Thursday, May 31, 2007



"Tampa-based Odyssey Marine Exploration recently announced finding what could be the richest shipwreck ever – a 350-year old sunken ship containing 500,000 gold and silver Colonial-era coins worth hundreds of millions of dollars in the Atlantic off the English coast.

So what does this have to do with John Edwards? The bulk of Mr. Edward’s $30 million personal fortune is invested in Fortress Investments, a New York hedge fund that is the second largest shareholder of Odyssey Marine, whose stock nearly doubled on news of the find."

- New York Times

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Why I'm voting "No" on
the Iraq Supplemental

by Patrick Leahy

Later today, the Senate is expected to vote on the 2007 Emergency Supplemental -- the Iraq War funding bill -- and I wanted to take a moment to explain to you why I will be voting against this flawed bill.

There is much that I support in this bill -- including assistance for Afghanistan and funding we added to help the National Guard address equipment shortages -- but it contains a serious flaw that I simply cannot vote for: It does not begin the withdrawal of our troops from Iraq.

The original supplemental bill that passed the Senate and was sent to President Bush's desk last month paralleled the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, recommendations that would have fundamentally changed the course of our military mission in Iraq.

Unfortunately, the President vetoed the original supplemental bill and has refused any meaningful compromise that would give us a clear path toward ending of our military involvement in Iraq.

This brings us to the current version of the supplemental bill. In short, the Iraq War funding provisions in this bill represent little more than a continuation of the failed status quo -- a continuation that I find unacceptable. The current bill will not begin to redeploy our troops from Iraq, it does not put adequate pressure on the Iraqis to stand up both politically and militarily, and it does not put a stop to President Bush's escalation plan.

While the legislation sets benchmarks for the Iraqi government to follow toward reconciling the country's various political factions, these benchmarks can be waived by the President at his discretion. These benchmarks are a move in the right direction but they are far from adequate.

As long as the Iraqi government believes American troops will always be there, they'll have little reason to make the tough choices that need to be made. And this supplemental bill does little to change this dynamic.

Our engagement in Iraq has been a foreign policy failure of epic proportions. Not only have thousands of Americans lost their lives, tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis have as well. Our standing in the world has been diminished, and our weakened influence in the region has compromised our ability to fight terrorism throughout the world.

Clearly, it is time to bring our troops home, and I am disappointed that President Bush vetoed the first bill that would have done just that. Since this new supplemental does not begin the withdrawal of our troops -- while providing tens of billions more dollars in taxpayer money for the President's failed policy -- I cannot in good conscience vote for it.


From Edward Rothstein's New York Times review of the new Creation Museum, in Kentucky:

It could be like any other natural history museum, luring families with the promise of immense fossils and dinosaur adventures. But step a little farther into the entrance hall, and you come upon a pastoral scene undreamt of by any natural history museum. Two prehistoric children play near a burbling waterfall, thoroughly at home in the natural world. Dinosaurs cavort nearby, their animatronic mechanisms turning them into alluring companions, their gaping mouths seeming not threatening, but almost welcoming, as an Apatosaurus munches on leaves a few yards away. at the $27 million Creation Museum, which opens on May 28 (in Kentucky) this pastoral scene is a glimpse of the world just after the expulsion from the Garden of Eden, in which dinosaurs are still apparently as herbivorous as humans, and all are enjoying a little calm in the days after the fall.

It also serves as a vivid introduction to the sheer weirdness and daring of this museum created by the Answers in Genesis ministry that combines displays of extraordinary nautilus shell fossils and biblical tableaus, celebrations of natural wonders and allusions to human sin. Evolution gets its continual comeuppance, while biblical revelations are treated as gospel.

It is a measure of the museum’s daring that dinosaurs and fossils — once considered major challenges to belief in the Bible’s creation story — are here so central, appearing not as tests of faith, as one religious authority once surmised, but as creatures no different from the giraffes and cats that still walk the earth. Fossils, the museum teaches, are no older than Noah’s flood; in fact dinosaurs were on the ark.

