Saturday, July 19, 2008

Insane Prank Gone Wrong

Courtesy Tim Miller:

Insurance Company Rules

Health Care for American Now is buying time for this ad as we speak.

Oldies But Goodies

Blogger puts blog photos online. I just started an album.
And there's a slideshow. Dog, I loves me some Intertubes!

Iraq Likes Obama's Withdrawal Plan

With Bush and McCain sounding more and more like Obama on all the top Middle East issues and with Obama about to surface in Iraq, this news just about breaks the bank, I think.
Question is, it's coming from a foreign publication. Will the American media pick up on it in time for tomorrow's talking heads to discuss?
UPDATE: Well, apparently someone at the White House sent the story out to their entire press list, so I guess it's gonna be news. Sabotage or stupidity?

UPDATE II:
Andrew Sullivan links to Spencer Ackerman's take on all this, which sort of lays out the negotiations between Bush and the Iraqis and sheds new light on this pathetic administration's absurd arrogance.

When those negotiations began, the U.S. reportedly presented the Iraqis with terms so breathtaking that they'd embarrass Lord Curzon. Bush wanted unilateral control of Iraqi airspace; legal immunity for all U.S. troops and contractors; the unilateral right to arrest and detain any Iraqis his commanders desired, and for unspecified periods; and several military bases. When Maliki indicated discomfort over acting like Gaius Baltar on Occupied New Caprica, Bush gave another indication of his "friendship and cooperation" -- blackmail.

All this came in a political context that Bush was either unattentive to or dismissive of. Despite spotty media coverage in the U.S., the deal prompted a massive backlash in Iraq, where basically every organized political force not part of Maliki's government rejected it. Maliki's allies were likely to lose the looming provincial elections already; now he had given them the albatross of clear collaborationism. And something similar was at work in the U.S.: the candidate with a clear and consistent history of opposition to the Iraq war won the Democratic primary, while the Republican candidate backed an endless occupation that he said might last a hundred or even a thousand years.

Maliki has read the tea leaves and evidently realized what the rest of us considered obvious: that the only one demanding that he turn Iraq to permanent foreign domination is a president thoroughly discredited in his own country who'll be out of office in a few months. That president's replacement might very well decide on a unilateral withdrawal from Iraq, abrogating any deal Maliki was strongarmed into signing, at which point the U.S. would essentially be cutting Maliki off. Oh motherfucking shit, Maliki surely thought, if I sign this deal, my people will run my body through the streets and hoist me from a fucking lamppost. Not that the electricity works, but still.

And so Maliki flip-flopped. His newfound resiliency is born of survival -- not merely political survival, either. He has forced George Bush to accept what Bush and McCain has said for years would lead to doom, ruin, humiliation, catastrophe -- a euphemistic "time horizon" for withdrawal. On the one hand, the fact that it won't actually be a timetable is significant, since Bush, of course, won't actually end a war he wants to entrench as the natural order of the world. But on the other, the euphemism is itself important, since once again Bush's attempt at denying reality only creates a trap for McCain. If McCain embraces the time-horizons, he shatters his own previous argument that such a thing will bring national ruin and indicates a certain moral and strategic turpitude on the part of its advocates. His only solution is to magically pretend that Bush's move isn't politically motivated and hope no one laughs at him. But now Maliki evidently wants to stick it to McCain, an indicator that the Iraqi PM knows who's going to be president next January. Reuters reports that Maliki has embraced Obama's 16-month withdrawal plan.

The Iraq war is and has always been an obscenity, a filthy lie born of avarice and lust for power masquerading as virtue. This is what imperialism looks like. But the age of empire is over. The same hubris that led Bush into the Iraq disaster led him to miscalculate, again and again, over how to entrench it. But now he is impotent, unable to impose his will, and the nakedness of his attempted imposition has led the American and the Iraqi peoples to wake up and end his nightmare. May his war-crimes prosecutor be Iraqi; may his judge be American; and may he die in the Hague.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Chris Gregoire Has Gone All Netroots

The governor of my state just posted a new diary on Daily Kos shortly after Michelle Obama helped her raise $400,000 for her re-election campaign against sometime-Republican Dino Rossi, who has chosen the word "Change" for his logo and designation "GOP Party" for his affiliation.
Frankly, this year I think it's hers to lose. Trouble is, she almost did in 2004.
And so far, I've seen no ad countering Rossi's veiled racist attack on Gregoire for her tribal support. Get with it, Chris.

