Filtered news 5/22

"It feels like I’m 95 years old. It feels rotten, physically, to tell you the truth.
When Robert Browning said “Grow old [along] with me! The best is yet to be,” he was
telling as much truth as George Bush and Karl Rove."
-- Studs Terkel, who turned 95 on May 16th,

Here's the Big Picture If you're interested in reading a good run-down of the Republican party's deeply immoral campaign to suppress minority voter turnout with bogus 'vote fraud' allegations, read Richard Hasen's from Friday in Slate. All the key points, the phony American Center for Voting Rights, the front group to spread the bogus stories, the inherently ridiculousness of the claims of vote fraud, the ringleader of the scams . All the crap. It's really enough to make you sick. By rights, these crooks should be facing justice themselves. But, shall we say, ironically, Alberto Gonzales ended up putting the US Attorney system in the service of these hucksters, firing ones who wouldn't play ball.

Should Bush be impeached? 429,860 votes so far with 88% saying yes. Of course this is unscientific, but the numbers are astounding nonetheless. For a little context, check out what the polls and what they're . Wow.To get an idea of how it work, check out this book:

Should Bush be King of America? Via : With scarcely a mention in the mainstream media, President Bush has ordered up a plan for responding to a catastrophic attack. Under that plan, he entrusts himself with leading the entire federal government, not just the Executive Branch. And he gives himself the responsibility “for ensuring constitutional government.” He laid this all out in a document entitled “/NSPD 51” and “Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD-20.” Other than a discussion on led off by a posting by Leo Fender, and a pro-forma notice in a couple of mainstream newspapers, this document has gone unremarked upon. The subject of the document is entitled “National Continuity Policy.”

Wear everywhere you go a t-shirt that says IMPEACH BUSH AND CHENEY. You can get one at but I recommend getting more than one, because you're going to want to wash them sometimes.

Owwww! The stupidity -- it hurts!!! One News Now that we simply aren't having enough babies. White babies, that is, natch. My favorite part, though, is where the "demographic expert" presents this absolutely astounding observation:

Author and public policy expert Phillip Longman says the concept that if your parents never had children, chances are you won't as well, rings true across the world today.

Please take a moment to parse through the absolutely iron-clad logic behind that statement. Hey, I'm convinced!

Al Gore tries to explain his book to Diane Sawyer on GMA, but can't get her to stop asking about him about he '08 election. Oh, and how fat is he? Here's the link to his book: , | | :

In his new book, .... Al Gore explains “why logic and reason and the best evidence available and the scientific discoveries do not have more force in about the reality we are now facing.” Gore explains that part of the explanation lies in how much television viewing time is devoted to coverage of “,” such as the and .

In her interview with Al Gore this morning, ABC’s Diane Sawyer displayed the media’s propensity to focus on their “” rather than substantive issues that currently affect the country.

Sawyer’s first question to Gore was “You’re not going to tell me again that you have no plans to run, are you?” Gore quickly disposed of the question, saying, “Well, I’m not a candidate and this book is not a political book, it’s not a candidate book at all.” That answer didn’t prevent Sawyer from re-asking the question three more times, consuming airtime that could instead have demonstrated how to raise the level of debate.

Some lowlights:

SAWYER: Again, not to come back to this and fall into your thesis that the press only wants the horserace of the political campaign, but one way…
GORE: But back to the horserace.....

SAWYER: And what will it be that causes you to make that decision, if you’re waiting and watching?
GORE: Well, you know, I’m not pondering it, I’m not focused on that....

SAWYER: I just want to say, Donna Brazile, your former campaign manager, has said, If he drops 25 to 30 pounds he’s running. Lost any weight?

At the conclusion of the interview, Gore mocked Sawyer’s line of questioning. “Listen to your questions,” he said. “You know, the horserace, the cosmetic parts of this — and, look, that’s all understandable and natural. But while we’re focused on, you know, Britney and K-Fed and Anna Nicole Smith and all this stuff, meanwhile, very quietly, our country has been making some very serious mistakes that could be avoided if we, the people, including the news media, are involved in a full and vigorous discussion of what our choices are.”

