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Friday orchid blogging

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Phrag Wossner Super Grande

This is a bloom I grew early last year, I think. The plant is a phragmipedium - you remember those, with the blooms so many of you hate. And this one has a darker parent on one side, thus the flowers are dark red, which I find rather cool. It also has rather long petals (I think they call them sepals in the orchid world, though I may be getting that one wrong). Anyway, it's a pretty cool plant, not terribly hard to grow - it likes it moist, you never let the growing medium dry out, and try to give it as much sun as it can handle - near full-sun indoors in the winter, full sun outdoor in the early summer, then dappled sun as August approaches (or you'll burn the plant). Also, as with many orchids, to help promote flowering give it a good six weeks, if you can, of temps dropping at nights by at least 15 degrees from where they were during the day - nights in the 50s are perfect. The flowers take a while to form, and I think the flowers last several weeks - I got two flowers out of this one stalk at the same time.

Anyway, like I said, pretty cool plant. Oh, and you have to be careful about it rotting at the base of the plant. Water it before noon, and avoid letting water sit in the top of the plant.

Enjoy Read the rest of this post...

Open Thread

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With the court ordered release of the Abu Ghraib photos, may we suggest the President's weekend kickoff shot...
Fire And Torture

Scale ingredients to servings
1 shot tequila
10 drops Tabasco® sauce
5 splashes lime juice

Pour all the contents into a shot glass at once.
I hope this addresses the desire for a more Texas style shot. Hey, I was just trying to broaden Bush's horizons!

Open thread away! I'm watching the Red Sox game... Read the rest of this post...

Open Thread

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Austin for the wedding of my friend, Bruce Elfant.

Good time to be in Austin. Read the rest of this post...

Grand jury foreman defends Delay indictment

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News 8 Austin
"I like his aggressiveness and everything, and I had nothing against the House majority man, but I felt that we had enough evidence, not only me, but the other grand jury members," Gibson said.

The grand jury foreman also takes great exception to accusations that he and 11 other grand jury members followed the lead of Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle instead of following the evidence.

"It was not a rubber stamp deal. It was not an overnight deal. If we needed extra information, it was provided to us," Gibson said.
Read the rest of this post...

GOP candidate distances herself from Bush

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The rats are leaving. Read the rest of this post...

Some of Bill Bennett's "best friends" are black women

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Yes, where would the black community be without heroes like Bill Bennett:
BENNETT: Let me just tell you, when it comes to abortion, my wife's program, Best Friends, has kept more young women from having abortions because they don't get pregnant because they take her good counsel...

HANNITY: Let me...

BENNETT: Than the entire black caucus. She has done more for inner city black girls than the entire black caucus. So I will not bow my head to any of these people.
More on this controversy here. Read the rest of this post...

Lazy afternoon open thread

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Man, feels like Indian Summer already, or finally. What's in the news? Read the rest of this post...

Conservative blogger says "dump delay"

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I just wanted to post this because it's interesting, and I know Josh and like him, he went with me on that voyage-of-the-damned to Scotland. He writes for, a VERY conservative blog.

Josh argues that the last thing the right needs to do is wrap itself around Delay, and thus go down in flames with him. I think Josh is right, about that point at least. In any case, it's interesting to see some conservatives suggesting that Delay should be dumped.
"Conservative leaders across the country are working now to make sure that any politician who hopes to have conservative support in the future had better be in the forefront as we attack those who attack Tom DeLay."

-- Morton Blackwell, 31 March 2005

Good call, Morton. Now that the indictment of the erstwhile House Majority Leader is an accomplished fact, the wisdom of chaining the conservative movement to Tom DeLay is apparent even to the most fervent of the true believers. The fall of Tom DeLay is not merely a parable of hubris in one man: it is the tale of ego begetting ill-judgment in the conservative movement at large.

The pity is that Republicans who care more about their party than about the cult of personality attendant to its key figures have long warned of this day. We knew all along that Tom DeLay was a bully -- ask the Heritage Foundation about his penchant for petty grudges. We knew all along that he was, on a fundamental level, unprincipled -- ask him about the fat in the Federal budget. We knew all along that he was mostly interested in power for its own sake -- recall, please, that he sought a House rules change to protect his leadership position in this very circumstance. And we knew that if it came to an indictment, it would be the end...
More on this from the DCCC. Read the rest of this post...

Open thread

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No Sci-Fi Friday.... sigh. Read the rest of this post...

AP: Army in worst recruiting slump in decades

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Hmmm... think we can link this to the body armor issue? A perfect storm is brewing around this issue. Will anyone pick it up and run with it? Read the rest of this post...

Note to Congress: Grow some cojones. Here's your chance

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I've been thinking some more about my post, below, about the fact that our troops are STILL being forced to buy their own body armor.

It's time for Democrats to take an obvious issue handed to them by God himself and run with it in an intelligent, strategic way.

We shouldn't be offering stupid amendments to help the soldiers get reimbursed for armor they already purchased (that's the current Democratic plan). The soldiers are STILL buying their own armor. If they can find the armor to buy, our focus shouldn't be solely on reimbursing them, it should be on buying the damn armor now - they can find a vendor, why can't we? And just as important, maybe we need to provide each combat soldier with a voucher so they can buy their armor, rather than expecting them to find the money and then we reimburse them (and oh, if they don't have the money, too bad, they don't get armor under the current reimbursement scheme).

This is the kind of issue you shut down congress for. I have a very sick feeling that the Dems will do what they always do. Come up with an amendment. Offer it in a vacuum. Don't do any grassroots, any great media, no public events, and absolutely no coordination with the blogosphere other than handing us a press release. You'll simply offer the amendment up (Hillary and her independent commission amendment come to mind), let it get voted down, then think you've won.

Please, wake up Democrats. If you don't get it on an issue this obvious, then you aren't going to get it until we basically throw you guys out of office and put some Dems with a backbone and a brain in power. How many election failures do we have to have before we finally have that little revolution we all keep talking about? These guys on the Hill miss the same opportunities over and over and over again, yet we leave them all in power, and then we wonder why we keep losing.

Please, don't just offer a stupid amendment. Run with this, shut down the building for our troops. Demand that a good amendment, whatever it is, be passed or NOTHING proceeds in Congress (other than perhaps hurricane relief).

And finally, what would the Republicans do if Clinton had short-changed our troops during war time? Do you think all they'd do is offer a stupid amendment? No, they'd have an entire campaign laid out with their far-right non-profits working the grassroots and all the media (talk radio, TV, etc.), they'd launch a filibuster against any and all legislation until Bill Clinton finally stopped killing our troops, they'd have public events with soldiers, and soldiers families, and veterans, begging the president to stop sending our kids out to die without the armor they need. Hell, they'd probably start calling for the impeachment of the commander in chief.

That's how you organize a real campaign. It's not offering one single stupid amendment and hoping the earth will move. You have to make the earth move, not wait for the earth to move for you. Read the rest of this post...

Our soldiers in Iraq are STILL being forced to buy THEIR OWN body armor

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Any US military out there reading this, or their friends and families? Once again, you're hearing of this outrage from a liberal blog. Not from Republicans, who are the ones you keep thinking care more about our troops, but from Democrats. This is absolutely outrageous. I may be upset about the snuff-porn scandal we've been reporting on all week, but that doesn't mean I want our troops to die in battle because we haven't given them the equipment they need. Yes, I think this war has become a very sad joke, but leaving our men and women as sitting ducks is hardly the answer.

Where is your president? Where is YOUR Secretary of Defense? Where is your Republican congress?


Ask yourself how many times this issue has come up over the past several years, and how many times Bush and Rumsfeld lied to you about the problem being fixed in a couple of months.

Operation Iraqi Freedom? Try, Operation Iraqi Katrina.
Nearly a year after Congress demanded action, the Pentagon still hasn't figured out a way to reimburse U.S. troops for body armor and equipment they purchased to better protect themselves while serving in Iraq.

For Marine Sgt. Todd Bowers that extra equipment — a high-tech rifle scope bought by his father for $600 and a $100 pair of goggles — turned out to be a life-or-death purchase. And he has never been reimbursed.

Bowers, who is from Arizona but going to school in Washington, D.C., was shot by a sniper during his second tour in Iraq, but the round lodged in his scope, and his goggles protected his eyes from the shrapnel that struck his face.

"We weren't provided those going to Iraq," he said yesterday. "But they literally saved my life."

He and other soldiers and their parents are still spending hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars for armor they say the military won't provide. One U.S. senator said yesterday he will try again to force the Pentagon to obey the reimbursement law it opposed from the outset and has so far not implemented.
Read the rest of this post...

DeLay to be "very powerful adviser" to GOP

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Great, he can advise them all on how to get indicted:
Indicted Texas Rep. Tom DeLay will serve as a "very powerful adviser" to the Republican leadership while he battles the conspiracy charge that forced him to step aside as House majority leader, a GOP spokesman said Thursday.

"His experience and insight for over a decade of the Republican majority is invaluable to our leadership and to our members and will be used wisely," said Ron Bonjean, spokesman for Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill.
Read the rest of this post...

Open Thread

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So much to talk about... Read the rest of this post...

