Trying To Maintain Rationality

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Making Fun Of Other Blogs Can Be Fun

.. and somtimes even painfully easy! For example:




This PowerLine entry...

Props again to C&L for the heads-up.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Dems That Voted In Favor Of CAFTA

Not that they're the only bastards in the House, but they are the bastards of the week month year decade, as far as I'm concerned. I'll post the (R)s that voted against, later...

  1. Bean, Melissa (IL - 8th District)
  2. Cooper, Jim (TN - 5th)
  3. Cuellar, Henry (TX - 28th)
  4. Dicks, Norm (WA - 6th)
  5. Hinojosa, Rubén (TX - 15th)
  6. Jefferson, William (LA - 2nd)
  7. Matheson, Jim (UT - 2nd)
  8. Meeks, Gregory (NY - 6th)
  9. Moore, Dennis (KS - 3rd)
  10. Moran, Jim (VA - 8th)
  11. Ortiz, Solomon (TX - 27th)
  12. Skelton, Ike (MO - 4th)
  13. Snyder, Vic (AR - 2nd)
  14. Tanner, John (TN - 8th)
  15. Towns, Edolphus (NY - 10th)

I'll spare you the tenets of efficient market theory; let's just say that CAFTA probably ain't leading to anything better than NAFTA ever did... and see how nicely *that* turned out?

Oh, look - Mexico's middle class is disappearing at an alarming rate and they've fallen short about 5%/annum on Vincente Fox's promised GDP growth! Ah! Great news!

[UPDATE: 27 (R)s that voted Nay plus one independent, Bernie Sanders... in a pear tree]

  1. Boustany, Charles (LA - 7th District)
  2. Capito, Shelley Moore (WV - 2nd)
  3. Coble, Howard (NC - 6th)
  4. Cubin, Barbara (WY)
  5. Foxx, Virginia (NC - 5th)
  6. Garrett, Scott (NJ - 5th)
  7. Goode, Virgil (VA - 5th)
  8. Gutknecht, Gil (MN - 1st)
  9. Hostettler, John (IN - 8th)
  10. Hunter, Duncan (CA - 52nd)
  11. Jindal, Bobby (LA - 1st)
  12. Jones, Walter (NC - 3rd)
  13. LoBiondo, Frank (NJ - 2nd)
  14. Mack, Connie (FL - 14th)
  15. McCotter, Thaddeus (MI - 11th)
  16. McHenry, Patrick (NC - 10th)
  17. McHugh, John (NY - 23rd)
  18. Miller, Candice (MI - 10th)
  19. Ney, Robert (OH - 18th)
  20. Norwood, Charlie (GA - 9th)
  21. Otter, Butch (ID - 1st)
  22. Paul, Ron (TX - 14th)
  23. Rehberg, Dennis (MT)
  24. Sanders, Bernie (VT*)
  25. Simmons, Rob (CT - 2nd)
  26. Simpson, Mike (ID - 2nd)
  27. Smith, Chris (NJ - 4th)
  28. Tancredo, Tom "Let's Nuke Mecca" (CO - 6th)

This bill should've gone down, and easily at that; is/was the net result of NAFTA not demonstrative enough for the ignoramuses that voted Aye? I guess policy still follows party... *sigh* GOP election-money-grubbing pukes convinced just enough (R)s that they'd never see another dime of support unless they voted in favor of the retarded bill, I guess.

Thumbs up to the (R)s that saw right through this shitty policy and voted Nay... and the (D)s that voted Aye can go suck an egg. What's up with the 3 Texas (D)s that went down like cheap hookers?

Judge Delivers Important Message At "Millenium Bomber" Sentencing

Thanks to Crooks & Liars for the heads-up on this one...

The following comments by U.S. Western District Judge John Coughenour at "Millenium Bomber" Ahmed Ressam's sentencing nicely summarizes how we should/should've simply let the Unites States' legal system deal with terrorists.

Okay. Let me say a few things. First of all, it will come as no surprise to anybody that this sentencing is one that I have struggled with a great deal, more than any other sentencing that I've had in the 24 years I've been on the bench.

I've done my very best to arrive at a period of confinement that appropriately recognizes the severity of the intended offense, but also recognizes the practicalities of the parties' positions before trial and the cooperation of Mr. Ressam, even though it did terminate prematurely.

The message I would hope to convey in today's sentencing is two-fold: First, that we have the resolve in this country to deal with the subject of terrorism and people who engage in it should be prepared to sacrifice a major portion of their life in confinement.

Secondly, though, I would like to convey the message that our system works. We did not need to use a secret military tribunal, or detain the defendant indefinitely as an enemy combatant, or deny him the right to counsel, or invoke any proceedings beyond those guaranteed by or contrary to the United States Constitution.

