"We have no idea what's in there."

Yeah, guess not.

Here's a video of Ricky ("Rooster") Santorum (Dimwit-R) announcing a clever plan to publish piles of documents captured in Iraq on the Internet, where bloggers can "interpret" them.

Ever seen a cricket game?

It's truly a mystery to anyone raised on baseball. The umpire holds the batter's sweater while the batter bats. Guys hit the ball and don't run; guys run and don't hit the ball - I have no idea. And the whole game grinds to a halt every now and then while all the players have tea.

And don't ever ask anybody about it - this is the kind of thing you'll get:
LONDON, England -- Darrell Hair's premature removal from international cricket is the culmination of a controversial first-class career which began in 1989.

He stood in 76 Tests starting with Australia's game against India in 1992 in Adelaide, when the visitors were unhappy with some of the lbw verdicts delivered by Hair and Peter McConnell, who was officiating in his last Test.

Eight times Indians were given out leg before while all but two of their appeals were rejected.

A year later at the same ground it was the Australians who were upset when Hair gave out Craig McDermott caught behind to give West Indies victory by one run.

Baghdad locked down for Saddam verdict.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A stiff curfew will be imposed in Baghdad and two Iraqi provinces on Sunday ahead of the verdict and sentencing in the trial of Saddam Hussein.

A complete movement ban -- both people and vehicles -- will be imposed in the capital and in Salaheddin and Diyala provinces starting at 6 a.m. Sunday until further notice, the Iraqi prime minister's office told CNN.

Airport closed, military leaves canceled.

Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki says "I hope the verdict will be what this man deserves," suggests big party. How one has a big party without moving is not explained.

Sue us and we'll beat you up some more, say "Justice" lawyers.

An American filmmaker nabbed in Iraq for riding in a taxi that also contained "potential bomb parts," whatever "potential bomb parts" may be and imprisoned for two months (without a trial) has filed suit against the US government in Los Angeles, accusing it of violating his civil rights, among other things. According to the Associated Press:
In response to the lawsuit, U.S. attorneys cautioned the court to carefully consider getting entangled in military operations overseas and said Kar cannot challenge the government's policies without "a realistic threat that he will again be subject to detention in Iraq by the United States military officers."

Oh no no. These so-called "attorneys" and their evil masters should be tossed in the jug. Because either they falsely imprisoned this guy or they released a real terrorist without so much as a trial. And well beyond those little details, threating to imprison this guy again if he dares complain is a freakin' outrage.

This whole R administration is a freakin' outrage, in fact. Throw the bums out. And lock them up.

Click the yellow button, follow the yellow brick road.

(BlackBoxVoting.org) - Anyone who can get at the yellow button can ruin the election. It takes no password, no computer knowledge, no equipment.

The formula is printed in materials that have been distributed to thousands of people. The machines will count millions of votes.

Citizens -- not scientists or certifiers or testing lab authorities -- identified the problem and have now notified the California secretary of state, and emergency measures are reportedly being taken in California, but not yet in Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, or any other state using Sequoia Voting Systems, the third-largest voting system vendor in the U.S.

And more. So much more.

Score one for the IRS.

(BOINGBOING) - Kent "Dr. Dino" Hovind, founder of Creation Science Evangelism and the Dinosaur Adventure Land creationist theme park in Florida ("where Dinosaurs and the Bible meet!"), and his wife face more than 200 years in jail for tax fraud....

Kent Hovind, whose life's mission is to debunk evolution, says he and his employees are workers of God and therefore exempt from paying taxes.

Also he pays in cash.

Army Times and tunes.

(MSNBC) - Just days after President Bush publicly affirmed Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's job security through the end of his term, a family of publications catering to the military will publish an editorial calling for the defense secretary's removal....

"This is not about the midterm elections," continued the editorial, which will appear in the Army Times, Air Force Times, Navy Times, and Marine Corps Times on Monday. "Regardless of which party wins Nov. 7, the time has come, Mr. President, to face the hard bruising truth: Donald Rumsfeld must go."...

