s skippy the bush kangaroo: October 2003

skippy the bush kangaroo



Friday, October 31, 2003

die bolder

thanks to atrios, we find this bosglobe report on the myriad of internet activists who have, in spite of cease-and-desist orders from diebold, cached incriminating memos from that company about the problems with their voting machines on various websites throughout the internet (no! we didn't coin that phrase! al gore did!)

"these legal threats are an acknowledgment of the horrific security risks of electronic voting," said sacramento-based programmer jim march, who received a cease and desist order last month but continues to publish the documents on his personal web site.

in one series of e-mails, a senior engineer dismisses concern from a lower-level programmer who questions why the company lacked
certification for a customized operating system used in touch-screen voting machines.
the federal election commission requires voting software to be certified by an independent research lab.

in another e-mail, a diebold executive scolded programmers for leaving software files on an internet site without password protection.

"this potentially gives the software away to whomever wants it," the manager wrote in the e-mail.
march contends the public has a right to know about diebold security problems.

"the cease-and-desist orders are like a drug dealer saying, 'hey, cop, give me back my crack.' it's an incredible tactical blunder," he said.


and thanks to atrios reader nebs, here's a page from why-war.com with a listing and diary of the various activist cites that have mirrored the said memos.
posted by skippy at 5:42 PM | 0 comments

that's debatable

calpundit tells us one of his commenters has been chosen to ask a question in next tuesday's dem debate. so he's opened a thread for suggestions.

here's ours: why the f*ck don't you guys actually listen to your constituents? ok, ok, we wouldn't word it that way. we'd never go to a nationally-televised debate and use such a disrespectful phrase like "you guys."
posted by skippy at 12:55 PM | 0 comments

happy halloween from the bush economic team

credit where credit is due, and the same for debits, too.

the economy posted a huge gain in the last quarter, with the gross domestic product rising by an astounding 7.2%, the largest jump in 20 years.

both yahoo and the csmonitor hail this as proof the economic turnaround is actually here. yahoo:

top analysts surveyed in the latest blue chip economic indicators poll expect the economy to moderate to a 3.7% pace in the fourth quarter and maintain that pace in the first quarter of 2004.

the monitor:

“this quarter makes a case for a year ahead of above-potential growth," says bob gay, an economist at commerzbank securities in new york.

some of this growth will continue almost immediately into the fourth quarter. business has run down inventories and now has to replace them to keep up with their accelerated sales rate. "when they start restocking, it will be a further boost to the growth curve," says tom duesterberg, president of the manufacturers alliance/mapi, a business group.


we can only hope they are right. but, as noted in the post below, nathan newman thinks the deficit is the reason growth is so huge...in other words, if you borrow a truck load of money, you look pretty damn rich.

max sawicky thinks that without the jobs returning to the economy, the gdp growth is meaningless.

brad de long notes that in spite of the gdp jump, consumer spending fell .3%, not a good thing.

paul krugman reminds us 18 months ago, the gdp went up 5.8%, then was revised to 5.0%, then the next quarter went down to 1.3%, and we lost 600,000 jobs.

megan mcardle is just giddy, breaking out the champagne, but even she admits awol's economic policies have had a "marginal effect." (she also remembers oct. 29th was the 74th anniversary of the stock market crash).

we ourselves hope the economy continues to grow. we can't believe some pundits think the dems and the lefty's hope the economy does badly. after all, we're in the economy, and we need jobs and money as much as the next guy. it's rather like thinking we hope the titanic sinks because we don't like the way the captain has been commanding our voyage.

whatever happens, skippy will still send in his unemployment form on sunday.
posted by skippy at 12:51 PM | 0 comments

boo! it's the scary skippy mailbag! boooo!

let's open the ol' skippy mailbag. what's this inside? oh no! it's a decapitated kangaroo head! aaaaahhhhhhhhhggggghhhh!!!! help me help me help!

ok, now for the real mail:

frank over at orwellian times sent us a clarification about "project pink slip bush." they are planning on sending out actual dead trees snail mail in this physical reality, so the $3 they are asking for will cover the postage. we recommend everyone read the pink slip, it's very funny. and, with the clarification that the money goes to postage, we change our recommendation from "not" to "hot."

now, over here we have -- aaarrgggh!!! it's a disembowled koala bear! yeeeeeooooowwww!!!!!

ok, really, what we have is a missive from nathan newman, who writes us that he's blogging about "bush's boom" which is actually a "booming debt."

we ourselves were going to blog about the unprecidented economic growth numbers of last quarter, and we did, up above this post, but nathan puts it with more details and better (read: any) graphics than ours:

given the economic steroids being injected into the economy in the form of low interest rates and massive deficits, it's hard to take seriously celebration over one quarter of growth, especially with the pathetic job creation. if this is all bush can generate maxxing out the public credit card to inject money into the economy, it means the underlying economy-- without the artificial stimulants -- is truly sad. as lloyd bentsen once said of the reagan "boom", "you know, if you let me write $200 billion worth of hot checks every year, i could give you the illusion of prosperity too."

well, let's close up the ol' skippy mailbag...oh no, what's that? gads, it's a knife-wielding maniac wearing a platypus mask! and he's headed right for us!

