Friday, July 29, 2005

By the Numbers.... Poll: Bush approval ratings hit lowest point of tenure

Bush certainly has his place in to Harding. Remember that slogan? a "Uniter, not a Divder"? I do. this country is split down the middle, and for the common ill, he's making those divisions firmer.

President Bush's job approval ratings have hit the lowest point of his tenure and the number of Americans with an unfavorable opinion of him has reached 50% for the first time, according to a Gallup poll released Friday.

Forty-four percent of Americans approve of the way Bush is handling his job, according to the poll, while 51% disapprove. That is a four-point drop from Bush's approval rating of July 22-24 and 1% below his previous low of 45% in a poll taken June 24-26. Bush's approval ratings have now been at 50% or lower since mid-March.

I've been Daydreaming about Motorcycles Again.

Growing up, I was always around Motorcycles. Most of them looked like this:
Maybe that's why i've gotten a thing for Triumph's lately. I'm not sure I want a Boneville (above) though. I'vee been day dreaming about these two:

The Triumph America and the Triumph SpeedMaster.

Pretty similar bikes with a somwhat different look. I'm more interested in a cruiser type to make pleasant (Safe) drives on nice days. A drifter would be nice as well...I like the "Indian" style but it may be just a tad bulky for my first bike.
La Federala, on the other hand, wants a rocketship:
OK, no more daydreams.

This is Great

Because i LOVE Marshall Ramsey and HATE Gov. Haley Barbour.

Jackson Free Press | Barbour Doesn't Attend Miss. Soldier Funerals

I guess he has more important things to do in "supporting our troops". Maybe he'll call a(nother) special session in their honor.

"Seventeen Mississippi National Guardsmen — 37 total soldiers with Mississippi ties — have been killed, and state politicians have recently found themselves faced with decisions about how to handle services for soldiers they may have voted to send to war. Some say the funeral is private, but others say it is a public official's obligation to attend.

Gov. Haley Barbour attends visitations but does not attend funerals. Barbour has attended visitations for six soldiers and awarded medals to the families of two more soldiers killed in action.

... Barbour attended visitations for Spec. Bryan Barron, 26, and Spec. Danny Varnado, 23, both of Gulfport, Staff Sgt. Larry Arnold, 46, of Carriere and Sgt. Terrence Lee, 25, of Moss Point, all recently killed in Iraq.

A spokesman for Barbour said 11 of the 37 soldiers were killed before Barbour took office in January 2004. The war began in March 2003. Since then, 1,782 U.S. servicemen have been killed in combat.

Barbour and other state leaders say they still support the war effort.

Republican U.S. Sen. Trent Lott, who voted for and still supports the war effort, opts to send letters and make phone calls to the families of slain soldiers, instead of attending the service or visitation."

So, You Wanna Join the Crimson Guard...?

My pal Dr. Wagner used to go to the Chicago Comic Book Convention each summer. while it's huge and great fun, it is not as big as the King Kong of the Comic Book Convention circuit--San Diego. I hope to go soon. Anyway, they place is filled with quirky stuff that you'll likely not find anywhere.

The Huffington Post Looks at St. Judy

Ariana Huffington gives a clever view of just how Karl Rove learned about Valerie Plame and why Judy Miller is willing to go to jail to "protect" a source that seemed determined to give her bogus information.

I’m struck by the special access and relationships she enjoyed with many of the key players in the Iraq debacle (which, at the end of the day, is really what Plamegate is all about).

For starters, of course, we have her still unfolding involvement in the Plame leak. Earlier this month, Howard Kurtz reported that Miller and Libby spoke a few days before Novak outed Plame -- and I’m hearing that the Libby/Miller conversation occurred over breakfast in Washington. Did Valerie Plame come up -- and, if so, who brought her up? There is no question that Miller was angry at Joe Wilson… and continues to be. A social acquaintance of Miller told me that, once, when she spoke of Wilson, it was with “a passionate and heated disgust that went beyond the political and included an irrelevant bit of deeply personal innuendo about him, her mouth twisting in hatred.”

Miller’s special relationships go much further than Scooter Libby, Richard Perle and the rest of the neocon establishment. Take her involvement as an embedded reporter during the war with the Pentagon’s Mobile Exploitation Team (MET) Alpha -- the unit charged with hunting down Saddam’s WMD. As extensively reported by both Kurtz and New York Magazine’s Franklin Foer, Miller’s time with the unit was highly unusual.

First, there was the fact that she landed the plumb assignment in the first place. It would give her first dibs on the biggest story of the war… the hoped-for reveal of Saddam’s much-touted WMD (with much of the touting done by Miller herself and her special sources). Was this the reward for her pro-administration prewar reporting?

Foer cites military and New York Times sources as saying that Miller’s assignment was so sensitive that Don Rumsfeld himself signed off on it. Once embedded, Miller acted as much more than a reporter. Kurtz quotes one military officer as saying that the MET Alpha unit became a “Judith Miller team.” Another officer said that Miller “came in with a plan. She was leading them… She ended up almost hijacking the mission.” A third officer, a senior staffer of the 75th Exploitation Task Force, of which MET Alpha was a part, put it this way: “It’s impossible to exaggerate the impact she had on the mission of this unit, and not for the better.”

What did Miller do to create such an impression? According to Kurtz, she wasn’t afraid to throw her weight around, threatening to write critical stories and complain to her friends in very high places if things didn’t go her way. “Judith,” said an Army officer, “was always issuing threats of either going to the New York Times or to the secretary of defense. There was nothing veiled about that threat.”

In one specific instance, she used her friendship with Major General David Petraeus to force a lower ranking officer to reverse an order she was unhappy about. (Can we stop for a moment and take the full measure of how unbelievable this whole thing is?)

Miller also had a special, ten-year relationship with Ahmed Chalabi, which led to the MET Alpha unit, which had no special training in interrogation or intelligence, being given custody of Saddam Hussein’s son-in-law, Sultan. Miller was even allowed to sit in on the initial questioning of Sultan -- a turn of events that didn’t go down well with some Pentagon officials.

