Friday, February 25, 2005

How far we have come.

From MSNBC

Casting Will Smith’s love interest in “Hitch” was not a simple black or white decision.
Eva Mendes was given the role opposite Smith because the moviemakers were worried about the public’s reaction if the part was given to a white or an African American actress, according to Smith. The actor is saying that it was feared that a black couple would have put off worldwide audiences whereas a white/African American combo would have offended viewers in the U.S.
“There’s sort of an accepted myth that if you have two black actors, a male and a female, in the lead of a romantic comedy, that people around the world don’t want to see it,” Smith told the British paper, the Birmingham Post while promoting the flick overseas. “We spend $50-something million making this movie and the studio would think that was tough on their investment. So the idea of a black actor and a white actress comes up — that’ll work around the world, but it’s a problem in the U.S.”
Eva Mendes — who is of Cuban descent — was seen as a solution because apparently, the black/Latina combination is not considered taboo.
Sony didn’t return calls for comment.


Never suprising, always disapointing....

You have to think of the mindset here. An interracial leading couple = movie fails. Are we getting anywhere???

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Let us not speak of Paris Hilton again

The Bunker endorses the following message, from Low Culture.

In the elevated, sanctimonious tradition of the inestimable Lloyd Grove, we issue this call to arms to pundits, writers, tastemakers, and (dare we say it) bloggers far and wide: Let us not speak of Paris Hilton again. Let us disregard those antics that would otherwise warrant so much fleeting press from so many fleeting media outlets. Let us divorce ourselves from her poisonous presence in American popular culture. Let us focus on more enriching enterprises, like rigorous discussions of the 17th season of The Apprentice, or Roger Avary's screenwriting, or the career of Ben Stiller. Let us speak of steroids, of baseball, of horse racing. Let us embrace the Kentucky Derby with renewed vigor.
Let us look past Ms. Hilton's three seasons of moronic reality-television output. Let us salivate no longer on the entity known as Paris Hilton: her casually-flouted nudity, her vapid imbecility, her patented pronunciations of "That's hot." Paris? Hot? You're not.
Let us look forward to a day when this name will be synonymous with an endgame in the turning point of American culture, a utopian point at which we will have foregone such asinine documentation of these characters: the intellectually frail, the idiotically fulsome, and the irritatingly frivolous. Let us collectively embrace an era when we, the pundit class, can transcend such vile antics, and shall no longer forcibly parlay in matters of such juvenalia, such loathsome simplemindedness.
Paris? Ms. Hilton? We shall never speak of thee again. We are so much better than that.

Brat!

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Lets hope Scott Ritter is wrong, or full of it.

Scott Ritter, appearing with journalist Dahr Jamail yesterday in Washington State, dropped two shocking bombshells in a talk delivered to a packed house in Olympia’s Capitol Theater. The ex-Marine turned UNSCOM weapons inspector said that George W. Bush has "signed off" on plans to bomb Iran in June 2005, and claimed the U.S. manipulated the results of the recent Jan. 30 elections in Iraq.

Olympians like to call the Capitol Theater "historic," but it's doubtful whether the eighty-year-old edifice has ever been the scene of more portentous revelations.

The principal theme of Scott Ritter's talk was Americans’ duty to protect the U.S. Constitution by taking action to bring an end to the illegal war in Iraq. But in passing, the former UNSCOM weapons inspector stunned his listeners with two pronouncements. Ritter said plans for a June attack on Iran have been submitted to President George W. Bush, and that the president has approved them. He also asserted that knowledgeable sources say U.S. officials "cooked" the results of the Jan. 30 elections in Iraq.

-Update-

How could Scott Ritter know what Bush plans to do? I am not sure there is one American more hated and dismissed by the administration than Ritter. I doubt he has any contacts in the pentagon these days. Ritter apparently is basing his conclusion not on any insiders, but on The New Yorker. He is running with the carefully chosen words of Seymour Hersh, yet choosing them less carefully. Hersh noted that U.S. covert teams are in Iran. That's probably true, and Hersh has the best possible sources in both the Pentagon and the CIA. But that is probably nothing new. We have probably had teams there since Khatami's government lost its teeth about three years ago. It would not surprise me if we had covert teams on-and-off in Iran since 1979. The real big news of Hersh's article was that the Pentagon is now doing all the important intelligence work. For some reason, most accounts of Hersh's article missed that. Anyway, it makes sense for Bush to have plans drawn up in the event that Iran melts down or freaks out. It's only good policy for the president to order up plans to attack many states. But just because there are plans on the table does not mean that anyone PLANS to attack. We use the same word, but they carry very different meanings: tactics vs. intentions.

Ritter is rather undependable and unstable. The Clinton administration had serious problems with his behavior, even investigating him for espionage. I have never been able to make sense of Ritter. One month he seems brilliant and principled. The next he seems frenetic and vindictive. Ritter was right both in 1998 and 2002 about the lack of weapons in Iraq. But so were a lot of people. Broken clocks and Scott Ritter can be right twice a day. Of course, Ritter had many good sources in Iraq. So it's not surprising that he knows a few things about it. But he never served in Iran. So besides picking up The New Yorker, how would he know stuff?

