Saturday, August 04, 2007

War On Drugs Lost In Afghanistan - Record Opium Crop!

Well I suspect that Bush will claim we are winning the war in Afghanistan, but what he won't say is that we have lost the war on drugs. This year's opium poppy harvest will be a bumper crop. In fact the crop has increased 15% since 2006. Now that's progress!

Afghanistan now sits as the world's leading producer of the key ingredient in heroin, so much so that they produce 95% of the world's crop. Thanks puppet government of Afghanistan! Your refusal to take anti-poppy measures has really been a boon for organized crime everywhere, and now seems like the Taliban are getting involved.

I guess the private sector is triumphant again, after all the crop is worth around $38 billion once converted to street drugs. Talk about a profit margin!

Friday, August 03, 2007

A New Sun Rises - August 6, 1945

8:15 AM, August 6, 1945

To people walking past the Prefectural Industrial Promotional Hall, it was an ordinary morning, as ordinary as it could be during war time. The industrial city of Hiroshima was critical to Japan’s war effort and luckily it had been spared much of the destruction that rained down on other Japanese cities.

To look upward, at the partly cloudy sky, you would never think a new sun was about to be born. A new sum that would rise above the city and burn every living thing it touched. That morning some people in Hiroshima were transformed into shadows, leaving only their outlines exposed on sidewalks like blurry photographs. The new sun of the atomic age dawned over Hiroshima that morning and the world has never been the same.

I believe that those who built and dropped that weapon and the second one on Nagasaki believed they were doing the right thing. I have no way of putting myself in their shoes, so I will not second guess their decision. Nuclear weapons are a fact. Today, the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki remain as the only places where the power and horror of these weapons has ever been released. I pray that they remain that way.

It is always a good idea to pause and remember that event. I sincerely believe we can avoid ever using these weapons again. The blasts and carnage of those bombs has been transformed today. The industrial trade center has become a memorial to peace and the stories of the people whose lives ended there can still speak to us today. I urge you to visit the website of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial and take a few minutes this August 6th to learn more about what happened and what brought mankind to that fateful day.

John Boehner Leaks Classified Info On Fox News!

House Minority Leader John Boehner disclosed in a Fox News interview that a federal intelligence court judge earlier this year secretly declared a key element of the Bush administration's wiretapping efforts illegal. This explains the flurry of activity among GOP lawmakers to try to expand the President's powers to conduct spying.

Accoding to some Government officials, Boehners remarks concerned classified information and were not for public consumption. Seems the Bush Administration's black box of secrecy is leaking a little too much. Rep. Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), the House Democratic Caucus chairman, said yesterday that "John should remember the old adage: Loose lips very much sink ships."

Bush Still Refuses To Share "Continuation Of Government" Info With Congress

Last month the White House refused to provide information to Rep. Peter DeFazio a senior member of the House Homeland Security Committee. That information is how the government would continue should a catastrophic attack on the country occur. Sounds like the kind of thing that committee should know, and seeing as how they have all signed a secrecy oath it should be no problem.

Ah, but I forgot we were dealing with the Bush White House. No information on this plan is being shared with anyone. Our government has become a mysterious black box controlled by the Executive Branch and whatever imaginary branch of government Dick Cheney belongs to this week.

DeFazio wrote another letter formally requesting details and was again rebuked again Wednesday with an almost off handed, "[we are] unable to share them with the membership and staff of the Committee." White House homeland security adviser Frances Townsend will be hearing more from the Committee soon as they try to pry this information from the hands of the White House.

Prying Gonzales From Office

Senators on both sides of the aisle seem disgruntled over Alberto Gonzales dodgy appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee. His overly parsed statements and frequent claims of forgetfulness may not make him liable to a perjury conviction, but they want him gone none the less.

Summing up the committees work Pennsylvania Sen. Specter said Thursday, "I think we need to finish this (the committee's) investigation and find a way to end the tenure of Attorney General Gonzales."

Can I hear an Amen? Democrats in the House have introduced a measure to impeach the Attorney General, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi is still stubbornly refusing to take it seriously. Maybe Cindy Sheehan is right to run against Pelosi next term. Seems Madam Speaker is looking more and more like a Republican in her support of the Administrations stonewalling policies.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Yummy! More Tainted Food Recalled

This time it's french cut green beans that get the recall because of possible Botulism contamination. The beans sold under a variety of names were produced by Lakeside Foods and are sold in many states across the country and Canada.

