Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Stoner, This One's For You

Media Girl keeps us informed of the latest Finnish court rulings:

A fee of 25,500 euros ($32,000) is way too much for a woman to charge a man for fondling her bosom, a Finnish district court ruled.

The court jailed a couple in their twenties for more than a year for charging a 74-year-old who suffers from dementia a total of 25,500 euros to enjoy the woman's breasts on 10 occasions.

"Based on general life experience alone, it is indisputably clear that a 25,500 euro charge is disproportionate to the compensation in question," Judge Hasse Hakki, who heard the case, told Reuters Friday.

For a discussion of the merits of this case, follow the link. Seriously. Commenters are arguing whether breast fondling is a commodity subject to price regulation. I am not making this up!

Now, wasn't that a nice break from the latest Bush atrocities?

Condi Has an Extreme Makeover

From the Boston Herald, via TeamBio, via AmericaBlog.

Feminists Strike Back

Thanks to nTodd for directing me to to share this.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Se. Leahy Stands Up

Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) is the ranking Democratic member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The text of his statement to the panel from Monday, September 25, 2006. via

Today we are belatedly addressing the single most consequential provision of this much-discussed bill, a provision that can be found buried on page 81 of the proposed bill. This provision would perpetuate the indefinite detention of hundreds of individuals against whom the government has brought no charges and presented no evidence, without any recourse to justice whatsoever. That is un-American, and it is contrary to American interests.

Going forward, the bill departs even more radically from our most fundamental values. It would permit the president to detain indefinitely—even for life—any alien, whether in the United States or abroad, whether a foreign resident or a lawful permanent resident, without any meaningful opportunity for the alien to challenge his detention. The administration would not even need to assert, much less prove, that the alien was an enemy combatant; it would suffice that the alien was "awaiting [a] determination" on that issue. In other words, the bill would tell the millions of legal immigrants living in America, participating in American families, working for American businesses, and paying American taxes, that our government may at any minute pick them up and detain them indefinitely without charge, and without any access to the courts or even to military tribunals, unless and until the government determines that they are not enemy combatants.

Detained indefinitely, and unaccountably, until proven innocent. Like Canadian citizen Maher Arar. As the Canadian government recently concluded in a detailed and candid report, there is no evidence that Mr. Arar ever committed a crime or posed a threat to U.S. or Canadian security. Yet, while returning home to Canada from a family vacation, he was detained, interrogated, and then shipped off to a torture cell in Syria by the Bush-Cheney administration. While the Canadian government has now documented that the wrong thing was done to the wrong man, the Bush-Cheney administration has, as usual, evaded all accountability by hiding behind a purported state secrets privilege.


It would be utterly irresponsible for Congress to neglect our oath to the Constitution and the American people and pass this unconstitutional legislation in the hope that the court will ultimately rescue us from our folly. Doing so would only undermine the War on Terror by prolonging the legal limbo into which the administration has dragged the entire regime of military detentions.

We should have put military detentions on a solid legal footing and established military tribunals four years ago. I introduced a bill in 2002 to authorize military commissions. So did Senator Specter. But the White House and the Republican leadership ignored us, choosing instead to roll the dice and hope that it could prevail on its radical go-it-alone theories of presidential power.


Just yesterday the press reported what the administration has been misrepresenting to the American people and what was apparently confirmed in a National Intelligence Estimate: That the invasion and continuing U.S. military presence in Iraq has created a new generation of anti-American terrorists, that the terrorist threat against the U.S. has grown and, according to intelligence officials, that the Iraq war has "made the overall terrorism problem worse." Meanwhile, having failed to try a single detainee, and having failed to secure a conviction of a single terrorist offense, the administration is demanding that we pass a bill it drafted last week before the end of this week.

The administration’s sudden and belated haste to move ahead makes no sense, other than as a matter of crass electoral politics. We are taking a first look at a bill that the administration claims is central to the decisive ideological battle of the 21st Century, a bill that would suspend habeas corpus for the first time since the Civil War, and a bill that, if enacted, will almost certainly be used by America’s enemies as a pretext for the torture and indefinite detention without judicial review of Americans abroad.

