Wednesday, February 28, 2007
John Edwards said that honesty and openness were essential qualities for a president, and that he was proud to acknowledge his 2002 vote authorizing the invasion of Iraq was a mistake. That made it the 863 apologies he had offered this month alone. Officials at the Guinness Book of Records had been contacted to certify if any records had been broken. "If we didn't make it this month, we'll try again in March," an Edwards campaign spokesperson told reporters.
Asked whether his repeated apologies for his vote would be a turnoff to voters over time, the 2004 vice presidential nominee said that after six years of "president Doofis McBonerhead voters craved a president willing to acknowledge errors and change course if necessary. And I'm the change course guy," Edwards continued. "Give me a course and I'll change it. Then I'll apologize for changing it. Or maybe for being on it in the first place. Which would you prefer? I'm a man of the people. I'm sorry I said that. I'm a man of vision."
"If you asked me what I think the most important personal characteristics of the next president are, I would say honesty, openness and decency," he said. "And I apologize to those who may not agree with me. There's not a single voter in America who doesn't understand that their president is human, and their president will sometimes makes mistakes. And if elected I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize for all the mistakes I'll probably make."
At a voter forum in Carson City, Nevada, Edwards said Clinton's decision not to disavow her vote was "between her and her conscience, but it seems she has the conscience of a scheming harpy driven by cold ambition and a thirst for power. I'm sorry I said that. Did I mention I apologized for voting for the war?"
Voters, the former North Carolina senator said, "want you to be willing to apologize when something's not working, or maybe even when it is, I don't know. Sorry about that. We've had six-plus years now of a president who is completely unwilling to do that, and I'm sorry about that too."
Later Edward's apologized for calling Bush "president Doofis McBonerhead" and his office handed out a 12 page press release describing how the candidate had arrived at his decision to apologize for his war vote headlined, "Edwards, The Sorry Candidate."
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
A suicide bomber blew himself up this morning outside the main gate of the United States military base at Bagram while the vice president was inside. Mr. Cheney was moved “for a brief period of time” to a bomb shelter at the base where he was able to change his underwear, but then returned to his traveling casket.
Mr. Cheney made an unscheduled overnight stay at the Bagram airbase, located north of Kabul, after his 18-minute flight to the capital was grounded...
Whoa, whoa whoa. Just a minute. Are you telling us that the second most protected man on the planet made an unscheduled stop on an unpublicized trip and the bad guys still knew where he was? Is that what you're telling us Mr. Secret Service protector person?
Mr. Cheney’s trip to several nations in the region had been shrouded in unusual secrecy. News organizations that were aware of Mr. Cheney’s travels were asked to withhold any mention of the trip until he had left Pakistan. This appeared to reflect growing concern about the strength of Al Qaeda and Taliban forces in the region, and continuing questions about the loyalties of the Pakistani intelligence services.
Would that be the same Pakistan that Bush said was steadfast in the war on terror?
We thought so.
So, Bush and Cheney, they're still getting along OK, right? Just asking.
Qari Yousef Ahmadi, who claimed to be a Taliban spokesman, told the Associated Press: “We knew that Dick Cheney would be staying inside the base. Heck, we can tell you what the president had for lunch yesterday.”
OK, someone's not getting a merit bonus this year.
Speaking to reporters who are traveling with him, Mr. Cheney said he was in his quarters at the airbase when the explosion took place. “I heard a loud boom,” he said, according to a pool report. “The Secret Service came in and told me there had been an attack on the main gate. I asked them if they were willing to die for me and they responded 'not for this salary' so I initiated the sequence for a nuclear first strike, but it turns out the attack just killed and injured some other people."
Monday, February 26, 2007
We could. But it's Monday, we're hung over and it's snowing out so let's just get on with it shall we?
A group of influential christian conservatives and their allies emerged from a private meeting at a Florida resort this month dissatisfied with the Republican presidential field and uncertain where to turn. "Look, we don't mind if you're a scruple free, pandering hypocrite," said Dr. James C. Dobson of Focus on the Family, "Just don't be so obvious about it. You hear what I"m saying, John?"
The event was a meeting of the Council for National Policy, but in a stark shift from the group’s influence under President Bush, the group risks relegation to the margins. Many of the conservatives who attended the event said they were dismayed at the absence of a champion to carry their banner in the next election. "We need to find a candidate who is just as disconnected from reality as we are, but how many times does a George Bush come along" asked Jerry Falwell. "I liked Giuliani at first, but now I"m pretty sure he has Teh Gay."
Many were also suspicious of former Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts; members have used the council as a conduit to distribute a dossier prepared by a Massachusetts conservative group about liberal elements of his record on abortion, stem cell research and gay rights and underwear. "We're not really sure he's a christian," said one conference attendee. "I mean sure, They've got the bigots and misogynists like us, but are they in control of the party...er...I mean the religion?"
"Hey, we supported Bush," said Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform. "Look where it got us." When asked if he was referring to the war, Norquist responded that the war "really isn't an issue" for him. At least not until the Abramoff matter is settled. "Who's in charge of the Justice Department is a lot more important to me right now, than a few dead brown people in Iraq," he added.