I would suggest that the message to the world from today's sentencing is that our courts have not abandoned our commitment to the ideals that set our nation apart. We can deal with the threats to our national security without denying the accused fundamental constitutional protections.

Despite the fact that Mr. Ressam is not an American citizen and despite the fact that he entered this country intent upon killing American citizens, he received an effective, vigorous defense, and the opportunity to have his guilt or innocence determined by a jury of 12 ordinary citizens. Most importantly, all of this occurred in the sunlight of a public trial. There were no secret proceedings, no indefinite detention, no denial of counsel.

The tragedy of September 11th shook our sense of security and made us realize that we, too, are vulnerable to acts of terrorism. Unfortunately, some believe that this threat renders our Constitution obsolete. This is a Constitution for which men and women have died and continue to die and which has made us a model among nations. If that view is allowed to prevail, the terrorists will have won.

It is my sworn duty, and as long as there is breath in my body I'll perform it, to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Judge Coughenour - I applaud you, Your Honor.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

R.I.C.O.; Suavé? Val P. -n- Rove 4EVR

I officially suck; going for the cheap gag on a blog entry heading is *so* November 2004...

But seriously folks, the Washington Post [a.k.a. "WaPo"] is reporting that CIA leak probe investigator Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald [a.k.a "P-Fitz"... okay, maybe not.. how about "Fitz"] "has interviewed a wider range of administration officials than was previously known." Like, oh, "former CIA director George J. Tenet and deputy director John E. McLaughlin, former CIA spokesman Bill Harlow, State Department officials..." Not exactly bit-players.

This may lead one to believe that, rather than simply relying on a stringent Federal 'anti-leaker' statute, Fitz might be shooting for something quite a bit more devastating than even the 18 USC 641 (which has come up quite often, lately): Fitz could be going for the ol' 18 USC 1961-1968... the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act - R.I.C.O.

By establishing fact patterns that may demonstrate that administrative branch employees (yeah - they're supposed to fucking work for We the People... must be a positive nuisance when you're an ethically-retarded theocrat trying to establish a worldwide imperialist corporatocracy) acted in concert in order to achieve any of the many illegal activities as listed in 18 USC 1961, Fitz may have himself quite the convoluted - but traceable, given the sheer number of key administrative witnesses that've been interviewed - tale of Federal Administrative Branch malfeasance... with the presumable goal of having mass indictments handed out amongst the corrupt organization.

Hell; Patrick Fitzgerald could just walk into a cabinet meeting and get 2/3 of the paperwork handed out.

This is starting to look more like a freakin' Mafia sting op than, well, whatever the misfits at Fox News are calling it. Sick shit, my friends. Sick shit.

Oh. For the record: I honestly take no REAL joy in seeing my country go down the shitter -- making snarky commentary is the only way I can keep myself from going berserk.

Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility.
- James Thurber


Perhaps you should check out Reclaim Democracy! Unless you hate America or something... why do you, by not checking out, hate America?

Oh Boy; What Great News!

Today's edition of DemocracyNow! notes that the Congressional Budget Office is reporting that Iraq/Afghanistan may exceed AN ADDITIONAL $400 BILLION over the next decade. $300 Billion of our tax dollars have already been pumped into this endless debacle and so far we've yet to net much at all. Seems like every billion in results in some kind of disaster that requires another billion in.... but maybe that's the whole idea, eh?

On a related note:

DemocracyNow! also reports that a "joint report by the Pentagon and State Department has concluded that the Iraqi police force has been infiltrated by the Iraqi resistance." [emphasis added]

Great. Charming. Fantastic. Tremendous. Nice. Swell. Peachy. Grand. Neat. Splendid. Groovy. Terrific. Marvelous. Superb. Lovely. Stupendous. Impressive.


Friday, July 22, 2005

Today's Peabrained Happenings

Things that I've been thinking about today:
  • Why won't the real GOP call out this administration for the fraud that it is?
  • Why aren't Democrats completely taking Bush, et al. to task?
  • When will the general populace get off its ass and make a stink?
  • Who watches the nightly, national, network news and doesn't long for Walter Cronkite?
  • Holy fucking shit - Black Pepper Jack Doritos are so goddamned good...

That's all I got.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Why Do Karl And "Scooter" Hate America?

I saw this a few hours ago but haven't had the chance to post until now... not that I have more than, oh, say, zero readers that come here for breaking news.

From a Bloomberg story penned by Richard Keil*, from

Rove, Libby Accounts in CIA Case Differ With Those of Reporters

By Richard Keil

July 22 (Bloomberg) — Two top White House aides have given accounts to the special prosecutor about how reporters told them the identity of a CIA agent that are at odds with what the reporters have said, according to persons familiar with the case.

Lewis “Scooter'’ Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, told special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald that he first learned from NBC News reporter Tim Russert of the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame, the wife of former ambassador and Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson. Russert has testified before a federal grand jury that he didn’t tell Libby of Plame’s identity.

