Tuesday, January 31, 2006

This Union Has Never Been In The State It's Currently In

SOTUS day is one of our favorite days around IM Central. As we have mentioned before it is a day spent in breathless anticipation and feverish searching for drinking games. This year looks to top last year as it seems the president will have an even greater challenge before him in leaping from the world inside his head to the one the rest of us have to inhabit.

We have no doubt he's up to the challenge though, so for those of you who live outside the Bush bubble we offer the following advice:

First, make yourself a Dreaming Monkey. Toast the president as he comes into the Senate chamber. When he tries to ease anxiety about continuing U.S. troop deaths in Iraq drink a B-24 for every mention of elections, rebuilding, and Iraqis defending themselves. If the phrase "democracy is on the march" appears chug whatever is in your hand.

If the president should mention that his current budget plan doesn't allocate any money for Iraq run immediately to your basement and hide as candor from Bush is the seventh sign of the apocalypse.

Just kidding. Drink a can of domestic beer.

Every time the president says "terrorist surveillance program" down a Godfather. When he explains that it is not only legal, but necessary, despite the questions raised by everybody chug a Silent Service and turn your cell phone off.

When he says the Patriot Act is working, mix up pitchers of Alamo Defenders, throw everyone's library card in a pile and set them on fire. Drink directly from the pitcher.

If the president mentions Abramoff by name, call your priest and ask for an emergency confession as it will be necessary to clean your soul because the rapture is about to occur.

Just kidding. Sip Champagne while nibbling Chicken & Mushroom Vol-au-vants.

When the president mentions he is all for lobbying reforms try not to be drinking as you will waste precious alcohol by expelling it through your nose. Wait until the applause from the Republicans has died down and the Democrats quit laughing, then drink a Sneaky Pete for every time the camera focuses on Frist, Ney, Blunt or Boehner. Extra drinks if the camera catches DeLay hiding behind Shadegg.

When Bush begins to discuss controlling government spending, drain whatever is in your hand and order something from the Sharper Image catalog. Pay for it with whichever credit card isn't already maxed out.

When he mentions health savings accounts, call your parents and ask if you can still be covered on their insurance if you move back home. If they say yes, down a Park Avenue. If they say no, mix up a pitcher of Stingers--medicare will cover liver transplants. If your parents don't have insurance either, send them a coupon for 25% off aspirin at Costco. And while they're there, tell them to fill out a job application.

If Bush mentions the phenomenal government screw up after Katrina, stand up, applaud and greet morning again in America.

Just kidding. Share a pitcher of Zombies with your friends

When Bush tells us once again that nobody could have expected the damage except for everyone who expected it, mix yourself a Salty Dog and chug it.

Oh course feel free to adapt these suggestions to your own circumstances and tastes. While we have tried to provide you with appropriate choices for the various elements of the president's speech, we'll probably just be drinking straight from the bottle.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Don't Make Us Send Karl Rove Over There

You know, we have to agree with Secretary of State Rice. Here we are, running all over the globe spreading democracy like a two dollar whore spreads syphilis and what thanks do we get? None. Nada. Squat. Bupkus. In fact, after we finished blowing up Iraq so people could vote, they don't have the common courtesy to vote the way we want them to. It was easier to run the world when we backed dictatorships instead of democracies.

Hamas won a decisive majority in last week's Palestinian legislative elections. The group, which has political and militant wings, will now take a large role in governing the Palestinians. "Can you believe the nerve of those Palestinians electing whoever they please?" Secretary Rice exclaimed at a state dinner in Washington.

"Everybody is saying exactly the same thing," Rice said amid meetings with other diplomats on Hamas' startling election victory last week and its impact on Middle East peacemaking efforts. "We're tired of people voting for stuff we don't want. It's like they think they can do whatever they want in their country."

Rice has ruled out any U.S. assistance that might help Hamas become a positive force in the region. "We're big fans of the status quo," she explained. "There's been war over there for almost sixty years. We're not about to change horses in mid stream."

Hamas' unexpected electoral victory raised questions about the future of the peace process between the Palestinians and Israel. "We weren't moving towards peace with Fatah," said an Israeli representative. "Now we have to start all over again not moving towards peace with Hamas."

It is not clear that all European nations or the United Nations would cut off aid, let alone Arab governments that do not recognize Israel. "Plus we like sticking it to the Americans," said a representative of the Saudi government who asked not to be identified.

"I just think that anyone who is devoted to trying to bring Middle East peace between two states has an obligation to do what we want," Rice said. "We're a super power dammit. And it's time the rest of the world recognized that."

U.S. aid is a small part of the $1.6 billion annual budget of the Palestinian Authority. "That's not the point," Rice explained. "When you don't do what my husban...er...my president wants, you upset his world view and he thinks about invading another country. We don't want that now do we? Do we Syria?

Friday, January 27, 2006

Friday Hound Blogging

Well, no one can say the overlords aren't imaginative when it comes to taking out the trash...er...we mean dumping their used dogs on people who suffer from the weakness of compassion. For years they've been convincing people to pick up after them by adopting so they can continue flooding the market with more dogs whose only flaw is that they aren't fast enough to earn cash for the overlord's trailer payment. Now they've convinced the Canadians that reckless disregard for another living creature is actually a good thing because people who care get to work extra hard finding the dogs a safe place.

On the bright side, we can say that having these folks from our northern neighbor around makes the world a better place. We wonder though how long it will be necessary to clean up after people (and we use that term loosely) whose idea of proper care is making sure the 4D meat is frozen enough to kill most of the bacteria before they feed it to the dogs. Really tasty stuff, huh Rita?


