Monday, October 31, 2005

Off Again

"On the road again" as Willie would say. This week to the heartland. New client in Indianapolis which promises to be interesting. Never been to Indianapolis that I remember so at least I will be seeing something new. I will only be engaged for first couple of weeks to get the project headed in the right direction. Do my "Big Kahuna" act as it were.
This week should be a little quieter on the news front than last. So far all I have seen is the new SCOTUS nominee and I think it is too soon to expect any more Fitzmas stuff. No new hurricanes on the near horizon. I guess we will just have to be surprised at the next atrocity Dubya and compancy present us with.

BTW Jane Hamsher's blog Firedoglake got a mention in the NYT. She and Reddhedd have been doing a smashing job on the Plame deal and rightly deserve the attention. Congratulations to Jane and Reddhedd for the recognition. I will savor the fact that a now nationally known blog links here. Thanks Jane

New SCOTUS Nominee

CNN is reporting that Samuel Alito from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit will be the new nominee you can read more about at the Soctusblog. Judge Alito was appointed to the Third Circuit by 41. He is a favorite of conservatives and looks like he shouldn't be too distasteful for democrats. Will probably be able to be affirmed without too much trouble. Not nearly as controversial a nominee as we could have seen. In his 15 years on the bench he has a conservative bent and a well documented judicial philosophy. We'll see.

UPDATE: I need to clarify my assessment now that I have had a chance to read a little more about Mr. Alito. He ia "Conservative Whacko" that will move the court dangerously close to nothing more than a cabal of evil men who think women should have never gotten the right to vote much less think they have no right to be able to control their own bodies. We should consider fighting this nomination.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Feel The Love?

Our "Compassionate Conservatives" continue to spread the love...

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - On a party-line vote, a Republican-run U.S. House of Representatives committee voted to cut food stamps by $844 million on Friday, just hours after a new government report showed more Americans are struggling to put food on the table.

About 300,000 Americans would lose benefits due to tighter eligibility rules for food stamps, the major U.S. antihunger program, under the House plan. The cuts would be part of $3.7 billion pared from Agriculture Department programs over five years as part of government-wide spending reductions.

The House plan would also cut U.S. crop supports by $1 billion, land stewardship by $760 million, research by $620 million and rural development by $446 million.

There are undoubtedly people collecting food stamps that shouldn't be, and that is just plain wrong, but making wholesale cuts like this is the wrong way to address abuse. When you put this amount of money spent on food stamps and other subsidies in the perspective of what we are spending per day in Iraq they just become mean spirited acts meant to screw the little guy. What are we talking here, a week of misplaced and misguided war? Two weeks?

To make it even more stupid, these kind of cuts fly in the face of the government's own research...

A new Agriculture Department report found 38.2 million Americans "were food insecure" in 2004, an increase of nearly 2 million from the previous year. Tufts University food economist Parke Wilde food insecurity "now equals the worst levels" since recordkeeping began a decade ago.

USDA said 11.9 percent of households, "at some time during the year, had difficulty providing enough food for all their members due to a lack of resources."

I have been around the kind of people that really need assistance with food all my life and I know first hand what happens when they are pressed. The first things to go are the high nutrition foods like milk and meat. They are replaced by "belly fillers" which are almost always high carbohydrate foods like macaroni and rice. The childrens' diets lose protein and gain nothing of value. The long term effect is childhood obesity and the resultant problems with cardiovascular disease and diabetes. This doesn't even address the issues surrounding poor nutrition and learning which are significant. Not providing for nutritious food, especially for children, is guaranteeing problems and high costs later. Food stamps are an investment in our future and not "give-away".

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Act One Only

Well I missed the live action but I did see monitors in the Atlanta airport when I landed. At first I was a little disappointed in not seeing more blood in the streets as I was hoping for a "massacree". Upon further reflection though I think we are just seeing the first volley.
Fitzgerald is still investigating and he needed some additional information to really nail his true target and that is Cheney. Now that Libby is indicted with a very solid case I'm sure he is going to start wondering why he should take the fall alone. Fitzgerald moved on the Libby charges when he did because he needs that 30 years in prison and million dollar fine hanging over Libby's head. He will squeeze the extra information he needs out of Libby in a pretty short order.

If Libby doesn't flip and goes to prison for the rest of these bastards he is stupid and deserves whatever he gets.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Missed Fitzmas

Looks like I will miss "Ftizmas". I have to catch a plane back to Atlanta tomorrow morning at 7am in Fransanfisco so i'll probably be in the air when the "feces hits the rotary ventilator". Looks like it will be an extended holiday in that Rove will be the subject of an extended investigation and not indicted tomorrow. Only Libby will be whacked tomorrow it seems.

I can't describe how badly I would like to see everyone in this misadministration slammed but I guess I can console myself if there is at least one.

It is time for me to try and get a few hours of shut eye as 3am comes early.

I am not sure, bit I am beginning to think that I may be getting too old for this kind of thing. I am still not 100% corrected by the three week in Japan, much less the week in France followed immediately by a week in California. I think I am somewhere out over the Atlantic, at least on my personal time line.

