Some days are just bad days.

Two authors put on a brave face at being recognized for one of literatures most dubious accolades -- the Bad Sex in Fiction Award -- in a ceremony at London's In & Out Club in upmarket St. James's Square late Wednesday.

And the winners are...

Maybe we ought to just all take a day off.

(HUFFPO) - A beer distributor says Maine is being a Scrooge by barring it from selling a beer with a label depicting Santa Claus enjoying a pint of brew.

In a complaint filed in federal court, Shelton Brothers accuses the Maine Bureau of Liquor Enforcement of censorship for denying applications for labels for Santa's Butt Winter Porter and two other beers it wants to sell in Maine.


On the November 30 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, host Rush Limbaugh proclaimed: My "cat's taught me more about women, than anything my whole life" because his pet cat "comes to me when she wants to be fed," and "[s]he's smart enough to know she can't feed herself. She's actually [a] very smart cat. She gets loved. She gets adoration. She gets petted. She gets fed. And she doesn't have to do anything for it."

Kiss the money goodbye.

Paperless electronic voting machines used throughout the Washington region and much of the country "cannot be made secure," according to draft recommendations issued this week by a federal agency that advises the U.S. Election Assistance Commission....

In a report hailed by critics of electronic voting, NIST said that voting systems should allow election officials to recount ballots independently from a voting machine's software.

(From Spiiderweb™.)


And while you're at it, you might as well kiss a whole bunch more money goodbye, this to buy optical scan equipment, which NIST recommends, to replace the paperless junk.

The folks at Diebold and their grinning ilk will be happy to kiss it hello.

This is where things start getting really nasty.

“There are two kinds of terrorism in the US: the external kind; and, internally, the IGs have terrorized the Regional Administrators,” Doan said, according to the notes.

Suburban Guerrilla.

Bloggered good this time.

Blogger has been doing something weird to itself (and no I am not going to ask what it is) recently and this morning the page where the post editor resides is thoroughly munged. So there are substantial limits on what can be done, as you might see if that word "not" is not italicized.

All this might, of course, be good, since the version of Blogger we're on here is a beta version of the next big thing so maybe they're doing some next bigger thing to it as we speak. Or it might not.

Meanwhile we have a few other things to get done today, so maybe we will.

Update: OK, so at least it recognizes some HTML tags, which means it's still possible to post items, just a little more work than usual.


Great! Idea!

We'll call it a "conditional goal," not a "timetable."

And how about putting "Now New And Improved!" on the label?

We can sell this thing!

And no need to ask which government this might be, is there?

(MSNBC) - The travelers are not allowed to see or directly challenge these risk assessments, which the government intends to keep on file for 40 years. Under specific circumstances, some or all data in the system can be shared with state, local and foreign governments and even some private contractors.

Nope. No need. It's the Bushco crowd. Keeping you safe with its handy-dandy "Automated Targeting System."

Feeling safe?

Yes! There are some things I don't worry about.

And one of them is where Bill Gates' money goes.

Let "the people" run things, look what you get.

(Carpetbagger Report) - Yep, it’s all our fault. The problem isn’t that the president invaded a country under false pretenses, with no plan for the future, and then bungled every possible decision for nearly four years; the problem is we haven’t been supportive enough of the president’s failures and tragically bad judgment....

Imagine that. We’ve finally reached the point in which the same people who accuse the left of being the “blame America” crowd have themselves become the “blame America” crowd.

DOOFUS gets one thing right.

(Seattle Times) - "I know there's a lot of speculation that these reports in Washington mean there's going to be some kind of graceful exit out of Iraq," Bush said. But he said if there is talk of a timetable, "all that does is set people up for unrealistic expectations."

There won't be anything graceful about it.

Except, of course, us.

Video of Olbermann's comments about Grinchgrich Gingrich from Crooks and Liars:
"It will lead us to learn," Gingrich continued, "how to close down every website that is dangerous, and it will lead us to a very severe approach to people who advocate the killing of Americans and advocate the use of nuclear and biological weapons."

With us, the "nuclear option" is always "on the table." You are the scary ones.


Sounds like a pretty risky request to us, Congressman Meek, but hey, we'll pass it along.

Gingerbready goodness: Nazi cookies.