The Simpsons on Fox news and the "liberal" media Lisa explores the dichotomy between FOX Network's sleazy programming and FOX News' condemnation of everything "liberal." We found a longer version of the video on YouTube | |

Earth-shaking issues! Edwards forced to address haircut "controversy" yet again. That and other political news of the day in today's .

Back to 1950! “I do not believe in teaching about .”

BushCo's open bigotry Karl Zinsmeister is currently President Bush’s chief domestic policy adviser, hired when Claude Allen stepped down after being . Before joining the White House, Zinsmeister was editor in chief of The American Enterprise, the conservative think tank’s magazine. In a piece he wrote in 1996, Zinsmeister stated, “. … The penalty for the person who, ignoring race, turns down the wrong street today can literally be death.”

A new article in The New Republic shows that Zinsmeister was also hostile toward women. A former American Enterprise editor, Karina Rollins, remembers that Zinsmeister constantly attacked the magazine’s art director, Jo Roback-Paul, criticizing her for going to a doctor’s appointment and for :

But the biggest grievance harbored by the magazine’s staff concerned Zinsmeister himself. “He went to his son’s basketball game, and then he would give Jo [Roback-Pal] a hard time about a doctor’s appointment,” Rollins says. … While Zinsmeister frequently complained about Roback-Pal to other staffers at the magazine — telling [then-business manager Garth] Cadiz that she was “useless” and “never there” — her former colleagues say that she never missed a deadline and that he was “abusive” toward her. When she angered him by taking a four-month maternity leave, Zinsmeister told Cadiz, “I am never going to hire another woman because they just get pregnant and leave.”

Unfortunately for Zinsmeister, the states that employers cannot discriminate on the “, childbirth, or related medical conditions.” The Bush administration has a track record of to not hire women. It’s unclear whether Zinsmeister has lived up to his no-women pledge while at the White House.

It's not torure if we do it? Greg Djerejian on whether induced hypothermia, sleep deprivation, and waterboarding constitute terrorism. Count me as standing with Djerejian in the view that if you can read accounts of the KGB using the technique that clearly paint it as torture, that it's probably torture when the CIA does it, too. And, to repeat an old-time theme around these parts, it's always worth recalling that it's not a coincidence that torture is associated with authoritarian regimes; these aren't really investigative methods, they're efforts to terrorize a population. Menachim Begin, recalling the use of the "long time standing" method in the USSR, states: "I came across prisoners who signed what they were ordered to sign, only to get what the interrogator promised them." False confessions were, of course, an integral element of the Stalinist system and torture is an excellent way to generate them. They're not, however, actually useful in fighting terrorism.

Today, four members of Congress conclude the Congressional Food Stamp Challenge, in which lawmakers chose to live “on three dollars of food per day, .”

One of the participants, Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), “stuck to the challenge” even as he traveled to speak at his alma mater’s commencement exercises, bringing along his “pasta and sauce, as well as .” After the ceremony and late for his plane, he rushed through the airport choosing not to check his bags to save time. He writes:

I step up to the metal detector, take my shoes off, place my bag through the scanner and come out the other side to the most dreaded words in travel, “Bag Check!”... As the agent sifted though my bag, I tried to recount what could possibly be in there that was threatening… my mouthwash? Toothpaste? Yeah, it was those two, but it was also my peanut butter and jelly.... He politely put the peanut butter and jelly to the side, closed my bag and gave it back to me. I was too astonished to talk. I took my bag and walked towards the gate thinking about the 4 or maybe 5 meals that she had taken from me. What am I going to do now? It’s not like I can just go to Safeway and grab another jar. I have .33 cents and a bag of cornmeal to last today and tomorrow.

While Ryan took the loss in stride, comforted by the fact that he could soon lift his $21/week spending limit come Tuesday, one in 10 Americans constantly live with such restrictions and “.” Rep. James McGovern (D-MA) explained that “nearly 36 million Americans” do not “consistently have enough food to .” He added that on such a low budget there’s “no organic foods, no fresh vegetables, we were looking for the cheapest of everything.” “We got spaghetti and hamburger meat that was high in fat — the fattiest meat on the shelf. … It’s .” You can read more about the Food Stamp Challenge and H.R. 2129, Feeding America’s Families Act .