The military publications' editorial also painted a grim view of the situation in Iraq, saying, "despite the best efforts of American trainers, the problem of molding a viciously sectarian population into anything resembling a force for national unity has become a losing proposition. For two years, American sergeants, captains and majors training the Iraqis have told their bosses that Iraqi troops have no sense of national identity, are only in it for the money, don't show up for duty and cannot sustain themselves. … And all along, Rumsfeld has assured us that things are well in hand."

On another note, I ventured to the local high school auditorium last night to hear a concert by the US Army Field Band and Soldiers' Chorus. And while I'd quibble a bit with their program (I would have preferred more emphasis on military music) it was an excellent performance by an outstanding organization, well worth the trip if you have a chance to hear them yourself.

The band's web site has information about their current tour of northeastern states, information about the band's composition and history, and a nifty page of free (well, not counting a few taxes here and there) downloadable music, including a seriously nice collection of jazz.

Democracy? We don't need no steenkin' democracy.

From ABC News, an interview with Trickshot Dick.
Cheney said that even with pollsters predicting that Democrats would likely make gains in both houses of Congress Tuesday, voter sentiment would not influence Bush's Iraq policy.

"It may not be popular with the public — it doesn't matter in the sense that we have to continue the mission and do what we think is right. And that's exactly what we're doing," Cheney said. "We're not running for office. We're doing what we think is right."


It's sort of like watching one of those crash dummy tests, isn't it?

From HuffPo:
Hannity Says Iraq War has Been "A Massive Success"

Meanwhile, from Vanity Fair:
As Iraq slips further into chaos, the war's neoconservative boosters have turned sharply on the Bush administration, charging that their grand designs have been undermined by White House incompetence. In a series of exclusive interviews, Richard Perle, Kenneth Adelman, David Frum, and others play the blame game with shocking frankness. Target No. 1: the president himself.

It's almost too embarrassing to look at.


Yeah, where?

Where are Americans spending all the money they’re saving on gas?

And I have a bridge in Brooklyn I'd really like to talk to you about.

WASHINGTON -- In a burst of welcome news to Republicans four days before congressional elections, the government reported today that jobs grew at a strong pace in the last three months, resulting in the lowest unemployment rate in five years.

So look, maybe it's just me, but somehow "German" and "shy bear" don't quite fit in the same sentence, do they?

German authorities say that any shy bear which stays in the woods would be welcome in Germany, but Bruno, which roamed villages and mauled sheep night after night last spring, did not score well.

But if you're a bear and insist on living in Germany, you'd do well to at least keep your score up. Bruno, according to the German Press Agency, got shot.

Bechtel of Big Dig fame, the very same, blows Iraq.

As Bechtel goes, so goes the whole reconstruction effort. Whatever our leaders may say about their determination to stay the course complete the mission, when it comes to rebuilding Iraq they’ve already cut and run. The $21 billion allocated for reconstruction over the last three years has been spent, much of it on security rather than its intended purpose, and there’s no more money in the pipeline.

The failure of reconstruction in Iraq raises three questions. First, how much did that failure contribute to the overall failure of the war? Second, how was it that America, the great can-do nation, in this case couldn’t and didn’t? Finally, if we’ve given up on rebuilding Iraq, what are our troops dying for?
Go read the whole thing at Suburban Guerilla.

November 7th?

You mean this November 7th? Really? Who knew.
The LATimes looks at how ready the country is for the election coming up in four days — you know. that election that is really, really easy to plan for because it's always on the same day — and finds a whole host of potential problems that could thwart the system.

Go read it all via HuffPo.

I think not.

I'm a big fan of Sam Smith and his excellent Progressive Review (and UNDERNEWS) but I have to take exception to a headline in its current incarnation:
Young Losing Interest in the Arts.

The headline links to a story in the Los Angeles Times suggesting young people are losing interest not in "the arts" but in attending on the arts - a much different thing, it seems to me. And it's difficult for me to see how anyone who's observed the phenomena of blogging and podcasting, YouTube, the vast interactive fictions of Second Life and Warcraft, and the burgeoning libraries of music and photography on the Internet can conclude the youth of today have lost interest in "the arts." Instead, they have discovered a new, shared interest in making art. In entertaining themselves. Which I take as a good thing.