Judith Miller testifying this morning

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Scooter Libby, Cheney's Chief of Staff, waived his confidentiality:
New York Times reporter Judith Miller was released from jail late yesterday and is scheduled to testify this morning before a federal grand jury investigating whether any government officials illegally leaked the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame to the media, according to lawyers involved in the case.
Lots of drama associated with Judith Miller. Bottom line is that it looks like Fitzgerald's case is wrapping up:
One lawyer said it could become clear as early as next week whether Fitzgerald plans to indict anyone or has negotiated a plea bargain.
DeLay this week. Rove next week? Read the rest of this post...

Open thread

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And off to bed.

(No threadbots were harmed in the creation of this thread.) Read the rest of this post...

Meanwhile, in the quagmire

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The carnage continues:
Also Thursday, the U.S. military announced the deaths of five U.S. soldiers Wednesday in a roadside bombing during combat in Ramadi, west of Baghdad, a hotbed of Iraq's insurgency.

It was the deadliest single attack against American troops in more than a month, bringing to 1,934 the number of U.S. service members who have died since Iraq's war started in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. More than 140 people, including 13 U.S. service members, have been killed in the past four days.
But don't worry. Seriously, Bush is going to give a speech soon. Read the rest of this post...

If George had a Hammer....

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Froomkin asks "Is Bush losing Congress?" Better question might be "Is Bush just plain old losing it?":
His second-term agenda is in shambles. His spending plan for Hurricane Katrina has torn his party apart. Support for his increasingly unpopular war is eroding. His political capital is spent.

And now he's lost his Hammer.

For President Bush, who was already seeing his influence wane in Congress, yesterday's indictment of Rep. Tom DeLay -- forcing the iron-fisted House majority leader to step down from his leadership post -- was an enormous blow.

Furthermore, DeLay's troubles add to the sense that the Republican Party and the White House are under siege, plagued by missteps and ethics scandals.
Read the rest of this post...

Arnold Sucks it Big Time

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More Arnold from Reuters:
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in a widely expected move vetoed a bill on Thursday that would have allowed gay couples to marry.

The Republican governor had earlier this month indicated he would veto the bill passed by California's Democrat-led legislature. The bill was the first of its kind approved by a state legislature.

Schwarzenegger said he would leave the contentious issue of same-sex marriage to voters and the courts. "I do not believe the legislature can reverse an initiative approved by the people of California," he said in a written statement.

"This bill simply adds confusion to a constitutional issue," Schwarzenegger wrote. "If the ban of same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, this bill is not necessary. If the ban is constitutional, this bill is ineffective."
Bad actor, worse liar. The Republican Party can't have it both ways. In Massachusetts and on a Federal level, it's the Courts that need to be controlled. Bad Activist Court, Bad Court!

But Arnold says what? "Schwarzenegger said he would leave the contentious issue of same-sex marriage to voters and the courts."

Black is white! White is black!

On gay issues, the Republicans aren't about scholarly legal interests, they are about one thing and one thing only -- hate.

It's time we ALL see it for what it is and call it by the name it deserves. Read the rest of this post...

Arnold vetoed the gay marriage bill

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BASTARD. Read the rest of this post...

Miller Out of Jail

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From the Kansas City Star:
Miller left an Alexandria, Va. jail at 3:55 p.m., a jail official said.

She was released after she had a telephone conversation with the Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby, sources said. In that conversation, Libby reaffirmed that he had released Miller from a promise of confidentiality more than a year ago, sources said.
Wonder if seeing the DeLay/Frist/Katrina house of cards start to fall got her to start singing... Read the rest of this post...

Open Thread

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Now you know we can talk about anything. Read the rest of this post...

Bill Bennett: "[Y]ou could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down"

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Or you could just abort Bill Bennett and the racism rate would go down. Read the rest of this post...

US military police guards having sex with female detainees, Iraqi women forced to expose their breasts, and more

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But in all fairness to the Pentagon, how do we know they were real breasts?
To get a sense of what may be shown in these images, one has to go back to press reports from when the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal was still front page news.

This is how CNN reported it on May 8, 2004, in a typical account that day:

...A military report about that abuse describes detainees being threatened, sodomized with a chemical light and forced into sexually humiliating poses...

"'The American public needs to understand we're talking about rape and murder here. We're not just talking about giving people a humiliating experience,' Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told reporters after Rumsfeld testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee. 'We're talking about rape and murder -- and some very serious charges.'

"A report by Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba on the abuse at the prison outside Baghdad says videotapes and photographs show naked detainees, and that groups of men were forced to masturbate while being photographed and videotaped. Taguba also found evidence of a 'male MP guard having sex with a female detainee.'...

The military later screened some of the images for lawmakers, who said they showed, among other things, attack dogs snarling at cowed prisoners, Iraqi women forced to expose their breasts, and naked prisoners forced to have sex with each other.
Read the rest of this post...

It's becoming one big GOP scandal with many tentacles

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All the GOP scandals are morphing in to one giant monster of corruption:
The indictment sent a shock wave through the GOP establishment, which is already reeling from a swath of criminal and ethics investigations. Three individuals, eight corporations and two political action committees connected to DeLay have been indicted as a result of the probe. In addition, the government's top procurement official, David Safavian, was arrested in September for obstructing a criminal investigation into über-lobbyist Jack Abramoff, a close DeLay ally. Abramoff himself is under criminal investigation for defrauding Indian tribes and was indicted for wire fraud in Florida in a separate case. Top White House aides, including Karl Rove and Scooter Libby, have been targeted by a special prosecutor investigating the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame. Representative Duke Cunningham announced he would not run for re-election after overselling his house for $700,000 to a military industry lobbyist; he too has been indicted. FDA chief Lester Crawford resigned unexpectedly after just two months on the job, possibly because of failure to report his wife's sizable pharmaceutical-industry holdings. And DeLay's Senate counterpart, Bill Frist, is battling possible insider-trading charges for dumping millions in HCA stock, a company founded by his father and run by his brother, weeks before it plunged in value. The U.S. Attorney in Manhattan and the Securities and Exchange Commission opened an investigation into Frist and HCA in September.
Read the rest of this post...

The boys were screaming as they were being raped

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"Iraq is free of rape rooms and torture chambers."
President George Bush - Oct. 8, 2003
I'm sure the Pentagon will tell us there's no way to prove that these are real boys being raped in our custody.
In the same period, reporter Seymour Hersh, who helped uncover the scandal, said in a speech before an ACLU convention: "Some of the worse that happened that you don't know about, ok? Videos, there are women there. Some of you may have read they were passing letters, communications out to their men ... . The women were passing messages saying 'Please come and kill me, because of what's happened.'

"Basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys/children in cases that have been recorded. The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. The worst about all of them is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has. They are in total terror it's going to come out."
Read the rest of this post...

The blue ink on his fingers will NOT mean he just voted

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But it still stands for freedom. Read the rest of this post...

House Repubs. to gut enviro laws as response to Katrina

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Every sane and thinking person in the world is worried that our desecration of the environment exacerbated the hurricanes through global warming and loss of wetlands. However, no one ever accused the House GOP of being sane or thoughtful:
House Republicans on Wednesday will launch a rapid-fire assault against environmental protections on the pretext of helping the U.S. oil and gas industry recover from hurricane damage, environmental groups charge.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Resources Committee are holding separate meetings to finalize legislation on Wednesday, with the aim of combining them into a single energy bill for the full House to debate next week.

The resources panel, led by Richard Pombo of California, wants to lift a ban on Florida offshore drilling, promote oil shale and sell a dozen national parks for energy development.
Read the rest of this post...

Judge orders release of Abu Ghraib photos, again

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Man, bad timing for the Bush administration. Lynndie England convicted, the snuff-for-porn photos come out this same week, and now this. Photos photos photos.

But hey, once the really bad Abu Ghraib photos come out maybe the Pentagon can argue that it's not really clear that those are in fact US soldiers or real Iraqis they're torturing.
Saying the United States "does not surrender to blackmail," a judge ruled Thursday that pictures of detainee abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison must be released over government claims that they could damage America's image.

U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein ordered the release of certain pictures in a 50-page decision that said terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan have proven they "do not need pretexts for their barbarism."
Read the rest of this post...

Open thread

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Attack! Read the rest of this post...

Bush grants pardons to drug dealers, embezzlers, a man who used explosives on an energy facility.

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So not making this up.
9/28/2005 4:23:00 PM
To: National Desk
Contact: U.S. Department of Justice, Office Public Affairs, 202-514-2008 or 202-514-1888, Web:

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 /U.S. Newswire/ -- President George W. Bush granted pardons to the following....

-- Rusty Lawrence Elliott, Mount Pleasant, Tenn.

Offense: Making counterfeit Federal Reserve notes; 18 U.S.C. 471.

Sentence: April 26, 1991; Western District of Missouri; 12 months and one day imprisonment; two years supervised release, and a $500 fine.

-- Adam Wade Graham, Salt Lake City, Utah

Offense: Conspiracy to deliver 10 or more grams of LSD; 21 U.S.C. 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(A)(v), and 846.

Sentence: Nov. 23, 1992; District of Wyoming; 30 months imprisonment, later reduced to 11 months and 21 days of imprisonment, and five years supervised release conditioned upon performance of 250 hours community service.

-- Jesse Ray Harvey, Scarbro, W.Va.

Offense: Property damage by use of explosives and destruction of an energy facility; 18 U.S.C. 844(i) and 1366(a).

Sentence: April 17, 1990; Southern District of West Virginia; 25 months imprisonment and three years supervised release.

