Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Something Fishy

The first thing I see when I get off the plane in Phoenix is CNN reporting that 1,500 troops are being moved from Kuwait into Iraq's Anbar province in the west of Iraq. Meanwhile, other sources such as the WaPo and NYT put it at either 3,500, or a full brigade.

I think a key question we should be asking is what another 1,000 or 3,000 Amercican soldiers are going to accomplish that 130,000 haven't managed to do so far. I think this is a very, very bad omen for the conflict in Iraq. If we need additional troops in this number in Anbar province and Ramadi in particular then we haven't been told the whole story and things are going from bad to worse.

I haven't had time to read or research as I am at the client this afternoon. This just feels bad and maybe I can get a better take on it this evening at the hotel.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Away Again

Another travel day tomorrow. Off to Phoenix once again. This is going to be the story for the next couple of weeks so blogging is a lesser priority. I may get some break time in the evenings but don't hold your breath.
I did manage to get all the reservations made for a week of holiday at the end of this stint. Madam and I are going to finally see the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley. I have criss-crossed this country hundreds of times and have only managed to see bits of the Canyon. I am going to get up close and personal this time.
Hope to see you on the flip side.

Down the Drain

As another Memorial Day passes we are greeted with the cheery news from Afghanistan. This was supposed to be the crowning achievement of the Bush presidency. Grats dickhead, just another failure to add to the pile at your feet. The thing is... Afghanistan was "doable" if we had put the forces in country necessary to secure the major population areas and actually made an attempt at putting a damper on the poppy business and actually captured Osama bin Forgotten. We would have a viable situation in the country now. Now we have the makings of another shit storm and nothing but clueless yes men to do the right thing. Won't happen... forget about it.

Things are just going from bad to baddest in Iraq. There is no light at the end and no plan to change the dynamic. More death on both sides is the only sign in the cards. Bush's answer:
The enemy cannot defeat us on the battlefield, but what they can do is put horrible images on our TV screens.
I'm sorry but these are the ravings of a madman. No grasp of reality. No grasp of why these images are showing up on the TV other than some paranoid littany against the media about showing the "good things". It is really hard to show the "good things" when you are in critical condition in a Bagdhad hospital.
A CBS News correspondent was critically injured and her two-person crew killed Monday when the Baghdad military unit in which they were imbedded was attacked.

Kimberly Dozier, 39, sustained serious injuries in the attack and underwent surgery at a U.S. military hospital in Baghdad, the network reported. She is in critical condition, but doctors are cautiously optimistic about her prognosis.

Cameraman Paul Douglas and soundman James Brolan, both London-based, were killed.
Can we seriously question the damage another 2 plus years of this administration will produce? If something doesn't break soon on the home front I can't even imagine the chaos in Adghansitan and Iraq... not to mention the rest of the area.

Read Pach's comments over at Firedoglake.

"Bushco has enslaved Americans into a psychological reign of "War on Terror" that amounts to a criminal protection racket. We are told we must be afraid. That is, we are told we must live in terror. This is to protect us from. . . terror. Then, because we feel terrified, we must give up our freedom - freedom to write what we believe without fear of reprisal, freedom of due process and habeas corpus protection, freedom from secret intrusion into our private lives by government.

If there were really a "War on Terror," an emotion, Wes Craven would be hiring a lawyer: he scares people. The "War on Terror" is a sham. You know what changed after September 11th? We, the people of the United States, forgot how strong we are. We gave in to fear, when the only thing we should have feared was fear itself. Osama bin Laden wants you to be afraid. So does George Bush....read on"

Sometimes working so hard and traveling in between has it's advantages. I can sometimes go for 24 hours without being reminded of how screwed our once great country is.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Welcome to Summer

This is the official first holiday of summer and I hope everyone is having a nice time. Monk along with his daughter and son in law moved 8 cubic yards of gravel today and spread it evenly along the path that circles the back. I had to bribe them with ribs and strawberry shortcake but it was a reasonable price to pay for that hard work. It would have taken me days to move that much stone.
Tomorrow is definitely a rest day. We have a big Memorial Day do here in Roswell so we'll probably go down to city hall and see the doings. Banks and Shane will be there and they are always a lot of fun. No gravel moving scheduled.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Something for the Weekend

It is refreshing to see that not all of the Christians are ignoring reality and only marching to the GOP drumbeat. This article in Creative Loafing by John Sugg is refreshing.
John Sugg--Global warming and other issues that relate to our stewardship of the planet seem finally to have struck a chord among evangelical Christians.
The ministers, academics and lay activists ... signed the global warming statement encompassed a wide range of beliefs, including 39 evangelical colleges, the Salvation Army and a cross-section of major denominations and churches. As innocuous and as Christian as such a statement sounds, it was a pointed rebuke of the leadership of the religious right and the Republican Party. Up until the declaration, political preachers had dismissed environmental concerns. In many cases, after all, their power relies heavily on claiming the Second Coming is coming soon: Why worry about Mother Earth when you, Tim LaHaye, Ralph Reed and a few others are about to be raptured up to heaven? Such blitheness fits well with the corporate wing of the GOP, which places profits above prophesies of peak oil and environmental disaster from global warming.

Those who refused to sign the global warming statement included America's foremost ayatollahs: Jerry Falwell; the Rev. D. James Kennedy of the mammoth Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in South Florida; James Dobson ...

"There's no surprise at who didn't sign," said Jim Jewel of Atlanta, spokesman for the evangelical environmentalists. "What we did was signal that the evangelical movement has a new cause, beyond just abortion and gay marriage ... This let people know we have more than one voice."

tip to Kos and Happy Birthday DailyKos

Nice Front Page

A great front page on the AJC this morning when I picked it up in the drive way... Guilty on All Counts. The following is from CNN.

