Thursday, September 30, 2004

Tonight's the Night

Tonight's the night,
tonight's the ni-i-i-ight
Tonight's the night,
tonight's the ni-i-i-ight.

Bruce Berry was a working man
He used to load that Econoline van.
A sparkle was in his eye
But his life was in his hands.

Well, late at night
when the people were gone
He used to pick up my guitar
And sing a song in a shaky voice
That was real as the day was long.

--Neil Young

Kerry's gonna rock the world tonight. I just know it. Lifted from AMERICAblog, who's cribbin' the National Journal:
[I]t is becoming increasingly difficult for the collective conventional wisdom to do anything other than declare Kerry the winner of the first debate -- everything about it just screams "Kerry" to us....

First, let's look at the momentum. It's simple physics: What goes up must come down. Bush is at or near his highs for the year in many of the most influential media polls (including the erratic and increasingly suspect Gallup poll)....

As for the media's desire for a horse race, one can already sense the early start of the search for a Kerry comeback story. It's not going to take much and the snowball of coverage will go from there. The press already assumes Kerry can't connect with voters and believes these voters don't have a clear sense of his vision for the country. Well, a debate is one place where voters tune in and admit they have finally learned something about a candidate. In this case, the bar is set low enough that it's difficult to imagine Kerry failing to clear it.

And finally, Bush's debate negotiating team may have actually done more to help Kerry than they realized. Take, for instance, the campaign's insistence that the first debate focus on foreign affairs rather than domestic issues. The war on terrorism is Bush's greatest strength; the war in Iraq is potentially his greatest weakness (though it's his best weapon against Kerry). Bush has more tough questions to answer on Iraq than his challenger. The campaign has already established the Massachusetts senator as a flip-flopper but Bush is going to have to answer, for his largest audience to date, what "mission" was "accomplished" last May. He will also have to respond questions about whether his campaign surrogates are crossing the line on the fear front.

It remains unclear why the Bush camp insisted on going with foreign policy first. If the campaign truly believes foreign affairs is the ace in the hole, then why not save it? Why risk having the most watched debate center on a topic that was supposed to be Bush's strength, just to have Kerry do better than expected? If Bush ever starts losing support on terrorism or Iraq, he's in big trouble. If the president doesn't win the first debate decisively, and Kerry grabs the momentum, then Bush is going to have to make a comeback in two debates that are in less comfortable environments -- the town hall in St. Louis and the domestic policy event in Phoenix.

Also, what if the Bush camp’s decision to allow the TV audience to see the flashing light when a candidate's time expires actually focuses Kerry and keeps him on message? Wouldn't the Bush campaign have been better off to spin post-debate about the number of times Kerry went over his allotted time? Now, the entire audience will know.

Tonight's the night, yes it is. Tonight's the ni-i-i-ight.

Lambs To The Slaughter

I have one question I wish Jim would ask George tonight: How does slaughtering Iraqi children make America safer?


A series of bombs killed 35 children and seven adults Thursday as U.S. troops handed out candy at a government ceremony to inaugurate a new sewage treatment plant. Hours earlier, a suicide blast killed a U.S. soldier and two Iraqis on the capital's outskirts.

The bombs in Baghdad's al-Amel neighborhood caused the largest death toll of children in any insurgent attack since the conflict in Iraq began 17 months ago.

"The Americans called us, they told us, 'Come here, come here,' asking us if we wanted sweets. We went beside them, then a car exploded," said 12-year-old Abdel Rahman Dawoud, lying naked in a hospital bed with shrapnel embedded all over his body.

Two bombs went off in quick succession at the ceremony about 1 p.m., then were followed by a third explosion a short distance away, said Interior Ministry spokesman Col. Adnan Abdul-Rahman. He said there were two suicide car bombs and one roadside bomb; the Americans said all three were car bombs.

The explosions killed 42 people and wounded 141, including 10 U.S. soldiers. The wounded included 72 children under the age of 14, said Dr. Mohammed Salaheddin.

Enticing children to their deaths. Brought to you by Monsters R Us.

And Lynn Cheney has the fucking gall to make jokes about John Kerry's tan? I'm sure the dad in the above picture thinks she's real funny. Cunt.

PDB*, Love KE04

*Prebuttal Debate Briefing
It's all good.

Shake Rattle Roll

YT thinks Holden's on to something:
I have one small piece of advice for John Kerry leading into tonight's debate: shake your opponent's hand.

Kerry should walk over to Bush's podium when the debate begins and shake Bush's hand. Maybe even give him a little hug.

Why? Because the Bush campaign made it plain in the 32-page debate memorandum of understanding that they do not want to have their candidate appear on camera with the much taller John Kerry.

If Kerry tries to shake Bush's hand at the beginning of the debate he will put Bush in a tough spot. Bush will face the choice of accepting the handshake and appearing to be really short before 50 million teevee viewers (and, remember, the taller candidate usually wins these days) or he can shy away or even refuse to retrun this gesture of friendliness and show the nation what an ass he truly is.

It is my hope of hopes that Kerry knocks Bush off-balance tonight. A gesture, a pointed question, I'm sure Kerry has something up his Armani sleeve. What's Bush gonna do, walk off the stage in a huff?

Approaching him as Holden suggests, would rattle Bush's protective cage. He is the Bubble Boy. One puncture and he's deflated. 90 minutes can be an excruciatingly long time, especially with the wind knocked out of you.

Dare to dream....a Bush temper-tantrum or melt-down caught on tape!


Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Now Is The Time

For all good men (and women) to come to the aid of their country.

Daniel Ellsberg sez it is time for moral courage, time for the world to get the full picture of what is happening in Iraq, and if it takes leaking secrets to boot Bush from office for his lies, then leak away, baby.
Understandably, the American people are reluctant to believe that their President has made errors of judgement that have cost American lives.

To convince them otherwise, there is no substitute for hard evidence: documents, photographs, transcripts. Often the only way for the public to get such evidence is if a dedicated public servant decides to release it without permission.

[snip]

All administrations classify far more information than is justifiable in a democracy - and the Bush Administration has been especially secretive. Information should never be classified as secret merely because it is embarrassing or incriminating.

Surely there are officials in the Administration who recognise that America has been misled into a war in Iraq, but who have so far kept their silence.

To them I have a personal message: don't repeat my mistakes. Don't wait until more troops are sent, and thousands more have died, before telling truths that could end a war and save lives. Do what I wish I had done in 1964: go to the press, to the US Congress, and document your claims.

Technology may make it easier to tell your story, but the decision to do so will be no less difficult. The personal risks of making disclosures embarrassing to your superiors are real. If you are identified as the source, your career will be over; friendships will be lost; you may even be prosecuted.

But 140,000 Americans are risking their lives every day in Iraq. America is in urgent need of comparable moral courage from its public officials.

Exactly. Someone's gotta come clean and save the troops. If not those in the know, who? When? How many more people must die before someone lays bare for all to see Team Bush's lies and misdeads? YT's given up on the corporate media; they're nothing more than Bush apologists and cowardly incompetents who wouldn't know a spine or journalistic standards if both were to bitch-slap them across their smug, incurious faces. When it comes to Iraq, their hands are just as bloody as Bush's.

In 30 days there have been 2368 attacks attacks by insurgents that have been directed against civilians and military targets in Iraq, "in a pattern that sprawls over nearly every major population center outside the Kurdish north." Iraq is FUBAR and all We, the People of the world hear from Team Bush and the media who suck up to them is rah rah sisk boom bah happy talk and jokes about John Kerry's tan.

Wake up, America. Your house is on fire. Will you watch it burn to the ground or will you act to save it?

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Turning Gold Into Bullshit

YT doesn't believe the polls that show Bush leading the Race. And why should I? The polls are full of shit.
Gallup has done it again. After supplying CNN and USA Today with a poll two weeks ago that showed a double-digit Bush lead amongst likely voters that turned out to have a significant bias in its sample favoring the GOP, Gallup did it again yesterday.

Except that yesterday, they not only did it again, they apparently felt that a 7% GOP bias wasn't good enough. So they perpetrated the same fraud upon the media (including their partners CNN and USAT) and voters and this time used a 12% GOP bias in their likely voter screen. I kid you not.

[snip]

So if a poll with an unsupportable GOP bias of 12% in its likely voter sample, shows an 8% Bush lead amongst likely voters when a poll they used two weeks ago with a 7% GOP bias showed a 13% Bush lead with likely voters, then how can anyone not conclude that Kerry is doing much better than Gallup would have you believe?

By presenting these polls with this kind of bias, and then ensuring through CNN and USA Today the farthest possible media saturation, why is Gallup not guilty of engaging in a political disinformation campaign?

The same reason that Bush isn't being strung up by his teeny tiny nads for engaging in political disinformation to wage war against Iraq and kill thousands of people...because the media are a bunch of Bush cocksuckers owned and operated by corporate Bush asskissers. Duh.

Atrios sez what I'm sayin':
I've noticed watching Wolf Blitzer over the past few days that the reality as presented by the Bush administration is the reality that he, and much of the rest of the TV news media, convey to the public. It isn't simply a disagreement over certain issues, it's the digestion and regurgitation of an entire alternative reality world which has been served up by the Bush administration and eagerly spit back out by those in the media. It isn't simply about successful framing of the issues, they've managed to provide an entire canvas, a brilliant oil painting of bullshit.

