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December 30, 2005
Candy Cane Lane w/ Liz

Liz had a piece on Seattle's Candy Cane Lane air during Morning Edition today on KUOW!

Listen here.

I can vouch for the incredible amount of work that goes into even a short piece like this. Congrats, darlin'.

December 21, 2005
Fan, Meet Shit

Over at the Slog, Dan Savage lays out the many elements of the growing shit storm, including such tidbits as the FISA judge who resigned in protest, the federal judge who defends Bush's actions and the blogger who finds the scary premise behind that defense, and more.

What's Worse?

Actual question posed by Andrea Mitchell on Hardball last night. Seriously, she actually said this.

Andrea Mitchell: What do you think Americans really need to be worried about more...a terror attack or someone going into their hard drives and intercepting their emails?

Former Senator and Intelligence Committee Chairman Bob Graham: Well, I think they need to be concerned about the effect of the United States seeing a retreat from our basic values at the same time we're trying to ask the countries from which the terrorists came to adopt principles of democracy and liberty. Wouldn't it be ironic if, at the same time, through our initiative, we were able to establish democracy in Iraq, but we were losing our basic liberties and freedoms at home?

Daily Kos

Yeah, I mean... come on.. if you don't have anything to hide, why should you mind if the government reads your email? Don't you care about avoiding another 9/11?

Holy shit.

December 20, 2005
Read This

Newsweek's Jonathan Alter on "Snoopgate".

No He Didn't!

Okay, this one is really going to come back to haunt that little weasel.. Via Atrios..

Secondly, there are such things as roving wiretaps. Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution.

Bush Speech, April 20, 2004

Oh you are so going down, monkey boy.

High Crimes

Oh man, I don't want to get too excited, but this spying thing is really starting to look bad for Bush.

QUESTION: Is spying on the American people as impeachable an offense as lying about having sex with an intern?

BRUCE FEIN, constitutional scholar and former deputy attorney general in the Reagan Administration: I think the answer requires at least in part considering what the occupant of the presidency says in the aftermath of wrongdoing or rectification. On its face, if President Bush is totally unapologetic and says I continue to maintain that as a war-time President I can do anything I want - I don't need to consult any other branches - that is an impeachable offense. It's more dangerous than Clinton's lying under oath because it jeopardizes our democratic dispensation and civil liberties for the ages. It would set a precedent that … would lie around like a loaded gun, able to be used indefinitely for any future occupant.

NORM ORNSTEIN, AEI scholar: I think if we're going to be intellectually honest here, this really is the kind of thing that Alexander Hamilton was referring to when impeachment was discussed.

December 19, 2005
Hertzberg on the War on Christmas

Nearly perfect, as usual.

But the suspicion remains that a truer explanation for Fox’s militancy may be, like so much else at Yuletide, business. Christmas is the big retail season. What Fox retails is resentment.
December 17, 2005
Not Warranted

Josh Mashall has another bit of damaging evidence against the administration's defense of their secret eavesdropping.

Their major excuse for not obtaining warrants for the spying is that it would have taken valuable time, and they had to spy on these people, like, yesterday.

Well, as it turns out—surprise, surprise—this is a lie.

... the FISA Court is specifically designed to get warrants okayed really quickly and it almost never rejects a government application...


It turns out that FISA specifically empowers the Attorney General or his designee to start wiretapping on an emergency basis even without a warrant so long as a retroactive application is made for one "as soon as practicable, but not more than 72 hours after the Attorney General authorizes such surveillance." (see specific citation, here).

Talking Points Memo

So there you go. There is no lawful rationale for what the president authorized. He is basically asserting that he can break any law any time he pleases, if he thinks he needs to. As Marshall points out, this would include the McCain Amendment forbidding torture.

Bush Defends Illegal Eavesdropping

Maybe we won't have to wait for a Democratic majority in Congress after all...

President Bush today acknowledged that he had secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on international communications of Americans and other domestic residents with known links to al Qaeda.

The controversial order has been approved by legal authorities in his administration, Bush said, and he added that members of Congress had been notified of it more than a dozen times.

He defended his decision to sign the secret order, calling the program a "vital tool in our war against terrorists" and "critical to saving American lives."

"This is a highly classified program that is crucial to our national security," a stern-looking Bush said. "Its purpose is to detect and prevent terrorist attacks against the United States, our friends, and allies. . . .And the activities conducted under this authorization have helped detect and prevent possible terrorist attacks in the United States and abroad."