You Too Can Earn Big Bucks -Some Restrictions

And now for something not about Plamegate or Harriet.

Forbes has announced the biggest dead money earners...Elvis wins again.

Elvis: $45M
Charles Schulz: $35M
John Lenon: $22M
Andy Warhol: $16M
Dr. Seuss: $10M

As Mrs. Fallenmonk would say... Duh!

Miers Gone?

Watching CNN this morning as I get dressed and they just announced that Harriet Miers is withdrawing from the nomination to the Supremes. I can't but wonder that this is a feeble attempt to distract everyone from the Plame news. The timing is very suspicious. Now we'll just have to see what kind of wingnut replaces her. I can't help but think this one will swing very hard to Bush's base so we can expect somebody pretty conservative. Just have to wait and see.


Damn, there is a lot of potential energy building up with respect to the current misadministration. We’ve got the Plame affair and the possibility of multiple indictments coming down tomorrow, or at least soon, and possibly beheading the Dubya regime. We’ve got Bugboy under the scope in Texas for playing fast and loose with campaign funds and probably still more shit coming his way from the Abramoff investigation. We’ve also learned today that his defense fund accounting is not necessarily following the GAP. Bill Frist is now a proven liar. We on the left are excited and anticipating a huge “We told you so” moment.

I am trying to stay reserved and calm over all this as I have been disappointed so often in the last 6 years or so that I am not sure my psyche can stand another major let down.

One thing that is really bothering me is the question of aftermath. If all of the most pregnant wishes of the left come through (Ftizmas?) to reality, we are going to be left with nothing but a President who probably peaked intellectually in the third or fourth grade. If Cheney, Rove, Libby, and all the rest are toast then we have GWB sailing our ship of state without any oversight and this is a guy that was an alcohol soaked coke head until he was forty years old. This is very frighening.

The empty suit that currently shits in the Whitehouse has been an abject failure in everything he has ever tried. He cannot point to anything, prior to his highly tainted election, that even quaintly canbe measured as a success. This is the joker that will be running the country without supervision. I am seriously in doubt as to whether there are enough cojones in the the Rethuglican congress to impeach him and we are looking at 3 more years. Can we survive it?

So we have a dilemma. Is it better to enjoy the immediate gratification of seeing Rove, Libby and maybe Cheney forced to resign or sent to prison, and as bad as they are having Pretzel Boy running the country further into the ground without supervision or continue as we are with a known devil? It is not an easy choice.

I think I have settled for immediate gratification and let the chips fall where they may. I think there is reason to hope that without Rove and Cheney running the show Dubya will be caught in the headlights, so to speak, and we surely can’t be worse off than we are now.

Just sayin’

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Beyond Tragedy

CNN is reporting that by their count the official death toll of American troops in Iraq has reached the 2,000 milestone.

Since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003, more than 15,000 American service members have been wounded in the conflict, according to the Defense Department.

According to CNN's tally, 2,194 coalition troops have died in the war.

In a justifiable conflict this would be a real tragedy. In the bloody light of this conflict it is beyond a tragedy in every way you can measure. The two thousand number is just a shadow of the real story. Each of these deaths ripples out and touches countless loved ones and friends. Grief and frustration touches thousands and thousands more. Heterodyne the more than 15,000 wounded and maimed and you probably have over a quarter of a million people directly and tragically touched by this useless, inexcusable farce. I am so ashamed of my country I can sometimes hardly breathe.

Just Gotta Torture

This is so absolutely beyond the pale that I can't believe I am actually reading it. Dick Cheney and Porter Goss have the unmitigated gall to actually seek an exemption so that their minions can torture at will. This alone should be enough to prove to America (the rest of the world knows it) that this adminsitration is the most morally corrupt bunch of scum to ever disgrace the government of our country. In any other world I would have to make this stuff up!

The Senate defied a presidential veto threat nearly three weeks ago and approved, 90 to 9, an amendment to a $440 billion military spending bill that would ban the use of "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" of any detainee held by the United States government. This could bar some techniques that the C.I.A. has used in some interrogations overseas.

But in a 45-minute meeting last Thursday, Vice President Dick Cheney and the C.I.A. director, Porter J. Goss, urged Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican who wrote the amendment, to support an exemption for the agency, arguing that the president needed maximum flexibility in dealing with the global war on terrorism, said two government officials who were briefed on the meeting.


Mr. McCain rejected the proposed exemption, which stated that the measure "shall not apply with respect to clandestine counterterrorism operations conducted abroad, with respect to terrorists who are not citizens of the United States, that are carried out by an element of the United States government other than the Department of Defense and are consistent with the Constitution and laws of the United States and treaties to which the United States is a party, if the president determines that such operations are vital to the protection of the United States or its citizens from terrorist attack."