I don't think that if current conditions continue, the United States will attack Iran. Here are three reasons why the United States will NOT attack Iran (even if it wants Iran to think it will):

  1. No soldiers left.
  2. No money left.
  3. The Pentagon does not see any way to take that country (and its nuclear facilities are spread out and defended) and understands that Iran has many ways to strike back in places like Beruit, Tel Aviv, and all of Iraq.

There are many big differences between Iran and Iraq: Iraq had no significant weapons or army. So the first few weeks in Iraq were a rout. Iran has nuclear weapons (or something very close) and a significant air force and army. Remember, Iran won a war against Iraq back when Iraq had one of the strongest armies in the world. Iran is not as ethnically or religiously diverse as Iraq. We could not divide and conquer the way we did (and everyone has done for centuries) Iraq.

Everyone knows it's a war we can't win, if winning means minimum casualties, quick control of the region, and the establishment of a stable government that has the support of the people.

That does not mean that Iran has no reason to fear the United States. It is surrounded by U.S. troops and bases on all sides. And Bush keeps fumbling every opportunity to diffuse tensions with Iran. Iran does not fear an invasion or a bombing run. It does fear isolation and starvation. Sound like any other part of the world that Bush is making more dangerous every day?

Look, we have enough real evidence that George W. Bush can't negotiate his way out of a paper bag and that he can't plan or execute a war even against an unarmed country. He betrays the trust of the brave soldiers who serve under him by donning a flight suit even though he failed to serve while proposing cuts to veterans' benefits. With all the real incompetence, we don't need to speculate about the next big mistake.


Pope: Gay marraige = Evil.

Greeeat. Hatred spewed by world leaders. Gotta love it. You have to wonder if the Pope is even writing his own books these days.....

ROME, Italy (Reuters) -- Homosexual marriages are part of "a new ideology of evil" that is insidiously threatening society, Pope John Paul says in his newly published book.

"It is legitimate and necessary to ask oneself if this is not perhaps part of a new ideology of evil, perhaps more insidious and hidden, which attempts to pit human rights against the family and against man," he writes.

I always liked this exchange from an episode of The West Wing, between president Barlett and a talk radio host named Dr. Jenna Jacobs...it says it all.

BARTLET
Good. I like your show. I like how you call homosexuality an abomination.

JENNA JACOBS
I don't say homosexuality is an abomination, Mr. President. The Bible does.

BARTLET
Yes, it does. Leviticus.

JENNA JACOBS
18:22

BARTLET
Chapter and verse. I wanted to ask you a couple of questions while I had you here.
I'm interested in selling my youngest daughter into slavery as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7.
(small chuckles from the guests) She's a Georgetown sophomore, speaks fluent Italian, and
always clears the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be? While
thinking about that, can I ask another? My Chief of Staff, LeoO McGarry, insists on working
on the Sabbath, Exodus 35:2, clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated
to kill him myself or is it okay to call the police? Here's one that's really important,
'cause we've got a lot of sports fans in this town. Touching the skin of a dead pig makes
us unclean, Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins
still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point? Does the whole town really have to be
together to stone my brother, John, for planting different crops side by side? Can I burn
my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads?

Think about those questions, would you? One last thing, while you may be mistaking this
for your monthly meeting of the Ignorant Tightass Club, in this building, when the President
stands, nobody sits.






Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Bush assasination plot.

ALEXANDRIA, Virginia (CNN) -- An American citizen who had been detained in Saudi Arabia was charged Tuesday in U.S. District Court with conspiracy and supporting terrorists in an alleged plot to assassinate President Bush.

"Abu Ali and co-conspirator No. 2 discussed two options for assassinating President Bush: An operation in which Abu Ali would get close enough to the president to shoot him on the street; and, an operation in which Abu Ali would detonate a car bomb."
When the charges were read in court, his supporters and family members laughed"

Laughed? At the charges of terrorist activity towards the president!? This is an American courtroom!??

"At this time, Abu Ali was in Saudi Arabia, where, the government alleges, he met with two co-conspirators and told them of his interest in joining al Qaeda."

...Our "friends" in Saudi Arabia get mentioned an awful lot in this terrorist talk, dont they.

DC & Marine One


Reflecting pools at Lincoln Memorial Posted by Hello

Visited Washington DC this past weekend. Got to see the new WWII memorial which was impressive, and visited the Natural history museum, which unfortunatly is not so impressive. Well, maybe it is, but I wouldnt know because I spent my day dodging kids in strollers and screaming toddlers. Im sure its great otherwise. Must go back on a week day....