"I have reauthorized this program more than 30 times since the September the 11th attacks, and I intend to do so for as long as our nation faces a continuing threat from al Qaeda and related groups," Bush added.

Washington Post

Bush went on to detail how the press had no right to expose this illegal program in the first place, and how dangerous their truth-telling was to all of us.

So there you go, in black and white, the Bush philosophy. "I can do anything I think is necessary, and even asking questions about what I'm doing is akin to treason."

More Fun With Juxtapositions

Bush Raps Senators on Blocking Patriot Act

Congress Seeks Answers About Spying on Citizens

So practically in the same breath, the Bush administration is accusing the Senate of putting all of our lives at risk by not renewing their "we can do whatever we want, whenever we want" law and refusing to discuss why they've been illegally spying on our own citizens. Makes sense.

If all of this keeps up, I suppose their is some hope that the Democrats can take back control of the Congress next year and then, finally, there will be some actual investigations into these criminals. I honestly can't imagine that an honest inquiry into even a tiny fraction of their behavior wouldn't result in an impeachment. They have clearly broken countless laws, lied continuously about nearly everything, and used their positions to enrich themselves and their friends at the expense of everyone else.

The only real variable is whether or not the Democrats can even begin to get their heads out of their asses long enough to take proper advantage of this unprecedented situation. That one, I'm not so sure about.

December 15, 2005
The News Is Not Good


December 9, 2005
We Suck
Two weeks of treaty talks on global warming neared an end today with the world's current and projected leaders in emissions of greenhouse gases, the United States and China, still refusing to take any mandatory steps to avoid dangerous climate change. The Bush administration was sharply criticized by environmental groups for walking out of a round of informal discussions shortly after midnight that were aimed at finding new ways of curbing gases beyond steps taken so far.

The walkout was widely seen here as the capstone of two weeks of American efforts to prevent any fresh initiatives from being discussed.

New York Times

December 8, 2005
Daily Show Xmas Smackdown

In response to O'Reilly's calling them out on a piece they did last year that was, you know, a joke, The Daily Show provides the perfect bitch slap to O'Reilly and his absurd "There's a War on Christmas" crusade.



Quicktime Movie.

I ♥ Jon Stewart.

December 4, 2005
Alito Favors Shooting Unarmed Teens

Via Think Progress..

In a 1984 memo, Samuel Alito wrote that "he saw no constitutional problem with a police officer shooting and killing an unarmed teenager who was fleeing after a $10 home burglary. 'I think the shooting [in this case] can be justified as reasonable.'" A year later, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that the shooting represented an "unreasonable seizure," and used the case to "set a firm national rule against the routine use of 'deadly force' against fleeing suspects who pose no danger."
December 3, 2005
Al-Qaeda #3 Dead

An unmanned but heavily armed CIA drone blew up Hamza Rabia, the No. 3 man in the al-Qaeda terrorist network.


Mostly, this is good news. This guy was no-doubt a piece of shit. However, it points out two things...

First, if we were properly focused on actually going after the leadership of al-Qaeda, we could probably get most of them, including Osama, and with a minimum of bloodshed. We have freaking laser-guided-missile-toting unmanned airplane drones, for crying out loud. That's some serious shit. Instead, we've wasted years and thousands of lives dicking around in Iraq, boosting al-Qaeda's membership and accomplishing just about nothing or real or lasting value.

Second, look at the kid I circled in the picture up there. That look in his eyes, THAT's the real problem. That's what we should be afraid of. We're going about this wrong, we're making enemies faster than we can laser-guide bombs into their houses, and it's not going to end until we have a more intelligent policy. That kid is going to grow up, and he's going to hate us. Look at him. He already hates us.

Anti-Alito = Anti-God

Think Progress reveals the right's new strategy against people opposed to the Alito nomination, laid out in a strategy memo.

The memo selectively names member groups of the Independent Court coalition, carefully leaving out the religiously affiliated groups in order to make their wildly inaccurate point.

First, let’s call out the groups that are attacking Judge Alito from behind their “independentcourt.org” moniker. Who do we find when we lift the veil? The ACLU, People for the American Way, NOW, NARAL, AFL-CIO, Human Rights Campaign, MoveOn.org, Americans United, NAACP, NARAL (see link at end for the full list). And what theme unites these groups? An agenda to purge any and all references to religion from our public lives.