Not all art is "great" art, nor needs to be. "Great" art is great, in fact, only because it's held the interest of generations over time. Shakespeare, for example - perhaps the greatest of all dramatists - has been performed in the English-speaking world almost continuously since his own day. People still flock to see the Sistine Chapel, listen to Mozart, and watch the films Charlie Chaplin made. When that stops happening (not a likely thing, IMHO) those works just won't be "great" any more.

But others will be. And that's what "great" is.


Plan to fill up on your way home from the polls.

(SEATTLE PI) - Something Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward said two years ago while prices were going higher sends chills: "They could go down very quickly. That's the Saudis' pledge." According to Woodward, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States, "told President Bush that the Saudis would cut oil prices to ensure a strong economy for Election Day." This prediction has come to fruition.

The title sucks. But watch it anyway.

Tonight on HBO.

What's wrong with the title? "Hacking" implies hackers, and hackers implies spooky evil Internet vandals. But folks, the hackers are the good guys here. It's the hackers who are sounding the alarm, and have been sounding it until finally, about five years late, the corporate press is at last catching on. The villains here are the politicians, the money pushers, and the corporate interests that have foisted these outrageously insecure systems on the voting public - the selfsame villains who stand to benefit by it. So, Stealing the Vote possibly; Corrupting the Vote certainly. But if you get HBO on your tele-vision machine watch it anyway.

"Never mind Baghdad."

(REUTERS) - "There is no civil war. The media is focusing only on the negative side of Iraq. ... We need to give the real picture. It's not just car bombs. Visit Iraq from the north to the south. Never mind Baghdad," [Iraqi President Jalal Talabani] told reporters.

Would that be a great slogan for a license plate or what? "Never Mind Massachusetts." Awesome! I want one.

Dems devour their own. Again.

(RAW STORY) - In a release issued 4:10 EST today, United States Senator John Kerry (D-MA) apologized again for a statement that he contends was misconstrued to be an insult to American troops.

Well at least there's something to be said for it.

Global study says married people have more sex

Rummy, Trickshot Dick to stay with DOOFUS in bunker.

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush said Wednesday he wants Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney to remain in his administration until the end of his presidency, extending a job guarantee to two of the most criticized members of his team.

Rummy pumps Vietnamization.

Errr, Iraqization. Sorry. Just a little flashback there.
(DAILY BRIEFING) - "Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Tuesday endorsed a proposal to spend at least $1 billion to expand the size and accelerate the training and equipping of Iraqi security forces," AP reports. "While the plan still must get final approval from the White House and the money would have to be approved by Congress, Rumsfeld's support underscores the Bush administration's effort to shift more of the burden of Iraq's security to that country's forces."


Oh the horror! The horror!

(USA TODAY) - The National Center for Health Statistics says well over 90% of adults ages 20-29 have had sexual intercourse.

Adults! Having sex! Without permission! OMG!

But fear not, the Republicans will save us.
Now the government is targeting unmarried adults up to age 29 as part of its abstinence-only programs, which include millions of dollars in federal money that will be available to the states under revised federal grant guidelines for 2007.

Whatever happened to "keeping the government out of our lives"? That one just sort of faded away, didn't it?

How to spoil a perfect autumn day.

It really has been a beaut: sunny, shirtsleeve warm, the valley a rich, dark orange with foliage way past its prime.

But in the end I blew it. Yeah, I really screwed up. I went to CVS, where as fast as they can pull the cheap plastic Halloween junk off the shelves they're stuffing the cheap plastic Christmas junk on.

And now I'm all grumpy and depressed.

Moron Ds are no better than moron Rs: a pox on both their houses.

(RAW STORY) - Kerry's spokesman, David Wade, said the original text read: "I can’t overstress the importance of a great education. Do you know where you end up if you don’t study, if you aren’t smart, if you’re intellectually lazy? You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq. Just ask President Bush.”