Enron former chief executive Jeffrey Skilling and founder Kenneth Lay were found guilty Thursday of conspiracy and fraud in the granddaddy of all corporate fraud cases.

On the sixth day of deliberations, a jury of eight women and four men convicted the former executives of misleading the public about the true financial health of Enron, whose collapse in late 2001 symbolized the wave of corporate fraud that swept the United States early this decade.

Skilling was found guilty on 20 counts of conspiracy, fraud, false statements and insider trading. He was found not guilty on eight counts of insider trading.

Lay was found guilty on all six counts of conspiracy and fraud.

The article goes on to say that the sentencing will be Sept 11. Why is it going to take so long to put these assholes behind bars. I imagine that if you or I were to be found guilty we wouldn't get the summer off. I will be interested to see how long these two stay free or if they ever get put in jail.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Traveling All Day

Meetings this morning and a mad dash to the airport. Should be back in Atlanta around 11pm and home by midnight. No blogging today. See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Hidden Agenda

Dennis Hastert's loud condemnation of the FBI raid on Congressman Jefferson's office appears to be laced with a soupcon of self preservation. Seems Mr. Hastert is himself the subject of an investigation and has an interest in seeing that Congressional offices are inviolate.

First, Congress, both the Senate and the House, have proved incapable of policing themselves and it is something that is in desperate need of doing. The Constitution doesn't say that Congress is above the law and if there is probable cause that a crime has been committed then I think the FBI should go where the evidence leads them.

Secondly, Congessman Jefferson is wrong to refuse Nancy Pelosi's request that he surrender his committee position. The last thing the Democratic Party needs is a domocratic scandal taking the heat of the GOP corruption. Having the $90,000 found in the freezer effectively wipes him out and there is no upside and no possibility that he will be found innocent of wrongdoing. He should resign immediately from the committe post and Congress as well.


Another long and tiring day today and I am totally hosed. "Beddy Bye" is the only answer. I honestly tried to do a diligent search of the news and blogosphere and just woke up sitting in front of the computer with another hour missing. I am now at the point where I can't get a single image cleary focused and see two of everything. I give up!
Updated: fixed all my sleepy typos.


I have to admit I am ashamed of ExxonMobil. Yeah, I know I am a slow learner. I bought shares of the company in my small self directed 401K back when it was just Exxon and I have held on to them for over 10 years. I am now fully convinced that I need to dump them even though they are making me money and are one of the few investments outside of Starbucks to do so.

The parade of slime financed by ExxonMobil continuing to attack Al Gore's movie "An Inconvenient Truth" hit another new low today with an attack from Sterling Burnett on Faux. Burnett is a whore from the National Center for Policy Analysis, an organization that has received over $390,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998.

Here are a few sentences from the attack...
That’s the problem. If I thought Al Gore’s movie was as you like to say, fair
and balanced, I’d say, everyone should go see it. But why go see propaganda? You
don’t go see Joseph Goebbels’ films to see the truth about Nazi Germany. You
don’t go see Al Gore’s films to see the truth about global warming.

Burnett has the gall to compare watching Al Gore’s movie, An Inconvenient Truth, to watching a movie by Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels to learn about Nazi Germany. This is really too much. The whole ugly thing can be seen on Think Progress' website. These guys really have no shame. I really hate to be forced into shooting myself in the foot on this but Jeebus you can only ignore so much.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Not Missing

I am here in Phoenix but very limited access and absolutely no time to blog. My best intentions to spend some time here last night was thwarted by some very necessary sleep.

Don't miss the long list of GOP lies that John has posted over at AmericaBlog. Truly amazing!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Travel Day tomorrow

Off to the wilds of Arizona early tomorrow morning. Will be in Phoenix for the next four weeks with a client. Home on the weekends though. Not looking forward to it. I used to work for a company headquartered in Phoenix and this time of year is when it is starting to get really, really hot. Triple digits hot. The only positive thing about flying this week is that it will put me over the top on the miles needed to maintain Platinum status on Delta. I am not sure but this may be the earliest in a year I have hit the 75K mile mark...before the end of May no less. How do you say traveling too much?

Spent another weekend trying to get the old homestead back in shape. This weekend was trying to so something about all the damage done when the septic tank had to be dug up along with all the piping going into it. Didn't look so hard but it took all weekend and required moving quite a bit of dirt one shovel full at a time. Excercised some muscles I had forgotten about. Anyway looks good and now all we need is a truckload of gravel to repair the path that goes back to the garden.

This task did force me to drag out my old Troy-Bilt Horse and get it running. Required a complete dis-assembly of the carb to clean out the varnish from letting gas sit in it for a couple of years. I have had this tiller since the late seventies and it is still going strong (when I do my part). Now that I have it running I am sorely tempted to till up the old garden which I haven't done in 6 or so years. Traveling so much makes keeping a garden impossible but I sure do enjoy it and nothing will ever replace your first homegrown tomato or ear of corn. I am now reduced to having someone mow my lawn to the tune of $40 a week...oh the shame of it. I might just till up the garden and plant something for the wildlife or just wildflowers.

So anyway... traveling tomorrow and no guarantees as to posts here. Just because I don't have time to post doesn't mean I don't appreciate the folks who stop by here and especially those that step in an comment.

Not Bad Science

I toook this post "lock, stock and barrel" from Steve Bates over at Yellow Doggerel Democrat. No sense in me retyping it.