Rita is very friendly and affectionate. She likes to give kisses. She has started picking up toys and will run around the house with them. She likes to take the toys out of the basket and move them around the house. She has an average energy level for a younger dog. She plays and also enjoys relaxing. She looks like a black lab puppy with a thin nose because she appears all black from the front view. She can be vocal when her feet are touched and will “scream” when she thinks her nails are going to be trimmed. She is a little bit of a watchdog and will bark when she hears a strange noise or when she sees a squirrel outside. She is very interested in the ‘other dog’ in the mirror and the glass fireplace doors. For more information about this dog, and other rescued racing greyhounds looking for homes, go here. If you don't know about the plight of racing greyhounds go here.

Windy City Sniper update: Windy has recovered fully from her spay surgery and is quickly learning the ins and outs of being a pet. Her foster family says she is a fast learner who is curious, happy, playful and a bit energetic for a greyhound. By that they mean she only needs four naps a day.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Being President Would Be Fun If It Wasn't For All These Laws

Today we have a very special message to the nation. Please listen carefully. We know you have been upset because of the revelations concerning the president's warrantless wiretapping...er...terrorist surveillance program. We understand your concern. In fact we share it, or better said, we shared it because our minds are now put at rest, and as an Ironicus Maximus Public Service we will now ease your furrowed brow.

There is no need to lose any more sleep (or freedoms) over the president's domestic spying...er...terrorist surveillance...program because...perhaps you should sit down...are you ready? Because there is "no doubt" in the president's mind that it is legal.

Now, we're sure that America hating Osama lovers out there will ask how
can the president be sure that with all the voices he hears in his head he is getting correct information from this one?

OK that's a tough one, but as White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said, "The president has been listening to these voices for a lot of years. He knows which ones to trust and which ones to ignore, and this is one he can trust."

"The program's legal, it's designed to protect my incompetence, and it's got lots of flashing lights to look at," Bush told a White House news conference. "Trust me on this. Have I ever lied to you before?"

Democrats have accused the president of breaking the law in allowing eavesdropping on overseas communications to and from U.S. residents. "The president is not above the law. He is not a king, he's a public servant and he must act within the law," said Senate minority leader Harry Reid.

Reid later apologized for saying the president isn't above the law and promised to wash the Vice President's car for a week.

Asked if he would support efforts in Congress to spell out his authority to continue the eavesdropping program, Bush cited what he said was the extreme delicacy of his mental state. "You don't know how hard it is for me to I AM THE WAR PRESIDENT YOU WORM. BOW DOWN BEFORE ME! Excuse me, to keep control of the voices. They don't like to be contradicted."

"But it's important for people to understand that this program is so sensitive and so important that if information gets out to how we run it or how we operate it, it'll prove that we got nothing and are just on this huge fishing expedition," he said.

"We'll listen to ideas without laughing. In your face anyway. But I want to make sure that people understand that if the attempt to write law makes this program -- is likely to make this program constitutional, I'll resist it," he said.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

As Long As I Get CSPAN In My Cell I'll Be Able To Do My Job

Say what you will about the Republicans, you can't deny they're focused. In fact they're so focused on solving the problems of this country they won't let a little thing like going to jail keep them from discharging their responsibilities in Congress.

Undaunted by speculation within his own party that he may have to quit Congress because of a corruption probe, Representative Bob Ney announced Wednesday he's running for re-election. "People who care about obeying the law and stuff have never been my greatest supporters," Ney said. "And law enforcement professionals haven't been too happy with me since I voted for changing the waiting period to buy a gun from three days to the 'time it takes to write up the bill.'"

Ney planned to hold his first formal campaign event Thursday. "It'll have to be at his house though, because the authorities don't want him leaving town for a while," a spokesperson explained.

Ney's popularity has hardly dimmed in his expansive rural district, even after he was identified in disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff's guilty plea as the central figure in Abramoff's scheme to bribe members of Congress. "We like Bob," a resident of the district said. "Sure he's crooked as a dog's hind leg, but he's our crook."

Ohio party chairman Bob Bennett's has said that Ney should resign if he's indicted. "If he's sloppy enough to get caught, it's time for some fresh blood," Bennett explained.

Earlier this month, Ney temporarily stepped down as chairman of the House Administration Committee. He acknowledged that his ties to Abramoff were a distraction from his duties. "Well, actually, people like Abramoff are the reason I came to Washington," Ney explained. "but now with this talk about ethics and reform, it's taking all my time just to make sure no fool goes and kills the golden goose, if you get my drift."

Two Republican members of Congress have moved to dissociate themselves from Ney. Senator Mel Martinez of Florida gave away $2,500 he had received from Ney and Representative Charles Boustany of Louisiana shed $10,000 Ney gave him.

"We should have been suspicious when the money was given to us in cash in shopping bags," said Senator Martinez. "But Ney told us that's the way things are done in Washington."

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

If You Stop Crying, We'll Let You Play With The Siren On The Way To Jail

Alert readers of this blog (big shout out to you mom) will note that we have often commented on our life in the educorporate world. To recap, we often provided a...ah...challenge to our instructional technicians and as a result became intimately familiar with certain institutional polices involving appropriate behavior and the application of certain...er...behavior modification devices. Still and all, we made it through without being arrested.

A 9-year-old student was arrested, handcuffed and taken to jail Friday for hitting a teacher and stomping on her glasses. The student, who attends Charlotte Harbor School for special needs students, has been diagnosed as bipolar.

Apparently that wasn't a clue.

"Hey, just because you're crazy don't mean you can break the law," said School Resource Officer Brian Pickett. "Next thing you know he'll be scraping his finger nails across the blackboard. Man, I hate that."

Teacher's aide and school custodian Sharron Williams told police the boy punched her in the face and knocked her glasses to the floor after she asked him to sit quietly and stop saying shut up. "I kept saying sit down and shut up you little brat. And he kept responding 'you shut up. I need to wash my hands. I need to wash my hands.' We were like nose to nose and I was just getting ready to come upside his head when he sucker punched me."

The boy was handcuffed at school and taken to the county jail at 4:15 p.m., according to the police report. He was arrested without incident. "Well, what kind of 'incident' can a nine year old cause," said one deputy who asked not to be identified. "Mess up the back seat of the patrol car by peeing his pants?"