White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove told Fitzgerald that he first learned the identity of the CIA agent from syndicated columnist Robert Novak, who was first to report Plame’s name and connection to Wilson. Novak, according to a source familiar with the matter, has given a somewhat different version to the special prosecutor.

These discrepancies may be important because one issue Fitzgerald is investigating is whether Libby, Rove, or other administration officials made false statements during the course of the investigation. The Plame case has its genesis in whether any administration officials violated a 1982 law making it illegal to knowingly reveal the name of a CIA agent.


The kind of stuff that led Martha Stewart to the pokey. But this shit is being done by members of the Federal administrative branch... much bigger deal, folks. Mucho mas, um, bigger.


Gov't Torture, Gov't Accountability

Former U.S. Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman wrote a fantastic article about these issues for The Nation magazine; oddly enough, the article is titled Torture and Accountability. Here's a -snip- from the story:

In a memo to President Bush, dated January 25, 2002, Gonzales urged that the United States opt out of the Geneva Conventions for the Afghanistan war--despite Secretary of State Colin Powell's objections. One of the two reasons he gave the President was that opting out "substantially reduces the likelihood of prosecution under the War Crimes Act."

Then-Attorney General Ashcroft sent a memo to President Bush making a similar argument. Opting out of the Geneva Conventions, Ashcroft argued, would give the "highest assurance" that there would be no prosecutions under the War Crimes Act of "military officers, intelligence officials, or law enforcement officials" for their misconduct during interrogations or detention.

Plainly, both Gonzales and Ashcroft were so concerned about preventing War Crimes Act prosecutions that they were willing to assume the risks--including the likelihood of severe international criticism as well as the exposure of our own captured troops to mistreatment--of opting out of Geneva.

The specter of prosecution was particularly worrisome because the Conventions use broad terminology. Noting that violations may consist of "outrages upon personal dignity" and "inhuman treatment," Gonzales advised the President in his memo that it would be "difficult to predict with confidence" which actions would violate the War Crimes Act and which would not.

Well, well... how about that? Holtzman also notes that plenty of these folks are going to have to stay on their toes for the rest of their lives since "...there would be no statute of limitations on War Crimes Act prosecutions in cases where the victim died." No rest for the wicked... =)

I highly recommend that you read this article... and I sincerely recommend that you *always* check out the weekly, thought-provoking articles provided by The Nation. I'm a subscriber (it's freakin' cheap as hell) and you should be, too. It's the most cost-effective conduit for today's most important information and ideas that I've ever found... great stuff.

*jesus i sound like one of their radio ads*

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Huh. Okay.

Yesterday I went to the "Boker tov, Boulder!" blog and asked why they write out G-d instead of God. They asked a rabbi. Just for me! lol

* * *

"EconAtheist" asks this question:

What's the concept behind excluding/replacing the letter "o" in "God?" I don't understand - what would happen if you were to write "God" instead of "G-d," like I just did?

Not knowing as much as I might about the basis of such things, I consulted Rabbi Lazer Brody. With warm thanks to him for always helping me out, here's his answer:

The Torah forbids erasing or destroying Hashem's name all or in part. This prohibition also includes foreign languages. Therefore, on any document that we feel may not be protected adequately, such as a newspaper or blog print-out (as opposed to a religious study book or a prayer book), we write G-d, so that everyone knows what we're talking about but yet, if the document goes into the waste basket, no harm has been done.
* * *

Hm. That's what the Torah says, then. Kind of them to respond so quickly.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Well Well Well... This Comes As Quite A Shock

Not really.

According to tonight's ABC news, it appears that last week's London bombers had ties to Naeem Noor Khan, the al-Qaeda computer expert that "flipped" and became a double agent supplying information for the Pakistanis. So, um, you see, Noor Khan was *helping* us get inside info on terrorism, mmm-kay?

Of course, as you may recall, this administration outed Noor Khan, all for the short-term political gain of being able to lay claim to having "nabbed a big fish" terrorist. Needless to say, both the British and the Pakistani intelligence communities were intelligence community was pissed [edit: oops - the Pakistanis were possibly (but improbably) complicit in the outing].

The same Brits should be even more pissed today...

Nice work, you fucking GOP morons.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Top 5 Reasons You Shouldn't Move To South Carolina


Sunday, July 10, 2005

Them Durned Activist Judges

In 1886 the Supreme Court of the United States passed... a decision... *sigh*

I really don't feel like typing.

Here's a link to a (.PDF) medium-sized essay, written by Willam Meyers, that discusses (among other things) the all-time most controversial (and surely least the known by the general public) case of judicial lawmaking... Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company.

Do you know what they decided in that case? No?