Buh-Bye

Starbucks lists all 600 closure locations. Lots and lots of jobs.
For my neighbors in Washington State, they are:
  WASHINGTON
3327 GRAYS HARBOR HAGGENS 1213 E WISHKAH ST ABERDEEN WA
3280 BURLINGTON & GILKEY 1030 S BURLINGTON BLVD BURLINGTON WA
355 TOP FOODS WENATCHEE 10 GRANT RD EAST WENATCHEE WA
338 TOP FOODS FEDERAL WAY 31515 20TH AVE S FEDERAL WAY WA
3317 KENT HAGGENS 26015 104TH AVE SW KENT WA
10532 ORTING RETAIL CENTER 211 WASHINGTON AVE ORTING WA
13676 HWY 101 & DEL GUZZI DR 108 DEL GUZZI DR PORT ANGLES WA
3207 15TH AVE E 328 15TH AVE E SEATTLE WA
3241 DENNY & AURORA 620 DENNY WAY SEATTLE WA
3308 MET PARK II 1220 HOWELL ST SEATTLE WA
8739 23RD & MADISON 2201 E MADISON AVE SEATTLE WA
13508 45TH & STONE WAY 1218 N 45TH ST SEATTLE WA
13777 NORTHGATE MALL II 301 NE NORTHGATE WAY SEATTLE WA
14350 42ND & SW ALASKA 4704 42ND AVE SW SEATTLE WA
10477 MARKET AND GARLAND 3907 N MARKET ST SPOKANE WA
9321 RAINIER PACIFIC BUILDING 1498 PACIFIC AVE TACOMA WA
14274 SOUTHCENTER & MINKLER 17100 SCENTER PKWY TUKWILA WA
3348 ORCHARDS 6700 NE 162ND VANCOUVER WA
359 TOP FOODS - YAKIMA 2203 S 1ST ST YAKIMA WA

The Nasties Are Here

T-shirt for sale at the Texas Republican Convention. I would buy one. Collector's item, historical artifact.
 
And then we might as well take a look at McCain's new ad airing on cable and in swing states.
And only minutes ago Reuters was reporting that McCain publicly let slip the highly classified information that Obama would be in Iraq this weekend. WTF? 

Tee-hee

From TPM:
Bush Sewage Plant Initiative Makes The Ballot In San Fran
A voter initiative in San Francisco to rename a sewage plant in honor of George W. Bush has received a sufficient number of signatures, and will appear on the November ballot. The idea was hatched by a group calling itself the "Presidential Memorial Commission," which by their own admission was formed over drinks at a bar.

Anything That Gets Us There

...as long as it doesn't win the election for McCain.
Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo notes that the media has yet to pick up on the fact that McCain and Bush have been wiggling closer to the Middle East positions that Obama has been espousing for more than a year.
Suddenly we're talking to Iran, considering a timeline for withdrawal, about to send send more troops to Afghanistan. Wow. Talk about flip flop.
...that all the real movement at this point in the campaign shows Bush/McCain trying to nudge closer to the ground Obama already holds.

Reason to Love Pinot Noir

besides the fact that it's delicious, it's good for you. And so is coconut, beef jerky and sour cream.
As for pork rinds, blecch!
More food surprises here.

10 Most Walkable Cities

from Walk Score via The Daily Green.
They are NYC, Portland, OR; Seattle, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Philly, DC, Long Beach and L.A.

 
Chicago lakefront 

Thursday, July 17, 2008

July 25: Save This Date

From Reuters:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Impeachment is out for President Bush, but a top U.S. lawmaker said Thursday he wants to take a look at his "imperial presidency.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers announced his panel would examine possible administration wrongdoing, which has included complaints that Bush misled the United States into the Iraq war in 2003.
"Over the last seven plus years, there have been numerous credible allegations of serious misconduct by officials in the Bush administration," said Conyers, a Michigan Democrat.
He scheduled a July 25 hearing on "the Imperial Presidency of George W. Bush and possible legal responses."

wordle


is a pretty cool web site where you can make "tag clouds" of anything you want, keep the designs, copy them, put them on t-shirts and coffee cups, whatever.
Here's another one I made. Too many words to fit comfortably to the right. Click to enlarge. Cool, huh? Go play.

I'm Glad I Don't Watch Oprah

But somebody does. In fact, she's livingoprah. So far (6 months) she says it's exhausting and has cost about $2,000. Hard to find white denim jeans, too.
But she's getting a lot of publicity lately which, for an actress, is a good thing.
But c'mon Oprah, garbanzo beans in chocolate chip cookies?

Kay Ryan New Poet Laureate

Emily Warn and Kay Ryan, 2007 by Star Black

From the International Herald Tribune:
NEW YORK: Kay Ryan, award-winning poet, mountain bike rider and self-described "modern hermit," will soon be going to Washington.
The Library of Congress announced Thursday that the lifelong Californian, whose compressed, metaphysical poetry has been compared to Emily Dickinson's, will succeed Charles Simic as the 16th U.S. poet laureate, starting in the fall. The appointment lasts for one year and comes with a $35,000 salary, plus $5,000 for travel and a "splendid office," according to Librarian of Congress James H. Billington.
"In a society full of rhetorical overstatement and a kind of zigging in and out of all kinds of pontifical disguises, she's got this marvelous, understated depth," Billington told The Associated Press during a recent interview.
Ryan, 62, lives in Fairfax, Calif., with her longtime partner, Carol Adair. The poet acknowledged that being named the nation's laureate was hardly on her mind during the past 30 years as she quietly completed six volumes of poetry, taught part-time at the local College of Marin and otherwise enjoyed the woods and hills of Northern California.


