BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Holy Sh*t

Well...

Terri has left the building - may she rest in peace.

Methinks we've just avoided a disaster of Biblical proportions...far worse than dogs and cats living together. Here we go:

"Norm Olson: Parents' lawyer thwarted plan to send MILITIAS to aid Terri Schiavo"

Uh oh.

This is THE most f*cked up story I've read in a long time (excuse my French), and comes to us from the Petoskey News Review.

In MICHIGAN. As in MICHIGAN MILITIA.

Petoskey is so far up north in MICHIGAN..it's practically next to Santa's Village:
Norm Olson, senior adviser to the MICHIGAN MILITIA and PASTOR of a strong right-to-life church in WOLVERINE, said Tuesday he had put together an unarmed coalition of state militias that were PREPARED TO STORM THE FLORIDA HOSPICE where Terri Schiavo has been left to die, and TAKE HER TO A SAFE HOUSE.
What year is this?

"1805."

That's what I thought. Sorry.
Olson said he needed only the OK from Schiavo's father, Robert Schindler, either directly or through his attorney David Gibbs, to put the plan, called "OPERATION RESURRECTION," into action on Sunday.
OPERATION RESURRECTION.

"Isn't that the title of the new Judas Priest record?"

No. ("Angel of Retribution.")
But Olson said Gibbs contacted the FBI instead of passing his message on to Schindler.

Olson said the FBI had been monitoring e-mails within militia groups and on Tuesday, March 29, sent an agent from Traverse City to his home in Alanson and other agents to militia leaders in the South to question them about the plan.
I WOULD F*CKING HOPE SO!!!
Olson said that last Thursday he phoned Gibbs' secretary with a message that he had organized 1,500 to 2,000 MILITIA MEMBERS from Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia and Michigan, who were ready to remove Schiavo from the hospice and take her in a convoy to a safe house.

Olson said he never was able to speak directly to the Schindlers or Gibbs.
You're kidding.
"Gibbs probably told the Schindlers not to get the militia involved. That's why Schindler came out with statement that he did not want any civil disobedience. Now they're begging for someone to do something, but it's too late," Olson said.

Olson said the militias needed time to arrange for an AMBULANCE, MEDICAL SUPPORT STAFFand a SAFEHOUSE before the plan could be put into action.
I wonder which militia was gonna provide the medical support staff? The dudes from Texas, or the dudes from Mississippi?
"WE WOULD HAVE OVERWHELMED THE LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT," Olson said, adding the militias would not have been armed.
So nice of them.

I mean...where do you...it's like...so i'm...I'm trying to wrap my brain...I mean...what the...what the...WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON OUT THERE?! HAVE WE LOST OUR COLLECTIVE MIND?!

More psychobabble from Olson:
"We were just going to push people out of the way. It was the mood and the heartbeat of America," he said.

"In reality there are four branches of government in America, and we the people are the fourth. That's what our march was going to do: Show the American people that we were still in control. We the people are the final judges, not the BLACK-ROBED DEMONS. I do not believe that 70 percent of the American people thought it was wrong for government to get involved. They turned around when they believed Terri Schiavo's was a lost cause and wanted to be on the winning side. America has lost hope because, where there's life there's hope, but it is the BLACK-ROBED DEVILS who are deciding who lives and dies."
Again, the wing-nut anti-judge thing.

"Didn't we point out Jerry Falwell's obsession with black-robed demons yesterday?"

Yeah.

"Rush and Sean hate the black-robed devils, too, don't they?"

Yeah.

Here's a smattering of e-mails (as seen in the Petoskey News-Review) that Olson whipped off to his fellow militiamen:
Wednesday, March 23:

"Are there militia in Florida who are willing to go rescue Terri?
"How about Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana?
"I've got some very angry Michigan militia folks chomping at the bit ..."

"It's time for us to say: 'Let's Roll!"
Let's roll? NOW WHERE HAVE WE HEARD THAT BEFORE?!
Thursday, March 24:

"Florida Militia: Please contact me. We're going to need several hundred willing to storm the building. I suspect that hundreds of 'civilians' may go with us. There is very little time, but I've got people ready to roll tonight.

"It isn't a commando raid or sneak attack. It is a mass saturation of people able to overwhelm the minimal forces there at this time."

"A large scale military assault need not be bloody. As much as we might like to, care must be taken to avoid inflicting injury on the bad guys."
Crazytown.

Please read the full article, written by Fred Gray. (Good job, dude.)

More later...

Praying for Terri?


16917393
Originally uploaded by blacksab67.
"Dear Jesus,

Please make Iron Maiden tour this summer."

August 20, Hyundai Pavillion, Glen Helen/San Bernardino, CA

OZZFEST

"Hallefuckinglujah!"

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The Matrix

Happy Wednesday.

The headline from an editorial in Rupert's New York Post this morning?

"Enough"

And the opening lines:
The time has come to let Terri Schiavo die with dignity - and in peace.

The battle over her fate was mostly a noble one, and always a heart-rending one, but it has turned into a circus.

Nothing anyone can do will alter the outcome now. The arrests will make no difference; yesterday's high-profile arrival of the Rev. Jesse Jackson's stretch limousine will change nothing; Randall Terry's publicity-mongering is pointless.
HUH?!

I'd like to CUT TO the INT of Rupert's UNDERGROUND BUNKER - DAY (located five miles below the "Die Hard" building off Pico), but I'm not gonna. I'm merely going to suggest that there's been a glitch in the Matrix, and pray that Neo can handle Agent Smith.

I can't believe it. One side if the empire telling the other that it's time to bring an end to the story that has made them so much money?!

Man.

The swipe at Jesse Jackson...typical. But the swipe at Randall Terry?! Priceless!

I assume that the editor in question has been led out of the building. IN CHAINS. I'm sure he'll be disposed of properly.

"Nah. They'll just implant a new chip in his head. He'll be back at work tomorrow with an editorial 'bout the leftist messages in Dora the Explorer."

Well...there are. Dora is teaching kids to hide things (weapons and small arms) from their parents (right -wing governments).

Any other glitches in the Matrix?

"Jerry Falwell in Critical Condition"

The latest from the AP:
LYNCHBURG, Va. - The Rev. Jerry Falwell was hospitalized in critical condition Tuesday, battling his second case of viral pneumonia in just five weeks, hospital and church officials said.
Sniff, sniff, cry, cry.

Let's take a moment to say a prayer for Jer.

Ick.

Let's take a moment to revisit one of Jer's finest moments - from Pat Robertson's 700 Club - right after 9/11:
FALWELL - The ACLU has got to take a lot of blame for this. And I know I'll hear from them for this, but throwing God...successfully with the help of the federal court system...throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools, the abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked and when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad...I really believe that the pagans and the abortionists and the feminists and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way, all of them who try to secularize America...I point the thing in their face and say you helped this happen.

ROBERTSON - I totally concur, and the problem is we've adopted that agenda at the highest levels of our government, and so we're responsible as a free society for what the top people do, and the top people, of course, is the court system.
There's that evil "court system" word again.

"Why do these dudes hate the law so much?"

They hate man's law - not God's law.

"Where can I get a copy of that?"

Any guesses?

More later...

Monday, March 28, 2005

What? Sam's Town Wasn't Good Enough?

Vegas, Bro

Or...

What happens in Vegas - stays in Vegas.

Here's the story from the NY Times - a follow up on the charges that the White House/FBI shuttled a number of important Saudis (including relatives of Bin Laden) out of the country right after 9/11 without giving them a thorough security check.

"New Details on F.B.I. Aid for Saudis After 9/11"

Quickly:
WASHINGTON, March 26 - The episode has been retold so many times in the last three and a half years that it has become the stuff of political legend: in the frenzied days after Sept. 11, 2001, when some flights were still grounded, dozens of well-connected Saudis, including relatives of Osama bin Laden, managed to leave the United States on specially chartered flights.
Advertisement

Now, newly released government records show previously undisclosed flights from LAS VEGAS and elsewhere and point to a more active role by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in aiding some of the Saudis in their departure.
Fine, great, details, details, read the article.

Here's what I'm interested in; the Vegas angle:
The F.B.I. records show, for instance, that prominent Saudi citizens left the United States on several flights that had not been previously disclosed in public accounts, including a chartered flight from Providence, R.I., on Sept. 14, 2001, that included at least one member of the Saudi royal family, and THREE FLIGHTS FROM LAS VEGAS between Sept. 19 and Sept. 24, also carrying members of the SAUDI ROYAL FAMILY. The government began reopening airspace on Sept. 13, but many flights remained grounded for days afterward.
Q: Is there a Saudi consulate in Vegas?

"Um, maybe. It's in the Aladdin, right?"

(Sorry. Bad schtick. Couldn't help it.)

A: New York, Washington, L.A., Houston.
The three Las Vegas flights, WITH A TOTAL OF MORE THAN 100 PASSENGERS, ferried members of the Saudi royal family and staff members who had been staying at CAESAR'S PALACE and the FOUR SEASONS hotels. The group had tried unsuccessfully to charter flights back to Saudi Arabia between Sept. 13 and Sept. 17 because they said they feared for their safety as a result of the Sept. 11 attacks, the F.B.I. documents say.
100 passengers.

Members of the Saudi Royal Family.

Caesar's Palace and the Four Seasons.

Vegas.

Wink-wink, nudge-nudge.

I'd like to CUT TO the EXT of the POOL at Caesar's Palace, but I'm not. I'm merely going to suggest - to the strippers and high-end call girls in New York and Los Angeles - that you no longer have to travel to Riyadh to make the big bucks.

Call your friends in Vegas and get in on the action - if you haven't already.

"We have."

I bet.

(Harkens back one of my favorite conversations ever - overheard in the parking lot of the Rite Aid at Sunset & Fairfax. Between two "girls." One says to the other, "You should totally go over there. You can make, like, a hundred grand in one month." Hey now!)