The boy was charged with battery on a school official and released from jail that day. "We're not quite sure he understood the charge," said one deputy. "He kept asking if he could take the battery home to put in one of his toys."

The boy has been suspended from school for four days and placed under house arrest for 21 days. "A representative from the Sheriff's Department will visit the home regularly to make sure the child isn't playing in the yard, or watching TV except for school related reasons," said a public relations officer for the department.

"He was very quiet when I got there," the boy's mother Crystal Rice said. "He came right over and got a hug and stayed right next to me and wouldn't say anything. I said, I want you to know what you did was wrong, but what they did was wrong, too. When we get home we'll try and figure out who needs their medication adjusted. You or the cops."

Monday, January 23, 2006

The Governor Just Doesn't Get This Whole Journalism Thing

We were wondering how long it would take first brother Jeb to figure out what the president already knows. If you want to get your message across, don't talk to anyone who might be capable of rational thought.

The Florida Republican Party on Saturday called security to eject reporters listening to Governor Jeb Bush tout his party's accomplishments in Tallahassee. State Republican chairwoman Carole Jean Jordan declined to comment on the expulsion, and the party's executive director explained that party leaders merely wanted to keep their party functions private.

When asked why the Republican party would want to keep it's accomplishments private, a staffer who asked not to be named said, "Two words. SunCruz."

Five hotel security staffers and a sheriff's deputy escorted reporters away from where they could hear the governor during a speech. "The reporters were laughing pretty loudly," said a Deputy. "And when they shouted 'you call Schiavo an accomplishment' we got the sign to throw them out."

"I apologize for that if I'm indirectly responsible, which I'm not," Bush said after addressing Republican activists gathered at Disney for a party meeting. "So I guess I don't have to apologize for anything, huh? Well, maybe my brother."

"I wanted to give you a little bit of a sense of what's happened over the past seven years, and even prior to that with Republican leadership because we don't read about it much in the paper," the governor said at the start of his remarks. When asked how he expected to read it in the paper if he kept throwing reporters out of his speeches, the governor responded that he "had a team looking into that."

The governor, starting his final year in office, said later that he also expressed "strong support" for Katherine Harris who is running to unseat Democratic incumbent Senator Bill Nelson. "I'm 100 % behind the candidacy of Karen," Bush said.

Eager to show her campaign is picking up steam, Harris held a rally at Saturday's party gathering where she promised a campaign "like no other you have experienced. It'll be a campaign without money, without support, without a message and without any clear purpose, but my fellow Floridians, I will tell you one thing. We'll look good doing it."

Friday, January 20, 2006

Friday Hound Blogging

Well, maybe it's because their regular clientele are home trying to figure out the new medicare plan, or maybe it's just a slow week, but things are pretty quiet in the land of overlords so we thought we'd take the opportunity to steal a page from James and George and introduce you to the IM Central needle nose crew.

First up, Roland G. Hound, III, gent. aka Rollie. The oldest of the gang, he's been roaming the Marbled Halls since he was a pup, a period of about ten years now. Hobbies include squirrels, Jerky Treats and being in the bedroom when no one is paying attention to who's on the bed. Turn ons are finding the cupboard doors open after the housekeeping staff purchased a box of oatmeal (don't ask) and Jerky Treats. Turn offs are anything that makes him wet, and temperatures below 50 degrees.
Next up, Zeus. Zeus is actually a Lurcher who was found wandering after being abandoned. He was kicked out of two foster homes before finding his way to IMC because he had "issues." That was five years ago, and since we have often been accused of having many of the same "issues" he fits right in. We're not sure how old he is because, unlike regulated racing greyhounds, lurchers do not have tattoos, although he has asked for permission to get a poodle on his fore paw from time to time. Hobbies include psychotic episodes (hence the nickname Zeusifer) and "Happy Dog Attacks" during which he chases his invisible friend through the house. Turn ons are Jerky Treats and anything moving in the yard. Turn offs are veterinarians and baths.

The newest addition to the pack is Vacume (No, we don't know). Vacume lived with the person who adopted him for several years until she could no longer care for him. He was returned to the adoption system and first came to us as a foster. He is nine years old and thus had to compete against the two and three year old cuties, in the adoption market so after a period of six months and not even a nibble, we decided to make the arrangement permanent. Like a lot of greyhounds, Vacume's mouth was a mess (not a lot of dental care when they're living under the benevolent protection of the overlords) and he ended up losing 26 of his teeth. (Dogs have over 40) He has his molars so he can still work over a dog biscuit, and his fangs, which, because they're the only teeth left in the front of his mouth, look bigger than they should, earning him the nickname Count Vacula. Hobbies include practicing retirement, Jerky Treats and protecting our rear during walks. Turn ons are Jerky Treats, dinner time and big pillows. Turn offs are ear jokes and running out of Jerky Treats.

So there you have it. The Too Live Crew at IM Central. Never a dull moment. Well, except during nap time. Oh, and when resting between nap times.

Windy City Sniper Update:
Windy would do well in a working family home with well-mannered children. She is good with other dogs and would probably be fine as an only dog. She has learned her table and counter manners. She has learned “no.” She is more comfortable in the home. She is still learning to do stairs. For more information about this dog, and other rescued racing greyhounds looking for homes, go here. If you don't know about the plight of racing greyhounds go here.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Why Did Willie Sutton Go Into Politics? 'Cause That's Where The Money Is

OK, we're not criminal justice experts. In fact our exposure to the criminal justice system has been exclusively...well...nevermind. Anyway, given our admittedly paltry knowledge of how these things are done, it still seems to us you don't let bank robbers make the laws about bank robbery, which is exactly what's happening here.

Lawmakers are about to bombard the American public with proposals that would crack down on lobbyists. One outlined yesterday by House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Clueless), would specifically ban meals and privately paid travel for lawmakers.