(AP) - "Whatever the intent, Senator Kerry was wrong to say what he said," said Democratic Rep. Harold Ford Jr., running for the Senate in Tennessee.

Democratic Rep. Herold Ford Jr. is a n00rk. Ditto for his ilk (and there sure seems to be a lot of ilk around). Meanwhile, fans of the DOOFUS yelping about a few fluffed lines in a speech is irony supreme.

And as for you, Dennis Wade, tell the Senator he needs a new speech writer. As a former one of those critters myself I can tell you that graph never should have made it out of draft one. It's a difficult stunt to pull off under the best of circumstances; to attempt it with a guy whose ear is as tin as Kerry's was a bad idea.

Nevertheless, if you live in Tennessee vote for Ford. He may be an idiot but at least he's not one of the idiots who crashed a war and trashed a country.

So we gave all those guns away but we still have our PowerPoint.

(NYTimes) - ...or a military culture that thrives on PowerPoint briefings, the shifting index was seen by some officials as a stark warning about the difficult course of events in Iraq, and mirrored growing concern by some military officers.

Cool chart! But what I want to know is, is there something about hopeless PowerPoint addiction that makes one hopelessly addicted to color codes as well? And always the same colors? What do you want to bet Tom Ridge is a PowerPointer too? (And BTW, whatever happened to that color code? Anybody seen it recently?)

Ds are Ds, Rs are Rs, and DLCs are a major PIA.

(ROBERT L. BOROSAGE - HUFFPO) - Ellen Tauscher's claims that more conservative New Dem candidates will be the key to Democratic gains in the election that has yet to take place
This is truly bizarre. Three elements are central to virtually every Democratic campaign this fall - the war in Iraq, the middle class squeeze, and Republican corruption. Democrats are virtually unified in calling for a change in course in Iraq, in hammering Republicans on stagnant wages, with an emphasis on the outsourcing of good jobs, and on indicting Republicans for selling out Americans to the drug and oil industries. Ironically, many Republican incumbents have sought to defend themselves by charging their opponents with being in the pocket of their corporate or trial lawyer donors. Ads in campaigns across the country are more populist than any campaign in memory.


I really don't care if DOOFUS and his pals don't get the joke.

(RAW STORY) - At a GOP rally in Georgia, President George Bush blasted comments recently made by his former opponent in 2004, Democratic Senator John Kerry, which he interpreted as directed at U.S. troops.

They don't "get" much of anything anyway. And Kerry's not exactly a comic to begin with. He just can't tell a joke like, say, Limbaugh can.

Hey, I know you've never said something you meant to be funny that came out sounding dumb instead. Nor have I. Well, except here - but this is a blog and blogs don't count.

We've got people without jobs and people without health care and people without places to live and - in Iraq and Afghanistan and Dafur and far too many other places around the world - people without lives. And that's a whole lot more important than John Kerry flubbing a joke or Mark Foley flubbing a career.

So let's hear some talk about what counts before it doesn't any more.

Missed? The runway?

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- Federal authorities are investigating how a jetliner carrying more than 160 people landed on a taxiway instead of an adjacent runway at Newark's Liberty Airport.

OK, in a way I can understand this. I once spent 30 minutes on a highway cloverleaf just outside Newark Airport trying to get to a hotel I could see the whole time. I just couldn't figure out which road led to it. (Turned out none did, but that's another story.) So it is a confusing place.

But airplanes are supposed to have pilots, aren't they?

Bushco finds something it hasn't given away yet, fixes that.

(NYTimes) - WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 — The Interior Department has dropped claims that the Chevron Corporation systematically underpaid the government for natural gas produced in the Gulf of Mexico, a decision that could allow energy companies to avoid paying hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties.

We don't do body counts any more.

