Friday, June 15, 2007

Can't take him anywhere

During the presidential campaign of 2004, a poll was taken that asked the question, "Who would you rather have a beer with?" and Bush won resoundingly over Kerry.

Well I don't know about you, but I'm wondering about this good 'ol boy. Personally, I prefer to have a beer with someone who doesn't get it all over the table cloth. Heh. That's just me. I'm sure the world leaders assembled at this little happy hour didn't notice our country boy's lack of manners. Again.

A Voice of Reason — The Man From Ohio

One of the reasons I got rid of cable was so that I wouldn't be paying for the privilege of listening to people like that assclown over at MSNBC, Tucker Carlson. Congressman (and Presidential candidate) Dennis Kucinich appeared on his show recently and spelled out a very well-thought out plan for getting out of Iraq, which involves getting the support of other countries in the region to provide stability so that our troops can leave.

Carlson, of course, kept trying to set up Kucinich with claims that he didn't hear specifics from "you or any of the other Democratic candidates." Kucinich calmly replied with specifics. Why doesn't Carlson, or any of the other talking heads, ask the White House for specifics? See the interview with Kucinich for yourself.

Kucinich gets tagged in the mainstream media with being a "fringe" candidate, one who's "out there." Come on, people — just how petty are we? Yes, he's short and has big ears. But I think if you watch the interview, you'll be amazed to finally hear an honest candidate who has a real plan to get us out of Iraq now.

La Vie en Rose

I wish I was in Paris right about now, drinking some good strong coffee (or better yet, a huge cup of chocolat chaud!), eating the most incredible croissants, and enjoying life. I don't care what anyone else says about the French. I love Paris. In that same exhilarated and exhausted way that I love New York City.

Just look at that photo. That's what it's all about, Charlie Brown.

Good for the goose? Why not send Libby to Gitmo?

Yesterday, a judge ruled that Lewis "Scooter" Libby (where do they come up with these guys?) must begin serving his prison sentence while his appeals are being heard. Libby, as you will recall, participated in the "outing" of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame — thus endangering our national security. Libby was convicted and sentenced to thirty months in jail for perjury and obstruction of justice.

This is serious stuff, folks. Libby has in fact been convicted of a crime that endangered our national security. Even former President George H. W. Bush called those who reveal the names of covert operatives "the most insidious of traitors." So let's treat Libby just like the other dangers to national security — specifically the prisoners at Guantanamo who have not even yet been charged with a crime, much less convicted.

If Gitmo isn't good enough for Libby, then it's not good enough for anyone.

Sen. Feinstein has introduced legislation (S.1249) that will require President Bush to shut down the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. I encourage you to tell your Senator: Support sending Scooter Libby to Guantanamo, or shut it down by co-sponsoring S.1249. In fact, let's all tell the Senate to send Libby to Gitmo — or shut down the American gulag for good.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

What have you done for me lately?

That might be a nice caption for this photo of President Bush and Crown Prince Abdallah of Saudi Arabia. It's also a question we should be asking of President Bush.

Think back to his state of the union address in January 2006, when he made the bold statement, "Here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil ...." Then he told us his plan:

"Tonight, I announce the Advanced Energy Initiative -- a 22 percent increase in clean energy research at the Department of Energy, to push for breakthroughs in two vital areas. To change how we power our homes and offices, we will invest more in zero-emission, coal-fired plants; revolutionary solar and wind technologies; and clean, safe nuclear energy.

"We will increase our research in better batteries for hybrid and electric cars, and in pollution-free cars that run on hydrogen. We will also fund additional research in cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol, not just from corn but from wood chips, stalks,or switch grass."
How's that grass thing going, Mr. President? It's a year and a half later, and we're still headed down a dangerous path of relying on foreign oil and polluting the environment. In Maryland, consumers are being hit with a massive rate increase in our utility bills. Gas prices hover around $3 for regular unleaded. And when states such as California try to be proactive and require stricter automobile emissions standards, this administration tries to block them.