No Chicken Dancing

There is a lot of discussion around a post over at Firedoglake about whether or not Cheney was under oath or not when interviewed by Fitzgerald. While it may make some legal difference I think the discussion is missing a serious point.
First of all, both Cheney and Bush, as do all elected officials, take an oath of office. This oath deals with their responsibility around the Constitution and all but the fundamental reality is not so much in the words but in the symbology of the act.
The oath as symbol grants the President and Vice President the authority to act as our representatives in the conduct of all affairs. It virtually grants unlimited authority but it also places the massive burden of ultimate responsibility and the weight of ultimate integrity.
This weight of integrity demands that every word uttered by the office holder is the absolute truth. Unvarnished, unspun, whole and complete truth. No weasel words allowed.
Accepting the oath of office means that for the full term and beyond the taker is under the oath and that any lie or half truth is perjury pure and simple.
Discussing whether Cheney was under oath when talking with Mr. Fitzgerald is therefore meaningless in my view. Cheney and Bush are always under oath in my book and should be held to task for every word that comes out of their mouths plain and simple.
No "chicken dancing" ,no mincing, no hemming and hawing.

Monday, October 24, 2005

West Coasting

Here we are in beautiful Fremont (not). Not sure what the story is here but this particular part of the bay area is rather desolate. The Marriott here just sort of sits in the middle of nowhere just off I880. I can see a MickeyDee's from my window on the 6th floor but that is about it. A couple of other hotels nearby but nothing else.
Just into the room and turned on CNN looking to see what has been happening. So far nothing but Wilma coverage so I don't have the dope on the Plame affair.
I forget how bad the traffic can be here. The commute from Sunnyvale (Moffett) is along 237 to 880 and at 6pm it is very busy and basically 10-15 mph for the 10 -15 miles to Fremont. Then again you can say the same for spots in Metro Atlanta.
They just covered the fact that Rosa Parks has passed away. She made a difference which is more than many of us will be able to say. Rock on Rosa.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Super Week Coming

It looks like a super week may be in the offing. The two Goddesses over at Firedoglake are predicting major good mojo. I just hope they are right.
Been a glorious weekend in Atlanta and I have managed to put a major dent in the honey do.
Off to gropinator land tomorrow with a trip to Sunnyvale for the week. Only problem is I have to fly through SFO as the San Jose connection was not workable this time. Bummer. While I love San Fran I don't like the airport and the commute to Sunnyvale via 101 stinks. To top it off I could only get a hotel room in Fremont which means much commuting as well. Live like a Californian next week!
Since I will be a West Coaster next week I will be 3 hours behind the curve on the news and I hope I don't miss the revelations when/if they come. I like to be in real time with what's happening but one must earn ones living. The only consolation is that I will be able to party later.

8 am flight in the morning so it is bed time for bonzo here. Talk to you from beautiful Sunnyvale.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Light or Train?

You know the old expression about the the light at the end of the tunnel? I can't help feeling that we on the left are getting ourselves way too worked up about the upcoming climax of the Plame investigation. I so want everybody in the Whitehouse to be indicted, jailed and humiliated that it is sometimes hard to keep focused on the reality that it may be a bust. I just hope everybody has enough emotional reserve to weather another huge disappointment if it should happen. I am wishing with all my might that "Fitzmas" will come and that there will be presents enough for everyone. I am just trying to hold back just enough to survive the shock if it fizzles. Many of you will say that the attitude should be "in for a penny, in for a pound" but I am talking emotional survival here and I'll keep a dollar or two in my shoe thank you very much.

Here's wishing you Merry Fitzmas!

Friday, October 21, 2005

S.A.W.B hearts G.R.I.T.S.

Go over and get a chuckle at Neil Shakespeare's place. He's got a fun take on a post from The Fat Lady Sings that's fun. Bless your heart!

BTW SAWB was coined by Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young way back and it stands for Smart Ass White Boy.

Pray You Don't Need Them

Just in case you thought the slow response to Katrina was a fluke and mostly the fault of bad management at FEMA you might want to consider rethinking your disaster preparedness. Yes, I know a lot of tax money and time has been spent equipping and training the National Guard to be ready to help us in case of NATIONAL emergency but you are just going to have to be prepared to do without that support.

Just off the top of my head I would say an additional 30 days of rations, water and medical supplies for you and your family. Get a boat if you don't already have one and don't forget that generator and fuel. Oh, and don't forget jumpkits for the entire family as well. You know the drill. Plan for everything and expect the worst. DO NOT EXPECT ANY HELP FROM THE GOVERNMENT!

Army National Guard units are short of equipment on the home front partly because they are told to leave vital equipment such as armored Humvees in Iraq for replacement troops, according to a report released Thursday.

As of June, Army National Guard units had left overseas more than 64,000 pieces of equipment worth more than $1.2 billion, and more than half cannot be accounted for by the Army, according to the report by the Government Accountability Office.

On average, National Guard units at home have only 34 percent of their essential war-fighting equipment, said the report released at a hearing of the House Committee on Government Reform.

''National Guard officials believe that the National Guard's response to Hurricane Katrina was more complicated because significant quantities of critical equipment such as satellite communications equipment, radios, trucks, helicopters, and night vision goggles were deployed to Iraq,'' the report said.


In addition to equipment left overseas, more than 101,000 pieces of equipment from units on the home front have been transferred to deploying units, the report said.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Most Important Case, Most Important

If you haven't read James Moore's article over at Huffpo yet ... do it now.