Wait a minute. Shouldn't the ones who took the bribes be getting the crackdown? Oh, wait. We forget who's writing the rules. Please continue.

According to ethics experts, if Hastert's proposal is enacted, members of Congress and their staffs could still travel all over, or eat steak at the priciest restaurants in Washington on a lobbyist's account. The only requirement would be that whenever a lobbyist pays the bill, he or she must also hand the lawmaker a campaign contribution. "Is that wrong?" asked Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert. "Should I not have done that?"

The plans offered by Republican leaders yesterday would change some of the regulations that govern lobbyists' behavior. "Those lobbyists come around here and tempt us," Hastert said. "We're just poor hard working Joes like everyone else. What would you do if someone offered to pay for your country club memberships?"

Under Hastert's proposal, campaign finance laws would go untouched, an omission that amounts to a gaping loophole in efforts to distance lobbyists from the people they are paid to influence. "Well, we can't get too far from the lobbyists," said a spokesperson for Senator Frist. "We need their input. Otherwise it's like we have to listen to the voters or something. How lame would that be?"

Currently, lawmakers and staff members are permitted to take "fact-finding" trips paid for by private groups, including lobbying organizations and corporations. "Yeah. And there are some great looking facts on the beaches of Bermuda about this time of year too," said Representative Don Sherwood (R-Who's Your Daddy!).

Yesterday, Hastert and high-ranking Senate Republicans, led by Rick Santorum (R- Hypocrite) and John McCain (R-Shell Shocked), said they would eliminate these privately funded fact-finding trips. "This will effectively shut down these trips, just as my anti torture bill ended torture," said McCain. Senator Santorum, when he stopped laughing, added that he no longer supports the "theory" of Intelligent Design, except when he does.

None of the lawmakers said they would end travel and meals supplied by lobbyists as part of fundraising events. When asked what the definition of a fundraising event would be Representative David Dreier (R-Don't Look Too Close), who is Hastert's emissary on the lobbying issue, said, "An event specifically organized to take place on a day that ends in y."

When asked if changes in ethics rules was really just a smokescreen for Republicans accused of violating criminal statutes and facing jail time, Hastert replied that the Congress was taking these events "very seriously" and was looking into a "restructuring" of the criminal code.

In a related story, the Reverend Pat Robertson said that any "activist" judge who might be thinking of sending Republican lawbreakers to jail would surely incur the wrath of God. "They better not be living in a hurricane or earthquake zone," Robertson told a news conference. "Better not go out during a thunderstorm either. Just saying."

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Hi Mom. It's Me. Oh, And My Eavesdropper Agent Smith

OK, this is getting serious. For the record, we'd just like to say to any government official who may or may not be listening, that we've always held the president in the highest regard and been fully supportive of his policies, even though it may appear otherwise from time to time. Please don't send us to Gitmo like these people:

Civil liberties groups fired double-barreled lawsuits at president Bush, challenging the legality of his domestic eavesdropping program and demanding its immediate suspension. "We knew a couple of days ago the suits were coming," said an NSA spokesperson who declined to be identified. "We picked it up on our regular sweep of targeted organizations...I mean our ongoing search for terrorist activity."

Both actions sought an injunction that would prohibit the government from conducting surveillance in the United States without judicial warrants. "Warrants are so pre 9/11," explained White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan. "Do you want civil liberties, or do you want to beat the democr...I mean the terrorists?"

"In reality, this surveillance reflects an attempt by the Bush administration to exercise unchecked power without the inconvenient interference of the other co-equal branches of government," Center for Constitutional Rights legal director Bill Goodman said. "Well, that and the fact that when he has Harriet Myers fill out the forms for him, she dots her i's with little hearts. Sort of takes away from the seriousness of the issue, if you get my drift."

Bush has justified the policy "'cause I'm the president and I can do what I wanna," and the White House dismissed the lawsuits as "frivolous. If you're not talking to a known Al-Qaeda member, a democrat, Cindy Sheehan, someone with connections to the film industry, labor unions or a member of any affiliated organization, Michael Moore, anyone who works for The Daily Show, or anyone who lives in Massachusetts, you don't have to worry about this," McClellan said. "Unless you're using a cell phone."

Bush has said the eavesdropping program is being scrutinized regularly to ensure it does not infringe on civil liberties. "I asked Dick just the other day if this was OK, and he said you betcha," the president said.

The New York Times on Tuesday reported that much of the domestic spying conducted by the NSA after the September 11, 2001 attacks was unproductive and led federal agents to dead ends or independent voters. "I don't see how you can say that," McClellan responded. "We've learned that Michael Moore orders take out a lot and Cindy Sheehan calls her mother mumsie. How are we going to win the war on terror if we can't collect useful information?"

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

We Give You This Nice Democracy And This Is The Thanks We Get?

OK so we invade Iraq to destroy the weapons of mass destruction. No wait, to stop Saddam from getting a nuclear weapon. No, that’s not it. Because Saddam wouldn’t cooperate with UN inspectors. Yeah. No. To punish Saddam for his involvement in 9/11. There you go. Well, not really. To punish Saddam for his involvement with Al Qaeda. Ok that’s it. No, wait. Because Saddam didn’t like the Israelis. Yes! Well…to keep from having to fight the terrorists here. Ah, not so much. What’s left? To punish Saddam for being Saddam.

Oh, wait. For democracy. Yeah. The poor downtrodden people of Iraq deserve a chance at a real democracy and we’re just the ones to bring it to them. The whole deal too. Political parties, campaigns, voting, baby kissing, you name it. So we blow up the country, have a bunch of elections, download a constitution form Wikipedia and presto chango we’ve got a working democracy on our hands. Take that you repressive, dictatorial, corrupt, power mongers you. Oh. Sorry Saudi Arabia.

Yeah. Democracy. That’s what we’re talking about. Representative government. Power to the People, eh Abdul? Wait a minute. You mean we let these people vote and they didn’t vote the way we wanted them to?

