Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Powerful Arms of Nature, or Else God


What a heartbreaking story.

MEXICO CITY - Five Mexican children were killed when a large metal cross they were praying at was struck by lightning in central Mexico, local media reported Monday.

Five children between 9 and 16 years old died and several others suffered burns when lightning struck a white-painted metal cross set on a hill in the town of Santa Maria del Rio early on Sunday, according to two newspaper reports.

“The lightning went straight into them and killed them instantly,” local Red Cross chief Eduardo Suarez told the daily El Norte.

[.....]

A photo showed charring on the cross’s turquoise-painted cement base, although the cross was still standing.

Several families had been participating in a midnight ceremony as part of a local religious festival that centers around the cross.


This is a tragedy recounted image by image: the excited children squirm; the solemn adults bow their heads; the prayer begins; the storm gathers; Armegeddon.

Because that's how it is for those who loved the lightening victims. For those parents and those families, no other Armegeddon exists now.

And what of the terrible, brute irony suffusing this story? The worshippers became the stricken; their beloved symbol, the flaming sword that took their children. Children of an ancient culture that, in these mad and modern times, clings ever more staunchly to its rituals.

Children who mattered and whose loss under any circumstance is tragic.

(Hat-tip to blogenfreude).

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Armbands for Peace

Shakes' Sis just forwarded me an email from a newly-assembled group called Armbands for Peace.

On April 17, 2006 Randi Rhodes (syndicated Liberal talk show host) made the suggestion that we need to start a wearing armbands to show our resistance the dangerous warmongering Bush administration. We are all terrified he's about to start a nuclear war with Iran. It's past time to protest daily. So a few of her listeners got together and we decided to start the Armbands for Peace movement. A silent daily protest by wearing a simple black armband that says "NO WAR" on your arm.

[---]

We hooked up with an embroidery house and have ordered these fabric armbands that are stitched in white thread. They are available on our website for $5.00 (proceeds will benefit Goldstar Families for Peace & Paralyzed Veterans of America).


Members of the movement also suggest making your own black armband if you wish, but nonetheless urge everyone concerned about the possibility probability that the United States will begin another war Operation Freedom Exercise in the Middle East to join the silent protest by wearing a No War armband.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

W Plans Test of Potent New Bomb; Media Discuss Baby Names

Randi Rhodes speaks to Lou Dobbs about the bomb detonation that's planned for June 2nd at a nuclear testing site in Nevada. See the clip on Crooks & Liars. Just go and watch it.

Rhodes: What do we do? If every single camera that's available in the media -- cable-wide, network-wide -- is not in Nevada at the nuclear test site on June 2nd to watch 1.4 millions pounds of explosives be blown up so they can do the math and figure out how to make a tactical nuke, a smaller nuclear weapon that will represent that much firepower for Iran -- if we don't show America this mushroom cloud that will explode in Nevada on the 2nd of June, there is no hope for the American people, there is no hope for the media.

You asked me last time I was here, Who's fault is it? And I said, "It's our fault; it's the media's fault." We have to tell this story. This president is manifestly insane. Donald Rumsfeld is insane.


I urge anyone reading this to forward the information to members of your local media*. Just in case they were, you know, distracted by other important issues.

*Especially if you live in Nevada.

(Hat-tip to my buddy NB in Tampa)

UPDATE: I am informed that the bomb to be tested on June 2 is actually a new, extremely powerful conventional bomb called Divine Strake, as opposed to a nuclear weapon, as one might infer from the discussion on Lou Dobbs' show. Please refer to The Dark Wraith's story Currencies of War for in-depth information about this bomb, its capability to collapse large structures (like nuclear facilities) without using nuclear components itself, and its implications in America's ongoing saber-rattling match with Iran.

UPDATE 2: According to an April 14, 2006 statement on the Website of the Las Vegas CBS affiliate, the explosion of Divine Strake will go on as planned.

State regulators raised questioned about pollution and hazardous material from the Divine Strake blast, but state officials say they will meet Nevada's air quality regulations.