-- Larry Paul Lenius, Moorhead, Minn.

Offense: Conspiracy to distribute cocaine; 21 U.S.C. 846.

Sentence: Sept. 29, 1989, District of North Dakota; 36 months probation conditioned upon three months service in community confinement and payment of $2,500 in restitution.

-- Larry Lee Lopez, Bokeelia, Fla.

Offense: Conspiracy to import marijuana; 21 U.S.C. 952 and 953.

Sentence: July 19, 1985; Middle District of Florida; three years probation.

-- Bobbie Archie Maxwell, Lansing, Mich.

Offense: Mailing a threatening letter; 18 U.S.C. 876.

Sentence: Sept. 6, 1962; Middle District of Georgia; 12 months probation.

-- Denise Bitters Mendelkow, Salt Lake City, Utah

Offense: Embezzlement by a bank employee; 18 U.S.C. 656.

Sentence: May 21, 1981; District of Utah; two years probation conditioned upon payment of restitution.

-- Michael John Pozorski, Schofield, Wis.

Offense: Unlawful possession of an unregistered firearm; 26 U.S.C. 5861(d) and 5871.

Sentence: Sept. 14, 1988; Western District of Wisconsin; four years probation conditioned upon 90 days residence in a community treatment center and payment of a $750 fine.

-- Mark Lewis Weber, Sherwood, Ark.

Offense: Selling Quaalude tablets (one specification), selling, using, and possessing marijuana (three specifications), U.C.M.J., Articles 92 and 134.

Sentence: Aug. 20, 1981; United States Air Force general court-martial convened at Little Rock Air Force Base, Little Rock, Arkansas; 30 months confinement at hard labor, forfeiture of $334 pay per month for 30 months, reduction to the rank of airman basic, and a dishonorable discharge.
Read the rest of this post...

Roberts is the Chief

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Senate just voted 78 - 22 to confirm him.

Rumors are that Bush will probably name a new justice this week -- and given the DeLay scandal and their need to change the story, that's probably likely. Read the rest of this post...

Frist insider trading investigation expands

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When it rains, it pours:
While insiders at HCA Inc. were selling millions of dollars of their own stock this year, they were also painting a sunny picture of the company's outlook for investors. Federal prosecutors and the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating the sale of HCA stock by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., whose family founded the company that grew into the nation's largest for-profit health care chain.

The SEC turned its initial inquiry into a formal investigation of the company, HCA announced Thursday. The company said it is cooperating with investigators.
Read the rest of this post...

Iraq disintegrating...but fear not, Bush will give a speech

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The situation in Iraq is getting worse by the day. The concern is growing stronger among our allies:
The administration has come under growing pressure at home and abroad over the past two weeks, with dire warnings from Arab allies and a prominent international group about the looming disintegration of Iraq. In an unusual public rebuke of U.S. policy, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister called a news conference in Washington last week to predict Iraq's dissolution. He said there is no leadership or momentum to pull Iraq's Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds back together and prevent a civil war. Other countries have expressed similar concerns in private, according to U.S. and Arab diplomats.
Dire warnings. No leadership or momentum. That's so frightening. So what's the Bush plan? Another public relations offensive:
In a push to boost public support for his Iraq policy, Bush will give a speech on Oct. 6. Vice President Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also will give major foreign policy addresses over the next week.
Yes, they're going to give more speeches. Their incompetence would be pathetic if it wasn't killing so many people. Read the rest of this post...

It's getting uglier for the GOP by the day

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Yep, these two paragraphs pretty much sum it up:
On almost every front, Republicans see trouble. Bush is at the low point of his presidency, with Iraq, hurricane relief, rising gasoline prices and another Supreme Court vacancy all problems to be solved. Congressional Republicans have seen their approval ratings slide throughout the spring and summer; a Washington Post-ABC News poll in August found that just 37 percent of Americans approve of the way Congress is doing its job, the lowest rating in eight years.

On the ethics front, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) is under investigation for selling stock in his family's medical business just before the price fell sharply. The probe of well-connected lobbyist Jack Abramoff, a former close associate of DeLay, threatens to create even more troubles for Republicans. Finally, the special counsel investigation into whether White House senior adviser Karl Rove or others in the administration broke the law by leaking the name of the CIA's Valerie Plame is nearing a conclusion.
Read the rest of this post...

Early AM Open Thread

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So the President likes shots. In recognition of the last 24 hours of news, may we suggest today he try a ...
Royal Scandal

Scale ingredients to servings
1 part Crown Royal® Canadian whisky
1 part Southern Comfort® peach liqueur
1 part amaretto almond liqueur
1 splash sweet and sour mix
1 splash pineapple juice

Add liquors and mixers into a shaker with a few ice cubes. Shake and strain into a shot glass over ice, and serve.
Open thread away! Read the rest of this post...

New Labour uses thugs to remove 82 year old man from conference

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Brown shirts anyone? How sad is it that Blair's New Labour is so weak, so feeble, so unsure of themselves that they have to resort to using five thugs to grab an 82 year old man and remove him from their party conference after he yelled out "nonsense" in response to Jack Straw's defense of the Iraq invasion? These are sad times indeed when democracy is so distorted that freedom of speech is grounds for such treatment in the US and UK.
Walter Wolfgang, a party member for 57 years, was bundled out of the conference hall by stewards after shouting "nonsense" as Mr Straw, the Foreign Secretary, defended Britain's role in Iraq. He was later stopped under anti-terrorist powers as he tried to re-enter the hall.

Mr Wolfgang fled Nazi Germany as a teenager for the freedom of Britain. He said: "I shouted out 'nonsense'. That's all I said. Then these two toughies came round and wanted to manhandle me out. 'I said: 'Do you want me to leave? I will leave, you don't need to manhandle me.'

Mr Blair also blocked a motion for the conference to pay tribute to Robin Cook, the cabinet minister who resigned over the war and died in August. Yesterday's protest was muted by Labour's standards, but the over-reaction by conference stewards backfired and turned into a public relations disaster for the party.

When the Prime Minister was asked by a journalist whether he would apologise to Mr Wolfgang, he did not comment.
What a coward and a bully. Just like his mate in the White House. Read the rest of this post...

DeLay replacement has ties with indicted consultant

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Blunt is actually the second option since Dreier didn't quite work out but this is amazing. Is it not possible to shake a stick within the GOP leadership and not touch someone who is tainted?
The political committee of Rep. Roy Blunt who is temporarily replacing Rep. Tom DeLay as House majority leader, has paid roughly $88,000 in fees since 2003 to a consultant under indictment in Texas with DeLay, according to federal records.

Records on file with the Federal Election Commission show the fund linked to Blunt retains Ellis' firm, J.W. Ellis Co., and has made periodic payments for services. Political Money Line, a nonpartisan Internet tracking service, places the total at about $88,000.

Ellis is one of three political associates of DeLay, R-Texas, who have been indicted in an alleged scheme to use corporate political donations illegally to support candidates in state elections. Ellis also runs DeLay's national political action committee, Americans for a Republican Majority.
Read the rest of this post...

FEMA continues to dazzle

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Despite Bush posing for photo-ops as a man in charge during and after Rita, FEMA isn't exactly winning high grades from its reaction to Rita. Sounds like a lot of Drownies around that place these days.
But the agency was not ready for the roughly 1,500 people displaced by Hurricanes Rita and Katrina who sought help at the Houston center when it reopened Wednesday.

The line started forming Tuesday night, and as temperatures reached record highs, some people fainted and had to be carried off by police and other refugees.

FEMA spokesman Justin Dombrowski said the agency closed the center for the day because of the heat and the unexpectedly large crowds. [Sure, who would have guessed that you would have crowds after a natural disaster?]

Griffith said he has asked Gov. Rick Perry to set up a commission to study the emergency response to Rita. Congress is holding hearings this week on the federal government's response to Katrina.

FEMA spokesman Ross Fredenburg in Austin said communications between Austin and rural East Texas have been troubled, in part because of power problems. But he said FEMA had set up 27 distribution points in 27 southeastern Texas cities.
Great, another GOP-run commission searching for answers. That'll take care of everything. Why not ask DeLay to head the commission since he'll be having some free time coming up? I'm so confident that they will get the bottom of this including the power problems because who ever would even imagine that "power problems" might occur after a hurricane? Nope, there's absolutely nothing out there anywhere in the world that could work without local power or cell phone relay stations. Not in their 1900 world, anyway. Read the rest of this post...

Aside from the Wash Post, the coverage has been good

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Check this out, I think CBS reported on it on the air.

The Independent (UK).

CNN International

Al Jazeera.

The NYT has a story for Thursday with possibly the worst quotes yet from the military. Not only does the Pentagon claim they have nothing to identify the soldiers with (oh, how about THEIR FACES IN THE PHOTOS, YOU MORONS), and they say they can't tell if those are real body parts or not. I kid you not, this is their excuse. They think perhaps the man sitting in the car with his head blown off and two US troops peering in is, what, a dummy? The dismembered arm dangling from the wall with the soldier smiling at it, is, what, a stage prop he just happened to import into Baghdad? Amazing. Absolutely amazing. But don't worry, I've got several more angles and more to report on this story in the days ahead. If they think this is going away, oh....

ABC News

BBC News

And there are lots more articles here. Read the rest of this post...