God, life is great.

I wonder if the "members of the Saudi Royal Family" have ever ridden the coaster at Buffalo Bill's? Seen Neil Sedaka at the Orleans (March 29-April 3)? Visited the buffet at the Rio?

"And mingle with American pig-dogs? Are you out of your f*cking mind?!"

The Rio buffet is pretty awesome.

More later...

(PLEASE READ YESTERDAY'S POST and pass the blog off to a friend.)

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Monday

(God I used to hate Easter Sunday. The mass was, like, two hours long, yo. Cut into my "Three Stooges" time. Almost bled into "Kung Fu Theater.")

The headline on Drudge this morning? "READY TO FIGHT OVER THE CORPSE."

What a dick - there's a special place in Hell for that dude.

Two fantastic stories from the LA Times yesterday.

"An in depth interview with the creators of 'Two and a Half Men' and a piece on Jessica Alba's new home in the Hollywood Hills?"

No.

"DeLay's Own Tragic Crossroads * Family of the lawmaker involved in the Schiavo case decided in '88 to let his comatose father die."

Whoa.
The patient then was a 65-year-old drilling contractor, badly injured in a freak accident at his home. Among the family members keeping vigil at Brooke Army Medical Center was a grieving junior congressman — Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas).

More than 16 years ago, far from the political passions that have defined the Schiavo controversy, the DeLay family endured its own wrenching end-of-life crisis. The man in a coma, kept alive by intravenous lines and oxygen equipment, was DeLay's father, Charles Ray DeLay.

Then, freshly reelected to a third term in the House, the 41-year-old DeLay waited, all but helpless, for the verdict of doctors.

Today, as House Majority Leader, DeLay has teamed with his Senate counterpart, Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), to champion political intervention in the Schiavo case. They pushed emergency legislation through Congress to shift the legal case from Florida state courts to the federal judiciary.

And DeLay is among the strongest advocates of keeping the woman, who doctors say has been in a persistent vegetative state for 15 years, connected to her feeding tube. DeLay has denounced Schiavo's husband, as well as judges, for committing what he calls "an act of barbarism" in removing the tube.

In 1988, however, there was no such fiery rhetoric as the congressman quietly joined the sad family consensus to let his father die.

"There was no point to even really talking about it," Maxine DeLay, the congressman's 81-year-old widowed mother, recalled in an interview last week. "There was no way [Charles] wanted to live like that. Tom knew — we all knew — his father wouldn't have wanted to live that way."

Doctors advised that he would "basically be a vegetable," said the congressman's aunt, JoAnne DeLay.

When his father's kidneys failed, the DeLay family decided against connecting him to a dialysis machine. "Extraordinary measures to prolong life were not initiated," said his medical report, citing "agreement with the family's wishes."

On Dec. 14, 1988, the DeLay patriarch "expired with his family in attendance."
Tra la la, la la la la, tra la la, la la la la.

But the bigger story - the one that should be THE story of the week - is this:

"Convoy Unprepared for Last, Fatal Run * A series of missteps sent a group of Americans into a gantlet of fiery slaughter in Iraq."

Not a group of soldiers; Americans. American contractors, and employees of...any guesses?

"Halliburton."

Yup.
The truckers came from ordinary American towns like this one. They were hauling jet fuel across one of the most dangerous roads in Iraq on a day when the insurgency was exploding. The trucks had no armor. The men had no weapons. Their military escorts didn't even know the route.

As they neared the end of their run, the 26-vehicle convoy trundled into a valley of fire. Insurgents on both sides of the road opened up. Bullets shredded cabs. Rocket-propelled grenades flipped tankers like toys. Thick black smoke blotted out the road.

Six truck drivers for Halliburton Co. were killed that day, and nine were injured. One trucker remains missing. Two U.S. soldiers escorting the convoy were killed, and one is missing. Of 43 men on the convoy, 25 were killed or injured.

It remains the deadliest incident involving American contractors in the war in Iraq.

Interviews with surviving drivers and families of the dead, and a U.S. Army report obtained by the Los Angeles Times, show that the U.S. military and Halliburton missed numerous warnings in sending the men on the ill-fated mission.
The truckers were hauling fuel to the Baghdad airport...FOR THE US MILITARY...along a 40 mile course that was chock-full of insurgents.
From the moment it left the gate, the convoy may have been doomed by a series of errors that escalated into disaster.

The documents and interviews show:

•  Military bungling and poor communications sent the men onto an active battlefield on a road that was supposed to be closed. A U.S. soldier who approved the route changed his mind minutes later and sent an e-mail advising that the road was closed. He accidentally sent the e-mail to himself, and it never reached the convoy.

•  Halliburton agreed to drive the route despite warnings from its own personnel. Another Halliburton convoy traveling the route was hit earlier the same day, losing several vehicles. The leader of that convoy told colleagues that he had e-mailed his superiors about the danger.

•  Neither the truckers nor their escorts had prepared for the mission. The destination was changed 15 minutes before the convoy headed out. None of them were familiar with the exact route.

•  The military did not follow its own recommendations. An order issued on the morning of the convoy's departure recommended a minimum ratio of one Army soldier to accompany every two Halliburton trucks. The April 9 convoy had six soldiers among 19 trucks.

•  Halliburton let its men drive unarmored military vehicles rather than their customary white civilian trucks, making the truckers appear as a military target.
Fucked up, yo.

Please read the full story .

I don't begrudge these dudes the right (or chance) to do this kind of work for Halliburton (dangerous but lucrative work), but come on: THE ARMY USED TO DO THIS STUFF - ARMED TO THE TEETH AND READY TO KICK ASS - AT A MUCH LOWER COST TO THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER.

A lot of these truck driving dudes went to Iraq to make money - more money than they'd make here - but got a lot more than they bragained for. So here's the simple question; why are so many unarmed "private contractors" driving around Iraq if it's still a war-zone?!

"That's not a simple question. That's a dumb question."

I know.

"Money, man. Hey, speaking of money, there's still time to invest in a bunch of defense related industries. Most of 'em, anyways. The ones that ain't under some sorta 'vestigation."

Grrr.

More later...

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Crazytown

Well...

Yesterday, I wrote about Michael Mitchell, the dude who tried to rob a GUN STORE - to get a GUN - to RESCUE Terry Schiavo, Gollum Gollum.

Was he motivated by...THIS DUDE?!

"Man arrested in alleged Schiavo case murder plot - U.S. attorneys: He offered bounty for judge, Michael Schiavo"

Can we just give these people Utah or South Carolina?
(CNN) -- Authorities said a North Carolina man was arrested Friday by FBI agents on charges of soliciting the murder of a judge and the husband of Terri Schiavo, the severely brain-damaged woman at the center of a legal and moral tug of war.

Authorities said RICHARD ALAN MEYWES of Fairview, North Carolina, offered $250,000 for the killing of Michael Schiavo and another $50,000 for the death of Circuit Court Judge George Greer, who ordered Schiavo's feeding tube removed a week ago.

Meywes was arrested without incident at his home about 5 p.m. on charges of solicitation of murder and sending threatening communications, authorities said.
As Marge Simpson would say, "Hmmmmmmmm."
An affidavit filed in support of the charges alleges that Meywes wrote an e-mail Tuesday that said a "bounty with a price tag of $250,000 has been taken out on the head of Michael Schiavo." It also alleges he said an "additional $50,000 has been offered for the elimination of the judge who ruled against Terry in Florida," an apparent reference to Terri Schiavo.
A BOUNTY? WHAT YEAR IS THIS?!

"1805, friend."

That's what I thought.
The affidavit also says the same e-mail refers to the recent killings of a judge in Atlanta and family members of a federal judge in Chicago.
The Radical Right and their allies in the conservative media have whipped the torch-wavers into a turbo-frenzy with their constant attacks on "activist judges." Little do they know - many of these "activist judges" come from their own ranks.

Good job, geniuses!

Moving on - though Crazytown...

Last Wednesday, Pat Buchanan went on "Hardball" and told Chris Matthews that: "What George Bush ought to do right now is send FEDERAL MARSHALLS in and pick up Terri Schiavo and put that ... food and hydration tube back into her."

Seems like...somebody in Florida was watching that show.

"Terry Schiavo Case - Police Showdown Averted"

Here we go.
Hours after a judge ordered that Terri Schiavo was not to be removed from her hospice, a team of STATE AGENTS were en route to SEIZE HER and have her feeding tube reinserted -- but they stopped short when LOCAL POLICE told them they would enforce the judge's order, The Herald has learned.

Agents of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement told police in Pinellas Park, the small town where Schiavo lies at Hospice Woodside, on Thursday that they were on the way to take her to a hospital to RESUME HER FEEDING.

For a brief period, local police, who have officers at the hospice to keep protesters out, prepared for what sources called "a showdown.''

In the end, the squad from the FDLE and the Department of Children & Families backed down, apparently concerned about confronting local police outside the hospice.
Seriously, people: We'll throw in Florida.

Better yet, South Carolina-Georgia-Florida-Alabama.

Then, you guys can go crazy - you can run your own "country" - and make any laws you want.

Don't worry; we'll still trade with you. Free Trade, too.
The incident, known only to a few and related to The Herald by three different sources involved in Thursday's events, underscores the intense emotion and murky legal terrain that the Schiavo case has created. It also shows that agencies answering directly to GOV. JEB BUSH had planned to USE a wrinkle in Florida law that would have allowed them to legally get around the judge's order.
I guess Jebby watches "Hardball."

Republicans just hate "big government," don't they?

More later...

Friday, March 25, 2005

A Big Jesus Horse

Good morning.

(Self promotional plea: pass this blog on to one new person today. Thanks.)

I was gonna write about the big JESUS HORSE that was pulled out of the ground this week (Scientists Find Soft Tissue in T-Rex Bone), but realized that the story about the "70-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex fossil" was probably planted by the liberals and secularists who've been trying to destroy Terry Schiavo, George Bush and Tom DeLay.

