Thursday, November 30, 2006

NBC to Call Bush 'That Lying SOB'


NEW YORK, NY (IWR News Satire) - NBC News on Tuesday began referring to the George Bush "that lying little SOB", calling President Bush what many other news organizations have avoided.

Matt Lauer said on the "Today" show that "after careful consideration, NBC News has decided that a change in terminology is warranted, because Mr. Bush is congenital liar, by anybody's book."

I really needed this gem from the good folks at Internet Weekly. Some days watching the alleged leader of the free world deny reality gets to me. I'm still wondering why Bush hasn't been laughed out of office, and if the media would only call him on the bullshit, it could happen. Call me crazy, but I have Not resigned myself to two more years!

In a post titled, On Calling Bullshit, Dan Froomkin urges the msm to wake up:

"If mainstream-media political journalists don’t start calling bullshit more often, then we do risk losing our primacy — if not to the comedians then to the bloggers."

Related TGW post: NBC News: Iraq War Is Now A Civil War

Study Finds Crazy People Support Bush


Photo: Dictatorial Nurse Ratched Katherine Harris keeps an eye on her obviously psychotic patient, RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman.

Surprise! Another study proves what many of us (liberals anyway) already knew: "[T]he more psychotic the voter, the more likely they were to vote for Bush."

We really need to find a cure for mental illness.

Christopher Lohse], a social work master’s student at Southern Connecticut State University, says he has proven what many progressives have probably suspected for years: a direct link between mental illness and support for President Bush.

…Lohse's study, backed by SCSU Psychology professor Jaak Rakfeldt and statistician Misty Ginacola, found a correlation between the severity of a person's psychosis and their preferences for president: The more psychotic the voter, the more likely they were to vote for Bush.

"Our study shows that psychotic patients prefer an authoritative leader," Lohse says. "If your world is very mixed up, there's something very comforting about someone telling you, 'This is how it's going to be'."

Tom Tomorrow, notes: "Anyone who's spent any time reading right wing blogs already understood this to be true."

via AlterNet -- photo of RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman watched by nurse Katherine Harris... also found at Alternet.

Study Group Calls for Troop Withdrawal - Bush Says No Way


The my-way-or-the-highway pResident wasted no time before shooting down the Iraq Study Group's leaked recommendations:


Although the president was not asked directly about the panel's recommendations, which will be made next week but were partially leaked to news reporters late Wednesday, he seemed to have the group in mind when he said: "This business about graceful exit just simply has no realism to it whatsoever."

Iraq Study Group to Call for Phased Withdrawal:

"The bipartisan Iraq Study Group reached a consensus on Wednesday on a final report that will call for a gradual pullback of the 15 American combat brigades now in Iraq but stop short of setting a firm timetable for their withdrawal, according to people familiar with the panel’s deliberations," reports the New York Times.

"The report recommends that Mr. Bush make it clear that he intends to start the withdrawal relatively soon, and people familiar with the debate over the final language said the implicit message was that the process should begin sometime next year."

The report also recommends that the U.S. talk with one of the members of the Axis of Evil club, or it recommends "direct engagement with Iran and Syria," which would "ultimately involve direct, high-level talks with Tehran and Damascus."

But talking with people you disagree with is so totally out of high school. Bush will never agree to it.

"Mr. Bush has rejected such contacts until now, and he has also rejected withdrawal, declaring in Riga, Latvia, on Tuesday that while he will show flexibility, 'there’s one thing I’m not going to do: I’m not going to pull the troops off the battlefield before the mission is complete.'"

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Iraq Pays Reparations to Kentucky Fried Chicken


You thought it was bad enough that America is now blaming Iraq for the catastrophic disaster of the War on Iraq. Obviously, America has had lots of practice in the art of victim blaming. What were Iraqis thinking anyway when they let Bush give their country the shock and awe treatment?

But, no, that's not bad enough.

The warn-torn, illegally invaded country is actually paying out big bucks as reparations to multinational corporations, such as Kentucky Fried Chicken and Toys R Us -- for lost profits!:

Here is a small sample of who has been getting "reparation" awards from Iraq: Halliburton ($18m), Bechtel ($7m), Mobil ($2.3m), Shell ($1.6m), Nestlé ($2.6m), Pepsi ($3.8m), Philip Morris ($1.3m), Sheraton ($11m), Kentucky Fried Chicken ($321,000) and Toys R Us ($189,449). In the vast majority of cases, these corporations did not claim that Saddam's forces damaged their property in Kuwait - only that they "lost profits" or, in the case of American Express, experienced a "decline in business" because of the invasion and occupation of Kuwait. One of the biggest winners has been Texaco, which was awarded $505m in 1999. According to a UNCC spokesperson, only 12% of that reparation award has been paid, which means hundreds of millions more will have to come out of the coffers of post-Saddam Iraq.

According to the calculations of the blogger over at Progressive Gold, "For the price of two dead Iraqis you can get a 10 piece mixed meal with all the fixin's" at Kentucky Fried Chicken."

When the Bush legacy is written, it will surely be published in a volume of Ripley's Believe It or Not!

Conservatives Like Women 'Barefoot and Pregnant'


Conservatives aim to keep women "barefoot and pregnant," according to the federal Liberal Women's Caucus in Canada.

The Liberal women charge that their conservative government is out to keep women "barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen" by "pursuing an ideological agenda that ignores women's needs and cuts funding to those who need help the most."

Meanwhile here in the U.S., a raving anti birth control and pro abstinence nut is in charge of federal family planning programs. And compared to the rest of the 'developed' world, our pro family social programs are embarrassingly stingy at best and nonexistent at worst.

I only wish we here in the U.S. had some of Canada's problems. But, of course, conservatives in Canada look like liberals when compared to the 19th century rightwingers who have been leading the U.S. government.

I expect the Canadians will have universal child care fully in place while we are left still dreaming, in the USA, about universal health care.

The Liberal women released a set of party policies today aimed at what they say are the most pressing social and economic issues facing Canadian women, particularly working women and their families, caregivers and seniors.

Improving the social and economic equality of women is the driving force behind the first volume of what the Liberals are calling their "Pink Book."

The recommendations include commitments to reinstate the Liberal child-care and early-learning plan the Tories scrapped after the last election; to reverse budget cuts to social programs and Status of Women; to develop a national caregiver agenda; to provide more benefits to the self-employed, and to secure equal pay for work of equal value.

Cuts to social programs hurt women? And the families that women care for?

Who knew?

Hat tip to Samhita over at Feministing

Turning on the Puppet


by Maureen Dowd

The pictures show a handsome blond kid. Nick Rapavi’s family and friends described him as a tough guy with a selfless streak. He’d wanted to be a marine since high school, and his dress uniform had a parade of medals for heroism in Afghanistan and Iraq, including a Purple Heart. He was on his third overseas deployment, and planned to go to college when he finished this stint in the spring.