Yeah, I know you're there. I don't know all your names but from looking at the logs I can tell there are a handful of people who visit more or less regularly to read this blog. That's fun, and glad to have you.

But most of the visits (aside from the spike another site's link caused a week or so ago) come from Google searches. And the most frequent search, by a wide margin, involves Nazi cookies.

(Second on the list is any phrase including "boobs." Go figure, huh?)

The amusing (well, somewhat amusing) thing is, now we're getting into December I'm seeing searches for "gingerbread cookies" that also find the Nazi cookie mention. (No demand for Christmas boobs yet, but there's still time.)


So all this post is is a shameless troll for hits. Or you could, if you were being delicate about the matter, call it an experiment to see how many hits it attracts. (Something for everybody! Nazis, cookies, and boobs!)

And if you really do get here looking for a recipe, sorry. But I hope you find a good one on the next click.

Flashing emu!

Big bird rips off trousers

Oh, wait. Turns out it was the emu who ripped the pants off a policeman when the cop tried to...what?...arrest it? Riiiiiiight.

Turns out, too, the same cop got attacked by a three-foot parrot the next day.

This couldn't have been the same guy who shot the 10-foot turkey, by any chance. Could it?

Not worth a whole story any more?


Did you know there's a village in Illinois named Gays?

There is. And I'd love to hear their high school cheer.

The village of Gays, IL, has, according to Wikipedia, two big tourist attractions...
  • A two-story outhouse, and
  • A site whereon a hoax "Hitler's Bicycle" was once upon a time displayed.
The water tower, it seems, doesn't count.

Books. Reading books.

In a new study of Internet use (and other stuff) from the University of Southern California, reports AP Internet writer Anick Jesdanun...
The study found nearly a quarter of online users - especially newcomers to the Internet - say they spend less time reading.
A lot of teachers I know say that too. Reading stuff on paper is what they mean. Books. Mostly books.

Sure, there are other things you can do on the Web - watch, listen, even talk - but there is still a whole lot of reading going on and it should count.

But a story's a story at the AP, and this one ledes with...
NEW YORK (AP) -- One in five American parents believe their kids are spending too much time on the Internet, though most say the online activities haven't affected grades either way.
Well, thanks for the clarification there, but study's not just about children or even just about the net. It's just that fear sells papers. Or, in this case,
Internet writer Anick Jesdanun, pixels, I guess you'd say.

Of course the story also reports...
Americans 66 and over remain the most disconnected.
...so bear that in mind when you read this.

If reading is what you're doing, that is.

When they say confidential, apparently they mean it.

But worry not. I did the sleuthing and NRSC stands for National Republican Senatorial Committee.

The NRSC, confidentially reports a blog called "Capitol Confidential" from the Albany, NY, Times Union, is suffering from “an avalanche of post-campaign debt,” this in the words of its outgoing chair Elizabeth ("Liddy") Dole, R-NC.

So at least it's nice to see they apply their standards of "fiscal responsibility" to their own affairs as well as to the rest of us, and may they be outgoing for a long, long time to come. Until the last of them is just plain gone.

In praise of the one-button mouse.

Yeah, I know. All those Windows studs and a whole lot of Mac geeks too are nuts about the buts - all those extra buttons on the mousen (and the keyboards too). Two, three, four buttons, click click click. Not me.

Now I've been using a mouse ever since the MS-DOS days when there was nothing much they would do. And I've had just about every kind there is, at one time or another, including Apple's "Mighty Mouse" which has, effectively, four buttons and a multi-directional scroll wheel. Mercifully it can easily be set so all the buttons do the same thing. Which is what I do when I use it. Which I don't much. In fact there it sits on my shelf as we speak, gathering dust.

Because a one-button mouse is a whole lot easier on my hand and wrist, both of which require a little pampering these days. No matter how you use a multi-button mouse - even if you yaw it and kind of do the sideways mouse thing - you have to grip the object itself always in exactly the same way or it won't work. Apple's current one-button mouse I can hold any way I want, click with any finger anywhere, even just push down on with the palm of my hand if that's what I'm in the mood to do, and get the same result. It works just fine. My hand feels just fine. Everybody's happy here.