Miller apparently ended up developing an especially close relationship with Chief Warrant Officer Richard Gonzalez, the leader of the MET Alpha unit. Along with puffing him up in some of her dispatches -- once describing his “meeting tonight with Mr. Chalabi to discuss nonproliferation issues” -- Miller took the unusual step of taking part in the ceremony where Gonzalez was promoted, actually pinning his new rank to his uniform (has the bizarreness of all this hit you yet?).

Later, when Miller’s reporting came under serious fire, Gonzalez was only too happy to return the favor, writing an impassioned response to the Times’ Iraq reporting mea culpa. “We have been deeply disturbed,” Gonzalez wrote in a letter to the Times that was co-signed by a pair of his colleagues, “by the mischaracterizations of the operation and of [Miller’s] reporting… We were particularly disturbed by the recent New York Times editor’s note apologizing for having been ‘taken in’ by WMD ‘misinformation’ and citing one article she wrote while embedded with our unit… We strongly disagree with that assertion and remain firmly supportive of the accuracy of her accounts of the events she described, as well as other articles she wrote while embedded with our unit.” Wow. I’m kinda surprised he didn’t sign it “JM + MET Alpha, N.A.F (Now and Forever)”.

But Gonzalez and his pals seem to be the only ones standing behind the accuracy of Miller’s reporting. Even the administration is no longer barking up that tree, with top weapons hunter Charles Duelfer closing his investigation this spring saying that the search for WMD “has been exhausted” without finding any -- while at the same time dismissing the Miller-touted claim that WMD had been shipped to Syria just before the U.S. invaded.

So the WMD investigation has ended. But the investigation into Judy Miller’s role -- both in the WMD fiasco and the Plame scandal -- is just beginning.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Quick Notes - GOOD LORD!

I'm working along today, listening to the (usually) bizzare stream of consciousness playlist that is on my computer and i got to thinking about singing in the car. You know, most people do it and i'm no different. However, there are a couple of songs that i'm incapable of singing. I simply have to BELT the damn things out. the two most common crimes against music i sing:

El Paso by Marty Robbins. I have no idea why I like Marty Robbins so much or why I like this song, but i remember it from my childhood. even more bizarre is the fact that i learned Marty Robbins songs in 5-10 second bursts. See, as a child i saw the 'Marty Robbins Greatest Hits' commercial so many times on TV, I learned his music by the sample clips they'd play on the commercial. I could sing the lyrics of his songs--only as snipits--as they appeared on the commercial (and in order) over a decade and a half later.

None the less, for some ungodly reason, if i ever hear the 'cowboy ballad' El Paso on the radio, I can't help but to belt it out at the top of my lungs. On the same note, if not the same vein, I feel similarly compelled when i hear Blacksploitation movie theme-song "Across 11oth St." by Bobby Womack. Comics | Tom the Dancing Bug

whooo lord. this is my favorite cartoon so far on the Karl Rove scandal.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Free Advice for Miami

It's probably a bad idea to hold a "Ghetto Style Talent Show" and a "Watermelon Eating Contest". It'll probably leave a sour taste for some people.

Mississippi Guard praised for capturing insurgents - The Clarion-Ledger

Seems some Mississippians are making national news (MSNBC picked this up) for their good work in Iraq. Right on!

A group of Mississippi Army National Guard soldiers in Iraq is being credited with the capture of more than 100 suspected insurgents in raids that also yielded explosives, rockets and ammunition, the Department of Defense says.

The soldiers from the 150th Engineer Battalion, 155th Brigade Combat Team captured the insurgents during sweeps last week near Owesat, Iraq, just south of Baghdad, according to a news release from Maj. Erby Montgomery, a public affairs officer for the 155th.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

The Winn-Jitney 14 stays a Grocery Store

Some folks have been worried about the demise of our Beloved Jitney 14 grocery store. Former stomping grounds of our won Pulitzer Prize winners and various other denizens of Belhaven. I got word today that No one work ing at the store will lose their jobs and that Local Grocer McDade's will be buying the place! I like McDade and I want to support his stores, but I also like shopping at the Jitney 14. now i can do both.

Anybody wanna pitch in?

One of the 19 actual surviving General Lee's from the hit TV show "Dukes of Hazzard". Real deal 1968 Dodge Charger - NOT A CLONE. Completely rebuilt 440 engine, from John Schneider's original General Lee. Completely restored by TV show mechanics using every trick from the series. Documented by Muscle Car Magazine and voted # 1 Car of All Time by Hagerty Insurance National Survey. Owned by Gary Baxley (Stunt Driver, Stunt Coordinator, 2nd Unit Director). Must see - perfect inside and out!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

slacktivist: Persecution

Slactivist is one of my new favorite websites. There's cultural and political observation...all of which i find pretty dead on. the other part is an honest look at religion. I find his take refreshing, honest, and rather devout. Evangical in the way one SHOULD be. the comments are always well thought out and on the money. I encourage everyone to explore that site.

Below is a rant/comment from someone, but the Slactivist was impressed and compelled to add it to a post. i'm doing the same. The discussion was about Christians who dare to say that they are being persecuted by the encroaching secular world of the United States. Not only is this a profoundly dishonest view of the world around them, it is an insult to the fellow Christians that truly were persecuted (and often killed) in the past. As a Christian, it makes me angry to hear a fundamentalist lament his 'persecution'. this little run down (from "Merlin Missy") really hits it home:

Of course Christians are persecuted in the United States.

