Monday, December 26, 2005

Interesting Point

We have seen the Enron documentaries and know what possibilities there are for ruthless dark comedy, as in the scenes where Enron executives deliberately and cold-bloodedly mastermind the California energy crisis, chuckling that a few grandmothers may have died of heat exhaustion but Enron has made millions. The California energy "shortage" fits any definition of terrorism, except that it was engineered by Americans wearing lapel pins instead of Arabs wearing beards. (My bold)
- Roger Ebert

I got really nothing to add, I just thought that was an interesting take, especially when I found that in the movie review for Fun with Dick and Jane.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Merry Christmas Poor People...

Let's get all that bs 'war on Christmas' rage and apply it to something Christ actually cared about: the poor.

Let's call them "the Cheney cuts."

Today, when the Senate split 50-50 on a budget stealing money from people just scraping by and transferring it to the wealthiest Americans, it took Dick Cheney, recalled from Afghanistan, to cast the tie-breaking vote. In order to pretend to be cutting the deficit, the Republicans partially compensated for their tax cuts for millionaires by cutting Medicaid, Medicare, Student Loans, Food Stamps... you know, all that Katrina-type welfare that makes people so dependent on government handouts.
In honor of the Vice President's return from Kabul in time to kill Christmas, it would be a lovely tribute if students who can't get loans explain their predicament by citing the Cheney cuts. Or: "I wanted to go to college, but Dick Cheney told me to go f-- myself." The nurse, at a patient's bedside: "Vice President Cheney says we have to send you home." The supermarket clerk, counting the single mother's food stamps: "Well, if you Cheney the diapers and the dog food, you'll have enough to pay for the rest."

(more /Marty Kaplan on HuffPo)

Don't you remember the war that was going to cost $1.7 billion and be over with in six weeks? What's the cost of this administration? Besides ignoring the Bill of Rights, they are wiling to stick it to seniors, students and the starving in order to continue their tragically misdirected war and give tax cuts to millionaires. Just like Jesus would have done! Merry Christmas!

This Blows

Red Sox co-GM Jed Hoyer: "More teams have traded for or signed center fielders so I think the market, in some ways, is clearer." ... "There are more knowns now than unknowns. Our absolute priority is to bring Johnny back and have him in center field next year, but we'd be irresponsible if we just sat back and didn't explore other alternatives."

Damon (a few hours later): “No, (the Red Sox did not match the offer), I made contact with them. I talked to Tito (Francona) and I told him they need to really get going because if not, I'm going to be on another team... I actually thought it would be tomorrow or Thursday when we agreed in principle and we were actually able to hammer things out tonight. Unfortunately Boston had other plans. I'm not sure if they knew that I meant it but now I'm a Yankee and hopefully now they can go off and get one of the center fielders they've been courting for the past month or so." - Johnny Damon

Translation: The co-GMs really co-fucked up.

Monday, December 19, 2005

The "W" Stands For Worse Than Watergate

This is a great piece. And this is a fantastic video. Read one, watch the other, and don't discuss either on the phone.


Friday, December 16, 2005

More Freedom Marchin'!


"Congress saw the same intelligence I did."

Actually, no they didn't. (From TPM via Atrios)

I have always loved this claim because on its face it seemed like pure bullshit. But now we have proof that the President and his Congressional friends were lying to us yet again. Leave it to my wacko lib senator to find out the truth. She must really hate America.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

And Then Jesus Said "Fuck You, Poor People..."

A Religious Protest Largely From the Left
Conservative Christians Say Fighting Cuts in Poverty Programs Is Not a Priority

By Jonathan Weisman and Alan CoopermanWashington Post Staff Writers

Wednesday, December 14, 2005; Page A08

When hundreds of religious activists try to get arrested today to protest cutting programs for the poor, prominent conservatives such as James Dobson, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell will not be among them.

That is a great relief to Republican leaders, who have dismissed the burgeoning protests as the work of liberals. But it raises the question: Why in recent years have conservative Christians asserted their influence on efforts to relieve Third World debt, AIDS in Africa, strife in Sudan and international sex trafficking -- but remained on the sidelines while liberal Christians protest domestic spending cuts?

Conservative Christian groups such as Focus on the Family say it is a matter of priorities, and their priorities are abortion, same-sex marriage and seating judges who will back their position against those practices.

"It's not a question of the poor not being important or that meeting their needs is not important," said Paul Hetrick, a spokesman for Focus on the Family, Dobson's influential, Colorado-based Christian organization. "But whether or not a baby is killed in the seventh or eighth month of pregnancy, that is less important than help for the poor? We would respectfully disagree with that."

Jim Wallis, editor of the liberal Christian journal Sojourners and an organizer of today's protest, was not buying it. Such conservative religious leaders "have agreed to support cutting food stamps for poor people if Republicans support them on judicial nominees," he said. "They are trading the lives of poor people for their agenda. They're being, and this is the worst insult, unbiblical."

At issue is a House-passed budget-cutting measure that would save $50 billion over five years by trimming food stamp rolls, imposing new fees on Medicaid recipients, squeezing student lenders, cutting child-support enforcement funds and paring agriculture programs. House negotiators are trying to reach accord with senators who passed a more modest $35 billion bill that largely spares programs for the poor.