It's impossible for Democrats and other people who are actually living in this world and not the one which the Bush administration has erected around the CNN studios to break through this. It's one thing to challenge errors, or provide a different spin, or reframe an issue. It's another thing to have to tear down the very fabric of this alternate reality.

The Bushies love to mock people for "living in a September 10 world" (apparently not bothered by the fact that on September 10th it was they who were tragically living in that world), but they and much of the rest of our news media are living in a May 2nd 2003 world, where the mission has been accomplished, the "schools" are being rebuilt, electricity is being restored, and progress is being made.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Kennedy Goes Nuclear

Ahead of the first of what YT hopes will be public Bush spankings, er, debates, Ted Kennedy is giving Bush another dose of verbal whoopass today for McFlightsuit Boy's foreign policy failures -- this time playing the nuclear card:
''The war in Iraq has made the mushroom cloud more likely, not less likely,'' Kennedy will say in Washington today -- and he will also say he's relieved Bush wasn't in charge during the Cuban missile crisis when his brother was president and the country came this close to nuclear war with the Soviet Union

"Kennedy's Monday speech details 13 reasons why Bush's policies have not made the United States safer from terrorism. Among other things, he said the war in Iraq created a new breeding ground for terrorists, distracted from efforts to eliminate al-Qaida, alienated America's allies and allowed North Korea and Iran to pursue nuclear weapons."

Excerpts of the speech courtesy of ABC's The Note:
"The president's handling of the war has been a toxic mix of ignorance, arrogance, and stubborn ideology. No amount of Presidential rhetoric or preposterous campaign spin can conceal the facts about the steady downward spiral in our national security since President Bush made the decision to go to war in Iraq. If this election is decided on the question of whether America is safer because of President George Bush, John Kerry will win in a landslide. "

"What is helping to unite so many of the Iraqi people in hatred of America is their emerging sense that America is unwilling not just unable to rebuild their shattered country and provide for their basic needs. Far from sharing President Bush's unrealistically rosy view, they see up-close that their hope for peace and stability is receding every day. Inevitably, more and more Iraqis feel that attacks on coalition forces are acceptable, even if they would not resort to violence themselves."

"The Bush Administration's focus on Iraq has left us needlessly more vulnerable to an Al Qaeda attack with a nuclear weapon. The greatest threat of all to our homeland is a nuclear attack. A mushroom cloud over any American city is the ultimate nightmare, and the risk is all too real. Osama bin Laden calls the acquisition of a nuclear device a "religious duty." Documents captured from a key Al Qaeda aide three years ago revealed plans even then to smuggle high-grade radioactive materials into the United States in shipping containers."

"If Al Qaeda can obtain a nuclear weapon, they will certainly use it on New York, or Washington, or any of America's other major cities. The greatest danger we face in the days and weeks and months ahead is a nuclear 9/11, and we hope and pray that it is not already too late to prevent. The war in Iraq has made the mushroom cloud more likely, not less likely."

Blonde nod to the War Room and Geraldine

Friday, September 24, 2004

Bloggers R Us

Ezra nails Kevin who nails Tina and her pithy take on bloggers, blogging, and the bloggesphere.

Ezra sez:
The interesting part of CBS's open wound isn't the Killian story, but what it reveals about the sad, defensive, desperate state of the media as a whole. And the role played by the bloggers -- all idiotic triumphalism aside -- is only hyped because they don't quite understand us and, because of their ignorance, respect the potential of our unknown power. What they are not reacting to is the actual competence or importance we possess. As a blogger, as someone for whom blogging has done wonders and taught much, I wholeheartedly endorse this paragraph, which accurately captures the nature of both ends of the blogging spectrum:

[Tina's Paragraph] Fear of missing the bandwagon is behind all the hype about the brilliance of bloggers who blew the whistle. You'd think "Buckhead," who first spotted the flaws in the documents, is the cyberworld's Woodward and Bernstein. Now the conventional wisdom is that the media will be kept honest and decent by an army of incorruptible amateur gumshoes. In fact, cyberspace is populated by a coalition of political obsessives and pundits on speed who get it wrong as much as they get it right. It's just that they type so much they are bound to nail a story from time to time. /quote

[snip]

...Nice to know we're read, but sad to know that this triumphant moment didn't even come from one of our number. We didn't -- couldn't -- break Abu Ghraib. We are not the wellspring of new media nor the providers of an alternative voice. We don't bring you interviews that bare the souls of their subjects and the only news we break is what you can logically deduce from public documents.

At our best, we have an informed opinion or entertaining take on world events. We have vibrant boards of interested activists that provide a public space for political speech and, sometimes, involvement. We have people like Josh Marshall and Juan Cole who decide to use this format to peddle their expertise, but could really choose -- and excel -- in any medium. We're smart guys at the bar and we hopefully, hopefully, make the political sphere slightly better for our involvement. Anything you hear beyond that is simply masturbation -- it feels good and means nothing.

I blog. Therefore I am.

Iraq: Year Zero

Finally. Answers to my questions. April 9, 2003, the day Baghdad fell, was Day One of Year Zero.

Pillaging Iraq in pursuit of a neocon utopia

It was only after I had been in Baghdad for a month that I found what I was looking for. I had traveled to Iraq a year after the war began, at the height of what should have been a construction boom, but after weeks of searching I had not seen a single piece of heavy machinery apart from tanks and humvees. Then I saw it: a construction crane. It was big and yellow and impressive, and when I caught a glimpse of it around a corner in a busy shopping district I thought that I was finally about to witness some of the reconstruction I had heard so much about. But as I got closer I noticed that the crane was not actually rebuilding anything—not one of the bombed-out government buildings that still lay in rubble all over the city, nor one of the many power lines that remained in twisted heaps even as the heat of summer was starting to bear down. No, the crane was hoisting a giant billboard to the top of a three-story building. SUNBULAH: HONEY 100% NATURAL, made in Saudi Arabia.

Seeing the sign, I couldn’t help but think about something Senator John McCain had said back in October. Iraq, he said, is “a huge pot of honey that’s attracting a lot of flies.” The flies McCain was referring to were the Halliburtons and Bechtels, as well as the venture capitalists who flocked to Iraq in the path cleared by Bradley Fighting Vehicles and laser-guided bombs. The honey that drew them was not just no-bid contracts and Iraq’s famed oil wealth but the myriad investment opportunities offered by a country that had just been cracked wide open after decades of being sealed off, first by the nationalist economic policies of Saddam Hussein, then by asphyxiating United Nations sanctions.

Looking at the honey billboard, I was also reminded of the most common explanation for what has gone wrong in Iraq, a complaint echoed by everyone from John Kerry to Pat Buchanan: Iraq is mired in blood and deprivation because George W. Bush didn’t have “a postwar plan.” The only problem with this theory is that it isn’t true. The Bush Administration did have a plan for what it would do after the war; put simply, it was to lay out as much honey as possible, then sit back and wait for the flies.

Kenneth Bigley. Nick Berg. Egyptian Telecom Workers. Eugene Armstrong. Jack Hensley. Hundreds of others.

The honey theory of Iraqi reconstruction stems from the most cherished belief of the war’s ideological architects: that greed is good.

[snip]

The problem is that governments, even neoconservative governments, rarely get the chance to prove their sacred theory right: despite their enormous ideological advances, even George Bush’s Republicans are, in their own minds, perennially sabotaged by meddling Democrats, intractable unions, and alarmist environmentalists.

Iraq was going to change all that. In one place on Earth, the theory would finally be put into practice in its most perfect and uncompromised form. A country of 25 million would not be rebuilt as it was before the war; it would be erased, disappeared. In its place would spring forth a gleaming showroom for laissez-faire economics, a utopia such as the world had never seen.

[snip]

The fact that the boom never came and Iraq continues to tremble under explosions of a very different sort should never be blamed on the absence of a plan. Rather, the blame rests with the plan itself, and the extraordinarily violent ideology upon which it is based.


The article explains how L. Paul Bremer declared Iraq "Open for Business" two weeks after he arrived and the move would later be described as "the largest state liquidation sale since the collapse of the Soviet Union."

It might have been the plans for the McDonald’s in downtown Baghdad, or the planned Starwood luxury hotel and General Motors auto plant, that, when mixed with the myriad power struggles raging in the war-torn country, finally broke the proverbial camel's back and turned the neocons' dreams of a utopian society into the chaos and madness that is Iraq today. One thing is certain: For the neocons, their ideological belief in greed turned out to be stronger than greed itself.


Thursday, September 23, 2004

Kerry Channelling Neil?!

YT gets mail from Hillary. Okay, it's spam, and correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Neil Young's music is influencing the Kerry campaign. And that's a good thing! YT posts. You decide:
Dear Capitola:

Let's show them what we're made of. The Bush campaign and the Republican Party strategists are betting that we Democrats aren't tough or committed enough to help our candidates drive through to victory. Maybe they won't understand it until they're packing their bags in November. But you and I know it now.

We're running a "we won't be denied" campaign and we will not yield an inch -- especially not now, when everything is on the line. September 30 -- just seven days away -- is a crucial end-of-the-month deadline. It's the point at which the Democratic Party must make critical decisions, allocating resources for the final month of our drive to elect John Kerry, John Edwards and other Democratic candidates.

It's a simple equation. The more resources we have, the harder we can compete, and the stronger our chances of victory will be in the most important election of our lifetime.