Thursday, July 07, 2005

"Asserting That You're A Sick Fuck" -or- Brit Hume Speaks

This is unbelievable:
I mean, my first thought when I heard -- just on a personal basis, when I heard there had been this attack and I saw the futures this morning, which were really in the tank, I thought, "Hmmm, time to buy."
-Brit Hume, 7/7/05, during Fox News' coverage of the UK bombings


I'm sorry. What? That's got to be the most heartless, indecent, morally-vacuuous statement I've ever heard him say... this week.

Read more and see the video here at you should ~hear~ the way he says it, too. Fucking sick.

I Guess I Lost My Cool

I just couldn't take the intensely hypocritical Young Republican National Committee any longer. I had to email the kids (yes - they are kids... no offense) after seeing this recent news release.

I'm not going to take a page to reproduce the thing, so go read it first if you want to make more sense of my email to the YRNC:

I work for the Department of Veterans Affairs, am a former GOP voter, and am a 4-year-college degreed workforce professional.

I find the likes of young people like yourself to be sickeningly misrepresentative of everything that the Republican ideal used to stand for. I'm a staunch advocate of intellectually-honest economic theories and am intensely spiritual; you're politically-motivated followers that support a disrespectful, inefficient, resource-gobbling war and you're ethos-challenged quasi-Christians.

I'm patriotic because I feel love and pride for this country, and I express it by responsibly *using* the gifts granted me by this life, by the Constitution and its Amendments, and by our laws; you bastardize any "patriotic" claims by expressing some bizarre fixation, unquestionably supporting this *administration's policies* rather than honestly supporting this *nation* (which is a collection of people, ideas, social mores, and the like), instead wasting your talents on memorizing and reciting your myopic sociopolitical views.

I'm no "leftist" - I'm RIGHT HERE working to help physically and psychologically injured combat veterans whilst the VA stood tall in the wake of a pathetically under funded conflict; YOU LEFT your military comrades hanging to dry by continually supporting a policy which severely limits the post-conflict support for brave men and women of our armed forces.

Lastly, I'd ask "Do you people have any sense of decency, Sirs?"... However it's apparent that that your words (and lack of actions) indicate that you're neither currently capable of incorporating decency into your sheltered lives nor are you willing to make the effort to discover the true meaning of what you'd need to do in order to lead a life that accommodates decency as a virtue.

You're lucky that our troops haven't discovered how your rhetoric doesn't chime with your actions.

Michael Tuffli

p.s. notable spelling/grammar errors attributed to metaphorical and physical exhaustion

Meh. Feh. Pfft.

I know it was pretty snarky but it's late and I'm fed up with rampant ignorance and repulsive dishonesty. I'm sure it won't affect any young (R)s, if it even gets read/posted/ravaged, but at least I got to vent... and post it here (always for posterity, right?)...

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

What Is EconAtheist Reading?

Your humble blog host is currently reading:

Defying Corporations, Defining Democracy: A Book of History and Strategy, edited by Dean Ritz; it's a compilation of essays, letters, speeches, and the like.

We the People of this country (myself included, until just recently) are generally naïve when it comes to the history of corporations in the United States and how they managed to accumulate so much concentrated power. This highly, highly recommended book both explains how we became so utterly subserviant to these Frankenstein's Monsters of the business world (over, really, only the past 150 years) and gives solid ideas as to how we can fight to regain authority over these beasts.

It's incredibly revealing as to how *absolutely maniacally and relatively easily* our legal system was taken over and reframed; a few court decisions validated "corporate rights" under the auspices of "corporate personhood" - bastardizing the 14th Amendment in the process - and... and... ~poof~ they're practically running the whole fucking show.

Tell me this, tell me this - How the hell can something that exists only on paper have more rights than an actual, tactile, sniffable (if you so choose) human being?

Read. This. Book.

Monday, July 04, 2005

A New And More Apt Preamble To Our Constitution

My gift to the nation for its 229th Big Day is the following, less-vague preamble to the document upon which we obstensibly base our existence. Perhaps it'll help eliminate any muddy interpretations about the intent of our Constitution. As follows:

We the Sheeple of the United States, Inc., in order to form a less democratic union, disassemble [that means "to lie" :| ...] justice, ensure tranquilized domestics, provide for the defense contractors, promulgate corporate welfare, and bless the security of our posteriors at the expense of our personal liberties, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States, Inc., of America.

Okay. I think that clears up everything.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Happy 229th, USA

It's approaching midnight here in the Great Lakes region of the United States... it's gettin' sticky outside again... I hear firecrackers popping, easily audible over the drone of my fan. Sounds like fun (I'm probably not too old for that shit, but I'm still a little leery of fireworks after having held that *lit* 1/2 stick of dynamite in my right hand - and am eternally grateful that I still have my right hand).


You think anything will be different tomorrow? Nah, me either.

But a dude can dream.

Happy Birthday, United States of America -- hopefully you'll survive this Bush administration and see your 230th.