After all, everyone knows Christians can't marry other Christians (except in one state but nobody recognizes Christian marriages anywhere else and it's not like those are real marriages anyway), can't adopt ot become foster parents after they truthfully answer the "Faith" question on the questionnaire, can be denied housing and jobs for being Christians, and are regularly the butt of jokes where practitioners of other religions (especially Jews) are portrayed as kind and giving. In many parts of the country, Christians are afraid of walking down the street because they know people will shout at them for being Christian. They don't dare walk into some bars, knowing that their conservative clothing or a slip in conversation might make them a target for "beat the Christian in the backroom." When a Christian commits an act of terrorism against an abortion clinic, Christians lock their doors in fear of retaliation by complete strangers. Doctors who practice and promote Natural Family Planning are listed on websites with "Wanted" posters and regularly receive death threats. Halloween and Beltaine are paid days off regardless of a person's faith; anyone who asks to take a vacation day for Christmas or Easter is grilled suspiciously by coworkers and managers. Schools for other faiths are everywhere; there are only one or two Catholic schools per state and they don't advertise after three were firebombed in one year. The ruling party and all three branches of government have dozens of people who have made public statements that Christians are destroying this country and that the practice of Christianity should be banned by the Constitution. Christians are barred from military service. Every Christian has a friend or relative who was killed or imprisoned during the last world war because they were Christian. When Christians complain about the treatment they receive, they're told to move to another state / country with their own kind. People regularly picket the funerals of Christians with signs that read "The nameless forces that randomly shaped the cosmos into an appealing pattern hate Christos!" The word "christian" is used as an independent adjective to describe something stupid and/or undesireable. Christian girls who ascribe to Paul's teaching that women must keep their heads covered when they pray are suspended from schools for violating the "no hats" policy. The only movie most people have even heard of that features Christianity is "The Faith," a horror film that shows teenaged girls praying for bad things to happen to their classmates and committing cannibalism (using a phrase made trendy by the movie: "Body and Blood of Christ"). Politicians regularly end statements with "And Allah bless America," and when called on it, they claim they mean all gods when they say Allah. "In YHWH We Trust" is written on our money. Teenagers who tell their parents they're interested in Christianity, or believe they might be Chrisrians, are told they're "going through a (rebellious) phase" and are often sent to counselling to "fix" them. The first response people often make when they hear someone's family member is a Christian is to say "I'm so sorry." Christian clubs at colleges don't advertise their meetings because atheists regularly show up and hand out copies of "On the Origen of Species."

Or you know, not.

As of Today, 1771 US Soldiers Dead

Want to see just what that means? click above.

Karl Rove Death Watch, Part 4 - What did Hadley tell Rove? By Timothy Noah

The newest Rove-Buzz. interesting but i'm not going to try and explain it here. click the link above.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

My First Comic Books--Some of my favorite Comic Book covers

Here are a few of the first comics i ever owned. these are the ones bought in multi-packs at the Stuckey's on the way to Grandma's house.

I'd read these comics over and over. i'd study the ads (today, one of my favorite things about an old comic are the ads). Oddly, i'd sometimes view the common artist's interpretation of a character as the definitive, according to Hoyle version. The Superboy and the Legion comic here was a "Treasury Edition" style, meaning it was super thick and super huge. maybe 18" tall. I loved those things and I was always baffled as to how to get one. they'd been bought for me and i never ever saw one in a store until i was an adult. Note Cosmic Boy's costume in the bottom left corner of the cover. Clearly the 'Gay-est' costume of all time. Mike Grell claims he STILL catches hell over this thing to this day. He should. it's awful! My question is: did this costume predate the Rocky Horror Picture Show?

My mother likes to tell the story where she once made a superman cape for me which i promptly rejected. Superman capes, as anyone knows connect into the shoulder/collar area of the shirt and are NOT fastened by safety pens around one's neck. Also, His cape falls roughly at the knee. NOT well below the knee. (See the gospel truth reference Image used by a 5 year old Polly below) alterations were made and my cape was perfect. i loved her for making that cape for me. it even had the correctly stitched "S", done by hand to perfection on the back! damn awesome mom.

Comic Book Resources - CBR News - The Comic Wire

Damn. another loss for Fandom. Jim Aparo (along with Neal Adams and Alex Toth) did much to define how i saw Batman. I believe he held the longest run ever as artist on the Batman title and did a long stint Brave and Bold as well. He did a great run of Spectre stories in the 70s...

and drew one of the 1st comics i remember having (though clearly years away from being my 1st comic).

Official Press Release

The Aparo Family has asked me to send this information out to all parties. It is with the deepest regret I have to inform you of the passing of the legendary Jim Aparo early Tuesday Morning, July 19, 2005. Mr. Aparo, who was 72, died from complications relating to a recent illness. All Funeral arrangements will be a private ceremony for Family and Friends of Jim.

Aparo, born in 1932, was primarily self-trained as an artist. After years of working in commercial fashion design in Connecticut, his first break in the comics field was with a comic strip called "Stern Wheeler," written by Ralph Kanna, which was published in 1963 in a Hartford, Connecticut newspaper for less than a year. In 1966, editor Dick Giordano at Charlton Comics hired him as a comic book artist, where his first assignment was a humorous character called "Miss Bikini Luv" in "Go-Go Comics." Over the next few years at Charlton, Aparo drew stories in many genres--Westerns, science fiction, romance, horror, mystery, and suspense.

Aparo was notable for being one of the relatively few artists in mainstream comics at that time to serve as penciler, inker, and letterer for all of his work. These tasks were typically divided between two or more artists.

In the late 1960s, Aparo moved on to National Publications/DC Comics, which is where he came to fame in the Comics Community. Originally starting at DC on the Aquaman title, he then moved on to also work on the Phantom Stranger and DC's horror titles.

In 1971, Aparo worked on his first Issue of Brave & The Bold. Issue 98 featured the Phantom Stranger teaming up with Batman. Beginning with Issue 102 Jim was then the regular artist on the series and provided pencils & inks on almost every issue from 102 until the end of the series with Issue 200. Jim's work on Brave and the Bold was his favorite work of his time at DC as he truly considered the series his "baby." Also during this period Jim did one of the seminal runs on The Spectre, where his realistic style made the Ghostly character truly come to life.

After the end of Brave and the Bold, Aparo was CO-creator for Batman & The Outsiders and also worked on the regular Batman and Detective Comics Series throughout the 1980s and early 1990s. most notably doing the Pencils on the "Death in The Family" storyline, which featured a phone-in vote deciding the fate of Robin II, Jason Todd.

Following a run on the regular Green Arrow Series, Aparo moved into semiretirement, contributing an occasional special or cover and doing a few private commissions before he eventually decided to move into full retirement.

He is survived by his wife Julie, his 3 children, his 4 Grandchildren and two step-grandchildren.

The Aparo family has asked that in lieu of Flowers or gifts, anyone wishing to honor Jim's legacy make a contribution to any worthy charity, as Jim believed that all charities were worth donating to.

For those wishing to send along their condolences and best wishes to the family, a P.O. Box has been set up for the family to receive cards. The address is:

P.O. BOX 28

Thanks to all who have loved Jim's work and have supported his career.

