Friday, April 29, 2005


I think that Bush saying polls don't matter or serve much purpose in presidential decision-making may be just another way for him and his party to keep repeating an untruth enough that many people will eventually hear it as truth. For example, I believe the idea of a "liberal media" has been hammered into the nation's psyche for years, to the point where most Americans finally agree the media is actually leftist, even when it may have actually been slipping toward the right in recent years, or at least toward being "corporate".

The same principle seems to apply here... Bush likes to make his statement about polls when he's on the air. Millions of TV viewers hear him say it. It keeps getting repeated.

Eventually people might answer poll questions, saying they don't like the president or some particular policies of his, and the poll results will show these respondents are agreeing with about two-thirds of the rest of the country... but when the results are made public, these same people may well have been conditioned to say "Yeah, but the president shouldn't have to pay any attention to the results. He just needs to do his job."

Is all of this devaluation of opinion polls little more than a subtle snow job, to convince people that maybe what they think about national issues really isn't all that important? Gee, if that works, maybe an even larger percentage of the public will just "look the other way and not pay attention to what's going on!

I do believe polls are systematically being devaluated in the minds of Americans.
And of course the president shouldn't have to base every single decision he makes on poll results... that's ludicrous. But, for example, if a number of polls would tend to show that 60% or more of the respondents are against his Social Security plans, why wouldn't he or his advisors want to pay attention? Why wouldn't they think "Yeah, we may think we're right, but a majority of Americans don't agree with us." Or if a president's approval ratings got down around 40%, wouldn't he at least think of things he might do differently to not hurt his own party's chances for the next election?

This is where I would argue that they ARE paying attention to the polls... the evidence is in how Bush is going around the U.S. to push the Social Security plan; he knows it isn't popular, so he's using orchestrated media opportunities as much as possible to make it look like (on TV, at least) the public is in favor of what he wants to do. If the public buys his schtick, the polls become more favorable and more people get on the bandwagon.

On his weblog at , J.Marquis says to Bush: "You work for me and every other citizen of the United States. And polls are how we communicate with you." I agree with that. If Bush doesn't listen to what the people he serves think, or if he doesn't care about their opinions, he isn't really working for you and me and every other citizen of the U.S., but rather for himself and his political friends.

And even as he is actually paying attention to the polls and while he is scrambling around trying to save his Social Security plan, he might not be working for all of us anyway. As much as he might try to suggest otherwise, I think he IS paying attention to the polls. I also think if the public is disliking some of his plans or finding them abhorrent by a large margin, he ought to do what I think is the right/honorable thing... either dump the plans altogether or try and reach compromise on them.

Because he is doing neither of these things, and because he instead pursues policies which are obviously unpopular, I seriously have to doubt the guy's motives, and ultimately his character. I think he looks at the polls, but looks at them in regard to how it affects him rather than how it affects the country. I think he chooses to hang on to his plans, good or bad, like a bloody tick hangs on to an animal.

The old saying "What is popular isn't always right, and what is right isn't always popular" can be applied in lots of ways. In this case, I'm waiting for Bush and his friends to start repeating that in the media as a mantra, so the American people might start believing that even if they don't like Bush's plans, his plans are "right".

I don't think that result would be anything but wrong.


In an effort to grant equal time to my Republican friends by finding and posting a few quotes that would make Democrats look silly and uninformed, I looked up "dumb Democrat quotes", "stupid Democrat quotes" and "Al Gore quotes" on Google. There were some doozies on the Al Gore sites, but then I got reading them and found myself thinking "Hey! Wait a minute! I read that one somewhere else!" Sure enough, there are a number of folks out there who have been recycling some of the great old Dan Quayle quotes and saying Al Gore was the one who said them. Tsk, tsk. Shameful. Certainly they aren't having trouble finding silly things Democrat pols have actually said. (Thanks to the site, where I found some helpful information on the Quayle/Gore confusions.)

I did some further searching, and about the only "stupid Democrat quotes" I could find had to do with Kerry saying one thing and then another, or Democrat pols saying they supported going to war in Iraq and then backing off later. While some might say these are great, and that they might expose Democrats as "liars", those say nothing to me other than that Democrat pols are engaging in natural political behaviors. While quotes such as those can be illustrative, I find them to be a dime a dozen, from whatever political party they originate. I didn't want those kinds of quotes... In this instance I was looking for quotes that were funny, or that were more indicative of problems with grammar, or that included nice semantic slip-ups.

I was determined in my search, so I kept looking. I did find some good "stupid Democrat" quotes at Here are a few I think are good for a belly laugh, regardless of one's political party affiliation:

"I am a great mayor. I am an upstanding Christian man. I am an intelligent man. I am a deeply educated man. I am a humble man."-(D)Marion Barry

"Outside of the killings, Washington [D.C.] actually has a very low crime rate."-(D)Marion Barry"

What right does Congress have to go around making laws just because they deem it necessary?"-(D)Marion Barry

"I'm one of those mayors whose management style is to allow free and unlimited debate, to a point."-(D)Marion Barry

"I promise you a police car on every sidewalk."-(D)Marion Barry

"The laws in this city are clearly racist. All laws are racist. The law of gravity is racist."-(D)Marion Barry

"Those who survived the San Francisco earthquake said, 'Thank God, I'm still alive.' But, of course, those who died - their lives will never be the same again."-(D)Barbara Boxer

"We have been boyhood friends all our lives."-(D)Richard J. Daley

"The police are not here to create disorder. They're here to preserve disorder."-(D)Richard J. Daley

"I resent your insinuendos."-(D)Richard J. Daley

"I haven't committed a crime. What I did was fail to comply with the law."-(D)David Dinkins

"And now, will y'all stand up and be recognized."-(D)Gib Lewis, to a group of handicapped people in wheelchairs

Would Republicans laugh as hard at stupid quotes from Dan Quayle and from Dubya as they might laugh at the stupid Democrat quotes listed above? Does the Republican party have a sense of humor? I'm a Democrat, and sometimes I know I don't have much of a sense of humor when I am ticked off, but hey, there are things to laugh about in just about any situation... for instance, I'm glad there was nobody around with a video camera yesterday when I hit (and bruised) my head hard, twice, during the simple act of getting into my car! It hurt like hell, but... after a few seconds of cussing, I was laughing pretty hard despite the pain. (And no, hitting my head on the car door and door frame is not what spurred my brain into writing this article. And yes, while I might have been dropped on my head as an infant, my mother would never admit doing it... so there is no evidence of me being dropped, and my Republican friends should stop being so sure about that scenario!

The next three quotes were included at, but I have to wonder what the compiler was thinking by putting them there. I find them to merely be jokes, and not necessarily statements which reveal dishonesty or limited intelligence. Rather, they demonstrate that humor is to be found within the Democratic ranks:

"A black man voting for the Republicans makes as much sense as a chicken voting for Colonel Sanders."-(D)J.C. Watts, Sr.

"If ignorance ever goes to forty dollars a barrel, I want drilling rights on George Bush's head."-(D)Jim Hightower

"Gerald Ford is a nice guy, but he played too much football with his helmet off."-(D)Lyndon Johnson

A lot of the other quotes (including the Clinton quotes) at that site are similar to the above three in that they are jokes, rather than the kind of mistakes one would expect from a child, or from somebody with a limited vocabulary or who simply doesn't have a way with words. Does this indicate jealousy on the part of the compiler?

Nonetheless, we Democrats are not immune. Our leaders may say some pretty stupid things, but are their quotes as fun as those of Bush and Quayle? I think not! Then of course, I am biased, right? I will admit I find that the funny/stupid GOP quotes seem to be concentrated among a few, severely challenged folks. Us, on the left? We tend to spread the quotes around a little more... many of our leaders chip in. But when it comes to spreading things around, I tend to maintain that the yard on the right-hand side of the political fence is where those searching for dog poop would find the most product. (I will refrain from inserting a rude picture of feces here.)

I like quotes that are critical of the GOP or which make Republican leaders look like weasels, and I will continue to post those from time to time... but I always prefer the GOP quotes that make me laugh out loud to the ones that make me angry. The funny ones can often be more illustrative than the ones which generate anger. And it seems like there are SO MANY funny GOP quotes out there! I should be able to keep posting those for a long time without running out of source material.