Some members of the council have raised doubts about lesser known candidates — Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, and Representative Duncan Hunter of California who were invited to address an elite audience of about 60 members, and Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas who spoke to the full council at its previous meeting in Grand Rapids, Michigan. "These guys are second tier crazies," said an aide to Dr. Dobson, who asked not to be identified. "Well, that Brownback guy has some potential, but we just don't think anyone from Kansas can get elected."
Finally, in a measure of their dissatisfaction, a delegation of prominent conservatives tried to enlist as a candidate Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina, a guest speaker at the event. "He can't leave the state for more than 24 hours without a Doctor's permission," said a spokesperson for the governor's office.
In the aftermath of the stinging defeats in the midterm elections, and with discontent over the Iraq war weighing heavily on the public, some christian conservatives worry that they may find themselves on the sidelines of the presidential race. "It's just not fair," said a spokesperson for Reverend Falwell. "The Bush administration is one of the most christian administrations we've ever had. Well, if you don't count an unnecessary war. And the illegalities. The corruption. Don't forget that. Oh, and the injustice and total disregard for the founding principles of this country. Other than that we're doing OK. If you don't count the deficit. Or global warming. What was my point?"
“Right now there is still a vacuum among conservative Republicans,” said Gary Bauer, a Christian conservative who was a Republican primary candidate in 2000. Conservatives, he said, “want a more provable conservative who also is demonstrating that they can put together the resources necessary to prevail. And plus, not look like a total loon to normal people.”
Friday, February 23, 2007
Anyway the point is, the units represent quite an investment on the part of the overlords. Well, at least until they lose a race, then they're dropped like a hot rock and another unit takes their place. While they're helping the overlords make their trailer payments though, they are cared for and the conditions in which they live race are carefully monitored for safety.
Except when they're not.
The greyhounds that race at The Lodge at Belmont get the best of care, say track officials, who also say a legislative effort to eliminate what is claimed to be the dogs' inhumane treatment is based on misinformation. "I don't know what gave you the impression that all those injured dogs were injured and all those dead dogs were dead," said Bill Magee, who is The Lodge at Belmont's general manager. "Somebody just doesn't have the facts."
Magee stressed that The Lodge at Belmont is a responsible and important corporate citizen. "When is the last time someone got arrested out there huh? It's been weeks," he said.
With 86 full-time and 60 seasonal, part-time workers, the track is Belmont's largest private employer, he said, as well as its biggest taxpayer. When asked how many of those positions were minimum wage, no benefits jobs Magee said he wasn't aware there was a minimum wage. "You mean I could be making more that $1.50 an hour?"
Magee said he was "very proud of our record being a 100 percent no-kill facility" and for adopting out greyhounds who no longer raced. When asked how many Belmont dogs are shipped to other less competitive tracks to finish their careers and what their fates were, Magee said he couldn't be sure. "Do you worry about what happens to your old car when you trade it in for a new one?"
Magee was unhappy that GREY2KUSA in its public pronouncements brought up alleged misdeeds at the dog tracks from more than 20 years ago. A section in a report that was sent to all 424 New Hampshire lawmakers claimed that 160 greyhounds suffered "career-ending injuries, died or were euthanized" in 2005 and 2006.
When informed that 2005 ans 2006 weren't "twenty" years ago, Magee apologized and said the 20 in the date "threw me off. I never was very good in math."
We'd bet math wasn't the only subject he had trouble in, right Bridget?
Bridget is friendly, playful and outgoing. She loves attention and likes to play. She is a Second Chance at Life Dog from the Coldwater Prison Program. Bridget would be good in a working family home with well-mannered children, 10 and up. She is good with other dogs, but likes to keep her food and toys to herself. She would probably be fine as an only dog. 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.
Bongo Update: Bongo has become a regular part of his foster family's routine. He's a very happy boy who looks forward to walks and likes to play with toys.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Classrooms should not be forums for schoolteachers and college professors to lead discussions that might result in critical thinking, a group of lawmakers concluded. A proposed law would prohibit any instructor in a public school or college from advocating or opposing a political candidate or one side of a social, political or cultural issue that is not approved by the legislature. "We feel there's far too much discussion and stuff going on in schools," said said Senate Majority Leader Thayer Verschoor, R-Cementhead, who wrote the bill. "That takes away from time the units should spend getting ready for tests."
When asked how teachers in classes like Social Studies, English, history and the like could teach if they weren't able to lead discussions of "social, political, or cultural" issues Verschoor responded that his office was working on a hand book to be given to teachers with "all the opinions already in it."
Supporters said the measure would let students disagree with instructors without fearing retribution, but college students and education advocates explained to legislators that if teachers weren't allowed to take positions, there would be nothing for students to agree or disagree with.
Legislators disagreed and approved the bill in a House committee, saying students should not receive an actual education. "No education is better than one that teaches kids things we don't agree with, and that's what we're going for," Verschoor told reporters.
"In any class, any issue could be discussed as long as the instructor is neutral on the issue and not telling you what your conclusion should be," Verschoor said. "Take civil rights for example. You can still talk about it as long as the teachers don't advocate for equality."
When asked how students could be taught to navigate through complex social issues without the guidance of trained and experienced adults, Verschoor responded that was "the whole point. Kids just need someone to tell then what to think. I didn't get to where I am today by thinking," he added.