Wash Post publishes weird story about military death-porn photos

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The story is just weird. It underplays the fact that DOD pretty much said today the investigation is over because they just can't figure out who these soldiers might be. (If only someone had pictures of the soldiers faces...) It also fails to quote the American Mulsim group as making very clear that DOD's response today is totally inadequate. And finally, it quotes the Web master of the porn site suggesting the photos are well hidden and hard to find, when in fact there's a big momma section of the site devoted to these "gory" photos from Iraq and Afghanistan, and it's clearly labeled as such on his home page.

But hey, far be it for the Washington Post to actually get a story right. Read the rest of this post...

Won't you be my dictator?

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Isn't it nice that we live in a country where the military doesn't secretly pull all the strings and get away with murder, unencumbered by an elected civilian government.

Oh. Never mind. Read the rest of this post...

Bedtime in America (well, east coast America) open thread

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In with the good air, out with the bad. Read the rest of this post...

Hurts So Good...

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Check out the current crop of headlines at Yahoo:

Let's restate those headlines:

* DeLay - Corruption in senior levels of government.
* Brown - the President put a complete idiot in charge of our nation's key disaster preparedness agency
* Reuters - the Pentagon is making it impossible for the American people to be told what's being done in their name
* Frist - More corruption in senior levels of government.
* Gulfport - shipping companies won't clean up their mess.

While it saddens me that this is the state of my country, I'm so happy to see that after 5 years of these fools in charge, today, at least, it seems like it's getting better. The media is calling it out. They are finally (just starting) to get their due... Read the rest of this post...

I guess freedom is un-American

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I've read five articles now about the cancelation of this "freedom museum" that they were going to build at the World Trade Center location in NYC. Apparently there was concern that the museum, dedicated to spreading the message of "freedom," would become a staging ground for anti-American messages.

Oh, right, because nothing stinks of anti-Americanism like freedom. Read the rest of this post...

Surprise! We WON'T be substantially cutting the US troops presence in Iraq in 2006

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Because you can never have enough photos of dead Iraqis.

From Reuters
The top U.S. general in Iraq on Wednesday cast doubt on his previous forecasts of a substantial cut in American forces in 2006, saying Iraq was in a period of heightened uncertainty that made it "too soon to tell" if troops can be brought home.
Gee, so the president lied during the election? And the US military has been lying to us about how great things are in Iraq? Whodathunkit! Read the rest of this post...

DeLay has his "I am not a crook" presser

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It's always partisanship when the GOP gets in trouble:
"I have done nothing wrong ... I am innocent," DeLay told a Capitol Hill news conference in which he criticized the Texas prosecutor, Ronnie Earle, repeatedly. DeLay called Earle a "unabashed partisan zealot," and "fanatic," and described the charges as "one of the weakest and most baseless indictments in American history."
Um, kettle, this is pot, you're black.

So, the maestro has given all his lackies the talking points. It's all partisanship. In a way, he's right, but he's got it backwards. He is in trouble for partisanship. But the partisanship that got him in trouble was his own. He's so obsessed with GOP rule, that he was willing to break the law. That's what partisan fanatics do. Read the rest of this post...

Should AMERICAblog publish the uncensored death photos on our home page?

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I was discussing this with Joe in DC earlier today. Now that the Pentagon has decided to totally ignore this scandal, to sweep under the rug the fact that US troops are making the electronic version of ear necklaces from the dead, is it time for AMERICAblog to publish the worst of the photos on our site?

I'm talking, there are photos of faces ripped off of bodies - leaving only the face behind, not the skull, the face just lying on the ground. Guys sitting in their cars, heads totally blown off.

This is gruesome stuff folks. Probably the worst thing you can imagine. But I'm seriously wondering if the only way to prove how bad this is is by creating a scandal by publishing the very visible and very uncensored death photos on this very public blog.

What do you all think? I could go either way. Read the rest of this post...

Karen Hughes got the crap kicked out of her by Turkish activist

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So much for the listening tour:
Sent to improve America's image in the Muslim world, President Bush's public relations chief stressed the need for better dialogue in her brief address Wednesday to Turkish women activists. What Karen Hughes got back was a barrage of criticism about the U.S. war in Iraq.

There is "no chance for America to make its image better … while the war in Iraq is still going on (and) people are dying every day," Turkish activist Hidayet Sefkatli Tuksal told journalists after meeting with Hughes at a museum in a medieval citadel looming over the modern city of Ankara.
How intriguing to think that government officials will sit down with critics. I hear stuff like that happens in democracies like Turkey. Now, if we could only do that in America. Imagine an open forum with Bush or one of his lackies. You'll have to imagine it cause it will never happen. Read the rest of this post...

BREAKING: Army cancels probe of "war dead for porn" scandal

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Message to the world: The US government doesn't give a damn about Muslims or the Geneva Conventions.

Outrageous. They just canceled the entire investigation of the scandal involving US soldiers allegedly trading death pics from Iraq for access to online porn. And the reasons the military is giving for canceling the investigation are simply outrageous. Get this.
The Army Criminal Investigation Command in Iraq conducted the preliminary inquiry within the past week but closed it after concluding no felony crime had been committed and failing to determine whether U.S. soldiers were responsible for the photos and whether they showed actual war dead, Army officials said. Col. Joe Curtin, an Army spokesman at the Pentagon, said there currently was no formal investigation into the matter.
Again, they're playing with this "felony" word but then suggesting that there's no other formal investigation going on. There are lots of problems here beyond whether or not a felony has occurred.

Second, the reasons for their not finding a felony are simply bizarre.

1. They can't figure out if US soldiers are responsible for the photos. Uh, there are several photos of soldiers faces. They're smiling for the camera and pointing at the body parts. Have you asked them? Also, the Online Journalism Review story quotes a soldier by name admitting to posting the photos online.

Have they talked to this guy?

Or any of these guys?

Or these guys?

2. The military can't tell whether the photos show actual war dead. Uh excuse me, but what exactly do those photos show? A man behind a steering wheel with his head blown off and two US soldiers peering in the window. Again, have you asked those soldiers?

And, tell me, how exactly did this man die with so many US soldier standing over his body? Suicide? Natural causes? Angina? Broken heart?

And here are some more questions for the military:

1. Why were these photos taken at all?
2. Who took these photos - if not military, then who? Do our soldiers normally pose with dead bodies for strangers on the streets?
3. How did these photos get online at all? Have you bothered asking the soldiers in the photos? Have you tried to get the records of the web master to see who emailed him and from what computer?

What exactly HAS the military done to get to the bottom of this? They launched an investigation that lasted, apparently, a matter of hours. And now they tell us there's nothing they can do, and nothing they're going to do, about the outright racist abuse of Muslims by US troops.

And we wonder why they hate us? Read the rest of this post...

Bush and congressional GOP are blocking health care coverage for hundreds of thousands of hurricane victims

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Oh yeah. A party that truly hates itself.
With Gulf Coast governors pressing for action, Senate Finance Committee members complained Wednesday that the Bush administration is blocking a bipartisan $9 billion health care package for hundreds of thousands of evacuees from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Read the rest of this post...

Dreier is OUT

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Oh yeah, they picked Congressman Roy Blunt and NOT David Dreier.

Dreier will now only be a "helper" working with the chairman to move the agenda across the house floor.

We'd heard that apparently the gay issue is what influenced the decision. They knew about the controversy and that's why Dreier got uninvited to be Majority Leader.

Oh well. Now Dreier knows how it feels to be discriminated against based on your sexual orientation. Read the rest of this post...

Oh, let's all talk about Delay

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It's worth another open thread to talk about all of this. :-) Read the rest of this post...

David Dreier voted to ban gays from adopting kids in Washington, DC

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Enough said.
The 52-year-old single congressman voted for the Marriage Protection Act in July, a measure that would have stripped federal courts of jurisdiction over challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act, which bans the federal government from recognizing gay partnerships. Dreier did not vote on the latest amendment to constitutionally ban gay marriage, and said he was against it.

Dreier, a Christian Scientist, also voted for the original Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 and a measure that banned gays from adopting in Washington, D.C. He has a 92 percent favorability rating from the Christian Coalition, and was elected with Ronald Reagan in 1980.
And here's David Dreier's whopping 22% score from the gay-rights group Human Rights Campaign:

Read the rest of this post...

Hastert to pick Closet-Heterosexual David Dreier as Majority Leader

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Ok, this is sweet. The Speaker is reportedly going to pick Congressman David Dreier (R-CA), an avowed, well, an avowed nothing, as the next Majority Leader of the House. This is pretty historic since Dreier refuses to respond to ongoing rumors that he's gay, but even more importantly, I was sitting next to Dreier last summer at the GOP Convention when Mike Signorile was interviewing him, and Dreier refused to answer a direct question from Signorile about whether Dreier was heterosexual.

Here's what Dreier said:
SIGNORILE: There have been a lot of rumors that you yourself are gay. People feel it’s hypocritical of you not to speak on the subject of same-sex marriage.

DREIER: I have spoken out very, very vigorously in opposition to amending the U.S. Constitution, which is really the key question and the key issue here.

SIGNORILE: Any comment on the rumors about your own sexual orientation?

DREIER: No. You know, there are an awful lot of people out there who try to do harm to a lot of individuals, and I believe it is absolutely wrong. And so I’m not going to get into anything like that.

SIGNORILE: So you are, are you saying you’re heterosexual?

DREIER: No, I’m not going to talk about this issue.
Other than Ken Mehlman, Dreier is the only "closet heterosexual" I've ever met in my life.