At the same time, House and Senate negotiators are hashing out their differences on a tax-cutting measure that is likely to include an extension of cuts in the tax rate on dividends and capital gains.

To mainline Protestant groups and some evangelical activists, the twin measures are an affront, especially during the Christmas season. Leaders of five denominations -- the United Methodist Church, Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Presbyterian Church USA and United Church of Christ -- issued a joint statement last week calling on Congress to go back to the drawing board and come up with a budget that brings "good news to the poor."


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Freedom Is On The March (Sort of)

Ahhh, freedom. It smells so good.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Pure Propaganda

Holy Shit.

Friday, December 09, 2005


OK, so I am very pumped with the moves the Sox have made so far. Beckett, Loretta, Marte, Damon for a fair price and even more significantly getting rid of Renteria and not offering Millar arbitration. Thank God. Gordon Edes wrote of Millar "regardless of what you might have thought of him as a player, a lot of the fun just seeped out of the Red Sox clubhouse."

Ummm, who gives a shit? Millar was tragic last year. The "he's great for the clubhouse" argument probably saved him last year, but enough is enough. And "seeped" was probably the best word considering Millasseses speed. I'm sure the team can Cowboy Up and find their own laughs.

Also, Tejada rumors are making me very happy. And then there was this:

Larry Johnson: If Theo were still running the show, do you think he would have operated the same way in terms of endorsing...

Peter Gammons: You don't think he is? LJ: I'm sorry... Gammons: You don't think he is? LJ: I don't know, is he?

Gammons: (four seconds of silence) Umm, yeah, he definitely would have operated the same way.

LJ: Do you think he still has some contact with them with input?

Gammons: Yes. I don't think there's any question... of course he talks to them, he's very good friends with them all.

Glenn Ordway: You're not giving the impression, because it's been thrown out there, Buster Olney's thrown it out there, that he still believes there's a chance that Theo's gonna come back in that position. You don't believe that's gonna happen do you?

Gammons: (three seconds of silence) Yeah. I think there's a chance. I mean, there's certain things you couldn't script and they're all laughing about this today. There are things that are very funny and I'm not being cruel about it but one of the funniest things, and the thing we in Boston have been laughed at most, is people actually saying and writing that Jerry Kapstein is gonna be the general manager. That is the single funniest thing... it's become the laughing stock of the United States... He's a wonderful guy. He's a terrific guy but he hasn't been in baseball a long time... he's a very well meaning, terrific person... I don't know where it's all going. There's always contact because he's friends with those guys. This thing has gone on a long time. There is nobody on the general manager horizon. I could see maybe they would do it, although (Bill) Lajoie reiterated today that he doesn't want to be the general manager, I could if there were no way Theo came back, I could see them continuing this group. But there's no one there right now that they've interviewed who's a candidate.

Ordway: But with everything that's happened, how would Theo come back and take that role?

Gammons: John Henry never wanted him to leave in the first place and Larry never wanted him to leave. I think that. There are things that I always believed could be cleared up. Larry Lucchino wants the team to be really good. And by the way, he did a phenominal job down here with the whole Scott Boras negotiations with Damon... Right now, I'm not sure it could happen, but I don't really see what else they will do... they've made no move to go in another direction... they're all adults (and can clear up past problems). I'm not saying it's happening. I just think it can happen... it seems strange to me that 37 days (after Theo left) there would be nobody on the horizon to replace him... If you knew Theo Epstein, one of the things you would understand that one of the things he's best at is saying 'you know what, I'm wrong' and moving on (as he would have done on Renteria)."

Monday, December 05, 2005

Happy Birthday to Me....

As a birthday present from me to you, read this.


Among other things, the GAO confirms that:

1. Some electronic voting machines "did not encrypt cast ballots or system audit logs, and it was possible to alter both without being detected." In other words, the GAO now confirms that electronic voting machines provided an open door to flip an entire vote count. More than 800,000 votes were cast in Ohio on electronic voting machines, some seven times Bush's official margin of victory.

2. "It was possible to alter the files that define how a ballot looks and works so that the votes for one candidate could be recorded for a different candidate." Numerous sworn statements and affidavits assert that this did happen in Ohio 2004.

3. "Vendors installed uncertified versions of voting system software at the local level." 3. Falsifying election results without leaving any evidence of such an action by using altered memory cards can easily be done, according to the GAO.

4. The GAO also confirms that access to the voting network was easily compromised because not all digital recording electronic voting systems (DREs) had supervisory functions password-protected, so access to one machine provided access to the whole network. This critical finding confirms that rigging the 2004 vote did not require a "widespread conspiracy" but rather the cooperation of a very small number of operatives with the power to tap into the networked machines and thus change large numbers of votes at will. With 800,000 votes cast on electronic machines in Ohio, flipping the number needed to give Bush 118,775 could be easily done by just one programmer.

5. Access to the voting network was also compromised by repeated use of the same user IDs combined with easily guessed passwords. So even relatively amateur hackers could have gained access to and altered the Ohio vote tallies.

