Monday, November 28, 2005

Wilkerson At It Again

From an AP story on the Washington Post website:

WASHINGTON -- A top aide to former Secretary of State Colin Powell said Monday that wrongheaded ideas for the handling of foreign detainees arose from White House and Pentagon officials who argued that "the president of the United States is all-powerful" and the Geneva Conventions irrelevant.

In an Associated Press interview, former Powell chief of staff Lawrence Wilkerson also said President Bush was "too aloof, too distant from the details" of postwar planning. Underlings exploited Bush's detachment and made poor decisions, Wilkerson said.

Wilkerson blamed Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and like-minded aides. He said Cheney must have sincerely believed that Iraq could be a spawning ground for new terror assaults, because "otherwise I have to declare him a moron, an idiot or a nefarious bastard."

Phew! Tell us how you really feel, Mr. Wilkerson.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

A Thanksgiving Ritual

In honor of Thanksgiving....a little Alice's Restaurant...
"They got a building down New York City, it's called Whitehall Street, where you walk in, you get injected, inspected, detected, infected, neglected and selected. I went down to get my physical examination one day, and I walked in, I sat down, got good and drunk the night before, so I looked and felt my best when I went in that morning. `Cause I wanted to look like the all-American kid from New York City, man I wanted, I wanted to feel like the all-, I wanted to be the all American kid from New York, and I walked in, sat down, I was hung down, brung down, hung up, and all kinds o' mean nasty ugly things. And I waked in and sat down and they gave me a piece of paper, said, "Kid, see the phsychiatrist, room 604."

And I went up there, I said, "Shrink, I want to kill. I mean, I wanna, I wanna kill. Kill. I wanna, I wanna see, I wanna see blood and gore and guts and veins in my teeth. Eat dead burnt bodies. I mean kill, Kill, KILL, KILL." And I started jumpin up and down yelling, "KILL, KILL," and he started jumpin up and down with me and we was both jumping up and down yelling, "KILL, KILL." And the sargent came over, pinned a medal on me, sent me down the hall, said, "You're our boy."

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Being Thankful

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On Thanksgiving Eve, our thoughts turn to listing those things for which I am most thankful. Here goes:

1. Health and well-being: My husband and I are as healthy as middle-aged people can be (for the most part) and this evermore will be #1 on my list. Keep it coming. In 2005 I conquered my bad back, thanks to a wonderful pair of chiropractors and joining a gym (who'da thunk?)!

2. My family: I am related to some of the wackiest - and most wonderful - people on earth. In spite of what they all think, I do wish we were spending the holiday together. This holiday, and all others in the future.

3. Blogging: This humble space on the internets has been a great place to take note of 2005. It's interesting to be able to look back on the year, knowing I started this thang during the middle of a blizzard, wrote many posts to describe many a snowstorm, right on through a fairly good baseball season, right up to today as we prepare to finish up the year. I thank those of you who actually read it and those who comment get a big *smooch*!

4. Friends: There have been many years when the Thanksgiving holiday was a time to ditch the people I work with and get as far away from them as possible, but this year we are celebrating with colleagues who are now among my best buddies. My friend, Susan, is providing the hospitality and good food and we are very happy to spend time with her and her very special family tomorrow. I am very thankful that I have like-minded pals to spend holidays with!

5. My home: As I type this, I am watching a TV news story in which they are describing how people who were hit by Hurricane Katrina are spending Thanksgiving. Many of them are in FEMA trailors, without a clear idea about where there home will eventually end up. I am grateful to have a warm place to call my own, with all the fun things a person could ask for: piles of books, satellite radio, a digital camera, a cable modem that allows me to do this very thing....and much more.