The 22-year-old corporal, the oldest son of a dentist, grew up in Northern Virginia in the shadow of the Pentagon. The kid described as being “full of life” died Friday in Anbar Province, the heartless heart of darkness in western Iraq, the hole-in-the-desert stronghold of the Sunni insurgency and Al Qaeda fighters.

His mother told The Washington Post that her son’s squad had approached a gate on patrol, and Nick told his men to “stay back while he went through.” He was shot in the neck by a spectral enemy that melted away, one of 2,874 brave Americans to die fighting in Iraq.

In Latvia, President Bush vowed yesterday that “I’m not going to pull our troops off the battlefield before the mission is complete.” But his words about Iraq long ago lost their meaning. Especially the words “mission” and “complete.”

At least in Anbar, the Pentagon may be about to pull troops off the battlefield. In another article yesterday, The Post, reporting on a classified Marine Corps intelligence report, said that “the U.S. military is no longer able to defeat a bloody insurgency in western Iraq or counter Al Qaeda’s rising popularity there.”

The Post went on: “The report describes Iraq’s Sunni minority as ‘embroiled in a daily fight for survival,’ fearful of ‘pogroms’ by the Shiite majority and increasingly dependent on Al Qaeda in Iraq as its only hope against growing Iranian dominance across the capital.”

ABC Nightly News went even further last night, reporting that the Pentagon is “writing off” Anbar and will send the 30,000 marines stationed there to Baghdad. “If we are not going to do a better job doing what we are doing out there,” a military official told Jonathan Karl, “what’s the point of having them out there?”

President Bush is still playing games, trying to link the need to stay in Iraq with Al Qaeda. “No question it’s tough,” Mr. Bush said at a news conference. “There’s a lot of sectarian violence taking place, fomented, in my opinion, because of the attacks by Al Qaeda, causing people to seek reprisal.”

Never mind that W. dropped the ball on Osama, and that his own commanders have estimated that Al Qaeda forces represent only a fraction of the foe in Iraq. Al Qaeda wasn’t even in Iraq until the Bush invasion.

The administration still won’t admit the obvious, that our soldiers are stuck in the middle of a civil war and that it’s going to take more than Dick Cheney powwowing with the Saudis to get us out of it. Stephen Hadley, the national security adviser, gingerly talks of “a new phase” in the conflict.

But reality does break through at moments. As Mr. Bush and Mr. Hadley head to Jordan to try to tell Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki not to go all wobbly, a stunning secret memo from Mr. Hadley has surfaced, expressing severe skepticism about whether our latest puppet can cut it.

Michael Gordon reveals in today’s Times that in a classified assessment, Mr. Hadley wrote that the Iraqi leader, who is getting pushed around by Moktada al-Sadr, was having trouble figuring out how to be strong. “The memo suggests that if Mr. Maliki fails to carry out a series of specified steps,” he writes, “it may ultimately be necessary to press him to reconfigure his parliamentary bloc, a step the United States could support by providing ‘monetary support to moderate groups,’ and by sending thousands of additional American troops into Baghdad to make up for what the document suggests is current shortage of Iraqi forces.”

Just what the election said Americans want: More kids at risk in Baghdad. (W.’s kids, of course, are running their own risks, partying their way through Argentina.)

Mr. Hadley bluntly mused about Mr. Malaki: “His intentions seem good when he talks with Americans, and sensitive reporting suggests he is trying to stand up to the Shi’a hierarchy and force positive change. But the reality on the streets of Baghdad suggests Maliki is either ignorant of what is going on, misrepresenting his intentions, or that his capabilities are not yet sufficient to turn his good intentions into action.”

It’s bad enough to say that about the Iraqi puppet. But what about when the same is true of the American president?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Two More Years


I can't say it any better than Atrios' take on Bush's blabbering attempt to spout his own I-Have-A-Dream speech this morning:

"Watching some of the speech this morning it became clear that our country is run by a shockingly stupid, somewhat delusional, and very messianic person who has downloaded large doses of extreme wingnuttery deep into his brain stem." -- Atrios

What did Bush say? It's not a civil war, and the rising violence is all Al Qaeda's fault.

Two more years.

I'm a Recovering American (video)


I found this sobering video over at the excellent Donkey o.d. (I've just replaced the old link with a new link to Donkey o.d.'s new site. The old one was apparently hacked and is now an empty domain virus trap, if you go there, do not click on anything!)

The Cowards Turned Out to Be Right


By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

For several years, the White House and its Dobermans helpfully pointed out the real enemy in Iraq: those lazy, wimpish foreign correspondents who were so foolish and unpatriotic that they reported that we faced grave difficulties in Iraq.

To Paul Wolfowitz, the essential problem was that journalists were cowards. “Part of our problem is a lot of the press are afraid to travel very much, so they sit in Baghdad and they publish rumors,” Mr. Wolfowitz said in 2004. He later added, “The story isn’t being described accurately.”

Don Rumsfeld agreed but suggested that the problem was treason: “Interestingly, all of the exaggerations seem to be on one side. It isn’t as though there simply have been a series of random errors on both sides of issues. On the contrary, the steady stream of errors all seem to be of a nature to inflame the situation and to give heart to the terrorists and to discourage those who hope for success in Iraq.”

As for Dick Cheney, he saw the flaw in journalists as indolence. “The press is, with all due respect — there are exceptions — oftentimes lazy, often simply reports what someone else in the press says without doing their homework.” Mr. Cheney and the others might have better spent their time reading the coverage of Iraq rather than insulting it, because in retrospect those brave reporters based in Baghdad got the downward spiral right.

“Many correspondents feel a sense of vindication that the administration finally accepts what we were screaming two years ago,” notes Farnaz Fassihi, who provided excellent Iraq coverage for The Wall Street Journal. Now Ms. Fassihi wonders how long it will take for the administration to acknowledge the reality of 2006 that Iraq correspondents are writing about: the incipient civil war.

Dexter Filkins, who covered Iraq brilliantly for this newspaper until his departure this summer to take up a fellowship at Harvard, says he was constantly accused of reporting only the bad news, of being unpatriotic, and of getting Americans killed.

“I don’t think it ever affected our reporting,” he said. “But I did find it demoralizing, the idea that the truth — the reality on the ground that we were seeing every day — did not matter, that these overfed people sitting in TV studios and in their living rooms could just turn up the volume on what they wanted to be happening in Iraq and that that could overwhelm the reality.”

Mr. Filkins added: “I have almost been killed in Iraq 20 or 30 times — really almost killed. “I’ve lost count. Do these people really believe that we were all risking our lives for some political agenda?”