Patrick Fitzgerald has before him the most important criminal case in American history. Watergate, by comparison, was a random burglary in an age of innocence. The investigator’s prosecutorial authority in this present case is not constrained by any regulation. If he finds a thread connecting the leak to something greater, Fitzgerald has the legal power to follow it to the web in search of the spider. It seems unlikely, then, that he would simply go after the leakers and the people who sought to cover up the leak when it was merely a secondary consequence of the much greater crime of forging evidence to foment war. Fitzgerald did not earn his reputation as an Irish alligator by going after the little guy. Presumably, he is trying to find evidence that Karl Rove launched a covert operation to create the forged documents and then conspired to out Valerie Plame when he learned the fraud was being uncovered by Plame’s husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson. As much as this sounds like the plot of a John le Carre novel, it also comports with the profile of the Karl Rove I have known, watched, traveled with and written about for the past 25 years.

Aftermath Questions

Since no one in the blog world is going to be able to touch Jane and ReddHedd over at Firedoglake on covering all the stuff going on with RoveLibbyCheneyBush affair I thought I might take a stab at some of the things we might have to face as fallout. That is, of course, if we on the left get our "Winter Holiday" presents early.

If all of Dubya's minions, or a good portion thereof, are indicted or named as unindicted co-conspirators we will have several possibilities. There is no way the powers that actually are ruining the country will let George W. try and go it alone.

There is a strong possibility that some of the old hands from daddy's administration might show up. The number one possibility is Dubya's prime poop scooper James Baker and who knows who else.

What happens if Cheney resigns under a cloud of suspicion as a conspirator and Bush has to come up with a VP? McCain and Graham are said to be manuevering but maybe they lose out on the trust issue and Bush taps Condi to set her up for the 2008 race. A worst case scenario would be that Bush is later forced to resign as well and we have out first woman and minority President. Imagine the fun.

If everyone's dream comes true and Bush and Cheney are forced to resign, probably as a result of a plea bargain, then we get Dennis Hastert as President and a mystery guest as VP. McCain?

Regardless of the outcome we are going to have change and I for one am having a hard time thinking that it could be worse than the cabal we have now. I can't believe we are not looking at some progress in 2006 and 2008 no matter what happens.

Anyone else have some wish scenarios?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Sandy Vaseline

Via Atrios

I see that Rummy and company over at the Pentagon have added another few degrees to the temperature in hell. Seems like the bribe that they offered during the first part of the year of $15K to re-enlist was actually just a joke. If you suckered for it and are still alive and now through the first six months of the extra six years you sold yourself for, guess what? They're bad! No can do. Sorry about that. Against the rules. Can't pay.

Not only are we going to waste your life in a useless war we are going to trick you into re-upping with a fake re-enlistment bonus. We have destroyed your finances by sending you overseas when as a National Guardsman you never intended to be deployed for such a long time and now that we have you desparate we will fuck you with this big hard golden carrot.

This is absolutely shameful. How hard would it have been to verify the legality of such bonuses before offering them? How many soldiers fell for it? Since they re-upped under false pretenses is the re-enlistment void? I'll give odds that the Pentagon will say the enlistment still stands. It will be just like the medical benefits for life lie.

"I know that we promised you benefits for life when you agreed to make a career in service but we weren't actually authorized to offer that so tough luck."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

They Are Serious?

Atlanta has evidently settled on its new "Brand" and they are evidently dead serious about it. From the AJC this morning..

The logo launch is the first part of a $4.5 million-plus multipronged campaign Atlanta officials are undertaking to brand the city to local residents, who they hope will help in the ultimate goal: to attract more tourists, conventioners and businesses looking to relocate.
Wow, it must be nice to have $4.5 million-plus to spend on branding Atlanta. I guess there are no homeless or hungry people in town. Probably have more cops and firefighters than they really need too. I suppose all the refugees from NOLA that Shirley Franklin was whining about the other day are now all taken care of.

Silly me I thought a safe, clean and panhandler free city would be a much better way to "brand" a city.

Seriously, I can't imagine being a city leader and having the brass to admit I was going to spend that amount of money on something so inane and worthless. How do they sleep at night? Makes me want to scream. It is not even a sexy logo. It ranks up there with that silly mascot they picked for the '96 Olympics and it was so impressive I have forgotten it's name.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Catching Up

I have been trying to catch up with everything going on and it just dawned on me that with Fitzgerald now apparently taking a hard look at Uncle Dick that maybe Mr. Fitz had better start being very careful.
These guys are no small potatoes. They will kill a couple of thousand Americans on a whim and not even bat an eye over a 100,000 or so Iraqis or other brown types. If I were Fitz I might even go so far as to hire me a few boys to start my car and open my mail. These guys could also tag along when I went out just for company. I'm just sayin'.

I Return

Well the homestead is still here and I am home safe and sound from France. The fools let me back in the country again. Need sleep. Doesn't seem like much has changed here and we are all still waiting for the big show to start. I will be back after some rest.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Long National Nightmare

If athenae at First-Draft can resurrect the infamous ferret rant I can resurrect the best Onion piece ever and a prophetic one it was...