Plus, we all know that the earth is only 6,000 years old, so...the fossil can't be real.

"When will the liberals realize that they can't fool us with such absurd numbers?!"

Hey...speaking of Terry Schiavo...check this out:

Man Tries to Steal Gun to 'Rescue Schiavo'

The American Taliban strikes again!
(AP) March 25, 2005 - SEMINOLE, Fla. -- A man was arrested after trying to steal a weapon from a gun shop so he could "take some action and rescue Terri Schiavo," authorities said.
Cue the "Superman" theme.
Michael W. Mitchell, of Rockford, Ill., entered Randall's Firearms Inc. in Seminole just before 6 p.m. Thursday with a box cutter and tried to steal a gun, said Marianne Pasha, a spokeswoman for the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.
"The Box Cutter: The Number One Choice for Terrorists Worldwide."

(Cheap Trick is from Rockford, btw.)
Mitchell, 50, told deputies he wanted to "take some action and rescue Terri Schiavo" after he visited the Pinellas Park hospice where she lives, Pasha said.
He wanted to take some action after he visited the hospice...and after he watched yesterday's Hannity & Colmes.
Randy McKenzie, the owner of Randall's Firearms, said Mitchell pulled out the box cutter and broke the glass on a couple of display cases.

"He told me if I wasn't on Terri's side then I wasn't on God's side, either," McKenzie told The Associated Press.
WHERE HAVE WE HEARD THAT LINE BEFORE!?
McKenzie said he then pointed his own gun at Mitchell and ordered him to lie on the ground. But Mitchell fled out the store's back door before police arrived, he said.
Is there a "dumber move" than trying to fuck with a GUN STORE OWNER?!

You KNOW that those guys (the gun store owners) are just DYING to kick ass.
He was being held on $125,000 bond on charges of attempted armed robbery, aggravated assault and criminal mischief, officials said.

It was not known if he had a lawyer.
He doesn't need one: he's on God's side.

Wonder if God will post bond?

We'll know everything we need to know about Michael Mitchell by the end of the day: Gauranteed - the bloggers are busy digging. Can't wait to hear what "church" he belongs to.

More later. Definitely...

Thursday, March 24, 2005

But What About the Tube?

While the talking heads on FOX and CNN were freaking out about Terry Schiavo...

"U.S. bars Italians from examining victim’s car"

Hey now.
Associated Press, ROME — The U.S. military command in Iraq has blocked two Italian policemen from examining the car in which an Italian intelligence agent was shot to death in Baghdad, a newspaper said Wednesday.

Corriere della Sera said that the policemen were about to leave when the Italian Embassy in Baghdad received an order from the U.S. command on Monday to abort the mission for security concerns.
Security concerns? They worried about shooting more Italians?
The car, a Toyota Corolla, is reportedly still in American hands, at Baghdad airport where it was originally rented.
SO MANY old school Toyota Corollas on the streets of Los Angeles.
The Foreign Ministry in Rome declined comment on the report, while officials at the Italian Embassy in Baghdad could not immediately be reached. The U.S. military in Baghdad had no immediate comment.

Italian authorities say that examining the vehicle is key to assessing what happened on March 4, when U.S. troops opened fire on the car carrying secret service agent Nicola Calipari, another intelligence officer and journalist Giuliana Sgrena, who had just been released after a month of captivity in Iraq.
Duh.
Calipari died on the spot, while the other two were wounded.

Prosecutors investigating the shooting have received photographs of the car, but they want to analyze bullet holes and other elements, according to Corriere.

The U.S. military said that the vehicle was speeding and refused to stop, and that a U.S. patrol tried to warn the driver with hand and arm signals, by flashing white lights and firing shots in front of the car and into the car’s engine block.

Berlusconi said the car was traveling slowly at night and stopped immediately when a light was flashed at it, shortly before U.S. troops fired on the car. Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini said the fire appeared to have hit the right side of the car.

Vowing to shed light on the incident, Washington has ordered an investigation into the shooting, to be led by a U.S. brigadier general with the participation of Italian officials. The joint commission is expected to release its findings by mid-April.
Actually, I have an advance copy of that report...right here.

"While the unfortunate events of March 4 were unfortunate, this office has discovered no evidence to suggest that the event was anything other than unfortunate. War is hell and bad shit happens. Sorry, you guys are shit out of luck. Learn to speak better American and call ahead next time."

More later...

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Meanwhile

Phenomenal editorial from Molly Ivin's re: Terry Schiavo here.

Excerpt:
That the main player in this fiasco is Majority Leader Tom DeLay -- who is in the midst of yet another scandal himself -- is enough to make anyone throw up. This is a man whose sense of morality is so deformed that upon being chastised three times by the House Ethics Committee, his response was to change the rules and stack the committee.

What a despicable display of pure political pandering. What an insult to everyone who has faced this decision without ever considering asking 535 strangers in Washington, D.C., what to do.

How can anyone want to cede that authority to a bunch of politicians?

I am indebted to the blogger called Digby for the following points: Those who passed this bill are the same politicians who want to outlaw medical malpractice suits like the one that provided the care for Terry Schiavo for many years while she was in "a persistent vegetative state." They are the same politicians who have just finished changing bankruptcy law so that it is now much harder for families hit by tragedies like this one to get out from under the staggering medical bills. How dare they talk about morality?

How can a bunch of blowhard television pundits with no medical training whatsoever conclude anything about Terry Schiavo's condition from watching a few seconds of edited videotape? Where on earth do they get the nerve to make any pronouncements about her condition?

Who are these professional anti-abortion activists who think they have the right to make decisions about someone else's life? Those who think letting someone who is critically brain dead die is the same as Auschwitz are incapable of making moral distinctions.
Meanwhile, while CNN & Fox were bugging out over Terry, check out this headline:

Iraq Halts Contract Payments to Raytheon, Maersk, Official Says

Uh, oh.
March 22 (Bloomberg) -- Iraq's interim government is refusing to make payments on some contracts with foreign companies including Raytheon Co. and A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S because they overcharged or failed to deliver everything they promised, an official said.
You're kidding.
"It's a problem all ministries are dealing with because of the lack of paperwork provided by the U.S.-led administration on contracts they signed before handing over power in June,'' Iraq's deputy transport minister, Atta Nabil Hussain Auni Atta, said in a telephone interview from Amman, Jordan, on March 21.
CUT TO:

INT. FAT CAT'S OFFICE - DAY

A corporate FAT CAT throws a giant file to his desk and slaps his male ASSISTANT. He knocks back a glass of scotch and...

FAT CAT - Who the fuck do these people think they are?! Get me the White House!
Atta, 63 and a 30-year veteran at the ministry, said Raytheon hasn't delivered an air-traffic control system to Baghdad airport, and the government is withholding a $19 million payment. James Fetig, a spokesman for the Waltham, Massachusetts- based defense contractor, declined to comment on the matter.
Wait. Atta is a 30 YEAR VETERAN WITH THE MINISTRY?

That means he worked for....Saddam?

"What are you saying?"

I don't know.
The Coalition Provisional Authority, led by U.S. Ambassador Paul Bremer, awarded billions of dollars of contracts to foreign companies including Halliburton Co. during the 14 months it administered Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein's regime.

"Excessive Profits'"

Transparency International, a Berlin-based organization with offices in 80 countries, said in its annual report March 16 that foreign contractors in Iraq had been `"wasteful'' and some had made `"excessive profits.'' Individual employees of U.S. contractors had been accused of taking kickbacks from companies seeking subcontracts, the anti-corruption lobby group said, without giving details.

U.S. President George W. Bush's administration has pledged more than $20 billion to help rehabilitate industries in Iraq, including oil. Japan, Kuwait and other countries collectively pledged as much as $18.5 billion in October 2003 to help rebuild the nation.
That $20 Billion used to be yours.

"You can git some of it back if you marry into the Bush Family. Jenna, I guess, would be my first choice. Maybe...marry the daughter of the Halliburton CEO. Or Bechtel. Somethin' like that. these are good times for those people."

Yep.

More later...

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Good For Him

Terry Schiavo's husband Michael has gone NEW-CUE-LER on Shrub, Jebby, and Tom DeLay.

Check out these comments from his phone interview with the St. Petersburg Times:
"Come down, President Bush," Schiavo said in a telephone interview. "Come talk to me. Meet my wife. Talk to my wife and see if you get an answer. Ask her to lift her arm to shake your hand. She won't do it."

"Instead of worrying about my wife, who was granted her wishes by the state courts the past seven years, they should worry about the pedophiles killing young girls," Schiavo said, referring to a local case. "Why doesn't Congress worry about people not having health insurance? Or the budget? Let's talk about all the children who don't have homes."

He said U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who is leading a charge to extend Terri Schiavo's life, is a "little slithering snake" pandering for votes.

"To make comments that Terri would want to live, how do they know?" Schiavo said of the members of Congress who want to keep his wife alive.

"Have they ever met her?" Schiavo said. "What color are her eyes? What's her middle name? What's her favorite color? They don't have any clue who Terri is. They should all be ashamed of themselves."
Whoa.

CUT TO:

INT. CONGRESSIONAL OFFICE - DAY

A young INTERN bolts into this busy congressional office, which is filled with a number of male STAFFERS and LOBBYISTS.

INTERN - Quick! Turn on FOX! Michael Schiavo just made a comment about the boss!

STAFFER #1 jumps up from his desk and switches the TV set (from the Spice Network) to Fox News.

INTERCUT WITH:

SEAN HANNITY is on TV with Operation Rescue's RANDALL TERRY, the spokesman for Terry Schiavo's parents.

HANNITY - But here's the disgusting thing. And it makes me sick. Michael Schiavo had the audacity to call Tom DeLay, one of our great leaders, a man who is trying to save this woman's life, a slithering little snake.