Richard Engel of NBC says he was taken aback when pundits accused him of standing on a balcony in the Green Zone and simply feeding the world bad news. “Like most journalists in Iraq, I have never lived in the Green Zone,” he notes, adding: “To imply from afar we were just lazy was missing the point, and also dangerous. I know several reporters who were so incensed by similar criticism, they took extra risks.”

While it’s the right that led those toxic attacks, the left is also vulnerable to letting ideology trump empiricism. Mr. Filkins notes that while he used to get nasty letters and e-mail primarily from conservatives, much of the fire more recently has come from liberals accusing him of covering up atrocities — all of it from people whose ideological certitude is proportional to their distance from Baghdad.

As we try to extricate ourselves from Iraq, a basic lesson for the administration is that it should deal with bad news in ways more creative than clobbering the messenger. From the beginning of the war, the Pentagon has had an incredibly sophisticated news operation (now including its own news channel, carried on some cable networks), but it has often seemed more concerned with disseminating propaganda than with gathering facts.

Take the Defense Department’s Early Bird news clipping service, which traditionally had been a dispassionate collection of outside articles to keep senior military officers informed. Lately it has been leading with in-house spin. The Early Bird of Nov. 20, for example, began with three separate unpublished letters to the editor by Pentagon officials before getting to the news from around the world.

So how about if the administration devotes itself less to managing the news and more to trying to manage Iraq?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Bush Twins Gone Wild



The Bush twins were spotted running naked through the halls of their hotel in Buenos Aires, according to one press account. But with a dad like Junior, how could that possibly be true? Still, we're keeping an eye out for the video over at Youtube.

U.S. embassy officials asked the Bush twins to leave Buenos Aires due to security concerns that have arisen because the Argentinean press has been having a field day following the antics of the twins, reports ABC Blotter:

Amid a growing barrage of front-page headlines, U.S. embassy officials "strongly suggested" President Bush's twin daughters, Jenna and Barbara Bush, cut short their trip to Buenos Aires because of security issues, U.S. diplomatic and security sources tell ABC News.

Stories of the twins' visit took on wild proportions in the Argentinean press. One tabloid headline had the young women running nude in the hallway of their hotel, a report the hotel staff denied to ABC News.

According to sources, the U.S. embassy encouraged the two girls to cut their stay short because the added attention was making their security very difficult. But to the dismay and anger of some U.S. embassy and security staff, the girls stayed on.

Thursday night, an ABC News producer was able to walk into their hotel unchecked and engage Barbara Bush in conversation while she checked her e-mail on a computer in the lobby. Jenna sat talking with friends on a sofa nearby. No Secret Service agents were anywhere to be seen in the lobby, according to ABC News' Joe Goldman.

Sources tell ABC News the twins plan to stick to their original itinerary and stay in Buenos Aires until Thursday.

Update: "Barbara Bush left Argentina late Sunday. Jenna, however, plans to remain in Argentina until Dec. 6, sources told ABC News."

Celebrating KKK Grand Wizards at Public Universities


The Tennessean reports that Confederate hero Nathan Bedford Forrest "had least one black supporter in Murfreesboro on Sunday." That would be African-American H.K. Edgerton, the famed "darling of the white-supremacist wing" of the Southern Heritage movement.

Edgerton was in Murfreesboro to take a stand against the MTSU student effort to remove the name of the confederate hero from the campus ROTC building. The MTSU Student Government Association "passed a resolution to rename Forrest Hall by a vote of 19 to 5."

Who was Nathan Bedford Forrest? According to the Southern Poverty Law Center:

"Forrest was a Memphis slave trader who acquired fabulous wealth before the war; He commanded the troops who carried out an 1864 massacre of mostly black prisoners; and He led violent resistance to Reconstruction as the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan." And, "a Civil War newspaper account described whippings in which four slaves held the victim stretched out in the air while Forrest personally administered the bullwhip. Women were allegedly stripped naked and whipped with a leather thong dipped in salt water."

The MTSU campus building was named after the confederate hero during the Jim Crow era of the 1950s.

Obviously, African-Americans had other things on their minds at the time and so raised no objections to the names of buildings at white universities.

The Tennessean tells us that confederate champion H.K. Edgerton is a "former president of the Asheville, N.C., branch of the NAACP." The Gannett paper forgets to mention that Edgerton was suspended from the NAACP in 1998 and subsequently voted out of office.

In the opinion of H.K. Edgerton, "it was better to be an African in the Southland as a slave than to be free in Africa."

Little wonder that Rev. Skip Alston, executive director of the North Carolina NAACP, told a reporter: "His elevator doesn't go all the way to the top. It doesn't even reach the second floor. We don't recognize anything that he's doing."

The Tennessean also tells us that Edgerton was invited to come to Tennessee to take a stand on the controversy by Todd Gober, president of the local chapter of Sons of Confederate Veterans.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV), is "a Southern heritage group that has been largely dominated by racial extremists since 2002," and has again recently "elected a commander in chief and other national leaders who are closely tied to its radical faction."

I know you didn't expect the Tennessean to tell you that.

Pictured here are H.K. Edgerton, Kirk Lyons and Neill Payne having a good laugh by placing napkins on their heads and posing as Klansmen.

For more info, see the MTSU Student Paper, Sidelines.

NBC News: Iraq War Is Now A Civil War


NBC News is now calling the Iraq War a civil war.

Now that Bush is politically impotent, I think we can expect the U.S. media to find the courage to speak truth to the disempowered.

Political Wire:

On the Today Show this morning, host Matt Lauer noted a change in policy at NBC News:

"For months now the White House has rejected claims that the situation in Iraq has deteriorated into a civil war. And, for the most part, news organizations like NBC have hesitated to characterize it as such. But after careful consideration, NBC News has decided a change in terminology is warranted -- that the situation in Iraq with armed militarized factions fighting for their own political agendas -- can now be characterized as a civil war."

Meanwhile, Britain, Italy and Poland prepare to cut and run.

Bob Corker Opposes Civil Unions Unless . .


The Defense of Marriage Act and this state's newly passed anti gay marriage amendment are not enough for Bob Corker. The nation's sole Republican freshman senator would like to see same-sex marriage become even more illegal via an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

And that's the liberal side of Bob Corker.

As to civil unions, Corker says he "would be open to looking" at civil unions as long as they do not resemble marriage.

In other words, as long as there is absolutely no benefit to entering a civil union, Bob Corker will be happy to entertain the idea of granting his approval.

The Tennessean:

Would you change the U.S. Constitution to define marriage as being between one man and one woman, as Tennessee voters decided to do here?