(And yes, you can still do the right-click thing. You do it by holding down the Ctrl key on the keyboard when you click. It does require both hands, but once you get in the habit of it it's a natural thing to do.)

So I'm thinking about adding a wireless keyboard to my iMac, sort of to reward myself for deciding not to buy a whole brand-new computer just now. And it looks like, from Apple's store on the web, the only kind of wireless mouse they sell any more is the "Mighty" multi-button kind. But - aha! - I still have a wireless one-button Apple mouse I bought a few years back to use with my laptop. So I'll stick with that.

Macs work just fine, BTW - plug 'n' play - with all sorts of third-party mousen, any kind of mouse there is, as far as I know, as long as it's USB. But only Apple makes a one-button mouse, and hooray for them.

Hang in there, Apple. Don't give it up. (But I'll hang on to my one-button model JIC.)


If it quacks.

TIME Magazine on the "Summit of Lame Ducks":
As he winds down his second term, the American president is burdened with a hostile Senate and Congress — not to mention mounting public dissatisfaction with his performance.
Burdened? Awwww. Sorta makes you feel all weepy, doesn't it?

And by the way, Time, what's with the "Senate and Congress" thing? It's Senate and House of Representatives, which together comprise the Congress.

So you could have just said "with a hostile Congress."

No need to send flowers, just try to get it right next time.

Turns out to be a big day for strange geared devices.

Scientists have finally demystified the incredible workings of a 2,000-year-old astronomical calculator built by ancient Greeks.

A new analysis of the Antikythera Mechanism [image], a clock-like machine consisting of more than 30 precise, hand-cut bronze gears, show it to be more advanced than previously thought—so much so that nothing comparable was built for another thousand years.

Read the whole story at LiveScience.com.

I don't know if the city works but the mayor works just fine.

From Phil:

Here's a story that was posted on a board that I monitor. I met the author this morning after reading the post. He's a really nice guy who lives full time on his coach (which is WAY fancier than ours!). He pulls a Ford pickup with a Harley in the back:
If you've been to Camp Decatur [a coach park in Decatur, IN] recently you're gonna love this update on the tale of the rail road track.

Background. The rail crossing here is so broken it keeps us awake at night when cars on the highway crash across it. And woe the vehicle that crosses at the wrong point.

You may recall that I wrote a letter to the local newspaper. I don't know if it got published, but no matter.

And you also know that I'm a jerk curmudgeon with too much time on his hands. So today, in a foul mood after driving all the way to the Fort Wayne VA Hospital for my flu shot and being turned away because I'm not a registered patient there and might have a reaction to the shot which they'd not be able to call in my MD from California (NOT KIDDING), I decided to raise some hell at the Decatur City Hall re: the rail road track. Hell hath no fury as a old fart vet who can't get his rabies shots and I wuz feeling REE-LEY curmudgeonly.

I walk down an alley from the Court House where I started my quest and find at the BACK DOOR of City Hall. I walk down a narrow hallway, and suddenly I'm inside City Hall itself. There, at the very back, was the Mayor's office. Door's open and there he is, DA MAYOR, hard at work. (Wonder what would have happened if I'd gone in the FRONT door and met up with Brunhilda the Battle Axe?). I asked if he had time to listen to a complaint from a visitor to his town?

Turns out he's a great guy. 75 years old, he reminded me of a sandy haired, not-quite-as-tall Jimmy Stewart with his slow, deliberate speech. Not an ounce of fat on his frame and no gray hairs. Eighteen years as Mayor who later tells me "I'll probably be dumb enough to run again" he listened to my description of the problem with the track. While I'm talking he's slowly flipping through a folder full of papers. Rail road papers it turns out. Already on his desk.

As it happens, he's been trying to get the RR to fix it for a long time. But here's the part that amazed me. While we're talking he finally pulls out his thin (only 1/4" thick) phone list and makes four deliberate phone calls. He's been the Mayor for 18 years and only needs a 1/4" thick phone list?? I use a Palm Pilot just to keep track of all the hair saloons I've visited across America. A-mazing. Who's that artist who painted all those Saturday Night Post magazine covers? THis is perfect. Right out of Americana.