Increasingly, the US is throwing its weight in Iraq behind Sunni Arabs, about 20 percent of the country, to ensure they are part of a new coalition government. “How were we to know the other 80 per cent of the population would have it in for these people after the Sunni’s had ruled the country for 23 years?” said White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan.

Shiite leaders have responded defiantly, threatening unflinching stands that could push the country closer to full-scale civil war. Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the head of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), among the most influential Shiite leaders, last week rejected any major changes to the Iraqi Constitution. “We are not in favor of the ‘Do Over’ clause the Americans want us to put in,” he said.

Leading Sunni Arab politicians have also alleged that fraud in last month's elections cost them a number of parliamentary seats. “This is not Florida,” said one Sunni politician.

"I am prepared to go down into the streets and take up arms and fight to prevent the Baathist dictators and the terrorists from coming back to power," says Redha Taki, a leading member of Iraq's most popular political party. “Vote. I mean vote against the Baathist scum…er…my esteemed opponents.”

Naseer al-Any is at ease at the Iraqi Islamic Party's compound in Baghdad. Just one month ago, he and fellow Sunni Arab leaders were organizing demonstrations, and threatening further unrest if their complaints were not heeded. That rhetoric has mellowed. “All we have to do is say ‘Iran’ around the Americans and they fall all over themselves to keep us happy,” he explained.

But even with the US striving to rein in Shiite influence, and increase the Sunni Arab share in the political balance here, many analysts say the US no longer has the political sway to do so. "Clearly the only good way out of this for us is to try and rebalance the political forces in Iraq in order to get the Sunni population to stop supporting the guerrillas," says Long, the former US intelligence official. “To accomplish that we’re going to radicalize the religious elements in the country, stack the Supreme Court and demonize the secular politicians. We call it the Rove Gambit.”

The new US approach is evident in officials' shifting discourse about the insurgency. In the past, the US tended to refer to Iraq's armed groups as holdouts and terrorists. Now, that rhetoric is changing. After meeting with US officials and officers in Baghdad, columnist Roger Cohen concluded in The New York Times that the Iraqi resistance is "composed for the most part of people who want jobs and a stake in the new Iraq. In this country we would call them the middle class…if we had one."

Friday, January 13, 2006

Friday Hound Blogging

For Friday Hound Blogging this week we'd like to take a bit of a break from reporting on the crazy misadventures of that wacky group of ne'er do wells known as the overlords, and draw you attention to the world wide plight of these dogs. In case you don't know, greyhound racing takes place several other backward nations around the globe.

As bad as conditions are for the dogs in America, they are often worse for their international cousins. Take Ireland for example, or the export of dogs from Australia to Korea for racing. You can be sure the overlords in Australia will be sending their best to their Korean counterparts. Yeah. And can you say "dumping ground?" We talked about Spain last week. Don't make us go there again.

And speaking of going there. Okie Nitera would like to go to a permanent couch, right boy?

Okie is a very happy dog. He is always wagging his tail and makes friendly contact with everyone he meets. He is a very silly and energetic boy who loves to play and explore. He seems to think the handsome greyhound in the mirror wants to be his friend so he paws at it, not knowing it’s he. After he eats his meals he likes to stay clean by rubbing his face on the rug or carpet area... Who can resist a self-cleaning guy? Okie is super sweet and is going to be a very special companion. He sleeps with his front paw over his ears, which is very cute. He is a good guard dog and will bark when he sees/hears things outside the home. For more information about this dog, and other rescued racing greyhounds looking for homes, go here. If you don't know about the plight of racing greyhounds go here.

Windy City Sniper Update: Windy is very loving. She loves to give kisses, be petted, and follows the foster mom around the house like a shadow. She is curious, happy, playful and a bit energetic for a greyhound. She likes to lie on her back in the “cockroach” position so you can rub her tummy. She likes kids; her tail wags a lot when she sees them.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Wow! You Guys Have A Storm Down Here Or Something?

OK, the only thing we can figure is that there was bad weather on the flight path from Washington to Crawford and the president's plane was diverted to the hurricane zone.

President Bush, making his first visit in three months to the hurricane ravaged Gulf Coast, has been told to lower his expectations of recovery during Thursday's appearance in New Orleans and Mississippi.

"Actually, it wasn't too hard to lower his expectations," said White House chief of staff Andy Card. "He'd pretty much forgotten about the whole thing anyway. Thought Katrina was one of the White House custodial staff."

Bush was to meet with New Orleans business owners to tout a law he signed last fall reducing aid to poor and needy families by over 37 billion dollars. "We're not sure what that has to do with us," said a local businessman who asked not to be identified. "But we think he may be sending us a message."

Later in his visit the president will restate his commitment to rebuild white neighborhoods during a speech in the crumbled town of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, where people were living in tents and trailers set up in front of homes with missing roofs and shattered windows.

Asked if he would actually talk with the people of Bay St. Louis, Card responded that the president must leave right away to attend a fundraiser at the sprawling oceanfront estate of Dwight Schar in Palm Beach, Florida. Schar raised more than $200,000 for Bush's re-election campaign. "You don't see that kind of money in Mississippi," Card explained.

Bush's message is expected to be that although recovery will be long and expensive, you're on your own because the federal government has already abandoned you, said White House spokesman Trent Duffy.

"The destruction down there looks like it just happened yesterday," Duffy said. "Which is a testament to how effective we've been in our rebuilding effort over the last five months."

Bush hasn't been to the coast since a trip to Louisiana and Mississippi October 10-11. He was initially criticized for a slow federal response to the disaster, then made eight trips to the region in six weeks, and the White House hardly went a day without an event or mention of the challenges there. Then Bush shifted to vacation mode.

"Did you see that scratch he got over his eye cutting brush?" Asked White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan. "Where was FEMA then, huh? Who's going to relieve president disaster? I mean the president's disaster."