Why is it that stupid quotes from Republicans were easier to find than ones made by Democrats? Was I just looking in the wrong places? No, I don't think so. Did I just not search long enough? No, I spent a good 30 minutes at the task. There just seemed to be more "stupid GOP" sites available than "stupid Democrat" sites. This must be evidence of the nefarious "liberal media" at work, as always! (God bless 'em! Heh, heh

Anyway, I hope my Republican friends were as entertained as I was by the "stupid Democrat" quotes. Had I worked harder at it, I might have found more... but it was just too difficult and time-consuming. And after all, I'm just another "stupid Democrat", right? 8-)>

If one of our leaders continues to say stupid thing after stupid thing and it doesn't make us consider our blind support of him at least a little bit, who does it make look stupid? I think we all need to look at stupid things our leaders say... and then we need take a look at that leader and those around him or her, take a look at our friends, our town, county, state, country, and the world in general.

Then we need to go look in the mirror. We might actually find ourselves saying out loud:

"Here's looking at you, stupid!"

But that's just my curmudgeonly opinion; I might be wrong!


"Shallow, phony patriotism will always draw a crowd, like dogs humping in the street."
-- MSNBC's Keith Olbermann

"The president episodically poses as a healer and 'uniter'. If he president really has any desire to play that role, then I call upon him to condemn Rush Limbaugh -- perhaps his strongest political supporter -- who said that the torture in Abu Ghraib was a 'brilliant maneuver' and that the photos were 'good old American pornography,'and that the actions portrayed were simply those of 'people having a good time and needing to blow off steam.'"-- Al Gore

"Had I been reading to children and had my top aide whisper in my ear that America is under attack, I would have told those kids very nicely and politely that the president of the United States has something that he needs to attend to."-- John Kerry on how he would've immediately reacted to the 9/11/01 attacks, 8/5/04ore, May 26, 2004

"We're spending billions on missile defense, and a measly few million on improving port security. While terrorists may obtain a nuclear weapon, they are unlikely to obtain a reliable intercontinental missile delivery system. Why bother? They just need to float into any port and push the button."-- Atrios, March 12, 2004

"The president of the United States makes me angry. He thinks he's right. He's one of these 'God' people. I mean, God doesn't exist to make human beings feel they're right -- that's something absolutely irreligious. If God is there, he's a mysterious being. And to take over godly powers is hubris: it's something you should never do."-- Sir Colin Davis, conductor and music director of the London Symphony Orchestra, to FT, publ. 1/9/04


An oldie but a goodie. Well, I suppose the term "goodie" is relative... !

Friday, August 3, 2001
Sheriff pleads not guilty in dog feces case
By Mike Gordon , Advertiser Staff Writer

A deputy state sheriff pleaded not guilty in District Court today to child endangerment charges that allege he punished his two young daughters by forcing each to use her mouth to pick up dog feces.

Charles Canady, a 37-year-old Kalihi resident, allegedly forced his daughters to put the feces in the toilet as punishment for not cleaning up after the family puppy.

But the Honolulu Prosecutors' Office dismissed similar charges against Canady's live-in girlfriend, Theresa Danielson, who is a nurse at the Queen's Medical Center. She had been accused of using a cat's toothbrush on one of the girls, gagging her at one point with cat toothpaste.

Canady's daughters, ages 10 and 12, are in the custody of Child Protective Services but Danielson's 8-year-old daughter remains with the couple. Canady's jury trial will begin the week of Sept. 4. He said nothing in court and his attorney, Guy Matsunaga, would not comment on the case.

Danielson's attorney, Paul J. Cunney, said the punishment was not a big deal.

"You've heard of spare the rod and spoil the child?" he told reporters outside the courtroom. "Some of these kinds of cases might appear disgusting but there's no damage... The toilet was right there, they just had to spit it out."

Cunney said the two girls had posed a serious discipline problem because they repeatedly played with matches.

"This didn't happen in one day," he said. "It went on and on an on."



Munch masterpieces destroyed?


The Munch masterpieces "The Scream" and "Madonna" have been incinerated, according to newspaper Dagbladet, citing criminal sources and a top secret police report.

The paper claimed Thursday that the paintings were destroyed in order to get rid of damning evidence as the police investigation closes in on the culprits behind the robbery.

Investigation leader Iver Stensrud of the Oslo police said he had no knowledge of the supposedly secret report acknowledging the destruction of the paintings.

"This is completely unknown to Oslo police. I basically have no comment and normally we do not use Dagbladet as a reliable source here at the Oslo police," Stensrud told NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting).

Three people are in custody in connection with the Munch robbery, but none of them are linked to crime via technical evidence, and the pair that carried out the heist are considered to be at large.

Dagbladet cited both criminal and police sources in their reportage, and said that police expect new arrests in the case shortly.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


By Debra J. Saunders
Washington Times 04-13-05

(Note: This article was written by an avid Republican and published by one of the most right wing newpapers in the country. Have the Bushies gone too far? Thanks to friend Joe for forwarding this article to me. It gives me hope to see an article in which a Republican disagrees with Bush, and that the article is showing up in a right-wing paper such as the Washington Times. Also, for those who didn't notice the byline, the article was written by Debra J. Saunders, not by Snave! 8-)> )

The bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act passed by the Senate last month illustrates once again it is easier to pass a bad bill in Washington than it is to pass a good one. Make no mistake about it. This is a bad bill — which is why the House, no doubt, will pass this bill this week and why President Bush, to his discredit, will sign it. The bill would make it harder for debtors to file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7, and push more debtors — it targets those who earn more than a state's median income — into Chapter 13, which has tougher repayment standards. That sounds fair enough, except the Senate wasn't interested in making banks act more responsibly by dispensing with venal lending practices, such as lending money to people who have just filed bankruptcy and enticing college students with easy credit.

Consider this: The Senate rejected a measure to cap credit-card interest rates at 30 percent. Now, I ask, why should Washington want to protect lenders, who charge desperate people as much as 36 percent in per annum interest?

The lending lobby — Big Borrow-mongers — claims it needs protections against deadbeats, who file for bankruptcy without even trying to pay off their debts. I would sympathize.... if the money lenders weren't so rapacious — shameless, really — about fleecing the poor.

The National Consumer Law Center argues consumers often want to pay off their debt, but can't keep up with lenders' late fees, penalties and exorbitant interest. The center cited the tale of Ruth Owens of Ohio. By the time Miss Owens stopped using her credit card for purchases in 1997, she had racked up a balance of $1,963. Over the next six years, she made $3,492 in payments, but not a dime went to pay off the principal. Thanks to a 21 percent interest rate, fees of $1,518 for exceeding her credit limit and $1,160 in late fees, Miss Owens paid the bank all that money and still owed a whopping $5,564.

As the Law Center noted, Miss Owens would have been better off if she had become a deadbeat in 1997 — if she had simply stopped paying her credit-card bill until the bank sicced a collection agency on her — instead of honestly trying to pay off her debt. Rather than helping her to work out the debt, the bank simply drove her deeper into the hole.

When last I wrote on this bill, arguing the federal government shouldn't bail out banks for their own bad lending practices, I received a number of e-mails from people in the credit business who agreed with me. A minority of those in the business who e-mailed me complained that the very folks who criticize the financial-services industry for gouging poor lenders would be kicking the industry if it did not lend to the urban poor. They have a point: Consumer advocates do push banks to loan money to the often-overlooked urban poor so they can buy first homes and start their own businesses.

That said, I have yet to hear any consumer advocate say banks should charge the poor predatory interest — up to 36 percent — as well as exorbitant late fees and over-limit penalties.
In fact, the industry's woes suggest Washington should make it easier to file for bankruptcy, to protect the banks from themselves. Consumer Federation of America's legislative director Travis Plunkett said, lenders "have it within their power to control the bankruptcy rates by controlling their practices."

As a Republican, it disappoints me to say this, but I understand why people call the GOP the party of big business. When Washington pushes for more responsibility among debtors, but not loan-shark-like lenders, when its "ownership society" principles don't make big corporations own up to their role in the bankruptcy problem, the GOP is toadying to big business. (Ditto the 18 Democrats and one independent senator who voted for the bill.)

Everyone expects the House to pass the bill. Mr. Plunkett said some House members are having second thoughts, but they figure there is no percentage in voting no and displeasing a political contributing class. They figure, "Why anger the credit industry when they know they're going to lose?"

Well, there is a reason to anger the credit industry — to represent your constituents. If readers want the House to kill this turkey, they should let their congressional representative know they oppose this bill. This bad bill probably will pass anyway, but citizens who care about good government and good business practices should at least make those who vote for the measure sweat.

Snave adds: I read this article and I have to wonder... How much do our politicians *really* represent their constituents? And isn't this a question that goes beyond left versus right?