This is a great day for ambiguously gay heroes. Ken must be so proud.

I wonder how the religious right is feeling just about now? They can kiss their anti-gay constitutional amendment goodbye, and much more. If the religious right doesn't think we can pressure Dreier to stop their anti-gay crap, then they really haven't been reading up on their gay agenda. :-) Read the rest of this post...


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UPDATE: GOP rules will force Delay to resign his post as Majority Leader!

From, breaking news:
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay indicted on one count of criminal conspiracy by Texas grand jury, according to Travis County clerk's office.
More from the Austin American-Statesman:
A Travis County grand jury today indicted U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay on one count of criminal conspiracy, jeopardizing the Sugar Land Republican's leadership role as the second most powerful Texan in Washington, D.C.

The charge, a state jail felony punishable by up to two years incarceration, stems from his role with his political committee, Texans for a Republican Majority, a now-defunct organization that already had been indicted on charges of illegally using corporate money during the 2002 legislative elections.

The grand jury, however, took no action against Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick, Texas Association of Business President Bill Hammond or state Reps. Dianne Delisi and Beverly Woolley, both of whom sit on the political committee's board, for their roles in the election.

The grand jury's term ended today.

Delay's defense team will hold a press conference in Austin later this afternoon. The team includes defense attorneys Bill White and Steve Brittain of Austin and Dick DeGuerin of Houston.

State law bans corporate money being spent in connection with political campaigns and Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle, a Democrat, has spent almost three years investigating whether Republican groups and their business allies violated that ban. The groups helped elect a Republican majority to the state Legislature which, in turn, drew new Congressional districts that benefited Republican candidates.

DeLay and his associates insisted the corporate money was legally spent on committee overhead or issue advertising and not campaign-related activity.

An indictment does not force DeLay to resign as a member of Congress, but the GOP's rules demand that he resign his post as majority leader as he fights the charges. Congressional Republicans earlier tried to drop that requirement, citing Earle's investigation as a political vendetta, but they ultimately maintained the rule after withering criticism....
Read the rest of this post...

Open thread

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Any news on the Hammer yet?

PS cute video about Bush here. Read the rest of this post...

AMERICAblog ♥ CNN's Blog Chicks

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The NY Observer has a big profile today on CNN's beloved blog chicks, Jacki and Abbi.

Yeah, the article dwells a bit too much on the fact that both ladies are hot:
“Rrrreowww,” said The Daily Show’s Rob Corddry during a segment mocking cable news. As in: “Those two blog chicks on CNN are kinda hot-dot-blogspot-dot-rrrrrreowwww!”
Then again, we dwell a lot on the fact that Anderson Cooper is hot. Read the rest of this post...

Bush Family Reality Shows

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Laura Bush is doing "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."

Your nomination for the reality show her husband should do? I'm leaning towards "Intervention." Read the rest of this post...

NY Times covers "gore for porn" scandal

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Last night, John did a post last night asking if this scandal constituted violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Convention. Today, the NY Times raises those same issues. This scandal is permeating the MSM:
The Army has opened an investigation into whether American troops have sent gruesome photographs of Iraqi war dead to an Internet site where the soldiers were given free access to online pornography, Army officials said Tuesday.

Some photographs on the Internet site show people in American military uniforms standing around what appear to be dead bodies. Other photos include graphic images of severed body parts and what appear to be internal organs spilling from bodies onto the ground.

The images are said to come from Afghanistan as well as Iraq. Their authenticity has not been determined.

Paul Boyce, an Army spokesman, said that if soldiers had posted the images, their actions could violate the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which defines conduct unbecoming an officer or enlisted soldier.

Another Pentagon official who reviewed the Web site said it raised questions, as well, of whether the acts could be viewed as a violation of the Geneva Conventions, which set standards for treatment of remains of those killed in a combat zone.
Funny thing. John did a post last night asking about if these were violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Convention. Read the rest of this post...

DeLay Indictment Watch Open Thread

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Does DeLay get indicted today? Here's the latest from the Austin paper:
U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's leadership post is on the line today as a Travis County grand jury is expected to consider indicting DeLay on conspiracy charges, several lawyers familiar with the investigation said.

The charges would stem from DeLay's role in using corporate money in the 2002 elections. State law generally bans corporate money from campaign activities.

"I wouldn't have expected this a year ago," one Austin criminal defense lawyer said. "It's quite a turnaround if it happens."
Read the rest of this post...

How does Amtrak contribute to the new conservation push?

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They raise prices, naturally. This sounds like yet another attempt to sabotage Amtrak and shut it down because now more than ever we should be thinking of how to encourage more riders, not push them back into their SUVs. The wingnuts who insist that Amtrak must be profitable ignore the issue of increased drivers (and the need for more roads and regular maintenance) on the roads and increased pollution. What is the cost of that? Then again, I guess it depends on who is donating to your campaign instead of what is best for the country and the environment. Read the rest of this post...

No-bid contract to Carnival is a prime example of waste

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Everyone knew that the no-bid contracts were going to be a mess and Carnival is an early leader in the story. Carnival has done a fantastic job over the years of making all of their money out of the US but sheltering their income in Panama to avoid paying US taxes. (Of course, individuals who try to do this are begging the IRS to investigate them.) Because planning isn't of any concern to the Bush team as we have discovered time and time again, nobody planned for emergency housing in a post-Katrina world so the contracts for housing were not negotiated until after the event.

Now everyone is outraged by the $236 Million contract for Carnival Cruise lines to provide temporary housing while the ships are well under capacity. With the feeding frenzy that is happening in DC now for the rest of the no bid contracts, I'm sure we're going to see countless other Carnival sweetheart deals, all at the expense of the middle class and to the profit of the wealthiest of the wealthy. Mission Accomplished. Read the rest of this post...

Bureaucracy once again slowing aid to hurricane survivors

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So now that Bush has decided to take the helm and run around playing leader, does this mean he's bumbling the relief effort? If he's going to play leader, shouldn't he accept the responsibility that comes with it or does that not fit into a photo op?
Port Arthur Mayor Oscar Ortiz, whose own home was destroyed by fire after the hurricane, said "we've had 101 promises" for aid, "but it's all bureaucracy."
Hmm, sounds pretty familiar. Read the rest of this post...

Torture Scandal: Pentagon Has Two Choices

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The Pentagon could do a serious housecleaning -- it could punish or kick out the people in charge who oversaw the widespread torture, state clear guidelines that follow US law and the Geneva Convention and restore honor to the US military. Or it could attack the soldier who risked his career to come forward and try to hunt down the other soldiers who backed him up. Guess which choice the Pentagon just made? Read the rest of this post...

Jon Stewart Agrees With John Aravosis

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Jon Stewart covered the weekend anti-war protest in DC. Stewart could have mocked the MSM's coverage of 100,000+ people marching on Washington -- most press photos I saw barely hinted at the size of the protest, stories were buried deep inside newspapers, and many also included sizable references to the counter-protest by war supporters without making clear theirs was pathetically small in comparison (hundreds of people as opposed to hundreds of thousands).

Did Stewart do any of this? Nope, he made the same point John in DC did -- that poorly organized protests with people wandering around the podium and with speakers raising every unrelated issue under the sun make us look stupid.
Stewart: On Saturday, a 100,000 strong peace march descended on Washington seeking to crystallize America's dissatisfaction with the war into one single idea.
Clip of young male speaker: Peace!
Stewart: Okay.
Clip of male speaker: Justice!
Stewart: (pause) Fine.
Clip of male speaker: Environmental protection!
Stewart: (pause, confused look on face)
Clip of male speaker: No racism!
Stewart: (dumb-founded, and then says in Valley Girl-like voice) Dude! I didn't hike from Oberlin for this.
Stewart then mocked the organizers for following Cindy Sheehan's speech with a poet and then said, "All in all, a rather disorganized protest that no doubt cheered conservatives."

Happily, Stewart DID mock the absurdly small counter-protest, something the MSM failed to do properly. But when Jon Stewart believes -- just like John in DC -- that throwing in every issue under the sun at an anti-war protest is stupid, people should listen. Read the rest of this post...

Open thread

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Bad, bad president. Read the rest of this post...

Rightwingers now saying the MSM made up all the stories about how bad New Orleans was in the post Katrina aftermatch

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Uh uh. Our reporter, Kyle, wasn't there until 9 or 10 days AFTER Katrina struck, and he was in his SUV wading through 3 feet of water, looking at dead bodies (funny that Kyle didn't point his finger at any for the camera and laugh), and raw sewage everywhere. Not to mention, he reported that it was a total ghost town, with mercenaries walking around with guns, and scarier than hell.

Yeah, it was all a lie. Damn you, Kyle. Read the rest of this post...

US Army has ALREADY concluded that they won't press charges against soldiers based on the death-photos-for-porn scandal. Gee that was fast.

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Fast, and rather disgusting. And rather poorly timed, the same day Lynndie England is convicted for her Abu Ghraib big adventure.