WASHINGTON, DC–Mere days from assuming the presidency and closing the door on eight years of Bill Clinton, president-elect George W. Bush assured the nation in a televised address Tuesday that "our long national nightmare of peace and prosperity is finally over."

"at long last, we have reached the end of the dark period in American history that will come to be known as the Clinton Era, eight long years characterized by unprecedented economic expansion, a sharp decrease in crime, and sustained peace overseas. The time has come to put all of that behind us."

"You better believe we're going to mix it up with somebody at some point during my administration," said Bush, who plans a 250 percent boost in military spending. "Unlike my predecessor, I am fully committed to putting soldiers in battle situations. Otherwise, what is the point of even having a military?"


"Finally, the horrific misrule of the Democrats has been brought to a close," House Majority Leader Dennis Hastert (R-IL) told reporters. "Under Bush, we can all look forward to military aggression, deregulation of dangerous, greedy industries, and the defunding of vital domestic social-service programs upon which millions depend. Mercifully, we can now say goodbye to the awful nightmare that was Clinton's America."

"For years, I tirelessly preached the message that Clinton must be stopped," conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh said. "And yet, in 1996, the American public failed to heed my urgent warnings, re-electing Clinton despite the fact that the nation was prosperous and at peace under his regime. But now, thank God, that's all done with. Once again, we will enjoy mounting debt, jingoism, nuclear paranoia, mass deficit, and a massive military build-up."

Nothing much left to say is there.

What We Have Lost

Lance Mannion has a post up called Charlie Meets Bill and I really resent being reminded of how much we are missing by not having someone with even 10% of Bill Clinton's force in office. It's a great post taken from Carl Reiner's autobiography My Anecdotal Life and Carl's brother Charlie's meeting with Bill at the Whitehouse. Brought a lump to my throat.

BTW Lance is now on the blogroll.

Unforgiveable Crime

Every once in a while a story comes along that just sends me into acute disgust and anger. The following story (via Reddhedd at Firedoglake) is one that does.

From the Washington Post

Not only to the soldiers who have been wounded in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere have to deal with with the aftermath of their injuries they are now facing combat once they have arrived home. - This time the fight is with credit agencies sent by the US Government .

There are many reasons people join the military and it is really immaterial why. The military is an honorable service and many, like myself, are proud of our years of service. In return for our service we expect the military to be used properly as a tool to insure that the ideals that caused the founding of our country are respected and encouraged. When we are not it is a tragedy as was Vietnam and as is Iraq.

The role of the military, however, is not germaine to this particular situation. What is important is that for whatever reason or cause one of our sons or daughters is killed or disabled in service to our country that sacrifice should warrant the highest honor and respect we are able as a nation to provide. This includes the best care and support in dealing with the results of their service. Anything less is unacceptable and there is no gray about it, no argument.

Additionally, many of the tragically wounded returning from Iraq are from the National Guard and the operative word here is National. These men and women serve with the expectation of serving their fellow Americans in situations where the military are prohibited by law from assisting. This means on American soil and not in some god forsaken dust bowl in the middle east. We owe these a double measure of respect and honor.

There is really no excuse for this happening and I encourage all of you to contact you representatives in the government and express your disgust and anger. It is really the least you can and should do.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Flexible That's Me

The client has suddenly realized today that they are paying a relative fortune per day for my time and aren't really prepared to utilize my vast talents. The decision was made today that maybe they were a little premature in asking for two weeks of my time in that they weren't close to being ready. Net result is that I am out of here on Sunday instead of the Saturday a week later. Not without pain and some more dollars to Delta. If there are not any seats left of the fare you paid then you need to add dollars until you can buy one of the seats they have left. It is one of the perils of last minute travel. "Sorry all the 'cheap' cattle car tickets are sold but we do have some 'expensive' cattle car tickets." Same food, lousy seat just a couple of hundred dollars more precious. I am being snarky here as I actually will be flying business class which is one of the advantages of spending a large portion of your life on a plane. The almightly Platinum upgrade.

If you have to be in France on business or holiday then Lyon is probably as good as any place and most likely better than most. The people are very pleasant and the city is a snap to move around in. The metro is clean, efficient and cheap and can take you just about anywhere when coupled with the buses and tramways.

The food in Lyon is the best in Europe, bar none. This is the home of great cuisine in France. Paul Bocuse, Jacques Pepin, Paul Lacombe, etc. all sprang from the samll bouchon that are everywhere here. You can only get a bad meal here if you stay in your hotel and pay twice the price.