I had a hotel room on the top floor near the Pentagon. I noticed that throughout the day while looking from the window, Marine One could be seen flying patterns around the city. I was very impressed with how quickly and how steep it could make its 180 degree turns, and appeared to be practicing the maneuver. Sikorsky, which began manufacturing the current VH-3D presidential helicopters seen below in 1962, has recently lost a bidding war to build the next presidential helicopter to Lockheed.

The US101 is set to begin transporting the president in 2009.


The future "oval office in the sky"



The current Marine One



The underbelly of the right.

Below is an image/advertisement from USA Next, the laughable conservative attempt at the AARP.



So, the AARP endorses gays and hates the military. Of course, there is no discussion or validity to the claim, once you click on the shock value ad, there is nor more speak or text of such an accusation.

Now the swift boat boys have a new job to do. Because when you need innacurate slander for political gain, these here dirt bags is where ya go.

*update*

According to Talking Points the ad has been pulled.

If you cant stand the heat.......

Thursday, February 17, 2005

See no evil.....




Good for you, Senator.

From CNN.com

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld steadfastly declined Thursday to give Congress a public estimate of the size of the Iraqi insurgency.

Under persistent question from Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, Rumsfeld said the disorganized nature of the insurgency makes it difficult to pin down a reliable, specific estimate.

"They're not static. The numbers change," he told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Still, McCain pressed for numbers.

"Shouldn't the American people also know the size and shape and nature of the enemy that we're facing, since it's their sons and daughters who are going to serve?" he asked. Rumsfeld said it was not his place to declassify the estimates provided to him by intelligence services.


ts small, but I'll take anything from McCain when it comes to challenging this administration. Its a downright shame how they treated this man over the years. But who knows. Maybe when Cheney steps down as VP due to his health, they will reward him with the Vice Presidency. That being siad, the Bunker approves this photo. Cos its funny.


Couple-a-Pick-ups

Made some good pick ups recently, thought id share. Click on the titles to view.




The Fog of War

A documentary by Errol Morris, this DVD is as much great film making as it is an artifact of history. 107 minutes of Robert McNamara speaking directly into the camera, offering insight into such events as the bombing of Tokyo, the Cuban missile crisis, and of course Vietnam. It is edited alongside footage of the various moments in time, an incredible yet haunting soundtrack, and the highlight for me, real life recordings of the conversations involving presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and other ranking officials in those administrations. McNamara is suprisingly candid, and there are plenty of memorable moments, such as Macnamara's reffering to himself as "acting as a war criminal" during the fire bombings of Tokyo. One of the best films ive seen in years.



Standing Next to History

I havent quite finished this yet, but it wont be long. its the kind you cant put down. Joseph Petro served for twenty-three years as a special agent in the United States Secret Service. He was lead agent for the Presidential detail of the Secret Service during the Reagan administration. He also recounts protecting various other presidents, veeps and world leaders. Often funny, always fascinating. The stories of sneaking the first lady in and out of the White House, the preparation for a presidential over seas trip, every aspect is covered well, and in as much detail as is allowed. Also a very insightful look inside the Reagan adminsiration.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

War By Numbers.

Sobering...

As of Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2005, at least 1,470 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq (news - web sites) war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. At least 1,113 died as a result of hostile action, according to the Defense Department. The figures include four military civilians.

The AP count is 11 higher than the Defense Department's tally, last updated at 10 a.m. EST Wednesday.
The British military has reported 86 deaths; Italy, 20; Ukraine, 18; Poland, 16; Spain, 11; Bulgaria, seven; Slovakia, three; Estonia, Thailand and the Netherlands, two each; and Denmark, El Salvador (news - web sites), Hungary, Latvia and Kazakhstan one death each.
Since May 1, 2003, when President Bush (news - web sites) declared that major combat operations in Iraq had ended, 1,332 U.S. military members have died, according to AP's count. That includes at least 1,004 deaths resulting from hostile action, according to the military's numbers.
___
The latest deaths reported by the military:
_ Two soldiers died in a vehicle accident Wednesday in Iraq's Babil province.
_ A soldier died of a non-combat injury Wednesday at a base near Tikrit.
_ A soldier died in a vehicle accident Wednesday in Iraq's Diyala province.
_ A soldier died in a vehicle accident Wednesday near Balad.
_ A soldier was killed Tuesday during security operations in Iraq's Anbar province.

...Worth a thousand words.

There is an old picture of former secretary of defense Robert Mcnamara that I always found very telling. You can see it below. In it you can see the stress, fear, and uncertainty through his body language. Stress from the thousands of dead American soldiers, an unpopular war, and the heavy criticism and media scrutiny.



I instantly thought of this picture when i saw the recent picture posted below of current secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld.




Clueless Coulter.

Normally I dont pay this wing nut any attention. I dont have much time or respect for a person like little Annie, who lies, even to the very people who buy her books, in order to sell more. However, when I read this delightful exchange on jossip.com, I felt it worth sharing just for the pure humor of it. (video and transcript included at link)

"The conservative talking head was being interviewed by Bob McKeown on Fifth Estate on Canada's CBC in that low droaning voice we're huge fans of when she got her facts terribly, terribly wrong about the Vietnam war."