Yes. I would support a constitutional amendment. … You end up having a situation where there is so much mobility in our country, where people from Massachusetts move to Tennessee and vice versa. For that reason and just with the activism in the federal court system … if that amendment is proposed, it is something I would support.

What are your thoughts on giving same-sex couples rights as civil unions?

If a civil union is the exact same as a marriage, then I do not support that. I do understand there are certain legal issues that (same-sex) couples would like to pursue. Again, if it's not something that resembles a marriage, then I would be open to looking at that. … I know what has been discussed is certain types of visitation in the hospital and things like that. I certainly would be open to looking at things like that. But if civil union is something that, again, is really just taking place of the word marriage, that's not something I would support.

1950s Gender Propaganda Parody (PMS)

A Parody of 1950s Goverment Issued Gender Propaganda Videos

In the 1950s, a healthy adult woman was defined as possessing the same attributes as a child. As always, women either conformed or we were burned at the stake. Some days we were only burned metaphorically.

The government propaganda films from this era are so outrageously funny, or sick, that it hardly seems necessary to spice them up. But this does serve as a nice distraction from the ongoing high drama of war and destruction waged by the guys in charge of the world.

This is the number one video at Technorati today, I think that means we are all craving a little distraction.

The Perfect 36 - Tennessee Delivers Woman Suffrage



This blog received, as a donation, a number of copies of this very cool book. We are happy to promote women's history -- or herstory -- by offering them to our readers.

Mahatma Gandhi was inspired by the nonviolent civil disobedience of women. The suffrage story is one of a multitude of stories about women from the past that remains shamefully neglected by the history books of this nation.

It is doubtful that women will ever attain equality as long as we continue to be denied our rightful place in the history books. You can help promote the knowledge of the all but taboo subject of women's history, and support this blog too, by ordering your copy. (Scroll down for details.)

The Perfect 36 - Tennessee Delivers Woman Suffrage
by Carol Lynn Yellin & Janann Sherman

The Perfect 36 includes an overview of the 72 year national struggle for women's right to vote in the U.S., as well as the amazing story of the high drama final victory in Tennessee. There are lots and lots of cool graphics, including political cartoons and photos of some of my own favorite foresisters from the era, such as Alice Paul and Tennessee's own Sue Shelton White. Both women went to jail for the cause. Sue Shelton White burned President Wilson in effigy, just like any good Tennessee Guerilla Woman would!

There's a graphic depiction of a flyer announcing a meeting at the Ryman Auditorium for the purpose of Saving the South from the Susan B. Anthony Amendment! And there's a photo of a Suffrage Parade on West End Avenue, here in Nashville. The suffragists were headed for Centennial Park, which in 2006 is still a favored site for social justice activists.

The book includes a nice long list of kick-ass Tennessee foresisters from across the state, dubbed "The Suffrage Roll of Honor." The honor roll includes Mary Church Terrell and Ida B. Wells of Memphis, Abby Crawford Milton of Chattanooga, Lizzie Crozier French of Knoxville, Sue Shelton White of Jackson and many more.

There's a foreword by former Governor Don Sundquist and Martha Sundquist. And there's a foreword by Tennessee's newly elected liberal U.S. Congressman Steve Cohen.

How to Order:

Simply make a donation of $30.00 via the Paypal link over in the sidebar (near the top), and email me your mailing address info and/or any questions.

Thanks to Paula F. Casey and Jan Sherman for this very kind and thoughtful donation.

While Iraq Burns


By BOB HERBERT

Americans are shopping while Iraq burns.

The competing television news images on the morning after Thanksgiving were of the unspeakable carnage in Sadr City — where more than 200 Iraqi civilians were killed by a series of coordinated car bombs — and the long lines of cars filled with holiday shopping zealots that jammed the highway approaches to American malls that had opened for business at midnight.

A Wal-Mart in Union, N.J., was besieged by customers even before it opened its doors at 5 a.m. on Friday. “All I can tell you,” said a Wal-Mart employee, “is that they were fired up and ready to spend money.”

There is something terribly wrong with this juxtaposition of gleeful Americans with fistfuls of dollars storming the department store barricades and the slaughter by the thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians, including old people, children and babies. The war was started by the U.S., but most Americans feel absolutely no sense of personal responsibility for it.

Representative Charles Rangel recently proposed that the draft be reinstated, suggesting that politicians would be more reluctant to take the country to war if they understood that their constituents might be called up to fight. What struck me was not the uniform opposition to the congressman’s proposal — it has long been clear that there is zero sentiment in favor of a draft in the U.S. — but the fact that it never provoked even the briefest discussion of the responsibilities and obligations of ordinary Americans in a time of war.

With no obvious personal stake in the war in Iraq, most Americans are indifferent to its consequences. In an interview last week, Alex Racheotes, a 19-year-old history major at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, said: “I definitely don’t know anyone who would want to fight in Iraq. But beyond that, I get the feeling that most people at school don’t even think about the war. They’re more concerned with what grade they got on yesterday’s test.”

His thoughts were echoed by other students, including John Cafarelli, a 19-year-old sophomore at the University of New Hampshire, who was asked if he had any friends who would be willing to join the Army. “No, definitely not,” he said. “None of my friends even really care about what’s going on in Iraq.”

This indifference is widespread. It enables most Americans to go about their daily lives completely unconcerned about the atrocities resulting from a war being waged in their name. While shoppers here are scrambling to put the perfect touch to their holidays with the purchase of a giant flat-screen TV or a PlayStation 3, the news out of Baghdad is of a society in the midst of a meltdown.

According to the United Nations, more than 7,000 Iraqi civilians were killed in September and October. Nearly 5,000 of those killings occurred in Baghdad, a staggering figure.

In a demoralizing reprise of life in Afghanistan under Taliban rule, the U.N. reported that in Iraq: “The situation of women has continued to deteriorate. Increasing numbers of women were recorded to be either victims of religious extremists or ‘honor killings.’ Some non-Muslim women are forced to wear a headscarf and to be accompanied by spouses or male relatives.”

Journalists in Iraq are being “assassinated with utmost impunity,” the U.N. report said, with 18 murdered in the last two months. Iraq burns. We shop. The Americans dying in Iraq are barely mentioned in the press anymore. They warrant maybe one sentence in a long roundup article out of Baghdad, or a passing reference — no longer than a few seconds — in a television news account of the latest political ditherings.

Since the vast majority of Americans do not want anything to do with the military or the war, the burden of fighting has fallen on a small cadre of volunteers who are being sent into the war zone again and again. Nearly 3,000 have been killed, and many thousands more have been maimed.

The war has now lasted as long as the American involvement in World War II. But there is no sense of collective sacrifice in this war, no shared burden of responsibility. The soldiers in Iraq are fighting, suffering and dying in a war in which there are no clear objectives and no end in sight, and which a majority of Americans do not support.