Tonight I walked a couple of blocks from the hotel and to the Bistrot du Palais. For an entree(that's an appetizer everywhere but in the U.S.) I had Filet de Margareau dans Vin Blanc. A lovely little dish of small fish filets(no idea what fish) poached in an aromatic white wine sauce over steamed potatoes and carrots in the cooking sauce served cold. For the main course I went with one of my favorites Braised Duck Leg with vegetables (Pot au Feu de Cuisse de Canard avec Legumes. Fall off the bone and gloriously fragrant with the aromatic veggies. Crusty french bread and a lovely Cote de Rhone Rouge. For a foodie like me it doesn't get much better. It would have been even better to share it with Madam Fallenmonk.
Finished up with a dish that is only found here in Lyon "Cervelles de Canut". The literal translation is "brains of the silk worker" but it is a wonderful after dinner treat. It is a very simple dish of creme fraiche blended with herbs, shallots and lots of garlic. It is a must have if you ever visit Lyon but you had better like garlic!

Going to get to sleep tonight without the threat of an alarm going off. It will be interesting to see if I can foil the internal clock and sleep past 530 am. I will try.

Still To Busy to Sleep or Blog

Still pushing here and still no time to really do anything except the basics. Jane and Reddhedd are doing a bang up job over at Firedoglake and are the go to source for everything on the Plame affair. Grace at Scriptoids is making sure we know what is going on the in the fringe press.
In what little news I am seeing I was most shocked at the news of the staged video conference with the troops that Bushco put on. I just can't believe they did that. Really disappointed.
Pretty much 24x7 here on CNN international is the disaster in Pakistan, bird flu(check out adgitadiaries) and Iraq vote. Not much else leaking through in the short time I get to see it.
Weekend coming up so I hope to have a little more activity here so don't forget to check in.
Don't forget to check out Shakespeare's Sister and Pandagon who are both on the same frequency about movies that make you cry.
Anyway, it is time to scramble for the metro and experience the Lyon underground again. Have a good day folks and maybe this evening I will buy a good bottle of Bordeaux and do a little besotted blogging. I know you can't wait.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Time Crunch

Between the commute to the client, 1 hour each way by metro and bus, and the long working day and the necessity to eat and sleep things will be light here until the weekend. I may find some sleepless time but I doubt it. The expectation is that I will be able to push this project a little and get it back on schedule but from the experience of the first two days I am beginning to doubt how much impact I will have. The difference in attitude and "work ethic", for lack of a better phrase, between the Japanese and the French is very striking.
The Japanese were freaking out over the fact that the project was nearly a week behind schedule and I had a serious grilling over what I was going to do about it and why I thought I was the one to do it. There was a veiled threat of handing me a very sharp knife and asking me to redeem my honor if I failed. The French on the other hand are not the least bit concerned that the project is months behind schedule and over budget and are continuing to try and change the scope. It is quite a culture shock. Just so I won't be accused of culture bias...Americans are somewhere in the middle and when the project schedule starts turning to shit, spend most of their time looking for someone to blame.
Anyhow, it is now time to walk somewhere to dinner as the "bistro" here in the hotel is crap and expensive. In Lyon there is absolutely no excuse for having to suffer from bad food. Pretty much anywhere in the central city there are dozens of glorious "bouchon" that offer great food and good value. Last was Daniel et Denise, maybe ten tables total and on a little side street a couple of blocks from the hotel. Great food, great service and good value.
Dinner time!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Je Suis Arrive

Well, I am here. Long day of travel. Flight from Altanta to Paris was late leaving Atlanta and I already had a close connection to get to Lyon so I changed to a later flight from Paris to Lyon. I might have made it but, sure as hell, my bag wouldn't have so I got to kill a few hours in Paris Charles de Gaulle.

Just getting settled and turned on CNN international. My heart goes out to the people in Pakistan and India who are suffering from a major earthquake. CNN is putting the death toll in 20,000 plus range. Got a quick head shot of Dubya and he says we are sending them some "cash money" and some equipment. You can live off twenty dollar bills but I've always found they give me gas. Shithead.
Are they covering this wall to wall in the U.S. as well?

Guatemala seems to be sucking wind as well and there is more rain expected. Those people need our support too.

All the good news... and now they are talking about the thousands of birds that have died in Turkey of avian flu.

Not a whole lot of positive news on this side of the Atlantic.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Your Capable Hands

I'm outa here again. Getting ready to head to the airport and head for Lyon via Paris for a few weeks. I'm going to have to leave DeLayAbramoffLibbyRoveBushCheneyGate in your capable hands. I'll do my best to stay on top of the situation.

I will have access to plenty of quality champagne if my assistance is required for any and all celebrations. It is what I do best after all.

You Say ToMAHto

Barbara O'Brien at Mahablog has an excellent post up. It is definitely worth a read. In it she discusses, in her usually clear and concise way, how she has come to realize a major difference in how we on the left and the right analyze or react to the babblings of Dubya.

Have you ever noticed that, on a very simple level, righties support Bush because of what he says and lefties oppose him because of what he does?
For example, I'm sure at some point you've crossed paths with a rightie who is fired up about the "liberation" of Iraq. You know the dance. You make faces; the rightie assumes you oppose the war because you don't want the Iraqi people liberated. But in fact you oppose the war because the Iraqi people aren't being liberated. At best they're in a transitional phase between despots. Americans are fighting and dying to establish an Islamic theocracy, assuming civil war doesn't take down the "nation-building" process first. But the rightie won't even listen to this. Bush says we're liberating Iraq, and that's it.