The Theocrats
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t Perspective

Tuesday 19 April 2005

One push of the button
And a shot the world wide
And you never ask questions
When God's on your side.
- Bob Dylan, 'With God on Our Side'

Ten years ago today, an anti-government extremist named Timothy McVeigh parked a Ryder truck filled with fertilizer and fuel oil in front of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. At 9:02 in the morning, the truck exploded and carved out the guts of that building like a gourd. 168 people, including 19 children, died in the blast. It remains today the most devastating act of domestic terrorism in American history.

McVeigh was birthed from a movement that became all too prominent during the 1990s. The militia people, they of the Black Government Helicopters and the theory that the United Nations was getting ready to take over the world, made up the far-right flank of Newt Gingrich's GOP back in the day. After Oklahoma City, however, the militias petered out and faded into the backwoods background from whence they came.

That breed of extremist was on the outside looking in at the time. They have been replaced today by an extremist movement of surpassing menace. Like the militias before them, this new breed likewise represents the far-right flank of the GOP. Unlike their predecessors, however, this new breed enjoys unprecedented insider status. They are represented vigorously in Congress and the White House, and are calling many of the shots.

McVeigh and his militia ilk wanted to destroy the government so they could keep their guns and pay no taxes, basically. McVeigh destroyed the Murrah building to strike a blow for this cause. As catastrophic as that attack was, it pales in comparison to the damage this nation will endure if these new extremists are allowed to have their way. Their vision of America does away with the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the separation of church and state.

They are the Theocrats, the Christian Taliban right here in America, and they are deadly dangerous both to this nation and the world entire. These people do not in any way represent mainstream Christianity, yet sadly they are redefining the meaning of that faith across the board. They would annihilate all that America has stood for these last two hundred years to 'save' the nation, literally as far as they are concerned, and right now, they believe they have the power to get everything they want.

It remains to be seen if they are correct in this assumption. While they make up only a small minority of the populace, the Theocrats enjoy the sponsorship of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, House Majority Leader Tom Delay as well as George W. Bush. Yet their most recent foray into power politics, the Terri Schiavo debacle, blew up decisively in their faces. Some 80% of the populace decided they did not like these people placing themselves into the role of mother, father, husband, wife, doctor and priest all in one sitting.

The most recent polls indicate this ghoulish sideshow has cost the Republican majority and the White House significant standing with the citizenry; each now is suffering the lowest approval ratings to this point in their tenure, and if DNC Chairman Howard Dean's words are to be heeded, this issue will be used as a barbed stick to be wielded by the Democrats during the upcoming 2006 midterm elections.

The Theocrats lost that particular fight but are gearing up for the next one, and it is upon the coming battleground that a good portion of the future health and well-being of this republic will be decided. Majority Leader Frist is teaming up with the worst elements of the Theocrat armada in an attempt to paint Democrats in Congress as 'anti-Christian,' the ultimate purpose of which is to undo the generations-old recourse of the Congressional minority, the filibuster.

Though we live today in an age where official hypocrisy is as common as sunlight and shadow, the reasons for Frist's looming attack on the filibuster forge new precedent in the annals of foolishness. Twelve of 204 Bush nominations to the Judiciary have been stopped by the Democrats, those twelve being far feathers on the right wing who have no place on the bench. This equals a Judicial nominee approval rate of 95%, which is a far cry from the obstructionism of the Republican Congress during Clinton's term, when one out of three seats in the Federal court system were left empty thanks to the efforts of the Gingrich brigades.

Why were these twelve nominees singled out and blocked? Let us look at a few examples. One Bush nominee, Jay Bybee, was one of the wonderboys who told Bush he could ignore laws forbidding torture. Bush nominee Carolyn Kuhl ruled that a woman's right to privacy was not violated by a doctor who invited a drug salesman to personally observe her breast exam. Bush nominee Charles Pickering once described a cross-burning as a "drunken prank." Bush nominee Jeffrey Sutton believes the Americans with Disabilities Act "is not needed." Et cetera.

Frist's desire to do away with the filibuster is being referred to as the 'Nuclear Option.' It is aptly named, for the results of a Frist victory in this will be monstrous. The destruction of the filibuster is about far more than these twelve forlorn nominees. If Frist and the Theocrats are able to do away with this last lingering firebreak, the Theocrats will have a wide-open highway on which to drive through the most terrifying aspects of their agenda. The despicable invasion of privacy that was the Schiavo mess will be a forgotten footnote compared to what will come if Frist and the Theocrats have their way with the filibuster.

Imagine this scenario: A bill is introduced in the House to require children to say the Lord's Prayer each morning in every American public school. Arguments in favor of American pluralism and freedom of (and from) religion fall on deaf ears. Thanks to the massive GOP majority in the House, the bill is passed and reaches the Senate, where outraged Democrats are powerless to stop it without the filibuster. It passes there, and is placed on the desk of Mr. Bush, who happily signs away yet another barrier separating the church and the state.

Crazy, right? Wrong. This is a benign hypothetical compared to the draconian legislation the Theocrats would like to see passed. Should they get their way, you will not be safe in person, thought or deed if any of these cut against the fundamentalist grain. America won't become a land of bourkas and beheadings, probably, but if you don't have a Bible in your hand at all times, you'll probably lose your job and credit rating. For starters.

Frist and the Theocrats do not have the destruction of the filibuster sewn up quite yet, however. The GOP has a 55-44 majority in the Senate, with Jeffords the Independent caucusing with the Democrats. 51 Senators are needed to kill the filibuster. The Democrats can count on all 44 of their Senators to oppose, and can likewise count on Jeffords to do the same. At this point, GOP Senators McCain and Chafee have also stated they will oppose the action.

Seven GOP Senators* are on the fence: Collins and Snowe of Maine, Hagel of Nebraska, Lugar of Indiana, Murkowski of Alaska, Specter of Pennsylvania, and Warner of Virginia. Whoever convinces a majority of these undecided Senators will win the filibuster fight.

We have seen how ugly, bloody and dangerous things can get in other countries when religious extremists gain complete political supremacy. It can happen here. Unless it is stopped, right now, it will happen here.

Snave notes:

*- Oregon Republican Senator Gordon Smith could also be considered a "fence rider" on this issue.

While the author may come off as sounding paranoid, his point is well taken. When it comes to this handful of loonies gaining control of the country, it won't matter if 80% of the people don't like it... we would be stuck with it, at least until the 2008 elections... should such elections occur!

If whoever convinces a majority of these undecided Senators wins the filibuster fight, my guess is those undecided Senators will go where the money leads them.

Despite all of this, I am optimistic that logic and reason will prevail in this case. I don't believe our country would be so stupid as to allow people with such transparent power agendas to take things over.


"Whether or not the United States views itself as an empire, it is obvious that for many foreigners and international critics, we look, walk and talk like one and they have responded accordingly.
"An empire that displays weakness and is not taken seriously is in serious trouble. However, being perceived as capricious or imperious is also dangerous. The problem has often occurred when an imperial power insists on imposing a particular vision on the world.
"It seems to me that in fighting the global war against terrorism, we need to restrain what are growing U.S. messianic instincts – a sort of global social engineering where the United States feels it is both entitled and obligated to promote democracy – by force if necessary."

-- Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), May 3, 2004

I never imagined I might agree with a Republican Senator from Kansas on anything, but I think these are pretty smart words. I wonder how many other people from the Republican party agree with what he says, and if there is some way those GOP leaders who agree could break ranks with the Theocons and make themselves heard.


People always tell me to keep my chin up. But if I do that, how am I supposed to find all the loose change on the sidewalk? (Sometimes this approach also helps when I’m out of chewing gum. It also helps prevent the soiling of my Turd Magnet cross trainers.)


Who is Richard Mellon Scaife? Why aren't we Democrats more critical of this fellow? Here is some information from :

Richard Scaife is one of the most influential men behind the right-wing today. Over the past thirty years the reclusive billionaire has funneled more than $340 million into right-wing organizations and causes, more than any other individual on the Right. Scaife has helped establish their biggest institutions and supported some of their most radical ideas. Read more about the man behind the “vast right-wing conspiracy."

About Richard M. Scaife:

Scaife is a right-wing billionaire who has subsidized many of the Right’s formative institutions and organizations for the past thirty years. Scaife has given away at least $340 million dollars to promote right-wing causes.