The Mayor left a message with the RR track honcho, another with the High Rafter Bat at the Indiana Departemnt of Trails and Road, and two others with people he knows, one of whom he's meeting with tomorrow on other matters. He told THAT guy to add this issue to the agenda. He did all this while I'm standing in his door.

He never rushed me or made me feel bad for accidently bypassing all the normal bureaucratic barriers by coming in the back way (mark that down folks as a way to avoid the red tape: USE THE BACK DOOR) and was a true gentleman.

While listening to him leave messages to these guys I suddenly realized what was different about his office. NO COMPUTER on his desk...or ANY where! Later, when I complimented him on his direct 'take-action' approach and mentioned the lack of a 'puter he replied "I just prefer to talk directly to people". What a fresh breath of air this man was!!! No pretense. No ego. Just a caring civil servant.

BUT IT GETS MO' BETTER. When I first poked my head in the door I didn't even give him my name (his name was Fred BTW -- a fine name indeed) and I only gave him my first name as I was leaving. He actually walked out with me as I exited the way I came in. He never DID know my last name. He shared with me how he had finally just gotten the money from the Feds promised long ago to replace the homes of 30 people flooded out in the 100 year flood of 2003. He was very happy to finally get homes for those people -- but he wasn't bragging.

About 30 minutes later here at Camp Decatur my cell phone rings and it's Fred the Mayor. He asked if I was one who just visited him and told me that he had already gone out to the track and had been in communication with one of the four people he'd called and they're working up a plan!!!! If the city will provide flag persons the work mite start in two weeks. THIRTY MINUTES AFTER I MET WITH THE MAN!!!!! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT???

I asked him how he got my number and he answered with a chuckle "I've got my ways. You're in Space 56, right?" I was and am so impressed with this man. I'm still shaking my head in awe as I share this with you.

He said, 'don't give me any credit yet. I haven't finished the job'.

So ladies and gentlemen, next time you're tempted to slam all politicians, try to keep this little story in mind. There ARE good and dedicated people working for us out there.

And one other thing occured to me: When's the last time you entered a government building without passing through a cavity check and a metal detector? I went in the back door with no alarms, no nuthin'. If I was a nut case (stop laughing -- I KNOW what you're thinking) and had a grudge (YES, I usually DO) I could have ended his reign mo- scosh. No computers, straight talk, immediate action, follow through... My gawd, I think I just died and went to heaven.

Somebody post here when the track's fixed please. I'm outta here tomorrow with any luck.

Fred (remember that name) 03 Tradition.

Are you some kind of rock star or are you just...

DE QUEEN, Ark. (AP) - The guitar-shaped bulge in Morgan Conatser's clothing tipped off a music store owner that there might be a crime in progress....

Oh, never mind. We've been through all this before, haven't we?

Oh no! The penguins! The penguins!

From Media Matters:
In a November 29 USA Today op-ed, conservative radio host Michael Medved continued his attacks on the animated children's movie Happy Feet (Warner Bros., November 2006), claiming that the movie, which features tap-dancing penguins, contains "unmistakably alarming, discomfiting and politically potent elements," and that penguins themselves have "become targets and instruments of powerful propaganda."...

Medved is just one of several media conservatives to attack Happy Feet for its alleged pro-environmentalist content, claiming that the movie is intended to indoctrinate children. In his USA Today op-ed, Medved also attacked as propaganda the children's book And Tango Makes Three (Simon & Schuster, June 2005), which is based on the true story of two male penguins at New York City's Central Park Zoo that hatched and raised a penguin chick named "Tango."

How frightening is that?

Is it just my memory playing tricks (it does that, you know) or were the penguins paragons of virtue just a few short months ago? In some movie or other. Penguin movie. Remember that?

Whatever happened to those birds?

Another one hits the wall: Splat!

From the November 27 edition of Talk Radio Network's The Savage Nation:

SAVAGE: The Islamists smell weakness in the West and are attacking us on several fronts at once: one, through outright war; two, through immigration; three, through their propaganda disseminated through the liberal media and four, through the liberal courts. Only a devastating military blow against the hearts of Islamic terror coupled with an outright ban on Muslim immigration, laws making the dissemination of enemy propaganda illegal, and the uncoupling of the liberal ACLU can save the United States. I would also make the construction of mosques illegal in America and the speaking of English only in the streets of the United States the law.