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

To Be Fair, We'll Be Asking Kids In The Hamptons For Tips ta git tha bizzay cruise fo` yo money

See, this is why we didn't do well on tests when we were denizens of the educorporate parentis in loco. We'd come across questions like "If 6x - 3y = 30 and 4x = 2 - y then find x + y" and ask our instructional technician if penmanship counted.

Hey, do you have polynomials in your neighborhood?

Didn't think so. Speaking of neighborhoods.

Every 8-year-old in the state of New York will take a test. It's part of George Bush's No Child Left Behind program. The losers will be left behind to repeat the third grade.

Allow us to draw your attention to the fact that some of these eight year olds live in...how shall we say...tennis deprived environments...and yet...this question:

"The year 1999 was a big one for the Williams sisters. In February, Serena won her first pro singles championship. In March, the sisters met for the first time in a tournament final. Venus won. And at doubles tennis, the Williams girls could not seem to lose that year." And here's one of the four questions:

"The story says that in 1999, the sisters could not seem to lose at doubles tennis. This probably means when they played

"A two matches in one day
"B against each other
"C with two balls at once
"D as partners"

There are no tennis courts in the elementary schools of Bed-Stuy or East Harlem. But out in the Hamptons, every school has a tennis court. When asked to explain the apparent discrepancy and spokesperson for the New York Department of Education said, "We picked Venus and Serena because they're African Americans. Don't all African Americans know one another?"

The tennis centric test continues:

"Most young tennis stars learn the game from coaches at private clubs. In this sentence, a club is probably a

"F baseball bat
"G tennis racquet
"H tennis court
"J country club"

Helpfully, for the kids in the 'hood, it explains that a "country club" is a, "place where rich, mostly white people meet. You may work at one someday."

"Well, that's the point," the spokesperson explained. "Children who don't know what a country club is need to learn as early as possible that they don't belong there."

President Bush said,, " By passing the No Child Left Behind Act, we are regularly testing every child and making sure we identify potential service sector workers as early as possible."

In a related note, Evangelist Pat Robertson announced that God has a policy of identifying potential sinners before they are born and causing them to be born as minorities. "I asked God if he included the Jews in that group, but he said he'd have to get back to me as he had to go and get ready to smite the Saints if they didn't hire Donnie Henderson."

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Oh Ye Of Little Faith Vote For Me

Uh oh. Conservative Senator and Funny Mentalist Christian Rick Santorum is having his values challenged. Standing true to his beliefs may cost him his Senate seat. So what does Senator Fire and Brimstone say to the godless heathens nipping at his holy ankles? Perhaps I've been misunderstood.

Santorum, who has long been an instrument of God's will, is best known for his spit speckled opposition to gay marriage. But right now, he's behind in the polls to his likely Democratic challenger, state Treasurer Bob Casey Jr., an actual rational, thinking human being.

In public, Santorum is still accusing liberal judges of "destroying traditional morality," but just a few weeks ago, he canceled his membership in the group that helped defend the Dover School Board in its bid to teach intelligent design.

Asked if this constituted a flip flop Santorum replied that a flip flopping was "what democrats do. I have merely repurposed my former position in light of additional information."

When asked what that information was, Santorum pointed to a poll that showed him trailing Casey by 11 percentage points.

Diane Gramley, president of the American Family Association of Pennsylvania, issued a statement criticizing Santorum after he withdrew from the group that had argued for Intelligent Design in the Dover case. "This is a total revocation of everything we believe in," she said. "Santorum has irrevocably turned his back on God and God fearing citizens of Pennsylvania, indeed on the entire nation. He is clasped in the devil's bosom. He might as well be a liberal. Excuse my language."

Later, demonstrating that the hallmark of intense faith is expediency, Gramley admitted she would probably vote for Santorum in November. "The Bible says better the hypocrite you know than the hypocrite you don't know," she explained.

Echoing that philosophy, Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, and Michael Geer, president of the conservative Pennsylvania Family Institute, brushed aside suggestions that Santorum withdrew to appeal to moderate voters.

"We need to get back to our country's traditions," said Perkins. "And Rick Santorum is the guy who can get us there." When asked what traditions he was referring to, Perkins said, "traditions, like when only white men who owned land could vote."

Elsewhere, Pat Roberstson held a news conference in which he declared that the recent flare-up of Senator Santorum's hemorrhoids was "divine retribution."

Monday, January 09, 2006

Always Low Standards. Always

Oops. Looks like the boys of Mordor are having some...um...technical difficulties. Perhaps they shouldn't buy their software from..ah...Wal-mart.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is shutting down the system that creates movie recommendations on its shopping Web site after it linked a "Planet of the Apes" DVD to films about famous black Americans, including Martin Luther King Jr.

Bill Wertz, a spokesman for the company, said it wasn't yet clear how the technical problem arose. "We're still looking into it. We've got a call into the software developer right now. A Mr. David Duke."

"We are heartsick that people found out about this and are currently doing everything possible to make it seem like an error," Wal-Mart spokeswoman Mona Williams said in a statement. "But it was a hoot while it lasted though wasn't it? You should have seen what I got when I typed in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."

Wal-Mart moved swiftly into damage control after a link to the page for "Planet of the Apes" began circulating on the Internet.

"Walmart.com's item mapping process does not work correctly and at this point is mapping based on what we call the "Cracker Factor," said a spokesperson. "We were horrified to discover that minorities watch movies too."

The world's largest retailer said the software that generates links for shoppers from one movie to others of similar interest would restricted to use by company executives only. "It's really been a hit at some of our executive retreats," said Williams. "I thought I was going to wet myself I laughed so hard when one of the VP's typed in 'tacos.'"

Later, a Wal-mart press release said all cross references would be removed as soon as technically possible until the system can be brought into compliance with federal anti discrimination regulations.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Friday Hound Blogging

Alert readers of this blog (yes, we're talking to you mom) will have noted by now that we often try to mask our anger at the foibles of the overlords with a bit of humor. Not his week. This story is a very difficult read and we would not have drawn your attention to it were it not a story that shows the truth depth of evil in their souls. These people--and we use the term loosely--are just plain cruel and heartless. They are, we believe, not fully human.