The Nevada Test Site has a blasting permit to set off a 700-ton non-nuclear explosion.

State officials say they will not block the Defense Threat Reduction agency from the experiment, which is scheduled for June 2.

Halliburton: Let Us, um, Detain You

In the past few weeks, we've seen plenty of people protesting the low wages, low status, and unfair treatment suffered by those who come to the United States "under the radar" (as in, illegally) because they're desperate for work. They toil in our fields, clean our houses, mow our lawns, and generally do anything and everything for low pay and no benefits, often working outrageously long hours. They want to be here legitimately; that's mainly what they're asking for. Acceptance, the opportunity to work without fear, and the chance to dream the American Dream. They often pay taxes and social security contributions into the system using false numbers, knowing they'll never be able to receive that money when they're older and figuring they'd rather pay it anyway if it means they can work in the States. Because they'll still make more money than they would in their home countries.

But there's an immigration issue that few are talking about: detention. What happens to those who are rounded up en masse and held before they're sent home, wherever home is?

Large facilities, such as Krome Detention Center in Miami, already exist, of course. And should our government see the need to round up even more humans, they're busy making plans to build more. Writing for the The Progressive, Ruth Conniff reports:

While thousands of people were celebrating the contribution America's undocumented immigrants make to our economy, and demanding justice and recognition for workers who are denied basic rights, the government was making plans for large-scale detention centers in case of an "emergency influx" of immigrants.

KBR, the Halliburton subsidiary recently reprimanded for gross overcharging in its military contracts in Iraq, won a $385 million contract to build the centers. According to the Halliburton website--www.Halliburton.com--"the contract, which is effective immediately, provides for establishing temporary detention and processing capabilities to augment existing ICE Detention and Removal Operations Program facilities in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs."


There is so much to question here, one's head spins. Let's start with this: what are we doing awarding $385 million contracts to Halliburton when there are still so many unanswered questions about the colossal waste of taxpayer dollars and overbilling (fraud, anyone?) perpetrated by this company, on America's behalf, in Iraq?

And I'm really curious about something else: why large detention centers, and why now? Then there is the disturbing issue raised by that last sentence in Halliburton's message: "...rapid development of new programs."

What new programs might those be?

The web was abuzz with speculation after the contract was awarded on January 24. Pacific News Service gave the most detailed analysis.

It connected the new "immigration emergency" plans with older plans that involved imposing martial law.

Certainly the detention centers raise the specter of WW II Japanese internment camps.

The new facilities could be used for round-ups of Muslim Americans or other American citizens tagged as "enemy combatants.”

The use of military personnel and military contractors in the event of a Katrina-like disaster, which the Halliburton contract provides for, brings us closer to martial law, whether it is officially declared or not.

It also means record profits for Halliburton, which declared 2005 "the best in our 86-year history." David Lesar, Halliburton's chairman, president and CEO, declares on the company website, "For the full year 2005 we set a record for revenue and achieved net income of $2.4 billion with each of our six divisions posting record results."

Not bad for a company that has been repeatedly cited for inflating charges and wasting taxpayer money in Iraq.

The immigration detention centers ought to raise a red flag, not just about nepotism and waste among military contractors, but about what our government has in store for us.


A note to those in the mainstream media: we're all a little tired of hearing about cheerleaders disappearing in Aruba and strange, cult-following celebrities giving birth in silence. Would you kindly do your jobs and tell us what the hell is going on lest Orwell himself rise up from his grave and bonk you on the collective head with a first edition hardback copy of 1984?

Hat-tip to my friend Lisa in DC.

UPDATE: I visited the Halliburton Website at 4:30pm EST today, and found the KBR section (where information about the detention center contract would appear) to be "temporarily unavailable".

Monday, April 17, 2006

On Dead Geraniums and Imaginary Spiders

Twelve o'clock.
Along the reaches of the street
Held in a lunar synthesis,
Whispering lunar incantations
Dissolve the floors of memory
And all its clear relations,
Its divisions and precisions,
Every street lamp that I pass
Beats like a fatalistic drum,
And through the spaces of the dark
Midnight shakes the memory
As a madman shakes a dead geranium.

