Observations on the world today.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Reform the Reformers 

GeorgeWBush.com :: Official Blog :: May 16, 2004 - May 22, 2004 Archive
The Washington Post editorial board today slams Kerry for his decision to try and delay accepting his party’s nomination. Not only does it render the Democrats’ convention meaningless and further undermine campaign finance reform, it is another example of John Kerry choosing to manipulate the rules. The Post chides, “We do look forward to his non-acceptance speech.”
Wow! Cry us a river, George.

The republicans have really got to get over this victim-mentality. Kerry came up with a brilliant strategy to foil Bush's own machinations. After all, it was the GOP that moved the date of their own convention to September, planning to take fuller advantage of their own uncontested nominee, and use the post-convention bounce to better advantage.

Oh, and the Post did not "slam" Kerry for this plan. The editorial is an indictment of the antiquated idea of convention and the flawed system of campaign finance laws.

Can Bush ever not lie about anything?



O Frabjous Day!  

Callooh, Callay!

Yahoo! Movies: Cannes Film Festival Coverage -:
American filmmaker Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11," a scathing indictment of White House actions after the Sept. 11 attacks, won the top prize Saturday at the Cannes Film Festival.

"Fahrenheit 9/11" was the first documentary to win Cannes' prestigious Palme d'Or since Jacques Cousteau's "The Silent World" in 1956.

"What have you done? I'm completely overwhelmed by this. Merci," Moore said after getting a standing ovation from the Cannes crowd.
He chortled in his joy!



Friday, May 21, 2004

What a Boob! 

Wait till you hear what Bush did now.

Yahoo! News - Bush Grants Pardons, Commutes Sentences:
President Bush has granted full pardons to five people, including one South Carolina man who died last year.
Wait, that's not it. I know you think that's it, and it could be. But it's not.
Other pardons were granted to:

_Paul Jude Donnici of Kansas City, Mo., for a 1993 conviction for using a telephone to transmit wagering information.

_Charles E. Hamilton of Bellevue, Wash., for a 1989 mail fraud conviction.

_Kenneth Lynn Norris of Yukon, Okla., for a 1993 conviction for illegal disposal of hazardous waste. (Emphasis mine, Mister)
THAT'S it.



Scott Ritter to the Rescue! 

Iraq sarin shell is not part of a secret cache | csmonitor.com
If the 155-mm shell was a "dud" fired long ago — which is highly likely — then it would not be evidence of the secret stockpile of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) that the Bush administration used as justification to invade Iraq.
Given what's known about sarin shells, the US could be expected to offer a careful recital of the data with news of the shell. But facts that should have accompanied the story — the type of shell, its condition, whether it had been fired previously, and the age and viability of the sarin and precursor chemicals — were absent. And that's opened the door to irresponsible speculation that the shell was part of a live WMD stockpile. The data — available to the ISG — would put this development in proper perspective — allowing responsible discussion of the event and its possible ramifications.
Hat tip to The Political Animal.

This was sort of the point I was making the other day in my post about the shell where I said:
But here is the larger question, does anybody really think that this is what we went to war over? Old binary sarin shells? Here's my question; why wasn't it LAUNCHED? Why was it set to detonate like a pipe-bomb instead of being fired from a cannon? This is going to turn out to be just another dud (no pun intended) like the Botulism, the chemical-lab trailers, and the stockpile of Mustard-gas shells.
Who knew how precise my language actually was?



The Chalabi Who Came in From the Cold 

FOXNews.com - Top Stories - CIA: Chalabi Possibly Spied for Iran
U.S. troops and Iraqi police on Thursday suddenly surrounded and raided Chalabi's house — and police also searched offices of his organization, the Iraqi National Congress.

CIA sources told Fox News there are reports that the INC passed information to Iran, but as far as what type of information, the sources said that isn't known for sure.
I just wanted to post a link to Foxnews saying that Chalabi is a spy. I'm a big fan of ironic justice.