Richard Scaife is #378 on the list of wealthiest people in the World, worth approximately $1.2 billion dollars. Scaife’s fortune comes from his position as heir to the Mellon banking and oil fortune. Scaife has channeled his money into philanthropic interests and publishing.

Scaife’s recent period of notable influence in the 1990’s corresponded with his active, visible support of anti-Clinton conspiracy theories and being viewed as part of the “vast right-wing conspiracy.” Scaife supported Judicial Watch and the Landmark Legal Foundation in 1997 for their work to file lawsuits against the Clinton administration on a multitude of topics, ranging from campaign finance to the FBI files-gathering controversy.

In a rare interview in 1999 with John F. Kennedy, Jr in George Magazine, Scaife spoke openly about his belief that there is truth behind the accusations that the Clintons were involved in the deaths of 60 friends and employees. His newspaper, Pittsbrugh Tribune-Review, also printed allegations suggesting that certain officials in the Clinton administration were murdered.

During the period of critical growth for many right-wing institutions, Scaife gave approximately $200 million to conservative causes from 1974 through the end of the Bush administration in 1992. Scaife’s early contributions to Heritage Foundation in 1976 were “absolutely critical” according to Heritage’s president, Ed Feulner.

Scaife’s early support of American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) helped the influential grassroots policy organization get started.

Scaife’s support of candidate Nixon in 1972 is legendary; Scaife gave 330 checks for $3,000 each to 330 “dummy” organizations that fronted for Nixon’s campaign. After the Watergate scandal Scaife called for Nixon’s resignation.

About Scaife's Foundations:

Scaife oversees four “Scaife Foundations”—Sarah Scaife Foundation, Carthage Foundation, Allegheny Foundation, and the Scaife Family Foundation.

Through Scaife’s foundations many right-wing groups receive several awards from different Scaife funds in the same year. For example, in 2001 the Free Congress Foundation received $250,000 from Carthage and $790,000 from Sarah Scaife Foundation, adding up to over a million dollars in a single year.

Through his foundations Scaife helped fund a growing number of right-wing think tanks housed in respected academic institutions. Scaife is a major supporter of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.

Scaife's Board Memberships:

Hoover Institution, board of Overseers, since 1960’s.

Heritage Foundation, Vice Chairman of Heritage Foundation Board since 1995, joined board in 1985.

US Advisory Commission for Public Diplomacy, member from 1984-1990. Appointed by President Reagan, Scaife sat on the (USACPD), a board which oversees the US Information Agency. The 6 members of the USACPD are appointed by the President of the United States.

Scaife is the Vice Chairman, Publisher and Owner of Tribune-Review Publishing Co. (Publishes the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review). During the 2000 election campaign Scaife ordered newspaper editors of the archconservative newspaper that he owns, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, to pull all photographs of Democratic nominee Al Gore and guarantee that no prominent images or stories about Gore appear on the front page of the newspaper.

Major Right-Wing Beneficiaries of Scaife Foundations:

*Acton Economic Research Foundation
*American Enterprise Institute
* Center for the Study of Popular Culture
* Federalist Society
* Federation for American Immigrant Reform
* Free Congress Foundation
* Foreign Policy Research Institute
* Hoover Institute
* Hudson Institute
* Independent Women's Forum
* Institute for Justice
* Intercollegiate Studies Institute
* Judicial Watch
* Landmark Legal Foundation
* Media Research Center
* Manhattan Institute for Policy Research
* National Association of Scholars
* National Taxpayers Union Foundation
* Pacific Legal Foundation
* Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy
* Patrick Henry Center for Individual Liberty
* Rutherford Institute
* Southeastern Legal Foundation, Inc.

Scaife’s Awards:

* The first “ Hoover Institution Award for Uncommon Commitment,” February 2000

Quotes about Scaife:

“It is clear that Dick Scaife has played a major role in making the Hoover Institution a preeminent think tank," John Raisian, director of the Hoover Institute, February 2000.

"The victories we're celebrating today didn't begin last Tuesday," Heritage Foundation president Edwin Feulner Jr. told a meeting of supporters in 1994 just after the Republican sweep of the House of Representatives. "They started more than 20 years ago when Dick Scaife had the vision to see the need for a conservative intellectual movement in America. These organizations built the intellectual case that was necessary before political leaders like Newt Gingrich could translate their ideas into practical political alternatives." Ed Fuelner, Heritage Foundation, 1994 speech.

"It seemed to me that he operated very strongly on the strength of passionate impulse. My sense of Dick is that there was not a depth of conviction about the causes he supported. They were rather strongly felt prejudices -- which isn't necessarily something bad, but not the same as conviction." -- James Whelan, from an April 1998 interview. Whelan is the former editor of the now-defunct Scaife-owned newspaper the Sacramento Union and the former editor/publisher of the Washington Times, a right-wing newspaper.


Here are some interesting remarks made by former UN Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter during an interview with Larisa Alexandrovna of Raw Story. The whole article can be found at

In this final part of the three-part series, the former weapons inspector details his beliefs about the neoconservative movement, the American legislative process and his hopes for the future.

Raw Story’s Larisa Alexandrovna: Paul Wolfowitz stated prior to the Iraq invasion that Iraqi reconstruction would pay for itself. It seems that Mr. Wolfowitz, now charged with handling the World Bank, miscalculated. What is going on with the oil in Iraq?

Former UN Weapons Scott Ritter: Paul Wolfowitz was a salesman; his job was to sell a war. He acknowledged this in an interview with Vanity Fair magazine, in which he acknowledged that WMDs and the threat they posed, was nothing more than a vehicle to sell this war to America. Now you come to the war itself and selling it to Congress and questions: How long will this take? Or how much will this cost? etc…

Paul Wolfowitz lied to Congress about the costs of war. There is not a responsible member of government who thought this would be quick and cheap. There was nobody who believed that Iraq oil would pay for itself, no one in the oil business thought so.

Raw Story: What about oil companies, were they for the war or against it?

Ritter: No oil professional in their right mind would support what is happening in Iraq. This isn’t part of a grand ‘oil’ strategy; it is simply pure unadulterated incompetence.

Raw Story: So they are concerned about their bottom lines, and chaos doesn’t forward that goal.

Ritter: Right. Oil company executives are businessmen and they are in a business that requires long-term stability. They love dictators because they bring with them long-term stability. They don’t like new democracies because they are messy and unstable. I have not run into a major oil company that is willing to refurbish the Iraq oil fields and in invest in oil field exploration and development. These are multi-billion dollar investments, that in order to be profitable, must be played out over decades. And in Iraq today you cannot speak out to projecting any stability in the near to mid-future.

Raw Story: Okay, so now to Congress. They approved the war. I know we have discussed the post-9/11 reality and the pressure of not seeming unpatriotic.

Ritter: Yes, but they also approved the war because Congress had been locked into a corner by the NeoCons in 1998. Our policy in Iraq since 1991 has been regime change.

How many times did G.H.W. Bush have to say “we will not remove sanctions until Saddam is removed from power?” Bill Clinton inherited this policy of regime change, but the Bush policy was not an active policy, it was a passive policy to strangle, as it were, Saddam. It was not our policy to take him out through military strength. Saddam, however, was able to out-maneuver this policy, he did not get weaker he got stronger. The NeoCons played on the political implications of this, to box the Clinton administration and Congress into a corner.

When you declare Saddam to be a threat with WMDs and then do nothing, you have a political problem. The NeoCons played on this. In 1998, the Heritage Foundation, Paul Wolfowitz and the American Enterprise Institute… basically drafted legislation became the Iraq liberation act. This is public law. So when people ask why did Congress vote for the current war in Iraq, it is simply that they had already voted for it in 1998, they were trapped by their own vote.

Raw Story: So your implication is that in our current foreign policy the NeoCons have set the tone via thinktanks or supposed thinktanks?

Ritter: Yes. Look at who funds the American Enterprise Institute, and the Heritage Foundation, and I think you’ll have your answer.

Raw Story: What do you think these institutions are trying to achieve? I know the public claim is conservative values, but there is a some speculation regarding what appears more like Leninist, even Trotskyite values, especially given the current domestic government involvement and control or attempt at control of almost every facet of society, economy, family, etc. Even the term Leninist was used by the Heritage Foundation to describe their approach to Social Security during the 1980’s (read it here - PDF).

Ritter: A high level source, a NeoCon at that, within the system has said to me directly that “John’s Bolton job is to destroy the UN, Rice’s job is to destroy the State Department’s and replace it with a vehicle of facilitation for making the Pentagon’s national security policy.”

Raw Story: And what of Karen Hughes’ appointment?