I have noticed the same thing when talking to all the conservatives I work with. They have all the talking points and the rhetoric down pat but refuse to recognize the reality. They twist your opposition to the war in Iraq into opposition of freedom and democracy in the Middle East. The frightening thing is I think they are sincere.

A good example of how the right takes Bush's words at face value and fail to temper them with his actions is in homeland security. They don't seem to remember that he opposed the creation of the department in the beginning but they listen raptly as he tells them how secure they are and how DHS has protected them from the "evildoers". Nobody except us whackos on the left ask him to show us how we are more secure. Ports? Planes? Chemical factories? Nuclear Power Plants? Electric transmission lines? Subways? Freight trains? Water supplies? Food supplies? How are we more secure Mr. President than before 9/11? Can you show us how the billions of dollars we have spent have been put to use?

Finally, the purported revelationary speech the other day is proof positive that he believes that if he says we are winning the war on terror in Iraq and the Iraqis are better off today than under Saddam then, in fact, we are and they are. The hell with all the evidence to the contrary. Ignore the man behind the curtain. Trust me. Barbara quotes one of the talking monkeys of the right John Hindraker's comment on the speech.

This was another in a series of great speeches in which President Bush has outlined his strategies and policies in the war.
Totally unconnected to reality or the actual content in the speech. As Barbara says,
And, of course, he did nothing of the sort. He presents goals. And there's nothing wrong with most of his goals. They are perfectly fine goals. But his policies and strategies, such as they are, are not sufficient to achieve those goals. Iraq is drifting toward either theocracy or chaos.
Go read the whole post as it is spot on.

Friday, October 07, 2005

No Shame

It appears that the GOP has absolutely no shame whatsoever. They have just passed another giveaway to the oil companies as if the are not already choking on profits. The bill will allow oil companies to skip important licensing rules and "streamline" the process of building new refineries.
Nothing in the bill addresses natural gas prices or makes an effort to reduce the cost of gas at the pump.

At one point in the debate Waxman of California shouted. "Is this the House of a Banana Republic?"

All this bill does is allow the oil industry to avoid environmental rules and force states and communities to accept refineries they don't want.

I just can't believe they have the balls to try and push this over the goal line. I hope the Senate has a little more understanding of the real problems we are facing but I feel little hope.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Brownie Redux

It ain't over folks. If/when the avian flu mutates sufficiently to enable human to human transmission we are going to witness another clueless crony stumble at a response.
Via Melanie

His succesor, appointed in 2003 as ASPHEP, is Stewart Simonson. Like Michael Brown at FEMA, Brown is a lawyer who was close to a political benefactor. Simonson graduated from the University of Wisconsin law school in 1994 and served as legal counsel to Tommy Thompson while he was governor of Wisconsin from 1995 to 1999. Simonson then followed Thompson to Washington when the governor was appointed as head of HHS. Simonson’s bio at HHS states that “from 2001-2003, he was the HHS Deputy General Counsel and provided legal advice and counsel to the Secretary on public health preparedness matters. Prior to joining HHS, Simonson served as corporate secretary and counsel for the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (AMTRAK).”

Congressman Henry Waxman has recently pointed to Simonson as an example where Bush has “repeatedly appointed inexperienced individuals with political connections to important government posts, including positions with key responsibilities for public health and safety.”

Boob Tube Bad

If you haven't read this speech delivered by Al Gore yesterday. I highly recommend it and agree with every word in it. More and more it's Gore in '08.

Al Gore on The Threat to American Democracy

"The subjugation of news by entertainment seriously harms our democracy: it leads to dysfunctional journalism that fails to inform the people."

Three Cubed Assholes

Just in case you would like to know who the nine Senators are that support torture:

Allard (R-CO)
Bond (R-MO)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Roberts (R-KS)
Sessions (R-AL)
Stevens (R-AK)

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Boy Scout Marching Song

This week is Pandemic Flu Awareness Week.

If you haven't been paying attention, a global pandemic is just a matter of when not if.

There are some that suspect (who me?) that our current faux leaders might take advantage of the public's lack of knowledge about the realities of a global pandemic. They might use it as an excuse to frighten the public with a scare about millions dying from avain flu and push through some potentially restrictive laws that could be used to secure their hold on power. Of course, that is just "Chicken Little Stuff" and our glorious leaders would never take advantage of a national tragedy to further their political agenda, but just in case, wouldn't it be a good idea to go over to the Flu Wiki website and get yourself educated about the very real possibility of a global flu pandemic.

Being prepared is just being smart.
Being played for a sucker out of ignorance is not smart.
Be Smart.

Is That a Goose Step I Hear?

Please consider the following statement by Dubya Gump very carefully. I want you to extrapolate using your experience with the Patriot Act coupled with the knowledge that 1) you have seen the current government in action with Katrina and 2) this misadministration is becoming desperate and 3) this is the misadministration that had absolutely no reservations about ignoring international law and invaded another soveriegn country without provocation and 4) even now with the situation devolving daily into civil war and chaos insists that it is going swimmingly.

