Chris's Rants

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

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  • how the hell did I end up as Wesley crusher?!

    there's something wrong with that test y'know

    By Anonymous ian, at June 29, 2006 1:22 PM  

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Look! Over there! Something shiny!

White House Assault on Bill Keller and Times is Just Bluster for the Boneheads:
So this is kind of strange, then. Both Snow and Dick Cheney have explicitly said that the Times has put the nation's security at risk -- and presumably they think the paper continues to do so, since it won't back off its right to publish such stories. Yet by all indications the administration is unlikely to take any real action against the paper, mainly because it would be politically disastrous for Bush.

That leaves only two possibilities. Either:

1) Officials won't act aggressively against an institution they're claiming puts American lives at risk, because it's politically untenable. That would mean the administration is putting politics ahead of aggressively prosecuting behavior it says endangers American lives.

Or:

2) The administration doesn't genuinely believe The Times has put our national security at risk at all, and hence won't act. If this is the case, both Snow and Cheney blatantly and repeatedly lied.

So there you have it. Either the administration is putting politics ahead of national security and won't act aggressively against an institution it says is endangering American lives -- because it would be bad for Bush. Or the administration's claim that The Times endangered national security is just the latest in a long string of lies it has told to the American people. Which is it?

The answer, of course, is number two.
That pretty much sums it up, except for the fact that this administration consistently places politics over everything else, including our national security and they also consistently lie. Hence, it could be both.

The thing that scares me most is the Cheney Bush administration's contempt for the constitutional principles that have held this country together, and made it so strong. Rather than uphold his oath of office (emphasis mine):
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
Cheney Bush has instead done everything possible to undermine the Constitution and has nurtured a steady progression towards fascism:
A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.
But, what really galls me is that all this bluster about the NYT being treasonous is just a ruse to change the subject, which was that the administration is, once again, abusing its authority and violating the constitutional right to privacy, all in the name of fighting terrorism. every idiot on the planet knows that the government is monitoring all transactions over $10,000. However, the revelation was not the monitoring, it was the lack of oversight. Instead of the FBI monitoring the financial transactions, the administration has instead chosen to share the data with the CIA, where there exists no oversight. However, by changing th subject to be all about how mean and nasty and america-hating the NYT and its editors are, the major revelations have faded into oblivion... just as Rove knew it would.

Jan 21, 2009 cannot come soon enough for me.

Had enough, yet?

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Which Superhero are you?

Which Superhero are you?

Your results:
You are Iron Man

Inventor. Businessman. Genius.



Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test


Update: I tried to get the table that is provided to align in my blog template, but alas... Mostly useless information anywho. I suppose, given the results, that I should link to this.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Shadow War, In a Surprising New Light

The Shadow War, In a Surprising New Light:
Which brings us back to the unbalanced Abu Zubaydah. 'I said he was important,' Bush reportedly told Tenet at one of their daily meetings. 'You're not going to let me lose face on this, are you?' 'No sir, Mr. President,' Tenet replied. Bush 'was fixated on how to get Zubaydah to tell us the truth,' Suskind writes, and he asked one briefer, 'Do some of these harsh methods really work?' Interrogators did their best to find out, Suskind reports. They strapped Abu Zubaydah to a water-board, which reproduces the agony of drowning. They threatened him with certain death. They withheld medication. They bombarded him with deafening noise and harsh lights, depriving him of sleep. Under that duress, he began to speak of plots of every variety -- against shopping malls, banks, supermarkets, water systems, nuclear plants, apartment buildings, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty. With each new tale, 'thousands of uniformed men and women raced in a panic to each . . . target.' And so, Suskind writes, 'the United States would torture a mentally disturbed man and then leap, screaming, at every word he uttered.'
I sincerely hope that there is a special place in hell for the sociopaths in the White House.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Gary Hart: The Judgment of History | The Huffington Post

The Blog | Gary Hart: The Judgment of History | The Huffington Post:
There is something in life a lot more important than holding on, at all cost, to a Congressional seat. There is integrity, there is conviction, and there is courage. History's jury will sit in judgment today on those Democrats and will find wanting those without the conviction and courage to say 'enough'.
Amen.