St. Francis of Assisi said, "Not to hurt our humble brethren, the animals, is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men."

These are not men. Look at this week's hound and tell us who could be so empty of soul, so bereft of compassion as to do the things these so called men have done. May they reap what they have sown.

Barbie is really sweet, quiet, and affectionate. She has big ears that stand straight up at times. She will approach for pets and pick up toys and take them to her bed. She is skittish around strange sounds and she will jump up and run away from the sound that startles her. She is generally quiet in the home, but she has a burst of energy when her foster family gets home and she will bark and wag her tail. For more information about this dog, and other rescued racing greyhounds looking for homes, go here. If you don't know about the plight of racing greyhounds go here.

Windy City Sniper Update: Sniper is settling in to her foster home, in Canada of all places. She has a date with the Vet next week for her medical exam, shots, spay and teeth cleaning, and then she'll be looking for a permanent couch.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Your Call May Be Monitored Because We Feel Like It

We've pretty much been staying out of the whole presidential peekaboo brouhaha because there are certain areas of our private life we would prefer the NSA not explore (in our defense, she looked much older) but, at the risk of having our file reactivated by the FBI, this gave us pause for thought. Not something we often pause for around here.

President Bush has strongly defended his domestic spying program. "This is a limited program designed to prevent attacks on the United States of America and, I repeat, limited," Bush told reporters.

When asked who it was 'limited' to he replied "Democrats mostly, but some movie stars. Oh, and that Sheehan woman. I think most Americans understand the need to find out what the enemy's thinking."

The New York Times reported last month that the National Security Agency had been conducting warrantless surveillance since 2002. Bush acknowledged that he had authorized the NSA program. "You think we knew Democratic strategy by accident?" asked White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan.

"The fact that somebody leaked this program causes great harm to my ability to do what I want," Bush said before returning to Washington from a six week holiday break at his Texas ranch. "People who keep bringing up the law and all that stuff are soft on terrorism," he continued. "You think the terrorists got a warrant before they blew up the World Trade Center? We need to be just like them."

Bush stressed that the surveillance involved telephone calls from "a few numbers" by people associated with the Sierra Club. When asked if any useful information ahd been obtained from the wiretaps, the president replied that the surveillance "has allowed us to determine that pepperoni is the most popular topping for pizza."

The White House later clarified Bush's remarks, saying he meant to say only calls that related to issues of potential terrorism were being monitored. "We're just trying to protect the pepperoni supply," said McClellan.

The president denied lying during a 2004 appearance in support of the Patriot Act when he said, "Any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, a wiretap requires a court order."

"What I meant to say was it requires a court order unless I say it doesn't," Bush said. "Dick calls it executive privilege."

Bush didn't answer a reporter's question about whether he was aware of any resistance to the program at high levels of his administration. "I'll comment on that after Dick's had a chance to "caucus" with those people," he said.

The Times reported Sunday that a top Justice Department official objected to aspects of the NSA program and would not sign off on its continued use as required by the administration's guidelines.

Neither James B. Comey, a top deputy to then-Attorney General John Ashcroft nor Ashcroft could comment on the meeting.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

OK, Just Sign Here, And Here. Now Take Off Your Clothes

You know you're in trouble when you're the subject of a newspaper article that begins like this:

Until he was arrested this year in his underwear in a motel room with a nearly naked young woman who was behind in her payments to his finance company, no businessman in this town was more respected than Richard Dasen.

Talk about creative financing.

Dasen was an energetic force in the construction of a new hospital, a ski resort and a large hotel. He served as a church elder, helped teenagers finish high school and volunteered his time to Christian Financial Counseling, which helped people manage debts. Many of the women Dasen allegedly paid for sex met him for the first time when they came for help in consolidating and managing their debts.

Oh we're managing your debt baby! Who's your debt manager! Who's your debt manager now!

If Dasen was not satisfied with the sexual services that he was receiving, it was common for him to arrange for repossession of vehicles that he has purchased or funded for those females.

Come on. Is it his fault if the...er...clients don't read the fine print?

Asked by police how many women were involved, Dasen said there had been too many to count. He also apparently lost count, police say, of how much money he paid these women. Investigators counting his checks, in amounts between $1,000 and $6,000 per encounter, sometimes as much as $130,000 a month — now estimate that Dasen spent at least $5 million.

He paid by check?

Women used the money Dasen paid them to pay for their habits. "He pretty much single-handedly funded the methamphetamine trade for a number of years," Charles Harball, the city attorney said.

Hey, there's more to helping the local economy than hospitals, ski resorts and hotels, you know?

News of Dasen's arrest astonished many business associates, political acquaintances and fellow church members. "He was incredibly benevolent," said Denise Cofer, a local activist in the Christian Coalition and a candidate in the fall election for county commissioner. She said Dasen was a supporter of conservative Christian causes.

Yeah. He regularly prayed with the Hooters girls and often offered to "fellowship" the dancers down at the Golden Cadillac Gentlemen's Club.

"Dick's dark side was done with extreme discretion," said Dean Jellison, a retired lawyer who has known Dasen for nearly 35 years. "Well, except for paying for nookie with a check, always going to the same motels and introducing himself as 'Dick Dasen, Horn Dog.'"

Dasen has been charged with rape for allegedly paying a 15-year-old girl for sex. He also has been charged with two felony counts of promoting prostitution. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges. "That girl had defaulted on a loan for Skittles," said his attorney, George Best . "And the prostitution charge is ludicrous. What my client was promoting was fiscal responsibility."

Dasen is free on $50,000 bond and staying with his wife at their Arizona vacation home.

Now there's a home with some interesting dinner discussions going on.