Think about how crass the Pentagon is. DOD is contacted about this scandal earlier today, tell the press they're investigating, because of course they only JUST heard of this horrible scandal recently (that's why they didn't act sooner, of course), and then a few hours later says sorry, we can't prosecute but we'll be sure to consider disciplinary action. Huh?
An Army spokesman, Paul Boyce, later told AP that the preliminary criminal inquiry determined, based on available evidence, that felony charges could not be pursued. But the matter, including the possibility of disciplinary action, was being handled in coordination with other military services, he said.
Why can't they prosecute? This could be very well be a violation of the Geneva Conventions, and I quote the conventions themselves:
Article 34.-Remains of deceased
1. The remains of persons who have died for reasons related to occupation or in detention resulting from occupation or hostilities and those of persons not nationals of the country in which they have died as a result of hostilities shall be respected
And tell me that our distinguished military lawyers, the ones who are able to take "conduct unbecoming an officer" and twist it to mean simply being gay - these same folks aren't able to find posing with dead bodies as trophies and using photos of those bodies to trade for porn, that they can't find in their little legal minds a way to make this stick? Come on.
Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ)

Any commissioned officer, cadet, or midshipman who is convicted of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.
Now in all fairness, maybe the military means they're considering a court martial when they say they're looking at "disciplinary" measures. Though somehow I doubt it.

Maybe somebody should buy Mr. Rumsfeld a copy of the Geneva Conventions and explain to him that the reason we signed on to these "quaint" rules was to protect OUR SOLDIERS from being treated improperly, be they dead or alive. We certainly don't have a lot of standing to criticize others for abusing our soldiers when we abuse theirs and look the other way.

Ah, the whitewash begins. And are the bodies even cold yet?

PS I'm a lawyer, but I'm not an expert on international law or the UCMJ. Can someone out there tell me: is a violation of the Geneva Conventions a felony under US law; how are such violations prosecuted; and is a violation of the UCMJ a felony? And if not, are there any felony charges that exist that apply to this situation? Read the rest of this post...

If we all clap our hands, Tom Delay will get indicted tomorrow

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The latest story hints that it might be coming. And a little birdie tells me (well, okay, it's Joe in DC's little birdie who told him, then Joe told me) that Delay might just be indicted tomorrow. Stay tuned. Read the rest of this post...

Lynndie England gets 3 years

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Good. Read the rest of this post...

Open thread

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Blah Read the rest of this post...

AP breaks military porn-for-death-photos scandal

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Update: Make sure you give the AP story a 5-star recommendation at the bottom of the AP story page. It helps raise the story in the AP system, get more readers.

Good job, Associated Press.

The MSM finally reports on the story we wrote about yesterday morning (namely, US soldiers using pictures of dead Iraqis and Afghanis as trophies to trade for access to online porn sites). And CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, did a great job in helping make this a story. Sometimes, for the media to act, you need another shoe to drop. In this case, CAIR writing a letter to Rummy protesting the photos and the treatment of Iraqis and Afghanis by taking the photos, posing with bodies, etc. That was smart of CAIR, a smartness that most DC-based non-profits don't usually show. So kudos to CAIR for helping, along with all the other bloggers and media (like the Nation and East Bay Express) who helped make this news.

Now let's get even MORE coverage. :-) Read the rest of this post...

GOP wants Dems to promise not filibuster Bush's next Supreme Court pick

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Why should they promise that? Bush hasn't even told us who it's going to be. Not to mention, Bush and the Republicans in Congress are both at - oh - 38% in the polls. Why should the Dems worry about ticking off 38% of the country?

I have an idea, why don't Dems ask President Bush to "promise" now that he'll appoint someone in the image of Justice O'Connor to fill her slot?

Promises go both ways. Read the rest of this post...

The White House Conservation Plan, by Scott McClellan

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From E&P, Scotty as press secretary to the conservationist in Chief:
After asserting that, actually, the White House has been advocating conservation since 2001, such as turning up the thermostat in summer, McClellan said Bush aides have been "looking at additional ways that we can conserve energy.
Of course, it was 2001, when Cheney and Ari bad-mouthed conservation:
In 2001, Vice President Dick Cheney said, "Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue, but it cannot be the basis of a sound energy policy." Also that year, Ari Fleischer, then Mr. Bush's press secretary, responded to a question about reducing American energy consumption by saying "that's a big no."
But, Scotty gave us a list:
We'll also be sending out notices to staff about -- reminding them to turn off lights and printers and copiers and computers when they leave the office. We'll continue to move forward on more e-government, paperless systems that would reduce the use of faxes and copiers and printers and things of that nature, encouraging all government vehicles to try to consume less.

"That would include by people sharing rides in government vehicles, not letting cars idle, which wastes gas. We'll be sending out notices to staff to promote mass transit options, as well, letting them know about Metro stops and encouraging ride sharing, telling them where pick-up and drop-off points are at the White House, or reminding them of that, and just scrutinizing staff travel even more, so that people can videoconference where they can versus actually traveling, and things of that nature.
Okay, there are some common sense things here, but this is the best they can do? Maybe Scotty and Chimpy don't know that the President can actually do positive things to improve our energy situation. Maybe all they know is more oil, more pollution and drilling in the Arctic. Read the rest of this post...

Double-super-secret congressional staffers

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Yes, the "new" CIA, under Republican patronage rules, is now turning to congressional aides for super secret intel. I kid you not. Read the rest of this post...

Open thread

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Thread away. Read the rest of this post...

Abramoff, the GOP, and gangland killings

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Ah yes, I love watching a political party implode.
Fort Lauderdale police have arrested three men on murder and conspiracy charges in the 2001 gangland-style killing of a South Florida businessman who sold a casino cruise line to Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff, authorities said today.
Read the rest of this post...

Don't ever trust ABC's "The Note" again

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ABC News has a daily email update called "The Note." It's supposed to be an insider's look at what's happening in Washington, nice little tidbits, blog style. Today "The Note" decided to publish an advance copy of a speech George Bush is going to give later today. It's a hell of a speech. But for the fact that it's a total fake.

You see, The Note was joking. Bush isn't going to give this speech at all. In fact, it's the verbatim text of a speech that Jimmy Carter gave in 1979. Of course, The Note doesn't tell you that. They simply say, quite straight faced, that they've received an advance copy of Bush's speech today and that they're publishing it on their site -, mind you - and that's it.

Here's what The Note had to say in their prelude to the supposed Bush speech:
It is very rare to get leaked a copy of a presidential speech before it is delivered Â? and especially rare to get such a leak from the Bush 43 White House.

So in part to show off that someone slipped us the President's major address for later today in Beaumont, Texas Â? but also in part because we think it is a pretty interesting and newsy set of remarks Â? we bring you the text, as written, of what President Bush plans to say.

Obviously, this speech pushes off in large measure from the President's dramatic call yesterday for energy conservation Â? something Dick Cheney and Ari Fleischer have in the past suggested was nearly un-American (or, at least, a big waste of time).

The President's speech is likely to cause further ripples in Washington and, indeed, around the world.

So, without further ado: ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States:
Pardon me if I missed the part of the intro that makes clear this is a joke.

Here's my problem with this. This isn't satire. This isn't parody. It's a serious, legitimate new source publishing a presidential address and claiming it's a scoop they just receieved. There is no irony in what they wrote in the intro, none at all. Now sure, if you're some geek with a PhD in government you might recognize this as Jimmy Carter's speech from 25 years ago. But otherwise, we're to believe this speech is real. (And oh yeah, there's an itty bitty link in their intro, called "link", to Jimmy Carter's speech - which honestly, only makes you think that Bush is harkening back to Jimmy Carter.)

My problem with all of this? People are emailing The Note's "speech" around the Internet today, thinking it's for real. That's how I got a copy. I just got done writing a long blog post about the speech, thinking it was real, since I trust ABC News, only to talk to Joe in DC who told me "that can't be real, The Note must be being funny."

Well, yeah, real funny guys. So funny in fact that I won't be reading or trusting anything you write in the future.
appreciateiate a good joke. And I appreciate the point The Note was trying to make. Namely, that Bush is starting to channel Jimmy Carter. But a serious new source like ABC News doesn't make that point by publishing 30-year-old speeches and claiming that they're an advance copy of today's address by the president. That's not satire. That's just stupid. And you just put our reputation at risk because we believed you.

Trust me when I say I won't be making that mistake every again. Read the rest of this post...

Red Cross successfully lobbied Bush to give Katrina money to religious groups

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Chris in Paris noted this article in a post below, but I wanted to talk more about the Red Cross angle. Apparently the Red Cross has been lobbying in favor of religious groups, churches, etc. getting federal money to reimburse them for the "charity" work they did on Katrina.

From the Washington Post:
After weeks of prodding by Republican lawmakers and the American Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said yesterday that it will use taxpayer money to reimburse churches and other religious organizations that have opened their doors to provide shelter, food and supplies to survivors of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

FEMA officials said it would mark the first time that the government has made large-scale payments to religious groups for helping to cope with a domestic natural disaster.
Funny, I didn't realize that the federal government was in the business of people for charity work. Is the Bush administration going to start paying the Mormons to compensate them for their missionary work (all that travel and those white shirts add up)? Are they going to reimburse the religious right groups for their "ex-gay" ministries, i.e., their brainwashing camps where they claim to "cure" gays?

And while we're at it, where's my reimbursement for my monetary donation to the Katrina fund (where's yours?)? Where's my federal bail-out for all the time we spent on this blog working on the Katrina issue in an effort to get the Bush administration to help all the people affected by the hurricane? And where's your $1500 to compensate all of you who donated to help send Kyle down to New Orleans to cover the hurricane? If self-less acts are now the domain of the federal government, then I want my fair share, hallelujah!