- T.S. Eliot, from Rhapsody on a Windy Night


Like millions of other adults, I faced this Monday morning with puffy eyes and a slightly foggy head, wishing I’d been able to get a bit more sleep last night and feeling mildly annoyed that I didn't force myself to get in bed two hours earlier and turn out the lights right then and there.

It’s just that I regard the night as such a seductive time, and while I mean that in every sense, I’m referring in particular to the heady sensation one feels, the pure freedom one experiences, when those who normally need something from you all day long are now slumbering peacefully, not needing anything. The dark world is your oyster. The possibilities suddenly seem endless: there are books to read, magazines to sort through (and toss), online articles to peruse, laundry to fold, a cable TV movie to watch all by yourself, a box of black Panda licorice that was nearly full when you last looked.

And there is always work. In fact, I get my best writing done “When the evening is spread out against the sky / Like a patient etherised upon a table”, to once again quote Mr. Eliot, surely a Night Owl if ever there was one. I absolutely adore the nighttime, its forbidden fruits and hidden endeavors, its grainy take on everything. Let other souls curl up in bed and wait for the sun’s permission to spring into action: I’m inspired right now.

Of course, this Night Owl proclivity of mine simply doesn’t work in a society where nine-to-five generally means starting in the morning and has been, for as long as I can remember, the standard template of American productivity against which just about everything to do with work and the hours in which one does it invariably get judged. And our culture’s attachment to residual Puritanism (thanks, Founding Fathers!) translates into those all-too-recognizable judgements about Other People.

It’s the middle of the night! Who on Earth is out and about now? What sort of things are going on at this hour?

Oooh, illicit, naughty things, that’s what.

Oh, come on.

-----


When we were small, my brother and I were tucked in and read to while it was still light outside. We did not know to complain, and if we had known about things like nighttime television shows being infinitely more interesting than afternoon cartoons, or how the conversations of wine-drinking parents unencumbered by children could be educational—or even, I’m guessing, wildly revelatory—we’d have been much too afraid to rally for a later bed time anyway, since we were completely convinced that if we ever acted on the urge to challenge our parents about such carved-in-stone matters, enormous lightening bolts would rip through the roof of our house, setting fire to the naugahyde couch and ruining the pretty new wallpaper. So after our tea and baths, we did as we were told and went to our rooms, sneaking the latest installments of our respective book addictions under the covers and reading by flashlight (we called them torches—ha!) until we were caught.

But after a lifetime of this early-to-bed, early-to-rise routine, things changed. It was the summer that fell between my freshman and sophomore years at UF, and I decided I could no longer live without a car. Specifically, I wanted something used, small, and cheap, but solid enough to safely carry me back and forth from Miami to Gainesville. I would need to earn the money in a relatively short period of time, so I took a job as a waitress at one of my favorite places to eat, a semi-fancy Jewish deli restaurant in Coral Gables. There, I learned how to serve matzoh ball soup (the ball goes in the bowl first, then you ladle the hot broth over it), Reuben sandwiches (if you try to carry more than one at a time, chances are good the lofty stacks of corned beef will topple, making your customer very unhappy), and borscht (ask another waitress to serve it for you, because the crimson soup has this horrifying way of curdling the moment it hits the wad of sour cream and I, for one, do not have the stomach to hand someone a bowl of cold pink and white floaty bits and say Enjoy!).

I’d get to the restaurant at four in the afternoon and start in on the thrilling tasks known as “side jobs”, which could be something mind-numbing-but-easy, like stuffing the sweetener packets into their Lucite cubes, or mind-numbing-and-nauseating, like taking the tops off all the sticky mustard and ketchup bottles and scraping the clumps of dried product out of them with a bamboo skewer.