So dinosaur skeletons and brightly colored mineral crystals and images of the Grand Canyon are here, as are life-size dioramas showing paleontologists digging in mock earth, Moses and Paul teaching their doctrines, Martin Luther chastising the church to return to Scripture, Adam and Eve guiltily standing near skinned animals, covering their nakedness, and a supposedly full-size reproduction of a section of Noah’s ark.

Whether you are willing to grant the premises of this museum almost becomes irrelevant as you are drawn into its mixture of spectacle and narrative. Its 60,000 square feet of exhibits are often stunningly designed by Patrick Marsh, who, like the entire museum staff, declares adherence to the ministry’s views; he evidently also knows the lure of secular sensations, since he designed the “Jaws” and “King Kong” attractions at Universal Studios in Florida.

The heart of the museum is a series of catastrophes. The main one is the fall, with Adam and Eve eating of the tree of knowledge; after that tableau the viewer descends from the brightness of Eden into genuinely creepy cement hallways of urban slums. Photographs show the pain of war, childbirth, death — the wages of primal sin.

Start accepting evolution or an ancient Earth, and the result is like the giant wrecking ball, labeled “Millions of Years,” that is shown smashing the ground at the foundation of a church, the cracks reaching across the gallery to a model of a home in which videos demonstrate the imminence of moral dissolution. A teenager is shown sitting at a computer; he is, we are told, looking at pornography."

Or blogging.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Smithsonian Alters Climate Exhibition

Associated Press:

"The Smithsonian Institution toned down an exhibition on Arctic climate change, fearing that it would anger Congress and the Bush administration, a former museum administrator said. The official text of the exhibition was rewritten to minimize and add uncertainty about the relationship between global warming and people, said the former official, Robert Sullivan, who was associate director in charge of exhibitions at the National Museum of Natural History."

As usual, truth and the Bush administration are at odds.

Monday, May 21, 2007


"If the Internet crashed permanently tomorrow, I'd be thrilled."

- Robert J. Samuelson, Newsweek


Friday, May 18, 2007


New York Times:

ABC, part of the Walt Disney Company, is replacing darker, complicated series that viewers and advertisers disdained with more upbeat, accessible fare. Examples include “Private Practice,” a spinoff from the hit series “Grey’s Anatomy”; “Dirty Sexy Money,” a nighttime soap opera about an “absurdly wealthy” family in New York; and even a sitcom based on the misunderstood cavemen characters from television commercials for Geico insurance."



(AP)"A Navy lawyer who gave a human rights attorney the names of 550 Guantanamo Bay detainees was convicted in military court Thursday of communicating secret information that could be used to injure the United States.

Prosecutors said Diaz mailed an unsigned Valentine's Day card that included a printout of the detainees' names, nationalities, the interrogators assigned to them and intelligence sources and methods. They contend that his actions endangered the lives of detainees at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba, and of American troops.

Defense attorneys said that the information was not labeled classified and that Diaz had no reason to think the document could be used to injure the U.S.

Patrick McLain, Diaz's civilian lawyer, acknowledged that his client sent a card to lawyer Barbara Olshansky containing names and other identifying information about detainees.

At the time, Olshansky worked for the Center for Constitutional Rights, a nonprofit group that was suing the federal government to obtain the detainees' names. She turned the document over to federal authorities, and they traced it to Diaz.



"Hong Kong's media regulator has rejected calls to reclassify the Bible as an indecent publication following more than 2,000 complaints about its sexual and violent content, including rape and incest.

"The Bible is a religious text which is part of civilization. It has been passed from generation to generation," Hong Kong's Television and Licensing Authority (TELA) said in a statement issued late Thursday.

The regulator received 2,041 complaints against the Bible this week, following an uproar over a sex column in a student magazine that was classified as "indecent" by authorities for asking if readers had ever fantasized about incest or bestiality."