As an example of the type of behavior he is targeting, Verschoor said one of his granddaughters' elementary teachers required the class to write letters to a lawmaker opposing a certain bill. "Now, it's true the bill was to cut more funding from public education, but that's not the point. That teacher should have brought someone into the class to tell the kids why they didn't need new textbooks, or subsidized lunch programs. It's also only a coincidence that bill was introduced by me."
Senator Linda Gray, R-Spineless, said she has concerns about Verschoor's proposal, but she voted for it so it could move out of committee and to the full Senate for consideration. "Anything I can do to avoid making a decision is fine by me," she said. "I believe it's what my constituents want from me."
Senator Charlene Pesquiera, D-Oro Valley, said she has been to 17 schools in the past two months, and she has not seen a teacher lead a debate. "They're all to busy getting units ready for the next test," she said. "Who has time for debate?"
The Senate K-12 Committee voted to kill bill, 5-3. Verschoor then sought approval in the Government Committee where bill was approved 4-3 with Republicans voting for the measure and Democrats voting against. When asked why he took the education bill out of the education committee, he replied he had to find someplace "where they don't actually read the bill before voting on it."
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Or maybe we're just confused.
Abdul Tawala Ibn Ali Alishtari, 53, of Ardsley, N.Y., pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court in Manhattan to an indictment accusing him of terrorism financing, material support of terrorism and other charges. Alishtari gave $15,500 to the National Republican Campaign Committee between 2002 and 2004, according to Federal Election Commission records. That amount includes $13,000 in 2003, a year when he claims to have been named NRCC New York State Businessman of the Year.
"Hey, just because you're a terrorists doesn't mean you can't be a good businessman," said a spokesperson for the NRCC. "How do you think bin Laden got all his money, the lotto? I don't think so."
Alishtari also claims to be a lifetime member of the National Republican Senate Committee's Inner Circle, which the NRCC describes as "an impressive cross-section of American society – community leaders, business executives, entrepreneurs, retirees, and sports and entertainment celebrities, terrorists and terrorist sympathizers – all of whom have a lot of money."
The NRCC "Businessperson of the Year" fund raising campaign, which gave such "awards" to at least 1,900 GOP donors, has been derided as a telemarketing scam by political watchdogs.
A scam? A scam THAT CATCHES TERRORISTS!!!!1! And here's the beauty part. NRCC gets to keep the money. Oh, the irony!! Using the ill gotten gains of the islamocommiefascistninjashadowwarriors to support the party of God, America, Family, Straights, Womb babies, brain dead women and G.W. Bush. Not available in all areas, some restrictions apply, void where prohibited.
The online list also claims Alishtari was appointed to the president's "USNRCC White House Business Advisory Group." Except, THERE IS NO BUSINESS ADVISORY GROUP you terrorist scum! Plus NRCC gets to keep the money.
The indictment said Alishtari tried to support terrorists between June and December by accepting an unspecified amount of money to transfer $152,000 that he believed was being sent to Pakistan and Afghanistan to support an Afghanistan terrorist training camp. "We're only sorry we didn't get all his money," said the NRCC spokesperson. Maybe with a few more bucks to spend we'd have held on to the Senate. Did I mention we get to keep the money?"
When asked about regular Americans who had also been caught up in the republican scam the spokesperson responded that NRCC would keep their money as well, "because freedom isn't free."
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Bush linked the U.S.-led war on terrorism on Monday to the country's struggle for independence led by George Washington more than 200 hundred years ago. "It's just like Washington said before the battle of Gettysburg," Bush told reporters, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself."
Bush visited the snow-covered grounds where Washington lived and died and which today is a popular tourist attraction. "I come here today to pay my respects to the man who led this country through the great depression. Even though he himself was very depressed because he was a cripple," Bush said. "Today a lot of you are depressed, but not because you are crippled. Well, some of you are crippled, but I'll save that speech for veteran's day, heh, heh. Anybody want a nickname?"
Joined by his wife Laura, with a military honor guard wearing Revolutionary War uniforms standing at attention, Bush laid a wreath at the tomb of the first American president on the Presidents Day holiday to mark Washington's birth 275 years ago. "Who are the guys dressed up like fags," Bush was overhead to say. "Bet Dick could do some 'quail hunting' around here, heh heh."
Bush said Washington's Revolutionary War leadership inspired generations of Americans "to stand for freedom in their own time. Just as Washington charged up San Juan hill to defeat the Barbary Pirates, so to we today must stand up to the Pirates. Or maybe it's the Steelers. I'm not really a sports fan, although I did wreck a baseball team once."
"Today, we're fighting a new war to defend our liberty and our people and our way of life from a bunch of guys living in caves. And as we work to advance the cause of Halliburton and KBR around the world, we remember that the father of our country fought so Dr. King could sit anywhere on the bus he wanted, regardless of what the king said. Well, the British king, not Dr. King. See, they were both kings, but our king wasn't royal, well, not that he wasn't a good man, just...I think I lost my point," Bush said.
The House of Representatives voted last week to oppose his troop buildup in a nonbinding resolution, while a similar measure in the Senate failed to advance due to opposition from Bush's Republican allies. "We had allies in World War II also," Bush said. "So this is like that war too. Who was president then? Was it dad?"