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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Slow on the uptake

Prayers in the Military: (emphasis mine)
THE MILITARY has been making a good-faith effort in recent months to write rules on religious activities that preserve both the rights of free expression among service members and the separation of church and state. It's unfortunate, therefore, that the House of Representatives, responding to pressure from evangelical Christian groups, has unnecessarily inserted itself into this debate, with a provision in the recent defense authorization bill aimed at ensuring that evangelical chaplains can pray in Jesus's name at public ceremonies. The Senate is debating a version that wisely leaves out the House provision and lets the military services continue to work out this complex issue the right way -- without congressional interference.
I guess the evangelical moonbats and their pandering congresscritters learned nothing from the Schiavo fiasco. What part of this is not clear?
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Talk about succinct.

Yesterday, I emailed my Dad (happy Father's Day!) an article about his congressman, Rep. Walter B Jones (R-NC), that was complimentary of his position with regards to the inane "debate" on the Rethuglican majority's nonbinding resolution on the GWOT.
Indeed, the so-called "debate" Congress had this week was, in fact, largely Jones' idea. A few months ago, it was Jones who sent a letter around to his colleagues calling for "an open and honest debate on the future of U.S. policy in Iraq." He wanted 17 hours of debate on the House floor on whether lawmakers believe Bush should "develop and implement a plan for the withdrawal" of U.S. troops. When House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) agreed to hold just such a debate, Jones was thrilled. Finally, he thought, the House could engage in some serious discussion about the most important issue facing the country.

Then the GOP leadership decided to shuffle the deck a bit and "improve" on the idea of a floor debate. It was a classic bait and switch: Republican leaders promised a debate on the war, but delivered a debate on whether "the United States will prevail in the Global War on Terror." No amendments or changes were allowed. Is Jones still pleased? Not so much.

Jones now says he feels duped by his own party's leadership. "Maybe I should have been less trusting, but I felt it would be a debate that would allow us to talk about policy," Jones told me. "I don't see how we would have gotten hurt if we had allowed members of both parties to go down to the floor to offer an amendment."
Well, apparently Rep. Jones (of Freedom Fries fame) has been listening to too many televangelists:
Though the Air Force regulations were watered down from their initial stance, they were still too restrictive for some evangelical groups. So the House stepped in with a provision, championed by Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr. (R-N.C.), heavy on the rights of chaplains and light on concerns about how their public prayer could affect service members who are nonbelievers or who adhere to a different religion.
Sad, really.
Maybe the solution isn't to drain prayer at public ceremonies of specific religious content, but to discourage prayer at such events as inherently and unnecessarily divisive. Chaplains shouldn't be required to mute their faith, but neither should service members who aren't believers be compelled to be present for such prayers.
Exactly. For that matter, leave well enough alone.

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Saturday, June 17, 2006

Riddle me this, Batman

WSJ.com - Reversing Course on Electronic Voting:
Despite common charges that the machines lack adequate security, no cases have emerged proving that a hacker or an insider has or could electronically manipulate the vote.

Still, computer-science experts argue that the systems lack protection. And former Secretary of State James A. Baker III and former President Jimmy Carter, who were co-chairmen of the bipartisan Commission on Federal Election Reform, warned in their 2005 final report that it could happen. 'Software can be modified maliciously before being installed into individual voting machines. There is no reason to trust insiders in the election industry any more than in other industries,' they found.
Diebold makes ATM machines as well as touch screen (and optical scan) e-voting machines. Don't you think it is kind of odd that the voting machines are so hackable while the ATM machines manufactured by the very same company are nearly impenetrable? Is this mere coincidence? I think not.

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African-American Voters Scrubbed by Secret GOP Hit List Greg Palast

African-American Voters Scrubbed by Secret GOP Hit List Greg Palast:
The Republican National Committee has a special offer for African-American soldiers: Go to Baghdad, lose your vote.

A confidential campaign directed by GOP party chiefs in October 2004 sought to challenge the ballots of tens of thousands of voters in the last presidential election, virtually all of them cast by residents of Black-majority precincts.
Files from the secret vote-blocking campaign were obtained by BBC Television Newsnight, London. They were attached to emails accidentally sent by Republican operatives to a non-party website.
Joseph Agostini, speaking for the GOP, suggested the lists were of potential donors to the Bush campaign. Oddly, the supposed donor list included residents of the Sulzbacher Center a shelter for homeless families.
LMAO! These guys have brass balls. Potential donor list my ass.
Another spokesperson for the Bush campaign, Mindy Tucker Fletcher, ultimately changed the official response, acknowledging that these were voters, “we mailed to, where the letter came back - bad addresses.”