And so much more.

He's too busy running for the door.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist will not run for president in 2008, Republican officials said Wednesday...

Hey, it worked for Dan Brown.

From a publisher's summary at Audible.com, describing a book called "The Last Templar," by Raymond Khoury...
In present day Manhattan, four masked horsemen dressed as Templar Knights emerge from Central Park and ride up the Fifth Avenue steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art during the black-tie opening of a "Treasures of the Vatican" exhibit. Storming through the crowds, the horsemen brutally attack anyone standing between them and their prize. Attending the gala, archaeologist Tess Chaykin watches in silent terror as the leader of the horsemen hones in on one piece in particular, a strange geared device. He utters a few cryptic Latin words as he takes hold of it with reverence before leading the horsemen out and disappearing into the night.

Do we really have to go through all this again? Once was way more than enough, IMHO. (And I say that with some authority, having, like an idiot, rented the movie a couple of nights ago. Look, I like Ron Howard's work and I like Tom Hanks, OK? So sue me. But this one is a lot to suffer through.)

Evil Russian spies are back in style. If we have to go through something again, why not that? Why not anything except the Knights Templar. One bunch of those guys is enough.

And yeah, we all know what the strange geared device is, don't we? Without even opening the book.

Whoa! This'll bring 'em to their knees.

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration wants North Korea's attention, so like a scolding parent it's trying to make it tougher for that country's eccentric leader to buy iPods, plasma televisions and Segway electric scooters.

And that little Kim guy has to go to bed without supper.

Just one more delve. Or two.

The NYTimes article about the "secret" Stephen Hadley memo (noted below) gets curiouser and curiouser the more you read of it, in a though-the-looking-glass kind of way.

The memo wonders if Maliki might be using his position in the government to expand Shia power at the expense of Sunnis (imagine that!).

Of course, it suggests asking the Saudis for help - sort of a Bushco-standard ploy.

And it includes this striking observation:
Among the concerns voiced in the memo was that Mr. Maliki was surrounded by a small group of advisers from the Shiite Dawa Party, a narrow circle that American officials worry may skew the information he receives.

Yeah, that'd worry them, all right.

It mentions “reports of nondelivery of services to Sunni areas" - wouldn't it be fun if Hadley had written a memo about Katrina?

And it goes on to say...
...it may ultimately be necessary for Mr. Maliki to recast his parliamentary bloc, a step the United States could support by pressing moderates to align themselves with the Iraqi leader and providing them with monetary support.

Screw the purple fingers, we want results.

You can almost see it, can't you?

(NYTimes) - The five-page document, classified secret, is based in part on a one-on-one meeting between Mr. Hadley and Mr. Maliki on Oct. 30.

“His intentions seem good when he talks with Americans, and sensitive reporting suggests he is trying to stand up to the Shia hierarchy and force positive change,” the memo said of the Iraqi leader. “But the reality on the streets of Baghdad suggests Maliki is either ignorant of what is going on, misrepresenting his intentions, or that his capabilities are not yet sufficient to turn his good intentions into action.”

You can almost see some national security advisor in Baghdad (Hadley is Dubya's) writing the exact same memo after a visit with the DOOFUS. I'd be betting on all three myself: clueless, dissembling, and incompetent. But hey, it'd only take one to really screw things up.

It's getting more and more like looking in a mirror, isn't it? A story in the same paper the other day suggested this war in Iraq has been just as good financially to the terrorist and insurgent groups over there as it has been to Haliburton, Raytheon, and Northrup Grumman here.

Next thing you know, Maliki himself will pop up in Washington unannounced, bearing a plastic turkey. There's still Christmas to get though, after all.


Into the safe Baghdad would that be?

ABC News has learned that Pentagon officials are considering a major strategic shift in Iraq, to move U.S. forces out of the dangerous Sunni-dominated al-Anbar province and join the fight to secure Baghdad.

Right-o. All of which gets curiouser in light of this morning's story in the NYTimes suggesting the Shiite militia led by Moktada al-Sadr is being trained by Hezbollah. All this stuff about dangerous and not so dangerous, I mean. Meanwhile the DOOFUS has been reduced to babbling, as far as I can tell. I don't even try any more to figure out what he means to say because I'm afraid he doesn't mean a thing, at all.

