Archive for June, 2007

For the love a few cells . . .

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

. . . real human beings must suffer.

(AP) Bush intends to veto stem cell bill

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Passengers were able to make and receive voice calls as well as use text messaging on today’s flight.

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Mobile phone use on aircraft is also prohibited and many airlines claim in their in-plane announcements that this prohibition is due to possible interference with aircraft radio communications.

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[citation needed] However, in virgin ringtones phones mobile for commercial airlines have prevented the use of cell phones and laptops, due to the fact that the frequencies emitted from these devices may disturb the radio waves contact of the airplane.

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[55] Mobile phones were in fact not covered in pistols ringtone sex and the original researchers have since emphatically disavowed any connection between their research, pistols ringtone sex s, and CCD, specifically indicating that the Independent article had misinterpreted their results and created “a horror story”.

Why Bloomberg running bums me

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

By most accounts, Michael Bloomberg’s been a pretty good mayor of New York City, no small accomplishment.  And if one overlooks his extensive fundraising for rightwing candidates back when he was trying to polish his GOP credentials, his liberal résumé really isn’t half bad: Pro-choice, pro-gay rights and the like.

But I still hate the thought of his running for president as an independent.

First, although the polls don’t show it right now, in the end he’ll inevitably steal more votes from the Democratic candidate than from the Republican.  He might just throw the election to one of the merry mites running for the GOP nomination.

But to be honest, even if I could be guaranteed such a disaster scenario wouldn’t come to pass, I’d still be uncomfortable with Bloomberg running: It just galls me to think of a billionaire being able to become an instant contender for the presidency of the United States simply because he’s willing to lay the money down.

It isn’t supposed to work that way.  Maybe saying that is naïve, but it’s how I feel.

If this guy qualifies as a sex symbol . . .

Monday, June 18th, 2007

Then on behalf of the male sex, I apologize to women everywhere.  We’ve clearly let you down.

How to lose a war

Monday, June 18th, 2007

Given how obsessed we’ve become with the unfolding debacle in Iraq, it’s not all that surprising, I suppose, that many of us have a tendency to forget about that other war.  You know, the “good war” in Afghanistan which, unlike Iraq, has been supported by most Democrats from the beginning.

It would have been nice, of course, if Bush & Co. had handled the invasion more adeptly.  It they hadn’t, for example, allowed Osama bin Laden to escape from Tora Bora.  Still, all in all, given the Taliban’s unquestioned partnership with the bad guys who brought down the Twin Towers, most Democrats were willing not only to sign onto a limited war in Afghanistan at the very beginning, but have continued to cling to that position in the years that have followed.

Looking back, of course, the basic fallacy to this approach was the implicit assumption that Bush would prosecute the ongoing war with some modicum of competence.  Unfortunately, instead, shortly after the Taliban were routed  in the first days of the war, he lost interest in Afghanistan, and turned his wandering eye toward Iraq. 

Yesterday’s newspapers brought plenty of new evidence — as if more were needed — of just how much this neglect of Afghanistan has set the stage for disaster.

First, there was this:

35 Killed in Kabul Suicide Bomb Attack

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The deadliest insurgent attack since the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 destroyed a bus full of police instructors at Kabul’s busiest transportation hub on Sunday, killing 35 people and wounding 52, officials said.

Then there was this:

7 Afghan Children Killed in Airstrike

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — U.S.-led coalition jets bombed a compound suspected of housing al-Qaida militants in eastern Afghanistan, killing seven children and several militants, a coalition statement said Monday.

Bush tried to run “post”-war Afghanistan on the cheap, redirecting badly needed resources to Iraq.  The two tragic news stories quoted above both arise directly out of this blunder.  By failing to invest the resources needed to finish the job in Afghanistan, Bush allowed the Taliban and al-Qaeda to regroup to fight another day.  Yesterday’s bombing was one of those other days.

Likewise, lack of adequate troops has caused the military to overuse bombing, a notoriously imprecise way of killing bad guys.  This, in turn, has been driving up civilian casualties, most tragically among children.  And all issues of human compassion aside, the public outrage generated in Afghanistan by this ongoing slaughter of innocents is very rapidly causing us to lose the war in Afghanistan (to be added to the war in Iraq that we have already effectively lost).

Hell of a track record, huh?  Come to think of it, I may have a new vocation for out of work neoconservatives: they should travel the country teaching a course titled, “How to Lose a War.”

A duty to put things right

Saturday, June 16th, 2007

Great idea

Saturday, June 16th, 2007

As most of you know, the leading Democratic presidential contenders are refusing to debate on Fox News.  They’ve decided (with a little encouragement from the party’s rank and file) that it would be idiotic for the Democratic Party to give legitimacy to a GOP mouthpiece, like Fox, by holding a debate on it.

Predictably, Fox has responded by accusing the Democrats of being cowards.  Now, Tim Russert has piled on:

COLMES: That’s why — you know, candidates of both parties should come on this show. They don’t. Democrats don’t want to go on with him; some Republicans don’t want to come on with me. I think that’s wrong. And I think Democrats make a mistake not allowing a debate to take place on the FOX News Channel.