They are dying anonymously and pointlessly, while the rest of us are free to buckle ourselves into the family vehicle and head off to the malls and shop.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Chuck Hagel (R) Says It's Time to Go



In today's Washington Post, Chuck Hagel says it's time to get the hell out. The Republican Senator from Nebraska calls for a phased withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

Senator Hagel says it's too late to send more troops to Iraq because we don't have more to send. And it wouldn't do any good anyway.

Hagel does a half-decent job of summing up the Bush War as the catastrophic disaster that it is and then blows it by saying it's not too late for the U.S. to "extricate itself honorably from an impending disaster in Iraq."

Honorably?

Impending?

Impending?

Impending?

Hagel in the WaPo: We have misunderstood, misread, misplanned and mismanaged our honorable intentions in Iraq with an arrogant self-delusion reminiscent of Vietnam. Honorable intentions are not policies and plans. Iraq belongs to the 25 million Iraqis who live there. They will decide their fate and form of government.

America finds itself in a dangerous and isolated position in the world. We are perceived as a nation at war with Muslims. Unfortunately, that perception is gaining credibility in the Muslim world and for many years will complicate America's global credibility, purpose and leadership. This debilitating and dangerous perception must be reversed as the world seeks a new geopolitical, trade and economic center that will accommodate the interests of billions of people over the next 25 years. The world will continue to require realistic, clear-headed American leadership -- not an American divine mission.

The United States must begin planning for a phased troop withdrawal from Iraq.


Graphic via Seeds of Doubt

This Pharmacy Refuses to Sell Plan B


West Towne Pharmacy, 1619 W Market St., Johnson City, Tennessee 37604

Thanks for the photo go to reader hogwild, who lives in what he calls the Red Corner.

As we wrote in a previous post, the pharmacist at West Towne Pharmacy, Joe Knisley says he won't be carrying Plan B because it's his job to tell women what we can and cannot put into our bodies!

Or as the morality dispensing pharmacist says:

"I'm just morally opposed to it. I feel strongly about the sanctity of human life, and I think this is diametrically opposed to that. I just don't feel comfortable in stocking a medicine when I know what it's going to be used for. Therefore we will not carry it."

Next time you need a prescription for morality, go see Joe. Otherwise, there's no need to bother pro population explosion Joe with your business.

If you run across any other high and mighty anti birth control pharmacists, take a picture and send it here!

Related Post: Emergency Contraception for Free

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Emergency Contraception for Free


Planned Parenthood centers across the country will dispense free emergency contraception on Wednesday, December 6, 2006! Obviously, the purpose is to advertise the fact that Plan B is now available without a prescription.

This report comes from the Memphis area ABC affiliate:

Emergency Contraception for Free


Memphis Regional Planned Parenthood is joining its sister affiliates across the country to offer free emergency contraception on Wednesday, December 6, 2006. ...

The Memphis Regional Planned Parenthood's health center is located at 1407 Union Avenue. It will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on December 6th. No appointment is necessary.

I couldn't find any more info about the giveaway in Tennessee, not even on Planned Parenthood sites. But there are quite a few stories about the free Plan B day (December 6) in other states. The Des Moines Register reports that a pack of Plan B "will be available free to anyone 18 or older at each of Planned Parenthood's 15 Iowa medical centers." Women under 18 will also be able to receive the free birth control "after fill[ing] out paperwork at a clinic and participat[ing] in a counseling session with medical staff.

Men are also eligible.

A two-pill pack usually retails for about $42.

You should probably call your local Planned Parenthood to confirm. (I'll try to call the local center on Monday.) You can find the contact info for your local Planned Parenthood Center here. Or call toll free: 1-800-230-PLAN.

Tell all your friends!!!

Previously: Tenn. Pharmacist Refuses to Stock Plan B

No One to Lose to


A Civil War?
By MAUREEN DOWD

After the Thanksgiving Day Massacre of Shiites by Sunnis, President Bush should go on Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News and give an interview headlined: “If I did it, here’s how the civil war in Iraq happened.”

He could describe, hypothetically, a series of naïve, arrogant and self-defeating blunders, including his team’s failure to comprehend that in the Arab world, revenge and religious zealotry can be stronger compulsions than democracy and prosperity.

But W. is not yet able to view his actions in subjunctive terms, much less objective ones. Bush family retainers are working to deprogram him, but the president is loath to strip off his delusions of adequacy.

W. declined to tear himself away from his free-range turkey and pumpkin mousse trifle at Camp David and reassure Americans about the deadliest sectarian attack in Baghdad since the U.S. invaded. More than 200 Shiites were killed and hundreds more wounded by car bombs and a mortar attack in Sadr City. October was the bloodiest month yet for civilians, and in the last four months, some 13,000 men, women and children have died.

American helicopters and Iraqi troops did not arrive for two hours after Sunni gunmen began a siege on the Health Ministry controlled by the Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr, who has a militia that kills Sunnis and is married to the Maliki government.

Continuing the cycle of revenge yesterday, Shiite militiamen threw kerosene on six Sunnis and set them on fire, as Iraqi soldiers watched, and killed 19 more. The New York Times and other news outlets have been figuring out if it’s time to break with the administration’s use of euphemisms like “sectarian conflict.” How long can you have an ever-descending descent without actually reaching the civil war?

Some analysts are calling it genocide or clash of civilizations, arguing that civil war is too genteel a term for the butchery that is destroying a nation before our very eyes. Anthony Shadid, The Washington Post reporter who won a Pulitzer Prize for his Iraq coverage, went back recently and described “the final, frenzied maturity of once-inchoate forces unleashed more than three years ago by the invasion. There was civil-war-style sectarian killing, its echoes in Lebanon a generation ago. Alongside it were gangland turf battles over money, power and survival; a raft of political parties and their militias fighting a zero-sum game; a raging insurgency; the collapse of authority; social services a chimera; and no way forward for an Iraqi government ordered to act by Americans who themselves are still seen as the final arbiter and, as a result, still depriving that government of legitimacy. Civil war was perhaps too easy a term, a little too tidy.”

It will be harder to sell Congress on the idea that America’s troops should be in the middle of somebody else’s civil war than to convince them that we need to hang tough in the so-called front line of the so-called war on terror against Al Qaeda.

With Iraq splitting, Tony Snow indulges in the ludicrous exercise of hair-splitting. He said that in past civil wars, “people break up into clearly identifiable feuding sides clashing for supremacy.” In Iraq, “you do have a lot of different forces that are trying to put pressure on the government and trying to undermine it. But it’s not clear that they are operating as a unified force.” But Lebanon was a shambles with multiple factions, and everybody called that a civil war.