(my highlight) LINK

``If we had an outbreak somewhere in the United States, do we not then quarantine that part of the country? And how do you, then, enforce a quarantine?'' Bush asked at a news conference.

``It's one thing to shut down airplanes. It's another thing to prevent people from coming in to get exposed to the avian flu. And who best to be able to effect a quarantine?'' Bush added.

``One option is the use of a military that's able to plan and move. So that's why I put it on the table. I think it's an important debate for Congress to have.''

In order for them to do this Congress would have to eliminate or make major changes in the Posse Comitatus Act of 1868. This act prohibits the Federal Government from using the U.S. military in law enforcement activities on American soil. This is why we have a National Guard that can legally provide such law enforcement while under state control and not Federal control.

To give this misadministration this power would be the same as granting them the right and power to be a military dictatorship. This is unlimited, no recourse, no do-over power. It would be the end of the American system of gobernment and life as we know it.

Why do you think they think the National Guard is not enough?

Now I can't imagine the Congress would be stupid enough to grant this power to Dubya but I was once wrong and if it can happen once I guess it could happen again. Just to be on the safe side it might be a good idea to keep your ears pricked, as it were, so this doesn't happen while we are all distracted by who is diddling Paris Hilton today.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Such A Deal

Let's tally the score so far:
Appoint completely inept managers with no experience in disaster planning.
Fail to respond in a timely manner to one the worst natural disasters to befall the country.
Remove restrictions on wages so that the people who's lives and property have been destroyed won't make a fair wage and thus won't be able to afford the substandard housing they build.
and finally if that were not enough...Remove sanctions on hiring undocumented aliens so that you can lower the wage mark even further.

At a time when Latino immigrants are expected to form a big part of the Gulf Coast reconstruction labor pool, the Department of Homeland Security has temporarily suspended sanctioning employers who hire workers unable to prove their citizenship, essentially allowing contractors to hire undocumented workers.

That move followed President Bush's Sept. 8 decision to lift in Katrina-hit areas the 1931 Davis-Bacon Act, which requires federal contractors to pay at least the average regional wage. Bush says it will hasten one of the world's largest reconstruction efforts.

Dubya's coporate buddies must be rubbing their hands at the thought. Think of the profits. Think of the American workers we'll be able to screw. Think of the profits. Think of the Latinos we'll have working at slave wages. Think of the profits.

Just when you think it can't get any worse...


Are We There Yet?

Here we are 4 days into my favorite month and we have lost 8 more of our future in Iraq, bringing the total loss to 1941 U.S. dead and untold Iraqi and others. I was just wondering if we are getting close to the magic number? You know the number of pointless deaths where the supporters of our continued occupation begin to question the value of continuing to flail away at the hopeless cause and call for a halt to the senseless mayhem.

There are a lot of exciting things happening to distract us from this most important question but we need to keep asking it everyday and with every death. It is only going to get worse and the upcoming vote on the constitution will just bias the going bad one way or the other.

I guess I will just keep hoping that today will be the day we hit the magic number. Maybe we can hope that all the bad news for Dubya and company will be some sort of catalyst and heterodyne with the pain of so many lost for no reason and trigger a revelation in the people that continue to support the tragedy. Then again, that may be desparation talking.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Lesson Learned

Well I see that Dubya has learned his lesson about cronyism and how dangerous that practice is when appointing people to important posts.

President Bush today nominated White House counsel Harriet Miers to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. "She will strictly interpret our Constitution and laws. She will not legislate from the bench," Bush said in announcing his choice from the Oval Office. Miers, who has never been a judge, has been leading the White House effort to help Bush choose nominees to the Supreme Court.
Is is too much to ask that someone appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States of America to have at least played a judge on TV? Are we taking bets on whether this appointment will generate any testicular fortitude among the so-called opposition party? Everyone take a deep breath and hold it now.

Update#1: 4:30 PM
Rick Hasen over at ElectionLaw believes this is just a Rovian set up to get the Dems to waste energy and set up a situation for the real pick. Janice Rogers Brown or someone like her.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

It Could Happen

Something very scary just crossed my mind as I have been surveying all the analysis of the Plame case. Jane at Firedoglake has been on this like a pit bull and is where I turn for 411. She has some great sources and is always fun to read. Ditto on HuffPo which is covering this thing in detail. Digby and Billmon have also contributed to the dialogue and all in all there is excellent coverage in lefty bloggerland on this.

One thing I haven't seen is any discussion of is what might happen if (fingers and toes crossed) Libby and Rove plus some others such as Cheney, Rice etc. get whacked and either resign or are( best case) incarcerated. This will leave Georgie without his key handlers. Dwell for a few unpleasant moments on the thought of Dubya without his "brains". I don't know about you but the thought is rather sobering and not a little distressing. Look at the freaking mess with the supposed "heavies" in place and imagine another 3 years with "All Hat"alone at the controls.

While I can't tell you how happy it would make me to see the entire bunch in prison there is considerable dread at the pontial unforeseen downside.

While we are talking about a big sweep in the Whitehouse corps over this try not to think of it going all the way to the top. Does President Hastert make you feel warm and fuzzy?