STAFFER #1 - He's gonna regret that.

HANNITY - Randall Terry, how sick and disgusting is that?

TERRY - Sean, that's the kind of people we're dealing with. Murderers. Killers. People who kill their wives and little babies.

HANNITY - Right.

TERRY - Liberals. Michael Schiavo should be sent to prison before he kills this woman with his bare hands.

STAFFER #1 - Hmm. That's a good idea? Can we do that?

STAFFER #2 - There's gotta be a background check around here somewhere.

STAFFER - Let's get on that. I'm sure we can come up with something. A stripper or a bad check or a little boy.

LOBBYIST - Hopefully.

STAFFER #3 - Wait a sec. I've got a better idea. Time to bust out...Operation April 15th.

LOBBYIST - Yes!

STAFFER #1 - Now we're talking. Hey, somebody set this man up with a weekend at Turnberry!

The entire office burst into laughter. Staffer #1 picks up the phone and we...

CUT TO:

INT. IRS OFFICE - MOMENTS LATER

An IRS AGENT is sitting at his desk and scrolling through a list of names on his computer. The phone rings...

IRS AGENT - (answering) Yeah? What's the name? Schiavo. And the social security number?

The agent enters the information into his computer.

IRS AGENT - Got it. No problem. My best to Tom.

The agent hangs up and we...

CUT TO more later.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Good Strategy

Here's the headline from today's UK Independent:

"US frees Iraqi kidnappers so they can spy on insurgents - Americans undermining local police attempts to crack down on wave of abductions"

Good strategy.
US intelligence and military police officers in Iraq are routinely freeing dangerous criminals in return for a promise to spy on insurgents, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.

In one case where the IoS has seen documents, police rescued a doctor after a gun battle with his kidnappers and arrested two of the kidnap gang, who made full confessions. But US military police took over custody of the two men and let them go. The doctor had to flee to Egypt after being threatened by the gang.

"The Americans are allowing the breakdown of Iraqi society because they are only interested in fighting the insurgency," said a senior Iraqi police officer. "We are dealing with an epidemic of kidnapping, extortion and violent crime, but even though we know the Americans monitor calls on mobiles and satellite phones, which are often used in ransom negotiations, they will not pass on any criminal intelligence to us. They only want to use the information against insurgents.

An Iraqi government source confirmed that criminal suspects were often released if they agreed to inform on insurgents, despite the dangers to ordinary Iraqis.
Hmmm.

CUT TO:

INT. IRAQI JAIL - NIGHT

Two Iraqi criminals, TAL & MANSOOR, are sitting together in a crowded jail cell.

TAL - Where did we go wrong, man?

MANSOOR - We used the doctor's credit cards too quickly.

TAL -Yeah.

MANSOOR - And we got drunk in the Green Zone.

TAL - Stupid, stupid, stupid.

MANSOOR - No more of this Mickey mouse-kidnapping doctors-bullshit for me, man. The real money comes from blowing up Humvees. Am I right?

TAL - You are right.

An Iraqi POLICEMAN appraoches the cell; he holds up a giant set of keys.

IRAQI POLICEMAN - Cousin Tal! You two are gettin' released, man.

TAL - Get the fuck out of here!

IRAQI POLICEMAN - Truth, dawg. There's just one catch...

CUT TO:

INT. JAIL OFFICE - MOMENTS LATER

Tal and Mansoor listen closely as an UNIDENTIFIED US MILITARY REPRESENTATIVE makes the case for their freedom.

USMR - We need you guys on the streets. Using your criminal brains to infiltrate the insurgency.

POLICEMAN IRAQI - You know who they are.

(Pause)

TAL - Let me get this straight. You want us to rat on the dudes who are blowing up your Humvees --

MANSOOR - And shooting American soldiers and stuff like that --

USMR - In return for your freedom.

IRAQI POLICEMAN - Plus, they'll drop these bullshit kidnapping charges.

USMR - Right.

(Pause)

TAL - Sounds good to me, man.

MANSOOR - Deal.

TAL - Let's do it.

USMR - Great. This is good. But, I'm telling you, we'll be watching. You fuck with us, you'll be back in here faster than you can say, "Uday and Kusay."

TAL - Oh, yeah, yeah, man. No problems. You can trust us.

MANSOOR - We can get you lots of names.

TAL - Just put us back on the streets.

MANSOOR - Where we can do some good.

USMR - Okay then.

The men shake hands and we...

CUT TO:

INT. INSURGENT HQ - NIGHT

Tal and Mansoor are donning their insurgent gear. Mansoor grabs a rocket launcher and hands it to Tal.

MANSOOR - Quick. Let's go get some "insurgents."

TAL - Done and done, son. I hear there's a truck filled with "insurgents" on it's way out of the Green Zone. Leaves in five minutes.

MANSOOR - What are we waiting for?

Tal and Mansoor pull there masks over their faces and we...

CUT TO more later...

Saturday, March 19, 2005

The Clash


The Clash
Originally uploaded by blacksab67.
This is a public service announcement with guitars!

Know your rights (all three of them).

Number one: You have the right not to be killed. Murder is a crime, unless it was done by a policeman or aristocrat.

Know your rights.

And number two: You have the right to food money, providing, of course, you don't mind a little - investigation, humiliation - and if you cross your fingers - rehabilitation.

Know your rights. These are your rights. Know these rights

Number three: You have the right to free speech as long as you're not dumb enough to actually try it.

Know your rights. These are your rights. All three of 'em!

It has been suggested, in some quarters, that this is not enough!

Finally, then, I will read you your rights: You have the right to remain silent. You are warned that anything you say can and will be taken down and used as evidence against you!

Know your rights!

Friday, March 18, 2005

Connect the Dots

Happy Friday.

Terry Schiavo, Robert Blake, Scott Peterson, Jacko and Sammy Sosa.

They can all suck it - coz here's the story the rest of the world cares about.

Courtesy of Greg Palast and the BBC:

Secret US plans for Iraq's Oil" - The Bush administration made plans for war and for Iraq's oil before the 9/11 attacks, sparking a policy battle between neo-cons and Big Oil, BBC's Newsnight has revealed.

"Conspiracy theory!"

Just let your tiny dinosaur brain go there, my friend.
Two years ago today - when President George Bush announced US, British and Allied forces would begin to bomb Baghdad - protesters claimed the US had a secret plan for Iraq's oil once Saddam had been conquered.

In fact there were two conflicting plans, setting off a hidden policy war between neo-conservatives at the Pentagon, on one side, versus a combination of "Big Oil" executives and US State Department "pragmatists".

"Big Oil" appears to have won. The latest plan, obtained by Newsnight from the US State Department was, we learned, drafted with the help of American oil industry consultants.

Insiders told Newsnight that planning began "within weeks" of Bush's first taking office in 2001, long before the September 11th attack on the US.
Actually, if you remember, the neo-cons had been eyeing Iraq since Gulf War I. The PROJECT FOR A NEW AMERICAN CENTURY, the big neo-con club, sent Clinton a letter back in '98...demanding that he deal with Saddam.

Specifically:

"The only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use weapons of mass destruction. In the near term, this means a willingness to undertake military action as diplomacy is clearly failing. In the long term, it means removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power. That now needs to become the aim of American foreign policy."

That letter is signed by Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Bolton. Among others.

1998, people.

(For all things NEO-CON, and their letter to Clinton, check out the special neo-con page on the Daily Kos - here.)

Back to the BBC article:
The industry-favoured plan was pushed aside by a secret plan, drafted just before the invasion in 2003, which called for the sell-off of all of Iraq's oil fields. The new plan was crafted by neo-conservatives intent on using Iraq's oil to destroy the Opec cartel through massive increases in production above Opec quotas.

The sell-off was given the green light in a secret meeting in London headed by AHMED CHALABI shortly after the US entered Baghdad, according to Robert Ebel.

Mr Ebel, a former Energy and CIA oil analyst, now a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, told Newsnight he flew to the London meeting at the request of the State Department.
Ahmed Chalabi just pops up in the strangest places, doesn't he?

"Did he tell the Bushies that he could help privatize the oil fields if they put him in power?"

Ya think?

To wrap up - many of the world's oil dudes were worried about PRIVATIZING Iraqi oil - because they feared that such a move would backfire - especially if the Iraqi people woke up to watch the privatizing.

Some would say...THEY DID.
Mr (Falaj) Aljibury, once Ronald Reagan's "back-channel" to Saddam, claims that plans to sell off Iraq's oil, pushed by the US-installed Governing Council in 2003, helped instigate the insurgency and attacks on US and British occupying forces.

"Insurgents used this, saying, 'Look, you're losing your country, you're losing your resources to a bunch of wealthy billionaires who want to take you over and make your life miserable,'" said Mr Aljibury from his home near San Francisco.

"We saw an increase in the bombing of oil facilities, pipelines, built on the premise that privatisation is coming."
However, the neo-cons had more...important plans.
The former Shell oil boss (Philip Carrol) agrees. In Houston, he told Newsnight: "Many neo conservatives are people who have certain ideological beliefs about markets, about democracy, about this, that and the other. International oil companies, without exception, are very pragmatic commercial organizations. They don't have a theology."
Doo bee doo bee doo.

More later...

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Time to Lawyer Up

The big story today --

"The Senate votes to rip up Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to look for a few barrels of oil?"

No --

"Euros dismayed at Bush's pick for World Bank Prez (Paul "Iraq's oil reserves will pay for the war" Wolfowitz)?"

No --

"Congressional committee shuts down a possible investigation into the Jeff Gannonguckert-White House-fake news-sex for cash thing?"

No.

Ex-'Idol' Hires Clay's Lawyer

Praise Jesus!

From Roger friedman's column on Fox.com. (Can you believe it?)
"Personal reasons" be damned. The secret is out (and so is the album).