There were bright spots in my workday, though: the people. For example, there were Alex and Reggie, two warm, hilarious waiters—they’d been at the restaurant a record eighteen months—and Myra, a New York transplant and veteran “table banger” who taught me how to multitask as well as how to remember what everyone had ordered without peeking at my notes. It was Alex, Reggie, and Myra who took me out dancing in Coconut Grove one night. One entire night. The sun was actually coming up as I pulled the lime-green Volkswagen Dasher—Brought to you by...Borscht! The Other Red Soup—into the driveway of our house. My parents were none too thrilled.

But I had seen the night, and I had fallen for it in a big way. Music sounded better at night, I decided. The shrieking colors of disco fashion, clothes you’d never wear in the sunlight for fear of blinding oncoming traffic, brightened the cigar-smoke heaviness of Miami’s dark nightclubs. Night was exciting, night was exotic, night was right. We’d eat dinner outdoors because if you waited (or, like us, worked) until midnight, the air was agreeable and the cover charges were usually dropped. I discovered my Night Owl roots that summer in 1978, a while before hot old Miami became hostile (riots, anyone?) old Miami, and later, officially hot Miami (Vice, anyone?)

I never got over them—the Night Owl roots, I mean.

I’ve always loved to study at night, work at night, paint at night, and talk on the phone at night. If you'd asked me, back then anyway, I'd have said that days were really only good for sleeping, hitting the thrift stores, or getting a tan at the beach (at night there is no sun, you see...). And perhaps an occasional “hello” muttered to one or both parents when coming in or going out. So imagine the shock to my system when I found part-time work as a substitute teacher and had to completely rewire myself in order to simply wake up in time, never mind figuring out how to take the attendance, refer any transgressors to the office, and run the projector—invariably loaded with movies like Getting to Know Your Digestive Tract—that beamed the day’s moving lesson onto a roll-down screen behind the lecturn. It was outrageously difficult. I’d become a Night Owl, and here I was trying to play Ms. Responsible-Day-Job-Girl with the Larks. Office-going Larks. Tie-wearing, pantyhose-tugging, early-to-bed Larks.

I never got into it.

-----


One thing I learned about sleep, though, is that you can’t get too hung up on the actual time; rather, you must listen to your body, meaning you eat when you’re hungry and sleep when you’re tired. This was reiterated in what was probably the ninth baby-readiness book I read while awaiting Son One’s arrival (he turns 14 tomorrow). Sleep when you’re tired. Don’t worry about the housework—if the baby is asleep, you should be asleep. Oh, how I nodded with approval when I read that. The symmetrical logic of it! The Be Kind to Mothers approach! The permission to blow off housework!

And I truly was prepared for a bout of rough nights, really I was. Just not ten months worth of them. Ten months during which the longest spell of sleep permitted me was two and a half hours, and that felt luxurious.

It’s not for nothing that sleep deprivation is a favored torture technique used by interrogators. I do believe that in those days when I stalked about the Earth and hearth as Zombie Mama, you could have offered me nothing more than a soft pillow and a promise of babysitting and I’d have told you anything you wanted to know.

And sleeping so little not only gives you the dark under-eye circles of a Tim Burton caricature, it also makes you crazy. No, really. Crazy in ways that are, at first, subtle; later, though, the lunacy goes big and there’s no denying that something must be done.

One evening, when Son One was about nine months old and still cried on cue for his feeding every couple of hours, I saw a spider on the kitchen wall—a big, four-or-five-inches-wide bird spider. I asked Mr. Litbrit to come and take the spider outside (they’re harmless and beneficial; I just don’t need one to climb into my hair when I’m stacking the dishwasher, thank you). But when he came into the kitchen, the spider was gone. Nothing unusual—spiders are mobile little (or not-so-little) buggers; all the same, it bothered me that it had been right there five seconds ago, and *pouf*, now it was gone. A little later, the spider reappeared, this time over the stove. Ah! I called out to Mr. L: “I’m not moving this time. Come in here now, please!”