Nothing Ventured
by Kay Ryan


Nothing exists as a block

and cannot be parceled up.

So if nothing's ventured

it's not just talk;

it's the big wager.

Don't you wonder

how people think

the banks of space

and time don't matter?

How they'll drain

the big tanks down to

slime and salamanders

and want thanks?




From Say Uncle by Kay Ryan, published by Grove Press. Copyright © 2000 by Kay Ryan. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Just Another Day in Paradise

Community Pool in Penglai in Sichuan Province, China via Jon Taplin's blog. Well, at least there's no smog. Sort of reminds me of WALL E. Great little movie, highly recommended.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bush Admin. 'Contraception=Abortion'

The Department of Health and Human Services Monday released a proposal that allows any federal grant recipient to obstruct a woman's access to contraception. In order to do this, the Department is attempting to redefine many forms of contraception as abortion.

Lots more here.

In The Garden

Click to enlarge. It's a trip.

Iraq Drawdown to 50,000 Troops imminent

This is huge.
In less than a year, according to Newsweek:
Barack Obama is taking heat for hinting that he might refine his 16-month timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq. But a forthcoming Pentagon-sponsored report will recommend an even steeper drawdown in less time, NEWSWEEK has learned. If adopted, the 300-page report by a defense analysis group at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., could transform the debate about Iraq in the presidential election.
Expected to be completed in about a month, it will recommend that U.S. forces be reduced to as few as 50,000 by the spring of 2009, down from about 150,000 now. The strategy is based on a major handoff to the increasingly successful Iraqi Army, with platoon-size U.S. detachments backing the Iraqis from small outposts, with air support. The large U.S. forward operating bases that house the bulk of U.S. troops would be mostly abandoned, and the role of Special Forces would increase.

Monday, July 14, 2008

George Bush: Never Forget

"...a priceless picture of a madman who had no business occupying the highest office of the land."

Reminder from Ben Cohen at Huffpo. 2004 interview.

Slavery

Oh, yeah, that thing everybody quit doing more than 100 years ago?
Consider this:
A slave is imported into the United States every 30 minutes.
Mostly for the sex trade, although there are enslaved workers paying off a debt that never ends. More here. No, I didn't read it. Just too goddamed depressing.

The Antichrist

From Huffpo via Daily Mail:
A blind five-year-old pianist from South Korea has stunned the music world after a video of her performance received more than 27million hits.
Yoo Ye-eun, who was born blind and adopted in 2002, has never had a formal piano lesson but can play any song after just one listen.
And now her remarkable talent is set to propel her to stardom as clips of her amazing performance have attracted millions of viewers to Korean website Pandora TV. A similar clip on YouTube has so far received two million hits.

Mr. Fashion Loves Him Some Pear Shapes

and other tidbits from Tim Gunn of Project Runway.

Whaaaa?

Didn't they used to call this kind of thing "happenings"? (If you remember the 60s, you weren't there.)

All About Obama

 There's a kerfluffle about the satiric New Yorker cover which incorporates most of the wingnut libels but inside is the best story on Obama I've yet seen. It's long, but it's worth it. Not a fluff piece, not a hit piece, just a really good history of his political career. This is who you're voting for, because contrariennes aren't voting for any of the others, right?

Tidbit:
Another transition from primary to general election is now under way for Obama, and it is causing him a similar set of problems, all of which stem from a realization among his supporters that superheroes don’t become President; politicians do.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

In Iraq Forever?

Apparently not. Josh Marshall at TPM figures it out.
The Bush administration is admitting defeat in its efforts to conclude a status-of-forces agreement with Iraq before the end of Bush's term of office. Such an agreement would have codified the long-term presence of US troops and military bases in the country. Beneath the gobbledegook, the hang-up seems clear: the Iraqis would not conclude an agreement without a clear timetable for US withdrawal.

Superclass: The New Gilded Age

http://www.newsweek.com/id/130637/output/printFrom Newsweek last April:
The top 10 percent of all people, for example, now control 85 percent of all wealth on the planet. But wealth is only part of the equation. Power is the other currency of any true elite, and if we want to understand the superclass, we need to look at those who have influence that crosses borders—one of the factors that differentiates them from most of the elites of history, whose influence was predominantly national or even more local in nature. ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson runs operations in 180 countries worldwide, a far cry from the Pennsylvania oil field and U.S. kerosene market roots of the man who founded his company—and set the ball rolling toward the modern multinational—John D. Rockefeller...
...But for the purposes of trying to understand the nature of today's topmost global elite, working with the above criteria, I have ended up with a core group of somewhere between 6,000 and 7,000 people—meaning that each one is "one in a million."