James Doohan, Scotty of 'Star Trek,' Dies at 85

Saddly, the last beam up.

All Things Considered, July 20, 2005 · James Doohan, who immortalized the character of chief engineer Montgomery Scott on Star Trek, died Wednesday at the age of 85. During World War II, the actor, born in Vancouver, served as a captain in the Canadian Forces and led men into battle on D-Day. He passed away at his home in Washington State.

Peter Griffin--Star of the Family Guy.

Dr. Wagner sent me this real life High School photo of TV's Peter Griffin from "The Family Guy". photoshop'd or not, this was pretty good!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Supreme Court Nominee.

From the pages of, here's your new Supreme Court Nominee. any thoughts?

John Roberts
Age: 50
Graduated from: Harvard Law School.
He clerked for: Judge Henry Friendly, Chief Justice William Rehnquist.
He used to be: associate counsel to the president for Ronald Reagan, deputy solicitor general for George H.W. Bush, partner at Hogan & Hartson.
He's now: a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (appointed 2003).

His confirmation battle: Roberts has been floated as a nominee who could win widespread support in the Senate. Not so likely. He hasn't been on the bench long enough for his judicial opinions to provide much ammunition for liberal opposition groups. But his record as a lawyer for the Reagan and first Bush administrations and in private practice is down-the-line conservative on key contested fronts, including abortion, separation of church and state, and environmental protection.

Civil Rights and Liberties
For a unanimous panel, denied the weak civil rights claims of a 12-year-old girl who was arrested and handcuffed in a Washington, D.C., Metro station for eating a French fry. Roberts noted that 'no one is very happy about the events that led to this litigation' and that the Metro authority had changed the policy that led to her arrest. (Hedgepeth v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, 2004).

In private practice, wrote a friend-of-the-court brief arguing that Congress had failed to justify a Department of Transportation affirmative action program. (Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Mineta, 2001).

For Reagan, opposed a congressional effort—in the wake of the 1980 Supreme Court decision Mobile v. Bolden—to make it easier for minorities to successfully argue that their votes had been diluted under the Voting Rights Act.

Separation of Church and State
For Bush I, co-authored a friend-of-the-court brief arguing that public high-school graduation programs could include religious ceremonies. The Supreme Court disagreed by a vote of 5-4. (Lee v. Weisman, 1992)

Environmental Protection and Property Rights
Voted for rehearing in a case about whether a developer had to take down a fence so that the arroyo toad could move freely through its habitat. Roberts argued that the panel was wrong to rule against the developer because the regulations on behalf of the toad, promulgated under the Endangered Species Act, overstepped the federal government's power to regulate interstate commerce. At the end of his opinion, Roberts suggested that rehearing would allow the court to "consider alternative grounds" for protecting the toad that are "more consistent with Supreme Court precedent." (Rancho Viejo v. Nortion, 2003)

For Bush I, argued that environmental groups concerned about mining on public lands had not proved enough about the impact of the government's actions to give them standing to sue. The Supreme Court adopted this argument. (Lujan v. National Wildlife Federation, 1990)

Criminal Law
Joined a unanimous opinion ruling that a police officer who searched the trunk of a car without saying that he was looking for evidence of a crime (the standard for constitutionality) still conducted the search legally, because there was a reasonable basis to think contraband was in the trunk, regardless of whether the officer was thinking in those terms. (U.S. v. Brown, 2004)

Habeas Corpus
Joined a unanimous opinion denying the claim of a prisoner who argued that by tightening parole rules in the middle of his sentence, the government subjected him to an unconstitutional after-the-fact punishment. The panel reversed its decision after a Supreme Court ruling directly contradicted it. (Fletcher v. District of Columbia, 2004)

For Bush I, successfully helped argue that doctors and clinics receiving federal funds may not talk to patients about abortion. (Rust v. Sullivan, 1991)

Judicial Philosophy
Concurring in a decision allowing President Bush to halt suits by Americans against Iraq as the country rebuilds, Roberts called for deference to the executive and for a literal reading of the relevant statute. (Acree v. Republic of Iraq, 2004)

In an article written as a law student, argued that the phrase "just compensation" in the Fifth Amendment, which limits the government in the taking of private property, should be "informed by changing norms of justice." This sounds like a nod to liberal constitutional theory, but Roberts' alternative interpretation was more protective of property interests than Supreme Court law at the time.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Weekend of slaughter propels Iraq towards all-out civil war - World - Times Online

This is the 5th report from Iraq i've seen in 3 days reporting a fear of civil war from within that country. I'm not seeing much beyond "a bomb blew up, XX people were killed" in the American press. Foreign press, from a variety of sources show a dire picture when taking to the political leadership in Iraq. not good.

IRAQ is slipping into all-out civil war, a Shia leader declared yesterday, as a devastating onslaught of suicide bombers slaughtered more than 150 people, most of them Shias, around the capital at the weekend.

One bomber killed almost 100 people when he blew up a fuel tanker south of Baghdad, an attack aimed at snapping Shia patience and triggering the full-blown sectarian war that al-Qaeda has been trying to foment for almost two years.

Iraq’s security forces have been overwhelmed by the scale of the suicide bombings — 11 on Friday alone and many more over the weekend — ordered by the Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

“What is truly happening, and what shall happen, is clear: a war against the Shias,” Sheikh Jalal al-Din al-Saghir, a prominent Shia cleric and MP, told the Iraqi parliament." - Congressman: Mecca a possible retaliation target

Dear GOD I'm glad this guy isn't running our military. I don't know if faced with a terrorist attack, we could pick a more foolhardy target or retailation. Its as if Britain bombed the Vatican to retaliate for an IRA bombing. GOP, i'm glad he's yours. i'd ask him to leave if he was one of ours.

DENVER, Colorado (AP) -- A Colorado congressman told a radio show host that the U.S. could 'take out' Islamic holy sites if Muslim fundamentalist terrorists attacked the country with nuclear weapons.

Rep. Tom Tancredo made his remarks Friday on WFLA-AM in Orlando, Florida. His spokesman stressed he was only speaking hypothetically.

Talk show host Pat Campbell asked the Littleton Republican how the country should respond if terrorists struck several U.S. cities with nuclear weapons.