To defeat George W. Bush and win other pivotal contests, the next seven days have to be something special. Let's do it. Let's send wave after wave of donations pouring into Democratic Party headquarters between now and September 30, starting right now -- starting with you acting this very minute.

All through October, we'll see a fast-paced flurry of activity as Election Day closes in. It's absolutely essential that we give our spirited, full-fledged support to John Kerry and other candidates locked in tough races against well-funded and highly-motivated opponents. To win, we've got to go toe-to-toe with George W. Bush and the Republican Party every step of the way.

Don't yield an inch.

[snip]

We're in a tight race with everything we care about on the line. Let's act with the passion and urgency called for by this amazing moment in the life of our nation.

On to victory,

Hillary Rodham Clinton

You heard the woman, Don't be Denied.

Best. Captioning. Ever.

Attaturk, as always.


World gives Dubya a "time out". 

Flippity Floppity Flip

Michael Moore. Spot on, as usual:
Dear Mr. Bush:

[snip]

I know you hate the words "flip" and "flop," so I won't use them both on you. In fact, I'll use just one: Flop. That is what you are. A huge, colossal flop. The war is a flop, your advisors and the "intelligence" they gave you is a flop, and now we are all a flop to the rest of the world. Flop. Flop. Flop.

And you have the audacity to criticize John Kerry with what you call the "many positions" he has taken on Iraq. By my count, he has taken only one: He believed you. That was his position. You told him and the rest of congress that Saddam had WMDs. So he -- and the vast majority of Americans, even those who didn't vote for you -- believed you. You see, Americans, like John Kerry, want to live in a country where they can believe their president.

That was the one, single position John Kerry took. He didn't support the war, he supported YOU. And YOU let him and this great country down. And that is why tens of millions can't wait to get to the polls on Election Day -- to remove a major, catastrophic flop from our dear, beloved White House -- to stop all the flipping you and your men have done, flipping us and the rest of the world off.

What he said!

Blonde nod to Attaturk.

Kerry Speaks We Listen

John and John continue hammering their message home.
"Even today, he blundered again saying there are only a handful of terrorists in Iraq," Kerry said in a brief interview. "George Bush retreated from Fallujah and other communities in Iraq which are now overrun with terrorists and threaten our troops."

Bush, campaigning in Pennsylvania on Wednesday, said, "It's hard to help a country go from tyranny to elections to peace when there are a handful of people who are willing to kill in order to stop the process. And that's what you're seeing on the TV screens.

A handful of people? What TV is he watching? The Fantasy Channel? Mr. President, put down that crack pipe.
Kerry said that in criticizing his statements on Iraq, Bush was "living in a make-believe world," unwilling to tell the truth or to understand the situation in Iraq.

The Democrat said he had laid out "steps to win the war, not to change, not to retreat, steps to win. George Bush is trying to fight a phantom here because he won't tell the American people the truth, so he sets up something that's not a real issue and attacks it."

Bush "missed a huge opportunity" at the United Nations this week to try to persuade other nations' leaders to join the United States in Iraq and the broader anti-terror war, Kerry said.

"I don't think he's providing the leadership we need," Kerry said. "I will do a better job of dealing with Iraq and winning the war and fighting the war on terror, period."

[snip]

In a day filled with rhetorical charges and countercharges -- at campaign stops and in advertising -- all four candidates found fault. Responding to Cheney's criticism of Kerry, Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards said in a statement that Bush and Cheney "are the last two people we need a lecture from about how to keep the American people safe."

"It is the height of absurdity for Dick Cheney, a chief architect of the Iraq quagmire, to talk about the leadership needed to fix the mess in Iraq that he created," said Edwards, reviving a word -- quagmire -- often used to describe the Vietnam War.

Iraq is a quagmire. The longer Bush denies reality, the greater the Kerry/Edwards landslide.

Hell on Earth

Salon correspondent Phillip Robertson spent the past five months covering the war in Iraq. He sez it's Hell.
Contrary to the administration's hopeful statements, we are not seeing the establishment of a stable Iraq, the mopping up of unreformed Baath Party apparatchiks and dead-enders. We are seeing the beginning of a larger conflict that is busily giving birth to monsters.

Since April, the coalition has lost ground in central and western Iraq and will be forced in the coming months to gain it back at great cost. Fallujah and Ramadi, two sizable Iraqi cities, are no longer under Iraqi government control. Sadr City, with several million people, remains a stronghold for the Mahdi Army and the site of a continuing series of battles.

[snip]

Here is something everyone in Iraq knows: The U.S. is now fighting a holding action against a growing uprising, and the more it fights the worse it gets. At the other end of the spectrum, if the U.S. military were to suddenly withdraw, the largest armed factions in Iraq would immediately begin to compete for the capital in a bloody civil war. Recently, a National Intelligence Estimate, a document prepared for President Bush by senior intelligence officials, warned of exactly that outcome.

[snip]

The war, illegal and founded on a vast lie, has produced two tragedies of equal magnitude: an embryonic civil war in the world's oldest country, and a triumph for those in the Bush administration who, without a trace of shame, act as if the truth does not matter. Lying until the lie became true, the administration pursued a course of action that guaranteed large sections of Iraq would become havens for jihadis and radical Islamists. That is the logic promoted by people who take for themselves divine infallibility -- a righteousness that blinds and destroys. Like credulous Weimar Germans who were so delighted by rigged wrestling matches, millions of Americans have accepted Bush's assertions that the war in Iraq has made the United States and the rest of the world a safer place to live. Of course, this is false.

But it is a useful fiction because it is a happy one. All we need to know, according to the administration, is that America is a good country, full of good people and therefore cannot make bloody mistakes when it comes to its own security. The bitter consequence of succumbing to such happy talk is that the government of the most powerful nation in the world now operates unchecked and unmoored from reality; leaving us teetering on the brink of another presidential term where abuse of authority has been recast as virtue.

[snip]

The administration, under false premises, invaded a country that it barely understood. We entered a country in shambles, a population divided against itself. The U.S. invasion was a catalyst of violence and religious hatred, and the continuing presence of American troops has only made matters worse. Iraq today bears no resemblance to the president's vision of a fledgling democracy. On its way to national elections in January, Iraq has already slipped into chaos.

This morning I saw a Kerry/Edwards bumper sticker that read, "Help is on the way." YT believes. I have to. The alternative, a Bush second term, is unthinkable.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Yummy Yum Red Meat

He's back, baby! John Edwards, that is.
Even as a grim collage of mounting insurgent attacks, civilian beheadings by terrorists, and the general spread of chaos continues to darken the long shadow that's fallen over Iraq, the Bush campaign is launching a new TV ad focused on some other really, really important stuff. It seems they have a problem with their opponent's choice of leisure sport, and what it might say about his integrity. In the new spot, titled "Windsurfing", BC '04 cleverly flogs its Kerry flip-flopper theme, this time by showing Kerry tacking back and forth across the water, and announcing "John Kerry: whichever way the wind blows."

While the Kerry camp has taken much criticism for being too slow to respond to the Bush camp's cheap-shot tactics, they're wasting no time in fighting back now. Taking to the airwaves with a new ad of their own, the Kerry camp today is condemning President Bush for ignoring "the Iraq quagmire," while running the juvenile and tasteless attack ad. Their response, titled "Juvenile", will air in the same markets as the new Bush spot.

Campaigning in Florida today, John Edwards further expressed his dismay at Bush's flippancy.

"Today George Bush is laughing again," he told reporters in Miami. "Over a thousand Americans have lost their lives, Americans are being beheaded. Iraq is a mess and they think this is a joke."

YT Hearts Kerry

For saying this:
Kerry, who held a rally in Orlando on Tuesday night "right next door to (Walt Disney World's) fantasy land," said the difference between himself and Bush was, "I drove by it and he lives in it."

And this:
"I will never privatize Social Security, ever, ever, ever."

More like that, please.

Oh The Irony

The Christian Science Monitor has Pundits weighing in on Bush's campaign, er, UN speech:
The Boston Globe reports that Bush still faces a "skeptical crowd" at the UN. Like most other papers, the Globe pointed out that the applause during the speech was sparse.

The headline of an editorial in The Independent reads: "Mr. Bush had a chance to ask for help in Iraq, but he chose to preach instead."

The Guardian called Bush's speech "unrepentant" and asserted that it "appeared essentially tailored for a domestic audience rather than foreign consumption." The Guardian quotes Swiss president, Joseph Deiss, as saying: "In hindsight, experience shows that actions taken without a mandate which has been clearly defined in a security council resolution are doomed to failure."

Geov Parrish, a Seattle-based columnist and reporter for Seattle Weekly, writes that "Bush embarrassed America when he went before a stony-faced audience at the United Nations Tuesday and claimed that all was well in Iraq..."

Slate columnist Fred Kaplan criticizes Bush's speech for empty rhetoric.

"It was a puzzling speech from start to finish. Near its beginning, when Bush said, "We know that dictators are quick to choose aggression, while free nations strive to resolve differences in peace," was there a delegate in the chamber who didn't wonder at the irony? It was Bush himself, after all, who was quick to choose war in Iraq – insiders' chronicles agree that he decided on that path in early 2002, over a year before the UN debates – while the vast majority of the body's members, free and unfree, were striving for a resolution short of conflict."

"...All bent down before Lord Bush, his glorious countenance making all feel his mighty presence, all were shamed and bowed their heads due to their unworthiness before him." Fox News

In Their Shoes

Prof. Juan Cole wants to know: If America were Iraq, What would it be Like?
President Bush said Tuesday that the Iraqis are refuting the pessimists and implied that things are improving in that country.