Guy who's been living on some other planet calls Miami "third world."

WASHINGTON - Rep. Tom Tancredo, the leader of the anti-illegal immigration faction in the U.S. House, spent a recent weekend at The Breakers in Palm Beach.

Ninety miles to the south, he found a symbol to bolster his belief that unfettered immigration is endangering the United States: Miami, he told a conservative online news site, ``has become a Third World country.'

Tancredo also worries, apparently, America may become "an idea." Why, I have no idea.

But it sure is weird.

It's all your fault, voters, for sucking up to those Ds.

On the November 25 edition of Fox News’ The Beltway Boys, co-host and Weekly Standard executive editor Fred Barnes asserted that the voters’ “repudiat[ion]” of President Bush in the November 7 midterm elections contributed to recent violence in the Middle East. Later, Barnes asserted that “five, 10 years ago,” Americans “didn’t see dead bodies all over the front page of newspapers, whether it’s an accident or an explosion or Iraq or something.”

Five years ago, there was no Iraq war.

And 10 years ago? Oh, that guy. Right.

(The Carpetbagger Report)

I read it but I'm still confused.

So, what have we learned from the Bush gang about Iraq over the last day? That we’ll achieve victory, but the president doesn’t know how; Bush will meet with Maliki, not to offer solutions, but to ask questions; and that Iraq has and has not entered a new phase.

That ought to clear things up, right?

You can read it for yourself at The Carpetbagger Report.

Doesn't sound too promising, does it?

From Mike the Mad Biologist:
Now that El Jefe Maximo has psychologically disinvested from the Iraqi Occupation, he has decided that the message the American electorate sent in the 2006 elections was "You've done such a great job with foreign policy, FEMA, and the budget deficit, we would really like you to screw up Social Security."

And Mike nails the "centerist" scam the Rs have been running (successfully, I might add) all these years, and you can expect them to furiously flak in the upcoming two. I call it the creationist strategy: take a reasonably workable - even respectably good - position, oppose it with a totally wacko off-the-wall bonkers fantasy, and call for a "compromise."

Go read the whole thing.

Here's something that wouldn't surprise me in the least.

From ThinkProgress:
Appearing on MSNBC this afternoon, Congressional Quarterly political analyst Craig Crawford speculated that, as “neocons are heading for the hills,” Dick Cheney may be the next to leave the administration.

In fact I've been expecting it for quite some time. And right about now. For the Rs, it would be a very clever move.

Consider. Cheney, who has long disavowed presidential ambition and who, in any case, is highly unlikely to be elected, quits shortly after the mid-term, plausibly claiming urgent health problems. This gives the powers-behind-the Rs the better part of two whole years to a) groom a successor to DOOFUS, or b) effectively remove an especially troublesome critic from the scene. Whichever comes first. Too good a deal to pass up.

In fact if I were playing Rove I'd consider Lieberman for the job, playing it off as conciliation while positioning Joe to reprise his Veep turn, this time with McCain in the lead role.

Too wacky, you think? Hey, it's my blog. Deal with it.

Miss a day or two and you're toast.

My iTunes is nagging me about being behind on my podcasts. Look, I've been busy with a book for the last few days and I just didn't get around to them, OK? Is that some kind of crime or something? Gimme a break.

Well, to be fair, I have the thing set to keep only two or three back episodes on file so when I get a day or two behind it looks bad. I admit. Especially when most of them are news: day-old news is nothing but a first draft. (I was just looking for an excuse to use a colon there. I was listening to a podcast about that yesterday, from Grammar Girl.

(And BTW, another excellent podcast is Scientific American's 60-Second Science. It's worth every minute you spend.)

OK, who broke the sun?

I'm looking at the clock here and I'm looking at the window (there) and it's 6:46 in the A freakin M and pitch dark outside. Blaaagh. And yet another month to go.

The good news is nights get longer only slightly during this last month; the bad news is they get shorter only slightly in the next. Something about some sort of cosmic momentum. (OK I just made that up, and it would have sounded better if I'd worked in the word "vector" somehow.)