Coulter: "Canada used to be one of our most loyal friends and vice-versa. I mean Canada sent troops to Vietnam - was Vietnam less containable and more of a threat than Saddam Hussein?"
McKeown interrupts: "Canada didn't send troops to Vietnam."
Coulter: "I don't think that's right."
McKeown: "Canada did not send troops to Vietnam."
Coulter (looking desperate): "Indochina?"
McKeown: "Uh no. Canada ...second World War of course. Korea. Yes. Vietnam No."
Coulter: "I think you're wrong."
McKeown: "No, took a pass on Vietnam."
Coulter: "I think you're wrong."
McKeown: "No, Australia was there, not Canada."
Coulter: "I think Canada sent troops."
McKeown: "No."
Coulter: "Well. I'll get back to you on that."
McKeown tags out in script: "Coulter never got back to us -- but for the record, like Iraq, Canada sent no troops to Vietnam."

Iranian Bloggers Jailed.

Via Reporters Without Borders...

The sentence of three years and 10 months that was upheld on appeal was originally imposed on Lotfi, a theology student from the holy city of Qom, by a lower court on 14 August. But he was allowed to remain free at the time after paying bail of 650 million rial (55,000 euros).
Lotfi used to be a journalist with the pro-reform daily Khordad, which the authorities closed in 2000. He was arrested for the first time in May 2004 and imprisoned in Qom after posting an article entitled "Respect for human rights in cases involving the clergy" on www.naqshineh.com, a news site about Qom. Naqshineh is also being prosecuted, above all because of its articles on the last legislative elections, and it has been blocked since March 2004 on the orders of the Qom authorities.


Monday, February 14, 2005

Kids these days.

Just took a peek at the Delawareonline.com police report for today.....And this got my attention.

TEEN PARTY BUSTED: New Castle County police said a "Sweet 16" birthday party in Ogletown grew so disorderly that four teens were arrested. County police spokesman Cpl. Trinidad Navarro said police learned about the party at Prides Court through a flier. When police officers arrived about 10:30 p.m. Friday, they found 25 to 30 people in a one-bedroom apartment. The host, Bertram Hodges, 19, was charged with offensive touching for allegedly shoving a police officer, as well as disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and menacing, police said. A 16-year-old girl was charged with three counts of offensive touching, as well as disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, police said. A 17-year-old female from New Castle was charged with three counts of terroristic threatening for allegedly threatening to shoot police officers, officials said, as well as resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and offensive touching. Her 14-year-old sister was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and menacing, police said. Navarro said Hodges was released after posting $4,000 secured bond. The other three were released to their parents.


14,16, 17 years old....

Now in my day...and we are talking a whopping 11 years ago when I was the same age as these kids, the procedure followed after the man shows up was to drop your drink, and run. To me, back then, it seemed daring, and probably very wrong, and lots and lots of fun. Apparently my generation has been out done. After all, I never saw a "sweet 16" year old threaten to kill a police officer while his friends pushed his partner around. Nuthin "sweet" about these kids.

Ahhhh, Valentines day.....

The Wilmington Connection

CNN spoke with "Jeff Gannon" recently.

So did some others, apparently.

If you are up to date on the whole "Jeff Gannon" thing...this will interest you. If you are from Delaware, this might interest you further.

This is unverified as far as I know. There is also some graphic images that some readers may object to. Use your better judgement. Link as at bottom.

Here is a touch of the text to get you interested....the rest is at the link below.
(emphasis mine)
In 1999, Paul Leddy, a Web designer and photographer, says he received an email from a man named Jeff from Wilmington, Delaware. Jeff wanted Paul to build him a new Web site for his business. Paul accepted the job, provided Jeff mailed him a check with half the money up front (Jeff had not provided a last name, and Paul wanted to make sure he was for real). Jeff sent the check, it cleared, and Paul built the site and launched it online for Jeff.Paul didn’t think about Jeff much until last week when he heard about a breaking scandal involving a man named Jeff who owned several military escort service Web addresses. “I saw the name Jeff Gannon, knew our Jeff, saw the militarystud.com Web address, and thought ‘hmmm, everything was military, that sounds like Jeff who we did the site for.’”Paul searched the Internet WhoIs director for militarystud.com and saw that the owner was Bedrock Corp of Wilmington, Delaware. “That’s definitely him,” Paul said. (Paul and a second source both recall Jeff paying with a check in the name of Bedrock Corp. The name stuck in their heads at the time because they asked Jeff why “Bedrock”? He replied something about the Flintstones, they recall.)Paul then went and checked his files. He found five invoices to Jeff from August 31, 1999 to March 30, 2000. (The file properties say they were created on those dates by Paul Leddy.)

The invoices are from BELDesigns for “Website Design”and “hosting.” The billing address?