Will he really turn on his friends? “I’m prepared to until the last day I’m alive on this Earth because they have mistreated too many people,” said Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS). Lott “became one of tens of thousands of Gulf Coast homeowners whose claims were rejected when State Farm decided the damage to his house was caused by flooding.”

Neocon media What happens when you try to convince members of the press that anything approaching skepticism is the equivalent of treason and that the patriotic thing to do is to write down what the administration is leaking regardless of the fact that none of the dots seem to connect? It works. It works so well that is utterly depressing and in some ways marks a significant threat to this little republic of ours. If you haven’t seen Bill Moyers report on the press and the Iraq war, .

Imagine a room filled with White House journalists. The president has a list of pre-approved questions to be asked in a pre-approved order. Everyone knows that’s the score. Yet, as soon as Dubya finishes answering one question, everyone in the press corps raises their hands, suggesting that they may be called on next. They all know it’s just an act. That happened during a critical, primetime press conference. Who represents your interests in that scenario?

Now extend that “teamwork” between the administration and those supposedly tasked with keeping them honest as far as you can possibly imagine. OK, you’re about a 10th of the way there. We’re not talking about life risking war zone get the truth at any cost reporting here folks. We’re talking about taking the time to do a simple review of the widely available information. You won’t believe it when you hear just how basic were the efforts put forth by a few excellent journalists from Knight Ridder.

If only Saddam had been accused of fathering Anna Nicole’s baby – we may have gotten some deeper coverage. A crappy and dishonest administration, a weak press corp, a happily uninformed public. Terrible.

Get this: The Dem Presidential candidates are outraising their GOP counterparts in, of all places, .

The 2008 race so far We note for the record that current polls in have the Democratic race at Edwards, Obama, and Clinton. Remember that national polls don't mean much at all. Edwards is in third place nationally, but the calendar is written for him. If he wins Iowa, South Carolina, and Nevada, he goes into New Hampshire with all the momentum. If he wins there, well, I dunno, but it's more important than national polls. Gore: .

Republican-wise, the race still makes no sense. All of the "pros" are waiting for Rudy to self-destruct, but it does seem to be taking a long time. McCain looks and feels "old" and Romney's religion looks to be as much of a barrier as Rudy's affection for gays, abortion, gun-control, etc. Originally, I thought Mike Huckabee to be the likely break-out candidate, but I'm told by knowledgeable Republicans -- and by his anemic fund-raising figures -- that his tax raising practices in Arkansas doom his hopes. That leaves Fred Thompson -- he's never accomplished much as a politician but hey, he is a B-actor, a likeable fellow and most significantly, semi-acceptable to everyone. Well, anyway, that's my story for now and I'm sticking with it....

The Church of Newt There are times when it'd be nice if reporters felt comfortable pressing twice-divorced serial adulterers on just

I can't even think of a joke for this Haaretz that "The Bush administration has given Israel permission to discuss the future of the Golan Heights, security arrangements and Israeli-Syrian peace accords if it agrees to talks with Syria." But Nancy Pelosi's a traitor -- dhimmitude! That said, if I were an Israeli and I woke up to read in my morning paper (though my understanding is that few actual Israelis read Haaretz) that my government was getting "permission" from the United States to conduct diplomacy with an adjacent country I might worry that something had gone awry in the US-Israeli special friendship. Like the people driving the relationship, and policy to the region generally, are bloodthirsty and crazy, with no actual idea about how to advance American or Israeli interests.

"The Republicans were the ones who politicized oversight. When Clinton was president,
there wasn't an accusation too small for them to rush out and hold hearings. When Bush
became president, there wasn't a scandal too large for them to ignore."
-- Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House committee on oversight,
reminding the bastards of the over 1,000 subpoenas they issued Clinton,

The pro-teen pregnancy party Efforts to restore public funding for birth control services in Missouri of pro-life groups. As Neil says, this kind of things makes it difficult to believe that pro-life groups are centrally motivated by the putative wrongness of abortion rather than by a general desire for more intense regulation of sexual activity. Which, really, shouldn't be very controversial since it's clearly what pro-life groups themselves say.