What would America look like if it were in Iraq's current situation? The population of the US is over 11 times that of Iraq, so a lot of statistics would have to be multiplied by that number.

Thus, violence killed 300 Iraqis last week, the equivalent proportionately of 3,300 Americans. What if 3,300 Americans had died in car bombings, grenade and rocket attacks, machine gun spray, and aerial bombardment in the last week? That is a number greater than the deaths on September 11, and if America were Iraq, it would be an ongoing, weekly or monthly toll.

And what if those deaths occurred all over the country, including in the capital of Washington, DC, but mainly above the Mason Dixon line, in Boston, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, and San Francisco?

What if the grounds of the White House and the government buildings near the Mall were constantly taking mortar fire? What if almost nobody in the State Department at Foggy Bottom, the White House, or the Pentagon dared venture out of their buildings, and considered it dangerous to go over to Crystal City or Alexandria?

What if all the reporters for all the major television and print media were trapped in five-star hotels in Washington, DC and New York, unable to move more than a few blocks safely, and dependent on stringers to know what was happening in Oklahoma City and St. Louis? What if the only time they ventured into the Midwest was if they could be embedded in Army or National Guard units?

[snip]

What if no one had electricity for much more than 10 hours a day, and often less? What if it went off at unpredictable times, causing factories to grind to a halt and air conditioning to fail in the middle of the summer in Houston and Miami? What if the Alaska pipeline were bombed and disabled at least monthly? What if unemployment hovered around 40%?

What if veterans of militia actions at Ruby Ridge and the Oklahoma City bombing were brought in to run the government on the theory that you need a tough guy in these times of crisis?

Juan has more and it's worth reading. In YT's opinion, if Americans faced what the Iraqis are facing, most Americans -- the spoiled, lazy, pampered, selfish, greedy, ignorant Americans that make up 50% of the U.S. population and the same 50% that support Baghdad Bush -- sadly, would wrap their fat asses in the flag and do whatever Bush told them to do. No questions asked. Just as they do now.

Sickening.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

If You Had Just One Question

Kos is being serious for a sec. Que Twilight Zone music...
You are at the debates and given the microphone. The whole nation is watching, and the way you ask and phrase your question will reflect on Democrats.
What would you ask?

Easy:
"Mr. President, in July of 2003 you said if anyone wanted to attack our troops in Iraq, they should bring it on. In March of this year you appeared at a reporters' dinner and ran a video in which you jokingly stumbled around your office looking for weapons of mass destruction. Can you explain this behavior to the families who have lost loved ones in Iraq?"

For those with delicate sensibilities or confrontational issues, you can always go for the Gold.

Sing It: I Love A Charade!

Atrios has the scoop on today's installment of MemoGate. Appears that group-sex-ring-former-Bob Dole-advisor Roger Stone might have been the source for the CBS forged documents:
“In today’s New York Post, Roger Stone, who became associated with political ‘dirty tricks’ while working for Nixon, refused to deny that he was the source the CBS documents.

“Will Ed Gillespie or the White House admit today what they know about Mr. Stone’s relationship with these forged documents? Will they unequivocally rule out Mr. Stone’s involvement? Or for that matter, others with a known history of dirty tricks, such as Karl Rove or Ralph Reed?”

Then there's this:
Washington, DC— Facing questions about President Bush’s Guard Service and its own possible involvement with the disputed National Guard documents, the Republican National Committee has postponed a call scheduled to discuss the issue this afternoon.

And, in the last several hours, the Bush campaign has also cancelled scheduled appearances by Dan Bartlett on cable networks this evening. These cancellations came as the Bush operatives refused to appear live alongside Kerry campaign official Joe Lockhart.

“It’s clear that even the Bush campaign is having a problem defending the President’s National Guard service,” said Democratic National Committee Spokesman Howard Wolfson. “The Bush campaign has decided to once again duck the tough questions and avoid real debate. Given the President’s National Guard service, I don’t blame them for being camera shy.”

And a quick Google brings us this historic gem:
"Roger Stone, the dirty-tricks hobgoblin of Republican politics, has exploited his Bush connections to become an influence-peddling force in the $13 billion Indian gaming industry," reports Wayne Barrett. "Stone's booming business in such a federally regulated enterprise makes his recent pro bono orchestration of Al Sharpton's double-edged presidential campaign an even stranger covert caper. Stone financed and helped organize Sharpton's campaign in the Democratic presidential primary, prompting speculation that Sharpton was actually a stealth Republican operative working to weaken the party's chances in the general election. "Stone has a history of bizarre political operations, beginning with his Watergate-era infiltration of the McGovern campaign," Barrett notes. He explores Stone's current "double-agent role" in Indian gaming, which "mirrors his seemingly bizarre orchestration of the Sharpton scam. Both are just the latest sagas in Stone's exotic career of self-serving misdirection." Source: Village Voice, April 19, 2004

Nothing like the smell of fried hypocrites in the evening. Oh please oh please oh please let Stone be the CBS source! Remember: Hell hath no fury like a newsman scorned.

Operation Orphan

Left is Right is shouting-out and everyone should listen and act accordingly:

One of our neighbors, Chris Smith, is on his second tour of duty in Iraq, mainly around Fallujah. Currently his platoon is training Iraqi National Guard Units. However, Chris, who is a very charitable and compassionate person, thought of a great way to help some of the destitute Iraqi children. Here is a portion of the most recent email he sent to his parents on September 13:

The other day I took my platoon out on a patrol in the town of Diwanijah and we stopped off at an orphanage to assess the organization, and see if any coalition funding was needed there. I went in and met dozens of beautiful children of all ages that have virtually nothing. The toys and coloring books you see our American kids with back home is a something you don't see kids with over here. After stopping in that orphanage and at a few day care centers, I quickly thought to myself how great it would be to be able to give these kids some toys, coloring books, or anything that would make a difference to these children. An Iraqi child would have a year's worth of stories to tell from just being given a ball, or one coloring book.

That is why my platoon has started "Operation Orphan" here in Iraq, trying to draw any type of support and assistance we can from the kind hearted Americans back home in Cerritos. I have already contacted some friends, family members, and neighbors back in Cerritos to see if they can assist my platoon in any way getting some toys out here for these kids. Some local churches have been contacted and I am hoping the word will spread to a lot more people.

For anybody, or any organization that would be interested in sending toys or other items to support Operation Orphan, this is what we are suggesting:

- Coloring books and crayons
- Water painting supplies
- Dolls/ Figurines
- Balls ( rubber, soccer, etc.)
- Hot wheels
- Jumping ropes
- Yo-Yo's
- And all the normal stuff a child would enjoy playing with. It doesn't have to be new. Used toys will do just fine also!

Please know that simply ANY type of support, or passing of this information would be greatly appreciated.

Anybody who would like to assist the United States Marine Corps and my platoon with Operation Orphan can send their packages to:

1st Lieutenant Chris Smith
"Operation Orphan"
Alpha Company, 1/4, 11th MEU
UIC 40255
FPO-AP 96610-0255

Email Address: alpharaider1@yahoo.com

If you could please disseminate this information to as many people as possible it would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you very much.

Semper Fidelis,

Christopher M. Smith
1stLt/USMC


Truth to Power: "These kids are in orphanages for only one reason: because our country killed their parents."

*****SHIPPING DEADLINE: OCTOBER 7, 2004**** Do not send out items after this date.

YT's boxing up fun stuff for the kids. Please do so too. It'll do your heart good!

Bush Speak We Cringe

Clippin' Hoffmania's take on Bush's UN speech cuz he's so right:
I can't wait until he's done. He's careening all over the road. We went from terrorism and democracy, to cloning to the Sudan and back to terrorism and democracy. And he's still - STILL insisting that the people of Afghanistan and Iraq are basking in their newfound democracy. And he said the Iraqi security force is "growing." What, from zero Iraqis trained to...a half an Iraqi trained?

It's amazing that his "resolute" brain can't grasp the fact that there's a thing called "geopolitics" - Bush's warped vision of "democracy" and "freedom" simply doesn't work and is not always accepted in all parts of the world. The planet is not a toy to be comprehended by the average nine-year-old. It's complex. Bush isn't. He should not be the leader of the free world. He simply doesn't understand.

The simple folk in the red states eat this drivel up by the bucketload. But the rest of the world is looking at him like he just fell off - well, a turnip truck wouldn't get past U.N. security. Man, he's an embarrassment.
_______

He's done. In short: "I ignored all of you and created a crapstorm in two countries. Help me. Please. Pleeease."

Want some Freedom Fries with that shit sandwhich? How 'bout some Freedom Toast? C'mon, Old Europe. Don't be such Axis of Weasels. Eat.

Genuine Top Choice U.S Grade A Bullshit, it's what's for dinner.

Kofi's Choice

Kofi Annan made clear today that happy happy wasn't the world's opinion with the way Team Bush has mishandled Iraq. I dare say the UN Secretary General swiped at Preznit Bush and he looked down-right satisfied doing it:
Annan opened this year's annual debate of world leaders at the United Nations by critising Bush's plan to deliver democracy to Iraq through forcein a pointed speech aimed at underlining the importance of the rule of law.

"Those who seek to bestow legitimacy must themselves embody it, and those who invoke international law must themselves submit to it," Annan said, according to his prepared remarks.