The beans are sold under the following brand names:


It's starting to look like buying from the Farmer's Market is about the best idea and wash and cook everything yourself. Funny, you used to be able to eat just about anything from a store in the US and feel safe. What changed? Lack of regulations maybe....?

McCain's Straight Talk Express Now Small Talk Excursion

From a campaign bus with lots of aids and fresh donuts every morning, to flying commercial jets and carrying his own baggage, John McCain's once robust campaign is now almost busted flat. In fact he pulled out of the parking lot after a talk at a Rotary Club last week with a flat tire.

Seems that McCain just doesn't know how to stop. That could be a good thing if he was still cutting through the rhetoric and shooting straight like when he started. Now he spouts Bush Administration praises and says little of interest to either party.

Though he ties in the polls in New Hampshire with Giuliani, many do not see him holding up for the long run. Maybe he needs to go back to actually having a position other than the Bush talking points memo?

Texas Adds "Under God" To State Pledge For School Kids

Far be it for the Great State of Texas to do anything half-assed. Now the state pledge, something I have never heard of in all my years of Texas public schooling, has the words "under God" added to it. You see, here in the Lone Star State, we like to try to insinuate our religion into every aspect of public life, from prayers at football games to forcing children to acknowledge a Deity in their "pledge to the state".

Now here's where I get riled up. I was raised in the Jewish faith, but as an elementary school student I was made to participate in prayers at the beginning of each school day, and many of them ended in , "in Jesus name we pray." I gotta tell you it made me feel strange. I felt like a liar and dishonest to my religious upbringing. Strangely enough, despite the fact that I saw this kind of blatant state sponsored religion, I ended up converting to Christianity.

It still gets me mad when people try to force our kids to add God to their school day. God is far to important and personal to be legislated by a state full of crazy people like Texas. Leave religion to the kids parents and to the churches, synagogues, temples and mosques.

The next time some jerk tries to tell you that saying "under God" is not promoting a state religion, ask him or her how about if we said "under Lord Krishna" or "under Allah" instead and watch the puzzled look on their face. Most of these folks haven't got a clue that there are other religions, much less other names for God. Personally, I feel that the State Pledge borders on idolatry and could arguably be considered blasphemy. Therefore, I will refer to the Bible for what to do about blasphemes.

On second thought, maybe I will just shake my head and walk away. I love Texas, and I figure I will live out my life here, but I sure as heck get fighting mad at some of the bone headed folks we manage to raise here.

US Company Supports Terrorists - Chertoff Knows And Does Nothing!

Listen to any speech by our glorious leader and you will hear the words "terrorist, evildoers," and of course "9/11". He postures and rants that we will not tolerate anyone who supports terrorists or their activities.

Unless they are a big US company, that is. Seems Chiquita International, the banana people have been supporting a Colombian paramilitary group on U.S. government's list of terrorist organizations! Did our Homeland Security Czar do anything about it? Nope. What's worse is that a board member of that firm checked with Michael Chertoff who confirmed that the activity was illegal, but failed to take any action.

Could this be another "Heck of a job, Brownie" moment?

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Desperate Housewives Gets Gay Couple On Wisteria Lane

OK, I guess I am gay after all, I have become addicted to Desperate Housewives. Now I find that the dishy series will feature the first gay couple on Wisteria Lane next season. According to a story in the Advocate, a gay couple will move into the old Applewhite house and one of the men will have a stormy relationship with Teri Hatcher.

Michael Ware rebuts Cheney, O'Hanlon and Pollack.

By cutting deals with the insurgents US forces are undermining the Iraqi government. Interesting slight of hand, but not any real progress and there is no unity being developed.

Dallas PTA Looses Its Charter

My mother is rolling in her grave. Seems the Dallas Council of PTA (Parent Teacher Associations) had their charter revoked by the statewide Texas Parent Teacher Association. Why? Well, seems the activity of PTAs in DISD is stagnant. Not enough new members and not enough improvement in the schools. In other words, the Dallas Council of PTAs has failed to motivate the parents of the kids in DISD schools.

There is no TAS test for parental involvement, but the activity of the local PTAs is a pretty good indicator of how much parents care about their kids education.

Of course there are voices screaming about the revoking of the charter. Some members of the Dallas Council site race as an issue. Now I will admit hat economics may be part of the problem. Parents who work two jobs or are single parents may not have time to spend at PTA meetings and functions, but unless you are saying that all minorities are poor, this seems to be a lame argument.