After five or six months of wasting time (and God knows how many lives) with the "surge," it looks like the Bush administration may be . You'd think the people working in this White House would just be too embarrassed to wake up some mornings.

Holy crap What…Lumping all the faithful into one category and ignoring various doctrinal differences, concludes that believers must be better…A man who won $8982.90…BBC/ escalates…Our are broken……Which theologian…Sex…Newt Gingrich's year-round version of the "…The Devil

SNL: The 2008 presidential candidates air their dirty laundry to Oprah. | |

Iraqi leadership AWOL Juan Cole notes today that of the six men who actually run Iraq, one of them is in Iran getting chemotherapy for his lung cancer; one is in hiding; and one, improbably, is in the U.S.

So of the central club, al-Hakim is now absent. And, Jalal Talabani is flying to the US to spend three weeks, allegedly in a bid to lose weight. I'm tempted to speculate that something is in the works such that someone thinks it desirable that Talabani be out of country, since the idea that Mam Jalal suddenly decided he needed to go to a fat farm in Minnesota strikes me as far-fetched. But I will control myself; speculation in the absence of information is not very useful.

....Here you have the president and the leader of the largest bloc out of country. Not to mention that another important figure, Muqtada al-Sadr is in hiding in the Kufa area of Iraq, apparently afraid that the US "surge" will include another attempt to assassinate him.

....Nothing is likely to get done in their absence. Even under the best of circumstances, getting Talabani, Barzani, al-Hakim, al-Maliki and al-Hashimi all on the same page is nearly a miracle. But for the next few weeks it won't be possible at all.

This strikes me as a coincidence worth taking note of, especially since Maliki's government has shown distinct signs of strain lately. Stay tuned.

War is proof of incompetence recounts his experiences as a physician in combat during the Vietnam war, and explains why war should always be a last resort in his eloquent, heartfelt

"There's a lot of speculation about what happened and what didn't happen;
I'm not going to talk about it. It's a very sensitive program."
-- Dubya, on Gonzales torturing Ashcroft on his sickbed to break the law,

"Excuse me, it's not speculation. It is the sworn testimony of the man you appointed as the
second-ranking law-enforcement officer in the land. And while the program may be sensitive,
the question wasn't about the inner workings of attempts to spy on terrorists. It was about
whether the attempt by Gonzales and Andy Card to get the ailing Ashcroft to sign from his
sickbed was proper. Bush chose to dodge the question instead."
-- Howard Kurtz, Wow! You know the party is over when Howie the lapdog snarls.

National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell argued in an op-ed today for limiting restrictions on domestic surveillance, :

“Technology and threats have changed, but the law remains essentially the same. … Because the law has not been changed to reflect technological advancements, we are missing potentially valuable intelligence needed to protect America.”

But as Glenn Greenwald , Congress altered and “modernized” FISA in 2001, prompting President Bush :

The bill before me takes account of the new realities and dangers posed by modern terrorists. … The existing law was written in the era of rotary telephones. This new law I sign today will allow surveillance of all communications used by terrorists, including e-mails, the Internet, and cell phones.

Read Greenwald’s .

Will Rogers suggested a simple standard for evaluating any country or community: Are people trying to get in? Or are they trying to get out? By that standard, as , Iraq is a massive failure:

Let's start with the numbers, inadequate as they are. The latest UN figures concerning the refugee crisis in Iraq indicate that between 1-1.2 million Iraqis have fled across the border into Syria; about 750,000 have crossed into Jordan (increasing its modest population of 5.5 million by 14%); at least another 150,000 have made it to Lebanon; over 150,000 have emigrated to Egypt; and -- these figures are the trickiest of all -- over 1.9 million are now estimated to have been internally displaced by civil war and sectarian cleansing within Iraq.

These numbers are staggering in a population estimated in the pre-invasion years at only 26 million. At a bare minimum, in other words, at least one out of every seven Iraqis has had to flee his or her home due to the violence and chaos set off by the Bush administration's invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Syrian officials and UNHCR workers tell Jamail that these estimates are probably too low -- that the number of Iraqi refugees in Syria is probably closer to 1.5 million. The High Commissioner for Refugees has a budget of only $16 million for 2007 for assisting these refugees.