The party has refused to say why it would mark soldiers as having “bad addresses” subject to challenge when they had been assigned abroad.

The apparent challenge campaign was not inexpensive. The GOP mailed the letters first class, at a total cost likely exceeding millions of dollars, so that the addresses would be returned to “cage” workers.

“This is not a challenge list,” insisted the Republican spokesmistress. However, she modified that assertion by adding, “That’s not what it’s set up to be.”
Right, because that would be a crime. It was also a crime to jam the phones of the New Hampshire Democratic Party in the 2002 election. That didn't stop the NHGOP RNC from doing it though.
A Democratic analysis of phone records introduced at Tobin's criminal trial show he made 115 outgoing calls to the White House between September 17 and November 22, 2002. [21] Two dozen of the calls were made from 9:28 a.m. the day before the election through 2:17 a.m. the night after the voting, a three-day period during which the phone jamming operation was finalized, carried out, and then abruptly shut down.
Wonder who it was in the White House receiving all those calls? Back to our story...
Setting up such a challenge list would be a crime under federal law. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 outlaws mass challenges of voters where race is a factor in choosing the targeted group.

While the party insisted the lists were not created for the purpose to challenge Black voters, the GOP ultimately offered no other explanation for the mailings. However, Tucker Fletcher asserted Republicans could still employ the list to deny ballots to those they considered suspect voters. When asked if Republicans would use the list to block voters, Tucker Fletcher replied, “Where it’s stated in the law, yeah.”

It is not possible at this time to determine how many on the potential blacklist were ultimately challenged and lost their vote. Soldiers sending in their ballot from abroad would not know their vote was lost because of a challenge.
Hard to believe that a voter supporession scheme in which the data file attached to the emails that expose the scheme is named "Caging.xls" is not a caging scheme. Here's the thing, though. Why the %$#! hasn't this story been reported in the U.S. press? You'd think it was a pretty big deal that the GOP is illegally (allegedly) suppressing the votes of the troops that they so blythely use as political props for their own ends when it suits them.

I want my country back from these criminals.

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  • Link TV tackles democracy in America

    LINK TV (DIRECTV ch. 375, Dish Network ch. 9410), available to 27 million American homes, will broadcast a four-hour special on the consequences of corporate media, the true meaning of “independent media” and the continued struggle for democracy as the country begins to gear up for the 2008 presidential election on Sunday, June 25 and Friday, July 7 at 5 p.m. PST and 8 p.m. EST.

    The special, “Democracy for Sale?” will feature the critically acclaimed film “Counting on Democracy,” which investigates charges of disenfranchisement and the 180,000 uncounted Florida votes cast largely by the working poor and people of color during the 2000 election. It takes viewers on a political and social rollercoaster — from election night to 36 days later when the Supreme Court made the highly controversial decision to halt the recount and call the election for George W. Bush. Guest Greg Palast, who has been hailed “the most important investigative reporter of our time” and is the author of the recently released “Armed Madhouse,” will be on hand to discuss his groundbreaking BBC investigation into the 2000 election scandal and why the BBC was the only media outlet to broadcast it.

    Activist Megan Matson, founder of the action group Mainstreet Moms, will address creating a system where people who care about election fraud, dirty politics and the disfranchisement of select groups of the population can band together and force change. Matson, who appeared in Mary Beth Brangan’s short film “Got Democracy?,” also touches on the dangers of electronic voting and what ordinary citizens can do to help preserve democracy for future generations.

    The special will also feature a screening of director Robert Kane Pappas’ “Orwell Rolls in his Grave,” which provides an examination of modern media and its impact on our political culture, asking whether America has entered an Orwellian world of doublespeak where outright lies can pass for the truth. Pacifica Radio’s “Democracy Now!” host Amy Goodman will join via satellite to discuss the state of election reform.

    Learn why you should care about the state of Democracy in the U.S. by tuning in.

    About Link TV
    Link TV is a non-commercial, independent television network available in more than 27 million U.S. homes on DIRECTV channel 375 and DISH Network channel 9410. The 24-hour programming is a mix of documentaries, international news, foreign films and the best of World Music. The network recently received the first satellite-only Peabody Award for MOSAIC: World News from the Middle East, a daily news show featuring English translations of national television reports from more than 24 countries in the Middle East. Select Link TV programs are streamed on the Internet at www.linktv.org. Link TV is operated by Link Media, Inc., a California non-profit organization, with production studios in San Francisco, New York and Washington, DC.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 19, 2006 12:41 PM  

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Friday, June 16, 2006

"It's a number"

The Next Hurrah: 'It's a number.' Saying the Names of the 2500:
Today, we reached another "milestone" in Iraq. Twenty-five hundred American military personnel have died or been killed, every one of them thanks to the avarice, cold-blooded ruthlessness and corrupt ineptitude of the Bush Regime. Of the 2500 dead, White House press secretary Tony Snow said today: It's a number."