Every morning I watch mothers and fathers of every race walk their kids to school at the elementary school near my house. These parents take the time to make sure their kids get to school safely. I assume they may also take time to help their kids with homework and other tasks. Race doesn't seem to be an issue with that. Why can't some of these same parents meet a couple of times a month to keep their PTA active?

It's a puzzle I have no answer for, but I do remember how involved my parents were and how the PTA was a big deal in their lives. It offered them a chance to actively participate in my education. I can only hope the DISD can get it together and motivate enough parents to revive the PTA as I used to know it.

Iraqi Government Crumbling

Today Iraq's largest Sunni block withdrew from the government. This means six cabinet members will submit resignations to Nouri al-Maliki's government further undermining it's legitimacy as a "national unity" government. Though the six ministers are leaving the Accordance Front as the party is called, will not withdraw its members of Parliament.

This comes on the heels of six Shia members loyal to Moqtada al-Sadr who left in June. So far they have not been replaced. All of this happens as the Parliament takes a vacation during the month of August.

It seems that not very many people in the Iraqi government feel the urgent need to make progress. As factions jump ship and MPs opt for time off, the country falls further and further into chaos. It is a pity that our diplomats in Iraq can't encourage the al-Maliki government to make more progress in unifying the country. The situation looks more and more like a failed democracy and less and less like a hope for reconciliation.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Sex Workers Make Trips To Green Zone To Entertain Contractors

Good to know our guys in Iraq will have plenty of adult enterainment, at least if they are a contractor. Seems a DC escort/sex-worker will be in the green zone for a limited engagement for PMC's only. Later she is headed to Kuwait for those who can get out for some R&R.

Wonder what kind of protection she will have in Iraq? Kevlar condoms come to mind!

Note: I have nothing against sex workers. I find it an honorable profession, just a little strange to fly into and out of the "green zone" for a out-call.

Marvin Zindler - Houston TV Icon Dies at 85

Anyone who has seen “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” will remember the character of Melvin P. Thorpe- “Watchdog News”. Well few people outside Texas know he’s based on a real -life person named Marvin Zindler. Marvin appeared on Houston, Texas’ Channel 13 Eyewitness News for more than 3 decades. He was a pioneer of consumer reporting and actually did expose the “Chicken Ranch” brothel in LaGrange, Texas.

Marvin died today at age 85 after a prolonged battle with pancreatic cancer. Though often flamboyant and sometimes a bit zany, Zindler is remembered in Houston as a crusader for the “little guy” and will long be remembered. As he always signed off his segment of the newscast, “This is Maaarvin Zindler, Eyewitness News!”

McCain Misses Campaign Date In Pittsbrugh

John McCain’s moribund campaign has become a slow motion version of the Titanic. As the once vital campaign slowly sinks into the sea, the brave candidate stands on the deck waiting for the waters of obscurity to envelope him. Another setback today as his flight to a campaign date in Pittsburgh was delayed for hours, making what should have been a boisterous live appearance just a teleconference.

With the recent departure of his media team, McCain seems lost and unfocused. Between his dying campaign and Fred Thompson’s yet to be disclosed campaign the GOP is faced with Romney and Guiliani, neither of which will play well to the “base” of southern conservatives.

Did Cheney Send Gonzales To Ashcroft's Hospital Bedside? He has "No Recollection"!

So now Dick Cheney has been struck down with the mysterious “I have no recollection” disease. That same illness struck Alberto Gonzales time and time again during his hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Seems to be the start of an epidemic, I just hope the CDC can stop it before it’s too late! When Cheney was asked about whether or not he sent Alberto Gonzales to John Ashcroft's bedside to get approval for the warrantless wiretapping program, he came up all forgetful.

Cheney will be on Larry King tonight in a taped interview where he dodged and weaved like a prize fighter. According to Larry King, “He did not want to deal with specifics, which tells me, they’re looking at trouble. If you don’t want to deal with specifics…I think you’re looking at trouble and you’re looking the other way if you’re denying it.”

Think Progress has more and a video clip.

2004 Ohio Presidental Ballots "Accidentally" Destroyed

Funny how the Republicans manage to cover their tracks so effectively? Well when you control the department in charge of fair elections it's easy! Seems a great number of the ballots in Ohio's contested presidential election were "accidentally" destroyed in direct violation of a federal order. Think anyone will be blamed? Not as long as the Justice Department is headed by a Bush loyalist.