'Well, what if you said something like -- if this happens in the United States, and we determine that it is the result of extremist, fundamentalist Muslims, you know, you could take out their holy sites,' Tancredo answered.

'You're talking about bombing Mecca,' Campbell said.

'Yeah,' Tancredo responded."

Sunday, July 17, 2005

It's Sunday!

So you get my favorite bible verse. i stumbled upon it when feeling guilty about not attending church enough and wondering if i was a good christian. out of guilt, i felt i should read my bible. this is the spot i randomly opened the book to find:

And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward.

But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

-- Matthew 6:5-6

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Pushing Gin

" Are you ready to Tanqueray?" heh. I love that guy!

GOP Hearts FOX News.

Compiled by Salon:

Fox News has carried the water of the Bush White House for so long now that a reporter from another news organization felt free to refer to the network as a "Republican surrogate" during one of this week's White House press briefings. No one argued with him, and there's not much of an argument to make. Earlier this month, Fox's "Supreme Court analyst" told viewers he was confident that the president would appoint a Supreme Court nominee "of the highest caliber who will command respect across the board unless vilified by the left, and our job is to try to help to make sure that doesn't happen." This week, Fox's Carl Cameron has been working overtime to explain away prior White House comments about the Valerie Plame case. And just yesterday, Fox's John Gibson -- taking a page from the Wall Street Journal playbook -- said that Karl Rove deserves a "medal" for outing the CIA analyst.

Yes, Fox has been very, very good to the GOP, and now Republicans in the Senate seem to think it's time to return the favor. As Roll Call is reporting, four Republican senators are pushing a bill that would require previously unregulated Nielsen Media Research -- the company behind the Nielsen ratings -- to clear any changes in its rating methodology with a private industry group before implementing them.

"At issue," Roll Call says, "is new digital technology the company is deploying to try to better gauge which television programs are being watched in local markets. Nielsen contends that the new method is more accurate, but broadcasters counter that it undercounts several demographic groups, which threatens to sap millions of dollars in advertising revenue from shows their affiliates broadcast locally." (Full disclosure: In a prior life as a lawyer, we represented a Nielsen company briefly in a small legal matter unrelated to television ratings.)

Although the Senate bill was introduced by Montana Sen. Conrad Burns and co-sponsored by Republican Sens. George Allen, Mel Martinez and Olympia Snow, Roll Call says that, "According to the file-creation record attached to the electronic version, an early working draft of the bill was written by David Leach, a former Democratic staffer on the House Energy and Commerce Committee who now works as an outside lobbyist for News Corp," which owns Fox. Leach isn't talking: "I’m not going to confirm or deny” writing the draft, Leach told Roll Call, then refused to say anything further.

Other media organizations -- among them, Gannett and the Tribune Company -- have also sought government regulation of Nielsen, but Roll Call says that their lobbyists insist they had "no hand in crafting the language." For his part, Burns says he took input from all interested parties before introducing his bill. "However, at the end of the day, I took the legislative approach I thought most appropriate to deal with this situation," he said in a statement. "I felt this approach, which does not involve any kind of government oversight, will help keep the system transparent and accountable to TV programmers, broadcasters, advertisers, and the public."

Honestly, Do You Trush Him?

"WASHINGTON - The last two weeks certainly have been eventful ones in America and across the globe: President Bush gave a prime-time speech on Iraq and attended a G-8 summit in Scotland; Sandra Day O’Connor announced her retirement from the Supreme Court (with perhaps another retirement on the way); and suicide bombers killed approximately 50 people in London. After these events, the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds that Bush’s overall job rating has slipped and that his rating for being “honest and straightforward” has dropped to its lowest point."
It seems only 41% find Bush to be "Honest and trustworthy". It gets worse from there. Remember how we fought the Terror War in Iraq so that we wouldn't have to fight it in the UK or the US? well, since the London bombing, the percentage of the public thinking the war in Iraq has made the United States less safe went from 39 percent in June to 54 percent now.

While we're on lame republicans, you can see here where our corporate shill, i mean Governor Pork Chop--Haley Barbour--has brought his approval rating up from 37% to 41%.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Islamophobia blamed for attack

Seems Britain isn't above some bigotry in the wake of the London Bombings.


A Muslim man has been beaten to death outside a corner shop by a gang of youths who shouted anti-Islamic abuse at him, the Guardian has learned.

Kamal Raza Butt, 48, from Pakistan, was visiting Britain to see friends and family. On Sunday afternoon he went to a shop in Nottingham to buy cigarettes and was first called 'Taliban' by the youths and then set upon.

MCI WorldCom's Bernnie Ebbers Heads to the Slammer!

from The Wall Street Journal:

A federal judge sentenced former WorldCom CEO Bernard Ebbers to 30 years to life in prison, saying that "Mr. Ebbers was the instigator" of the $11 billion accounting fraud at WorldCom.

Quick Note!

Remember how Karl Rove's defense for outting the CIA agent is that he didn't know her name? (instead saying Joseph Wilson's wife). Well, even that claim looks suspect as Rove even attends the same church as the Wilson family!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Cheney's (not so) Right on the Money

Why are we in Iraq?

Our military is confronting the terrorists, along with our allies, in Iraq and Afghanistan so that innocent civilians will not have to confront terrorist violence in Washington or London or anywhere else in the world.
Dick Cheney 2003--Before London's largest terrorist incident. Currently we have a force in Afganistan that's approximately 8% of the size of our Iraqi force. WHY do you think we attacked the wrong country?

Monday, July 11, 2005

Scott McClellan tries to cover for Karl Rove...badly.

The president said he'd fire anyone found to have outted a CIA agent. well now it appears that Karl Rove was the one that did it, but we've yet to see a resignation. Today's press briefing didn't go so well for the White House:

Question: Do you want to retract your statement that Rove -- Karl Rove was not involved in the Valerie Plame expose? -- involved?

McClellan: This is -- no, I appreciate the question. This is an ongoing investigation at this point. The President directed the White House to cooperate fully with the investigation, and as part of cooperating fully with the investigation, that means we're not going to be commenting on it while it is ongoing.

Question: But Rove has apparently commented, through his lawyer, that he was definitely involved.

McClellan: You're asking me to comment on an ongoing investigation.

Question: I'm saying, why did you stand there and say he was not involved?