RUSSERT: It’s a TV show. If you can’t handle TV questions, how are you going to stand up to Iran, and North Korea, and the rest of the world?

But now Atrios has come up with the perfect response.  “Could The Nation team up with Air America and offer to sponsor a Republican debate please?” he suggests.

I love it.  It would be great to see how Rudy, John, Mitt & Co. would respond if the roles were reversed?

Speaking of junk mail

Thursday, June 14th, 2007

Should I feel sensitive about the fact so many people are expressing concern over the size of my penis in the emails I receive?

And just exactly when did they look?

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The Nordic Mobile Telephone (NMT) system went online in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden in 1981[citation needed].

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WIth the proper equipment, it’s possible to intercept the re-connect signal and encode the data it contains into simple loan contract phone — in all respects, the ‘blank’ is then an exact duplicate of the real phone and any calls made on the ‘clone’ will be charged to the original account.

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Do you feel like the world’s falling apart?

Thursday, June 14th, 2007

Crap.  There’s open warfare in Palestine and Lebanon; one mosque after another is being blown up in Iraq; the US and Russia are on the verge of launching a new Cold War and the Strangelovians seem bound and determined to start a war with Iran.

And, oh, by the way, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are still in charge.  I feel better, don’t you?

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Concepts covered in this patent (cited in at least 34 other patents) also were later extended to several satellite communication systems.

Dear Winston: the impeach Libby edition

Wednesday, June 13th, 2007

Dear Winston,

I can’t begin to describe my frustration over the fact that Alberto Gonzales is still in office.  He’s been an absolute disaster as attorney general: he flaunts the law, runs the Justice Department like a wholly owned subsidiary of the GOP and runs roughshod over civil liberties.  Still, nothing happens.

The only possible solution I can see is for Congress to impeach him, but that seems like a long shot. 

What do you think, Winston?  Should the Democrats start impeachment proceedings against Gonzales?


Fed Up in Philadelphia

*  *  *

Dear Fed Up,

Would pursuing impeachment proceedings against Gonzales be the smart thing to do politically?  Congressional Democrats probably don’t think so, and they may be right.  The Beltway punditocracy would be up in arms.  One can almost see David Broder chuckling at his keyboard, enchanted with his own pop culture savvy, as he writes, “Today, congressional Democrats jumped the shark.”  Would most of the public see it that way?  I doubt it, but they might.

But I also don’t care.  As a political animal, it’s a rare day you’ll hear me discount the importance of political consequences, but when it comes to Gonzales and the Justice Department, the politics be damned.  Every now and then being a chicken shit just isn’t good enough for elected officials.  Every once in awhile, political courage needs to amount to something more than a campaign slogan.

What’s at stake here is nothing less than the rule of law in the United States.  And if Democrats won’t go to the wall for that, then just exactly when will they? 

Bush’s modus operandi (faithfully carried forward by Gonzales) has been clear for a long time: first, he ignores any statute or constitutional clause he finds inconvenient and then does whatever he damn well pleases; second, when called on his lawlessness, he simply refuses to back down no matter what until, eventually, everyone gets bored and moves on.


Why Bush may blunder on Libby

Tuesday, June 12th, 2007

As the always well written digby notes in making a different point:

Is it just me or is the DC establishment’s circling of the wagons around Scooter just a little bit over the top, even for them? I mean, I can appreciate the fact that he’s one of them and they think he’s been targeted by a runaway Republican prosecutor and a runaway Republican judge. (It happens.) But this rending of garments over him going to jail is verging on hysteria.

DC insiders don’t want Scooter to go to jail.  It would be almost like — well, them having to go to jail themselves.  And going to jail for your crimes (like going to Iraq to fight) is something for other people to do. 

This pro-Scooter hurricane within the DC elite is pushing George W. Bush in the direction of a politically catastrophic pardon in two ways: first, as insider demands for action become ever shriller, the pressure on Bush to grant a pardon grows; second, the loud cries to “Free Scooter” by the people who own the biggest megaphones in the neighborhood may mislead him into believing a pardon will be reasonably well received.

It won’t be — not even close.  In fact, pardoning Scooter will anger ordinary Americans in ways the Beltway crowd can’t begin to understand.  And the reason they can’t understand, of course, is that the very elitism that causes them to support Scooter is what will feed the public rage.  

Bush may well leave Scooter in his soup; he’ll definitely do so if he thinks it’s in his personal interest.  It’s also possible that an appeals court will let Bush off the hook, at least for now, by overruling (the expected ruling) of the District Court judge requiring Scooter to begin serving his sentence immediately and reinstating bail pending the appeal.  Normally, such an order would be unlikely, but somehow the unlikely has a tendency to happen in our increasingly partisan Republican federal courts when it helps a Republican bigwig.

But if Bush does give into the Beltway’s urgings and pardons Scooter — as I personally think is most likely — all hell is going to break loose, leaving Bush even more badly damaged than he is now.  And if this occurs, one of the big reasons will be the cluelessness of the DC elite. 

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