Of course the thing disappeared again. And after a half-dozen more sightings, my dear husband informed me that I had probably hallucinated the spider and would I please, please listen to the pediatrician and stop running to the baby every time he cried, all night long, because, you know, a mind is a terrible thing to waste and everything.

-----


Exhaustion. Depression. Weight gain. Foggy-headedness. Short attention spans. Quick tempers.

All of these things, and more, are brought on, and then exacerbated, by sleep deprivation and sleep deficit, the latter of which is an insidious accumulation of “sleep debt”—night after night—that results in a chronic state of tiredness, high levels of cortisol (a stress hormone linked to obesity), and impaired mental function. When a human is awake for long periods of time, the body shifts into starvation/crisis mode, storing fat for some impending famine or natural disaster. The remedy? According to recent research on what British wags call “The Duvet Diet”, simply getting the right amount of sleep (as in, at least eight hours for adults) can restore healthy hormone levels almost immediately.

Thus ends Day One—and begins Night One—of my new regime. I’ll call it The Pillow Prescription. The lads must be in bed—as they are right now—with lights out, by 8:30pm. And I must be allowed to stay up all night writing and reading to my heart’s content.

Kidding! In reality, I have a ten o’clock date with my blanket and a Teddy Bear borrowed from Son Three. Okay, so maybe eleven is more realistic.

In any case, Sweet Dreams...

Friday, April 14, 2006

Monday, April 10, 2006

High Crimes and Chimp's Demeanor

His evil laugh is well-known: Heh...heh heh.

His suits are always the finest: they're cut from the costliest (and always dark) wools; there are winter-appropriate and tropical-weight versions, and all of them are custom-tailored down to the last angstrom of thread.

He never does the driving, preferring to let one of the posse he travels with handle it. In fact, there is someone else to handle just about every job, the mundane and the dirty alike, so he doesn't have to.

The President needs a Panama hat and a big cigar, though. Dead Eye Dick has the weapons prowess (sort of), and he's got the menacing snarl down cold, but he ought to have much better shoes--something in a hand-made snakeskin boot sounds about right. And Karl Rove, well, the guy's gotta have a monocle and a fluffy white cat somewhere, and if not, let's find them for him.

Because really, when you think about it, our President is nothing if not an organized criminal of the highest, and therefore most terrifying, order. And if costumes and props will help underscore this reality for a TV-and-movie-influenced culture that needs for its bad guys to look like Bad Guys, I'm all for it: it's high time the nation saw Don Dubya and his crew for what they really are.

Writing at Buzzflash, Greg Palast notes (bolds mine):

On February 10, 2004, our not-so-dumb-as-he-sounds President stated, "Listen, I know of nobody -- I don't know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified information. If somebody did leak classified information, I'd like to know it, and we'll take the appropriate action. And this investigation is a good thing. ...And if people have got solid information, please come forward with it."

Notice Bush's cleverly crafted words. He says he can't name anyone who leaked this "classified" info -- knowing full well he'd de-classified it. Far from letting Bush off the hook, it worsens the crime. For years, I worked as a government investigator and, let me tell you, Bush and Cheney withholding material information from the grand jury is a felony. Several felonies, actually: abuse of legal process, fraud, racketeering and, that old standby, obstruction of justice.

If you or I had manipulated the legal system this way, we'd be breaking rocks on a chain gang. We wouldn't even get a trial -- most judges would consider this a "fraud upon the court" and send us to the slammer in minutes using the bench's power to administer instant punishment for contempt of the judicial system.


Dubya and Darth Cheney breaking rocks on a chain gang. Though many of us would love nothing more than to watch that fantasy come to life, I think the best we can hope for is impeachment and removal from office. And on those fronts, Palast uncharacteristically holds out quite a lot of hope:

Statements aimed at misleading grand jury investigators are hard-time offenses. It doesn't matter that Bush's too-clever little quip was made to the press and not under oath. I've cited press releases and comments in the New York Times in court as evidence of fraud. By not swearing to his disingenuous statement, Bush gets off the perjury hook, but he committed a crime nonetheless, "deliberate concealment."