Mr. Snow has said this is not a civil war because the fighting is not taking place in every province and because Iraqis voted in free elections. But that’s like saying that the Battle of Gettysburg only took place in one small corner of the country, so there was no real American Civil War. And there were elections during our civil war too. President Lincoln was re-elected months before the war’s end.

The president’s comparison to how Vietnam turned out a generation later, his happy talk that Iraq is going to be fine, is preposterous.

As Neil Sheehan, a former Times reporter in Vietnam who wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning “A Bright Shining Lie,” told me: “In Vietnam, there were just two sides to the civil war. You had a government in Hanoi with a structure of command and an army and a guerrilla movement that would obey what they were told to do. So you had law and order in Saigon immediately after the war ended. In Iraq, there’s no one like that for us to lose to and then do business with.”

The questions are no longer whether there’s a civil war or whether we can achieve a military victory. The only question is, who can we turn the country over to?

At the moment, that would be no one.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Neocons Report: GOP Share of Vote Fell 10%


Democrats' Election Victory Looks Bigger All the Time


Neocon John Podhoretz cites an eye-popping body of evidence to support the claim that we are witnessing the last dying gasps of the Republican Party.

Citing the conservative Realclearpolitics.com, Podhoretz moans -- on the pages of the rightwing New York Post -- that from 2004 to 2006, "the GOP's share of the vote fell an astonishing 10 percentage points."

While we haven't checked the validity of the neocons' numbers, we happily recall that for neocons, perception is everything.

Remember that coming progressive era we keep talking about? It looks closer all the time!

PRESIDENT Bush contributed a new word to the political lexicon when he called the GOP defeat on Election Day a "thumpin'." Now, two weeks after the election, the full nature of the "thumpin' " is coming through pretty clearly - and it's devastating news for Republicans and conservatives and even more disastrous for Bush.

According to vote-cruncher Jay Cost of Realclearpolitics.com, 54 percent of the ballots in open races were cast for Democrats and 46 percent for Republicans. Between 2004 and '06, the GOP's share of the vote fell an astonishing 10 percentage points.

Cost puts it like this: "Republicans should thus count themselves very lucky. With this kind of vote share prior to 1994, the Democrats would have an 81-member majority, as opposed to the 29-member majority they now enjoy." Only certain structural changes in U.S. politics since 1990 prevented that mega-thumpin'. That is, Republicans in the House were spared a decimation of their ranks by forces beyond their control.

But those forces aren't beyond Democratic control - which should panic Republican politicians. Many of the structural changes that saved them this time can be undone, especially after the census of 2010 leads to new congressional maps - which it appears will be supervised in a majority of the states by legislatures controlled by Dems. . .

There's no good news whatever for Republicans in the exit polls or anywhere else. The talk that they suffered at the polls this time because GOP voters were disenchanted by the party? Nonsense: By all accounts, more than 90 percent of Republican voters cast their ballot for GOP candidates, and turnout was high. GOP voters didn't revolt against the Republican Party. Independent and conservative Democrats did.

When Votes Disappear


Paul Krugman discusses the latest very smelly Republican-controlled election in Florida. In Katharine Harris' district, the contest for her old Congressional seat looks a lot like 2000!

By PAUL KRUGMAN

You know what really had me terrified on Nov. 7? The all-too-real possibility of a highly suspect result. What would we have done if the Republicans had held on to the House by a narrow margin, but circumstantial evidence strongly suggested that a combination of vote suppression and defective — or rigged — electronic voting machines made the difference?

Fortunately, it wasn’t a close election. But the fact that our electoral system worked well enough to register an overwhelming Democratic landslide doesn’t mean that things are O.K. There were many problems with voting in this election — and in at least one Congressional race, the evidence strongly suggests that paperless voting machines failed to count thousands of votes, and that the disappearance of these votes delivered the race to the wrong candidate.

Here’s the background: Florida’s 13th Congressional District is currently represented by Katherine Harris, who as Florida’s secretary of state during the 2000 recount famously acted as a partisan Republican rather than a fair referee. This year Ms. Harris didn’t run for re-election, making an unsuccessful bid for the Senate instead. But according to the official vote count, the Republicans held on to her seat, with Vern Buchanan, the G.O.P. candidate, narrowly defeating Christine Jennings, the Democrat.

The problem is that the official vote count isn’t credible. In much of the 13th District, the voting pattern looks normal. But in Sarasota County, which used touch-screen voting machines made by Election Systems and Software, almost 18,000 voters — nearly 15 percent of those who cast ballots using the machines — supposedly failed to vote for either candidate in the hotly contested Congressional race. That compares with undervote rates ranging from 2.2 to 5.3 percent in neighboring counties.

Reporting by The Herald-Tribune of Sarasota, which interviewed hundreds of voters who called the paper to report problems at the polls, strongly suggests that the huge apparent undervote was caused by bugs in the ES&S software.

About a third of those interviewed by the paper reported that they couldn’t even find the Congressional race on the screen. This could conceivably have been the result of bad ballot design, but many of them insisted that they looked hard for the race. Moreover, more than 60 percent of those interviewed by The Herald-Tribune reported that they did cast a vote in the Congressional race — but that this vote didn’t show up on the ballot summary page they were shown at the end of the voting process.

Read the whole thing

Brad Blog has screenshots of the actual ballot and more.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Peace Now (Le Tigre Video)


And as Eleanor Roosevelt said...
"It isn't enough to talk about peace, one must believe in it. It isn't enough to believe in it, one must work at it"
And we here today... are working at it!

Peace...Now
Peace...Now
Peace...Now
Peace...Now!

Via Sinister Girl

You Can Get Anything You Want At Alice's Restaurant


Here's the mp3 -- Listen to Alice's Restaurant via Susie Bright.

In my house, like many others, listening to Alice's Restaurant has become a Thanksgiving tradition. Thank you Arlo!

The Boston Globe has a story about the tradition. And Arlo will perform Alice in New York this Saturday.

Also, you can hear and see the video of Arlo performing Alice's Restaurant at the Guthrie Center on July 2, 2005 over at Youtube. (The embed feature is disabled.)

Remember, if you want to end wars and stuff, you gotta sing loud!

Have a happy and a liberal Thanksgiving!!!

You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant
Walk right in it's around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant


Here are the Lyrics of the 18 minute and 30 second song.

The Empty Chair at the Table


By BOB HERBERT

Philadelphia - The old stone house in the close-knit Mount Airy neighborhood that Sherwood Baker grew up in had for many years been the scene of rollicking holiday gatherings.