Ritter: Hughes she is a salesperson; she will sell the policy. She is irrelevant. She is nothing. Her appointment means nothing. Rice has already capitulated to the Pentagon and the White House, and Hughes’ appointment is but a manifestation of that larger reality.

NeoCons are parasites. They build nothing. They bring nothing. They don’t have a foundation. They don’t stand for business. They don’t stand for ideology. They use a host to facilitate and grow their own power. They are parasites that latch onto oil until is no longer convenient. They latch on to Democracy until it is no longer convenient.

Rice’s appointment to the State Department is simply to reshape it into a NeoCon vehicle.

Raw Story: Why the State Department? Why Rice?

Ritter: The State Department still has free thinkers in it. Rice is a dilettante. Anyone who was there during the Reagan era and her advising on Soviet policy knows how inept she is. She is not there because she is a brilliant Secretary of State.

The media has bought into this, because the NeoCons cleverly put a woman, an African American woman at that, into this position. So when Rice goes abroad, people do not look at the stupid things she says, they look at what she was wearing and such.

Raw Story: So you believe the NeoCons are elitist parasites?

Ritter: Yes, elitism is the perfect term.

Raw Story: Do you consider it localized or global elitism?

Ritter: The NeoCons believe in what they think is a noble truth, power of the few, the select few. These are godless people who want power, nothing more. They do not have a country or an allegiance, they have an agenda. These people might hold American passports, but they are not Americans because they do not believe in the Constitution. They believe in the power of the few, not a government for or by the people. They are a few and their agenda is global.

Raw Story: You suggest the Republican Party is simply an organizational host. Is there any vestige left of the host or has the entire party been devoured?

Ritter: The Republicans have been neutered by the NeoCons.

Raw Story: Your concept of NeoCons seems confusing because, using your host/parasite paradigm, they cannot tell between the host and the parasite which invades it.

Ritter: I know people who have worked for George H. W. Bush, both when he was Vice President and President. Bush Sr. called the NeoCons the “crazies in the basement.” I think it is dangerous to confuse the two, because there are Americans who love their country and are conservatives who do not support what is going on. Until the host rejects the parasite, it is difficult to separate the two. Brent Scowcroft for example is not a NeoCon, yet people call him one. Scowcroft worked hard to reign in the “crazies in the basement,” as did Reagan.

The rest of the interview is just as thought-provoking as this part... check it out!

Monday, April 25, 2005


I know she supposedly has the story mapped out, all ready to write, and hidden away in a safe-deposit box, but...

What if J. K. Rowling became a born-again fundamentalist Christian before she actually got down to writing the seventh and final book in the popular Harry Potter series?

Would she have all the characters go to hell?

Would these beloved characters all be sent to eternal damnation for using witchcraft and wizardry, for associating with talking animals, or for using magic wands, levitating, disapparating, using flue powder, playing Quidditch on the Sabbath, drinking butter beer in Hogsmeade, etc.?

Would the final installment of Rowling's series be called "Harry Potter and the Lake of Fire"?

Or maybe "Harry Potter Left Behind"! What do you think?

Friday, April 22, 2005


In reference to Ann Coulter and Michael Moore and the issue of whether or not our country has a "liberal" media, a blogger posted this comment at another site I frequent:

"You neglected to mention that she has also been fired from a right-of-center magazine and censored by USA Today. The same USA Today that breathlessly prints Michael Moore's screeds as reportage. Perhaps Ann Coulter should market her work as documentary in nature. Who knows, she might win a Pulitzer."

Ahem. I posted the following response:

All of the below is just my opinion, of course, and it's long-winded like usual... but I just have to wonder from time to time if the media is really as "liberal" as many conservatives say it is.

Could the media these days maybe be more "corporate" than it is "liberal"? It seems to me they like to report on things that "sell" (like Michael Jackson, deaths in Iraq, Robert Blake, Laci Peterson, etc.) and that it's mostly about money. If special interests offer money to our media types to report things in certain ways, then I would guess the media would opt to go the money-making route. I think the media is generally like most other businesses in that the bottom line is very important.

As for Ann Coulter, hasn't she done quite well in print, making a name for herself with her books and articles, as well as with her public appearances? She does do well, but do people view her as an entertainer? As a political sage?

I think lots of folks view Michael Moore as an entertainer rather than as a guru. Does something that is at least perceived as entertaining sell more than what is not perceived as such? Rush Limbaugh may have some similar opinions to those of Coulter, but he does at least seem to sprinkle his commentary with comments perceived by many as humorous. And while I tend to disagree with most things Rush says, I will admit I laugh out loud at his comments sometimes, because once in a while I do find him to be funny.

Despite Ann Coulter being a nice-looking, well-dressed person, I think her comments and her abrupt manner cause her to come across as cold, hypercritical and humorless. Moore, on the other hand, looks more to me like a big, ugly, doofus teddy-bear type, possibly more like how he may believe an average American would look...

Whether it's an act or not, Moore just seems to me like he should have more appeal to the public than Ann Coulter due to the image he has cultivated, if nothing else.

If it's all about money and image, and if Moore is making himself more appealing to the public, I think that is what the public will buy... and therefore he is who the media will be more likely to feature when given the choice. If the media can make more money via Michael Moore than they can through Ann Coulter, my guess it they'll lean toward Moore, whether or not they agree with his political views... and Ms. Coulter won't get nearly as much air time.

The following information might be hard to find, but I think it would be interesting... I would be interested in knowing how much hate-mail USA Today got re. Ann Coulter in comparison to how much they would get re. Michael Moore. I also think it would be fun to look at sales figures for Ann Coulter's books and for Michael Moore's books... I would imagine they might be fairly close in the number of books sold.

(end of comment)

With all that being said, I think Ann Coulter sets herself up for a lot of the criticism she gets, because of her brusque manner. Maybe even more for that than for what she says, which I usually find outrageous. When the other blog-commenter uses her "plight" as an example in support of an argument for a "liberal" media... it doesn't quite seem to make sense to me, particularly when today everything in America seems to be so much about image.

What are your thoughts on the media in America today?


When I hear the phrase "What's in a name?" I usually think about how unimaginative humans seem to be.

Two examples: Yes, we have a satellite orbiting our planet, and it is a moon by definition. So did we come up with a special name for it? Yes. "The Moon". Well, DUH!!!

And there is something that lots of people worship in the world today, and while it is a god to them, do they give this god of theirs a special name? Of course they do! They call it (drum roll, please): "God"!! People, where did the Muse run off to?

You wanna know? I think the Muse is permanently out to lunch.

Sure, this is probably just my misanthropic side showing through, but hey... with all these powerful brain cells we humans supposedly have, couldn't we show just a little more imagination?



Some Things To Do Before Bush's Second Inaugural - from unknown source - found at :

1. Get that abortion you've always wanted.
2. Drink a nice clean glass of water.
3. Cash your Social Security check.
4. See a doctor of your own choosing.
5. Spend quality time with your draft age child/grandchild.
6. Visit Syria, or any foreign country for that matter.
7. Get that gas mask you've been putting off buying.
8. Hoard gasoline.
10. Borrow books from library before banned Constitutional law books, Catcher in the Rye, Harry Potter, Tropic of Cancer, etc.
11. If you have an idea for an art piece involving a crucifix - do it now.
12. Come out - then go back in - HURRY!
13. Jam in all the Alzheimer's stem cell research you can.
14. Stay out late before the curfews start.
16. Go see Bruce Springsteen before he has his "accident".
17. Go see Mount Rushmore before the Reagan addition.
18. Use the phrase - "you can't do that - this is America".
19. If you're white - marry a black person, if you're black - marry white person.
21. Take a walk in Yosemite, without being hit by a snowmobile base-jumper.
22. Enroll your kid in an accelerated art or music class.
23. Start your school day without a prayer.
24. Pass on the secrets of evolution to future generations.
26. Learn French.
28. Attend a commitment ceremony with your gay friends.
29. Take a factory tour anywhere in the US.
30. Try to take photographs of animals on the endangered species list.
31. Visit Florida before the polar ice caps melt.
32. Visit Nevada before it becomes radioactive.
33. Visit Alaska before "The Big Spill".
34. Visit Massachusetts while it is still a State.

But is it too late now? Heh...



ST. BONNIE THE PURE  Posted by Hello

(from Posted by Hello

Posted by Hello

Did they REALLY say these things??