While you're waiting for Al Gore's movie on global warming, An Inconvenient Truth, you should take a look at Bill Maher's segment on the same subject, War on Terra. Here's added incentive to watch Maher: he accuses Bush of treason. And his reason for doing so is valid.
Anyone that thinks Global Warming is "bad science" is full of shit. While I was in Gothenburg, Sweden week before last one of my clients noted that the harbor used to freeze over in winter when he was younger but it hasn't done so in the last few years.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Cowards Every One

Matthew Yglesias covering for Josh at TPM points out something we should note. Numerous GOP Senators such as Pat Roberts of Kansas seem to have some aversion to the concept of dying to preserve our liberties. Yesterday during the confirmation hearings for Hayden he said "but you have no civil liberties if you are dead." If I may, let me translate that into plain English (the "National language") "Here, take my liberties they aren't worth dying for." This is one of the same men that have sent 3000 of our men and women to die on the sands of Iraq to preserve liberty. WTF.One of Matt's commenters pointed us to the immortal words of Patrick Henry.
Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
UPDATE: John at AmericaBlog has more examples of cowardice among the GOP.

GOP Senator Jeff Sessions referring to the rightness of Bush's domestic spying after 9/11 declared melodramatically:

"Over 3,000 Americans have no civil rights because they are no longer with us."

On February 3rd, Kansas Senator Pat Roberts similarly claimed:

"You really don't have any civil liberties if you're dead."

Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, said on December 20, 2005:

"None of your civil liberties matter much after you're dead."
This kind of attitude will get us exactly what we are getting. These cowards have so little respect for the liberties our fathers and forefathers fought and died for. No reverence for the lives wasted in Iraq and no courage to make the hard choices necessary to lead a country like the U.S. They all need to be turned out in shame.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

A Big Mouth Jumps Ship

Here is a snippet from Doug McIntyre's apology. Doug is a very conservative talk radio host in the mornings on KABC in the LA market. Doug has historically been an avid supporter of Bush and has a big West Coast following. This guy has jumped ship in a big way.

So, I’m saying today, I was wrong to have voted for George W. Bush. In historic terms, I believe George W. Bush is the worst two-term President in the history of the country. Worse than Grant. I also believe a case can be made that he’s the worst President, period.

Read the whole thing it is a memorable piece. You might even call it refreshing.

tip to Armando

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Who Are You Gonna Believe?

You just knew this would happen sooner or later with the impending release of Al Gore's movie on global warming "An Inconvenient Truth" on May 24. According to Think Progress
Today, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) will unveil two 60-second TV ads focusing on what it calls “global warming alarmism and the call by some environmental groups and politicians to reduce fossil fuel and carbon dioxide emissions.” The ad, which will be aired in more than a dozen cities across the country, is being released just a week before the May 24th opening (in LA and NYC) of Al Gore’s new movie on global warming, An Inconvenient Truth.
Here is a big surprise...

Exxon documents reveal the company gave $270,000 to CEI in 2004 alone. $180,000 of that was earmarked for “global climate change and global climate change outreach.” Exxon has contributed over $1.6 million to CEI since 1998.

CEI’s general counsel Sam Kazman said, “I think what attracted [Exxon] to us was our position on global warming.” CEI’s position? The Institute believes the dangers of global warming are akin “to that of ‘an alien invasion.’

Let's hope the American people realize that the oil companies that are funding this organization know that doing something about global warming means doing something about oil and using less of it. The oil companies are only concerned with profit in the short term and give a rip about the long term effects of their business on the planet. This has to change.

Thanks to Matt Stoller at MyDD for the heads up.

This Month's Crisis

Leveraging off a couple of posts by John at AmericaBlog...here and here

I have hesitated to post about the immigration debate because I really can't offer what I consider a reasonable solution. This is a country of immigrants and to dismiss out of hand the right for anyone to search out a better life in the U.S. runs against the grain. On the other hand, we have a responsibility to those already citizens, whether natural or not, to protect their hard won gains in wages, benefits, job security and workplace safety from being diluted by a huge influx of labor willing to work at virtually slave wages. It's a tough problem and there is not a simple solution.

Regardless of all of the above however, the reality is that the current brouhaha over immigration is just another GOP gambit to distract the voting public with some manufactured issue and inflame passions. Bush and company want so much to appear as if they can lead this country and they can point to nothing they have done so far that demonstrates competence or leadership. The last couple of months it was Iran but that now seems on the back burner. Before that it was abortion, gay rights/marriage, obscenity and whatever other issue that they could grab and wave before their slobbering crowds. They do so want to distract us from the debacle in Iraq and the failure to effectively secure our country or provide us with security from such things as hurricanes and such. Now they are facing a losing proposition in the midterm elections and are desperate for the appearance of leadership.

Face it. If Bush and the GOP were serious about border security after 9/11 they would have done something 5 and a half years ago. Instead they cut the budget for border patrol to the tune of 10,000 agents over 5 years and are hoping no one brings up that little piece of work. If they were serious about terrorists coming into the country over unsecured borders they would have done something about the much larger and unpatrolled border with Canada. If you remember that is the border over which the one terrorist with bomb materials was captured.

So what we have here is just a political stunt that is going to cost us hundreds of millions of dollars and hassle some quarter of a million National Guard men and women for political gain. The heartwarming thing is that it is probably too late for them to recover from the screwups and failure to enact the agenda their ravenous, far right, christian base expected of them. Over and over again you are seeing the radical christian bunch throwing up their hands in disgust over the failure of this administration to follow through on their campaign promises to deal with abortion, gay rights, prayer in schools, obscenity and immigration. The good christian soldiers that turned out in such force to keep Bush and Cheney and the rest of the cabal in office in 2004 are pissed and threatening to withhold their vote in 2006 and 2008.

Therefore, one obvious key for Democratic success in '06 and '08 is to do everything we can to see that the GOP and Bush have no success in the key areas the Bible thumping, jumped by Jesus crowd are so desperate for. We need to prevent any GOP successes in all the key issues...
- gay marriage
- immigration
- pray in school
- obscenity/porn
- abortion
If we can stop them here and further frustrate the religious right and thereby suppress their influence in the coming elections we will have come a long way into putting the GOP were they so richly deserve to be.