This, and the sad idea of a "secret secular agenda" to destroy Christmas pushed by Bill O'Reilly and others.

What, I ask you, is the matter with these people?

Raise your hand if you want to destroy Christmas. That's what I thought.

December 2, 2005
The Price To Be Paid

Martin Van Creveld, the only non-American author on the U.S. Army's required reading list for officers, predicts the future of Iraq in the latest issue of The Forward.

This man is one of the most trusted military historians in the world.

Clearly, then, the thing to do is to forget about face-saving and conduct a classic withdrawal.

Handing over their bases or demolishing them if necessary, American forces will have to fall back on Baghdad. From Baghdad they will have to make their way to the southern port city of Basra, and from there back to Kuwait, where the whole misguided adventure began. When Prime Minister Ehud Barak pulled Israel out of Lebanon in 2000, the military was able to carry out the operation in a single night without incurring any casualties. That, however, is not how things will happen in Iraq.

Not only are American forces perhaps 30 times larger, but so is the country they have to traverse. A withdrawal probably will require several months and incur a sizable number of casualties. As the pullout proceeds, Iraq almost certainly will sink into an all-out civil war from which it will take the country a long time to emerge — if, indeed, it can do so at all. All this is inevitable and will take place whether George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice like it or not.

His conclusion:

For misleading the American people, and launching the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 B.C sent his legions into Germany and lost them, Bush deserves to be impeached and, once he has been removed from office, put on trial along with the rest of the president's men. If convicted, they'll have plenty of time to mull over their sins.



U.S. Off My List Too

A sad milestone.

Just after 2 a.m., a North Carolina man became the 1,000th person to be executed in the U.S. since the Supreme Court upheld states' rights to order the death penalty in 1976. The somber moment drew a sizeable crowd to Central Prison in Raleigh, N.C., to protest capital punishment.

Kenneth Lee Boyd, 57, of Rockingham, N.C., died by lethal injection for the 1988 shootings of his estranged wife, Julie Curry Boyd, who was 36, and her father, Thomas Dillard Curry, 57. Members of both families had asked to be present.

New York Times

Clearly, there's no defending what Boyd did. He's a cold-blooded murderer. He also has an I.Q. of 77.

But none of this is the point. It's just sick for the state to kill as retribution. Anyone that argues that the death penalty is a deterrent is an idiot. Just take a look at murder rates in states that are fond of execution versus those that don't execute at all. If the death penalty were a deterrent at all, one would think Texas would be practically murder-free.

I could go into the rank hypocrisy of an increasingly "Christian" nation with an evangelical president who used to be the executin'-est governor of the executin'-est state using such methods, but it's just too obvious and sad.

The death penalty is disproportionately inflicted on the poor, minorities, and Southerners. This is not justice, it's just blood lust. We should all be ashamed of ourselves.

December 1, 2005
Singapore Off My List


Singapore executed a 25-year-old Australian on Friday for drug trafficking, despite numerous appeals from the Australian government and hours after the condemned man had a "beautiful last visit" with his family.

Nguyen Tuong Van was hanged before dawn as a dozen friends and supporters, dressed in black, kept an overnight vigil outside the maximum-security prison. His twin brother, Nguyen Khoa, was dressed in white.



Singapore, you're off my list. No tourist dollars from me. And yes, I realize that my own country has the death penalty, and I find it equally barbaric, although at least we don't generally kill people for nonviolent crimes. My current state, Washington, has executed 4 people in the last 30 years.

But anyway, fuck Singapore.

White House Wants Answers, By God!

This is rich.

In response to reports that the U.S. Military has been planting pro-U.S. stories in the Iraqi press, the White House has declared that they are "very concerned". The are vowing to find out how our forces could have done such a thing.

I can't really say for sure, but here's a guess... BECAUSE YOU TOLD THEM TO.

I mean, if this is not true, then who the hell is running the show? Do we have propaganda campaigns going on that the administration isn't aware of? Isn't that sort of a problem? The choice here, once again, is between massive corruption and massive failure.

Either they knew it was going on, and either ordered it or allowed it, or they didn't know it was going on, and have no handle on a major military campaign.

Which do you prefer? An evil government or a clueless one? Tough choice, no?

War supporters like to point to all the examples of Iraqis who really want us to be there and are demonstrably in favor of our mission there. This throws all of those stories into question (not that they weren't highly questionable before).

I would say things are getting out of control, but things have been out of control for years. Wake up, America. It's impeachment time.