The primary trigger for this crisis was the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, and yet President Bush and his top officials have taken no significant steps whatsoever to share in the resulting refugee burden. To date, the administration has issued only 466 visas to Iraqis. Under recent pressure from the UN, it has said that it would offer an additional 7,000 visas -- but without either announcing the criteria for accepting such refugees or even when the visas might be issued.

This is unacceptable. America has an obligation -- for pragmatic, political reasons as well as inescapable moral ones -- to help these people. Even the minimum threshhold of Colin Powell's "Pottery-Barn rule" makes this clear. And yet America is doing almost nothing to assist these refugees we helped to create. To do so would undermine the attempt to create the perception that steady "progress is being made." To assist, and therefore acknowledge, these millions of refugees would undermine the desperate spin promoted by the Bush administration and its defenders that any apparent bad news out of Iraq is the product of media bias. And so, to maintain the lie that the good news is being underreported, the human suffering of 4 million people is ignored and the debt we owe them is unacknowledged, unpaid.

And every month, another 50,000 refugees flee their "liberated" country. Joining them, soon, will be . Anyone who has been reading her Baghdad-based blog for the past five years has seen the abundant evidence of their courage and resourcefulness, and of their love for their home. Yet finally, they have decided, it is time to flee:

It's difficult to decide which is more frightening -- car bombs and militias, or having to leave everything you know and love, to some unspecified place for a future where nothing is certain.

Riverbend suggests that part of what finally spurred this desperate decision was the "Great Wall of Segregation":

Which is the wall the current Iraqi government is building (with the support and guidance of the Americans). It's a wall that is intended to separate and isolate what is now considered the largest "Sunni" area in Baghdad -- let no one say the Americans are not building anything. According to plans the Iraqi puppets and Americans cooked up, it will "protect" A'adhamiya, a residential/mercantile area that the current Iraqi government and their death squads couldn't empty of Sunnis. ...

The Wall is the latest effort to further break Iraqi society apart. Promoting and supporting civil war isn't enough, apparently -- Iraqis have generally proven to be more tenacious and tolerant than their mullahs, ayatollahs, and Vichy leaders. It's time for America to physically divide and conquer -- like Berlin before the wall came down or Palestine today. This way, they can continue chasing Sunnis out of "Shia areas" and Shia out of "Sunni areas."

This wall, and the division and separation of the people of Iraq it symbolizes, is deeply troublesome. It suggests that the current flood of Iraqi refugees -- already perhaps the "most severe refugee crisis on the planet" Jamail says -- is likey to increase dramatically. And it is likely to do so regardless of whether American forces stay or go, surge or redeploy.

Dr. Gregory H. Stanton, the president of Genocide Watch, offers a watchlist of "."

1. Classification
2. Symbolization
3. Dehumanization
4. Organization
5. Polarization
6. Identification
7. Extermination
8. Denial

Go read his entire list and his explanation of each step and consider whether all of these have not already begun, at least in part, in Iraq.

Gee, no Carteresque hostage watch? Wonder why... “At least , including five U.S. servicemen and 22 private businessmen and contractors, are being held hostage by militant groups worldwide. … Nineteen of the Americans held hostage are in Iraq.”

McClatchy ran a detailed profile today on Hans von Spakovsky, the top Bush administration official who many in Congress believe is “a key player in a Republican campaign to hang onto power in Washington by .”

“Mr. von Spakovsky was central to the administration’s pursuit of strategies that had the effect of suppressing the minority vote,” charged Joseph Rich, a former Justice Department voting rights chief who worked under him.

He and other former career department lawyers say that von Spakovsky steered the agency toward voting rights policies not seen before, pushing to curb minor instances of election fraud by imposing sweeping restrictions that would make it harder, not easier, for Democratic-leaning poor and minority voters to cast ballots.

Von Spakovsky, who was recess-appointed to the Federal Election Commission in December 2005, is scheduled to appear at a June 13 Senate confirmation hearing. Much more on his record at , , and .

