture either of these guys standing at a podium on a stage next to Gore, or Obama, or Edwards, or even Hillary...