Clearly, it's up to us to change the course of this nation. The war in Iraq is based on our voracious appetite for oil. If you doubt that, then please tell me why have we not stepped in to help all of the other nations around the world with tyrannical, demonic leaders? It is simple, dear readers. It's because they don't have anything we want. Guess what? Sudan does have oil! So maybe the U.S. should start getting involved in ending the suffering in Darfur. Guess what? Rwanda doesn't have anything! So we'll let them work things out among themselves.

What can you do to change this situation? Each one of us can, and does, make a difference. Reducing your car trips even slightly does help. Using compact fluorescent light bulbs does help. Writing to your elected officials — both local and national — does help. Tell them to increase funding for renewable and green energy sources. Tell them to stop funding this war for oil. The Bush dynasty and the rest of this administration have their fingers in the oil profits pot. They won't change unless we insist on it.

This planet and all of its citizens are asking, "What have you done for me lately?"

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

So I heard from Sen. Cardin the other day

I recently wrote to my senators, Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski, to let them know how disappointed I was that they voted for the $120 million war spending bill in May. I had hoped that at least one of them would stand up to the president and say "no more!" Refusing funding is the strongest power Congress has to counter this administrations's misguided policies in Iraq. Unfortunately, both of my senators voted to continue funding the war.

In last fall's Democratic primary, I voted for Kweisi Mfume, and I sure do miss him now. I had so hoped Mfume would be a strong voice on issues such as the war. I feared Cardin would not stand firm, would not be vocal. I am so sorry that my suspicions of him were true. From his message, Cardin clearly thinks that over time, the president can be persuaded to change course. I wonder what our soldiers in Iraq, as well as the citizens there, think about future "opportunities" to "push the administration." I'm sure they don't mind waiting.

Thank you for contacting me with regards to U.S. involvement in Iraq .

In 2002, as a member of the House of Representatives, I voted against the Congressional resolution that gave President George Bush the authority to invade Iraq . Since that time, I have been an ardent critic of the war and the manner in which the Administration has conducted it.

The bipartisan Iraq Study Group concluded that the solution to Iraqi unrest is political rather than military. The President should pursue a strategy that will decrease the Iraqi government's reliance on American forces and bring our brave troops home. I encourage increased diplomatic efforts in talking with Iraq 's neighboring countries to help stabilize the region.

Since my election to the U.S. Senate, my top priority has been working with Majority Leader Reid and other colleagues to change direction in Iraq . We have shaped a position calling for a total troop withdrawal beginning October 1, 2007 with a goal of completion by April 1, 2008. I supported such amendments and was disappointed that the provisions were not included in the final version of the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill for FY 2007. There will continue to be good opportunities to push the administration on this issue, including the Defense Authorization bill and the FY 2008 Defense Appropriations bill, among others. I have enclosed a copy of my first statement on the Senate floor, in which a large portion was devoted to my Iraq policy and the need for change . Please be assured that as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I will be fully engaged in working for a political and diplomatic resolution of the Iraqi conflict, and pushing for a drawdown of American forces.

I appreciate your taking the time to contact me about this important matter. Please do not hesitate to do so again about this or any other issue of importance to you. Email.BeginHide.merge


Benjamin L. Cardin
United States Senator

Emphasis mine, but, yes, it really had "Email.BeginHide.merge" at the end.

Wednesday Morning Poetry Break

I know you read this one in high school, and that's probably kind of a shame. Robert Frost's poems often have a lot of depth, which we miss when young.

Please indulge me and give this classic another try. I'll bet it's been 25 years since you last read it, and you might find some relevance today that you could not fathom at 17.

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

— Robert Frost

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

If you're not outraged ...

you're not paying attention, as the bumper sticker says. And here's an outrageous story in this morning's Washington Post.

This past spring, the FBI asked Congress for $3.6 million from that good 'ol war spending bill (you remember, the one the Democrats caved on?) to fund a Gulfstream V jet that it said it needs to combat terrorism by flying "crucial missions" in Iraq.