Jerome Hauer, New York City’s first emergency management director, was once part of “the nucleus” of Rudy Giuliani’s “tight-knit set of advisers.” Now, he’s trying to set the record straight about :

In recent days, Mr. Hauer has challenged Mr. Giuliani’s recollection that he had little role as mayor in placing the city’s emergency command center at the ill-fated World Trade Center.

Mr. Hauer has also disputed the claim by the Giuliani campaign that the mayor’s wife, Judith Giuliani, had coordinated a help center for families after the attack.

And he has contradicted Mr. Giuliani’s assertions that the city’s emergency response was well coordinated that day, a point he made most notably to the authors of “Grand Illusion,” a book that depicts Mr. Giuliani’s antiterrorism efforts as deeply flawed.

Push approaches shove Almost immediately after it became obvious that Karl Rove, Harriet Miers, and other Bush confidants needed to testify in the prosecutor purge investigation, there was a standoff. Congressional Dems wanted Rove & Co. to appear before the Judiciary Committee(s), to answer questions. The White House wanted them to be “interviewed,” in private, with no transcript and no oath. That was in March. Dems have shown some willingness to budge, but the president’s team has not — so nothing’s happened.

As far as Dems on the Hill are concerned, their patience is .

The House Judiciary Committee is prepared to use subpoenas to compel the testimony of Karl Rove and other White House officials, Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) and subcommittee Chairwoman Linda Sanchez (D-CA) warned White House counsel Fred Fielding [yesterday].

“We are today writing to express our extreme disappointment in the White House’s rebuff of efforts by the Judiciary Committee to obtain voluntary cooperation with our investigation concerning the firing of at least nine U.S. Attorneys in 2006 and related matters,” they wrote. “We write to make one last appeal for such voluntary cooperation…. If the White House persists in refusing to provide information to the House Judiciary Committee, or even to discuss providing such information, on a voluntary basis, we will have no alternative but to begin to resort to compulsory process in order to carry out our oversight responsibilities.”

It’s possible the Bush gang thinks Dems are bluffing, and they won’t have the guts to issue subpoenas. Or just as likely, the White House just doesn’t care. Either way, subpoenas appear all but inevitable now.

about Iraq and the state of the country today. In the “Good Morning America” interview, the former First Lady agrees with a recent Time magazine article by Karen Tumulty that noted, “The principles that propelled the [conservative] movement have either run their course, or run aground, or .”

Homeland insecurity "" was a memorable piece from The Onion -- memorable because coming less than a month after the Sept. 11 attacks, it offered a healthy dose of perspective while much of the "real" news media was still in hysterical-panic mode. But while the Cedar Rapids Public Library probably isn't terribly high on the list of likely terrorist targets, it's higher on the list than the town of Ocean View, Del., population 1,135. But just in case, the Department of Homeland Security has been pouring money into Ocean View and other off-the-main-road towns in Delaware. Lee Williams and Mike Chalmers of The (Del.) News Journal tell the story of "":

As terrorist targets go, the small town of Ocean View has neither a large population nor an industry that’s a potentially catastrophic target, such as a nuclear plant or chemical factory.

But no other jurisdiction in Delaware has worked the complex federal Homeland Security system for grants and gear as successfully as Ocean View. And according to Police Chief Kenneth McLaughlin, no town is better prepared for what he believes is the inevitable terrorist attack.

“Our little elementary school is more of a target than the White House,” says McLaughlin, an animated man who wears a white uniform shirt equipped with the kind of stars given to military generals. “We saw it in the Soviet Union. The Chechens took one. We can’t let our guard down.”

To “eliminate or isolate the threat,” the chief says, Ocean View pursued $111,632 in tactical gear and other equipment from U.S. Homeland Security Department defense grants, about $100 per resident for a quiet town separated from Bethany Beach by the lazy water in Assawoman Canal.

Most of the gear, most of the time, collects dust.

Since the 9/11 attacks, a stream of federal Homeland Security money has flowed into Delaware to buy SWAT gear, high-tech gadgets, expensive vehicles and other equipment, often for small-town police departments that face more threats from speeders and shoplifters than terrorists.