Monday, February 19, 2007
A commander in Iran's Revolutionary Guards said Wednesday that a commando unit has engraved the military organization's emblem into the side panel of an American warship stationed in the Persian Gulf. "Yeah, man, those dawgs in the navy, they're all like, 'don't come by here homey', and we're all like Dude, what's that over there? It's Osama bin Laden! Go look!" said the commander explaining how the operation was carried out.
Nur Ali Shushkari, the head of the Revolutionary Guards ground forces, told Iranian pro-government news agencies that the symbol was etched onto the ship by the crew of a submarine that had managed to reach the U.S. vessel without detection by radar. "See, we like wrapped our sub in this foamy stuff that Ibrahim got at the Home Depot. The Americans thought we were just some guys on an inner tube that had floated away from the beach."
Shushkari warned the United States that if a confrontation arises, all American forces in the gulf as well as targets inside the U.S. itself would be targets for attack. "There won't be a bare space anywhere in the world safe from us," he said.
Despite this, U.S. President George Bush has insisted that the American army has no plans to invade Iran. "If we capture the people who did this, they will have to clean it off, however," a white house spokesperson told reporters.
Friday, February 16, 2007
So what's a poor overlord to do? Change careers? Not much demand for talentless alcoholics with anger issues. Besides, there's that whole police record thing. Makes people suspicious. Besdies, a guys gotta do what he does best. Hey wait a minute! That's it! What are overlords best at? Sailing on De Nile. Check it:
Racing needs to stay here in Kansas. It was the beginning point for greyhound racing, the NGA (National Greyhound Association) and NGA Hall of Fame are here and a lot of the economy of Kansas comes from greyhounds. Umm...would that be the $900,000 plus shortfall that the greyhound tracks generated last year?
“As long as The Woodlands keeps running, I’ll be here,’ says Chris Maher, one of the most popular trainers at the track. "Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go see about renting a moving van."
Speaking of moving, this week's hound would certainly like to move on to your couch, right Audrey?
Audrey is a loving, playful, outgoing, friendly girl. She loves her tummy and ears to be rubbed and she has no problem locking her big brown eyes with yours to let you know that she trusts you. She is curious about everyone and everything that she sees. Audrey is like a puppy she is very energetic. She likes to sleep on her back, like playing dead. Her foster mom hasn’t caught her playing with toys, but she can be in the basement and she can hear Audrey playing with them. Audrey is a Second Chance at Life Dog from the Coldwater Prison Program. Audrey would do well in a working family home with well-mannered children, 8 and up. She is young and playful and would do well with another dog to keep her company, or as an only dog in a family that will exercise her often. 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.
Bongo Update: Bongo has settled into the family routine at his foster house. He is learning how to be a pet and exploring the many facets of retired life.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
It seems there is a little bit of a dust up going on over who got us into war with Iran by being a total dipwad. Not at war with Iran you say? Ha! What do you know? You're too busy looking through Anna's Death Fridge!
Controversy over a possible missed U.S. opportunity for rapprochement with Iran grew on Wednesday as former aide accused Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice of misleading Congress on the issue. "I have to believe, if the letter had come in a shoe box, she'd have paid more attention to it," said Flynt Leverett, former aide to Secretary Rice.
The proposal was transmitted in May 2003 by the Swiss ambassador in Tehran, Tim Guldimann, who represented U.S. interests there. "I was told to place the proposal in a Ralph Lauren shopping bag," Guildman said. "I never did understand that."
"That is just completely unfair to the Secretary," said an aide. "I can vouch for the fact that she knows the difference between a shopping bag and a diplomatic pouch. Of course if they're both in the same room you know it's some assistant who's going to have to deal with the pouch, but hey she's single, getting a little older, and she just needs to feel hot from time to time."
Speaking at a conference on Capitol Hill, Leverett said he was confident the Iranian proposal was seen by Rice and then-Secretary of State Colin Powell but "the administration rejected the overture. And by 'administration,' I mean Rice, who told us at the time she was speaking for her husband."
Rice's spokesman denied she misled Congress and reiterated that she did not see the proposal. "I can categorically confirm that all the time her and Secretary Powell discussed the Iranian proposal, she never, not even once looked at it."
Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns stressed there was still time for diplomacy before Iran reached a critical point in its nuclear capability and said conflict with Iran was not inevitable. "But for crying out loud Ahmadinejad, call us, will you? Connie can't even find her car keys most of the time, let alone a letter."
Testifying before a U.S. Congress committee, Rice said about Leverett's previous public comments on the Iranian proposal: "I don't know what Flynt Leverett's talking about. And by the way Senator, that's very attractive tie. Yves Saint Laurent?"
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Joel Surnow Fox TV 24's, self-professed "right-wing nut job", co-creator and executive said, “We’ve had all of these torture experts come by recently, and they say, ‘You don’t realize how many people are affected by this. Be careful.’"
Now look people, your first clue that this is a made up show should have been that it's on Fox. Heck, even their news is made up over there.
U.S. Army Brigadier General Patrick Finnegan, the dean of the United States Military Academy at West Point, ﬂew to Southern California to meet with the creative team behind 24. Finnegan…was accompanied by three of the most experienced military and F.B.I. interrogators in the country. [They] had come to voice their concern that the show’s central political premise—that the letter of American law must be sacriﬁced for the country’s security—was having a toxic effect.