Except, it turns out that a good quarter of the time that jet is actually used by the FBI Director Robert Mueller to get to his speaking engagements and public appearances. I encourage you to read the entire article. And become outraged.

Monday, June 11, 2007

No More Blood for Oil

Aha! Now It's All Making Sense!

O.k. I understand that it's "non-alcoholic" beer (supposedly Buckler Beer from Germany.) (Thanks to Shakesville for the keen eye above.) But all non-alcoholic beer does actually contain some alcohol, about .5%. So, despite all of the stories of salvation, and quitting drinking after his 40th birthday, I do wonder if he's off the self-imposed wagon. Could it explain the forgetfulness mentioned in the previous story? And the "stomach ailment"? Well, he recovered awfully quickly for the stomach flu. But actually right on schedule for a little bender. I bet if you drank enough non-alcoholic beer to get a buzz, you would indeed have a "stomach ailment."

Some background from Wikipedia:

Bush has said he gave up drinking after waking up with a hangover after his 40th birthday celebration: "I quit drinking in 1986 and haven't had a drop since then." He ascribed the change in part to a 1985 meeting with Reverend Billy Graham, after which he began serious Bible study, as well as to gentle but firm pressure from his wife, Laura. Friends recall that Bush said nothing of his decision, even to Laura, until many weeks later when they realized that he had not had so much as a single beer in the interim. Despite his claims of having no alcohol since 1986, video of Bush at a wedding in 1992 has surfaced in which the president appears intoxicated, slurring his speech and saying odd things. A photo was also taken on June 7, 2007 of Bush drinking what appears to be a beer at the G8 Summit in Heiligendamm, Germany.
There's an awful lot of chatter in the blogosphere about whether Bush is hitting the sauce again. On the one hand this seems like gossip that fits perfectly with our society's current obsession with celebrity partyers (see, Paris Hilton, Lindsey Lohan, et al.).

However, on the other hand, could drinking explain some of the more bizarre stories we've been hearing about Bush's behavior. For instance, there was the story recently reported in the Dallas news about private rantings and ravings about how misunderstood he is, thumping his chest and repeating several times, "I am the president!" Even the Drudge Report, normally no friend of mine, has reported on the bizarre nature of this event.

Then there was the dancing Bush. At an event marking Malaria Awareness Day, the president's behavior was anything but presidential, first dancing some sort of variation of the funky chicken, then banging on one of the drums himself. Don't believe me? Watch the video, and you'll see how painful it was for all involved.

And what about when he was in Jamestown, and decided that he wanted to live out his life-long dream of conducting an orchestra. Hmmmm. That's real dignified.

Beyond the pure titillating gossip angle of Bush binging, we do need to take these rumors seriously. Never forget that this is the man with his finger on the button. And if he's incapacitated (call it a "stomach ailment" if you must), you know who is standing by, ready to take charge. That's right, the Prince of Darkness. So maybe it's just gossip. But I think we should keep an eye on him.

I'm just sayin'

Headline of the Day: Albania Welcomes Bush with Enthusiasm, Affection

You've got to admit, it's kind of sad that Bush has to go all the way to Albania to get some lovin'. Unfortunately, even there, he seemed to have trouble keeping his story straight. One day he says there needs to be a deadline for Kosovo independence, the next day he can't remember what he said. From today's Washington Post:

Responding to a reporter's question in Rome on Saturday, Bush had said a deadline should be set for a U.N. resolution on Kosovo's independence. "In terms of the deadline, there needs to be one," he said. "This needs to come -- this needs to happen."

Asked Sunday about when he would like that deadline set, Bush seemed flummoxed. "I don't think I called for a deadline," he said. Told that he had, Bush responded: "I did? What exactly did I say? I said, 'Deadline'? Okay, yes, then I meant what I said."
Emphasis mine, but ... Sigh.

Wait ... there's much much more over at Pam's House Blend, including a fun sort of "travelogue" of his visits. How can we ever forget his molestation of German Chancell0r Merkel:

Or his wonderful table manners Prime Minister Blair:

Sigh and sigh, again.