Special thanks to the good folks at World O' Crap and Roger Ailes for bringing the...umm...creative business practices of Mr. Dasen to our attention.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Do Rats Still Desert A Sinking Ship If They Own The Cruise Line?

That sound you hear is sphincters tightening all over Washington D.C. because of this.

Lobbyist Jack Abramoff will plead guilty to federal charges in Washington and Miami, clearing the way for him to get all squealy in a massive government investigation of influence peddling involving members of Congress.

"We would recommend that Congresspersons who may have known Mr. Abramoff not buy anything that requires payments," said one federal prosecutor. "In addition, we plan to announce an 800 number they can call for information on where to send their asses, which now belong to us."

As part of the deal, prosecutors filed conspiracy, fraud and tax evasion charges against the embattled lobbyist that said, among other things, Abramoff gave Representative Bob Ney lavish gifts and contributions. "No hablar Ingles," said a spokesperson from Ney's staff when asked about the gifts.

Abramoff is scheduled to appear at a hearing in U.S. District Court. "This guy has named so many names, the perp walk is going to look like the Rose parade. Except without the floats," said department spokesman Bryan Sierra.

Abramoff will also plead guilty to two criminal charges in Florida stemming from a 2000 purchase of a fleet of gambling boats. "We are glad this action occurred after the holiday," said Neal Sonnett, his attorney there. "That way citizens were able to enjoy one last vacation aboard the SS Frist, SS DeLay or the SS Ney before we had to shut down."

The continuing saga of Abramoff's legal problems has caused anxiety at high levels in Washington, in both the Republican and Democratic parties. Reportedly, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has asked his staff to research the presidential line of succession down to the 241st position "Just in case," said an assistant.

Abramoff's cooperation would be a boon to an ongoing Justice Department investigation of congressional corruption, possibly helping prosecutors build criminal cases against up to two-dozen lawmakers of both parties and their staff members. "We figure quorums are going to be a problem in the next session," said one attorney.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan could not say Tuesday whether Abramoff ever met President Bush. "If he didn't, he's one of the few crooks in Washington who didn't," said White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan.

In a five-year span ending in early 2004, the lobbyist contributed millions of dollars in casino income to congressional campaigns, often routing the money through political action committees for conservative lawmakers who opposed gambling. "Hey, these guys don't like gambling," said one staff member who asked not to be identified. "That doesn't mean they don't like money."

Pressure had been intensifying on Abramoff to strike a deal with prosecutors since another former partner, Adam Kidan, pleaded guilty earlier this month to fraud and conspiracy in connection with the 2000 SunCruz boat deal in Florida. "Well, that and the fact that we've got so much evidence on this guy he was about to go away until the second coming," said one Justice Department spokesperson.

The plea agreement likely would secure the Republican lobbyist's testimony against members of Congress who received favors from him or his clients. "Nobody turns on their own like Republicans," said a lawyer with the Justice Department.

Monday, January 02, 2006

If Black People Vote The Terrorists Win

The president has told us and told us and told us that we are a nation at war. And the War on Terror is not a typical war either. No, we aren’t facing the armies of a fascist alliance, nor are we standing up to the threat of nuclear annihilation at the hands of the godless communists. No, what we are fighting here is a…well...er…a guy. A guy hiding in a cave somewhere.

Ok but this is a really evil guy and while he may not have an army, or a navy or an air force, he’s got some other guys who don’t mind blowing themselves up, which, if you think about it isn’t the best way to win a war, but no matter. We’re at war. Our president is a war president and like all nations at war we have to set aside certain of our liberties in this time of dire emergency.

Liberties like…well…let’s see…umm…how about voting? Yeah, voting has to go if we want to win the war on the guy in the cave.

At the end of a losing battle during the past legislative session, Georgia state Representative Alisha Thomas Morgan burst into the civil rights anthem "Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around" to protest the passage of a law requiring voters to show a photo ID at the polls.

Traitor. Why does she hate America so?

Thomas and other black lawmakers know they are in for a battle as Republicans stand determined to defend the law, which requires voters who do not have a driver's license to buy a state-issued ID card for as much as $35 — a fee critics say hurts the poor, the elderly and minorities.

The law eliminates the use of some other forms of identification to vote, including social security cards, birth certificates and utility bills. Supporters, including Republican Governor Sonny Perdue, argued that the measure would help prevent “black people from getting in our way…I mean fraud. It would help prevent fraud.”

In October, a federal judge blocked Georgia from enforcing the law, saying the measure amounts to an unconstitutional poll tax because the state is not doing enough to make ID cards available to those who cannot afford them. “We didn’t see affordability as a big problem,” said Republican Senator Cecil Staton, the legislation's chief Senate sponsor. “Course no one up here is poor.”

Staton is proposing to amend the law during the upcoming session. He said he is willing to make the state-issued IDs free for the asking. “We’ll make them available out of the Atlanta office of the DMV,” he said. “Anyone in the state can come in and get one at no cost. After they pay the $75 recording fee.”

The measure heightened racial tensions in the Legislature last spring. Many black lawmakers were distressed when their stories of blacks being deprived of the right to vote in the South during the Jim Crow era fell on Republican ears, and most of them walked out of the Capitol when the bill passed in March. The widow of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta Scott King, called on the governor to veto the measure. “Oh yeah. Like I’m gonna veto a measure that guarantees I’ll be living in fat city. That woman must have fallen on her head or something.

The law did not go into effect until August, when it was approved by the U.S. Justice Department. Under the Voting Rights Act. Georgia and other states with a history of denying blacks the vote must get the department's permission to change their voting laws. “See. The federal government certified the law,” Staton said. “They don’t want blacks voting either...I mean fraud, they don’t want fraud.”

Democrats argued that there has been little voter fraud in Georgia and that the legislation was a ploy by the GOP to suppress voting among minorities and the poor. “Well, duh.” said a spokesperson for Senator Staton’s office who did not want to be named. “You think we could win elections if everybody voted? How many rich white people you think there are in this state?”