Hope Springs Eternal

There appears to be some wiggle room in Al Gore's insistence that he will not be a candidate for President in 2008. Yesterday, at a screening of his new film “An Inconvenient Truth,” the Tennessee Democrat's new global warming film the following was overheard...

Former Vice President Al Gore gave yet another vague hint yesterday in Atlanta that he might be open to a run for the presidency in 2008, RAW STORY has found.

Gore told a reporter for the Atlanta Progressive News, a nascent politics site, that he was a "recovering politican," but added, "You always have to worry about a relapse."


After the crowd cheered Gore in encouragement, the Progressive News' Matthew Cardinale reports, the former Vice President told the audience, “I’m a recovering politician, on Step Nine. Thank you for your sentiment.”

"Later, after the larger crowd left the theater, APN Staff Writer Susan Keith brought the issue up again in a more private, yet informal gathering in the theater after the show," Cardinale adds. "'It’s not a sentiment!' she said, while others in attendance offered their campaign support and said, stop listening to those consultants."

One can only hope he is wavering in his resolve and does, in fact, relapse.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Good Idea at Firedoglake

The folks over at firedoglake have another great action project. They are asking folks to buy the Book "Crashing the Gate" by Kos and Jerome at a bookstore(Politics & Prose) in Washington and have volunteers them hand deliver the books to each Democratic Congressman. That is just 250 books and you will get a 37% dicount off the regular $25 price. This is all sponsored by The Citizen Action & Open Source Lobbying project a part of The Roots Project
use previous link to order your book.

I just did so they only need 249 at most.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Circus In Town

DarkSyde has a must read post this morning over at Kos. He creates a beautiful analogy of the MSM's relationship with the Bush administration and the circus it truly is. Here is a teaser.
Straight talking Johnny McCain will flash a valium-esque smile at the clown and hug the monkey warmly while it takes a dump on his lap and smears shit all over his face. And an editorial written by a belt way democratic insider will warn us all that if we don't clap real loud and pretend it was a terrific show, the performer will turn into the Killer Klown From Outer Space and the monkey will prance around the stage menacingly in a parody of King Kong.
Here is the clincher.

Here's an intervention shout-out to our esteemed media pundits and their handlers: You Don't Have To Cover for this Crappy Clown Show Any More. A White House with an 80% approval rating and a jazzy video-war in the works can play games with access and deal you out of the family Nielson if you don't play ball. But a beleaguered administration less popular than Tricky Dick, with shall we say a shrinking market share, and under assault from all sides, will eagerly wag their PR tail to the cadence of your agenda, because they desperately need to get their respective clowns on every dang channel juggling those talking points and riding that unicycle. If they don't get that organ grinder cranked up to deafening levels and put on a hell of a clown show, they know they don't have a chance of holding what's left of their admiring fans attention, let alone reversing the public's general malaise with clown shows and musical monkeys.

This isn't the greatest show on earth any longer. It really never was, that was just promotional hype anyway. And, unlike the old cliche, this show doesn't have to go on at all.
This is the writing that makes the blogoshere addicting.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Disaster in the Making

Updated Below:

If this turns out to be true...that Bush will position several thousand National Guard troops along the U.S. and Mexico borders then we have the makings of a disaster. According to Reuters Bush will announce the measure tomorrow night to coincide with the resuming of debate in Congress on immigration reform.

George Bush and his henchmen are insane. In their desperation to do anything that will make them not appear incompetent they are going to ignore the fact that the military and especially the National Guard is already overstretched and use them for a strictly political stunt. Does anyone want to guess how much this little debacle going to cost us?

What is even more insane is that this is the same administration that just two years ago took a huge knife to the border patrol budget and cut some 10,000 agents from the force.

The National Guard is a military force and one of their jobs is to shoot people who are breaking the law. Remember Kent State? How long do you think it will be until a well intentioned National Guardsman shoots a Mexican man as he crosses the border or God forbids a woman or child? What do you think will happen when this occurs and occur it will? I don't want to even imagine the uproar and chaos in the streets of American cities and towns.

This plan, if true, is nothing but a publicity stunt. These proven idiots in Washington have not thought this through just like they didn't think through Iraq, Katrina and everything else they have touched.

As I have said so many times...we know Bush is going to shoot himself in the foot. What is amazing is how fast he can reload. The real tragedy is that it always someone else that takes the bullet in these disasters.

Imagine a bunch of ducks trying to gang rape a football.

Update: Georgia10 at Kos has more.

Update Number Two
Holden at First-Draft brings us non-Texans up-to-date on what happens when the military patrol the border. He reminds of this incident in 1997. This is the type of tragedy we will be facing if Bush posts the military on the border.
From the Drug Policy Forum of Texas memorial page: On May 20, 1997, Esequiel Hernandez, Jr. was herding his family's goats 100 yards from his home on the US-Mexican border in Redford, Texas, as he did every day. Six days before, he had turned 18 years old.

Unknown to Esequiel or any of the other residents of Redford, a group of four Marines led by 22-year old Corporal Clemente Banuelos had been encamped just outside the small village along the Rio Grande River for three days. After watering his small flock of goats in the river, Esequiel started on his way back home when the Marines began stalking him from a distance of 200 yards.

The four camouflaged Marines were outfitted with state-of-the-art surveillance equipment and weapons. Esequiel carried an antique .22 caliber rifle -- a pre-World War I, single shot rifle to keep wild dogs and rattlesnakes away from his goats. The autopsy showed that Esequiel was facing away from the Marines when he was shot. He probably never knew the Marines were watching him from 200 yards away.

Thus it was that a 22 year-old United States Marine shot and killed an innocent 18 year-old boy tending his family's goats. This outrageous act was the inevitable consequence of a drug prohibition policy gone mad. Esequiel Hernandez was killed not by drugs but by military officers of the United States government.