"In Iraq, we see civilians massacred in cold blood while relief workers, journalists and other non-combatants are taken hostage and put to death in the most barbarous fashion," he said.

"At the same time, we have seen Iraqi prisoners disgracefully abused," he said, drawing a parallel between the Iraq bloodshed and the prisoner scandal in a way destined to irk Bush, who was to due to speak after Annan.

And try to speak Bush did. What was that? Oh. Right. Stay the course. Up is down. Black is white. Might makes right:
He said his mission was "not to retreat, it is to prevail."

"We will standing with the people of Afghanistan and Iraq until their hopes for freedom and liberty are fulfilled," Bush said.

All good if he wasn't completely full of shit:
"Inside the Bush administration policymaking apparatus, there is strong feeling that U.S. troops must leave Iraq next year. This determination is not predicated on success in implanting Iraqi democracy and internal stability. Rather, the officials are saying: Ready or not, here we go." - Bob Novack

[snip]

Well-placed sources in the administration are confident Bush's decision will be to get out. They believe that is the recommendation of his national security team and would be the recommendation of second-term officials.

Never mind that man behind the curtain. Now, watch this drive.

Monday, September 20, 2004

A Strident Minority

Not all of our service men and women support the Liar in Chief:

Anti-Bush US troops in Iraq

WASHINGTON – Inside dusty, barricaded camps around Iraq, groups of American troops in between missions are gathering around screens to view an unlikely choice from the US box office: "Fahrenheit 9-11," Michael Moore's controversial documentary attacking the commander-in-chief.

"Everyone's watching it," says a Marine corporal at an outpost in Ramadi that is mortared by insurgents daily. "It's shaping a lot of people's image of Bush."

[snip]

"[For] 9 out of 10 of the people I talk to, it wouldn't matter who ran against Bush -they'd vote for them," said a US soldier in the southern city of Najaf, seeking out a reporter to make his views known. "People are so fed up with Iraq, and fed up with Bush."

"Nobody I know wants Bush," says an enlisted soldier in Najaf, adding, "This whole war was based on lies." Like several others interviewed, his animosity centered on a belief that the war lacked a clear purpose even as it took a tremendous toll on US troops, many of whom are in Iraq involuntarily under "stop loss" orders that keep them in the service for months beyond their scheduled exit in order to keep units together during deployments.

"There's no clear definition of why we came here," says Army Spc. Nathan Swink, of Quincy, Ill. "First they said they have WMD and nuclear weapons, then it was to get Saddam Hussein out of office, and then to rebuild Iraq. I want to fight for my nation and for my family, to protect the United States against enemies foreign and domestic, not to protect Iraqi civilians or deal with Sadr's militia," he said.

Specialist Swink, who comes from a family of both Democrats and Republicans, plans to vote for Kerry. "Kerry protested the war in Vietnam. He is the one to end this stuff, to lead to our exit of Iraq," he said.

We shouldn't be here

Other US troops expressed feelings of guilt over killing Iraqis in a war they believe is unjust.

"We shouldn't be here," said one Marine infantryman bluntly. "There was no reason for invading this country in the first place. We just came here and [angered people] and killed a lot of innocent people," said the marine, who has seen regular combat in Ramadi. "I don't enjoy killing women and children, it's not my thing."


May all their ballots be counted.

It's Your Judgment, Stupid!

John Kerry's going to the mattresses. No WMD. No imminent threat. No Saddam links to Osama.
"Yet today, President Bush tells us that he would do everything all over again, the same way. How can he possibly be serious?" the Democratic presidential candidate said at New York University.

Sadly, Yes!
Kerry said Monday, "Is he really saying to Americans that if we had known there were no imminent threat, no weapons of mass destruction, no ties to al-Qaida, the United States should have invaded Iraq? My answer is resoundingly no because a commander in chief's first responsibility is to make a wise and responsible decision to keep America safe."

"Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator who deserves his own special place in hell," Kerry said. "But that was not, in itself, a reason to go to war. The satisfaction we take in his downfall does not hide this fact: We have traded a dictator for a chaos that has left America less secure."

Kerry's new campaign theme is Tell It Like It Is. YT like. Repugs want a plan for Iraq. Not from their guy, who got us into this mess, but from our guy...okay!
Kerry said Monday that Bush's invasion of Iraq has created a crisis that could lead to unending war and has raised questions about whether Bush's judgment is up to presidential standards. He offered his own four-point plan starting with pressing other nations for help.

_ Get more help from other nations.

_ Provide better training for Iraqi security forces.

_ Provide benefits to the Iraqi people.

_ Ensure that democratic elections can be held next year as promised.

"If the president would move in this direction ... we could begin to withdraw U.S. forces starting next summer and realistically aim to bring all our troops home within the next four years," Kerry said.

Bush's mistakes, Kerry said, "were not the equivalent of accounting errors. They were colossal failures of judgment — and judgment is what we look for in a president."

As Newsweek notes Kerry's New Call to Arms, we're heading into the homestretch. Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, FantasyLand, USA

Team Bush is wooing its latest creation, Security Moms (can we please once and for all do away with the cheesy categories?):
Bush's strategists say he is trying to reach swing voters by showing how women benefit from his national security and economic policies, and it may be working. A few polls over the past month have shown him narrowing the gender gap that has dogged Republicans since Ronald Reagan's race in 1980. Pollsters said the change is largely because security has become a bigger issue for all voters, making "security moms" one of this election's hot categories and displacing Democrat-friendly issues such as health care and education.

First of all, women haven't benefited from Bush national or international security and economic policies (Iraq. Outsourcing. Health care), and it's not working, not with me. I'm a woman. I'm a mom. I want security. I'm not a damn category.

This is what I'm talkin' about:
(CNN) -- Mothers of U.S. troops serving in Iraq will help Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry make the case Monday that President Bush's optimistic view of the war does not reflect reality, Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe said Sunday.

Kerry will make a "major address" on the issue at New York University, where at least five mothers of service members will criticize Bush's leadership in Iraq, McAuliffe told reporters in a conference call.

"They're sick and tired of George W. Bush and his rosy scenarios," he said. "They want America to know the truth, because they're talking to their sons and daughters" who have told them that Bush "is not telling the truth."

[snip]

He said the United States has become more isolated, with polls showing international opinion of U.S. policy plummeting.

"We're heading in the wrong direction in Iraq, and the president refuses to admit it," he said. "How can you fix a problem that you refuse to acknowledge exists?"

Instead, he said, Bush simply repeats that U.S.-led forces are making progress.

"He's like an ostrich with his head stuck in the sand," McAuliffe said.

Oh, he's something all right. And his head's stuck someplace, but it's not in sand.

7 Standing Os and 1 Quagmire

Two days after Bush addressed the National Guard convention and painted a rosey scenario on the quagmire that is Iraq, John Kerry spoke to the same group and told them the truth: that Bush "failed the fundamental test of leadership" by not telling the truth ``that the mission in Iraq is in serious trouble.''
While Bush received seven standing ovations during his remarks to the Guard association, Kerry's speech was greeted with polite and scattered applause. His remarks on Bush's handling of the war in Iraq were met with silence.

Why would the National Guard members cheer a man who shirked his duty when his nation called, and turn a deaf ear to a man who did two tours of duty during that same period and received -- honorably -- five medals for heroism and bravery?

Why does the National Guard hate its members?
FORT DIX, N.J. -- The 635 soldiers of a battalion of the South Carolina National Guard scheduled to depart Sunday for a year or more in Iraq have spent their off-duty hours under a disciplinary lockdown in their barracks for the past two weeks.

The trouble began Labor Day weekend, when 13 members of the 1st Battalion of the 178th Field Artillery Regiment went AWOL, mainly to see their families again before shipping out. Then there was an ugly confrontation between members of the battalion's Alpha and Charlie batteries -- the term artillery units use instead of "companies" -- that threatened to turn into a brawl involving three dozen soldiers, and required the base police to intervene.


[snip]

This Guard unit was put on an accelerated training schedule -- giving the soldiers about 36 hours of leave over the past two months -- because the Army needs to get fresh troops to Iraq, and there are not enough active-duty or "regular" troops to go around. Preparation has been especially intense because the Army is short-handed on military police units, so these artillerymen are being quickly re-trained to provide desperately needed security for convoys. And to fully man the unit, scores of soldiers were pulled in from different Guard outfits, some voluntarily, some on orders.

As members of the unit looked toward their tour, some said they were angry, or reluctant to go, or both. Many more are bone-tired. Overall, some of them fear, the unit lacks strong cohesion -- the glue that holds units together in combat.

"Our morale isn't high enough for us to be away for 18 months," said Pfc. Joshua Garman, 20, who, in civilian life, works in a National Guard recruiting office. "I think a lot of guys will break down in Iraq." Asked if he is happy that he volunteered for the deployment, Garman said, "Negative. No time off? I definitely would not have volunteered."

And those jackasses that gave Bush seven standing ovations for reciting platitudes and snubbed John Kerry for telling them the truth have the nerve call themselves patriots?

YT wishes each and every one of them would be deployed to Iraq. We'd see just how loud they clap for Bush then, wouldn't we.

Friday, September 17, 2004

He's *So* Out Of The Loop

Preznit Bush is at it again. Speaking:
"We didn't find the stockpiles we thought we would find, the stockpiles that everybody thought was there. But I do know, that he had the capability of making those weapons, and he could've passed that capability on to an enemy ... Knowing what I know today, I would've made the same decision," Bush said.