“We would have big, ridiculous dinners,” said his mom, Celeste Zappala. She chuckled. “They weren’t formal, believe me. The dishes wouldn’t match and we’d never have enough silverware. But it was great fun.”

Sherwood, a big man at 6-4 and about 250 pounds, would be there with his wife, Debra, and son, J.D., his two brothers, and sometimes his dad, even though he is divorced from Ms. Zappala. Others would be there, as well. “We’d look for stray people,” Ms. Zappala said, “somebody who didn’t have someone to be with. We could always fit more people around the table. ”

The gatherings are more subdued now. Ms. Zappala can still remember almost every detail of the April evening in 2004 when the man in the dress uniform with the medals on his chest showed up on her porch with the bad news. “He had a notebook in his hand,” she said. “I could see him very clearly even though it was dark and kind of raining. So I came out on the porch and I looked at him. And I knew, but I didn’t want to know.”

Sgt. Sherwood Baker of the Pennsylvania National Guard had been in Baghdad only six weeks when he was killed. The bitter irony that will always surround his death was the fact that he was helping to provide security for the Iraq Survey Group, which was hunting for the weapons of mass destruction. He died on April 26, 2004, in an explosion at a factory that was being inspected.

Grief is magnified during the holidays, and with the toll in Iraq steadily mounting, there are now thousands of families across the U.S. who are faced, like Sergeant Baker’s relatives, with an awful empty space at their Thanksgiving tables. Ms. Zappala pulled out photos of Sherwood and the rest of the family laughing it up at holiday parties, and spoke of the ferocious grief that has since gripped everyone. “We won’t be the same now,” she said. “We’re totally different people than we started out to be.”

One of the family’s last Christmas presents for Sergeant Baker was a global positioning device. “He was told that he had to have one,” said Ms. Zappala, “but the Army wouldn’t buy it for him. So we got him one. That was our last Christmas together, 2003. We were all trying to be happy but each of us was frightened and worried about what was going to happen to him.”

Sergeant Baker’s story, for the most part, was typical. He was a social worker who joined the National Guard in 1997 in part for civic reasons, but also because he needed help paying off his college loans. “It was extra money,” his mother said.

What was unusual was that Ms. Zappala was a longtime peace and social justice activist. She opposed the Iraq war from the very beginning, and the last thing in the world that she wanted was for her son to be in it. Sergeant Baker told her not to worry, that no one from the Pennsylvania National Guard had been killed in combat since World War II. But she worried. And when it was clear that Sergeant Baker would be sent to Iraq, she looked for a way out. “I told him, ‘If you don’t want to do this, I’ll take you to Canada,’” she said. “But he said, ‘No, I made an oath before God. And besides, they would court-martial me. I’ll just go. I’ll do it and I’ll come home.’ ”

Ms. Zappala remains opposed to the war and is an active member of the antiwar group Military Families Speak Out. There’s a sign on her porch that says, “War is Not the Answer.” But she’s found that there’s no comfort to be drawn from her protests, however strongly she believes in them.

“Where’s the comfort in being right?” she asked. “Everything we said was right. Sherwood died looking for the weapons of mass destruction that didn’t exist. All the nonsense about the Al Qaeda connections and Sept. 11th. They were all lies. It was all wrong. But none of that brings Sherwood back to the table.”

While standing on the porch where she got the terrible news about her son, Ms. Zappala spoke of the many other families that have lost children, or other close relatives, to the war. “I’m very aware that it didn’t just happen to us,” she said. “For everybody, it’s the same horrible loss. It’s the same tragedy. It doesn’t make any difference whether someone was for or against the war. We’ve met families who were very supportive of the war and we were crying with them. The pain is the same.”

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Keroack the Quack Will Do a Heckuva Job


The wacky Bush Administration is defending Eric Keroack, the new Bush hire for overseeing federal family-planning programs. Abstinence guru Keroack has served for more than a decade as the medical director for a group that opposes birth control and dispenses scientifically inaccurate information. Actually the "group" is a chain of crisis pregnancy centers. Only in the wacky White House does this look good on your resume.

In the 'judgment' of Bushie all this makes Keroack the Quack qualified to oversee "HHS's $283 million reproductive-health program," as well as "a $30 million program that encourages abstinence among teenagers."

The Department of Health and Human Services says never mind about all that, Keroack is too qualified because ... wait for it.... because he has actually prescribed birth control!

Yeah, but what I want to know is why do rightwing christian zealots even aspire to be gynecologists? And when are Laura and Barbara and Jen going to step forward with some tell-all testimonies on the real qualifications of anti birth control OB-GYNs?

Did I mention that Keroack the QUACK preaches that "premarital sex disrupts brain chemistry," which contructs a physiological barrier to happily-ever-after marriages?

If you were actually insane enough to make an appointment with OB-GYN Keroack, rhymes with QUACK, you'd have to wait for it cause his license to do whatever it is he does has actually expired! I'm guessing that makes him doubly qualified in the eyes of our Commander-in-La-La-Land.

Keroack the Quack began his new job yesterday. He will oversee the Title X family-planning program, which has "a federal mandate to provide information and access to birth control, as well as pregnancy tests and counseling."

Lost in the Desert


By MAUREEN DOWD

WASHINGTON - Iraq now evokes that old Jimmy Durante song that goes, “Did you ever have the feeling that you wanted to go and still have the feeling that you wanted to stay?” It’s hard to remember when America has been so stuck. We can’t win and we can’t leave.

The good news is that the election finished what Katrina started. It dismantled the president’s fake reality about Iraq, causing opinions to come gushing forth from all quarters about where to go from here.

The bad news is that no one, and I mean no one, really knows where to go from here. The White House and the Pentagon are ready to shift to Plan B. But Plan B is their empty term for miraculous salvation. (Dick Cheney and his wormy aides, of course, are still babbling about total victory and completing the mission by raising the stakes and knocking off the mullahs in Tehran. His tombstone will probably say, “Here lies Dick Cheney, still winning.”)

Even Henry Kissinger has defected from the Plan A gang. Once he thought the war could work, but now he thinks military victory is out of the question. When he turns against a war, you know the war’s in trouble. He also believes leaving quickly would risk a civil war so big it could destabilize the Middle East.

Kofi Annan, who thought the war was crazy, now says that the United States is “trapped in Iraq” and can’t leave until the Iraqis can create a “secure environment” — even though the Iraqis evince not the slightest interest in a secure environment. (The death squads even assassinated a popular comedian this week.)

The retired Gen. Anthony Zinni, who thought Mr. Bush’s crusade to depose Saddam was foolish and did not want to send in any troops, now thinks we may have to send in more troops so we can eventually get out.

Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, whose soldiers pulled Saddam out of his spider hole and who is returning to Iraq to take charge of the day-to-day fight, has given up talking about a Jeffersonian democracy and now wishes only for a government in Iraq that’s viewed as legitimate. He has gone from “can do” to “don’t know.” He talked to The Times’s Thom Shanker about his curtailed goals of reducing sectarian violence and restoring civil authority, acknowledging: “Will we attain those? I don’t know.”

At a Senate hearing last week, Gen. John Abizaid sounded like Goldilocks meets Guernica, asserting two propositions about the war that are logically at war with each other. He said we can’t have fewer troops because the Iraqis need us, but we can’t have more because we don’t want the Iraqis to become dependent on us.

He contended that increasing the number of our troops would make the Iraqi government mad, but also asserted that decreasing the number would intensify sectarian violence.

This a poor menu of options. As Peter Beinart wrote in The New Republic this week, “In a particularly cruel twist, the events of recent months have demolished the best arguments both for staying and for leaving.” Noting in the same magazine that “we are approaching a Saddam-like magnitude for the murder of innocents,” Leon Wieseltier worried that the problem may be deeper than the number of our troops; it may be Iraq itself. “After we invaded Iraq, Iraq invaded itself. ... We are at the mercy of Iraq, where there is no mercy.”

Kirk Semple, The Times’s Baghdad correspondent, wrote about Capt. Stephanie Bagley, the daughter and granddaughter of military policemen who was enthusiastic a year ago about her job of building a new Iraqi police force. But that was before the militia so inexorably began to infiltrate the police, presumably with the support of some leaders in Iraq’s dysfunctional government. Now, with the police begging the Americans not to make them patrol Baghdad’s mean streets and showing her their shrapnel wounds, she just wants to get her unit home safely, without losing another soldier. She said her orders were to train a local force to deal with crimes like theft and murder, not to teach them how to fight a counterinsurgency.

Aside from telling Israel to be nicer to the Palestinians, as if there lies Iraq salvation, James Baker will mostly try to suggest that the U.S. talk to Iran and Syria. Yesterday, after the Lebanese Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel, an opponent of Syria, was assassinated in Beirut, President Bush said he suspected that Iran and Syria were behind the murder.

Maybe Mr. Baker had better find Plan C. The Pentagon is trying to decide whether we should Go Big, Go Long or Go Home. Go figure.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

George The Great ImPoser Vists Indonesia


Four out of five Indonesians do not trust Bush, according to the Pew Research Center. But that didn't stop the arrogant Decider from imposing on the Muslim nation with one of his famed nightmare visits from hell.

As we know all too well, George W. Bush doesn't read polls, cuz George doesn't really care what anyone thinks, which is why the Decider must travel with so gawdawful much body armor.


"More than 18,000 rifle-carrying troops" were deployed to the site of George's six hour visit to Indonesia.

The Asia Times reports that the Ruler of the Superpower imposed on Indonesia to the tune of an estimated:

"Rp6 billion (US$660,000) for security costs of the visit, which included a 2-kilometer security cordon around Bogor's Presidential Palace, 8,000 police officers, school and business closures, and the shutdown of mobile-phone networks. That figure doesn't nearly capture the visit's true costs, however.

At the famed Bogor Botanical Gardens, world leaders from Belgium's King Leopold to North Korea's Great Leader Kim Il-sung to Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen have enjoyed the flora and planted trees to leave behind something of value from their stay. Bush, on the other hand, leaves behind a pair of helipads that required the relocation of a rare lotus from its pond.


[T]ens of millions of Indonesians . . questioned why the visit took place at all."

Let me venture a guess. George went to Indonesia to win their hearts and minds?

U.S. Women Made Historic Gains in Election, But Lag Behind Other Nations


In the next Congress, 16 percent of the 535 seats will be held by women. That's the largest number of women in Congress, ever. Aren't you glad we have equality now?

Let's be grateful for crumbs, I guess. But don't forget that the U.S. ranks 67th in the world in the number of women who hold seats in the national Congress.

Afghanistan ranks 25th and Iraq comes in at 28th.

The male dominated U.S. Government advised and helped these countries put "quotas" into their constitutions. Quotas for gender equality are a lot like universal health insurance, they're great for other countries.

Obviously, equality and healthy citizens just aren't that important in the USA.

The Christian Science Monitor summarizes the "historic" election results for women:

--The House will have its first female speaker, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
--Congress will have its largest corps of women ever -- 16 in the Senate and at least 71 in the House, from both parties
--Women will hold nine governorships, tied with the record set in 2004
--In state legislatures, a record 2,426 women were general-election candidates, and unofficial results show 1,735 winning, which would be a record

Ultimately, women remain far from achieving equality. In the next Congress, the record 87 women members will represent 16 percent of the 535 seats. In state legislatures, women currently hold 1,686 of the 7,382 seats, or 22.8 percent. In statewide elective executive office - positions such as governor, attorney general, and secretary of state - women hold 78 of the 315 positions, or 24.8 percent. (The figure will drop to 76 in January.)

At EMILY's List, a political action committee that helps Democratic woman candidates who support abortion rights, 2006 was by far the group's busiest year. The group endorsed, funded, and advised a record number of candidates, including 19 women who were Democratic nominees for Republican-held House seats. Of those, 16 were in races considered competitive by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. So far, with four races still undecided, only two women have won, a point that has raised eyebrows. Among the 36 Democratic men running in competitive, Republican-held districts, 22 won.

Many of the most highly touted EMILY's List candidates - including Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, Diane Farrell of Connecticut, and Lois Murphy of Pennsylvania - did not win.

Did gender play a role in any of the races? Officials at EMILY's List say it's impossible to say, but they are now analyzing each contest in depth.

According to Dotty Lynch, over at CBS, "[I]f the goal of parity is to be achieved at the current "historic" rate, the number of men and women will be equal in the Senate in 2040 and in the House in 2066. And that's the rosy view; historic years don't happen that often."

Maybe your granddaughters will see it. Maybe.

Facts and Graphic via Center for American Women in Politics

Hat tip to Taegan Goddard

Monday, November 20, 2006

Bush In A Blue Dress


Caption this!

Not all world leaders looked entirely at ease during the closing ceremonies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Sunday -- not because they didn't come to substantial agreements during the annual summit, but because of an unusual dress code.

After two days of negotiations, APEC's 21 world leaders slipped into traditional Vietnamese tunics, called "ao dai," for this year's group photo at the conclusion of the summit of Pacific Rim states in Hanoi. While the Associated Press says Chinese President Hu Jintau "was positively beaming" in his blue gown, others such as United States President George W. Bush or Russian President Vladimir Putin, though largely bemused by the whole affair, appeared to have some awkward moments in the unfamiliar and colorful garb.

Via Wonkette where there are more photos of your pResident in a blue dress.