Mario Vazquez, the guy who suddenly quit "American Idol" last week, has been "Clayed," or should I say, "Aiwakened?"

He's hired former "Idol" runner-up Clay Aiken's high-powered record-industry lawyer.

Vazquez, I've learned, has gotten Atlanta entertainment lawyer Jess L. Rosen to represent him. Coincidentally — or not, depending on how you look at it — Rosen is most famous for extricating Aiken from his octopus-tentacled "American Idol" management contract with Simon Fuller's 19 Entertainment last year.

In leaving the show, Vasquez was obviously convinced of the value of bowing out now rather than continuing through the needless process of competition. Aiken would be his role model.

After losing "American Idol" to Ruben Studdard, Aiken realized that he was stuck with a management contract that kept him with Fuller, the show's owner, for years to come at a very high commission.

Rosen got him out of it and moved him over to Jeff Kwatinetz's behemoth agency, The Firm.

The result is that there is now nary a mention of the lovable, Barry Manilow-like Aiken on the "American Idol" Web site, except for unflattering pictures of him in his pre-makeover nerd days. Ouch!

So I guess it's fairly clear that Mario's "personal reasons" were specifically about the money he could make if he bolted the show before being indebted to them legally and financially for a couple of years.
Good luck.

Now...about that ANWR thing:

"Senate vote means ANWR drilling could start this year"

Praise the Lord!
WASHINGTON - The United States Senate has taken a major step towards allowing drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The Senate voted 51-49 on Wednesday to stop opponents from removing a provision from next year's budget allowing drilling in the refuge. That means opponents cannot use a filibuster to block attempts to open ANWR to oil exploration and drilling.
"What does that have to do with American Idol?"

Absolutely nothing.

More later...

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Happy Wednesday

(I've got two quick bits on gas & oil - followed by an update in the story of Dale Stoffel, the US defense contractor who was gunned down by "Iraqi insurgents" last December. Skip the oil & gas stuff if it's too dry. Methinks the story of Stoffel is gonna get "really weird" before all is said and done. Nuff said.)

Great news, citizens!

"Oil Prices Shoot to New Intraday High"

Yeah!
Crude oil prices soared to a new intraday high above $56 a barrel Wednesday in spite of a decision by OPEC ministers to authorize the pumping of an extra half-million barrels of oil a day.

Crude futures shot up more than $1 a barrel after the latest petroleum supply report from the U.S. government showed domestic supplies of gasoline and heating oil fell sharply last week.
$3.00 gas by the 4th of July?

"In Hollywood, maybe. But that's what you Hollywood people git fer bein' gay."

Right.

Hey, speaking of oil:

US Concerns On India-Iran Pipeline Due To Legal Impediment

Huh?
CHENNAI, March 15 Asia Pulse - The United States was opposed to a gas pipeline from Iran to India due to a law, which prohibits Teheran's economic expansion, unless it stops its support to terrorists, Teresita Schaffer, former US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, said here.

The US "concerns' on the pipeline had no direct link with Iran's nuclear programme, she said, giving a talk on `Security in India's neighbourhood: the view from Washington', organised by the Observer Research Foundation and The Department of Politics & Public Administration, University of Madras.

India, which is scouting around the world for oil and gas to meet its growing energy needs, has tied-up imports of 7.5 million tonnes of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) per annum from Iran from 2010 and is negotiating imports of natural gas through an onland pipeline passing through Pakistan.
Hmm.

"The United States was opposed to a gas pipeline from Iran to India due to a law, which prohibits Teheran's economic expansion, unless it stops its support to terrorists."

Somehow - I can't help but think - that SOMEONE was opposed to this pipeline - because they weren't in on the deal.

"They will be."

I'm sure they will.

Finally, the latest twist in the story of Dale Stoffel, the American "defense contractor" who was gunned down in Baghdad AFTER he complained to US & Iraqi offcials about the 27 MILLION BUCKS the Iraqis owed him for "services rendered."

The headline from the Los Angeles Times:

Army Ignored Broker on Arms Deal - U.S. general supervised an Iraq contract that a slain American said was tangled in kickbacks.

Uh, oh.
The U.S. contractor working on (a defense project) repeatedly warned the task force headed by Army Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus that a Lebanese middleman involved in the deal might be routing kickbacks to Iraqi Defense Ministry officials.

But senior U.S. military officials did not act on the contractor's pleas for tighter financial controls, according to documents and interviews.

"If we proceed down the road we are currently on, there will be serious legal issues that will land us all in jail," the contractor, Dale Stoffel, wrote in a Nov. 30 e-mail to a senior assistant to Petraeus.
Eight days later, Stoffel was shot dead in an ambush near Baghdad. The killing is being investigated by the FBI, according to people who have been interviewed by the bureau.
Again, the dude was hired by the interim Iraqi government and the Iraqi Defense Ministry to "to refurbish Iraq's tanks and personnel carriers and buy new equipment from Eastern European sources." Dude eventually billed the Iraqi to the tune 27 mil. The Iraqis then told Stoffel that the money would come to him via a Lebanese businessman , now identified as Raymond Zayna by the LA Times.

But...
The money was never delivered to Stoffel, who in October began complaining to U.S. officials in Washington and Baghdad. He wrote letters, previously disclosed by The Times, to Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and a senior Pentagon official spelling out his suspicions about Zayna.

Stoffel also e-mailed U.S. Army Col. David Styles, Petraeus' assistant on the project. He asked Styles to have Petraeus intervene to stop millions of dollars being funneled without oversight through Zayna.
"There is no oversight of the money and if/when something goes wrong, regardless of how clean our hands are, heads will roll and it will be the heads of those that are reachable, and the people who are suppose to know better (US citizens, military, etc.)," Stoffel wrote in the November e-mail to Styles.
Then...things got really weird.
By late November, Stoffel had returned to the United States to seek help in getting his payment. He asked Pentagon officials and Santorum's office to pressure the Iraqis to release the $24.7 million to him.

Stoffel suggested that an international accounting firm be brought in to supervise the contract's financial transactions and clear up questions about the missing money.

He warned of consequences if the money was not recovered.

"News of it will be on the front page under the photos of President Bush, [Defense Secretary Donald H.] Rumsfeld, me" and Petraeus' task force, Stoffel wrote to another military officer in early December. "Jobs will be lost and congressional hearings will be held."
If you and I were writing a bad script about war and war profiteering, that scene would be followed by a bit where a bunch of nefarious characters plot Stoffel's death.

CUT TO:

INT. MYSTERIOUS OFFICE - NIGHT

An unidentified MAN with reads Stoffel's letter to a smoky room filled with unidentified characters. Then...

MAN - Our...friend...is threatening to go public.

MAN #2 - Dees...ees no good.

MAN #3 - Something...must be done.

Another unidentified MAN picks up a cell phone...

KnowwhatImsaying??
U.S. military officials informed Zayna about the allegations of corruption, according to several people familiar with the matter. British Brig. Gen. David Clements summoned the parties to a Dec. 5 meeting in Iraq. Afterward, Clements ordered Zayna to release the money to Stoffel, sources said.

As of Dec. 8, Stoffel still had not received the money. That day, after he left the Taji military base outside Baghdad, his SUV was rammed by another vehicle. Stoffel and a business associate, Joseph Wemple, were cut down in a hail of bullets.

Another occupant of the vehicle apparently escaped unharmed, leading to suspicions among the victims' friends that he may have been involved in the attack.
Ya think?
About a week later, a previously unknown insurgent group, Brigades of the Islamic Jihad, claimed responsibility.
Hmmm.

Brigades of the Islamic Jihad?

Brigades of the Islamic Jihad?

What? "Mujahadeen Without Borders," the group that kidnapped Giuliana Sgrena, was off that week?

Please read the full LA Times story about Dale Stoffel. You can draw your own conclusions.

More later...

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

How Much for the Hammer?

Big sale on Iraqi cooking oil.

From the Houston Chronicle:

KBR spent millions getting $82,100 worth of LPG into Iraq

You're kidding.
WASHINGTON - Iraq needed fuel. Halliburton Co. was ordered to get it there — quick. So the Houston-based contractor charged the Pentagon $27.5 million to ship $82,100 worth of cooking and heating fuel.
God, am I in the wrong business.
The Houston-based contractor charged the Pentagon $27.5 million to ship $82,100 worth of cooking and heating fuel.

In the latest revelation about the company's oft-criticized performance in Iraq, a Pentagon audit report disclosed Monday showed Halliburton subsidiary KBR spent $82,100 to buy liquefied petroleum gas, better-known as LPG, in Kuwait and then 335 times that number to transport the fuel into violence-ridden Iraq.

Pentagon auditors combing through the company's books were mystified by this charge.

"It is illogical that it would cost $27,514,833 to deliver $82,100 in LPG fuel," officials from the Defense Contract Audit Agency noted in the report.
No. It's only "illogical" if someone finds out about it.

And they have.
Halliburton spokeswoman Wendy Hall said the figures were taken out of context.

"The implication is definitely misleading," Hall said. "Transporting fuel into Iraq was a mission fraught with danger, which increased the prices that firms were willing to offer for transportation."
"Wait. Why doesn't the Army just...do that job? A private company is gonna charge Uncle Sam a ton of cash to do a job the Army used to do at a much lower cost."

GEE. I WONDER.
Halliburton has seen 61 of its workers and subcontractors die in Iraq and Kuwait, many while delivering fuel.

Army officials were desperate to get fuel into Iraq, fearing the lack of such basic necessities as cooking and heating fuel would lead to greater unrest and support for the insurgency.
Huh?

CUT TO:

INT. INSURGENT HQ - FALLUJAH - DAY

TAL and MANSOOR, former members of Saddam Hussein's Elite Imperial Guard and current Iraqi insurgents, are cooking in the kitchen of this blown-out building on the outskirts of Fallujah.

Nelly's "Hot in Here" is blaring in the background.