Here's how the law works (and hopefully, it will). The Bush gang's use of the telephone in this con game constituted wire fraud. Furthermore, while presidents may leak ("declassify") intelligence information, they may not obstruct justice; that is, send a grand jury on a wild goose chase. Under the 'RICO' statute (named after the Edward G. Robinson movie mobster, 'Little Rico'), the combination of these crimes makes the Bush executive branch a "racketeering enterprise."

So, book'm, Dan-o. Time to read The POTUS and The Veep their rights.

After setting their bail (following the impeachments and removals, of course), a judge will have a more intriguing matter to address. The RICO law requires the Feds to seize all "ill-gotten gains" of a racketeering enterprise, even before trial. Usually we're talking fast cars and diamond bling. But in this case, the conspirators' purloined booty includes a stolen election and a fraudulently obtained authorization for war. I see no reason why a judge could not impound the 82d Airborne as "fruits of the fraud " -- lock, stock and gun barrels -- and bring the boys home.


Hear, hear. Pass the popcorn.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Hey, McCain, Get Off of My Cloud (and Bush's Leg)

Why don't I like John McCain?

Because when it comes to a small handful of things in life, I believe there are no gray areas. One such black-and-white issue for me is this: if you bring harm to my family in any way, whether it is by assaulting one of them (God forbid) physically or verbally, stealing from one of them, or committing any other heinous act toward any of them at any time, I will do everything in my power to prevent your attack and, barring that, to set things straight immediately. Thereafter, I will make sure you are punished appropriately, including, but not limited to, guaranteeing that your very existence on this planet, from that day onward, will become an exercise in pure misery, day in and day out, until Death herself becomes less a force to be feared and more a merciful bearer of relief for which you will hope with every fiber of your being even as you wallow in your suffering.

Some people apparently don't see things quite that clearly, however. From a September 2004 Democracy Now interview:

Amy Goodman: Do you think this is similar to the attacks on you in 2000?

John McCain: No, I have put the attacks behind me. The attacks that were made on me are long ago and far away. I don't ever think about them or dwell on them.

Amy Goodman: They were very personal, very harsh and they questioned your war record.

John McCain: And I had to get over it, and I got over it, and I don't look back in anger. I look back at running for president as the greatest experience in my life.

Amy Goodman: It's one thing to get over it. It’s another to stand with and campaign with the man who did it to you: George Bush.

John McCain: I put it behind me. I put it behind. No, actually, we have a very good, friendly relationship.

Amy Goodman: Has he ever explained himself to you, why he attacked your wife, Cindy, and your kid?

John McCain: You know, my discussions with the president are private. Okay?


The mainstream media are all over McCain like a marked-down, oversized Goodwill tuxedo. They call him a maverick. They call him forward-thinking. They call him a true conservative.

Oh yeah? The last time I heard, conservatism was pretty much defined by a series of hands-off positions. Government should keep its hands off our wallets. Government should keep its hands off business and let the market decide if something will prosper or flounder. Government should stay out of people's personal lives.

*Cough...bullshit...cough*

Look at what our current "compassionate conservative" leaders have wrought: record deficits, greater burdens and ever-more-complicated regulations for small businesses, and a historic and ongoing interference with, and intrusion into, our private lives at levels that defy belief.

And John McCain is fine with this. He cozies up to Bush at every opportunity, despite the fact that Bush and his Evil Architect Karl Rove spread outrageous rumors—about McCain himself, his mental fitness after being a POW, his wife's struggle with alcohol, and his adopted daughter's mixed racial makeup and "legitimacy", whatever that means—during the 2000 campaign. And McCain actively praises the President, appearing onstage with him during the 2004 campaign, and throwing his weight behind anything Dear Leader says, no matter how ill-considered, no matter how unintelligible. Disgustingly, and equally disingenuously, he turns around and befriends such Religious Right stalwarts as Jerry Falwell after previously decrying their intolerance. Crooks and Liars has a clip of (and brief commentary about) Tim Russert's interview with McCain:

Russert: Do you believe that Jerry Falwell is still an agent of intolerance?