"I was recently on a tour of Latin America, and the only regret I have was that I didn't study Latin harder in school so I could converse with those people." - Dan Quayle

"You say you're supposed to be nice to the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians and the Methodists and this, that, and the other thing. Nonsense. I don't have to be nice to the spirit of the anti-Christ." – Pat Robertson, The 700 Club, January 14, 1991

"Why don't they get new jobs if they're unhappy — or go on Prozac?" - Bush campaign worker Susan Sheybani's musings on employee options in the weak U.S. job market.

"Capital punishment is our society's recognition of the sanctity of human life." - Republican U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch

Billy Graham, speaking about Jews in America: "This stranglehold has got to be broken or the country's going down the drain." Richard Nixon: "You believe that?" Graham: "Yes sir." Nixon: "Oh boy, so do I. I can't ever say that, but I believe it. - From Nixon's secret White House Tapes

"...and of course there are the 39 million greedy geezers collecting Social Security. The greatest generation rewarded itself with a pretty big meal. --Right-wing columnist Ann Coulter

"I have seen these liberal psychologists and sociologists talk about there is no need for the man in the family. 'The woman can take care of it. A woman can take care of the family.' It takes a man to provide structure. To provide stability. " – House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX)

"Women are best suited for secretarial work, decorating cakes, and counter sales, like selling lingerie. --South Carolina Republican Representative Larry Koon

"It isn't pollution that's harming the environment, it is the impurities in our air and water that are doing it." --Former Vice President Dan Quayle

Tom Delay's shouted reply when he was told it was a federal law that he couldn't smoke his cigar in a no-smoking area: "I AM the federal law!"

"We will never stop thinking of ways to harm America." --George W. Bush



LEXINGTON, Ky. - Vice Mayor Mike Scanlon got a rather unpleasant surprise when opening his mail. It appears that an angry constituent sent him one envelope containing a harassing letter and another containing feces.

The letters were sent anonymously. One contained a harassing letter in reference to an imposed smoking ban in public places while the other contained the smelly surprise. Officials believe that both letters originated from the same sender.

While it is not uncommon for city officials to receive emails and faxes from those unhappy with one thing or another, this incident "crossed the line" according to Scanlon. He stated, "This was just a very, very sick person."


"I believe John Bolton could provide the medicine the United Nations needs."
- Senator John McCain (R-AZ).

Wednesday, April 20, 2005



MORE SNOOZIN'. Posted by Hello

WHERE ANGELS FEAR TO BREATHE.... (see articles below)Posted by Hello



CNN's Schneider claimed record-low Bush approval rating "isn't too bad"; Gallup disagrees

Thanks to Joe Doman for this article.

CNN political analyst Bill Schneider opined that President Bush's 48 percent approval rating, as measured by a new CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, "isn't too bad." But Schneider did not mention Gallup's own observation that "Bush's public support is significantly lower than support for all other two-term presidents at similar points in their second terms."

While Gallup made that statement based on an earlier poll, conducted March 21-23, that placed Bush's approval rating at 45 percent, the historical data Gallup presented indicates that 48 percent, Gallup's most recent figure, is still lower than the approval ratings of all other presidents since World War II at similar points in their second terms:

Reporting on the poll on the April 5 edition of CNN's Inside Politics, Schneider asserted: "Despite all the complaints, President Bush's overall job approval rating is 48 percent, which isn't too bad." But in contrast to Schneider's spin, USA Today's report on the poll was headlined "Poll finds Bush suffering from 'second-term-itis,' " based on a comment about Gallup's findings from Andrew Kohut, director of the nonpartisan Pew Research Center for People and the Press.

Gallup noted that while 45 percent is the lowest approval rating of Bush's entire presidency, "there are some silver linings for him" because "other presidents' lowest approval ratings [at different points in their presidencies] were much lower" and because "Bush's average rating while in office remains among the most positive for recent presidents." But Gallup added that Bush's high average ratings are due "[i]n large part because of his response to the Sept. 11 terror attacks."

Reporting on Gallup's findings, an Editor & Publisher article remarked: "It's not uncommon to hear or read pundits referring to President George W. Bush as a 'popular' leader or even a 'very popular' one. Even some of his critics in the press refer to him this way. Perhaps they need to check the latest polls."

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


... is more mixing of politics with religion? More conservatism?

Excerpt from Associated Press

TRAUNSTEIN, Germany - A man of deep personal faith who choked up as he delivered the homily at Pope John Paul II’s funeral, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger also has alienated some Roman Catholics with his zeal in enforcing church orthodoxy.

And on those issues, the new Pope Benedict XVI is immovable.

Even as the cardinals who elected him prayed before the conclave, Ratzinger urged them to cling to church tradition and warned about the dangers of abandoning it.

“Having a clear faith, based on the creed of the church, is often labeled today as a fundamentalism,” he said Monday. “Whereas relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and ’swept along by every wind of teaching,’ looks like the only attitude acceptable to today’s standards.”

“We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one’s own ego and one’s own desires,” he warned.

My question: Is this what the world needs now?

My answer: No, not really. I don't see it as being healthy when a strict religious fundamentalist is the leader of something like a billion people. I know I wouldn't feel comfortable at all if the world's adherents to Islam united under one fundamentalist leader... would you?

With the possible exception of Northern Ireland, I don't see Catholic fundamentalists behaving like Islamic fundamentalists in the way that some of the Islamists are using terrorism around the world. Nonetheless, I still find myself wondering what will happen as a result of the conclave vote. If Benedict XVI is a charismatic type, he might get a whole lot of American Catholics emotionally whipped up, making it harder for some Democratic candidates to win elections here in the U.S. due to problems around the issues of abortion, homosexuality, women's rights, and birth control...

To me, electing Ratzinger doesn't look like a particularly healthy move... not only for the whole world but also for the Catholic church itself, considering that Ratzinger was a divider, not a uniter of Catholics in his home country. He could wind up dividing the church worldwide because many Catholics (many American Catholics, anyway) don't seem to like the hardline approach to their religion.

We all saw the anger that boiled up in this country during the Schiavo case, and all of that pro-life anger wasn't just a conservative phenomenon. Just the same, religious conservatives in the U.S. are probably jumping up and down, clapping their hands with glee at Ratzinger's election. If not, maybe they should be... the more Christian fundamentalists in the country, the better for right-wing candidates at election time, or so it would seem.



Here are the approval ratings for presidents as recorded by Gallup (all for March, after re-election):

Truman, 1949: 57%.
Eisenhower, 1957: 65%.
Johnson, 1965: 69%.
Nixon, 1973: 57%.
Reagan, 1985: 56%.
Clinton, 1997: 59%.

Bush, 2005: 45%.....

Monday, April 18, 2005


Bush is my shepherd; I dwell in want.

He maketh logs
To be cut down
In national forests.
He leadeth trucks
Into the still wilderness.

He restoreth my fears.

He leadeth me in the paths
Of international disgrace
For his ego's sake

Yea, though I walk
Through the valley
Of pollution and war,
I will find no exit,
For thou art in office.

Thy tax cuts
For the rich
And thy media control,
They discomfort me.

Thou preparest
An agenda of deception
In the presence
Of thy religion.

Thou anointest my head with
Foreign oil.

My health insurance
Runneth out.

Surely megalomania and
False patriotism shall follow me
All the days of thy term,
And my jobless child
Shall dwell in my basement


~Source unknown

Saturday, April 16, 2005


And it's a big one, too!


Friday, April 15, 2005

Baby Mackie is on his very own pedestal. Posted by Hello

He likes to help with the laundry. Posted by Hello

By Will Lester
Denver Post

The public's dissatisfaction with President Bush and Congress is growing, with ratings dropping amid record-high gas prices, war in Iraq, the Social Security debate and the emotional Terri Schiavo case.

The Republican president's job approval is at 44 percent, with 54 percent disapproving. Only 37 percent have a favorable opinion of the work being done by the GOP-led Congress, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll.

Bush's job approval was at 49 percent in January, the same month in which he was sworn in for a second term, while Congress' was at 41 percent.

The president was asked Friday about his falling ratings in some polls, and he claimed indifference.

"Some of them were going up the other day," he responded as he flew back from Rome on Air Force One. "You can find them going up and you can find them going down. You can pretty much find out what you want in polls is my point."

Asked about Bush's decline with the public, Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio pointed to uphill efforts to change Social Security, the Schiavo case and "economic jitters" heightened by rising oil prices.

Republicans in Congress and the president moved quickly during the Easter recess to approve legislation intended to prolong the life of Schiavo, the brain- damaged Florida woman who died after her feeding tube was disconnected.