A sine curve, in other words. Almost everything is a sine curve in the end. Have you ever noticed that?

Limbaugh's had it up to here.

LIMBAUGH: All right, well, let's just have them. Let's just have the civil wars and let the crumbs crumble and the cookie crumble where -- because I'm fed up with this. The Palestinian situation -- for 50 years we've had the Palestinian situation, and it's not going to be solved until the Limbaugh Doctrine is imposed or tried. And that is, this is a war, and until somebody loses it, it isn't going to stop. And now, you know, we've done everything we can to make Lebanon a democracy, and it's crumbling because Syria keeps killing the popular leaders there. Meanwhile, the Hezbos [Hezbollah] keep expanding their influence in Lebanon.

But what the hell! We're going to bring Syria and Iran in to fix Iraq, why not let them just fix the whole region? If we're heading to civil war -- I mean, everybody comes to us: "You got to fix this and you got to fix that." So we go and try to fix it, and our own people, Democrats and the left in our country do their best to sabotage our efforts, and then we get blamed for trying to clean up the messes that these people start. And then they come on our television show: "[Gibberish] George [gibberish] civil war [gibberish] we gotta do something. Palestinians it's a must, it's a must, we must [gibberish] right now [gibberish] war."

So that [gibberish] is the [gibberish] Limbaugh [gibberish] Doctrine, I guess.


Largeness would be my guess.

Overheard in the Office:
Harvard MBA student: So, are you flying back tonight? What airport are you flying into? New York?

Suit: Why would we fly to New York? We're from Philadelphia.

Harvard MBA student: I didn't know Philadelphia had an airport.

Suit: It's the fifth-largest city in the U.S., of course it has an airport.

Harvard MBA student: Largest city? Based on what?


Oh oh.

I don't know if this is a real poll or some sort of worldwide wacko test, but I'm playing it straight and voting for "blathermonkey" myself, having been advised some people take exception to "spokesbimbo" (hey, Scott, still googling?).

But have at it, boys and girls. Let yourself go.

And you thought bird flu was bad.

(NYTimes) - It is known in police parlance as “contagious shooting” — gunfire that spreads among officers who believe that they, or their colleagues, are facing a threat. It spreads like germs, like laughter, or fear. An officer fires, so his colleagues do, too.

The phenomenon appears to have happened last year, when eight officers fired 43 shots at an armed man in Queens, killing him. In July, three officers fired 26 shots at a pit bull that had bitten a chunk out of an officer’s leg in a Bronx apartment building. And there have been other episodes: in 1995, in the Bronx, officers fired 125 bullets during a bodega robbery, with one officer firing 45 rounds.

And again last Saturday in Queens, when...
According to the police account, five officers fired 50 shots at a bridegroom who, leaving his bachelor party at a strip club, twice drove his car into a minivan carrying plainclothes police officers investigating the club.

Gingerly, the Times points out...
To the layman, and to the loved ones of those who were shot, 50 shots seems a startlingly high number, especially since the men were found to be unarmed.

But "police experts" blame "the fog of the moment." No laymen, they.

Too late, too late.

(firedoglake) - So here's a message to Republicans in Congress: you want to blame someone for the failures of the Bush Administration, blame yourselves. It's a mess of your own making, signed, sealed and delivered, with every rubber stamping that you so happily gave George Bush when your earmarks and cronies trough ranneth over. The failures you want to blame on George Bush? They are Republican failures — failures of leadership, failures of ethics, failures of having a spine outside the threats that Karl Rove issued as edicts from on high regarding campaign donations. And big fat failures of policies that lead to nowhere other than filling the pockets of your cronies.

(Read the whole post.)

Just forget about that "Prince of Peace" stuff, says Loma Linda Homeowners Association

DENVER - A homeowners association in southwestern Colorado has threatened to fine a resident $25 a day until she removes a Christmas wreath with a peace sign that some say is an anti- Iraq war protest or a symbol of Satan.

Some residents who have complained have children serving in Iraq, said Bob Kearns, president of the Loma Linda Homeowners Association in Pagosa Springs....