Police in the tiny Sussex County town of Milton, less than 2,000 residents, got $25,000 to buy heavy-duty body armor, helmets and an $8,500 door-lock system that reads entrants’ fingerprints. The even-smaller town of Ocean View, population 1,100, bought a $2,355 night-vision monocular. Clayton and Harrington got large SUVs for their chiefs to drive, a likely violation of Homeland Security guidelines.

Until recently, U.S. forces serving in Iraq and Afghanistan were typically issued less-protective body armor than the Level IV body armor and ballistic helmets, capable of stopping high-power rifle rounds, ordered by virtually violent-crime-free towns such as Ocean View. With his Homeland Security money, McLaughlin purchased eight bulletproof vests, with accessories, at $1,210 each, eight SWAT-type radio microphones, at nearly $600 each, and a 130-kilowatt generator, which cost taxpayers nationwide nearly $22,000.

To get to Ocean View from where I'm sitting, I would need to drive down I-95. Starting just this side of the Pennsylvania state line, that would mean passing a nearly uninterrupted string of refineries and chemical plants along the Delaware River, from the Sun refinery in Marcus Hook, Pa., to the Valero refinery in Delaware City, Del. I would also pass by the Port of Wilmington, where 5 million tons of cargo are handled each year, largely uninspected. And a bit further south, just across the river, I would pass the cooling towers of the Salem/Hope Creek nuclear power plant.

In the more than five years since 9/11, little has been done to increase or improve security at those facilities. I'm sure that the Department of Homeland Security wishes it could do more but, you know, money doesn't grow on trees so they've had to do the best that they can with limited resources.

Pick a Side, Any Side The new plan What the hell did they supposedly spend the last 3 years doing?

Hats off to Brit Hume of Fox News for posing perhaps the most preposterous question ever asked at a presidential debate. Here's the question in full, from in South Carolina: "Three shopping centers near major U.S. cities have been hit by suicide bombers. Hundreds are dead, thousands injured. A fourth attack has been averted when the attackers were captured off the Florida coast and taken to Guantanamo Bay, where they are being questioned. U.S. intelligence believes that another larger attack is planned and could come at any time. First question to you, Senator McCain. How aggressively would you interrogate those being held at Guantanamo Bay for information about where the next attack might be?"

Gee, Brit. How long did it take you to come up with that one, not including the time you spent touching yourself while you were thinking about it? I mean, it's not even really a question, is it? You might as well have told the candidates to get their dicks out and measure them.

Oh well. Since we're now at the stage where we're encouraging the Republican candidates to contemplate entirely fictional events in order to demonstrate the size of their manly genitals, I've got some submissions for the next Fox News-sponsored debate:

You are on your way to your local Home Depot to buy an MSA Safety Works U.S. Patriotic Hard Hat. In the parking lot you find a crowd of suspicious-looking Hispanic males who appear to be searching for employment. One of the men approaches you and in a thick accent attempts to sell you a Remington electric hedge trimmer which he will not admit to puchasing legally. When you politely decline he becomes angry and pulls an American flag from his pocket, which he proceeds to set fire to and stamp upon, simultaneously taunting you with pro-Mexican slogans.

Congressman Tancredo: how unacceptable do you find this behavior?

You are vacationing in Simi Valley, California, when you decide to visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and pay your respects at the resting place of our greatest president. Upon arriving at the tomb, you discover that Osama bin Laden has exhumed Reagan's coffin, opened it, and is attempting to mount the former president's dead body. You are armed only with a decorative ballpoint pen which you purchased from the gift shop just moments earlier.

Mayor Giuliani: describe in detail the suffering you would inflict upon bin Laden using only the pen and your bare hands.

You are striding boldly across the surface of the moon when you discover Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction in an large brown duffel bag. Upon further investigation, you discover that the bag bears a nametag indicating that it is the property of one "M. Ahmadinejad."

Senator McCain: how quickly would you unleash the awesome destructive power of the United States military on the godless heathens of Iran?


May 22, 2007 - 9:40am