6. An imploding GOP - the gift that keeps on giving: It actually feels redundant to spend each evening after work commenting on the news of the day. Every day, another scandal. Every day, another lie being told. Every day, one day closer to the 2006 elections and *god willing* the Democrats take over the Congress. (*fingers crossed*)

7. A job I like: I am one of the fortunate few who like their job. Although someday soon I hope not to have to work in a large corporation, the company I work for isn't all that bad. My day is for the most part under my own control - I can work at home when I want to, I can take time off if necessary to deal with personal issues (like doctor appointments, etc.). AND, as I mentioned before, I work with some great women, with similar views on politics and life. The team I work closely with are great fun, smart, and take their work (but not themselves) seriously. Truth be told, I don't think I could get paid as much working somewhere else, so I truly must be thankful.

8. Technology (for the most part): I love that I can sit here and write whatever comes into my head and have it be read by people around the world. I love that I can tap away on my laptop computer and be interrupted by an instant message from a friend or family - without picking up the phone. (Come to think of it, the phone is a piece of technology I could truly do without.)

9. America: I know, I know, it's as trite as possibly can be, but I'm still grateful to be living in this country in spite of our current leadership. I just finished listening to the audio book "Team of Rivals" by Doris Kearns Goodwin and in many ways it's amazing that we have even survived this far. If you have a chance to read this book, you should. It will show you how a self-confident president (Lincoln) can actually trust himself enough to put people with differing viewpoints in his administration, and demonstrate that it actually benefits the country.

9. Nothing for nine.

10. My husband: I'm very lucky to have a marriage that has lasted more than 25 years. My sweetie is also my biggest cheerleader - a man who wants me to be as successful and happy as I possibly can be. Lucky for me, he has no artifice - I trust him with all my heart, and yet, I believe there are things going on inside his head that I can't begin to understand. And I like that - a little mystery is a good thing, in my opinion. Gives me something to look forward to, and for that I'm truly grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Hot Stove League Heating Up


A little over four months from now, baseball season starts (April 2, according to the tentative schedule posted on redsox.com). Can't start soon enough in my book - and especially with the newest Red Sox additions announced today. A couple of minor league prospects (good prospects at that) were traded to the Marlins for Josh Beckett - he of the MVP of the 2003 World Series Champions that BEAT the MFYs in 5 games. Well, a certified Yankee Killer. Love that!

Welcome to Red Sox Nation, Josh!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Cheers to Jack Murtha

Did you know Jack Murtha before today? I sure didn't. All day in the blogosphere note was made of Representative Murtha's call for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. Didn't surprise me. Didn't interest me all that much - people are jumping off the war bandwagon faster than a ...well, faster than the fastest thing you can think of.

Anyway, what finally caught my attention about Murtha's remarks was a TV clip I saw this evening in which the good Rep was asked about the flak he was taking from the Preznit and Vice Preznit on his position. And he responded, thusly (and he was quite choked up as he is a veteran himself, I take it):

"I like guys who got five deferments and (have) never been there and send people to war, and then don't like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done," Murtha said."

Well said, Congressman. The rest of us don't like it much either. Thank you.

Lies, Lies and More Lies

For the convenience of all Americans who are looking for a nice compilation of recent lies of the Chimp's administration, Knight Ridder provides this. Nice and convenient...thanks!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

"Dishonest and Reprehensible..."


Takes one to know one.

White Phosphorous...the Lowdown

Well, it appears that the military is admitting they used white phosphorous in the battle over Fallujah last year. However, not on civilians.

"Army Lt. Col. Barry Venable, a Pentagon spokesman, said the U.S. military had not used the highly flammable weapons against civilians, contrary to an Italian state television report this month that stated the munitions were used against men, women and children in Falluja who were burned to the bone.

"We categorically deny that claim," Venable said.

"It's part of our conventional-weapons inventory and we use it like we use any other conventional weapon," added Bryan Whitman, another Pentagon spokesman."


Hmmmm....don't you love the smell of white phosphorous in the morning?

No, we'd never use it on civilians.

Never.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Military Malpractice

Democratic Senators who are looking for a way to explain their vote to authorize Bush to use force in Iraq need only look here for a perfect explanation.