TAL - Mansoor, pass me the Wesson. This skillet is piping hot, yo.

MANSOOR - (sheepishly) We're out.

TAL - What?! We just went to the black market!

MANSOOR - Cooking oil is just...too expensive, bro. It's like, $500 bucks a bottle.

TAL - How'm I supposed to make fried chicken?

MANSOOR - You're not. Just bake it.

Tal throws the chicken across the kitchen and slams his fist on the counter.

TAL - Goddammit, that's it! I'm sick of this bullshit! Where's my rocket launcher?! I'm taking out a humvee.

MANSOOR - It's over by the Xbox.

Tal darts across the room, grabs his rocket launcher, and we...

CUT TO:

More later...

Monday, March 14, 2005

The Big Story

Good morning.

The most important story today --

"Two US 'defense contractors' killed in Iraq?"

No.

"1,514 soldiers down since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom?"

Nope.

"Gas up to $2.50 in Los Angeles?"

No.

Mario Vazquez Drops Out of 'American Idol'

Oh, God, please help me, no!
LOS ANGELES - "American Idol" finalist Mario Vazquez, citing "personal issues," withdrew from the talent competition Sunday, and producers of the Fox show called in the son of a baseball Hall of Famer as backup.

Fox bumped Nikko Smith, the son of baseball great Ozzie Smith, into Vazquez's spot because Smith got more votes than Travis Tucker when both were voted off Wednesday, the network said.

Vazquez, 27, had been picked by many fans and three fellow finalists as a favorite to win the competition.

He told TV Guide's Web site that he dropped out to "take care of some personal issues with my family in New York. And with `Idol' being a live show, it just wouldn't have worked out schedule-wise."
Wow. Dude busts out with the "I have to spend more time with my family" excuse.

An excuse often used by politicians, corporate fat-cats and pro-athletes after they've been caught with their hands in the cookie jar.

Because you'd never hear them say --
"Uh, I'm retiring today because, uh, my wife is threatening to sue me for divorce because she just found out about my, uh, 'relationship' with Miss November."
However, rumors on-line suggest that Vazquez took-off because did not want to be tied to the exclusive contract these kids have to sign with Simon Fuller, the show's creator and Exec Prod.

From an article on CNN.com, Jan. 21, 2004:
As creator of the "American Idol" franchise, Fuller manages every aspect of the careers of Clay Aiken, Ruben Studdard, Kelly Clarkson and all other instant "Idol" celebrities.

But Fuller earns far more than the typical 15 to 20 percent that most managers keep from their clients' gross earnings. As the "American Idol" phenomenon begins its third season Monday on Fox, Fuller's franchise is raising questions about exploitation and the price of fame.

Fuller says that as the primary imaginative force behind these artists, and the one with the connections to transform Clarkson from struggling Texas waitress to pop diva, he deserves a larger percentage of their earnings.

In an interview last summer, he described many of his "Idol" relationships as "partnerships" in which he receives from 25 to 50 percent of all earnings. The Sunday Times of London estimated that Fuller earned about $44 million in 2002 and $60 million in 2003.

Fuller's company, 19 Entertainment, oversees not just the recording deal for "American Idol" stars, but also controls merchandising, touring, sponsorship and movie deals."
A good gig if you can get it.

Moving on...in case you forgot --

Apparently, Osama Bin Laden wanted the head of --

"Don Rumsfeld?"

No.

"Colin Powell?"

No.

"Senator Sam Brownback from Kansas?"

No.

Osama Bin Laden wanted the head of --

Russell Crowe.

"Get over!"
"Crowe Says al-Qaida Wanted to Kidnap Him"

By Associated Press
Published March 9, 2005, 9:51 AM CST

SYDNEY, Australia -- Russell Crowe says Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terror network wanted to kidnap him as part of a "cultural destabilization plot," according to an Australian magazine.

In an interview published in the March edition of Australia's GQ magazine, Crowe said FBI agents told him of the threat in 2001, in the months before he won a best actor Oscar for his role as Maximus in "Gladiator."

"That was the first (time) I'd ever heard the phrase 'al-Qaida,'" Crowe said. "It was about -- and here's another little touch of irony -- taking iconographic Americans out of the picture as sort of a cultural destabilization plot," he added.
Hmm.

Hmm.

Hmm.

Makes me think.

We need to take a look at some, uh, recent deaths in H'town.

Carson. Dangerfield. Bob Hope. (He's dead, right?)

"Natural causes?"

Or...AL-QAEDA?!

"Hey, it makes sense to me. I've been feelin' culturally destabilized since Johnny passed away."

"Me, too."

Same here.

CUT TO:

INT. CAVE - DAY

OSAMA BIN LADEN is sitting at the head of a giant conference table; he is surrounded by a number of aides and body-guards. The camera pans around this "war room," revealing a bunker filled with computers, guns and hi-tech equipment. We can also see a massive wall of monitors and televisions running popular American programs (Friends, Oprah, Simpsons, etc).

A young SOLDIER approaches Bin Laden and hands the Al-Qaeda leader a large folder.

SOLDIER - We have a bead on the Australian pig dog.

BIN LADEN - This news pleases my left ear. Allah be praised. Where he be?

SOLDIER - He's eating at the Ivy. (Dramatic pause) With target twenty-seven.

BIN LADEN - Kidman? You're kidding! I thought they broke up.

SOLDIER - So did we.

BIN LADEN - Wow. (Pause) She still into Scientology?

SOLDIER - Dunno. We haven't been able to crack that nut.

BIN LADEN - Yeah, they keep a really tight grip on their info.

Bin Laden pauses and takes a massive drag on his unfiltered cigarette. Then...

BIN LADEN - Fuck it. I like her. "Stepford Wives?" Totally underrated. The Gladiator gets a pass. For now.

Bin Laden thumbs through the folder.

BIN LADEN - What else ya got? You know, for Operation Cultural Destabilization?

SOLDIER - Lessee. (reading) Ashley Judd, Ethan Hawke, The Rock. (then, indicating) Here's one. Johnny Carson.

BIN LADEN - Ooh, that's a good one! Spans across a couple of generations. People will totally bum out.

SOLDIER - And, we can make it look like Johnny died of "natural causes."

BIN LADEN - Me likey. (Then) Well, what are you waiting for? Hop to it, soldier!

The soldier salutes Bin Laden and sprints away. Bin Laden takes another drag of his cigarette and we...

CUT TO:

EXT - MALIBU - NIGHT

Two AL-QAEDA TYPES drag their raft out of the Pacific Ocean and onto a deserted beach...

More later...

More later...

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Sunday Reading

Good morning.

4 dead in Atlanta. 8 dead in Wisconsin.

"Hey, man, no worries. The brackets come out today. Bracketology!"

Right.

Giuliana Sgrena has a new editorial in the Online Journal, her first piece since her release:
I now live with no more certainties. I find myself deeply weak. I failed in my belief. I had always claimed there was need to go tell about that dirty war. And I had to decide whether to stay in the hotel or going out and chance being abducted because of my work. "We don't want anyone any more," the abductors told me. But I wanted to tell about the bloodbath in Falluja through the refugees' tales. And that morning the refugees and some of their "leaders" didn't listen to me. I had in front of me the evidence of what the Iraqi society has become with the war and they threw their truth in my face: "We don't want anyone. Why don't you stay home? What such interview can be useful for?". The worst collateral damage, the war killing communication, was falling on me. On me, who had risked it all, challenging the Italian government that didn't want reporters gong to Iraq, and the Americans who don't want our work that gives witness to what that country has really turned into with the war, despite what they call elections.

Now I wonder. Is their refusal a failure?
And the latest from Chomsky via Common Dreams:
If you listen to the presidential debates, you can’t figure out what they’re saying, and that’s on purpose. The last debate was supposed to be about domestic issues. The New York Times commented that Kerry didn’t make any hint about possible government involvement in health care programs because that position has, in their words, “no political support.” Well, according to the most recent polls, 80% of the population thinks that the government ought to guarantee health care for everyone, and furthermore regard it as a moral obligation. That tells you something about people’s values. But there’s “no political support.”

Why? Because the pharmaceutical industry is opposed, the financial institutions are opposed, the insurance industry is opposed, so there’s “no political support.”

It doesn’t matter if 80% of the population regard it as a moral obligation: That doesn’t count as political support. It tells you something about the elite conception. You’re supposed to vote for the image they’re projecting. That’s not surprising really. Just ask yourself, “Who runs the elections?”

The elections are run by the same guys who sell toothpaste. They show you an image of a sports hero, or a sexy model, or a car going up a sheer cliff or something, which has nothing to do with the commodity, but it’s intended to delude you into picking this one rather than another one. Same when they run elections. But they’re assigned that task in order to marginalize the public, and furthermore, people are pretty well aware of it.
More later...

Friday, March 11, 2005

During the Michael Jackson trial...

"Senate Passes New Bankruptcy Legislation"

From the AP:
A bankruptcy overhaul bill the Senate passed by a 74-25 vote on Thursday would require people with incomes above a certain level to pay credit-card charges, medical bills and other obligations under a court-ordered bankruptcy plan.

Between 30,000 and 210,000 people - from 3.5 percent to 20 percent of those who dissolve their debts in bankruptcy each year - would be disqualified from doing so under the legislation, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute.
"Hallelujah. The bankruptcy abusers won't be able to abuse bankruptcy anymore."

What's your monthly statement look like?

"Uh..."
The legislation would set up an income-based test for measuring a debtor's ability to repay debts. It would require people in bankruptcy to pay for credit counseling and stiffen some legal requirements for debtors in the bankruptcy process.

Eighteen Democrats and the Senate's lone independent joined Republicans in approving the legislation. It goes to the House next month and then to President Bush who made it a priority after the GOP increased its majorities in the fall elections.