If the administration and the Republican leadership of the Senate believe that suspending the writ is constitutional and justified, they should grant the joint request that Chairman Specter and I made last week for a sequential referral of the bill. Constitutional issues involving the writ of habeas corpus are at the center of this Committee’s jurisdiction. We can and should review this legislation thoroughly, and if a few habeas petitions are filed in the meantime, we will not lose the War on Terror as a result of those filings. If this Congress votes to suspend the writ of habeas corpus first and ask questions later, liberty and accountability will be the victims.

Damn straight, Senator.

Consider all those Americans traveling abroad, some of them college students. If America goes forward with this ill-conceived, un-American legislation, what will prevent some of those college students from being detained, indefinitely and without charges, by some foreign government?

More Democrats need to stand up and say,

This. Is. Wrong.

The language used in these proposals makes it clear that you, American citizen, should be worried about this. You, American citizen, may be the next one "they" come after. Or it may be your son, your daughter, your spouse.

Is this the America YOU want to live in? Don't believe it won't affect YOU because YOU have nothing to hide. YOU won't get to decide whether YOU have something to hide. YOUR rights will be rescinded.

This. Is. Wrong.

Tbogg Speak

You listen:

This is how the world sees us:
In America they torture people, including their own, in secret prisons.
Are we even capable of embarrassment anymore?

Are They Coming For YOU?

My America use to have the moral high ground. My America use to be a democracy. My America use to believe in freedom, including the freedom to dissent. I'm as WASP as one can be, so I may never be hauled away to some undisclosed location indefinitely, I may never be stopped merely for being in the "wrong" neighborhood, I may never be subjected to scrutiny merely for the color of my skin. But that doesn't make me OK with what BushCo is attempting. Some things are wrong. Always.

Amanda Marcotte has this at Pandagon:

How long before they start seeking to classify people as “unlawful combatants” who dissent against their ideology because we are loyal to America and we hate to see BushCo ripping up our Constitution and laying waste to our democratic values?

Well, it appears they’ve allowed themselves up to that possibility, according to the Washington Post.

As a result, human rights experts expressed concern yesterday that the language in the new provision would be a precedent-setting congressional endorsement for the indefinite detention of anyone who, as the bill states, “has engaged in hostilities or who has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States” or its military allies.

The definition applies to foreigners living inside or outside the United States and does not rule out the possibility of designating a U.S. citizen as an unlawful combatant. It is broader than that in last week’s version of the bill, which resulted from lengthy, closed-door negotiations between senior administration officials and dissident Republican senators. That version incorporated a definition backed by the Senate dissidents: those “engaged in hostilities against the United States.”

Read the whole thing. Then weep for the America BushCo is killing slowly.

Shame on any elected official who supports this, no matter what their party affiliation.

Family Values? Morality?

I've been a bit numb the past few days. The Republicans had their little theater over authorizing torture committed by Americans. The Democrats did nothing. Certain conservatives love to expound on the loss of morality in America. Certain politicians like to throw "family values" in our faces. That usually means Republicans wanting to control your sex life.

Where the hell are these "family values" and "morality" in the authorization the U.S. Senate is about to give to the military to conduct torture?

Paul Rieckhoff is the executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. He had an excellent op-ed piece in Monday's New York Times:

IN 2002, I attended the Infantry Officer Basic Course at Fort Benning, Ga. At “the Schoolhouse,” every new Army infantry officer spent six months studying the basics of his craft, including the rules of war.

I remember a seasoned senior officer explaining the importance of the Geneva Conventions. He said, “When an enemy fighter knows he’ll be treated well by United States forces if he is captured, he is more likely to give up.”

A year later on the streets of Baghdad, I saw countless insurgents surrender when faced with the prospect of a hot meal, a pack of cigarettes and air-conditioning. America’s moral integrity was the single most important weapon my platoon had on the streets of Iraq. It saved innumerable lives, encouraged cooperation with our allies and deterred Iraqis from joining the growing insurgency.
If America continues to erode the meaning of the Geneva Conventions, we will cede the ground upon which to prosecute dictators and warlords. We will also become unable to protect our troops if they are perceived as being no more bound by the rule of law than dictators and warlords themselves.

The question facing America is not whether to continue fighting our enemies in Iraq and beyond but how to do it best. My soldiers and I learned the hard way that policy at the point of a gun cannot, by itself, create democracy. The success of America’s fight against terrorism depends more on the strength of its moral integrity than on troop numbers in Iraq or the flexibility of interrogation options.