Bedrock Corp
Kennett Pike
Centreville, DE 19807

*-LINK-*

I aint one to gossip, so you didnt hear it from me....

Friday, February 11, 2005

Israel downed 2 Syrian MiGs

Interesting story.

Diplomatic sources said Israel Air Force F-16 multi-role fighters intercepted and downed two Syrian MiG-29 fighter-jets last year. The sources said the dogfight took place in September 2004 over the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

This was the first engagement between Israeli and Syrian fighter-jets since the 1980s. The sources said the air battle took place when Israel Air Force fighter-jets buzzed the Syrian city of Latakia, a port used by Iran for the shipment of weapons to Hizbullah.

The Washington-based Reform Party of Syria first provided details of the Israeli-Syrian dogfight. RPS said the air battle took place on Sept. 14, 2004, adding that both downed pilots were rescued by Syrian military helicopters, Middle East Newsline reported.




(above caption not related to this story.)

Mig-29 (Russian)


Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Bush's Idea of the American Way.

No explenation needed, here it is.

Last Friday when promoting social security reform with 'regular' citizens in Omaha, Nebraska, President Bush walked into an awkward unscripted moment in which he stated that carrying three jobs at a time is 'uniquely American.' While talking with audience participants, the president met Mary Mornin, a woman in her late fifties who told the president she was a divorced mother of three, including a 'mentally challenged' son. The President comforted Mornin on the security of social security stating that 'the promises made will be kept by the government.' But without prompting Mornin began to elaborate on her life circumstances.

Begin transcript:

MS. MORNIN: That's good, because I work three jobs and I feel like I contribute.

THE PRESIDENT: You work three jobs?

MS. MORNIN: Three jobs, yes.

THE PRESIDENT: Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that.....Get any sleep? (Laughter.)


There you have it, folks.

Hey "Big" Spender....and the return of big government.

From LA Times here.

And, from Dr. Alterman....

Previous to this year, George W. Bush increased the size of the federal budget by 27 percent, if I’m not mistaken, busting a budget that had been in surplus when he inherited it and making him the biggest of big government spenders since Lyndon Johnson. Within that context, he has still managed to cut—or is trying to, almost all payments going to the most vulnerable members of society, children, students, the poor, the working poor and even (particularly) veterans (and here), while vastly increasing the amount given to the very rich and to the military. Five years ago Bush told us he was something different; a “compassionate conservative.” We now know he is neither compassionate, nor by any imaginable definition an economic conservative. Rather he is merely dishonest; effectively so, perhaps, but no less dishonest for being so.


"Anna! Save me!"

Dude, I got so busted.


Dubya invades DE.

WASHINGTON -- President Bush promised a leaner, meaner federal budget this year, but the cuts he has proposed may cut too close to home for some in Delaware.
Amtrak funding would be virtually eliminated in the $2.57 trillion budget proposal the president sent to Congress on Monday. So would $8 million in federal grants for law enforcement programs in Delaware. Replenishment of the beaches at Rehoboth and Dewey that began just last week would grind to a halt, zeroed out of the Army Corps of Engineers budget plan for 2006.
Federal clean water grants, which fund wastewater treatment projects in Wilmington and Laurel, would be cut by one-quarter. Delaware would lose an estimated $108 million in Medicaid funding over the next decade.


The good news is that Congress has to decide how to spend this money, so it is still likely our beach and enviromental programs will be saved.

"I support his effort to scrub every federal program for waste and abuse to generate savings," Castle said. "[But] programs like Amtrak, beach replenishment and education funding have so much support in Congress that I believe the funding will be restored. I believe it's a question of manageable control versus total elimination."

"President Bush's 2006 budget is an anti-family and anti-community budget plan," said Angela Walker, state executive board president of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, a community organization of low- and moderate-income families.

Bush loves cops and Firefighters.

Among the programs now targeted for elimination are community policing efforts like the COPS program. Biden estimates that the budget cuts would cost the state $8 million in grants it now uses to hire extra patrol officers and to support juvenile crime prevention efforts. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., said the president's budget would cut first-responder aid to states in half and would eliminate a provision in the law that guarantees small states like Delaware a share of funds to prepare for potential terrorist attacks.
The town of Laurel used a community policing grant to hire a new police officer three years ago. The town had hoped to use the program to hire two new officers for its 12-person force, but without a COPS grant, Town Manager Glenn Steckman said the city might not be able to afford the $50,000 in salary, benefits, training and equipment for a new officer. "This is going to have a serious impact on the town of Laurel, doing away with this program," Steckman said.


I can just imagine the conversation.

"Okay, on to Delaware Mr. President....."

"Delawhere?"

"Its south of Philly, north of DC, sir."

"they got a major league baseball team? Oil?"

"No sir."

"brush to clear?"

"No, sir."

"Hmm. Do we need it?"