(WIIIAI) - The Pentagon says that Operation Anaconda was a complete success, although it refuses to issue any numbers supporting that claim. At first it gave numbers, but soon had claimed to have killed more people than it had said were there in the first place: Robert MacNamara’s 5 O’Clock Follies by way of Arthur Anderson by way of Katherine Harris. And it claims to have killed all of them, with only 10 of the estimated 1,000 having gotten away. Except they can only find 20 bodies. Well, they say, Muslims like to bury their dead, so those 10 guys who later escaped, must have first buried 970 bodies, yeah, that’s the ticket.

Way, way, way too late.

Time Magazine checks in. Newsweak checks in. The New York Times, the Washington Post, and a bazillion other "news" outlets check in. Way too late. Way, way, too late.

Where have these guys been for the last six years?

Meanwhile the US "congress" strains to blame the whole thing on - are you ready for this? - Venezuela. Maybe they just got tired of blaming the Fr**nch. And voters in Broward County, Florida - how they get to vote a week early in Broward County is beyond me - report "glitches."

Smell right to you?

I'm betting on mass confusion next week, hysteria even, and in the end it will favor the Rs.

Imagine that.

Just not huggy enough, those Chinese.

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese appear not to have warmed to a "free hugs" campaign aimed at cheering up strangers by hugging them on the street, with some huggers even being hauled away by police for questioning, media said Monday.

Another one implodes.

Friends, neighbors, and countrymen of the Left: I hate your lying guts

They made a Mac-o-lantern.

Still not as scary as a PC, but trying.


Pentagon cleans the attic.

(RAW STORY) - "And so the Pentagon runs a little-publicized tag sale and giveaway program to clean out the its overstuffed attics and closets, which are bulging with the greatest weapons build-up since the Reagan era," the article continues. "The Pentagon also uses Excess Defense Articles program, as it is called, to reward friends and allies across the globe with equipment the Pentagon says it no longer needs."

This is NOT some kind of Halloween joke.

This election is taking place in an historic time for our country. When people look back at this period of time, the question will be, did we do everything in our power to protect the American people and win the war on terror? (Applause.) And we are in a war. It came to our shores on September the 11th, 2001. (Applause.) And on that day, I vowed to use every element of national power to defend the American people and to defeat the terrorists. (Applause.)


...When it came time to renew the Patriot Act, more than 75 percent of the House Democrats voted against it.


THE PRESIDENT: When it came time on whether to allow the Central Intelligence Agency to continue to detain and question terrorists, almost 80 percent of the House Democrats voted against it.


THE PRESIDENT: When it came time to vote on whether the NSA should continue to monitor terrorist communications through the Terrorist Surveillance Program, almost 90 percent of House Democrats voted against it.


THE PRESIDENT: In all these vital measures for fighting the war on terror, the Democrats in Washington follow a simple philosophy: Just say no. When it comes to listening in on the terrorists, what's the Democratic answer? Just say no. When it comes to detaining terrorists, what's the Democrat answer?

AUDIENCE: Just say no!

THE PRESIDENT: When it comes to questioning terrorists, what's the Democrat answer?

AUDIENCE: Just say no!

THE PRESIDENT: When it comes to trying terrorists, what's the Democrat's answer?

AUDIENCE: Just say no!

THE PRESIDENT: So when the Democrats ask for your vote on November the 7th, what are you going to say?

AUDIENCE: Just say no! (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: Here are some questions we're asking all around the country: Do you want your government to listen in on the terrorists?


THE PRESIDENT: Do you want your government to detain the terrorists?


THE PRESIDENT: Do you want your government to question the terrorists?


THE PRESIDENT: Do you want your government to do whatever it takes to bring justice to the terrorists?


THE PRESIDENT: And so when Republicans ask for your vote on November 7, what's your answer?

AUDIENCE: Yes! (Applause.)


Squirrels like 'em, is all I know.

(AP) - "A buckeye is a gay acorn, right?" Stewart asked about 12,000 people gathered at Value City Arena.

But wait!...

(MSNBC) - Delays put timetable for Iraq handover at risk

...I thought we didn't have timetables!
The delays could imperil US plans for Iraqis to take control of security within 18 months, a "benchmark" that is a central element of the Bush administration's plans to reduce US troop numbers.