Several Republican combat veterans, including former Secretary of State Colin Powell and Senators Lindsay Graham, John McCain and John Warner, have recognized that the president’s stance on Article 3 is a threat to our troops and to our interests. It would be insulting for the president to assume he knows more about war than they do.

But the compromise the president struck with the senators last week leaves the most significant questions unresolved. The veterans must hold their ground — and the White House must recognize that our troops need all the moral authority they can get.

What the hell is happening to America?

What is Wrong with Newsweek?

Why do they hate America?
[hat tip to Attaturk]

Wow! Long Time!

Sorry about the lack of posting. Life is happening. Two weeks is far too long a period between posts. I'll do better.

Monday, September 11, 2006

'Path to 9/11' May Result in Legal Action

American Airlines is looking into filing a defamation suit against Disney/ABC over a scene in the fake-umentary mini-series Path to 9/11. The scene shows American Airlines' check-in people at Boston's Logan Airport letting Mohammad Atta board a flight in spite of a warning coming up on a computer screen, and the American check-in supervisor apparently ignoring the concerns of another staffer. The incident never happened. Well, it did, but not the way Disney/ABC shows it. According to The 9/11 Commission Report, the incident occurred at the Portland, Maine airport, and the airline was US Airways Express. American Airlines notified Disney/ABC of the error prior to the showing last night. The scene evidently also appears in tonight's conclusion.

Disney/ABC apparently did cut a few controversial scenes from the program, but left many in. The company cannot argue it did not know it was defaming American Airlines. Disney/ABC could lose big.

Desecrating the Flag

REUTERS/Jason Reed

Where is the Republican outrage? Will VD Jericho criticize the president for this? Or is it OK to trample the American flag if you've already ripped up the U.S. Constitution?

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Friday, September 08, 2006

Pathological Lies Authwhore

The writer of ABC/Disney's libelous work, Cyrus Nowrasteh, reads The 9/11 Commission Report to a group of ABC executives.

The Mouse That Whored

ABC/Disney presents a $30-million Republican campaign contribution.

Sign the petition.

Contact Springfield's ABC affiliate:
Mr. Dave Tillery
General Manager
PO Box 6030
Springfield , MO
Phone: (417) 831-1333
Fax: (417) 831-9358

Contact Disney's board chairman George Mitchell.

Be courteouse, but firmly tell ABC not to run this re-writing of the history which distorts and disrespects the memory of those who died on September 11, and those who have died since in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Shame on ABC. Shame on Disney.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Special Beagle Blogging

OK, fine. Granny wants to see Baxter upright and active. So here's our beagle buddy upright. . .

. . .and here he is active, visiting Carhenge.

A Ponderable

I'm no conspiracy-theorist, and I try not to jump to conclusions. And quite frankly, I'm almost afraid to even think what the answer to the following might be:

On September 11, 2001,

  • with a supposedly unknown number of planes flying across the United States and crashing into buildings,
  • with Bush's presence at Booker Elementary School announced in the media three days in advance, and
  • with an airport just four miles away,
  • how did the United States Secret Service know that Bush was safe where he sat reading about goats?

How did the United States Secret Service know that they were not making targets of all those teachers and children by keeping them in that room with the President?

How did the United States Secret Service know that they did not need to drag Bush from that room and toss him into the back of his armored limousine?

How did the United States Secret Service KNOW FOR A FACT that President Bush was not a target that day?

Law of Journalism Broken

Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog makes an excellent point:

This is a remarkable accomplishment by the Bush administration: It's been able to repeal a herotofore inviolate law of law of journalism. "If it bleeds, it leads" -- that's not true anymore. In Iraq (and certainly in Afghanistan), if it bleeds, it doesn't lead. It's consigned to a quick sentence in a broadcast news summary or the inner pages of the morning paper. Hundreds of deaths and injuries a week are a footnote. Empty bombast gets the banner headlines.

Now the law is: If it orates from a balcony, it leads.

Not only are the speeches getting more prominent coverage than the fighting, but the announcement that the speeches were going to take place got more prominent coverage. This is nuts.