Democrats, whose public standing is pretty close to the Republicans' these days, are pondering how to capitalize on the general dissatisfaction among Americans toward Washington.

"I think the Democrats have to be clearer about offering alternatives, not just the critique," said Democratic pollster Celinda Lake. "People already know what the problems are; they want to know the solutions."

Thomas Johnston, a Democratic retiree from Mooresville, N.C., often doesn't agree with the positions taken by national Democrats. But he thinks being overly cautious hurts them.
"I think they're trying to ride the fence, and that doesn't work," Johnston said. "Say what you believe and stick with it."

The number supporting Bush's handling of some domestic issues dipped between March and April, to 42 percent for the economy and 38 percent for issues such as education and health care, according to the poll, conducted for AP by Ipsos-Public Affairs. Support for the president's approach to his top domestic priority, Social Security, remained at 36 percent, while 58 percent oppose it.

"The public hasn't bought into the idea of private accounts and the necessity of them," said Charles Franklin, a political scientist who studies public opinion at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The poll of 1,001 adults was taken April 4-6 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.


The computer is in the shop. Arrrgh. Anyway, I'll be back during the next few days.

Monday, April 11, 2005


. Posted by Hello


This one doesn't look too bad. Posted by Hello

Dunno about this one, though... Posted by Hello


This one? Definitely not... !Posted by Hello


Posted by Hello

BABY MACKIE RULES!! Posted by Hello





Article excerpts are from The Associated Press
April 11, 2005

"WASHINGTON - Private GOP tensions over Tom DeLay’s ethics controversy spilled into public Sunday, as a Senate leader called on DeLay to explain his actions and one House Republican demanded the majority leader’s resignation."

Now this is what I like to hear.

“Tom’s conduct is hurting the Republican Party, is hurting this Republican majority and it is hurting any Republican who is up for re-election,” Rep. Chris Shays, R-Conn., told The Associated Press in an interview, calling for DeLay to step down as majority leader.

Finally, a GOP congressman with guts. Maybe they need to set up a one-time "Tom's Law" that will declare his political career on life support.

"DeLay, R-Texas, who was admonished by the House ethics committee last year, has been dogged in recent months by new reports about his overseas travel funded by special interests, campaign payments to family members and connections to a lobbyist who is under criminal investigation."

Is that supposed to be, somehow, surprising? I'm so happy people are finally beginning to "get it" re. this guy...

"A moderate Republican from Connecticut who has battled with his party’s leadership on a number of issues, Shays said efforts by the House GOP members to change ethics rules to protect DeLay only make the party look bad."

Good for Shays... although the longer DeLay is in power, the more he makes his party look bad. And at this point in our nation's history, that might be a good thing if enough people pay attention.

“My party is going to have to decide whether we are going to continue to make excuses for Tom to the detriment of Republicans seeking election,” Shays said.

Don't make excuses. Support the man! If he isn't ousted, it may help the Democrats gain a number of House and Senate seats in 2006!

"Rick Santorum, the No. 3 Republican in the Senate, said Sunday that DeLay needs to explain his conduct to the public." “I think he has to come forward and lay out what he did and why he did it and let the people then judge for themselves,” Santorum told ABC’s “This Week.” “But from everything I’ve heard, again, from the comments and responding to those, is everything he’s done was according to the law.
“Now you may not like some of the things he’s done,” said Santorum, who is up for re-election next year in Pennsylvania. “That’s for the people of his district to decide, whether they want to approve that kind of behavior or not.”

Sorry, Rick... the whole country needs to have input on this issue... it affects the whole country, and I don't want it to be left to the people of DeLay's district.

"DeLay’s spokesman, Dan Allen, told AP that the congressman “looks forward to the opportunity of sitting down with the ethics committee chairman and ranking member to get the facts out and to dispel the fiction and innuendo that’s being launched at him by House Democrats and their liberal allies.”

Read: he looks forward to sitting down with the ethics committee to threaten them if they should try to make trouble for him.

"Responding specifically to Shays’ remarks later, Allen added that DeLay’s “effective leadership has helped to build and maintain the Republican majority in the House and that’s exactly why liberal groups funded by George Soros have set their sights on him.”"

Soros is always good to blame things on. Why don't we hear more about Richard Mellon Scaife? I'll bet he's bankrolled a lot more crackpots than Soros has.

"The majority leader was admonished three times last year by that committee. The committee has been in limbo since March, when its five Democrats balked at adopting Republican-developed rules."

Three times wasn't nearly enough. And good for the Democrats.

"House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said last week that the controversy was distracting DeLay from dealing with more pressing problems before Congress.
Santorum, however, said DeLay is “very effective in leading the House” and “to date, has not been compromised.”

That is because DeLay probably wouldn't know how to compromise if the world depended on it.

"A senior Democratic senator, Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, had this advice for the Republicans who control both the House and Senate: “Be careful about how closely you embrace Mr. DeLay.”

Yes, and in what positions you embrace him! Don't let him get behind you, anyway...

"Dodd cited the new rules for the ethics committee that House Republicans rammed through in the wake of DeLay’s difficulties. Those rules require a bipartisan vote before an investigation can be launched. DeLay’s office also helped mount a counterattack last fall against Rep. Joel Hefley, R-Colo., who was the ethics committee chairman when it came down against DeLay.
“Unfortunately, in his particular case, there’s a process that he’s tried to change so they could actually reach a determination as to whether or not he’s innocent or guilty of the things he’s been charged with,” Dodd said. “But this is not going to go away.”

No, and we can't let it go away.

"DeLay “becomes the poster child for a lot of the things the Democrats think are wrong about Republican leadership. As long as he’s there, he’s going to become a pretty good target,” Dodd said on ABC."

He can be the Democrats' whipping boy. We have needed one for some time now, as Dubya and Karl seem to be coated with teflon.

"DeLay, who took center stage in passing legislation designed to keep alive Terri Schiavo, also has found that President Bush and congressional colleagues are distancing themselves from his comments, after her death, about the judges involved in her case."

As well they should.

“The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior,” DeLay said, raising the prospect of impeaching members of a separate and independent branch of government. Later, he complained of “an arrogant and out of control judiciary that thumbs its nose at Congress and the president.”

I suppose he thinks he and his fellow members of Congress should be the ones to decide matters which have been traditionally decided in courts? Sounds like he thinks maybe we ought to just have magistrates then, instead of politicians and judges (see Christian Reconstructivism).

"Bush, declining to endorse DeLay’s comments, said Friday that he supports “an independent judiciary.” He added, “I believe in proper checks and balances.”

Let's see how much Bush and his administration will walk that talk... because proper checks and balances would mean they wouldn't have as much power.

"Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee said last week that the judges “handled it in a fair and independent way,” although he had hoped for a different result."

Well.... it didn't happen that way, Bill. But one thing that did happen: many Americans realized you would be willing to diagnose a patient from many miles away by viewing snippets of video tape. Wow! I really call that bringing medicine into the 21st century! Frist for President!! Heh...

"Democrats have said DeLay’s remarks were tantamount to inciting violence against judges."

Terrorism inspired by religion is something that CAN happen in the United States. Terrorism doesn't happen in our world only as the result of Islamic fundamentalist beliefs; this should seem obvious if one takes the examples of Eric Rudolph and others who have killed doctors into account. I'm beginning to think the only difference between Islamic and Christian terrorism may be that we don't have organized religious terrorist groups here in the U.S.

Well, not yet anyway.


Two monks were once traveling together down a muddy road. A heavy rain was falling. Coming around a bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross the intersection.

"Come on," said the first monk. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud.

The second monk did not speak again until that night when they had reached a lodging temple. Then he could no longer restrain himself.

"We monks don't go near females," he said. "It is dangerous. Why did you do that?"

"I left the girl there," the first monk said. "Are you still carrying her?"

- Zen story


We are here and it is now. Further than that, all human knowledge is moonshine.
- H.L. Mencken

Must it be? It must be.
- Beethoven

You can only find truth with logic if you have already found truth without it.
- G.K. Chesterton

You must concentrate upon and consecrate yourself wholly to each day, as though a fire were raging in your hair.
- Deshimaru

In dwelling, live close to the ground.
In thinking, keep to the simple.
In conflict, be fair and generous.
In governing, don't try to control.
In work, do what you enjoy.
In family life, be completely present.
- Tao Te Ching

The map is not the territory.
- Alfred Korzybski

The more you know, the less you understand.
- Tao Te Ching


Housing threatens fines for feces left in elevator

By Taylor Smith, Staff Writer

Published: Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Media Credit: Nick Esares/The Gamecock (University of
South Carolina)

The elevator in Bates West is shut down for the second time this semester because someone had left feces inside. For the second time this semester, Bates West residents on Monday discovered a bowl of feces in an elevator, which could result in a building-wide fine for the upperclassman dorm.