Brazen Visitor

I looked up while preparing dinner and what do you know... in broad daylight no less. Usually these quys wait until dark to raid the bird feeders but maybe there was something on TV tonight that he/she didn't want to miss.

Obama "Kicks It Up A Notch"

Two great quotes from Barack in the LA Times.

This idea that somehow if you say the words 'plan for victory' and 'stay the course' over and over and over and over again and you put these subliminal messages behind you that say 'victory' and 'victory' and 'victory,' that somehow people are not going to notice the 2,400 flag-draped coffins that have arrived at the Dover Air Force Base.


I don't know about you, but when George Bush said he did not believe in nation building, I did not know he was talking about this nation.

thanks to Kos

Yard Man Survives

Ok, Yard Man has survived the weekend and the sun is over the yardarm on Sunday night. I am suitably equipped with a cocktail and ready for the evening. The honey do list is a little shorter but there are still some major projects remaining. To be fair Madam works right along side when we are gardening and landscaping and it helps make the projects a little quicker ( it also allows for close supervision of you know who). I don't have to travel next week (that I know of) and should have a chance to recover from the weekend soreness. Now it is time to check on what is going on in the world and see what dastardly deeds and monumental fuckups the Bush misadminsitration has managed while I had my back turned. I did skim the AJC this morning so I am not totally clueless but it will interesting to see what the blogroll has been up to.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Honey Do

Madam Monk has a honey do list for yours truly which I am about to engage. Already been to Home Despot and gotten mini-bark, compost, plants (lantana and Mexican heather) to redo the beds at the end of the driveway and by the garage. Unfortuneately, the monkey grass edging has encroached a foot or two into the beds and needs to be trimmed back which is a mighty job and will take a couple of hours. This is just the first item on the list and will take the better part of Saturday to complete.

If any of you decide to change jobs into one in which you travel heavily just remember that household chores don't go away but rather bunch up and actually get more difficult since you don't do them when you should.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Gloves Off

The Washington Post's Eugene Robinson doesn't seem to believe Bush and doesn't beat around the bush (sorry) about saying so.
At least now we know that the Bush administration's name for spying on Americans without first seeking court approval -- the "terrorist surveillance program" -- isn't an exercise in Orwellian doublespeak after all. It's just a bald-faced lie....

You'll recall that when it was revealed last year that the NSA was eavesdropping on phone calls and reading e-mails without first going to court for a warrant, the president said his "terrorist surveillance program" targeted international communications in which at least one party was overseas, and then only when at least one party was suspected of some terrorist involvement. Thus no one but terrorists had anything to worry about.

Not remotely true, it turns out...
Bolding added
Why did this sudden realization about the Bush Administration take 6 plus years?

While You're Under There, Check the Oil


Agitprop went way, way out on a limb last week sometime in the comments here and predicted Bush would hit 29% approval soon. Major risk taker. Since he said it first he gets credit for being all knowing and psychic.

Courtesy of the Wall Street Journal.

President Bush’s job-approval rating has fallen to its lowest mark of his presidency, according to a new Harris Interactive poll. Of 1,003 U.S. adults surveyed in a telephone poll, 29% think Mr. Bush is doing an “excellent or pretty good” job as president, down from 35% in April and significantly lower than 43% in January. Approval ratings for Congress overall also sank, and now stand at 18%.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Flying all day tomorow so it will be silent here until later tomorrow. Long dy of meetings today and I am toast. Up at 0330 or so for a 0630 flight to Paris and then across the pond. Time to pack the bag and hit the sack. After the jump.

Fiscal Disaster

Even with a record deficit and despite the secret raise to the debt ceiling the GOP Congress has agreed to another 70 billion dollar tax cut for the wealthy extending the tax break on capital gains until 2010. This is absoulutely insane. The GOP needs to be removed lock stock and barrel before they spend this country into a hole we will never get out of.

The rest of the world's economics leaders are growing more and more concerned about our debts as can be seen by the falling dollar.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Fiscal Respnsibility...Right

Jonathan Weisman and Shailagh Murray at the Washington Post read through the mindnumbing details in the latest GOP budget proposal and noticed a little detail that was obviously buried in the middle of the document in the dear hopes that no one would notice.

A $2.7 trillion budget plan pending before the House would raise the federal debt ceiling to nearly $10 trillion, less than two months after Congress last raised the federal government’s borrowing limit.

The provision — buried on page 121 of the 151-page budget blueprint — serves as a backdrop to congressional action this week. House leaders hope to try once again to pass a budget plan for fiscal 2007, a month after a revolt by House Republican moderates and Appropriations Committee members forced leaders to pull the plan….

But the federal debt keeps climbing because of continued deficit spending and the government’s insatiable borrowing from the Social Security trust fund.

With passage of the budget, the House will have raised the federal borrowing limit by an additional $653 billion, to $9.62 trillion. It would be the fifth debt-ceiling increase in recent years, after boosts of $450 billion in 2002, a record $984 billion in 2003, $800 billion in 2004 and $653 billion in March. When Bush took office, the statutory borrowing limit stood at $5.95 trillion.

Actual conservatives are going to birth a cinderblock when they read this.

Office View

I took this picture this morning while waiting in my host's office for meetings to start. He has a balcony he can step out on when the need for fresh air strikes. If I had this view of the channel leading into Gothenburg harbor from the sea I would never get anything done. I happened to catch the view as two ships of the Stena Line passed each other coming and going. Most likely these guys are coming from and going to Copenhagen which is just over the horizon from Gothenburg. These are primarily truck ferrys. Much of the truck traffic from Scandinavia comes through here on its way to the mainland of Europe.