That would mark a second victory for Bush this year on PRO-BUSINESS legislation he had sought.
The AP's wording, not mine.
"I applaud the strong bipartisan vote in the Senate to curb abuses of the bankruptcy system," the president said in a statement. "Reforming the system with this commonsense approach, more Americans — especially lower-income Americans — will have greater access to credit."
Meaning - lower-income Americans will have greater access to ghetto Visa cards (Providian) with 30% APR rates and crazy monthly charges.

"At least those people will have credit cards."

Right.

The name of the bill?
The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005
Which continues the proud Republican tradition of naming a bill THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE of what "it is."

Clear Skies, the American Jobs Creation Act, the Patriot Act, yada yada.

With that in mind, here's some suggestions for the 105th! Get to work, Senators.

Save Our Children Act - This bill finally protects American youngsters by making it illegal for minority children to even look at white, Christian children. Contains a provision that makes it legal to abuse children as long as they are non-white. Also, the bill protects pastors, priests and super-wealthy people from charges of abuse, no matter what, because there's just "no way" that our community leaders could ever do such a horrible thing.

The American Beaches of Freedom Act - Frees our beaches and coastal areas from wildlife, vegetaion and riff raff by opening up those areas to Mexican-style oil drilling (ie, rigs on the beach).

DeLay-Feeney-Ney Bill - Finally makes it legal for Republicans to be "compensated properly" for legislating. Outlaws democrats, liberals and independents. "This bill will finally rid Washington of lesbians, communists and union-types, and will send a message to corporate America that, 'If you want something passed, you'll have to pay for it directly.' Allows conservative politicians to work in the public AND private sector, at the same time."

The American Penal System Reform Bill - Finally makes it legal to "help" prisoners of color with old methods of reform (Chinese water torture, the rack, rape). Re-introduces the guillotine to Death Row.

Pro-Labor Miminum Wage Reform - The American work force gets a shot in the arm with this bill, which asks American workers to do their part by compensating American companies for the chance to work. Franchise Restaurant Technicians will only have to pay $2.50 an hour to perform their duties for our patriotic companies. Gives the American worker the opportunity to work and learn "on the job."

Protect Our American Families Act - Makes it safe and legal for corporate leaders and politicians to have "relationships outside their marriages," and protects those men from "divorce and alimony abuse" and the evils of "family law."

Freedom for Americans to Worship Act - This act gives American Evangelical Christians the opportunity to worship freely and without fear of persecution by outlawing all other forms of religion. Makes the Kaballah and the Landmark Forum illegal, too.

More later...

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

You Can't Handle the Truth, II

Happy Tuesday.

Just for the sake of this silly blog...let's assume that there were some "shenanigans" in the story of Giuliana Sgrena, the Italian journalist kidnapped by Iraqi insurgents and shot by American soldiers.

"Absurd!"

That what the White House said. But let's have some fun. in a bad B-movie kind of way.

From Today's NY Times:

"Italian Journalist Shot in Iraq Rejects US Account"

"You mean, 'communist journalist --"

Shut up.

Why did Sgrena reject the US account (that her car was fired upon b/c they were appraoching a check-point too quickly)?
ROME, March 6 - The Italian reporter wounded when American troops opened fire on the car carrying her and Italian secret service officers to the Baghdad airport just hours after her release from kidnappers rejected today the United States' version of the incident and refused to rule out that she was intentionally targeted.

"The fact that the Americans don't want negotiations to free the hostages is known," Ms. Sgrena said in a telephone interview with Sky TG24 television. "The fact that they do everything to prevent the adoption of this practice to save the lives of people held hostages, everybody knows that. So I don't see why I should rule out that I could have been the target."
Great, that's her story (for today).

Let's go back to her abduction.

Key excpert from the same article:
Ms. Sgrena was abducted on Feb. 4 in Baghdad AFTER conducting several hours of INTERVIEWS with REFUGEES from the decimated city of FALLUJAH.

Gunmen pulled up in front of her car as she was leaving and dragged her into their vehicle. Her Iraqi employees managed to escape.
Hmm.

"Wait. Her 'Iraqi employees' managed to escape? What the --?!"

Keep going.
Two weeks later, Ms. Sgrena's captors released a video showing her tearfully pleading for her life and asking for the withdrawal of all the American-led forces. The words "MUJAHADEEN WITHOUT BORDERS," presumably the name of the group holding her, appeared in digital red Arabic script on a backdrop.
Okay.

(Pause.)

People, people, you've got to be kidding me.

Mujahadeen Without Borders?

MUJAHADEEN WITHOUT BORDERS?!

"What? It's a play on 'Doctors Without Borders."

Yeah, I know that! But...you people couldn't come up with a better name for the "terrorist group" that kidnapped Sgrena?!

"What are you saying?"

That's really lazy! The "insurgents" have never heard of "Doctors Without Borders."

"Sure they have."

No, they haven't.

"Aw. Give us a break, man. We're running out of names. Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, Islamic Jihad --"

But, 'MUJAHADEEN WITHOUT BORDERS?!" Come on! You've got to be more creative than that! You've got to be more creative than that, or people will start asking QUESTIONS!

(Like - isn't it weird that she was "kidnapped" right after she interviewed refugees from Fallujah? A city we turned into a parking lot?)

"Hey, man, we're trying. But, look; the best writers are in LA and New York. Working on "The Simpsons" and "The Daily Show." "The Sopranos." They ain't working for us at this point."

I know that! But you'd better get some, because the sloppy writing is gonna bring down this whole damn thing!

"You want a job? Good benefits."

Yes. Yes I do. Sign me up.

(I used to fantasize about writing story-lines for the WWF. You know, Hulk Hogan steals Miss Elizabeth from the Macho Man, the Macho Man assaults Hulk Hogan in the dressing room, Hulk hogan gets Kevin Nash to retaliate, Kevin Nash steals Miss Elizabeth, yada yada. This would be kinda the same thing.)

MUJAHADEEN WITHOUT BORDERS?!

More later...

Sunday, March 06, 2005

You Can't Handle the Truth

Happy Monday.

Editor's note - My brother made an interesting point yesterday: "Sgrena's gone from an 'Italian journalist' to a 'communist journalist' over the weekend." Translation: "they're" already negating her work...because she's a "commie."

Part of her work? Investigating the attrocities in Fallujah and the possible use of NAPALM.

"By the evil-doers?"

Uh, not quite. Here's one of her articles (dated Nov 23, 2004) from Il Manifesto --

"Her commie paper."

Shut up.

"Napalm Raid on Falluja? 73 charred bodies -- women and children -- were found"

"When are you gonna get it through your thick liberal skull that she's a commie?"
People from Saqlawiya village, near Falluja, told al Jazeera television, based in Qatar, that they helped bury 73 bodies of women and children completely charred, all in the same grave. The sad story of common graves, which started at Saddam’s times, is not yet finished. Nobody could confirm if napalm bombs have been used in Falluja, but other bodies found last year after the fierce battle at Baghdad airport were also completely charred and some thought of nuclear bombs. No independent source could verify the facts, since all the news arrived until now are those spread by journalists embedded with the American troops, who would only allow British and American media to enrol with them. But the villagers who fled in the last few days spoke of many bodies which had not been buried: it was too dangerous to collect the corpses during the battle.
Hmm.

Weird. That article was published...right before she was captured by "insurgents."

Think, think, think.

Read on, please.

Dateline - Iraq.

By now, you've probably heard the story of Giuliana Sgrena, the Italian journalist who was wounded by American soldiers AFTER her release from "insurgent captors." From the Washington Post:
ROME, March 5 -- An Italian journalist freed from captivity in Iraq said Saturday that a "rain of fire" from a U.S. roadside patrol hit her vehicle as it slowly approached the airport in Baghdad, injuring her and killing an Italian intelligence agent also inside. Her version of events ran counter to the one U.S. officials provided a day earlier.

Giuliana Sgrena, wearing a plaid shawl draped around her shoulders, was helped down the steps of an airplane at Rome's Ciampino airport after arriving from Baghdad Saturday at noon. She later described the shooting and called the U.S. gunfire on the vehicle unjustified.

"We weren't going very fast, given the circumstances. It was not a checkpoint, but a patrol that started firing right after lighting up a spotlight. The firing was not justified by the movement of our automobile," Sgrena, a reporter for the Communist newspaper Il Manifesto, told Italian investigators, according to an account related by an official who interviewed her at a military hospital.
"Okay, fine. That's HER version. And she's a commie. What's our version?"
A statement released Friday by the U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division in Baghdad said troops fired because the car was "traveling at high speeds" and "refused to stop at a checkpoint."
"Sounds good to me."

Of course it does.

But check out this little excerpt from the Turkish Press:
ROME - The companion of freed Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena on Saturday leveled serious accusations at US troops who fired at her convoy as it was nearing Baghdad airport, saying the shooting had been deliberate.

"The Americans and Italians knew about (her) car coming," Pier Scolari said on leaving Rome's Celio military hospital where Sgrena is to undergo surgery following her return home.

"They were 700 meters (yards) from the airport, which means that they had passed all checkpoints."

The shooting late Friday was witnessed by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's office which was on the phone with one of the secret service agents, said Scolari. "THEN THE U.S MILITARY SILENCED THE CELLPHONES," he charged.
That's a cool move.

"They have have a microwave that can take out a building from, like, a thousand yards."

Good for them.
"GIULIANA HAD INFORMATION, and the US military did not want her to survive," he added.
"Hey, man. Again, that's their story. You can't trust those people. She's a commie. So's her friend."

You gotta wonder, dude.

"No I don't."

(Grrrr.)

Regardless, the Italians are furious (they lost one of their own agents in this attack), and they've been Turbo-Turbo-Bushies.

Here's an intersting excerpt from today's Guardian:
According to the daily Corriere della Sera, the Italian intelligence officer who drove the car and who survived the attack insisted they were travelling at just 40 to 50 kilometres an hour (25 to 30 mph).