And finally, it's nice to know that some of the money Americans donate to the Red Cross, instead of going to help disaster victims, is instead going towards inside-the-beltway lobbying on behalf of the far-right agenda. Read the rest of this post...

Consumer confidence tanks

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It's amazing what seeing a failure shoved in your face will do for confidence. Who could possibly feel confident with an expensive, failing war, high gas prices from Mr "Jawbone" and an inability to help its own citizens after Katrina? The consumer outlook for the next few months was not positive either in this monthly study. Read the rest of this post...

Drownie's testifying

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It's live on CNN and C-SPAN. He thinks he does a pretty darn good job. Frightening. Read the rest of this post...

Great background on the military porn-for-death-photos scandal

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From Mark Glaser at Online Journalism Review. He wrote a great story about this a few days ago, do read it. The military claims they're looking into this matter. Interestingly, he references a NY Post story from February of this year reporting that the military was outraged over the site because it included photos of nude female soldiers, some having sex. So nude female soldiers is taboo, but US soldiers posing with dead body parts, that's okay. Well, it was until Glaser wrote his story.

My earlier story on this is here. Read the rest of this post...

In Congress, its GOP v. GOP

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The House Republicans are fighting among themselves:
Squeezed between a conservative clamor for spending cuts and the rising cost of hurricane relief, Republican congressional leaders will respond this week with a public relations offensive to win over angry conservatives -- but no substantive changes in budget policy.
The super hard core right wingers are in a battle with the just hard core right wingers. This should be fun to watch. Read the rest of this post...

Open Thread

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We should talk. Read the rest of this post...

Bush team shoveling cash over to religious groups for Katrina relief

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So what the hell happened to seperation of church and state? That was generous of the religious groups to help offer food and shelter after Katrina but why should taxpayers be giving their money to these religious groups? This is yet another attempt by the failed Bush team to win back support from their wingnut supporters who are probably also many of the same people who have traditionally complained about the size of the federal government and taxes.
"Volunteer labor is just that: volunteer," said the Rev. Robert E. Reccord, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's North American Mission Board. "We would never ask the government to pay for it."

Becker said he and his staff at the Red Cross also urged FEMA to allow reimbursement of religious groups.
I donated to the Red Cross after 9/11 but have since struck them from my list and this only confirms my disgust with that organization. They don't know how to spend money wisely, their ethics are questionable and now they're encouraging federal taxpayer handouts to religious groups, so go to hell.
"The good news is that this work is being done now, but I don't think a lot of people realize that a lot of these organizations are actively working to obtain federal funds. That's a strange definition of charity," he said.
Read the rest of this post...

Do we really want this administration giving the Pentagon more control?

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It's still up for debate whether or not the military truly needs to have an expanded role in disaster situations in the US but putting that aside, is this really the team that we want making such a change? Look what they already have done to FEMA, a previously well run, well organized institution. Then consider what these people did with jamming bogus intelligence through the Pentagon for political purposes to get the war that they always dreamed of and then botching the entire invasion with a failed plan.

This team cannot be trusted to implement anything, especially one that would give an expanded role to the Pentagon. Let's limit the damage as much as possible and just say no. Read the rest of this post...

Police arrested Cindy and 370 others

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Big day of civil disobedience at the White House:
About 370 antiwar demonstrators were arrested yesterday after planting themselves on the sidewalk in front of the White House, a protest that stretched out for nearly five hours as police removed them in stages to avoid a backlog at a processing center.

The demonstrators, who had stayed in Washington after Saturday's antiwar rally and march past the White House, were carted away in Metro buses and police vans. Fingerprinting and booking continued late into the evening at a U.S. Park Police operations facility in Anacostia.
Read the rest of this post...

Coretta Scott King Home From Hospital

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Her family expects King to make a full recovery from the stroke and mild heart attack she suffered. Our thoughts are with her. Read the rest of this post...

Open thread

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I'm back in DC. And look at what I miss? Drownie's back! You know, you have to hand it to Bush and the Republicans. They will do what they please, to hell with public opinion, even if 99% of the country is against them (or, in the case of putting marionette strings on Terri Schiavo, 82%+ of the public). Absolute power corrupts, absolutely. Read the rest of this post...

Brownie's FEMA

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Yep, he's a consultant at FEMA. Not Kidding. Read the rest of this post...

Bill Frist has his first "I am not a crook" press conference

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Apparently, the Majority Leader did a presser this afternoon to deny insider trading:
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Monday he had no insider information when he sold stock this summer in HCA Inc., a hospital company founded by his father and brother.
Actually, he just read a statement, no questions were allowed. I'd say his credibility is pretty much gone. Once a pol appears before cameras to issue a carefully worded denial, you know the clock is ticking. Plus, he's got the SEC and the US Attorney in New York on his ass.

UPDATE: Raw Story has the entire statement. Worth a read. Read the rest of this post...

Beyond DeLay and Nailing Frist

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Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has been busy today. They launched a new website which highlights the next 13 most corrupt members of Congress -- that is the 13 after Tom DeLay.

And, they filed an ethics complaint against Frist, who is, course, one of the 13.

The GOP/right wing must really hate CREW. Imagine what it would be like if other progressive groups were so savvy and aggressive. Read the rest of this post...

Lynndie England convicted in Abu Ghraib photo case

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Now here's England's famous photo.

Now tell me exactly what's any different about these photos? Other than the victims are dead.

Read the rest of this post...

Open thread

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Off to the airport to head back to DC. Joe and Rob will keep you amused in the meantime.

PS Some member of Congress ought to write to the White House and the Pentagon and ask what they're doing to deal with this new issue of soldiers trading death photos for porn. You might want to look at what the Pentagon told The Nation - they basically shrugged when informed of the site's existence - and ask DOD why they don't find this outrageous? Read the rest of this post...

The Hotline reports on military's new Do-It-Yourself Abu Ghraib scandal

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The Hotline, a VERY influential inside-the-beltway publication in DC political circles, reports today on our story from this morning that US soldiers appear to be posing for photos with dead Iraqis (and their body parts) and then trading the photos for porn online. The Hotline coverage is important because it helps establish this as a "real" story for Washington types, including reporters and politicos. Hopefully it will get some traction so we can get some answers here, but also inform people, as I explain in my earlier post, what the cost of war really is. It's not all Xbox-style smart bombs.

From the Hotline:
Meanwhile, a possible emerging Iraq scandal involves an overseas-based message board site that appears to show U.S. soldiers posing with dead and mutilated Iraqis and Afghans, apparently uploaded by GIs themselves.

Header at liberal AMERICAblog: "US soldiers allegedly trading pictures of dead Iraqis & Afghanis for porn." The story had already been reported by alt-paper East Bay Express, which noted that the media was "strangely silent." AMERICAblog's John Aravosis says the follow-up reporting he's done, which he explains, suggests the story is legit: "The death photos are hosted on a Web site hosted in Holland, called The site is an amateur porn site where people can post their own nude photos and browse the photos of other visitors." But it "isn't just about the usual porn. It's also about military death porn." He posts multiple pictures of what appear to be U.S. soldiers posing with dead bodies (or body parts).The graphic bits are obscured on the front page, but Aravosis provides links to the much-more gruesome unedited images. He writes: "I'm publishing the photos and helping to spread the word about this site, because we need answers from our government as to why more photos of US soldiers with dead people are floating around the Internet."
Read the rest of this post...

Cindy Sheehan arrested outside of White House

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Civil disobedience today in DC:
Cindy Sheehan, the California woman who has used her son's death in Iraq to spur the anti-war movement, was arrested Monday while protesting outside the White House.

Sheehan and several dozen other protesters sat down on the sidewalk after marching along the pedestrian walkway on Pennsylvania Avenue. Police warned them three times that they were breaking the law by failing to move along, then began making arrests.

Sheehan, 48, was the first taken into custody. She stood up and was led to a police vehicle while protesters chanted, "The whole world is watching."
Read the rest of this post...

Ask Karen Hughes a real question

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The MSM appears slightly obsessed with the listening tour of Karen Hughes. She's traveling with a plane load of reporters:
Hughes, recently confirmed as undersecretary of state, has attracted enormous attention in her new role, largely because she is one of the president's closest confidantes. Undersecretaries generally travel with a handful of aides, but Hughes has brought along a planeload of reporters, including representatives of all five U.S. television networks, one from al-Arabiya television and a writer from GQ magazine.
Instead of being spun by Hughes, maybe, and I know this is a reach, but maybe, the MSM could ask Bush's Image Czarina some tough questions. Here's an idea: ask about the "death-for-porn" website that John wrote about today. How does something like that shape the US image abroad? Read the rest of this post...

Pentagon is aware of death-for-porn site and basically doesn't care

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This morning I story posted a story about US soldiers apparently submitting photos of dead Iraqis and Afghanis to a porn site in exchange for free access to the porn.

Well, we now have more information, via The Nation:
Centcom spokesman Matt McLaughlin said that, in general, "Centcom recognizes DoD regulations and the Geneva Convention prohibit photographing detainees or mutilating and/or degrading dead bodies." He added, "Centcom has no specific policy on taking pictures of the deceased as long as those pictures do not violate the aforementioned prohibitions."

The fact that US military officials refuse to denounce combat photos posted on a porn site is troubling, since the very act of posting pictures of dead civilians for entertainment value is degrading. In addition, one photograph of detainees sitting on the back of a flatbed truck with burlap sacks on their heads does appear to break even the narrow rules on photographing detainees set forth by the Defense Department.
Read the rest of this post...