Not Foreign Relations

The latest example of the total incompetence of this administration in foreign relations is given in Cheney's very public smack at Russia while in Lithuania last week. Here we are trying to convince Iran that defying the international community on the development of nuclear capabilty is not a good thing and Cheney goes out of his way to piss off one of the two countries with any swing with Iran that could help sell our case.

Couple this with the letter that Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad just sent to Bush encouring an open dialogue and we get some idea of why Cheney went out of his way to jerk the Russian chain.

Why else piss off one of the only potential allies in convincing the Iranians to be a little more reserved if not to make it that much harder to to have face to face talks. The truth is that our leaders don't want anything to ruin their run up to war with Iran.

I have to give it to Ahmad-Nejad. He has managed to shift the burden of a meaningful diplomatic approach to the U.S. Now, if Bush doesn't make some balancing move then any negative result is his to carry.

Just Like His Buddy

Things aren't going too well for Tony Blair. His Labour Party got trashed in the latest elections and numerous MP's are calling for him to step down. According this article the Labour Party is now enjoying the same approvals as the GOP and Bush. 30% is not very encouraging for a politician. According to the Financial Times Blair has indicated that he will step down within the year, as soon as he gets his replacement properly trained. Supposedly it is to be Chancellor Gordon Brown and I wouldn't think he would need that much training. We shall see.

Hitch your car to a loser train Tony and you get to suffer the consequences.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Goteborg View

Here is a snapshot from the hotel room this afternoon. Lovely day and you can see from greening of the trees that spring has officially arrived here. All this green is new since I was here just over a week ago. Off in the distance you can see the top of the football stadium. I managed to catch one of the trolleys that cover the city going by as well. Like I said earlier not much of a view but this is pretty typical for a mid priced hotel in Europe if it is in the center of the city.

Sometimes you see the name of this town written in English as Gothenburg. Just a decade ago or so it was the largest ship building center in the world but now there is none. Evidently Korea now makes the bulk of the world's ships. Now the town has moved toward more high tech industry and those jobs lost when shipbuilding went away are now replaced. This is also the headquarters of Volvo and Ericsson also has a major presence. Saab is also headquartered about 40 kilometers north of here as well.

Another Dumb Move

The "braintrust" in the Whitehouse has officially nominated General Hayden for the top spot at the CIA. Let me just jump in and join the chorus in saying that this is a supremely stupid thing to do. I think this will wind up another Harriet Myers debacle. There is already a lot of negative vibes coming out from Capitol Hill on this.
A GOP leader on the House Intelligence Committee Chairman Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich is already signalling for a fight...
"I do believe he's the wrong person, the wrong place, at the wrong time," House Intelligence Committee Chairman Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., said on "Fox News Sunday." "We should not have a military person leading a civilian agency at this time."
Even Rethuglican yes boy Saxby Chambliss of Georgia thinks a military man is the wrong pick.
This much bad press from the inside is a telling sign when it is made before the choice is even announced. As usual Bush (more likely Cheney) has decided to ignore the semaphores from the hill on the CIA post nomination.

If I was paranoid I would think that getting all these military types in the top spots of all civilian intelligence posts is setting the stage for martial law or something.

Finally, anyone that's a top aide to John "Deathsqaud" Negroponte is suspect in my book

On the Ground Again

Ensconced in Goteborg, Sweden once again. Uneventful trip though the same frustrating dash through Charles de Gaulle. Once again the flight from Atlanta was about 20 minutes late arriving and after the bus ride to the terminal from the remote parking area I had to get a boarding pass for the Paris-Goteborg leg, get through immigration, get re-security screened and therefore I was almost too late to make the flight. If you happen to have to fly through Paris on your European vacation try to insure you have at least 2 if not 3 hours of connection time. If I wasn't very familiar with the airport and had to dither around in the least I would not have made it and the connection was and hour and a half. You are warned.
Let me scout around and see what is going on and I'll be back. By the way the weather here is gorgeous...sunny and about 68. I took a photo a minute ago from the hotel window. The view is not spectacular but it doesn't get much better with mid priced hotels in Europe. I'll post it a little later.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

On the Road Again

Ok final post from home as I am getting ready to head to the airport and back to Sweden for the bulk of the week. Just made a mad dash over to Barnes and Noble to get Crashing the Gate to read on the jump to Paris. This week it is actually going to take me over twice as long to travel to and from the meetings as they are long. Probably 18 hours total of meetings and just about twice as much traveling.

Speaking of Markos Moulitsas...he has a very pointed article in the Washington Post today explaining why Hillary won't and shouldn't be the candidate for the Dems in 08. Not very complimentary.

I should be in Sweden by about noon Monday Central European time which is 6 hours ahead of the East coast so I might be awake enough to check in. I did manage to get upgraded for both hops across the pond this time, so it won't be nearly as brutal as last week's trip. Cattle car is tough.

See you later.

Friday, May 05, 2006

CIA Headless

Looks like Porter Goss resigned today after less than two years on the job screwing up the CIA and politicizing the intelligence service. My bet he is tied up in the Watergate/Hookergate scandal that is brewing just under the surface and he is doing an early bail.

Very interesting ... now why won't Rumsfeld and Cheney go too.

More Good News

Ouch! Another three point drop in the latest AP-Ipsos poll for Bush over the past month.
• Only 33% of the public approves of Bush's job performance, this is the lowest of his presidency. That compares with a 36% approval in April. This number includes 45% of self-described conservatives who now disapprove of the president.

• Just 25% of the public approves of the job Congress is doing This is also a new low in AP-Ipsos polling and down 5% since April.

• An unbelievable 65% of conservatives disapprove of Congress and 31% want Republicans out of power period.

• 51% of Americans say they want Democrats rather than Republicans to control Congress. 34% say the reverse. This too, is a new record gap in the poll.