Thursday, May 20, 2004

The Day After Gas Out 

Yesterday I promised to give the figures on today's gas sales. As I noted yesterday, the sales seemed to be about $400 down from the previous two Wednesdays. However, if there had been a surge the day before or the day after, I noted that this would not actually represent a loss, so it would mean that the boycott had had no impact.

On Thursday, May 6 we did $2575.68 in gas sales. The following week on the 13th our sales were $3111.15. Today's sales were $2684.27 so there was clearly no surge this week. So I'm going to go with a $400 loss due to the boycott. However, this only translates to about a 16.66% loss for one day.

However, another point that should be raised is this. When I went in to work today, gas prices had actually risen 7%. Yesterday, unleaded was $1.999 per gallon. Today, it's $2.149 a gallon. So much for the impact of the boycott.



Andy Kaufman Returns 

Andy Kaufman Returns
Hey everyone. Greetings from planet earth.

Sorry about faking my death. I always knew my biggest supporters would play along until it was the right time for me to return. Yesterday, being the 20th anniversary, was a long enough time to go away. No one has ever gone away that long before. I've been documenting my adventures for the last twenty years in journals and will be posting some of the best stories from here. Mostly though, I've just been practicing transcendental meditation throughout various parts of the world while working odd jobs and keeping a low profile.

I'll be posting regularly from this address. You can consider this site Andy Kaufman central. Enrique P. is some kind of obsessed online fan of mine.

Now for your obvious first question. "How can I know this is the real Andy Kaufman, and not some prankster punk kid?" Well, all I can say is that definitive proof that I am the real Andy Kaufman will be forthcoming. For now, you'll just have to trust me.
Well, maybe Andy isn't really back, but Tony Clifton sure is.



Write Your Own "Bush's Genitals" Caption 



Nader Raider 

The New York Times > Washington > Campaign 2004 > Kerry Woos Nader, Who Deems Him 'Very Presidential'
Faced with growing concerns about Ralph Nader's potential to siphon off Democratic votes, John Kerry began a forceful but delicate effort on Wednesday to win over the man whose candidacy caused so much trouble for the Democratic nominee four years ago.

Mr. Kerry did not ask him to abandon the race, and Mr. Nader showed no signs of bowing out. But Mr. Kerry's wooing did seem to be having the desired effect already. In an interview immediately after what participants called a very friendly one-hour meeting at Mr. Kerry's headquarters, Mr. Nader called Mr. Kerry "very presidential," fondly recalled his antiwar leadership in the 1970's, praised his skills as a politician and quite favorably compared Mr. Kerry to Vice President Al Gore.
Nader might as well have said, "Shit, I'd vote for him."
Mr. Nader said he did raise with Mr. Kerry his desire to be included in any presidential debates, and said Mr. Kerry was noncommittal.
Now, see, that I'd like to see. A debate with two guys beating up on Bush. How could that be a bad thing?



Sibel Gets the Trotsky Treatment 

The New York Times > Washington > Material Given to Congress in 2002 Is Now Classified
The Justice Department has taken the unusual step of retroactively classifying information it gave to Congress nearly two years ago regarding a former F.B.I. translator who charged that the bureau had missed critical terrorist warnings, officials said Wednesday.

Law enforcement officials say the secrecy surrounding the translator, Sibel Edmonds, is essential to protecting information that could reveal intelligence-gathering operations. But some members of Congress and Congressional aides said they were troubled by the move, which comes as critics have accused the Bush administration of excessive secrecy.

"What the F.B.I. is up to here is ludicrous," Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, said in an interview. "To classify something that's already been out in the public domain, what do you accomplish? It does harm to transparency in government, and it looks like an attempt to cover up the F.B.I.'s problems in translating intelligence."

F.B.I. officials gave Senate staff members two briefings in June and July of 2002 concerning Ms. Edmonds, who said the F.B.I.'s system for translating intelligence was so flawed that the bureau missed chances to spot terrorist warnings.