McCain: No, I don't. I think that Jerry Falwell can explain his views on this program when you have him on.

Russert actually questioned McCain pretty hard in the segment pointing out all his recent flip flops and showed that he is no longer the "maverick" that he's been portrayed to be. Russert used Pinkerton's quote calling him a: "born-again Bushophile" to describe his relationship with the President now.


One more thing. John McCain favors allowing government to control women's bodies and supported the dreadful, dangerous, anti-women legislation that was recently passed in South Dakota. In short, he is anti-choice.

And that is another one of my black-and-white issues: a politician either sees women as perfectly capable of making their own decisions with regard to matters concerning their own bodies, their own families, and their own lives, or he doesn't.

For the love of God, for the love of the country, or simply for the protection of Dubya's new trousers: Get down, boy. Step down, boy.

Please.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Scooter Libby's Aria Debuts

This just in (bolds mine):

WASHINGTON - Vice President Dick Cheney’s former top aide told prosecutors that President Bush authorized the leak of sensitive intelligence information about Iraq, according to court papers filed by prosecutors in the CIA leak case.

Before his indictment, I. Lewis Libby testified to the grand jury investigating the CIA leak that Cheney told him to pass on information and that it was Bush who authorized the disclosure of information to reporters about prewar intelligence on Iraq.

The authorization came as the Bush administration faced mounting criticism about its failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the main reason the president and his aides had given for going to war.

Libby’s participation in a critical conversation with Miller on July 8, 2003, “occurred only after the vice president advised defendant that the president specifically had authorized defendant to disclose certain information in the National Intelligence Estimate,” the papers by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald stated. The filing did not specify the “certain information.”


Curioser and curioser, no? Not that this is any news to most of the reality-based community who suspected all along that Libby was merely carrying out the wishes of his higher-ups.

BRAVO! BRAVISSIMO, Fitzy! And to Congress, I say: Can we go ahead and start those impeachment hearings now, please? Let's put on that rare opera in which the ending is not tragic; instead, we'll have an Act II in which the villains get taken out and the hero is hoisted onto the shoulders of a grateful, cheering people.

(Hat-tip to my pal Lisa in DC, who sent me the AP lowdown on this story hot-off-the-wire, before it even hit MSNBC et al.)

Monday, April 03, 2006

Shakespeare's Sister Wins Best Group Blog

And the Koufax Award for Best Group Blog goes to...Shakespeare's Sister! Congratulations to Melissa, aka Ringleader of the Tormentors, a gifted political writer who, day after day, produces a clever and compulsively readable site while also offering the works of a magic mix of contributors, to which group I am very proud to belong.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

A Naughty Alternative Slogan for Dems

Sometimes one makes an offhand, wiseacre comment and realizes later that it was actually a pretty good idea.

Case in point: a while ago, a Question of the Day at Shakespeare's Sister challenged commenters to come up with a Democratic Party slogan that had a bit more, er, teeth than the wimpy "Together We Can Do Better" one they appear to be going with this year. My snarky little contibution was this:

Vote Democrat: Blowjobs Are Better Than No Jobs


It was suggested by several similarly dirty-minded sorts that I turn it into a bumpersticker right away. One bumpersticker, several t-shirts, a coffee mug and a cheeky dog sweater, coming up...

With the kind art/layout help of Grumpy Old Man, I set up a Cafepress shop with bumperstickers, t-shirts, etc. with the slogan "Vote Democrat Blowjobs Are Better Than No Jobs". It's a simple design, with blue (of course) lettering on white, with the exception of the black t-shirt and bumpersticker, which have light blue lettering on black. Everything is priced at cost, which is to say, only that which Cafepress charges, with no markup or profit margin added.

The Cafepress shop is called, naturally, snarkfest.

Adult and canine sizes only, by the way.