McClellan: Again, while there is an ongoing investigation, I'm not going to be commenting on it, nor is --

McClellan: -- any remorse?

McClellan: -- nor is the White House, because the President wanted us to cooperate fully with the investigation, and that's what we're doing.

Question: That's not an answer.

Question: It's not an answer. And you were perfectly willing to comment from that podium while the investigation was going on, and try to clear Karl Rove. Why the double standard? Why were you willing to say Karl Rove was not involved when -- and talk at length about it, when the investigation was going on, and now that he's been caught red-handed, all of a sudden you've got a new line?

McClellan: No, I don't think it is the way you characterize it, as new, because I have said for quite some time that this is an ongoing investigation, and we're not going to get into discussing it while it's an ongoing investigation. I've really said all I'm going to say on it.

Question: But you did -- you did discuss it while it was an ongoing investigation. You stood there and told the American people Karl Rove wasn't involved.

McClellan: I've said all I'm going to say on it. Go ahead, April.

Question: Scott, is the President aware of Karl Rove's role in leaking information about Joe Wilson's wife?

Mr. McClellan: Again, this is a Question relating to an ongoing investigation, and you have my response.

Question: Scott, without commenting on the investigation, you said in September of '03, if anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration. Does that standard still hold?

Mr. McClellan: Again, I appreciate all these questions. They are questions relating to an ongoing investigation, and the President directed us to cooperate fully with that investigation. No one wants to get to the bottom of it more than he does and --

Question: -- the standard then still apply?

Mr. McClellan: The investigation is ongoing, Peter, and we're just not going to -- we're not going to --

Question: Did the President set a timetable --

Question: It's not about the investigation, it's about the White House decision --

Mr. McClellan: We're not going to talk about it further from this podium.
Yup. Straight talk from our straight shootin' White House. What craven little men. By the way, the whole thing got worse in the afternoon.

QUESTION: Scott, this is ridiculous. The notion that you’re going to stand before us, after having commented with that level of detail, and tell people watching this that somehow you’ve decided not to talk.
You’ve got a public record out there. Do you stand by your remarks from that podium or not?

MCCLELLAN: I’m well aware, like you, of what was previously said. And I will be glad to talk about it at the appropriate time. The appropriate time is when the investigation…

QUESTION: (inaudible) when it’s appropriate and when it’s inappropriate?

MCCLELLAN: If you’ll let me finish.

QUESTION: No, you’re not finishing. You’re not saying anything.
You stood at that podium and said that Karl Rove was not involved. And now we find out that he spoke about Joseph Wilson’s wife. So don’t you owe the American public a fuller explanation. Was he involved or was he not? Because contrary to what you told the American people, he did indeed talk about his wife, didn’t he?


the GOP announced today that they 'just wanted to be left alone' and to 'quit calling us names!!'

A spokesman for President Bush quoted our leader as saying "MOM, she keeps TOUCHING ME" from the back seat of the car. Democrats are warned to be more careful with the President because he's fragile and doesn't like to be picked on.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Tired of the Liberal Media Giving you GLOOMY Lies About Iraq?

Luckily for us, we have the UK press to set us straight on just how well its going over there. Heck, they even interviewed the former interim Prime Minister of Iraq, Iyad Allawi:

IRAQ’S former interim prime minister Iyad Allawi has warned that his country is facing civil war and has predicted dire consequences for Europe and America as well as the Middle East if the crisis is not resolved.

“The problem is that the Americans have no vision and no clear policy on how to go about in Iraq,” said Allawi, a long-time ally of Washington.

In an interview with The Sunday Times last week as he visited Amman, the Jordanian capital, he said: “The policy should be of building national unity in Iraq. Without this we will most certainly slip into a civil war. We are practically in stage one of a civil war as we speak.”

Allawi, a secular Shi’ite, said that Iraq had collapsed as a state and needed to be rebuilt. The only way forward, he said, was through “national unity, the building of institutions, the economy and a firm but peaceful foreign relation policy”. Unless these criteria were satisfied, “the country will deteriorate”.
SEE! its going just SWELL in Iraq.

--a serious aside...Just how stupid DO you have to be to go to war with the wrong country when the nation is attacked? Really? And if not just a stupid blunder, what would you call it?

Hurricane Dennis

In case you haven't heard, there's a Hurricane coming to the Florida pan handle and its gotten a little worse than previously thought. Here you can see a photo of the first bands of the storms' spiral approaching the coastline of Panama City, Florida.

Novak stonewalls press corps as Times reporter goes to Jail

As you may know, NY Times reporter Judith Miller has gone to jail for refusing to reveal her sources. There is an ongoing investigation as to just who leaked the news that Valerie Plame was a covert CIA agent.

In the State of the Union address of 2003 Bush claimed Saddam Hussein's Iraq had made attempts to procure uranium from africa. based in part on this claim, we were at war a few days later. With shocked over this brash lie, Joseph Wilson (the very man the US sent to investigate this claim) went public with the fact that this story was infact false.

Soon there after Conservative Columnist Robert Novak went public with a story about Wilson's wife--in fact outing her as a CIA agent. THIS is the entire story which has caused the controversy. THIS is the reason people are going to jail.

Now for the bizarre part. why Judith Miller? she never even WROTE the article outing Plame! and what about Bob Novak? so far no statements, no questions, no jail. any ideas why? My guess (and this is a wide range) is that he's being protected since he actually DID what the white house ordered (outed Plame) OR he's already testified and we just don't know it yet.

Either way, with recent revelations, my money's on Karl Rove as the source/law breaker. It would do my heart good to see such political scum frog-marched to jail.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Fantastic Four (2005)

I saw the Fantastic 4 today and I really liked it. Actually, i liked it a lot more than i'd expected to. It seems that the kids who saw it really dug it as well, since they all broke into spontaneous applause at the end (twice!).