The press is under no obligation to treat the administrations ever more hysterical rhetorical variations on the same old themes as front-page news. By agreeing to do so, the press is as part of the GOP's campaign media operation -- and it's encouraging more and more irresponsible rhetoric.

Put these speeches on page A14. Put the troops on page 1.

I grew up during the Vietnam War in a small Iowa town with a daily newspaper. Even though the paper was largely filled with news about who was visiting whom, who had traveled where, and who was admitted to or released from the hospital, news of death and injuries always made the front page. Every day.

When was the last time you read a front-page story about the war in Iraq? Afghanistan? Know how many Americans were killed there this week?

Photography is Expensive

Did you know that you can have a picture taken with the President of the United States' wife for only $2,100 over the $250 it costs to eat ice cream with her in an aircraft hangar?

Bonus Beagle Blogging

Because Granny wonders if she'll ever see Baxter in an upright positon, here he is. True, he's thinking about the nap he's about to take. But he is in an upright semi-reclining position.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Friday Beagle Blogging

Baxter is a little bummed today. He read this story and wonders why Doc Larry doesn't let him drive. He also wonders when Doc Larry will take better photos so his eyes don't glow.

Let's Go To Toronto!

UK director Gabriel Range will be screening a controversial new film at the Toronto International Film Festival. D.O.A.P. uses archive footage, actors and computer effects to portray the assassination of George Bush and the effects of the War on Terror on the US.

The 90-minute film shows Mr Bush being targeted by a sniper during anti-war rally in Chicago in 2007.

He is confronted by a demonstration when he arrives in the city to deliver a speech to business leaders and is shot as he leaves the venue.

The ensuing investigation focuses on a Syrian-born man.

As you might imagine, the White House is not happy, nor is the Republican Party of Texas.
But Gretchen Essell, a spokeswoman for the Republican Party of Texas, called for it not to be screened.

"I cannot support a video that would dramatise the assassination of our president, real or imagined," she told the Press Association news agency.

"The greater reality is that terrorism still exists in our world. It is obvious that the war on terror is not over.

"I find this shocking, I find it disturbing. I don't know if there are many people in America who would want to watch something like that."

And there are those who foolishly worry it might encourage someone to take action.
John Beyer of UK TV pressure group MediaWatch said the film was "irresponsible".

He said it could even trigger a real assassination attempt and told the Daily Mirror: "There's a lot of feeling against President Bush and this may well put ideas into people's heads."
Does anyone think such ideas aren't already in people's heads? Anyone remember the last assassination attempt on a U.S. president?

The head of UK broadcaster More4 describes the film as a "thought-provoking critique" of contemporary US society.
"It's an extraordinarily gripping and powerful piece of work, a drama constructed like a documentary that looks back at the assassination of George Bush as the starting point for a very gripping detective story.

"It's a pointed political examination of what the War on Terror did to the American body politic.

"I'm sure that there will be people who will be upset by it but when you watch it you realise what a sophisticated piece of work it is.

"It's not sensationalist or simplistic but a very thought-provoking, powerful drama. I hope people will see that the intention behind it is good."

The film's producers of the film hope to sell the broadcast rights to the US. Perhaps it will be screened at the Moxie.

Free Speech Friday

A federal appeals court has upheld the free-speech rights of a 13-year-old student who wore a t-shirt critical of George Bush.

An appeals court in New York found that Zachary's constitutional rights were violated when officials at his Vermont school made him stick duct tape over parts of the T-shirt. The shirt also said the president was undertaking a "world domination tour" and showed a picture of his head superimposed on a chicken's body, along with cocaine, a razor blade and a martini glass. Zachary was suspended for a day, but continued to wear the T-shirt to school, complete with duct tape.


The T-shirt "uses harsh rhetoric and imagery to express disagreement with the president's policies and to impugn his character", the court ruled, but the images "are not plainly offensive as a matter of law".

"The standard that the court set was that a kid has free-speech rights as long as the expression of those rights doesn't upset the normal workings of a school," said Allen Gilbert, of the American Civil Liberties Union, which brought the case.

Zachary said: "I think this is a very good sign that even with the current administration ... there can still be a justice that allows free speech."

Good for Zachary, a fine young patriot.

Bets on how long before the Swiftboating of Zachary begins?