Proving what a perfect spokesman he is for the chickenhawks who concocted this war and murdered the 2500 as surely as if they made them kneel with their thumbs tied behind their backs and personally beheaded them. The Bush Regime would surely prefer these 2500 to be just "a number." Nameless statistics. Known only to their friends and kin, not the wider community of America whose future and freedom they were supposedly sent off to kill and die for.
Is there a more cynical phrase that Snowjob could have chosen to spew when asked to comment on the event of the 2,500th US serviceperson fatality in Bush's preemptive war of choice?
It's a number

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Sealed vs. Sealed

Sealed vs. Sealed Curiouser and curiouser. D'ya think that maybe Fitz has maybe shifted his focus to Shooter?

Update: Huh, waddya know. MSNBC is now claiming that Bush's Brain won't be indicted.

emptywheel has up a post that offers as good an analysis of what may be going on as any I have seen. It is entirely likely that Fitz has indicted Rove, who has struck a deal to save his ample posterior by throwing Shooter under the proverbial bus.

While it is a shame that one of the most reprehensible figures in today's political circles won't be frog-marched from the White House, the prospect that the architect of this administration's vendetta against the balance of powers written into the Constitution, that have been the strength of our republic for over 200 years, may be sacrificed to salvage what's left of Bush's legacy seems like a fair compromise.

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Saturday, June 10, 2006

Telling it like it is

Sen. Leahy:
'Why don't we just recess for the rest of the year, pass a resolution which a Republican-controlled Congress could easily pass, and just simply say: We'll have no more hearings and Vice President Cheney will just tell the nation what laws we'll have; he'll let us know what laws will be followed and which laws will not be followed,' Mr. Leahy said sarcastically. 'Now, of course, it would destroy even the last vestiges, the few remaining vestiges of a real check-and-balance democracy, but that's basically what we're saying.'

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

LMAO!

News Corpse Stalking Points Memo Check out the Colbert Report treatment of Falafelman. Priceless.

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Monday, June 05, 2006

Kafka would be proud

Jose Padilla Alleges Witness Statements Obtained Through Torture - TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime (emphasis mine):
In other recent Padilla case news, the defense is seeking access to 64 hours of videotaped statements he gave while in the S.C. brig. The Government has designated them as classified, and while Padilla's lawyers have the appropriate security clearance to view them, Padilla does not. So they can't discuss Padilla's own statements with him.

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Friday, June 02, 2006

D.C. at Low Risk Of Attack, Says Federal Agency

D.C. at Low Risk Of Attack, Says Federal Agency:
The Department of Homeland Security has ranked the District in a low-risk category of terrorist attack or catastrophe, putting it in the bottom 25 percent of U.S. states and territories, as part of a decision that will cost the city millions in anti-terror funds, according to city and federal officials.
Well, of course! There hasn't been a terror alert since the 2004 elections.

Seriously, you have to wonder what these people are smoking. Can the Bush administration really be that incompetent?

Of course, given that the Congressional lap dogs haven't been doing their job for 5 years now, maybe the loss of the Capitol building (with all of the congress critters inside) wouldn't really be all that much of a loss.

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Thursday, June 01, 2006

File this one under: WTF!?!?

The Blotter: No Icons, No Monuments Worth Protecting:
New York has no national monuments or icons, according to the Department of Homeland Security form obtained by ABC News. (Click here for the actual document.) That was a key factor used to determine that New York City should have its anti-terror funds slashed by 40 percent--from $207.5 million in 2005 to $124.4 million in 2006.

The formula did not consider as landmarks or icons: The Empire State Building, The United Nations, The Statue of Liberty and others found on several terror target hit lists. It also left off notable landmarks, such as the New York Public Library, Times Square, City Hall and at least three of the nation's most renowned museums: The Guggenheim, The Metropolitan and The Museum of Natural History.

The form ignored that New York City is the capital of the world financial markets and merely stated the city had four significant bank assets.

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