The evidence from 56 of Ohio's 88 counties was crucial to finding whether the election there was stolen as has been asserted in a lawsuit. Additionally the FBI looks suspect since they declared a Homeland Security alert in Warren County where ballots were diverted to a warehouse before counting. Suspicious? Aw hell yes.

Film Giant Ingmar Bergman Dead at 89

As a teenager, I watched films by directors such as Federico Fellini, Kurosawa, DeMille and my favorite Ingmar Bergman. Though my intellect was probably incapable of really grasping the subtleties of the movies, their striking imagery and riveting performances inspired me. I wanted to be a director. I have to admit that dream started earlier while watching the Ten Commandments back in 1956. I was so inspired I even wrote Cecil B. DeMille and received a hand typed reply with his signature. I still have that letter.

Bergman’s movie “The Seventh Seal” was one of the most profound experiences I had ever had. Watching Max Von Sidow play chess with Death by the seashore seared itself into my mind. Unlike DeMille, Bergman did not rely on spectacle to tell his tales, he used strikingly simple images that moved within the frame like characters on a stage. The camera almost never revealed itself through dramatic dolly or crane shots, it was strictly a vehicle for the story and the actors. Bergman taught me that a film can reach deep into a person’s mind without having to suck them in with special effects and showy camerawork. Sometimes, stillness is more profound than motion.

Today, Bergman is also still. He died Monday at his home in Sweden, but his images and films will never cease to move not only on the screen, but in the hearts and minds of the people who watch them.

Specter Gives White House 18 Hours To Fess Up

Arlen Specter is finally getting tough with the Bush White House. After the wacky responses by Alberto Gonzales to questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee, Specter rightfully is asking for clarification.

“Given the difficulty of discussing classified matters in public, I think it is preferable to have a letter addressing that question [of Gonzales’ veracity] from the administration … by noon tomorrow, which will be made available to the news media.... The administration has committed to producing such a letter.”

So here we have a ranking Republican openly questioning and even demanding straight answers from the White House. Now that's different. In the past the GOP marched in lock step behind whatever gobbledygook the Bushies tossed out. I suspect the constituents of Senator Specter are asking him a similar question. Why isn't something being done about the lying and half-truths coming from the White House and the Attorney General?

Monday, July 30, 2007

House Gets Impeachment Resolution Tommorow For Gonzales

From the "It's About Time" department, Rep. Jay Inslee of Washington State will introduce a bill calling for the impeachment of Alberto Gonzales tomorrow.

Simple and to the point:

That the Committee on the Judiciary shall investigate fully whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to impeach Alberto Gonzales for high crimes and misdemeanors.

Gonzales History Of Prevarication, Untruths & Misstatements

It seems that eschewing the truth is something that Alberto Gonzales has lots of practice doing. Remember how he lied when pressed on the issue of warrantless wiretaps by Russ Feingold at a Senate hearing? "It is not the policy or the agenda of this president to authorize actions that would be in contravention of our criminal statutes, " said Gonzales.

That little “misstatement” took place after the government had been doing just that for three years!

Now it turns out his history of prevarication goes back much further and the tall tales were protecting the same man, George W. Bush. Back in 1996 when then Governor Bush was called to jury duty, Gonzales gave him a helping hand out of that potentially problematic pinch. Seems Gonzales met with the judge and argued that jury service would pose a potential conflict of interest for Bush. In reality he was trying to prevent Bush from being questioned about his drunken driving arrest and conviction in Maine.

The lie on that matter was Gonzales denying he ever had that meeting when the Judge and attorney present said he did. Slippery little guy, Gonzales. Now he continues his career as deceiver-in-chief by testifying to the Senate that he discussed “other secret programs” with John Ashcroft at his hospital bed and not the illegal wiretapping program which everyone else asserts was the topic at hand.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Another Republican Asks Gonzales To Step Down

Another republican lawmaker is asking for Attorney General Gonzales to step down. Chris Shays (R - Connecticut) spoke on Wolf Blitzer today and said, “He doesn’t have much credibility. And he would do us all a favor if he stepped down and allowed the president to select someone else. You need to be truthful to Congress. You can’t be inaccurate so often. Finally, there just builds up this incredible credibility gap.”

It would seem that any credibility Gonzales had vanished in his last appearance before the Senate Judiciary Commitee where he sounded like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. He talked around every question and refused to give a clear yes or no answer to anything.

Gonzales must go, but he is only the first. Next should be Cheney and Bush! Save our country, Congress and impeach these criminals.