I really enjoyed it. It isn't the BEST comic movie ever made, but certainly not the worst. i give it a nice B+. maybe even an A- if i'm in a good mood. Dr. Doom's origin is pleasantly changed in some ways...tying his origin to the FF's in a sensible way. Anyone that's ever talked to me about the FF knows that i can only take it in small doeses. This is mostly because at some point, no matter who's writing, the thing devolves into a Deus Ex Machina from Reed Richards. THAT was no where to be found in this movie (thank you)...BUT Reed does rig up something that works by (God, perversely i wanted them to actually say) "reversing the polarity" of blah blah blah. well, they didn't really say that phrase (which in comics and sci-fi is the end all be all for undoing any crap that goes do we fix it??! we REVERSE THE POLARITY!). it actually hinted at it enough to make me chuckle but didn't over endulge enough to bother me at all (a tall order). i really liked the way the film looked a LOT more than the trailers and posters had me thinking.

Is it better than Batman Begins or Spider-Man? nope...but neither is the FF comic better than those either. Is it better than Daredevil or the Punisher? easily!

Go see it. I had a fun time.

Here's a bit of trivia i noticed:

Stan Lee did a Cameo like he normally does in Marvel movies, but this time he actually played a Marvel Character. He appears briefly as Willy Lumpkin, the mailman for the Baxter building/Fantastic 4.

There were some neat FF comic references: The thing is in the EARLY kirby style of a lumpy heap of rock rather than the common stylized look of the newer comics. at one point sue has the blonde haircut of the early comics with the ends sorta curling up.

The IMDB adds: Johnny races against a missile like he does in the opening act of the comic. Johnny's flame-form is a smoldering pillar of fire like it was in the earlier comics rather than the more familiar burning man look. Ben smashes into an oncoming truck in an angle identical to the one given in a panel where he exits a manhole directly in the path of an oncoming car.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Skateboarder Danny Way to leap Great Wall

Holy Crap!

SYDNEY - Quiksilver, Global Village Media Group and MegaRamp Events recently announced their sponsorship of world skateboarding champion Danny Way's attempt to jump across the Great Wall of China on Saturday in Beijing.

The feat is scheduled to take place at the historic Juyongguan Gate, a landmark site among the top tourist destinations of the Great Wall. Way, 31, of Encenitas, California, already holds multiple world records, including two for distance jumped (24m) and vertical height over a skateboard ramp (7.14m), and was the first two-time winner of Thrasher magazine's "Skater of the Year" award. These records, set last year, are merely the backdrop to Way's world record-setting attempt in Beijing, where he will unveil his specially designed MegaRamp, and try to break both these records, plus another for speed on a skateboard, in the dramatic attempt.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Mississippi Turning: Inside the Killen Jury

An explaination of why Edgar Ray Killen got a Manslaughter conviction instead of a Murder conviction as explained by Warren Paprocki, an engineer in Philadelphia, Miss. and a member of the Killen jury:

"The jury was initially split between those who felt he was guilty and wanted to convict him of murder and those who felt he was guilty and were frustrated because the state did not present sufficient evidence to convict him under the jury instructions.

"Still, we followed the law and the court's instructions. We did not enter into some exercise of "jury nullification" in which jurors vote according to their convictions rather than by the law as prescribed either for or against Killen. As it was put to me by a fellow juror: "If your brother was on trial here, wouldn't you want him tried according to the law?"

"In order to convict Killen on murder charges, according to our jury instructions, it had to be proved that he had pulled the trigger or that others had been acting under his specific direction to kill the three men. What we heard in court was that Killen told some people in Meridian that three civil rights workers "needed their asses tore up" and then showed these people where to sit and wait for the three in Philadelphia. But it was not established that he gave them any instructions to perform a specific act..."

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

GOP on the Move!

to, ahem, jail...

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- A special grand jury indicted three of Gov. Ernie Fletcher's subordinates Wednesday, including his deputy chief of staff, on various misdemeanor charges, including criminal conspiracy and political discrimination.

Dick Murgatroyd, Fletcher's deputy chief of staff and former deputy transportation secretary, was indicted on allegations of political discrimination, criminal conspiracy and violating state employees' rights. Cory Meadows, executive director of transportation enhancement programs; and Dan Druen, a Transportation Cabinet commissioner, were also indicted on misdemeanor political discrimination and criminal conspiracy charges. Druen had previously been indicted on other misdemeanor charges related to the investigation.

Comics Out of Context - Spidey Stick

Wouldn't you agree that this Spider-Man joystick just looks wrong?

N.Y. Times Reporter Jailed

Judith Miller told the judge that if U.S. troops could risk death in their fight for freedom in Iraq, "surely, I can face prison to defend a free press."

"I have chronicled the dark side of the world, where the law is an arbitrary foil that serves the powerful," she said in court, Washington Post staff writer Carol Leonnig reported. "I also know that the freest and fairest societies are . . . those with a free press . . . publishing information the government does not want to reveal," Miller said.
Uh, Yeah Judy. the only problem is you weren't exactly putting the government's feet to the fire were you? You were taking info the White House wanted publicized in order to take revenge on someone that had given the government trouble. In this case, my dear, you're no champion of rights. You're the president's rube...and i'm not even sure you know it.

Interesting Map

This map places a dot at the point of origin in each spot for U.S. service men & women who have died in Iraq & Afghanistan.

So Who Are the Activists? - New York Times

When Democrats or Republicans seek to criticize judges or judicial nominees, they often resort to the same language. They say that the judge is 'activist.' But the word 'activist' is rarely defined. Often it simply means that the judge makes decisions with which the critic disagrees.

Here is the question we asked: How often has each justice voted to strike down a law passed by Congress?

Declaring an act of Congress unconstitutional is the boldest thing a judge can do. Of course, calling Congressional legislation into question is not necessarily a bad thing. If a law is unconstitutional, the court has a responsibility to strike it down. But a marked pattern of invalidating Congressional laws certainly seems like one reasonable definition of judicial activism.

Since the Supreme Court assumed its current composition in has upheld or struck down 64 Congressional provisions. That legislation has concerned Social Security, church and state, and campaign finance, [etc.] We examined the court's decisions in these cases and looked at how each justice voted, regardless of whether he or she concurred with the majority or dissented.

Justice Clarence Thomas, appointed by President George H. W. Bush, was the most inclined, voting to invalidate 65.63 percent of those laws; Justice Stephen Breyer, appointed by President Bill Clinton, was the least, voting to invalidate 28.13 percent.