(AP) "A bipartisan group of senators is pushing legislation that would force the CIA to release an inspector general's report on the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The CIA has spent more than 20 months weighing requests under the Freedom of Information Act for its internal investigation of the attacks but has yet to release any portion of it.

The agency is the only federal office involved in counterterrorism operations that has not made at least a version of its internal 9/11 investigation public.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and two other intelligence committee leaders — chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., and senior Republican Kit Bond of Missouri — are pushing legislation that would require the agency to declassify the executive summary of the review within one month and submit a report to Congress explaining why any material was withheld."


Judge Peter Openshaw, in London, England, is presiding over a trial of three men stand charged with inciting terrorism over the Internet. According to a Reuters account of from Wednesday, Judge Openshaw spoke out to get a clarification on the whole intertubes thing:

"The trouble is I don't understand the language. I don't really understand what a Web site is," Openshaw said. After the prosecutor did some explaining, the judge still was at a bit of a loss: "I haven't quite grasped the concepts."

Well, you see, the Internets is a series of tubes.....

It's OK, in Farsi Esfandiari Means 'Padilla'


"Shirin Ebadi, the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner and the lead attorney for imprisoned American scholar Haleh Esfandiari, charged yesterday that the Iranian government has turned down her request to represent the Potomac resident, refused information on the charges against Esfandiari and denied a legal team access to its client."



(Reuters)"Spain's bitter political wrangling has spread to Second Life, with supporters of socialist and conservative parties trying to burn down each others' party offices in the virtual world.

"They have thrown bombs, entered the building with submachine guns, lit fires, everything you could imagine," an official from Spain's ruling Socialist Party, using the Second Life moniker Zeros Kuhm, told Reuters.

Can't we all just get along?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Hardball - Thursday, May 17

Hardball - Thursday, May 17 (Last Ten Minutes)


Tweety: yur from chicago like teh deep dish

Chicago Reporter: thanx

Tweety: immigration bill is teh fake

Chicago Reporter: its teh song and dance

Tweety: all that jazz

Chicago: yeah

Tweety: im cynical but tomorrow there will still be illegals

Chic: well give it a day

Tweety: will Congress really make it illegal to hire someone legally

Chic: maybe

Tweety: teh angloes luv the fence

Tweety: WSJ supports Abu Wall Street Journal is Shakespearean they also can't get blood off their hands

Ron Reagan: this scandal leads to the White House question is now who was beating up on Ashcroft in the hospital

O'Beirne: im in teh beltway i say this is boooring

Tweety: Ashcroft was in a coma like Michael Douglas in that Crichton movie

O'Beirne: but he followed the balloon with his eyes and he said go ahead and wiretap

Tweety: its like Barzzini in teh Godfather he sleeps with teh fishes

O'Beirne: his sex life is irrelevant dood

Reagan: it was totally illegal

O'Beire: no its legal now

Reagan: how about B4

O'Berine: i dunno

Reagan: well maybe we should r u a citizen or sheeperson

Tweety: wow David Mamet couldn't write this

Reagan: coffee is closers dood now take yur meds tweety

Rosie O'Donnell: invading iraq it like teh terrorism

O'Beirne: poor elizabeth she ain't not Hasselbeck girl she has to sleep with teh looser

Reagan: most americans would not accept $2,000 if their child was killed by an arab soldier in their hometown call me crazy

O'Beirne: the troops! the troops!

Tweety: u go gurl

O'Beirne: im bending over backwards to justify killing civilians

Reagan: Rosie isnt a good poster gurl

Tweety: im a nationalist but there r many people who hate america in know because they disagree with me

O'Beirne: rosie is fat

Tweety: there r gud critics like me who luv America and there are dirty hippie bloggers like that dood who duz teh Bobblespeak Translations who hate america and we must always remember the difference


Just received this in my inbox:

"My late husband was very wealthy and after his death, I inherited all his health. The doctors has advised me that I may not live for more than six months, so I now decided to divide the part of this wealth, to contribute to the development of the church in Africa, America Asia and Europe especially creating solution to problems of less privileged ones...."