"No, sir. Well, we could use that one air base. we like to do advanced medical testing on unsuspecting Airmen down there"

"Hmm. Well, keep that, and cut them off from everything else. They dont need cops. theres no crime in DE. No beaches either when im done! Yeehaw! yuck! yuck! ...Its hard work."



Seeing Double.

Great. Now maybe I can get some Clone-o-shmuck to go to work for me so I can sit home and complain.

"The British government on Tuesday gave the creator of Dolly the Sheep a human cloning license for medical research.
It is the second such license approved since Britain became the first country to legalize research cloning in 2001.
The Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority, which regulates such research, approved the license for Ian Wilmut, who led the team that created Dolly at Scotland's Roslin Institute in 1996."


Scary, yall.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Theatrical Moment, like it or not.

During the State of the Union speech, we met an Iraqi activist named Safia Taleb al-Suhail, who held her purple fingers aloft in a peace sign (until clearly told by someone off camera to hold up one finger instead of a peace symbol...being that Bush isnt exactly known for peace.. ), and the parents of Byron Norwood, a 25-year-old Marine killed in Fallujah. The soldier's mother, Janet Norwood, was the lady cluthcing her dead sons dog tags. This article from Slate pointed me to a comment i hadnt noticed that night....and i just had to bring it up.

"Later on MSNBC, Joe Scarborough and Ron Reagan wrangled over the extent to which the hug itself was staged, with Reagan claiming that he was "uncomfortable with using people that are in such obvious pain as a political prop." Scarborough lit into him: "To look at that picture, to look at these two people in this historic moment, and to suggest that somebody cynically said, let's put these people together ... that's just the height of cynicism."

You know, I always found Joe likeable. I rarely agree with him, but I like the guy. That being said, this is one of the most bone headed things I have ever heard. No one said "Lets put these people together" !!?? THEY WERE SITTING NEXT TO THE PRESIDENTS WIFE!! how do you think they got there!? Won tickets on the Howard Stern show? How jaded can you get....

It was a moving moment. Simply to see a Mother clutching the tags of a dead American soldier is naturally moving. But to suggest these events were some spontanious act of luck...!?

Geez, Joe.

Superbowl Weekend

Go Patriots. (Actually, Im not sure I care. I just want a damn good game, and I think im gonna get it...) I happen to be a NY Giants fan, so, Eagles winning is never good. Makes me very popular around here, let me tell you.

Some Friday fun in honor of the big game weekend.

First up, Just when you thought half time snack couldnt get any more disgusting....I give you the Cool Dog. Half hot dog, half sundae, all disgusting.

Snopes.com ruins the fun for everyone by de-bunking Superbowl urban myths.

"I'll start. No I wont. I'll Play. No I wont. Yes I will." ...Just shut up please. you would think theres going to be one guy running around out there on Sunday. The Patriots are quiet. Its dangerous when its quiet.

Chuck Bednarik wants the Birds to lose!!!

Ryan of Pulp Culture is covering the Superbowl in Jacksonville for the WNJ, and his blog. Interesting reading so far, including:


"On a side note, the Eagle has landed. Eagles fans are suddenly everywhere. My Applebee's was empty last night. Tonight, 15 guys were screaming out a drunken version of "Fly Eagles Fly." I asked the manager what she thought. She said he hated them and hoped they'd go home already. "I'd rather have college fans in here," she said."
Enjoy the game and the weekend. See you Monday.

Government TV.

No, not C-Span.

As if paying so called "journalists" to pedal Bush policies in their respective publications, on the hush no less, wasnt enough.....

The sites are run by U.S. military troops trained in "information warfare," a specialty than can include battlefield deception.
Pentagon officials say the goal is to counter "misinformation" about the United States in overseas media.
At first glance, the Web pages appear to be independent news sites. To find out who is actually behind the content, a visitor would have to click on a small link -- at the bottom of the page -- to a disclaimer, which says, in part, that the site is "sponsored by" the U.S. Department of Defense.
"There is an element of deception," said Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism.
Ya think? Lets cut through the BS. The Dept of Defense is running web sites clearly made to look like a news/information site, but you have to dig through fine print to find that out. Which, in effect, is "news" produced, edited, and designed to influence, by the US Department of Defense. To top it all off, they are using the "Information warfare" branch and operations of our military. I can assure you, these guys dont specialize in reporting the the time, traffic and weather every hour, on the hour.
I agree. So when does that start?

Imperfect Union.

From The Nation....

The claims, and the reality.

** Imperfect Union I: "In Iraq, 28 countries have troops on the ground, the United Nations and the European Union provide technical assistance for the elections, and NATO is leading a mission to train Iraqi officers."

Where to start? The 45 countries present at the beginning of the invasion shrunk to 28, and will further decrease when Ukraine, Hungary, the Netherlands and Portugal withdraw troops this year. Moreover, these 28 countries account for a meager 15 percent of the 180,000 total troops in Iraq, of which 150,000 (83 percent) are American. Subtract Britain's 12,500 soldiers and the international contribution falls to less than 9 percent. Meanwhile, many of the major European powers in NATO--France, Germany, Belgium and Spain--declined to train Iraqi soldiers. A coalition of the disappearing is what we're left with.