Ya think? Oh, and by the way. That quote from Abraham Lincoln? He never said it. Details details details.
In General Finnegan's view, the show promoted "unethical and illegal behavior and had adversely affected the training and performance of real American soldiers.”
No way. OK, way.
Of the show, Surnow says, “Our only politics are that terrorists are bad.” But others point out that “many prominent conservatives speak of 24 as if it were real.”
OK, we think we see the problem now.
Christopher Lohse, a social work master’s student at Southern Connecticut State University, says he has proven what many progressives have probably suspected for years: a direct link between mental illness and support for President Bush.
Now look, raging nutcases who can't tell the difference between reality and their own fevered dreams of world domination aside, we all just need to take a minute here and get ourselves together. Why fight over fictional torturers when we've got real torturers out there? And better, they're available for kid's parties. Gives a whole new meaning to pin the tail on the donkey.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
But back to the point: Why does anyone care what this guy says. Let's get real here. He's Australian. Have you seen the size of those guys' beer cans? The whole country has to be wasted most of the time.
So Sullivan said the terrorists were praying for Obama to win. Is that any wonder after they learned from our main stream media that his middle name is Hussein, he dresses like the president of Iran and he went to a radical islamocommiefascistninjashadowwarrior school? If you were a terrorist, wouldn't you pray for a fellow like that too?
Mr Howard, a steadfast supporter of President George W. Bush in the Iraq war, insisted that his criticism of Mr Obama's plan to withdraw US combat troops in Iraq by March 31 next year wasn't in Australia's national interest because it would represent a defeat for Australia's most important military ally. "Look, the terrorists are brown and Obama's brown. These people don't fight their own, that's all I'm saying," Howard told reporters.
When reporters pointed out that the bulk of the violence in Iraq now was between Shi'a and Sunni, Howard responded that he wasn't aware the Chinese had become involved in the region.
Mr Howard''s foray into US politics dominated the day's session of parliament and news bulletins in Australia. It also triggered a sharp response from Mr Obama and senators on both sides of US politics, including one who called the comments "bizarre".
"Bizarre? I'm bizarre?" Howard asked. "You got a country that's more interested in a dead actress than a real war, where a non story about how the Speaker of the House didn't ask for an air force plane to get home is front page news, and a leading presidential candidate who thinks the earth is only 6000 years old, and I'm the bizarre one? How big are their beer cans?"
The risk for Howard is that his inflammatory remarks will reinforce perceptions that he's placing a close personal relationship with Bush ahead of the broader national interest. "We've planted trees together," Howard said by way of explanation. "That creates a very special bond between men. Sort of like combat."
Monday, February 12, 2007
In a news briefing held under strict security in the lobby of the local Wendy's, officials spread out on two small tables an E.F.P. and an array of mortar shells and rocket-propelled grenades, and several Frostys with visible serial numbers that the officials said link the weapons directly to Iranian arms factories. When asked why the Iranians would be stupid enough to put traceable serial numbers on weapons they intended to sneak into Iraq and use against American forces, the official said he wasn't sure. "But look at that seven. Is that a threatening seven, or what? That's an Islamic fundamentalist anti-American seven if I've ever seen one."
The officials also asserted that Iranian leaders had authorized smuggling those weapons into Iraq for use against the Americans. The officials said such an assertion was an wild guess based on general orders from the president. That guess, and the anonymity of the officials who made it, seemed likely to generate skepticism among those suspicious that the Bush administration is trying to find a scapegoat for its problems in Iraq, and perhaps even trying to bamboozle the American people into a war with Iran.
When pressed on the credentials and expertise of those making these guesses, administration officials made reference to the team that put together Secretary Powell' s UN presentation and the special Office of Faith Based Foreign Policy.
The officials were repeatedly pressed on why they insisted on anonymity in such an important matter. A senior United States military official gave a partial answer, saying that without anonymity, Captain Tuttle a senior Defense Department analyst who participated in the briefing could not have contributed.
“The reason we’re talking about this right now is the vast increase in the number of E.F.P.s being found,” one official said. American-led forces in Iraq, the official said, “are not trying to hype this up to be more than it is. Of course the rest of us are milking it for all it's worth.”
The officials said the E.F.P. weapons arrived in Iraq in the form of what they described as a “kit” containing high-grade metals and highly machined parts. Our intelligence points to a factory in some place called Revell, but we haven't located that area precisely yet.
Officials from the Faith Based Foreign Policy Office asserted without specific evidence that the Iranian security apparatus, called the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps - Quds Force controlled delivery of the materials to Iraq. And in a further completely unsubstatiated wild guess, the officials asserted that the Quds Force could be involved only with Iranian government complicity. "At least that's vice president Cheney's opinion," one official told reporters. "You want to tell him different?"
The precise machining of E.F.P. components, the officials said, also links the weapons to Iran. “We have no evidence that this has ever been done in Iraq,” the senior military official said. "And since Iran is the only country in the area that hates us, it has to be them," he added.
Friday, February 09, 2007
When Kansas voters approved wagering on horse and dog tracks in 1986, they were told it would be a big moneymaker for the state economy. Twenty years later, the amount of money bet on races has fallen to the point that the tracks don’t even generate enough in wagering taxes to cover the cost of the state to regulate them.