Good luck with all that.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

War Czar: El Lute

I, for one, welcome our new War Czar

He had only seen the dark side of life
The man they called El Lute
And he wanted a home just like you and like me
In a country where all would be free
So he taught himself to read and to write
It didnt help El Lute
He was one who had dared to escape overnight
They had to find El Lute

Soon the fame of his name
Spread like wild fire all over the land
With a price on his head
People still gave him bread
And they gave him a hand
For they knew he was right
And his fight was their fight

The man they called El Lute
And he wanted a home just like you and like me
In a country where all would be free
And then freedom really came to his land
And also to El Lute
Now he walks in the light of a sunny new day
The man they called El Lute


Monday, May 14, 2007

Yes, Bush has a Civil Liberties Board. Sort of.

Lanny Davis has quit Bush's Civil Liberties Board because they're politicized and weren't doing anything.

In other news, Vlad Dracul's anti-impaling Board failured to hold a single meeting, Ghengis Khan's Pacifist Board didn't issue a report, and The Hulk's No-Smash Board was dissolved after the conferenced table was destroyed.



Atrios, Digby and Ezra Klein have all addressed this Grubisich business pretty well.

I would only add that Grubisich and other cushioned, coddled and ensconsed writers panicking at contentious bloggers while proudly announcing their defiance of anonymous writers are beginning to remind me of the Prince played by Chris Sarandon in The Princess Bride.

Prince Humperdinck was constantly going around yammering "I would not say such things if I were you!" and insisting his fiancee's true love, Westley, is bluffing and lacks strength and that nothing is wrong in his kingdom and his wedding will proceed and his uncredentialed upstart archenemy is dead because he killed him himself.

And the Princess responds "Then why is there fear behind your eyes?"


Einstein like Ayn Rand?

What I just learned from MSNBC:

Albert Einstein's political
philosophy was just like Ayn Rand.

Good to know.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Bonus Cat Blogging


Saturday, May 12, 2007

Friday Feline Blogging


Friday, May 11, 2007



(Associated Press) "A federal judge approved an immunity deal Friday allowing former Justice Department aide Monica Goodling to testify before Congress about the firing of eight federal prosecutors.

Goodling, who served as the department's White House liaison, has refused to discuss the firings without a guarantee that she will not be prosecuted. Congress agreed to the deal, Justice Department investigators reluctantly agreed not to not oppose it and U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan gave it final approval Friday.

"Monica Goodling may not refuse to testify," Hogan began his brief order, which said that Goodling could not be prosecuted for anything other than perjury in connection with her testimony."

The immunity deal itself removes her Fifth Amendment right, since it can only be invoked to protect against self-incrimination. So let's hear it, Monica.




"Katrina dips in popularity as baby name"

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Associated Press:

"At one point in the South Lawn ceremony, Bush noted that the Queen has dined with 10 U.S. presidents and had helped the United States "celebrate its bicentennial in 1776.."

"Bush caught himself and corrected the date to 1976. This brought loud laughter from many in the invited audience of thousands."

"A chagrined Bush deadpanned that the queen just "gave me a look that only a mother could give a child."

The queen had the last laugh.

Dispensing with protocol briefly at the formal dinner she hosted for
President Bush, Queen Elizabeth II said, "I wonder whether I should start this toast by saying, 'When I was here in 1776.' "

Bush took it in stride, though, starting his toast by saying, "Your Majesty, I can't top that one."

Someone finally bullied the bully. That must have stung.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

"Convenience is a big factor when you're a terrorist."

They can do it around the corner, and convenience is a big factor when you’re a terrorist.”

- Dick Morris, Fox News

Oh definitely. For your busy modern terrorist, constantly on the go, convenience is a top priority. Afghanistan was originally chosen as a safe haven, for example, for it many fine schools, but also for its proximity to major transportation hubs, laundromats, dry cleaners, low taxes, and restaurants serving halal to go.