** Imperfect Union II: "The great and proud nation of Egypt, which showed the way toward peace in the Middle East, can now show the way toward democracy in the Middle East."

Around the same time Iraqis voted, the great and proud nation of Egypt, which receives $2 billion in US aid per year, arrested a key opposition member of parliament and three democracy activists who called on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak--ruler since 1980--to step down at the end of his term. "Egypt isn't even remotely democratizing," Joshua Stacher, an Egypt expert at Scotland's St. Andrews University, told the Christian Science Monitor. "There's a huge disconnect between [Bush's] freedom rhetoric and substantial policy change."

** Imperfect Union III: "To keep our economy growing, we also need reliable supplies of affordable, environmentally responsible energy...Four years of debate is enough: I urge Congress to pass legislation that makes America more secure and less dependent on foreign energy."

Call us crazy, but we don't see how an energy bill drafted in secret by the energy industry, with $20 billion in tax breaks for big oil, gas and coal polluters helps save the environment. Or how cutting $277 million for renewable energy research and giving a $100,000 tax write-off to Hummer owners reduces American energy dependency. The Natural Resources Defense Council documented 150 destructive environmental policy actions authorized by the Bush Administration over the past year alone. (Republican Applause.)

** Imperfect Union IV: "Because HIV/AIDS brings suffering and fear into so many lives, I ask you to reauthorize the Ryan White Act to encourage prevention, and provide care and treatment to victims of disease."

Another admirable compassionate conservative initiative whose lofty rhetoric is laid bare by reality. While consistently reauthorized by Congress, under the Bush Administration Ryan White funding has failed to keep up with
need. As funding continues to erode, local and state budgets have become strained with increasing caseloads and high demand for HIV/AIDS medication and care. Patients in dire need of treatment have even died after being placed on lengthy waiting lists. Facts like these should put a damper on Bush's self-serving triumphalism.

** Imperfect Union V: After watching Bush's State of the Union Address on CNN and MSNBC (and untold other networks), an unassuming viewer may have thought Republicans were the only party present for Bush's State of the Union. That's because the TV cameras focused almost exclusively on the Republican side of the aisle, rendering Democrats virtually invisible. When Bush invoked an imaginary Social Security crisis, you could hear, but not see, the Democrats boo, whereas the GOP and their obnoxious stained-ink fingers were visible after every applause. Surely this isn't indicative of the media's acquiescence to Republican Washington?

-*Update*-

Factcheck.org was also nice enough to shoot me the following email...


Bush's State of the Union: Social Security "Bankruptcy?"
Summary
In his State of the Union Address, President Bush said again that the Social Security system is headed for "bankruptcy," a term that could give the wrong idea. Actually, even if it goes "bankrupt" a few decades from now, the system would still be able to pay about three-quarters of the benefits now promised.
Bush also made his proposed private Social Security accounts sound like a sure thing, which they are not. He said they "will" grow fast enough to provide a better return than the present system. History suggests that will be so, but nobody can predict what stock and bond markets will do in the future.
Bush left out any mention of what workers would have to give up to get those private acounts -- a proportional reduction or offset in guaranteed Social Security retirement benefits. He also glossed over the fact that money in private accounts would be "owned" by workers only in a very limited sense -- under strict conditions which the President referred to as "guidelines." Many retirees, and possibly the vast majority, wouldn't be able to touch their Social Security nest egg directly, even after retirement, because the government would take some or all of it back and convert it to a stream of payments guaranteed for life.
Click the link below for the full article:



http://www.factcheck.org/article305m.html

STOMP....and the town so nice they named it twice.

Last Saturday, I visited New York City to see Stomp. All I will say on the subject, is go see it. I cant imagine anyone being disapointed.

New York is everything I want it to be every time I go. Such a pleasure. Visited in the lobby of the Empire State Building, (there was a 45 minute wait for the observation deck)...Walked 5th Ave, Then cruised to the West Village for the finest fish n' chips this side of the atlantic.

I guess the Bush Soc. Security plan would be fine...

....If the kids didnt live to see it.

The Environmental Protection Agency ignored scientific evidence and agency protocols in order to set limits on mercury pollution that would line up with the Bush administration's free-market approaches to power plant pollution, according to a report released yesterday by the agency's inspector general.
Staff at the EPA were instructed by administrators to set modest limits on mercury pollution, and then had to work backward from the predetermined goal to justify the proposal, according to a report by Inspector General Nikki Tinsley.


Mercury is a toxic metal released as a byproduct by coal-burning power plants and other industries, and it is known to have a range of harmful health effects, especially on young children and pregnant women.

"I don't think anyone has ever seen as much political influence in the development of a rule as we saw in this rule," said one EPA staff member, who attended meetings between administrators and staff. "Everything about this rule was decided at a political level. . . . The political level made the decisions, and the staff did what they were told."