6. The locks protecting access to the system were easily picked and keys were simple to copy, meaning, again, getting into the system was an easy matter.

7. One DRE model was shown to have been networked in such a rudimentary fashion that a power failure on one machine would cause the entire network to fail, re-emphasizing the fragility of the system on which the Presidency of the United States was decided.

8. GAO identified further problems with the security protocols and background screening practices for vendor personnel, confirming still more easy access to the system.

In essence, the GAO study makes it clear that no bank, grocery store or mom & pop chop shop would dare operate its business on a computer system as flimsy, fragile and easily manipulated as the one on which the 2004 election turned.

The GAO findings are particularly damning when set in the context of an election run in Ohio by a Secretary of State simultaneously working as co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign. Far from what election theft skeptics have long asserted, the GAO findings confirm that the electronic network on which 800,000 Ohio votes were cast was vulnerable enough to allow a a tiny handful of operatives -- or less -- to turn the whole vote count using personal computers operating on relatively simple software.

The GAO documentation flows alongside other crucial realities surrounding the 2004 vote count. For example:

The exit polls showed Kerry winning in Ohio, until an unexplained last minute shift gave the election to Bush. Similar definitive shifts also occurred in Iowa, Nevada and New Mexico, a virtual statistical impossibility.

A few weeks prior to the election, an unauthorized former ES&S voting machine company employee, was caught on the ballot-making machine in Auglaize County
Election officials in Mahoning County now concede that at least 18 machines visibly transferred votes for Kerry to Bush. Voters who pushed Kerry's name saw Bush's name light up, again and again, all day long. Officials claim the problems were quickly solved, but sworn statements and affidavits say otherwise. They confirm similar problems inFranklin County (Columbus). Kerry's margins in both counties were suspiciously low.

A voting machine in Mahoning County recorded a negative 25 million votes for Kerry. The problem was allegedly fixed.

In Gahanna Ward 1B, at a fundamentalist church, a so-called "electronic transfer glitch" gave Bush nearly 4000 extra votes when only 638 people voted at that polling place. The tally was allegedly corrected, but remains infamous as the "loaves and fishes" vote count.

In Franklin County, dozens of voters swore under oath that their vote for Kerry faded away on the DRE without a paper trail.

In Miami County, at 1:43am after Election Day, with the county's central tabulator reporting 100% of the vote - 19,000 more votes mysteriously arrived; 13,000 were for Bush at the same percentage as prior to the additional votes, a virtual statistical impossibility.

In Cleveland, large, entirely implausible vote totals turned up for obscure third party candidates in traditional Democratic African-American wards. Vote counts in neighboring wards showed virtually no votes for those candidates, with 90% going instead for Kerry.

Prior to one of Blackwell's illegitimate "show recounts," technicians from Triad voting machine company showed up unannounced at the Hocking County Board of Elections and removed the computer hard drive.

In response to official information requests, Shelby and other counties admit to having discarded key records and equipment before any recount could take place.

In a conference call with Rev. Jackson, Attorney Cliff Arnebeck, Attorney Bob Fitrakis and others, John Kerry confirmed that he lost every precinct in New Mexico that had a touchscreen voting machine. The losses had no correlation with ethnicity, social class or traditional party affiliation---only with the fact that touchscreen machines were used.

In a public letter, Rep. Conyers has stated that "by and large, when it comes to a voting machine, the average voter is getting a lemon - the Ford Pinto of voting technology. We must demand better."

But the GAO report now confirms that electronic voting machines as deployed in 2004 were in fact perfectly engineered to allow a very small number of partisans with minimal computer skills and equipment to shift enough votes to put George W. Bush back in the White House.

Given the growing body of evidence, it appears increasingly clear that's exactly what happened.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

How many Number 3's Are There?

This is at least the 5th example of the "number 3" that I have seen.

Friday, December 02, 2005

More "Free press"

Here's a followup to yesterdays post. It is from the organization, which monitors the media, and is working towards a more informed public policy debate over media issues and a "public interest-oriented media system with a strong nonprofit and noncommercial sector." Anyway, they have a good site, so check it out. Here's what they sent me today...

Bush's Media Agenda

The current administration is more inhospitable to truth and an informed citizenry than any before it. In fact, the administration seeks the opposite: a public that buys a carefully constructed myth over reality. This deception has manifest in seven lines of attack:

Infiltrating public broadcasting with party loyalists
Manufacturing fake news and propaganda
Bribing journalists to flack for the administration
Gutting the Freedom of Information Act
Deceiving media (and the U.S. public) about Iraq
Stifling dissent within mainstream media
Consolidating media control into the hands of the elite

Thursday, December 01, 2005

"We're very concerned."

Horseshit. Concerned? So concerned that we paid Armstrong Williams and others to write positive stories about our agenda with tax-payer funds, we let a gay male hooker in the White House to consistently ask soft-ball questions, and continue to give the Renden group $100 million to propagandize just about everything.

The only "concern" is over getting caught. Freedom is on the march, and unfortunately our footsoldiers are goosestepping so well, they are marching right over the free press!!!

(Also, I have previously posted the Rendon group article. If you haven't read it, please, PLEASE do so.)


I was glad to see this.