One of the things the American Taliban seem good at is referring every little convenience in the Bible - or, conversely, lack of convenience - too some sort of committee for new and improved translation. The guys who translated the King James version were sort of like the CIA, a bunch of bumblewits who told us stuff we didn't like. So maybe it turns out the angels those shepherds claimed they saw (what were they smoking, anyway?) were singing something else, like "Prince of Free Markets," or "Prince of Dropping Bombs on Iraq" (although, well, if I remember my geography correctly that last might have been a little too close for comfort). But it surely couldn't have been "Prince of Peace" or peace signs and Christmas would sort of go together.

Wouldn't they?


Got 'em right where we want 'em, Lott says.

"If we don't contain the situation in Iraq, it will get outside those borders, it will spread, and, uh, I still believe that if we were not fighting them there, if we didn't have 'em tied down in Afghanistan and Iraq, they'd be, you know, somewhere else, in England, or even right here."

"Tied down in Afghanistan and Iraq."

No evidence that little Chris Wallace guy, who conducted the interview for Faux News, laughed.

Makes a body shiver, all right.

(GNN) - Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who runs the giant agency that keeps track of threats to the United States, has shared what he calls his “chilling vision” of the future – a time when U.S. government actions might be constrained by international law.

Yikes! They've lost the whole army now?

A spokesman for the Pentagon declined to comment on Karpinski's accusations, while U.S. army in Iraq could not immediately be reached for comment.

Sounds pretty serious.

(The story's about former U.S. Army Brigadier General Janis Karpinski's saying she saw a memo from that nice Mr. Rummy authorizing "harsh interrogation" of prisoners at Abu Ghraib. What I'm thinking is, somebody ought to harshly interrogate that nice Mr. Rummy until he squeals. Thinking, mi)

There'll always be an England.

'Britain's unluckiest man' - who has suffered 16 major accidents - is laid up again after falling down a manhole.


Is the Anderson County sheriff scamming Google or just blazing a new entertainment frontier?

Anderson County, Tennessee, it turns out, is the only county anywhere with a jail webcam. Hey - next time you get bored with watching paint dry why not give it a try?

And while you're there, don't forget to download Firefox with that pesky Google toolbar. "Even if you currently have FireFox installed, click the icon to re-download it," the sheriff exhorts.

Looks pretty suspicious to me.

But we only believe what we want to believe so we don't believe this.

(TRUTHDIG) - A classified U.S. government report leaked to the “New York Times” says the insurgency in Iraq has funds to sustain itself annually, thanks to oil smuggling, kidnapping and other nefarious activities. What’s more, the report finds insurgents may have enough funds left over to finance terrorist activity outside of Iraq—all while spending less annually than the U.S. spends per day.


AUSTIN, Texas—It’s time to give thanks, and I want to start off with a great, big thank you for the top American movement conservatives and all the fun we’ve had since Election Day. I know I promised not to gloat after this election was over, but I’m not talking unseemly gloating—I’m talking about moments so brilliantly hilarious the only option is to put your head down on the desk and howl....

How many fledges does it take?

Iraq's Shiite prime minister, struggling to prevent sectarian violence from sending Iraq into full-fledged civil war, is facing strong criticism from top Shiite and Sunni Arab leaders alike as he prepares for a summit with President Bush next week.

Trickshot Dick won't be satisfied until massed divisions take the field à la Gettysburg, but the violence in Iraq has already arguably eclipsed 20th Century civil wars in El Salvador and Algeria. And shows no sign of letting up. Which amounts to a whole lot of fledges, seems to me.

If you don't like "civil war" you can call it something else - a jibberwinkle, maybe, or a flig - but whatever it is you ignore it at your peril.

Because it's there.

Data point.

We were able to defeat all of Nazi Germany, Mussolini, and the entire Japanese empire in LESS time than it's taken the world's only superpower to secure the road from the airport to downtown Baghdad.

And we haven't even done THAT. After 1,347 days, in the same time it took us to took us to sweep across North Africa, storm the beaches of Italy, conquer the South Pacific, and liberate all of Western Europe, we cannot, after over 3 and 1/2 years, even take over a single highway and protect ourselves from a homemade device of two tin cans placed in a pothole. No wonder the cab fare from the airport into Baghdad is now running around $35,000 for the 25-minute ride.

--Michael Moore