Next Supreme Court Nominee this week?

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That's the rumor over at NBC's First Read:
Floor debate on John Roberts' nomination as chief justice also begins today, with a vote expected by Thursday. We may also see a Bush primetime address this week to announce the identity of his next nominee.
They have a snippet from a Novak column saying it will be Priscilla Owens:
On Sunday, Bob Novak once again noted that “[s]peculation in legal circles is that federal Appeals Court Judge Priscilla Owen… will be named to replace" O'Connor. "But sources close to President Bush warn he has not made up his mind whether to pick a woman for the vacancy.”
Everyone keeps saying this is the nominee that matters. Right now, Bush doesn't have much -- if any -- political capital left. If he picks a neanderthal right-winger like Owens, it has to be war. Read the rest of this post...

Abramoff Scandal Engulfs Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich's Offices

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This one reaches into Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich's Deputy Chief of Staff. Mr. Abramoff seems to have his fingers in so many different pies - how does he have the time?!?! In this case, it's cozy consulting contracts that end up in personal accounts. Smells like corruption in Annapolis to me! From the Baltimore Sun:
A top adviser to Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. has become ensnared in the widening investigation of indicted Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff, with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee raising fresh questions this week about a company formed by the aide that stands accused of laundering money for the lobbyist.

Edward B. Miller, 34, a deputy chief of staff to the governor, founded Grassroots Interactive in spring 2003 with a $10,000 investment, weeks after he began working for the Ehrlich administration, according to financial records he filed with the state and other documents. He sold the firm four months later. The company is now the subject of an investigation by federal authorities for being a front for alleged money-laundering efforts by Abramoff, according to congressional testimony made available this week.
Oh the life of Eddie Miller. Cozy job in the Governor's office in Annapolis, start up a company WHILE in office. Must be hard to start a company while you have another full time job. Unless your boss used to work with Tom DeLay and his cronies. So Jack Abramoff shows up with a nice little money laundering scheme it seems.

Tom DeLay's stink is in my Governor's office. Just the mention of Kenny Mehlman's name makes me feel like this is just one dirty little bunch. Eww.

As a very proud Baltimorean, I'm (personally) supporting my Mayor, Martin O'Malley, as he runs against corrupt Bob Ehrlich. Check out his O'Blog. Read the rest of this post...

Open Thread

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That story below is intense. That's got to be just great for our image. Read the rest of this post...

US soldiers allegedly trading pictures of dead Iraqis & Afghanis for porn

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WARNING: The links in this story are to graphic, gruesome pictures of dead bodies, and some include graphic sexual content as well.

(This soldier is proudly presenting what appears to be a bloody dismembered human arm dangling from perhaps a hook on the wall. To see the uncensored photo click here.)

I spent the good part of this weekend following up on a report by the East Bay Express, an alternative paper in San Francisco, alleging that US soldiers are posting gruesome pictures of dead Iraqis and Afghanis online in exchange for access to hard-core amateur porn.

What I found suggests the story is correct.

The death photos are hosted on a Web site hosted in Holland, called The site is an amateur porn site where people can post their own nude photos and browse the photos of other visitors. This is the header of the Web site:

Ah, but the site isn't just about the usual porn. It's also about military death porn. Below is an example of a photo on the site - a very tame example that I've censored (I blacked out the image of a body burnt to a crisp, you'll see two soldiers pointing to it, Lyndie England style - see the real uncensored photo here):

The title given to the photo: Cooked Iraqi

Now, before I go any further, I want to explain why I believe this site is legit. The pictures on the site are of real dead people, that is obvious. The dead also appear Middle Eastern. The soldiers in the pictures appear American and real. And the pictures are recent, rather than from, say, the Vietnam war. Next, the text accompanying the photos is clearly American and from native speakers, and if you read the back and forth - there are a lot of visitors to the site who are not happy about the pictures posted there - the responses from the "soldiers" sounds like what you'd get from real Americans and real soldiers. Finally, I looked at one photo on the site, allegedly showing a dead Iraqi man shot in his car while trying to go through a check-point. I zoomed in on the man's license plate and compared it to a picture of an Iraqi license plate I found on the Internet - they're identical:

Therefore, I'm publishing the photos and helping to spread the word about this site, because we need answers from our government as to why more photos of US soldiers with dead people are floating around the Internet. This is discussed in more detail at the end of my post. And finally, check out this page from the site and tell me these photos aren't real.


When I clicked around I noticed a lot of the content seemed to be a year old (though now, suddenly, much of the content is back - very strange). That seemed odd, so I decided to check the WayBack Machine - a Web site that stores copies of old Web sites that have long since been taking down or changed (JeffyJames is quite familiar with this site, it's how I found his old prostitution sites). On the WayBack Machine I found a more updated site. On the NowThatsFuckedUp home page (see a copy of the home page here) - you can also see the current live home page here - you see a variety of sub-headings where visitors can post and see examples of female and male amateur porn, then you see the following sub-heading:

Once you click on the sub-heading that reads "gory," you arrive at a page of links to photos of dead people, supposedly from Iraq and Afghanistan.

(As I mentioned, on the Web site, these links to the dead people photos keep appearing and disappearing (they were gone Saturday night, they're back today). Just to be safe, I went to the WayBack Machine and found up-to-date posts containing photos of dead people.)

The posts have titles like:
"Iraq driver tryed (sic) to run a check-point"

If you click on this particular page, you see an apparent Iraqi man sitting in the driver seat of a car that's been shot up, two US soldiers are standing outside the car, and the Iraqi man's head has exploded, it's totally gone. Below is the tamest photo from the page, I've blacked out the worst part of the photo. A photo of the entire page, uncensored, is here.

"Nice puss / bad foot"

The page titled "Nice puss / bad foot" is devoted to the photo of a nude woman laying down on a table, her foot has been blown off by a land mine, blood, muscle, skin and bone are dangling in its place, and her naked crotch is clearly visible in the photo (thus the reference to "puss"). This is a sanitized version of the photo (unsanitized version here):

There are additional sections containing gory photos of the dead, including (this link is particularly gruesome) "Name this body part" (no amount of censoring can make that section available for publishing publicly), another entitled "What every Iraqi should look like," and more.

To give you a sense of what the rest of the site contains, this is another picture of a driver with his head blown open:


I've made copies of many of the pages from this site, to ensure the evidence doesn't disappear. You can see them by clicking on the links below (each of these pages is a megabyte or larger).

- site home page.
- Photos of the dead in Iraq and Afghanistan home page.

Sub-pages with gruesome photos:

- Suicide bomber (this is one of the most gruesome pages on the entire site)
- Just got back from the sand box (this is also one of the worst pages)
- Warning this is some hard core shit (and it is)
- Die Haji Die
- Cooked Iraqi
- Name this body part
- Nice puss - bad foot
- Destruction of the Afghans
- Gotta respect the head shot
- Iraqi tried to run checkpoint
- This is disgusting

Interestingly, there are a few posts of people extremely upset about this site. The responses to them are fascinating, and add more credence to this site being real:

- One question
- Really proud of you boys
- Something wrong here


Personally, this site sickens me. But I asked myself "why"? War is horrible, and these pictures simply show us the war we don't see on our TV screens. Is there some glorification of killing going on? Sure. And having this on a sex site only makes the glorification that much creepier. But having said, I can't imagine what it must be like for our soldiers to look at scenes like this, day in and day out, for real, up close and personal. That has got to take its toll, and I wouldn't be surprised if, for some of these guys, posting these kind of photos is their own version of therapy. Yes, it's gruesome - but unexpected?

Having said all of that, I still find this incredibly troublesome, dehumanizing, immoral, and wonder how legal all of this is as well (per the Geneva Conventions - you remember them, I believe the Bush administration called them quaint). I worry about what this kind of activity does to our culture, to our soldiers, and to our society. How it debases us slowly, gradually, without our even knowing it. I worry about these soldiers when they come back to the US after having seen all this gore. What kind of productive members of society will they be? I worry about all of us who have no clue that war is THIS gruesome. I worry about our government that think this kind of thing should be hidden from the public, and that it's a acceptable cost of going to war.

And maybe it IS an acceptable cost of going to war. But that in and of itself should tell us something. There ARE costs of going to war. Most Americans have yet to fully comprehend what it means to have 2,000 US soldiers dead, and tens of thousands injured, in this war. They have yet to comprehend the level of violence, the level of civilian casualties. They have yet to comprehend what this war is doing to our soldiers, and what it's doing to our own national psyche. Yes, these are all costs of going to war. But if these costs are hidden from the public, then it's not something they take into account when "approving" of the war, and thus their consent is hardly informed.

That's why I'm publishing this story. I can't say for 100% that these photos really are our service members, that the pics really are of dead Iraqis and Afghanis, or that they were posted by US soldiers. But everything about this story rings true (and let's not forget the US has a history of these photo abuses of the Iraqi dead). Worse yet, even if this site is a fake, it's already flying around the Internet - and has been live for over a year. This Web site, real or fake, is going to be another public relations disaster for the US, and a bonanza recruiting tool for Al Qaeda.

Our government needs to tell us, fast, whether this is for real or not, and what they plan on doing about it.

(Thanks to Kyle of for hosting the photos for this post.) Read the rest of this post...