But the F.B.I. now maintains that some of the information discussed was so potentially damaging if released publicly that it is now considered classified, according to a memorandum distributed last week within the Senate Judiciary Committee. The material could also play a part in pending lawsuits, including Ms. Edmonds's wrongful termination suit and a lawsuit brought by hundreds of families of Sept. 11 victims who have sought to take testimony from her.

"Any staffer who attended those briefings, or who learns about those briefings, should be aware that the F.B.I. now considers the information classified and should therefore avoid further dissemination,'' the Judiciary Committee memorandum said.
Sorry about that long quote, but come on .... retroactive classification?



Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Gas Out Day 

Don't Buy Gas on May 19th - Netlore Archive

As it happens, I work as an assistant manager at a convenience store that sells gasoline. I checked the records for the past two Wednesdays and found that on May 5, we sold $2382.60 and on the 12th, we sold $2428.30. Today, the day of the national boycott, we sold $2014.70. So we are about $400.00 down for the day.

I wondered if maybe the difference was made up yesterday, so I checked the last three Tuesdays. On May 4, we sold $2452.60, and on May 11, we sold $2699.12. Yesterday, we sold $2696.46. So it does not look like we had a surge yesterday. I'll let you know if we have a surge tomorrow. Of course, these are purely anecdotal and unscientific results.



Blogs (Big Lies On-Going) For Bush 

Iraq never declared any binary 155mm artillery shells
Blaster's Blog makes a very astute observation on the Sarin gas shell found in Iraq.
Iraq never declared any binary 155mm artillery shells. In fact, they never claimed any filled with Sarin at all in the UNSCOM Final report (Find on "Munitions declared by Iraq as remaining"). Not declared as existing at the end of the Gulf War, not having been destroyed in the Gulf War, not having been destroyed unilaterally. The only binary munitions claimed by the Iraqis were aerial bombs and missile warheads. Not in an artillery shell.
OK now what is the next excuse going to be for the Democrat's now that WMD have been not only found, but used on our troops
The truly fascinating thing about this is the utter incorrectness of it. The site referenced, Blaster's Blog, has a link to UNSCOM's report, which in part reads:
R&D Activities

35. Iraq provided declarations on its chemical warfare agents and chemical munitions related R&D activities and their results. Some of these declarations were supported by the documentation provided by Iraq. In addition, in the files admitted by Iraq at the Haidar farm ("Chicken Farm") in August 1995 the Commission found many R&D reports which supported Iraq’s declarations. As a result, the Commission has a good understanding of the extent of Iraqi research on the types of CW produced by Iraq in quantities. These include the following chemical warfare agents and munitions: mustard, tabun, sarin, CS, 122-mm rocket, 155-mm shell, BR-250, BR-500, LD-250, AALD-500, R-400, DB-2 aerial bombs and special warheads for the Al-Hussein missiles.
(emphasis mine)

I'd gladly post a trackback to this or a comment on Blog's for Bush, but I am banished. And it would be pointless to note it on Blaster's Blog, because he already knows it and doesn't care.

But here is the larger question, does anybody really think that this is what we went to war over? Old binary sarin shells? Here's my question; why wasn't it LAUNCHED? Why was it set to detonate like a pipe-bomb instead of being fired from a cannon? This is going to turn out to be just another dud (no pun intended) like the Botulism, the chemical-lab trailers, and the stockpile of Mustard-gas shells. It will get some front-page attention on Foxnews and the WSJ and Newsmax, and then when the truth comes out, it will be buried on page six or given a passing mention in a one-time story at four AM. And all that most people will remember is that sarin bombs were used on our troops, that Hussein had mobile chemical labs and huge stockpiles of banned shells containing Mustard agent. And, oh yeah, Hussein was best buds with bin Laden.