"...Congress gave the president the authorization to go to war. They did not give him the authorization to do so incompetently. There's a big difference. You give your doctor permission to conduct a tonsilectomy. You do not, however, give him permission to get drunk and cut off your leg by mistake.

Bush is guilty of military malpractice. No one gave him permission to do a sloppy job."

TPM Nails It

Here's Josh Marshall's take on the Chimp. Well said.

Crazy?

From the Washington Post:

"Aretha Franklin was teary-eyed, Carol Burnett was teasing, Alan Greenspan was reliably taciturn, and "The Greatest of All Time" stole the show when President Bush bestowed the Medal of Freedom on them and 10 others in a White House ceremony yesterday.

Bush, who appeared almost playful, fastened the heavy medal around Muhammad Ali's neck and whispered something in the heavyweight champion's ear. Then, as if to say "bring it on," the president put up his dukes in a mock challenge. Ali, 63, who has Parkinson's disease and moves slowly, looked the president in the eye -- and, finger to head, did the "crazy" twirl for a couple of seconds."

He Can't Even Lie Correctly Now

If I didn't dislike the Chimp so much, I might actually begin to feel sorry for the man. Now he can't even lie properly:

"President Bush and his national security adviser have answered critics of the Iraq war in recent days with a two-pronged argument: that Congress saw the same intelligence the administration did before the war, and that independent commissions have determined that the administration did not misrepresent the intelligence.

Neither assertion is wholly accurate."


Looks like his latest campaign is getting off to a great start, eh?

Newsweek has him at 37% approval now.

Supporting Veterans

For those of you sporting the "Support our Troops" magnets on the rear of your car, or flying a flag day and night, it's now time to figure out a way to truly honor the men and women who serve in our armed forces. As we celebrate Veteran's Day, perhaps we should consider doing something that actually has some value: providing decent health care, or making sure reservists don't lose their homes while they're deployed. And, of course, there's that other important opportunity to support the troops: provide enough armor on their military vehicles in Iraq.

But most of all, if we truly want to support the troops: BRING THEM HOME NOW.

So Govern Already, Would Ya?

OK, now the Chimp has decided he needs to "fight back" against those who have been beating up on him recently over how we got into the war. The WH is launching a "campaign-style" strategy to respond to critics.

Ya know what I think? I say GOVERN already and stop campaigning for everything. If the Administration would just buckle down and overcome their Attention Deficit Disorder they might actually get something done. Of course, this is what they should have done nearly 4 years ago when they launched the attack on Afghanistan. They should have stayed there, got bin Laden and got the hell out. Instead, we got all mucked up in Iraq, can't figure out what to do about health care or anything else on the domestic front (except tax cuts).

I'll be the first to admit the GOP is probably good at campaigning. It's governing that they haven't the first clue about.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Chickenhawk Dick

Interesting that Dick didn't have "other priorities" on this Veteran's Day, isn't it? The soldiers, sailors and marines that were at Arlington today should have turned their backs on someone who avoided service...and YET felt compelled to push this country into a war of choice. The hypocrisy is mind-boggling.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

White Phosphorous, What Next?

From The Independent in the UK, by way of DailyKos today:

"Powerful new evidence emerged yesterday that the United States dropped massive quantities of white phosphorus on the Iraqi city of Fallujah during the attack on the city in November 2004, killing insurgents and civilians with the appalling burns that are the signature of this weapon.

Ever since the assault, which went unreported by any Western journalists, rumours have swirled that the Americans used chemical weapons on the city."


[snip]

"In a documentary to be broadcast by RAI, the Italian state broadcaster, this morning, a former American soldier who fought at Fallujah says: "I heard the order to pay attention because they were going to use white phosphorus on Fallujah. In military jargon it's known as Willy Pete.

"Phosphorus burns bodies, in fact it melts the flesh all the way down to the bone ... I saw the burned bodies of women and children. Phosphorus explodes and forms a cloud. Anyone within a radius of 150 metres is done for."