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Rumsfeld twice offered to resign

From CNN.com....(emphasis mine)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld says he twice offered President Bush his resignation during the height of the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal, but the president refused to accept it.
In an interview to be aired Thursday night on CNN's "Larry King Live," Rumsfeld says: "I submitted my resignation to President Bush twice during that period and told him that ... I felt that he ought to make the decision as to whether or not I stayed on. And he made that decision and said he did want me to stay on."
Last April, photos surfaced showing U.S. troops abusing Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, sparking a furor internationally and on Capitol Hill.
In the middle of the controversy, Rumsfeld appeared before Congress and said he took "full responsibility" for what had happened, and he said he would step down from his post if he thought he could no longer be effective.
Bush then publicly expressed confidence in Rumsfeld.
After Bush was re-elected in November, he asked Rumsfeld to remain at the helm of the Defense Department.
does this mean that Rummy though he could "no longer be effective"??

Another bad choice, Mr President. And a clear indication of the thought process in this administration. We are never wrong, so no one resigns, no one apologizes, and no one, ...EVER admits a mistake, despite all evidence indicating such mistakes and errors are plentiful.

When production deadlines turn bad.

From the February/March issue of Complex magazine:

Maldives in Monsoon Season:
"Some of the best surfing in the world takes place on this small island off the coast of India as winter comes to its stormy end. "
"The Complex Dozen: Things that matter in February and March"
Whoooops.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

The Sorry Ass State of the Union

From Siva, Via Altercation.

"I spent the day reflecting on previous W States of the Union. Hey, Mr. Prez, is that Axis of Evil any less evil now? Is North Korea any more cooperative? Is Iran any less belligerent? How is that battle against AIDS in Africa going? Did you find all that yellowcake from Niger? How about all those caches of chemical and biological weapons in Iraq? Are we still leaving children behind? Have we nabbed Bin Laden? Can I start planning my trip to Mars now?
Is there one major plan or goal expressed by Bush in a State of the Union that has worked? Where are the standards of judgment? Where is the scorecard?
We should start a pool on which of the big whoppers we are likely to hear tonight will reveal itself to be ridiculous first. Wait. That might not work. Everyone knew that he was not going to do anything about AIDS in Africa as soon as it came out of his mouth.
It has struck me as troubling that the Washington press corps has already started giving Bush a pass on truth and candor, just a week into his second term. Harry Reid called for a clear exit strategy for Iraq, so we know what success means. Seems reasonable. Scott McLellan responded that the president will not issue a "timetable" on withdrawal because terrorists will just wait through the timetable. Reporters shrugged. That makes sense, no?
Problem is, a strategy is not a timetable and a timetable is not a strategy. Reid wants to hear a list of goals or measurements. He did not ask for a timetable. He does not want to hear that troops will be home by December. He wants to hear that a few units will come home when, say, the Iraqi security forces have secured the road between Baghdad and the Baghdad airport. Reid wants the reasonable. Bush claims Reid wants the unreasonable. Reporters don't discern between these two things. And so we move on into the morass.
What would happen if all that energy spent on trying to get John Kerry to clarify his plans for Iraq were now spent on the guy who actually has responsibility for that mess? Can't we have a national conversation about accountability?"


Indeed.
I'll be making a list tonite. I will refer back to it in 4 years, and im guessing the check boxes will still be empty. More of the same. More of the same. More of the same.

Here is a handy little lie detector to have nearby during the upcoming speech. The Center for Amercian Progress has been good enough to compile a list of Bush's 2002, 2003 and 2004 speeches and all his claims, promises and proposals.

Some advice for a fun checklist from Alterman:


"Watch to see which Democrats get a presidential pat (or hug) on the way in. (If any...)

Watch to see if the White House puts anything in the speech that can compete with Social Security for lede status.

See if the axis of evil tonight (at least implicitly) will be "the status quo," "the do-nothings," and Howard Dean. (Just kidding.)

Tally applause if you want. (But you will lose count during the Iraq election section.)

Watch how often the pool director chooses Sen. Clinton as the reaction cut-away.

Look for the grudging Charlie Rangel-style forced clapping by some. (That is when the hands say "clap" but the eyes say "shrug.")

Determine which lines are for "the room," which lines are for the citizenry watching on TV, and which for the world audience.

Strain to see who is in the First Lady's box besides the pre-announced Iraqis.

Note well the new ABC News/Washington Post poll that shows President Bush going into the first State of the Union of his second term with a 50 percent job approval rating; 87 percent of Republicans give him a thumbs up, compared to just 14 percent of Democrats who agree, according to ABC News Polling Director Gary Langer. LINK

Watch to see if there are any insta-polls of repute.

And be sure to tune in to ABC News for live blah, Blah, blah…"
Finally, The Bunker is proud to link the 2005 State of the Union Drinking Game.
Hey, some of us need it to get through.