Thomas 65.63 %
Kennedy 64.06 %
Scalia 56.25 %
Rehnquist 46.88 %
O’Connor 46.77 %
Souter 42.19 %
Stevens 39.34 %
Ginsburg 39.06 %
Breyer 28.13 %

One conclusion our data suggests is that those justices often considered more "liberal" - Justices Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David Souter and John Paul Stevens - vote least frequently to overturn Congressional statutes, while those often labeled "conservative" vote more frequently to do so. At least by this measure (others are possible, of course), the latter group is the most activist.

So, what does this mean? 'Activist' today carries nothing of its true or supposed meaning (as outlined here). It truly, only means (now) that a judge rules in a way that the critic doesn't like.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Omaha World Herald -or- Jackass Herald

A man in Nebraska is filing suit over a 10 Commanments display (an you thought that had been handled already). Well, the folks at the Omaha World Herald don't like that one bit. not only did they out the guy (He's sued under 'John Doe' to avoid death threats), but they've started to publish information as to help you track him down. License plates, place of employment, described the location of his families home, and its description (in case you got lost on the way w/ your bricks). This is a guy who'd had threats of firebombing his home and having his son beaten. the Omaha paper's actions are beyond outrageous, they are willful and dangerous for him and his family.

If you find this a despicable, let these jerks know like i have. You can contact the Omaha World Herald and tell them what you thing of all this:


Executive Editor Larry King
Managing Editor Deanna Sands

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Fourth of July Reading (short) - The spirits of 1776

The REAL story of the Boston Tea Party!

July 2, 2005 | In the light of President Bush's attempt at Fort Bragg, N.C., last Tuesday to co-opt the July Fourth celebrations to support his war, it is time for some counter-revisionist history.

The American Revolution was not about tea. It was about rum: the real spirit of 1776.

The tea that was thrown into Boston Harbor was actually tax free, and the men throwing it overboard were doing so at the behest of local merchants who had warehouses filled with more expensive smuggled tea that they could sell only if the British East India Co.'s cheaper cargo was unloaded. They knew that no amount of patriotism would stop the Bostonians from buying a cheaper product.

But the real conflict between the colonists and Britain began over taxes on molasses, not tea. And that's where the French come in. The Founding Fathers not only loved the French, but they also loved the molasses that Paris' Caribbean colonies produced -- and they loved even more the rum that New England distillers made from it."

Saturday, July 02, 2005

More Shelby Foote

I've been listening to interviews on NPR and reading a few and i cannot seem to get this writer out of my head. I think i have to start on my copies of The Civil War. I really feel like i NEED to read them. I know i'll be more of the person i want to be when i'm done.

...You know, for a reader, that's about as good as it is gonna get, so i better start.

(After the Starring in Ken Burns' The Civil War) Foote did complain that after the PBS series "the damn telephone won't hush," but vowed not to let his newfound fame go to his head. "I saw what happened to Truman Capote, and that shouldn't have happened to a dog."

What did happen was that Foote's three-volume series sold like never before (some 800,000 copies after the TV series). The author returned to a slow-paced life in Memphis that included writing with a dip pen and inkwell.

A good day's work would produce about 500 well-chosen words.

The dip pen 'makes me take my time, and I prize that,' Foote explained in a 1990 interview with USA TODAY. 'And it reduces the hell out of the need for rewriting.'
His magnum opus--A million and a half word 3 volume narrative--done using a dip pen. jesus. that does give you time to think about what you're doing.

It shows.

Friday, July 01, 2005

The Hulk Has a Blog

Seems Prof. Fury found it. Here's some fan art.


I hate that i even knew this existed.

O'Connor to Retire From Supreme Court

WASHINGTON -- Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court and a key swing vote on issues such as abortion and the death penalty, said Friday she is retiring.

O'Connor, 75, said she expects to leave before the start of the court's next term in October, or whenever the Senate confirms her successor. There was no immediate word from the White House on who might be nominated to replace O'Connor.
suspected for a while now.
Well, it sounds like we'll have 2 fights coming up. The Rehnquist retirement didn't worry me because he'd be replaced with a similar justice. Sandy, on the other hand is often the #5 vote of some of the good majorities we get on this court.

This was expected, but still not so good.

Worship as Higher Politics - Christianity Today Magazine

George W. Bush is not Lord. The Declaration of Independence is not an infallible guide to Christian faith and practice. Nor is the U.S. Constitution, nor the U.N. Universal Declaration on Human Rights. "Original intent" of America's founders is not the hermeneutical key that will guarantee national righteousness. The American flag is not the Cross. The Pledge of Allegiance is not the Creed. "God Bless America" is not the Doxology.

Sometimes one needs to state the obvious—especially at times when it's less and less obvious.
and comments from Slactivist on the item above:
Coming from the reserved elder statesmen of CT's editorial board, that's pretty much a smackdown.

Most interesting here is their critique of the blossoming cult of "original intent" among parachurch leaders of the religious right. At the FRC's "Justice Sunday" event this spring, a bevy of clergy and religious leaders, including Perkins and Kennedy, railed against any judge who dared speak of a "living Constitution."

As an example of the kind of jurisprudence they find anathema, they held up the recent Supreme Court ruling barring the execution of the developmentally disabled. That decision was based, in part, on evolving community standards, and that idea -- the evolution, or progress, or development of moral understanding -- is what these religious leaders find dangerous and terrifying. From their perspective, community standards have been devolving ever since Mt. Sinai. The idea that the Constitution, or any revered text, might be read differently over time due to evolving community standards is the very idea these folks have been fighting against for the past century.

This is simply a continuation in a new arena of the fundamentalist/modernist controversy of the early 20th century. The fundamentalist "battle for the Bible" has escalated to include the battle over another sacred text: the U.S. Constitution. The terms of this battle are exactly the same. So too is the underlying motivation. It's all about control.

A "living Constitution" threatens that control as surely as the living word of the Bible. Neither text can be allowed to be "living." They must both be killed and carefully dissected to be understood properly. They must be fixed to the lepidopterist's board and carefully catalogued. A butterfly in flight -- a living creature free and wild -- cannot be pinned down, cannot be studied, cannot be understood. Cannot be controlled.

Dave's Long Box: Mr. T Bookmarks

holey - jamoley. this is for you dr. wagner.

Terror Alert Level

as you can see, this site now officially mocks the idiotic terror alert system all day, everyday.