He was quoted as saying: "All of a sudden, a searchlight went on. Immediately afterwards, the shots began. The fire lasted for at least 10 seconds."

The team that fetched Sgrena had been in direct contact by telephone with the prime minister's office in Rome, where Mr Berlusconi, senior intelligence officers and the editor of Sgrena's newspaper were all celebrating her release with champagne. Corriere della Sera said that, after screaming at the Americans to stop, the intelligence officer called up again. "The Americans have shot at us," he shouted. "Nicola is dead. I have a machine gun pointing at me."
"Damn straight. We're at war."

That phone call, between the ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER'S OFFICE AND THE "TEAM THAT FETCHED SGRENA" is gonna haunt a few people.

Back to the Wash Post article.
U.S. officials said the Italians failed to inform military or diplomatic officials that Sgrena was on her way to the airport.

(Italian) Opposition leaders raised questions about the incident. "Was there coordination between our intelligence service and the others in Iraq?" asked Piero Fassino, who heads the Democratic Left, the largest opposition faction. "Was the unified command in Iraq informed that a car was traveling to the airport with the just-liberated kidnapped person? What information was exchanged between our agencies and American forces?"
"Opposition leader? What is that? Another commie? Hey, commie. The Forces of Good were too busy fighting for your freedom. Shit happens."

Yes it does. Yes it does.
Doctors described Sgrena's condition as good and stable. Berlusconi, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, the country's ceremonial president, and Walter Veltroni, mayor of Rome, attended a low-key welcoming ceremony for her. Pier Scolari, Sgrena's live-in companion, accompanied her from Baghdad after flying to Iraq overnight.

Sgrena, who had been taken hostage Feb. 4, gave few details about her captivity. She said her captors, who included a woman, did not mistreat her. She also said her pleas on a videotape released after she was seized were fed to her by her abductors. On the tape, she begs for her life and urges "pressure on the Italian government to withdraw its troops" from Iraq.
This story is gonna get weirder and weirder and weirder.

Was this an accident, or an assassination attempt?

If it was an assassination attempt, why?

WHAT DOES SHE KNOW? Stuff about Fallujah?

"The only thing she needs to know is that we're over there fighting for her freedom."

We'll see.

"No we won't. Somebody get the Michael Jackson people on the phone. We need some kind of new witness or something. Another young boy."

He'll probably show up tomorrow.

More later...

Saturday, March 05, 2005

What a Guy

Yo.

The headline from the New York Times:

"Army Officials Voice Concern Over Shortfall in Recruitment"

You're kidding.
WASHINGTON, March 3 - The Army is so short of new recruits that for first time in nearly five years it failed in February to fill its monthly quota of volunteers sent to boot camp. Army officials called it the latest ominous sign of the Iraq war's impact on the military's ability to enlist fresh troops.

"We're very concerned about it," Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday when asked about recruiting shortfalls in the active-duty Army and Army Reserve.
Fine. Army recruitment down. Duh.

But that's not the problem, according to Larry Di Rita:
Top Pentagon officials acknowledged that the graphic images of casualties from Iraq and the obvious danger of serving there had caused many parents to advise their children to avoid joining the military now.

"That's a factor, that we're a nation at war," Lawrence Di Rita, the chief Pentagon spokesman, told reporters on Thursday. "If it's a young kid who's in high school and contemplating his future, what are his parents advising him?"

Mr. Di Rita added, "I mean, without question, when there's the kind of coverage that there has been about casualties - and we certainly mourn all the casualties, but they are covered, there's prominent media coverage of casualties in Iraq - parents factor those kinds of things in to what they want their children doing."
Cogito ergo sum, it's the media's fault, stupid.

SO GET TO WORK, LARRY: REMOVE THAT MEDIA COVERAGE FROM THE T.V.

No more images of dead soldiers or dudes in wheelchairs.

If you can do that, everything will be peaches and cream.

And "parents" won't have to "advise" Johnny that he might die if he goes to Iraq.

'Coz they won't know about other soldiers gettin' killed.

Plus, if you guys can increase the amount of time "parents" are watching "American Idol" and coverage of the Michael Jackson thing? They'll totally forget about the war, and won't be able to "advise" Johnny about anything.

More later...

More later...

Friday, March 04, 2005

And All the Driving is Free

Great news from Yahoo Bidness:

"Oil prices could hit 80 dollars in next two years: OPEC"

Excellent!
KUWAIT CITY (AFP) - Prices of crude oil could surge to as high as 80 dollars a barrel within the next two years but such a level would not last long, OPEC (news - web sites)'s acting secretary general was quoted as saying.

"I can affirm that the price of a barrel of crude oil rising to 80 dollars in the near future is a weak possibility," Adnan Shehab-Eldin told Kuwait's Al-Qabas newspaper.
And I can affirm that the cost of cheap grade unleaded is $2.33 at the Mobil on the corner of Sunset & Fairfax.
"But I cannot rule out (the possibility) of oil prices rising to 80 dollars a barrel within the next two years," he said on Thursday.
But I can rule out the possibility that the price of gas will ever go below two dollars in SoCal.
"If the oil price rises to this level for one reason or another -- for example, interruption of supplies from a producing nation by one to two million barrels a day -- it is not expected to continue for long," he said.
Riiiggghhht.

Ever wonder if Cheney has a "spike the price!" button in his office?
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in April, fell 20 cents to 52.85 dollars a barrel in electronic dealing.

It had jumped 1.37 dollars to close at 53.05 dollars a barrel on Wednesday, the highest close since October 26.
I'm selling the Jeep Cherokee. For sure. ($3,400. 1996 Cherokee Sport. 80k miles.)

Here's a great quote: "The greatest thing to come out of THIS for the world economy, if you could put it that way, would be $20 a barrel for oil."

That was Rupert Murdoch...right BEFORE the start of the war in Iraq. A war that FOX wanted...real bad.

$52.85.

Good times.

More later...

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Wingnutery

Good times in Nevada here.

From the Elko Daily Free Press - "Gibbons rallies GOP"

Uh oh.
ELKO - Patriotic spirits SOARED as Elko's Grand Old Party had a grand old party Friday night at its annual Lincoln Day Dinner. The fervor was whipped up by a fiery speech by Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev., during which he passionately proclaimed his heartfelt support for troops waging the war on terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan and voiced blistering contempt for certain celebrities for giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

The Republican faithful listened intently while Gibbons spoke about the war in Iraq.

Loud applause erupted when Gibbons said, "Tonight, I say we should support our President and the United States military in their efforts to defend freedom around the world."

Gibbons said the dinner was also a celebration of President Abraham Lincoln and that his philosophy had stood the test of history and applied in today's troubled times.

Gibbons segued into an attack on "liberals," who he said were trying to divide the unity of the country in a time of war.
He wondered what Lincoln's feelings would be at this juncture of American history.

"How would he feel, what would he be thinking about, all of the dissension, all of the division, that the liberals and a few others, including some our movie stars and song makers, are trying to divide this country over its efforts to establish freedom and liberty in countries around the world?" Gibbons questioned.
He'd be too confused by the time travel to worry about, uh, "movie stars and song makers."
Gibbons answered with his own thoughts on the issue.
Here we go.
"We are all here tonight because men and women of the United States military have given their lives for our freedom," Gibbons continued.
Not quite. You're "here tonight" because rich white dudes were sick of sharing their stuff with the king, and because they needed cheap labor - ie - your ancestors.
"We are here tonight not because of Rosie O'Donnell, Martin Sheen, George Clooney, Jane Fonda or Phil Donahue - they never sacrificed their lives for us or for liberty."
That point again. My god.
Gibbons said it was not movie stars but soldiers and sailors that defended freedom in the deserts of Iraq, the jungles of Vietnam, the sands of Iwo Jima and the beaches of Normandy.
Brilliant.
"I say we tell those liberal, tree-hugging, Birkenstock-wearing, hippie, tie-dyed liberals to go make their movies and their music and whine somewhere else," Gibbons said to another burst of applause.
Hey, genius. There are no "tree-hugging, Birkenstock-wearing, hippie, tie-dyed liberals" anymore: Jerry died ten years ago.

"What about that dude outside the Amoeba in Berkeley?"

You know what I'm saying.
He said that they are the same people who wanted to go to Iraq and become human shields for the enemy.

"I say it's just too damn bad we didn't buy them a ticket," Gibbons said.
CUT TO:

INT. AIRPORT - DAY

Congressman JIM GIBBONS (R-Hell) is handing out plane tickets to a large group of tree-hugging, Birkenstock-wearing, hippie, tie-dyed LIBERALS. The liberals gladly accept the tickets (and the bagged lunch) and board the 747.

GIBBONS - (happily) Good luck, tree-huggers. I hope you die.

Gibbons turns to his FOXY YOUNG SECRETARY.

GIBBONS - Man, this is great. We're finally getting rid of all the liberals!

FOXY YOUNG SECRETARY - You're a great, uh, persuaderer, sir.

Martin Sheen appears through the crowd and approaches the Congressman.

SHEEN - Congressman Gibbons? Marty Sheen. Thank you, sir. For all your hard work. Your speech about Lincoln and Iraq and Rosie O'Donnell really...opened my eyes.

GIBBONS - Glad to hear it, Marty.

SHEEN - I mean, i've been wasting my life! I can't wait to get killed by a...an insurgent...or a humvee or something.

GIBBONS - You'll have plenty of opportunites, Marty.

SHEEN - Keep up the good work!

Sheen takes a ticket and boards the plane.

GIBBONS - You know it. Hey, Marty?

Sheen stops and turns towards Gibbons.

GIBBONS - Jesus loves you!

Pause.

SHEEN - He loves you, too, Congressman. He loves you, too.

*

Elko is just off I-80, up in the Utah-Idaho part of Nevada, btw.

Patriotic spirits...or total lunacy?

More later...