Ouch. How can this be Mr. overlord?
“In this day and age of instant gratification, doing mindless gambling is easier than studying a racing program,” Jim Gartland, a spokesman for The Woodlands Greyhound Track said. "Of course once you take into account that most of the people coming out here can't read anyway, it kind of puts a different spin on that whole 'mindless' thing."
Gartland said if the Legislature approved slots at the tracks it would help. "Well, it would help us," he added. "The dogs would be even worse off, but hey, we can always get more dogs."
Attendance at The Woodlands fell from 361,611 in 2004 to 328,109 in 2005, according to the Racing Commission’s last annual report. And Wichita Greyhound’s attendance dropped from 172,209 in 2004 to 157,644 in 2005. "Well, that doesn't count people who were coming to the track and got lost on the way," Gartland told reporters.
Gartland declined to speculate on how long the tracks can go on. In 2000, a track in Frontenac shut down. "We thought the people going there would come up here," Gartland said. "Turns out most of them still think that track is open and they're waiting for someone to come and open the gates."
Taxes from live and simulcast pari-mutuel wagering are expected to drop nearly 45 percent, from $2.2 million in fiscal year 2006 to $1.7 million in the fiscal year that starts July 1.Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has proposed using approximately $700,000 in Kansas Lottery funds that normally go to economic development projects to help make up the shortfall.
Hmmm...looks like "mindless" applies to more than just gamblers in Kansas, right Henry?
Henry is mild mannered, quiet, and gets along with everyone. He is content just to have a bone or rawhide to munch on. He is a bit of a big goof and will play silly outside when he gets spunky. He likes attention, but does not actively seek it out. He gave his foster mom a kiss on the nose recently. Most of the time he is like any other greyhound...a major couch potato! Henry would do well in a working family home with well-mannered children, 6 and up. He is good with other dogs of all sizes and is also good as an only dog. 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.
Bongo Update: Bongo is finished with all his medical exams and procedures and has passed with flying colors. Now he just needs someone to offer him a spot on their couch.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
But a new day has dawned. The president has seen the light. No not that light, the clear light of reason. Iraq? No way, were talking about something much more important: staying out of jail once his term is over.
A Senate panel advanced a bill Thursday to curb the Justice Department's power to replace federal prosecutors indefinitely, after seven forced resignations sparked accusations of political favoritism. "Have you been paying attention at all these last six ears?" asked Justice Department spokeswoman Tasia Sciolinos. "You think we want prosecutors who, like, do their jobs and stuff once we're out of here?"
U.S. attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president and may be dismissed for any reason, or no reason at all. It's the process of replacement that, the bill's proponents argue, should prevent political cronyism. "Well, of course it sounds bad when you say it like that," Sciolinos said.
"I'm going to do everything I can to get it to the floor next week," said Senate Majority leader Harry Reid. "I would advise the president and several of his top officials, to be named later, not to take on any long term obligations."
Sponsored by Senator Dianne Feinstein, the measure would strip a provision in the antiterror Patriot Act that gave the attorney general new power to replace fired U.S. attorneys indefinitely, avoiding the Senate confirmation process. "'Avoiding' is such a strong word," Sciolinos said. "You folks work so hard, we're just trying to lighten your load a little."
Senate Democrats accuse the administration of slipping the provision into the Patriot Act reauthorization that took effect last March with the intent of circumventing the Senate confirmation process and rewarding political allies. Specter, who wrote the reauthorization as chairman of the committee, says he was unaware of that provision and opposes it. "Oh yeah, like I'm the only one who doesn't read all this crap. Right." Specter told reporters.
The committee cited the firings since March of seven U.S. attorneys from Arkansas to California, some without cause, as evidence that the administration is punishing prosecutors whose work targeted Republican allies and rewarding those faithful to the GOP. "Is that wrong?" Attorney General Alberto Gonzales asked. "See because if that's wrong, well nobody ever told me."
Gonzales has promised to submit every replacement for Senate confirmation. "Well, except for the ones we get to appoint ourselves thanks to Senator Specter," he added.
Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty, told the panel that some of the ousted prosecutors were fired for performance-related causes he would not describe, while others were asked to leave without cause. Democrats pounced, demanding the performance reports of all seven dismissed prosecutors and threatening to subpoena them. McNulty cautioned that the reports might not detail any reasons for dismissal. "We're lawyers, for crying out loud. You think we're stupid enough to write down 'fired for prosecuting Republicans? OK, don't answer that."
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Well, anyway, back to Walmart. The largest sexual discrimination lawsuit in U.S. history moved forward against Wal-Mart when a federal appeals court approved class-action status for seven women who claim the retailer was biased in pay and promotions. "These charges are totally without merit," said a Walmart spokesperson. "Walmart is a southern company started by southern gentlemen. We treat ladies with great respect. We put them on pedestals, we honor their femininity."
When told that the lawsuit was about unequal pay and promotion rates the spokesperson responded, "Well, there is that, but I defy you to find a female employee who didn't get flowers and a nice card on her birthday."