When he should be listening:
Iraq Study Finds Desire for Arms, but Not Capacity

WASHINGTON, Sept. 16 - A new report on Iraq's illicit weapons program is expected to conclude that Saddam Hussein's government had a clear intent to produce nuclear, chemical and biological weapons if United Nations sanctions were lifted, government officials said Thursday. But, like earlier reports, it finds no evidence that Iraq had begun any large-scale program for weapons production by the time of the American invasion last year, the officials said.


They're Sick I Tell Ya Sick

Recently YT read an article about students who desired to avoid on-campus Team Bush events had to present the school's administration with an absence slip signed by the kid's parents, noting names, home address, and phone number (can't remember where -- anyone else read about it? Get thee to Comments please). I remember thinking, fucking Nazis.

Tonight I see this:
All right, one more question. We got somebody over here? Sure. There you go.

Q Yesterday, a teacher of mine refused to sign an absence slip to come here. (Laughter.)

AUDIENCE: Booo!

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Booo!.

Q And she said do you realize once -- if Bush gets reelected, that he'll make a draft. And I was just wondering what your thoughts were on the draft, and if this teacher what she said was at all necessary. (Laughter.)

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Did you get your -- did you get your absence slip?

And again I think, fucking Nazis. Must they all be so revolting?

It's Genetic

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told residents of the hurricane-weary state to take the necessary precautions, prepare for the impact and listen to authorities as evacuation orders go into effect.

"This is not the time to be defiant or to kind of let people know that you're a macho man. There are other ways to do that in life," Bush said at a news conference.



Who's Your Daddy

In what has become predictable -- as far as Team Bush's rank desperation goes -- Friday's docudumpIhopenoonenoticesholyfuck! doesn't dissapoint.

Pappa Bush wrote to a General about Georgie McFlightsuit:
The Pentagon on Friday released more documents on President Bush's Vietnam-era Air National Guard Service, including a letter from his then-congressman father George Bush thanking a general for "taking interest in a brand new Air Force trainee."

Dozens of pages of documents, including historical records of the Air Guard unit in which Bush served, were released on orders from the White House.

[snip]

General Greene, this is a personal letter but I did want to write to you from the heart and thank you for what you, Sgt. (Henry) Onacki and the others are doing, and obviously doing well," (H.W.) Bush concluded.

*wink wink*
At the White House, Buchan was asked why the Bush Vietnam-era documents have been released in batches at different times and whether more could be expected.
"The Pentagon has been undertaking, at the president's direction, a very comprehensive review of the documents," she said. "We've been told that they believe they have identified all the documents."

A top Democratic Party official reacted with skepticism, saying that the latest release of documents was the fifth since Bush had promised in 2000 to deliver them.

"More documents, no answers. It's time for this White House to come clean and release all of the President's National Guard records, once and for all," Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe said in a statement.

"If the president was truly proud of his service he wouldn't be releasing these documents on a Friday night. These documents demonstrate yet again that George Bush was a fortunate son who received special consideration unavailable to the average American."

Meanwhile, Kerry's smellin' like a rose. The Navy's top gun investigator sez our guy earned his medals the honorable way.
Our examination found that existing documentation regarding the Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart medals indicates the awards approval process was properly followed," Route wrote in the memo sent Friday to Navy Secretary Gordon England.

"In particular, the senior officers who awarded the medals were properly delegated authority to do so. In addition, we found that they correctly followed the procedures in place at the time for approving these awards."

!!

Votergasm

America. Gawd love her. Ass or Trunk? Pledge to have sex with voters and nobody else. Do it for your country, man.

Blonde nod to Burnt Orange Report.

Come Out Come Out Where Ever You Are

John Kerry's crankin' up the heat on Team Bush:
"He won't tell us what congressional leaders are now saying, that this administration is planning yet another substantial call-up of reservists and Guard units immediately after the election," Kerry said. "Hide it from people through the election, then make the move."

[snip]

The White House called the allegation of a secret plan "completely irresponsible ... false and ridiculous." The Pentagon said troop replacements would include some from National Guard and Reserve units and those expected to be sent to Iraq had been notified.

Yeah. We know. Re-enlist or else.
While Bush has been campaigning as the best candidate to deter terrorists and protect the nation, his presidential rival portrayed him as out of touch with a serious and dangerous situation in Iraq.

"With all due respect to the president, has he turned on the evening news lately? Does he read the newspapers?" Kerry said. "Does he really know what's happening? Is he talking about the same war that the rest of us are talking about?"

Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania, top Democrat on the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee and a former Marine who served in Vietnam, said he had learned through conversations with Pentagon officials that beginning in November, "the Bush administration plans to call up large numbers of the military Guard and Reserves, to include plans that they previously had put off to call up the Individual Ready Reserve."

[snip]

The Bush campaign denied the assertion about secret plans.

If they're deny'n, they're lyin'.

Do The Lynndie

Loaded Mouth promotes Bad Gas' latest new craze: Doin' the Lynndie




Here are the basic instructions:

  • Find a victim who deserves to be "Lynndied".
  • Make sure you have a friend nearby with a camera ready to capture the "Lynndie".
  • Stick a cigarette (or pen) in your mouth and allow it to hang slightly below the horizontal.
  • Face the camera, tilt your upper body slightly forward but lean back on your right leg.
  • Make a hitchhiking gesture with your right hand and extend your right arm so that it's in roughly the same position as if you were holding a rifle.
  • Keeping your left arm slightly bent, point in the direction of the victim and smile.

    Ideally, you should refrain from telling the victim what you're about to do. Victims who are unaware, bemused or angry make for a Lynddie that is more in keeping with the original.

Poor taste. Don't leave home without it.

Jay, I Hardly Knew Ya

“They’re thinking of dropping Dick Cheney from the ticket. Oh great. Keep the dumb guy.”

Leno, a Leftie?
Jay Leno says, “I’m not conservative. I’ve never voted that way in my life.” He “really worries” what a Dubya victory in November will do to the makeup of the Supreme Court. He believes “the wool was pulled over our eyes” with the Iraq war. He thinks the White House began using terrorism “as a crutch” after 9/11. He feels that during the campaign Kerry should “make Bush look as stupid as possible.” He believes “the media is in the pocket of the government, and they don’t do their job” so “you have people like Michael Moore who do it for them.” He has on his joke-writing staff a number of former professional speechwriters for Democratic candidates. “No Republicans.” When it comes to Bush, he doesn’t think his politics are much different from Letterman’s. “Does he show his dislike maybe a little more than I do? Probably.” Leno used to read Mother Jones magazine.

Could it be? Is it possible? Is Leno, “the right comic,” really a closet lefty?

Yep. Interesting interview; worth reading.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Beyond The Green Zone

Not good:
The security situation in Iraq has turned increasingly worrisome in recent days -- and not even the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad is safe anymore.

"US military officers in Baghdad have warned they cannot guarantee the security of the perimeter around the Green Zone, the headquarters of the Iraqi government and home to the US and British embassies, according to security company employees," the Financial Times reported this afternoon. "At a briefing earlier this month, a high-ranking US officer in charge of the zone's perimeter said he had insufficient soldiers to prevent intruders penetrating the compound's defences."

Even more ominous, in the shadow of Tuesday's massive car bomb attack on the Iraqi police headquarters in Baghdad, is that insurgents may have already infiltrated the stronghold:

"The US major said it was possible weapons or explosives had already been stashed in the zone, and warned people to move in pairs for their own safety. The Green Zone, in Baghdad's centre, is one of the most fortified US installations in Iraq. Until now, militants have not been able to penetrate it. But insurgency has escalated this week, spreading to the centre of Baghdad. The zone is home to several thousand Iraqis, and on Sunday it came under the heaviest attack since it was established. Up to 60 unexploded rockets were found inside its perimeters after a five-hour barrage."

Add to the barrage, blood, and bullets, today's NIE and what's that spell?

Q U A G M I R E

Help can't come soon enough.

Tell It Like It Is

Oooooooooooooooo. John Kerry's in a fightin' mood and YT may fairly swoon if he keeps giving me red meat to eat.
Senator John Kerry accused President Bush today of "living in a fantasy world of spin" about Iraq and hiding the truth from the American people and the country's men and women in uniform.

"We owe you the truth," Mr. Kerry said. "True leadership is about looking people in the eye and telling the truth — even when it's hard to hear."

The Democratic presidential candidate leveled his charges in a speech to the National Guard Association in Las Vegas, where President Bush spoke two days ago.

"President Bush came before you and you received him well, as you should," Mr. Kerry said. "But I believe he failed the fundamental test of leadership. He failed to tell you the truth. You deserve better. The commander in chief must level with the troops and the nation. And as president, I will always be straight with you — on the good days, and the bad days."

Team Bush's response: Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. Kerry's mean!
If today's speech to the Guard is any indication, the challenger is not content to cede the commander-in-chief image to the president.

"I will be a president who goes into the Oval Office every morning knowing that it is my job to help you do yours," Mr. Kerry said. "I will fight for you every day, and I will never let you down."

[snip]

"He did not tell you that with each passing day, we're seeing more chaos, more violence, more indiscriminate killings," the senator said. "He did not tell you that with each passing week, our enemies are getting bolder — that Pentagon officials report that entire regions of Iraq are now in the hands of terrorists and extremists. He did not tell you that with each passing month, stability and security seem farther and farther away."