Monday, May 07, 2007

Is Mitt Romney Too Weird To Be President? Part Two

Mitt Romney:

"It seems that Europe leads Americans in this way of thinking," Romney told the crowd of more than 5,000. "In France, for instance, I'm told that marriage is now frequently contracted in seven-year terms where either party may move on when their term is up. How shallow and how different from the Europe of the past."

Recently I speculated that while Gov. Romney certainly looks and sounds the part, he might be too weird to be President. And although the consensus is that he performed well in the GOP debates, his recent comments do nothing to disabuse one of the notion that Mitt Romney's capacity for thinking and speaking is like that of a man operating one golden plate short of a holy book.

Via Ana Marie Cox, we learn that Romney's nutty crack is from "The Memory of Earth," a sci-fi version "of the Book of Mormon set in outer space."

They say when fascism comes to the USA it will be draped in the flag and carrying a cross.

And when a crazy man becomes President, he will he have a chiseled chin and perfect hair.

Thursday, May 03, 2007



Hey Regents grads - we know times are tough, what with Congress looking into hiring practices the Department of Justice, and elsewhere in the Bush administration. On the upside, the International Journal for Creation Research is calling for a peer-reviewed papers for their inaugural issue. This is a very special opportunity, especially as it might be the only inauguration you will be involved with for a while. So get cracking!

Did Adam and Eve Ride Dinosaurs to Church? A Study of Human-Lizard Relations in Pre-Flood Eden isn't going to write itself.

From the home page:

The Institute for Creation Research is pleased to announce the inaugural Call for Papers for the International Journal of Creation Research (IJCR). IJCR is a professional peer-reviewed journal of interdisciplinary scientific research that presents evidence for recent creation within a biblical framework. Addressing the need to disseminate the vast field of research conducted by experts in geology, genetics, astronomy, and other disciplines of science, IJCR provides scientists and students hard data based on cutting-edge research that demonstrates the young earth model, the global Flood, the non-evolutionary origin of the species, and other evidences that correlate to the biblical accounts.

It is our hope that you will be encouraged in your study of creation science issues that remain at the forefront of education and research.


Wednesday, May 02, 2007


"And as you know, my position is clear -- I'm the commander guy."

- George W. Bush

That's it. Sorry to disappoint Res Ipsa Loquitur and the rest, but my humor liveblogging days may be done.

How can one top that?

Bush rapidly outpaces even the most exhaustive efforts of tireless satirists.


Tuesday, May 01, 2007


WASHINGTON (AP)-Democrat-turned-independent Sen. Joe Lieberman said Monday a third-party candidate could emerge to shake things up in the 2008 presidential race unless the two major parties tackle the growing problem of partisan polarization that alienates many voters.

"I think the public is fed up," he said. "If the two major parties don't hear this going into '08, there is a real chance of an independent third-party candidacy -- and watch out if that happens," he said at a forum on civility and politics on Capitol Hill."

Because this country is clearly clamoring for a nagging flip-flopping scold who favors higher taxes and escalating the Iraq war.




"President Hugo Chavez's government took over Venezuela's last remaining privately run oil fields today, intensifying a decisive struggle with big oil over one of the world's most lucrative deposits. The companies giving up control include BP, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil and Chevron."


I'm serious. Mitt Romney has a rather slick and chisled look that one might think a President "ought" to look, but one often gets the sense underneath the surface may be a character of surpassing strangeness just waiting to come out. To wit:

"When asked his favorite novel in an interview shown yesterday on the Fox News Channel, Mitt Romney pointed to “Battlefield Earth,” a novel by L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology. That book was turned into a film by John Travolta, a Scientologist."

Such statements are so given to scrutiny any candidate would be forgiven for giving a calculated response, but this is bizarre by any standard. Expect a "clarification" any minute now.