First, we have stolen elections. Then we have war on false pretenses, followed by torturing prisoners. Now this. The only thing that saves us is that the Chimp's house of cards may be falling soon (see poll results below). Good lord.

Another Day, Another Bad Poll (hee hee)

Latest NBC News/WSJ poll: more bad news for the Chimp. I said to someone today that the recent events in Washington make me feel like I'm living in an alternate universe of some kind. But, I quickly amended that thought. In reality, we've been living in an alternate universe for the past 5 years and perhaps we're beginning our re-entry into the normal world again.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

This Has to Be A Joke

Bush expects staff to attend ethics "refresher."

Jim VandeHei must have enjoyed writing this:

"President Bush has ordered White House staff to attend mandatory briefings beginning next week on ethical behavior and the handling of classified material after the indictment last week of a senior administration official in the CIA leak probe."

John Dean: Fitzgerald Wants Cheney

The irrepressible John Dean, who knows a thing or two about legal problems from his own experience, thinks Patrick Fitzgerald is after the Veep. Check this out. Here's the money quote:

"Having read the indictment against Libby, I am inclined to believe more will be issued. In fact, I will be stunned if no one else is indicted.

Indeed, when one studies the indictment, and carefully reads the transcript of the press conference, it appears Libby's saga may be only Act Two in a three-act play. And in my view, the person who should be tossing and turning at night, in anticipation of the last act, is the Vice President of the United States, Richard B. Cheney."


Sweet.

So Many Problems, So Little Time

The last couple of weeks have brought a cornucopia of problems to the Chimp - so many, in fact, that it's hard to keep up and comment on them all. But there are a number of better sources for commentary than this humble blog. And I trust you're all pulling up a chair, rubbing your hands together, having a good read, and chuckling every bit as much as I am.

IMHO, the best places to keep up are: Raw Story(for daily news), Talking Points Memo (particularly focused on the forged Italian documents related to Niger) and Crooks and Liars (for the latest video outrages or compliments). I check them religiously, and I suspect all of you do as well.

This piece caught my eye today, and I must say it's not surprising. The International Herald Tribune has a story that blames Cheney for the mistreatment of prisoners In Iraq and Afghanistan. (Apparently Lawrence Wilkerson's good and pissed off, eh?)

Here's an excerpt:

"Vice President Dick Cheney's office was responsible for directives that led to U.S. soldiers' abusing prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan, a former top State Department official said Thursday.

Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell, then the secretary of state, told National Public Radio he had traced a trail of memos and directives authorizing questionable detention practices up through Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's office directly to Cheney's staff.

"The secretary of defense under cover of the vice president's office," Wilkerson said, "regardless of the president having put out this memo" - "they began to authorize procedures within the armed forces that led to what we've seen."

He said the directives contradicted a 2002 order by President George W. Bush for the U.S. military to abide by the Geneva conventions against torture."


Apparently, Dick's also been recently going around to various members of the Senate urging them to stick with the Administration versus John McCain's bill outlawing torture of prisons. OK, what kind of nutjob is pro-torture? I guess the Dick is - and he's trying to bring others along with him. But, I guess he hasn't read the polls lately and found out that the Administration is going down the drain.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Wild About Harry

Well, well, well. We DO have an opposition party after all, now don't we? Today, our dear Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid beat the Republicans at their own game by requesting that the Senate have a closed session. The topic? When would the Senate be reporting on Phase 2 of the Senate Intelligence Report on whether the Administration manipulated intelligence in the run-up to the War in Iraq. A major win for us today! It's nice to know that there are some balls out there.

Probably just as fun was watching Senator Frist have a hissy fit about supposedly being "slapped in the face by this stunt." Gimme a break. And the Terry Schiavo incident wasn't a "stunt?" Get over yourselves, boys. There really are going to be some checks and balances after all.

Give 'em hell, Harry! Keep it coming! We've got your back.

(Wanna tell Senator Reid how you feel? Go here.)