Monday, May 17, 2004

Blackbox Ohio 

Alert: Ohio Counties May Purchase Paperless Voting Machines Before November 2004

This is the site I have been looking for. And there is good news and bad. Take a look at this map:

Here is the key:
Red counties = considering purchase before November 2004
Green counties = postponing purchase until after November 2004
Black counties = already purchased paperless e-voting machines
Gray counties = no e-voting machines and not currently up for purchase decision
The good news is that most of the counties are gray, including Jefferson county where I live. The bad news is that there are red and black counties.

But, there is more good news. If you live in or know somebody who lives in a red or black county, you can or they can sign up to be a plaintiff to stop the use of the machines.



Sunday, May 16, 2004


In a post from a few days ago about the Berg killing, I said:
But here is an observation that I don't think anyone has made. According to US intelligence:
May 2002 Zarqawi traveled to Iraq. He had his leg amputated and had a prosthetic limb to replace it.

Now, I haven't seen the video. I understand that it is all over the Internet, but I don't want to see it. However, I have a relative with a prosthetic leg. You can tell whenever he moves that he has a false limb. He has to compensate for it all the time. Is there any evidence of a prosthesis in the video? It doesn't seem like it in the still pictures.
Turns out, others have made the same observation:
Zaraqawi was missing one leg and had been outfitted with an artificial leg that did not fit or function properly. He was unable to walk or stand normally with his ill-fitting limb. No man in the group showed evidence of such an infirmity.


Boomtown Rats 

D.C. Region Job Market Has Look Of a Boom (washingtonpost.com)
After three years of standing still, the Washington region's job market is hopping, adding 60,600 jobs in the year ended in March, on pace with the boom years of 1997 and 1998. "This year everyone is starting to feel good again," said Ralph W. Shrader, chief executive of Booz Allen, which has been on a hiring binge.

What is different this time is the source of the new jobs. Instead of a roaring expansion driven by businesses, 4 out of 5 local jobs being created can be attributed to extremely low interest rates, created by government stimulus, and booming government spending.
How ironic is it that - under a Republican president - government spending is half the source of a new job boom in DC? And how twisted is it that the other half of the reason for the boom is about to go away?
Consumers can't be blamed for feeling grumpy. With prices rising and interest rates creeping up, bargains are harder to come by and it's too late to land a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage anywhere close to 5 percent.



Liberal Conservative White Arab Guilt 

Yahoo! News - Powell: Arab Response to Berg Insufficient
Secretary of State Colin Powell scolded Arab governments Sunday for not expressing more outrage over the videotaped beheading of an American civilian in Iraq. He also pledged action against American military prison guards and perhaps others responsible for prisoner abuses in Iraq that have drawn worldwide condemnation.
Well, I suppose that's one way to keep the story of the Berg killing in the news. Albeit a stupid counter-productive way that panders to the conservative-American need to assuage our own guilt.

Why do the leaders of - say - the United Arab Emerates have to say more about the Berg killing? What culpability do they have in it? Why is Powell not demanding that the Japanese and the people of Brazil also repudiate it as vehemently? Could it be because they had nothing whatsoever to do with it? Why, yes, yes, I think it could be just that.

Tom Tomorrow had some interesting observations on this the other day.
The right wing blogs seem to be fixated on the Nick Berg story, and how little attention it's receiving compared to the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal.
The Nick Berg story, on the other hand--a terrible thing happened, it led the news for several days--there's not much more to say (unless you want to delve into the contradictory accounts of Berg's detention by U.S. forces, but somehow I suspect that's not the angle that interests the warbloggers). This was a terrible, terrible event. Anyone in this country who pays the slightest attention to the news has heard about this story, and is appalled and disgusted by it. What more is there to say? I am hardly an apologist for the mainstream news media, as anyone with the most passing familiarity with my work is well aware, but it's just not their job to open every newscast chanting "four legs good, two legs bad" over and over again.
The only thing that matters here is that the people of Iraq repudiate it. They have. Demanding that the whole Arab world make a public show of how wrong they think this murder was is the PR equivilent to if the Italians had demanded that the French repudiate the LaBianca murders.

How's that for a timely reference?



This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?