"Plaintiff's expert opinions, factual evidence, statistical evidence and anecdotal evidence present significant proof of a corporate policy of discrimination and support plaintiff's contention that female employees nationwide were subjected to a common pattern and practice of discrimination," the court wrote in a 2-1 decision. "Guess we know how many people on that panel of judges are women," said a Walmart executive who asked not to be named.
Wal-Mart said it would ask the court to rehear the case with the same three-judge panel or with 15 judges, a move likely to idle the case for months. "You know how flighty women can be, especially around 'that time of the month,'" said the unnamed executive. "We're hoping they just forget they're suing us."
Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart has argued it did not discriminate and that class-action status should be dismissed because the company grants its 3,400 U.S. stores a great deal of independence in their management. "Each local manager is free to chose whom to discriminate against and how," said Wal-Mart attorney Theodore Boutrous Jr.
Donald Gher, chief investment officer of Coldstream Capital Management, which owns Wal-Mart stock, said the decision was a setback for the retailer and would cheer the company's critics in the U.S. labor movement. "Are you ready to pay $1.29 for dish soap, because that's what's going to happen if women have to be paid the same as everyone else. The money to protect profits and keep dividends up will have to come out of somebody's pocket," he said.
"This is one step of what is going to be a long process," Wal-Mart attorney Theodore Boutrous Jr. said. "We are very optimistic of obtaining relief from this ruling." He said Wal-Mart's own review found no significant disparity in pay between men and women at 90 percent of its stores. "And by 'significant disparity' we mean that one group would be paid with money and the other with Cocoa Puffs."
Robin Conrad, a vice president with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce blasted the decision. If it stands, she said, it likely would force Wal-Mart to settle out of court than risk losing at trial. "It's especially hard to win trials when you're guilty as sin," she added.
Brad Seligman, one of the attorneys who represented the women suing Wal-Mart, said the decision would hurt the company's reputation. "But what the heck," Seligman added, "It's Walmart. As long as you can get chicken at 79 cents a pound, what do you care what they do to their employees?"
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
A man sentenced to death in Kuwait for the 1983 bombings of the U.S. and French embassies now sits in Iraq's parliament as a member of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's ruling coalition, according to U.S. military intelligence. "What?" asked Prime Minister Maliki, "You guys have Duke Cunningham, Bob Ney and Tom DeLay. We can't have a sociopath or two?"
Jamal Jafaar Mohammed's seat in parliament gives him immunity from prosecution. Washington says he supports Shiite insurgents and acts as an Iranian agent in Iraq. "Yeah, he's sort of like our K Street project," said a spokesperson. "Except with guns instead of golf. Bet you guys wish you'd thought of the whole 'immunity from prosecution' thing huh?"
Western intelligence agencies also accuse Jamal Jafaar Mohammed of involvement in the hijacking of a Kuwaiti airliner in 1984 and the attempted assassination of a Kuwaiti prince. "Hey, Mohammed has admitted to his drinking problem," a spokesperson for his office told reporters. "And he's completed rehab. So let's just get on with the business of rebuilding Iraq OK?"
"We don't want parliament to be a shelter for outlaws and wanted people anymore than the American Congress is," al-Maliki said. "This is the government's view, but the parliament is responsible. I don't think parliament will accept having people like [him] or others currently in the parliament. Of course you guys have William Jefferson, so what do I know?"
The prime minister says the situation is embarrassing -- not only to his government but to a U.S. administration that holds up Iraq's government as a democratic model for the region. "If only the guy was a money launderer or something," a spokesperson for the government said. "Then we could say 'look, we're just like the Americans, democracy is on the march.'"
Monday, February 05, 2007
Among the unintended consequences of an attack on Iran, the report said, would be to bolster the position of hardliners in Iran. It could also inspire terrorist attacks in Western countries.
Wow. These guys are good.
Military action against Iran would have disastrous consequences, according to a report released on Monday by a coalition of British-based think-tanks, faith groups and others who urge a new diplomatic push to avert conflict. "Well, what with American Idol coming back on, we were afraid the Yanks might be distracted, so we thought we'd give it a go ourselves," said a spokesperson for one of the groups issuing the report.
The joint report by 17 organizations, including the Foreign Policy Center, Oxfam and the Muslim Council of Britain, Green Peace, the NFL and Wendy's, Inc. said an attack on Iran would, strengthen Iran's atomic ambitions, severely undermine hopes for stability in Iraq and damage global economic growth through higher oil prices. "The Iranians are using what we call it the North Korea strategy," said a spokesperson. "The idea is to try and out crazy Bush. It's a dangerous gambit."
"Our message today is simple," said Alex Bingham, Iran analyst at the Foreign Policy Center. "Despite the belligerence, despite the tension, despite Bush and Cheney, there is still time to talk to Iran."
The report received support from Sir Richard Dalton, Britain's ambassador to Tehran from 2002 to 2006, who said negotiation offered the best chance of ensuring Iran did not develop nuclear arms."We're not in the position of facing a clear and imminent threat now, which is what worries us because this is where we were with Iraq before Bush went in and accomplished his mission."
"The Iranians are extremely difficult to negotiate with ... but it should be possible to put an offer to them which they find very difficult to refuse," said White House Middle East Advisor, Tony Soprano.