Not Just Floods Folks

While Global Climate Change is not part of Bush's reality it is rapidly becoming a larger and larger part of ours. This article from the Washington Post discusses just one of the ancillary "benefits" of the gradual warming of the climate. These "benefits" are not widely discussed but they are probably going to be as devastating to the life inhabiting our little spaceship as the rising floodwaters. This article only discusses disease but there are other side effects of global warming that haven't been popularized as well.

There are going to be major shifts in global climate since some of the engines that drive it are changing like the Gulf Stream ocean current. Giant swaths of what is now arable, productive, food producing land will be transformed into dry desert. Think about what this will mean to the world's food supply.

As ocean temperatures rise the major source of the world's oxygen is going to be negatively impacted as well. The billions of tons of plankton that float in the world's oceans and seas convert millions of tons of carbon dioxide into oxygen daily via photosynthesis. Not only will the warming seas kill off many of these creatures but global warming will increase cloud cover over the earth and with decreased sunlight to fuel the photosynthetic conversion the balances of CO2 and O2 in the atmosphere will change. This will have an unknown but surely a negative impact on the rest of the globe's life. It does not look at all positive for much of life on earth.
From the Post:

Global warming -- with an accompanying rise in floods and droughts -- is fueling the spread of epidemics in areas unprepared for the diseases, say many health experts worldwide. Mosquitoes, ticks, mice and other carriers are surviving warmer winters and expanding their range, bringing health threats with them.
Malaria is climbing the mountains to reach populations in higher elevations in Africa and Latin America. Cholera is growing in warmer seas. Dengue fever and Lyme disease are moving north. West Nile virus, never seen on this continent until seven years ago, has infected more than 21,000 people in the United States and Canada and killed more than 800.


But Paul Epstein, a physician who worked in Africa and is now on the faculty of Harvard Medical School, said that, if anything, scientists weren't worried enough about the problem.

"Things we projected to occur in 2080 are happening in 2006. What we didn't get is how fast and how big it is, and the degree to which the biological systems would respond," Epstein said in an interview in Boston. "Our mistake was in underestimation."

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Froomkin on Colbert and Stewart

Dan Froomkin hits the nail on the head today in the Washington Post. This, however, is not a new premise or idea. The left-leaning blogosphere has been saying this since before 9/11/01. The MSM just spell checks and reprints whatever "Bushshit" the White House pumps out. They don't fact check or do any analysis nor do they put any kind of perspective on what is being posited. They don't test the premise against reality or history and leave the reader or listener to have at their fingertips all of the resources necessary to compare and contrast what is being said with the truth.
Granted, that's the White House expectation of the traditional media and true to the old wives' tale ' you get what you pay for" , much to our disservice. The traditional media still believes that the Whitehouse is going to be basically telling the truth but maybe with a little spin. This is ancient history. The Bush Whitehouse has thrown out that playbook and written their own. Lying is now the standard operating procedure. Lying is the norm. We will be ill served by the traditional media until they get this through their pointy little heads. Trust Bush and his minions at your peril. If you doubt and therefore verify and othewise validate what they say independently then you may get to the truth even if they are not telling you what it is.

Here is Dan to speak for himself.

Both Colbert and Stewart have risen to superstar status largely by calling (how can I put it here?) baloney on the Bush administration -- and on the press corps that transmits said baloney without the appropriate skepticism or irony.

Their very subversive message, at its core: That this Bush guy is basically a joke. And that the mainstream press is a joke, because it takes Bush at his word. ....

The way I see it, the Washington press corps is still appropriately embarrassed that they screwed up in the run-up to war. Now, as Bush's approval ratings fester, they are getting bolder in challenging the official White House line on any number of issues. They're justifiably proud of a handful of great investigative pieces.

But they still haven't addressed the central issue Colbert was raising: Bush's credibility. As it happens, the public is way ahead of them on this one: For more than a year, the polls have consistently been showing that a majority of Americans don't find Bush honest and trustworthy.

Dollar is Going South

The ever reliable Billmon discusses international finance and the recent rapid increase in the price of gold. He is most likely correct in that it is most likely due to central bankers switching from holding dollars to holding gold. Not a good sign.

The dollar has slipped down to $1.27/Euro. While this is not the worst that I have seen it is pretty darn close. For those of us that spend a lot of time in Europe this kind of exchange rate is very painful. It has been hanging around a $1.20 for the last few months but it has made a quick fall to this latest value. Let's hope this trend changes course but a lot of people are saying there is more to go.

While there is nothing wrong with a falling dollar since it does make us more competitive with foreign markets there is a limit. It's probably inevitable considering our high debt and current account balance but it is going to eat in to the profitablity of doing business in Europe. Most of my business is based on contracted rates for my time that made for good business at a more attractive exchange rate.

The only real danger with this scenario is that central banks are not going to like to see the value of their reserve holdings in dollars fall by a substantial amount and will move to unload them and and reserve in the Euro or some other currency. If this happens and it turns into a minor or major run then we have problems. We are the most indebted nation in the world and if the dollar weakens to a level where we cannot continue to sell debt then look for the recession. This is why the rapid increase in gold price is just a bit worrisome.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

New Toy

I have spent all afternoon getting the new desktop up and running. Mostly transferring email and Quicken and music and all that. The old computer was rapidly dying so I bit the bullet and ordered a new one. Amazingly cheap when you compare features and horsepower with the one it is replacing which is about 5 or 6 years old. The old and new ones are Dell. I owe them since they are such a major client but that said I haven't had the first problem with the old one it is just old and slow and not ready for what I am asking it to do. Madam will inherit it to do her word processing and stuff on. The new one is an XPS 400 and so far so good. The flat screen is nice and bright and the 1 gig of memory makes XP much more friendly. I haven't tried any of the multi media features yet like DVD burning and all that but the included sub woofer sure makes a difference in the sound quality. I am a little disappointed that it still won't correct my typos. When I look back and remember my first computer it is rather amazing what has transpired in the last 25 years or so.