John Kerry closed his speech with a classic tune from three years ago: "Dude, Where's My Osama?"

Mr. Pot? Meet Mr. Kettle

Apparently, what's good for the gander isn't good for the goose.

Five Texas Republicans are among the members of Congress demanding that CBS retract its story about President Bush's Vietnam-era service in the Texas Air National Guard amid allegations that documents used for the story are forgeries.

[snip]

"Let's face it. When it comes to CBS News' reporting on this, this story is big on flaws and light on fact," Johnson said in a statement today. "You have to wonder, what happened to fairness and accuracy?"

Indeed. YT's sure, positively positive, that these same Repugnicans felt similarly when the Swift Liars where smearing John Kerry all over hell and back, right? Right?
Smith, one of the Texans who signed the letter, said "the American people deserve to have the facts, not biased stories, so they can make up their own minds about whom to support."

"Free people are best served by a fair and objective news media," said Smith, who has not served in the military.

Gawd! Does he mean 'fair and balanced' like his favorite propaganda channel? Who. Does. He. Think. He. Is. Fooling?!!!!

Slip-Sliding Away

You know the nearer your destination, the more you slip sliding away. Yes!


According to the latest Harris Interactive poll posted on The Wall Street Journal's website Thursday, Kerry secured 48 percent of the intended vote, compared with 47 percent for Bush.

Independent candidate Ralph Nader (news - web sites) garnered two percent of the hypothetical vote.

Hypothetical vote? Ouch. Ralph, you've come a long way, baby.

A slim majority of respondents (51 percent) said they do not believe Bush "deserves to be re-elected for another four years," compared with 45 percent who said they do, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Bush had enjoyed a slight lead of up to 11 points over Kerry in recent polls, as his party held its national convention in New York at the beginning of the month and as Kerry's records in Congress and Vietnam came under sustained attack.

Slight lead? Gimme a break. Every fucking news media all but handed Team Kerry their walking papers with that ficticious "11" point Bush lead. YT remembers watching Paula Zahn drooling over the 11 pt. lead, asking every talking head before her if Kerry was finished. Now it was a 'slight' lead. Okay.

And today, it is no lead.

Voterchausen Syndrome by Proxy

Larry David lets it rip:
I'd like to address this to the Undecideds: I'm on to you. You may be fooling everyone else with your little "undecided" act, but you're not fooling me. You know perfectly well whom you're voting for. The only reason you say you're undecided is that it's a cheap ploy to get attention. How do I know? Because I'm the most indecisive person in the world. I set the template, baby, and you're not passing the smell test.

[snip]

Oh, I've observed you in action. I've sat next to you at dinner parties and watched while everyone talked themselves silly, trying to get you on board. But you wouldn't budge, would you? You almost seemed to take some pleasure from it, just like my 8-year-old when she makes me beg her to take her medicine, you rascals.

The other night I saw a whole gaggle of you on TV in a focus group. You really liked chatting with professional pollster Frank Luntz, didn't you? He seemed very interested in what you had to say. Afterward, I could imagine all of you piling into a bus and heading for Denny's to discuss your exciting evening with Frank. I could see all of you staying friends even after the election. Maybe go on some trips together. Perhaps a wine tour of Tuscany. On bicycles! Oh, the life of the Undecided. Too bad they can't hold these presidential elections more often. Ah, well, you'll just have to make do.

The truth is, Undecideds, you're getting on our nerves. We Decideds hate all the attention you're getting and that you're jerking us around. Anyone who can't make up his or her mind at this point in the campaign should forget about the election entirely, buy a pint of ice cream and get into bed.

We'd love to tell you to take a hike, but we're afraid to alienate you. If we really had any brains, we wouldn't spend another second on you, but on the people who can truly make a difference: the "unlikely" voters. And there are millions more of them than there are of you. Those people aren't after attention, they're just incredibly lazy. The only way they'll register to vote is if someone shows up at their door with a form. And then the only way they'll actually vote is if you carry them to the booth.

Not only are they lazy, they're also indifferent. They just don't believe that voting can have an effect on their lives. Well, it just so happens that right after I voted for the first time, I landed myself a big fat job in Hollywood, a biopsy came back benign and I met my future wife as soon as I walked out of the voting booth. Coincidence? You decide.

Gotta agree with my favorite neurotic! You're either with US, against US, or fake fake fake fake faking it.

Pitiful Embarrassing Dangerous

YT adds Fucked Fucked Fucked to the Republican Senators' outrage.
"It's beyond pitiful, it's beyond embarrassing, it's now in the zone of dangerous," said Sen. Chuck Hagel (news, bio, voting record), R-Neb., referring to figures showing only about 6 percent of the reconstruction money approved by Congress last year has been spent.

[snip]

Hagel said the shift in funds "does not add up in my opinion to a pretty picture, to a picture that shows that we're winning. But it does add up to this: an acknowledgment that we are in deep trouble."

Hagel, Committee Chairman Richard Lugar, R-Ind., and other committee members have long argued — even before the war — that administration plans for rebuilding Iraq were inadequate and based on overly optimistic assumptions that Americans would be greeted as liberators.

But the criticism from the panel's top Republicans had an extra sting coming less than seven weeks before the presidential election in which President Bush (news - web sites)'s handling of the war is a top issue.

"Our committee heard blindly optimistic people from the administration prior to the war and people outside the administration — what I call the 'dancing in the street crowd,' that we just simply will be greeted with open arms," Lugar said. "The nonsense of all of that is apparent. The lack of planning is apparent."

He said the need to shift the reconstruction funds was clear in July, but the administration was slow to make the request.

"This is an extraordinary, ineffective administrative procedure. It is exasperating from anybody looking at this from any vantage point," he said.

No shit? Welcome to the party, pal. Imagine the view from six feet under.

Meanwhile Iraq burns, with no end in sight:
A U.S. intelligence report prepared for President Bush in July offered a gloomy outlook for Iraq through the end of 2005, with the worst scenario being a deterioration into civil war, U.S. government officials said on Thursday.

The report is at odds with the generally optimistic tenor of the Bush's administration's public statements on Iraq, although Bush said last week it was "still tough" there but insisted elections would be held as scheduled in January despite doubts.

The National Intelligence Estimate, which is a compilation of views from various intelligence agencies, predicted three possible scenarios ranging from a tenuous stability to political fragmentation to the most negative assessment of civil war, the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

"There doesn't seem to be much optimism," the official said.

Another official added, "It's a difficult environment, a challenging environment."

And Scottie-if-my-lips-are-moving-I'm-lyin' McClellan has the fucking nerve to call everyone not drinking the Bush Kool-aide "pessimists" and "hand-wringers."

YT's totally digging MoveOn.org's new ad: "George Bush got us into this quagmire. It will take a new president to get us out."

Are you listening, America?

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

You Say Memo I Say Awol

It's Dan Rather's story and he's sticking to it.
Nevertheless, Rather -- in an interview appearing in Wednesday's New York Observer -- said the president still should answer the questions raised by the memos.

Those questions, the online paper said, "...have remained unanswered by the Bush administration: Did Mr. Bush get preferential treatment for the Texas Air National Guard? Was then-Lt. Bush suspended for failing to perform up to Texas and Air Guard standards? Did then-Lt. Bush refuse a direct order from his military superior to take a required examination?"

"It's never been fully, completely denied by the Bush-Cheney campaign or even the White House that he was suspended for meeting the standards of the Air Force or that he didn't show up for a physical," Rather said, suggesting the absence of such a denial suggests the story is true.

Money Quote: "The focus on "questions over the veracity of the memos was a smoke screen perpetrated by right-wing allies of the Bush administration," he said. "This is your basic fogging machine, which is set up to cloud the issue, to obscure the truth."

Ooooooooooooooooo. Big Dan doesn't like being second-guessed by the Freeps. Now he knows how John Kerry feels.

Watch out, Team Bush. Hell hath no fury like a newsman scorned.

Dizzy, My Head Is Spinning

And that blow-hard Ivan has nothing to do with it.

On again, off again, the Nader v. Florida saga continues.

Ezra sez: Tune in next week for another exciting episode of "As The Chad Turns".

Not That There's Anything Wrong With That

Washington

A Hollywood television writer is the largest donor to Texans for Truth, the independent liberal group that offered $50,000 Tuesday to anyone who can prove that President Bush fulfilled his National Guard service in 1972.

Daniel O'Keefe, a consulting producer for the Jason Alexander CBS sitcom, "Listen Up," contributed $100,000 to the group, far surpassing all other donors to the 527 organization. He has also written for "Seinfeld" and "The Drew Carey Show."

[snip]

"George W. Bush continues to mislead the American people, dodging the truth about his military record," Smith said. "If the president won't come clean that he dodged his military responsibilities in Alabama during the height of the Vietnam War, we'll continue our search for the whole story."

That's what I'm talkin' about!

More Like This Please

When your back's against the wall, come out swingin':
At that convention in New York the other week, President Bush talked about his ownership society. Well Mr. President, when it comes to your record, we agree – you own it.

Of course, the President would have us believe that his record is the result of bad luck, not bad decisions. That he’s faced the wrong circumstances, not made the wrong choices. In fact, this President has created more excuses than jobs. His is the Excuse Presidency: Never wrong, Never Responsible, Never to Blame. President Bush’s desk isn’t where the buck stops – it’s where the blame begins. He’s blamed just about everyone but himself and his administration for America’s economic problems. And if he’s missed you, don’t worry – he’s still got 48 days left until the election.