Whew. Close call.

Is anybody running the show here?

(NYTimes) - The American military has not properly tracked hundreds of thousands of weapons intended for Iraqi security forces and has failed to provide spare parts, maintenance personnel or even repair manuals for most of the weapons given to the Iraqis, a federal report released Sunday has concluded....

The American military did not even take the elementary step of recording the serial numbers of nearly half a million weapons provided to Iraqis, the inspector general found, making it impossible to track or identify any that might be in the wrong hands....

Those problems have occurred even though the United States has spent $133 million on the weapons program and $666 million on Iraqi logistics capabilities.


Feeling a little gloomy up there in Vermont?

(BURLINGTON FREE PRESS) - Mice, endowed by their creator with brains the size of rice grains (medium grain, cooked, no pilaf, thanks), are at this time of year smart enough to seek out warmer environs, just as geese, with pebble-sized brains, do by flying south. It's homo sapiens, with its powerful grapefruit-sized brain, that hunkers down in Vermont and awaits nature's wallop. Go figure.

Paula! Honey!

I saw your "Back to Basics" toaster and egg cooker thingie, whatever, at CVS this afternoon but really, I had no idea!


NEW YORK, Oct 26 (Reuters Life!) - A new fast food is making its debut at U.S. fairs this fall -- fried Coke....

Next year's fair-goers can look forward to fried Sprite or -- for those watching their weight -- fried diet Coke.

Menace steals Dennis.

MONTEREY, Calif. - The mischievous Dennis the Menace has gone missing — except this time, he's not hiding because he broke the rules....

Police aren't sure how the thief or thieves got the bulky statue out of the park but are asking the public for any tips about Dennis' whereabouts.

Come again?

Torso scupltures arrive
Artist Magdalena Abakanowicz cerated 106 cast iron 9-foot-tall human torso sculptures as a gift to Chicago. They will be on display in Grant Park.

From a Chicago Sun-Times photo caption.

And the scupltures are pretty ugly, too.

Perfect! We get to keep the SUVs after all!

(NYTimes) - This latest contribution to the obesity debate comes in an article by Sheldon H. Jacobson of the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and his doctoral student, Laura McLay. Their paper, published in the current issue of The Engineering Economist, calculates how much extra gasoline is used to transport Americans now that they have grown fatter. The answer, they said, is a billion gallons a year.

It's all the fat people's fault.

Surely they jest.

What Do Women Want? Just Ask

This guy sounds a little bit like Rummy, doesn't he?

We the People are full of germs.

(NYTimes) - Like so many other people involved in politics these days, Mrs. Ryun has become obsessive about using hand sanitizer and ensuring that others do, too. She squirted Purell, the antiseptic goop of choice on the stump and self-proclaimed killer of “99.99 percent of most common germs that may cause illness,” on people lined up to meet Vice President Dick Cheney this month at a fund-raiser in Topeka.

When Mr. Cheney was done meeting and greeting, he, too, rubbed his hands vigorously with the stuff, dispensed in dollops by an aide when the vice president was out of public view.

Dems getting a little cocky, start planning for inauguration in '09.

Can we do this on such a fine, upstanding blog?

Oh what the hell. It's all Dolores' fault anyway.
Mondo Mini Bytes

(Click on "STOMP")

So now what are we looking forward to, nude football?

(TIMESONLINE) - With an average 40% profit margin on DVD sales, explicit porn is twice as profitable as the music business. Porn revenues in the US are higher than all money generated by the combined professional American football, baseball and basketball franchises.

The porn industry is booming under Bushco, but maybe cleaning up the halftime show was a mistake.

Hey, a job's a job.

(NYTimes) - EUFAULA, Alabama — Here in this courtly, antebellum town, Alabama’s condom production has survived an onslaught of Asian competition, thanks to the patronage of straitlaced congressmen from this Bible Belt state.

As Rummy would say, back off.

Meanwhile, in Trickshot Dick's interogation lab...

(Image: Library of Congress)