Shortly after the discovery, a sign was posted reading: "If you are responsible for this act, please stop ... " and "The entire building will be fined for the cleaning of the feces."

Andy Fink, associate director of Residence Life, said if the culprits do not come forward, then the makeshift poster threatening a building-wide fine could come true."

"In repeat offenses, we want the community to be involved and aware, but it is not good to bill students for something so minor," Fink said. "For minor things we will alert them, but we may be forced, if we can\'t identify the person, to have to charge students."

Fink said instances of residence hall vandalism are seldom, but incidents of this nature are "rude and crude and unusual."

"It is a matter of cleaning," Fink said. "If someone has to go into the elevator shaft, then that is something Housing can't do, so we will have to hire the elevator company, which takes money to do."

Typically, Fink said, a situation like this results in the voluntary surrender of the guilty party. He cited one such case in the Towers years ago, when a student ripped a drinking machine out of wall, which damaged the plumbing as well. With the costly nature of the crime, Fink said that the cost was enough to fine the floor, but a student came forward and went through the student discipline system.

"When we notify students that something has occurred, we are hoping to have someone come forward and then fine those who are responsible for what has happened," Fink said. "Peers should be holding peers to a higher standard of behavior."

First-year exercise science student Derek Pressley, a Bates West resident, said prevention could be the solution by installing cameras in elevators. Most said they feel a fine would be "unfair" and "unnecessary."

"The fining thing is the last resort," Fink said. "We wait a considerable amount of time, so people can talk about it, police can talk about it and we can figure out what has happened."Bates West hall government president Rick Wetherell, a second-year political science student, said he sees Hall Director Ted Lewis' logic in fining residents.

"All students need to be involved in keeping the residence hall," Fink said. "Our hope is that regarding what has happened in Bates West and elsewhere, people will come forth and thus get this resolved."

Saturday, April 09, 2005


cartoon by Mr. Fish


By Nat Hentoff
Pryor Daily Times

It's no longer a secret that the CIA -- to extract information from suspected terrorists - sends them to countries that practice torture, thereby allowing the president to keep saying that this nation does not practice torture. On March 6, CBS-TV's "60 Minutes" led off its four-month investigation of this lawless practice of "extraordinary renditions": "Witnesses tell the same story: masked men in an unmarked jet seize their target, cut off his clothes.... tranquilize him and fly him away."

The next night, on ABC-TV's "World News Tonight," chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross reported: "Flight logs shown to ABC News detail trips to Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan." And on "60 Minutes," Scott Pelley had noted that one of these kidnapping planes "made at least 600 flights to 40 countries.... after 9/11."

And on March 7, on Fox News -- a network not notable for criticizing the Bush administration -- its senior Judicial Analyst, Judge Andrew Napolitano, emphasized that "the United States signed over four treaties prohibiting this practice of extraordinary rendition. And the treaties required that the signing countries enact criminal statutes prohibiting them.

"They carry 20-year penalties for anybody having anything to do with.... planning it (and) supplying planes." Napolitano added: "The president.... can't change a treaty, he can't change a law.... the most he can say to his CIA operatives is: 'On my watch, you won't be prosecuted.'"
But there is a growing disquiet among certain CIA operatives that despite the "special rules" the administration has given the CIA, there might be consequences for those agents who have broken both our laws and the international treaties we have signed.

On "60 Minutes," Pelley interviewed Michael Scheuer, who helped begin the rendition program under Clinton and, until recently, was a senior CIA counterterrorist official. Scheuer said: "Basically, the National Security Council gave us the mission.... take people off the streets so they can't kill Americans."

Scheuer, who still believes these renditions are productive, characterizes them as "finding someone else to do your dirty work." Or, as one Bush administration official told the Washington Post (Dec. 26, 2002): "If we're not there in the room, who is to say?"

However Scheuer candidly told Scott Pelley: "Oh, I think from the first day we ever did it there was a certain macabre humor that said sooner or later this -- this -- this sword of Damocles is going to fall, because if something goes wrong, the policy maker, the politicians and the congressional committees aren't going to belly up to the bar and say, 'We authorized this.'"

On March 6, in the House of Representatives, Congressman Edward Markey (D-Mass.) held the sword of Damocles over the head of George W. Bush when he declared that "the president needs to rescind his extraordinary rendition 'outsourcing torture' directive.... I call on the President to declassify this secret order of his immediately.

"The war against terrorism," Markey continued, "is a war against those who engage in torture. If we fight our enemy using the same inhumane and morally bankrupt techniques that we are trying to stop, we will simply become what we have beheld. I call on President Bush to stop the outsourcing of torture immediately, in deed as well as word."

On ABC-TV's "World News Tonight," Markey said hopefully: "Like Abu Ghraib, it took a while for the outrage to build. The more the American people find out we are allowing other countries to torture in our name, there is going to be an outcry in this country."

I am listening hard, but I don't hear that outcry yet -- certainly not among the Republican leadership in Congress, which refuses to authorize an independent investigation of the CIA's "renditions."

One of the CIA's jets transporting suspected terrorists made 10 trips to Uzbekistan. Craig Murray, the former British ambassador to that country, told Pelley about the techniques of Uzbek interrogators: "drowning and suffocation, rape was used.... also the insertion of limbs in boiling liquid.... it's quite common."

Murray also told Brain Ross of ABC News that he received photos of one prisoner who was actually boiled to death. That corpse may not have been a person the CIA kidnapped, but how do we know?

In a (March 6) New York Times story on these horrifying renditions, a CIA official "would not discuss any legal directive under which the agency operated, but said that the CIA has existing authorities to lawfully conduct these operations."

The authority came directly from the president in a Sept. 17, 2001, "memorandum of notification."

Then why doesn't the president let us and Congress see this directive? Meanwhile, Fox News reports that Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez says "the United States would never send terrorism suspects to countries where they would be tortured."

But he did admit that once they had been sent, "the U.S. government didn't have control over how they were tortured."

Isn't this manipulation of words what George Orwell chillingly called "doublespeak"?


"Faith should not be blind, but here in America I think it could use a seeing eye dog sometimes."
- Snave

Friday, April 08, 2005


Look what happens when a President gets elected in a year with a "0" at the end. Also notice it goes in increments of 20 years.

1840: William Henry Harrison (died in office)
1860: Abraham Lincoln (assassinated)
1880: James A. Garfield (assassinated)
1900: William McKinley (assassinated)
1920: Warren G. Harding (died in office)
1940: Franklin D. Roosevelt (dies in office)
1960: John F. Kennedy (assassinated)
1980: Ronald Reagan (survived assassination attempt)
2000: George W. Bush - ???

And to think that we had two guys fighting it out in the courts to be the one elected in 2000!

Ronald Reagan may have actually been a "curse breaker", considering he was the first one of the guys listed above to not actually die while in office.

I am certainly not cheering for anything bad to happen to Bush during the remainder of his term, at least not in regard to him living. The thought that Dick Cheney is just a heart attack... er, I mean... heartbeat away from the presidency is far from reassuring. I want Bush to live, because I don't want Cheney running the show. But wait a minute... doesn't he already run the show anyway?

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


Coprophobes beware!

In order to provide some intellectually stimlating reading material for whatever readers happen to stroll by this little site, I will be combing the web for news about human waste products. If your heart and stomach can't take it, just scroll down. I will warn you of such content, dear readers, by alerting you with the title "Feces In The News" when I post such articles. There are a couple for today (see below), but usually it will only happen about once per week at the very most, and may even happen less often than that. I know I like to be on a regular schedule, and whereas once a week might not be often enough for me (I prefer DAILY) there are many of you for whom once a week (or longer) is more than adequate.

Why, you might well ask, do I find this subject so hilarious? I wish I could answer that for you... But I do believe the world is in fact full of feces, and that they play an important in all our daily lives. I would wager there are some of you, who if you don't have a regular schedule... panic!! So in some ways, feces actually exert control over our lives. Thus, I find them newsworthy.

Another reason for posting a few of these wonderful articles: I've already been posting such articles about feces for the past 8 months or so... they have just been under the heading "politics". So why should I stop now?