Friday, February 02, 2007
An effort to reopen the defunct Waterloo Greyhound Park as a dog racing and casino gambling complex has been dealt a blow by an Iowa court ruling. Black Hawk County District Judge Stephen Clarke this week upheld an October 2005 decision by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission to deny state gambling licenses to the National Cattle Congress. "I was not impressed with their business plan," Judge Clarke said. "Especially the part that projected revenues would be higher from the pop machine at the track than from the dog racing."
Kenneth Nelson, a second year law student who represents the Cattle Congress, said Thursday a decision had not been made whether to appeal Clarke’s ruling. "We haven't gotten to appeals in class yet," he told reporters.
“We are disappointed with the ruling, obviously, not only because it wasn’t in our favor, but frankly it seemed to afford little weight to the facts and evidence that we presented on behalf of the Cattle Congress,” Nelson said. "I mean, when the judge asked where the people would come from we told him there's a bus stop two blocks away. What does he want anyway?"
The financially troubled Waterloo dog track shut down in 1996 after state regulators declined to renew its racing license. State officials said at the time the track was unable to make a profit, which violated state regulations requiring tracks to be financially viable.
"Viable schniable," Nelson said. "We were planning on selling souvenirs. Do you know what the markup is on that stuff?"
Hey, cheer up boys. It could be worse.
A bipartisan bill called the “Dog Protection Act” could shut down the New Hampshire's three greyhound tracks within two years if it becomes law. "It's very disheartening that the state cares more about the dogs than the people who exploit them," said Joseph Sullivan, president of Hinsdale Greyhound Park. "And what about the old people? What are they going to do with their social security money if the tracks close?"
The six legislators sponsoring the bill argue kennel conditions at the tracks are inhumane and dogs have suffered hundreds of serious or fatal injuries over the past two years. "Sure dogs have been hurt and killed," Sullivan said. "But we can get more. It's not a problem."
Well, maybe not a problem for him, but you probably have a different perspective on that, huh Prima?
Prima is very sweet, easygoing, and a little timid around loud voices. She has started to play with toys. She gets excited in the morning because she knows it is “walk time” and will nose her foster mom to let her know she is ready. She loves petting and brushing. Prima would do well in a working family home with well-mannered, older children, 5 and up. She is good with other dogs and would probably be fine as an only dog. 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.
Bongo Update He is much more confident. He is not afraid of loud noises. Bongo is a very curious dog; his nose is into everything. He tends to “counter-surf” and his foster mom is working on correcting this. He’s doing less “counter-surfing” Even though he is a tall boy and can reach the table, he is getting better with his table manners. He knows “wait”, “NO” and “leave it.” He has become the attention hound and always wants to be near his foster mom.
Thursday, February 01, 2007
A judge ordered two men held on bond Thursday for allegedly placing electronic advertising devices around the city. "It wasn't that it was just advertising," said Mayor Thomas Menino. "It was advertising that you had to be young to get."
Officials found 38 blinking electronic signs promoting the Cartoon Network TV show "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" on bridges and other high-profile spots across the city, prompting the closing of a highway and the deployment of bomb squads. "What I want to know is why did these people put these advertisements in high profile areas?" asked Mayor Menino. "I think we're not getting the whole story."
"It's clear the intent was to get attention by causing fear and confusion among old people," Assistant Attorney General John Grossman said at their arraignment. "Plus I don't get that cartoon. I think it's subversive."
"The appearance of this device and its location are crucial," Grossman said. "This device looks like a bomb." Some in the gallery snickered. "Well it does." Grossman shot back. "OK, bombs don't generally give you the finger, but we don't know what TV shows the terrorists watch."
"It is outrageous, in a city full of old people that a company would use this type of marketing scheme," Mayor Thomas Menino said Wednesday. "I am prepared to take any and all legal action against Turner Broadcasting and its affiliates for any and all expenses incurred by residents who ran through their supply of Depends while watching the news."
Peter Berdovsky, one of the men responsible for placing the boxes said, "I find it kind of ridiculous that they're making these statements on TV that we must not be safe from terrorism, because they were up there for three weeks and no one noticed."
"Three Weeks? Three Weeks? They were up there for three weeks? Sweet Jebus on a pogo stick we could all be radioactive ash right now," Mayor Menino said. "Well, if they had been bombs, I mean. Does anyone here watch 24?"
"It's almost too easy to be a terrorist these days," said Jennifer Mason, 26. "You stick a box on a corner and you can shut down a city."
"It's not just a box," Grossman said. "It's a box with flashing lights."
As soon as Turner Broadcasting, the owner of the show, realized the Boston problem law enforcement officials were told of box locations in 10 cities where it said the devices had been placed for two to three weeks: Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Portland, Ore., Austin, Texas, San Francisco and Philadelphia. "Everyone else was like, whatever," said a spokesperson for Turner. "In New York, all the signs had already been stolen."
Authorities are investigating whether Turner or other companies should be criminally charged, Attorney General Martha Coakley said. "We're not going to let this go without looking at the further roots of how this happened to cause the panic in this city," Coakley said. "The fact that we're a city of wusses has got to be Turner's fault somehow."
"Aqua Teen Hunger Force" is a cartoon with a cultish following that airs as part of a block of programs for adults on the Cartoon Network. A feature length film based on the show is slated for release March 23. "Not in Boston," Menino said.