Hmmmm. 48 days. What to do?

1 day phone banking. 1 day voter registration table. 1 day blogging. 1 day emailing swing voters. 1 day donate to the DNC or MoveOn.org. 1 day volunteer as poll staff. 1 day wear a Kerry/Edwards button everywhere.

Here a week, there a week, and before you know it, Kerry/Edwards will be in the White House.

Blonde nod to Atrios

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

I Feel Good

I'd first read the story of Lynne Gobbell, a woman fired from her job for sporting a Kerry/Edwards sticker in her car's back window, on Salon. I thought her boss was a jerk and a typical hate-filled Repugnican. I felt sorry for Lynne. I know how precious my job is to me and mine; if I lost it because my boss disagreed with my political views I'd be wiped out -- financially and emotionally. These are tough times, after all.

A few clicks later I read Lynne's story on Americablog, and Americablog told me that Lynne was fucked, legalwise. Couldn't sue for "political" discrimination.

Americablog decided to help out Lynne and sought donations via paypal. After the day I'd blogged, helping Lynne was the natural thing to do.

I wasn't alone!
DETROIT - Democrat John Kerry (news - web sites) has a new campaign worker helping him drum up support in Alabama after hiring a woman who was fired for displaying the presidential candidate's bumper sticker on her car.

Kerry called Lynne Gobbell on Tuesday after reading a newspaper story describing how she had been fired last Thursday from her job packing cellulose insulation at a Moulton, Ala., plant.

Gobbell said her former employer had told her she could either work for him or Kerry. She said Kerry told her, "Let him know that as of today, you're working for John Kerry."

"He was proud of me for standing up for what I believe in," the newly employed, 41-year-old said of her quick phone call with the candidate.

Gobbell said Kerry didn't offer too many details about her new position. She will be helping the campaign and may be traveling a little as it gets closer to the election.

She could receive help from another corner, as well. A liberal Web site, AMERICAblog.org, began raising money for Gobbell on Monday night after learning of her dismissal. John Aravosis, who runs the site, said he collected $1,800 over a 24-hour period.

If it feels good, do it!

Proof of Service

CNN:
The founder of the group Texans for Truth said Tuesday that he is offering $50,000 to anyone who can prove President Bush fulfilled his service requirements, including required duties and drills, in the Alabama Air National Guard in 1972.

The group made the announcement as Bush was in Las Vegas, Nevada, to address the National Guard Association's convention.

"Today would be a fine day for him to finally answer all the questions that have dogged him since he entered public life," the group's founder, Glenn Smith, said in a statement.

"Bush's dishonesty about missing from service during Vietnam goes to the heart of his presidency. He was dishonest then just as he is misleading us about why we went to war with Iraq. He dodges responsibility then just as he dodges responsibility for Iraq today."

50Gs. Think anyone can claim it? Me neither. Nice, though, to see CNN talking about it.

Blonde nod to Armtornoff.

An Open Letter to The Media

To Whom it SHOULD concern:

Every single time you mention Hurricane Ivan take a look at this picture:


Collateral Damage Has Faces Posted by Hello


Every single time you mention the Swift Boat Liars, take a look at the above picture.

Every single time you quote some stupid fucking poll showing Bush as a 'strong leader', take a look at the above picture.

Every single time you quote some Republican Bush war-apologist, take a look at the above picture.

Shame on you. Shame on everyone who supports Bush and his war of choice. Shame on us all for allowing Bush, a disgrace of a human being, to kill innocent children.

YT, silently weeping.

Blonde nod to Attaturk.

Who, Me Angry?

Damn fucking straight. YT's mad as hell. I should never watch cable news before my first bottle of wine.

Media whores. All of them. 59 and counting wannabe Iraqi policemen were blown to bits this morning, hundreds wounded, car bombs abound around Iraq killing dozens, injuring innocents, Bush was aWol, no health care for millions but assault weapons for everyone -- including terrorists! -- and what does our SCLM report...Hurricane Fucking Ivan, a storm still three days away from the American coastline. What. The. Fuck?!

The Media whores could at least report that Hurrican Ivan *ahem* forced Jeb Bush's elections chief to allow Ralph Nader on the Florida ballot, despite a court order.

What's really got YT riled today is John F. Kerry. His advisors are sucking ass and he's allowing them to blow his campaign. If he loses in November, it'll be his own fault. Paul Krugman echos my thought exactly:
U.S. news organizations are under constant pressure to report good news from Iraq. In fact, as a Newsweek headline puts it, "It's worse than you think." Attacks on coalition forces are intensifying and getting more effective; no-go zones, which the military prefers to call "insurgent enclaves," are spreading - even in Baghdad. We're losing ground.

And the losses aren't only in Iraq. Al Qaeda has regrouped. The invasion of Iraq, intended to demonstrate American power, has done just the opposite: nasty regimes around the world feel empowered now that our forces are bogged down. When a Times reporter asked Mr. Bush about North Korea's ongoing nuclear program, "he opened his palms and shrugged."

Yet many voters still believe that Mr. Bush is doing a good job protecting America.

If Senator John Kerry really has advisers telling him not to attack Mr. Bush on national security, he should dump them. When Dick Cheney is saying vote Bush or die, responding with speeches about jobs and health care doesn't cut it.

Mr. Kerry should counterattack by saying that Mr. Bush is endangering the nation by subordinating national security to politics.

Yes! It's true. Why isn't Kerry nailing Bush on national security? It is supposed to be Bush's strongest asset and yet we all know it is in fact his weakest. Why hasn't Kerry held a press conference and ripped Team Bush a new ass, over and over again, about Bush's failed policies in Iraq. When does John Kerry demand, like he did three decades ago, that not another soldier should die for a mistake???????!

What does Kerry have to lose by getting tough on Bush's national and international security failings? The Presidency? YT has a bit of advice for Mr. Kerry: You'll damn sure lose in November if you don't.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Coward in Chief

The Dog Fight and The Gadflyer's Paul Waldman agree: Bush is a Girlie Man.

By god, George W. Bush is a real man.

Or is he? We certainly know that Bush wants us to believe he's a real man - in fact, there are few things he works harder at. Sometimes it seems as if the entire might of the United States government is being wielded for the purpose of creating photo ops where Bush can look manly

[snip]

New York Times columnist Frank Rich recently noted that "castration warfare has been a Republican staple ever since Michael Dukakis provided the opening by dressing up like Snoopy to ride a tank." Democrats are understandably frustrated that Bush has been so successful at painting John Kerry as the one possessed of insufficient testosterone, down to calling his Vietnam service into question. After all, when their country called them to go into harm's way, Kerry said, "Where do I sign?" while Bush said, "How do I get out of this?"

Vietnam was hardly the last time Bush would show himself to be something of a sissy-boy. In fact, when you begin to think about his history, an unmistakable picture emerges: George W. Bush is a coward.

I do not use the word lightly. Speaking as someone born too late to be drafted, I can't say whether I would have been brave enough to follow John Kerry's course into Vietnam. But Bush's cowardice doesn't only emerge when his physical safety is at stake (although he's quite happy to proclaim his courageous indifference to dangers that will be faced by others, i.e. "Bring ‘em on"). Let's look at some other cases:

  • When Bush was told that America was under attack by terrorists, he froze like a deer in the headlights, sitting there listening to "My Pet Goat" for seven interminable minutes before someone came and told him it was OK for him to get up and start doing something presidential. Ask a Bush partisan about this and their spinning will generate enough centrifugal force to suck in anything in the room that isn't bolted down. He was trying to reassure the children, they'll say, and project strength. When Ari Fleischer held up a sign that read, "Don't say anything yet," a real man would not have complied, as Bush did. A real man would have stood up, said, "It's been wonderful to meet you children, but I have to go" and gone to check on the status of the country he was supposed to be leading.

  • When the September 11 commission wanted to question the President, he ran like a little girl who just saw a spider. First, he said he wouldn't testify. Then he said he'd talk to them, but not under oath, and only for an hour. Finally he agreed, but only so long as no one recorded the session, and Dick Cheney came along to bail him out if things got uncomfortable. These weren't just the actions of a man who had something to hide, they were the actions of a man afraid to answer for what he did and didn't do. And what kind of a wimp can't be questioned without his vice president by his side?

  • Bush has held only twelve solo press conferences in his presidency, fewer than any other modern president, and you can rest assured there won't be another one between now and November. A real man would take questions from the press, even if some of them are going to be confrontational.

  • At his last disastrous press conference, Bush couldn't bring himself to admit to a single mistake he had made in office. Real men admit it when they're wrong.

  • No undecided voters - let alone Democrats - are allowed into Bush campaign events, lest the farcical "Ask the President" events include a question that is not accompanied by fulsome praise of Bush's greatness. A real man would have the guts to encounter voters who don't already love him.

  • Bush's representatives are now pushing to eliminate from the schedule of debates the "town hall" scheduled to take place in St. Louis. According to news reports, they are concerned that, though the audience is supposed to consist of undecided voters, a Kerry supporter might sneak in and get to ask a question. What kind of a wimp is scared of answering a question from someone who supports his opponent? After all, Bush is supposed to be the president of all Americans not just those who support him. But he doesn't seem to have the guts to look voters in the eye.
Money Quote: "And of course, he was a cheerleader in high school. How girlie is that?"