Please Run Al, Pretty Please

When you ponder where the country is right now and how badly fucked up it is there is a tendency to get rather depressed about what is going to happen during the balance of the disaster that is the George W. Bush presidency. Think further out you begin to wonder how in the world someone (hopefully a Democrat) could be expected to step in and begin to right our sinking ship of state. Our best chance is to elect someone experienced and who already believes and knows what has to be done. We won't have the luxury of a break-in period or giving the new adminstration a chance to learn the ropes. This article in the Chicago Tribune by Clarence Page gives me hope that we can convince Al Gore to give us some option other than Hillary. It is my considered opinion that we could not find a better combination of experience, knowledge andsomeone capable of hitting the ground running than Al. He's already won once and there are no skeletons that haven't been hammered on before. I would vote for him in a heartbeat. Maybe with Fiengold in the copilot's seat?

Yes, despite the nattering nabobs of anti-Al negativism, there is no longer much dispute that global warming exists. The only argument centers on how quickly it is going to cause more devastation and how much of it is caused by humans. That’s a debate Gore has been itching to have, and his side is looking more prescient by the day and too credible to be ignored.

And what better place to have that debate than a presidential campaign?

Sure, Gore’s not running. Not yet. But he has a ready-made base of strong support from MoveOn.org and Howard Dean’s army of feisty volunteers. Both groups tap him into the left’s richest vein of fundraising and volunteers outside of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) political and fundraising juggernaut. She’s way ahead in the polls and in fundraising, at present, but if the significant number of Democrats who doubt she can win the White House needs to coalesce around someone else, Gore is well-positioned to be wooed. And his movie hasn’t even been released.

None of this means Gore is going to run, of course. But, if I were Hillary Clinton I’d be looking over my shoulder.

Thanks to Susie for the heads up.
UPDATED: Fixed Link to the article (thanks Steve)

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Outer Limits

The evidence keeps piling up that proves what we have all known all along. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Condi and everyone else know what was going on in Gitmo, Abu Graib and Afghanistan and probably actually ordered it. New Army documents release by the ACLU confirm it all Raw Story has it. Evidently Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez ordered interrogators to "go to the outer limits" to get information from detainees.

Here is a short quote from the release.

"These documents are further proof that the abuse of detainees was widespread and systemic, and not aberrational," said Amrit Singh, a staff attorney with the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project. "We know that senior officials endorsed this abuse, but these officials have yet to be held accountable."

In the Garden in May

You always know when it is May in Atlanta as the peonies are blooming. They are real show-offs and very easy to grow. You just have to cage them with wire cages as they bloom so heavily they fall over.

Frogmarch Time

What definition is the Whitehouse using for traitor? Can anyone at the Whitehouse justify why an obvious and admitted traitor that has done clear and significant damage to our national security in a time of war still has a security clearance and therefore access to classified material?

David Shuster at MSNBC is reporting that Valerie Plame Wilson was heacily involved in trying to assess the Iranian nuclear capabilty at the time she was outed (Crooks & Liars has the video).

According to Shuster:

Early in the case, Rove admitted to investigators that he outed Valerie Wilson’s identity to columnist Robert Novak — Novak was the first journalist to publish Wilson’s identity and the first to talk about it to investigators.

And last week, Karl Rove testified again he may have spoken about the Wilsons with Time Magazine’s Matt Cooper.

Rove said he denied that under oath for the first year of the investigation because of memory problems. A case of bad memory is Scooter Libby’s defense.

But in regards to Karl Rove, lawyers in the case say prosecutor Fitzgerald is still troubled by the timing of Rove’s rolling disclosures: it seems that Rove’s memory perks up with every new indication someone else will expose him. When Rove finally began to update his testimony in October 2004, it was just days after Cooper was first held in contempt for refusing to disclose confidential sources. And Rove did not give Cooper a clear waiver to testify until after Cooper’s appeals had been exhausted 9 months later.

MSNBC has learned new information about the damage caused by the White House leaks.

Intelligence sources say Valerie Wilson was part of an operation three years ago tracking the proliferation of nuclear weapons material into Iran. And the sources allege that when Mrs. Wilson’s cover was blown, the administration’s ability to track Iran’s nuclear ambitions was damaged as well.

If you remember Raw Story also reported this in February 2006. It would seem to me that the evidence is overwhelming against Rove. From my days in the business if there was a compromise of classified material suspected then all access to classified material was denied until the investigation was completed. Why doesn't Karl have to follow these rules?

Monday, May 01, 2006

Not Whores After All

Looks like the American people have a little more spine and pride left than the GOP thought. They haven't been reduced to groveling whores like Rove wanted. The GOP are getting the reaction I had hoped would be forthcoming. Even Rush lambasted the idea.

WASHINGTON, April 30 — The Senate Republican plan to mail $100 checks to voters to ease the burden of high gasoline prices is eliciting more scorn than gratitude from the very people it was intended to help.

Aides for several Republican senators reported a surge of calls and e-mail messages from constituents ridiculing the rebate as a paltry and transparent effort to pander to voters before the midterm elections in November.

"The conservatives think it is socialist bunk, and the liberals think it is conservative trickery," said Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, pointing out that the criticism was coming from across the ideological spectrum.

Angry constituents have asked, "Do you think we are prostitutes? Do you think you can buy us?" said another Republican senator's aide, who was granted anonymity to openly discuss the feedback because the senator had supported the plan.

Conservative talk radio hosts have been particularly vocal. "What kind of insult is this?" Rush Limbaugh asked on his radio program on Friday. "Instead of buying us off and treating us like we're a bunch of whores, just solve the problem." In commentary on Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume called the idea "silly.

(Bolding mine)