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!! rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!! gggggggggggggh!!! hhhhhhhhhh!!!!

posted by skippy at 12:17 PM | 0 comments

Thursday, October 30, 2003

say hello

to the league of liberals.
posted by skippy at 6:27 PM | 0 comments

and no health benefits either

orwellian times sends us a note that they are starting project pink slip bush...which would involve their sending a pink slip to awol on your behalf.

they are unfortuantely asking for a fee for this endeavor, which forces us to declare that, while we endorse the pink slip, we do not necessarily endorse the fee. but it don't cost nothing to read their blog.
posted by skippy at 6:26 PM | 0 comments

more on the war that keeps on giving

thanks to lunaville's iraq coalition count page, we find this story from koco channel 5 in oklahoma: military wife has questions about how husband died.

pvt. jason m. ward had complained that he wasn't feeling well when he called home from iraq. but the army's description of jason ward's death one week ago in baghdad as "non-combat related" didn't include if the stomach and intestinal problems he had played a role.

for the last several weeks, the illness seemed to worsen and, according to a phone call he made to his mother last week, the army was sending him back to the united states, presumably for treatment.

the family expected to see the 25-year-old by the weekend.

"it was the hardest thing i've ever had to do, telling our son that he wasn't going to see his father again after all," jordan ward said. "he took it really bad."


on a slightly related subject, lunaville has started a new page, this one keep track of u.s. fatalities in operation enduring freedom, the name of the occupation over in afghanistan.
posted by skippy at 3:51 PM | 0 comments

sign us up!

some of you may not know it, but the nra has a blacklist of people whom it doesn't want its members to support, either with commerce or philosophy.

an organization called stop the nra.com has been promoting this fact, and lo and behold, suddenly there's a rush to get signed onto the blacklist, according to the australian broadcasting corporation:

actor dustin hoffman was so dismayed to find his name missing from the nra's shadowy 19-page list of us companies, celebrities and news organisations seen as lending support to anti-gun policies that he wrote to the powerful pro-gun lobby group begging to be included.

"as a supporter of comprehensive anti-gun safety measures, i was deeply disappointed when i discovered my name was not on the list," hoffman wrote in a letter to the nra.

"i was particularly surprised by the omission given my opposition to the loophole that makes it legal for 18- to 20-year-olds to buy handguns at gun shows," he added.

hoffman's name has now been added to the list, which reads like a who's who of american business, culture and religion.

it which ranges from the american jewish congress to a&m records, abc news america and talk show queen oprah winfrey.


apparently, the blacklist has (pun intended) backfired, as its popularity grows among celebrities and national figures. if you'd like to get your name on the list, go here.
posted by skippy at 12:32 PM | 0 comments

let's open the ol' skippy mailbag

our mortal enemy ayn clouter writes about her idea to rename the california democrats.

our reader and good friend rose sends us the uk guardian's report about the fox news channel threatening to sue the simpsons (she also directs our attention to a new blog, the daily jive).
posted by skippy at 11:54 AM | 0 comments

congratulations!

you are the 250,000th visitor to skippy!
posted by skippy at 11:49 AM | 0 comments

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

we all have choices

the folks down at e-the people have started a new blog specifically geared towards discussing america's foreign policy. it's called amercianchoices.org, and we highly recommend that everyone check it out.
posted by skippy at 4:38 PM | 0 comments

walking the walk and stalking the stalk

through some sort of contorted mobeus logic, atrios has gotten an email from a lawyer threatening to sue atrios for calling a self-proclaimed stalker a stalker. or something.

atrios linked to the web site of donald luskin (leader of the nro's krugman truth squad). atrios captioned the link "diary of a stalker," which, we imagine, he got from luskin's own headline in nro: "we stalked. he balked" (the "he" refers to paul krugman, a man with whom luskin seems to be obsessed, and please, no fagele traction jokes).

the letter states in part,

mr. luskin demands that you remove the october 7th link and caption, and the comments section associated with that caption, as well as the comments posted in response to another link that you posted on october 10th, titled “liberal incivility watch,” immediately. this is your opportunity to resolve this matter without legal expense and exposure to liability and damages. if the offending posts are not removed within 72 hours, further legal action will be taken.

somehow the lawyer, one mr. jeffrey j. upton, has come upon a novel legal theory that atrios is responsible for the comments posted by readers in his comments section, and that those comments are themselves libelous.

given that luskin is a semi-public figure, and he calls himself a stalker in his own column, we would be interested to see how far mr. upton, esq., is willing to take this case before somebody cites o'reilly v. franken and laughs him out of court.

we'll keep you posted.
posted by skippy at 4:09 PM | 0 comments

the war that keeps on giving part 2 soldiers killed in explosion

cbsnews reports two u.s. soldiers were killed in a blast in baghdad today.

two american soldiers were killed when their abrams battle tank was damaged by resistance fighters, and seven ukrainian troops were wounded in the first ambush of a multinational unit in the polish sector south of baghdad, coalition officials said wednesday.

the tank was disabled when it was struck by a land mine or a roadside bomb tuesday night during a patrol near balad, 45 miles north of baghdad, said maj. josslyn aberle, a spokeswoman for the 4th infantry division. a third crewman was evacuated to a u.s. hospital in germany, she said.


unfortunately, as kos points out, these deaths put the official post-war death toll higher than the number of dead in the actual war. yahoo points out:

u.s. military deaths from hostile fire in iraq have reached a grim landmark with the post-war toll surpassing the numbers killed during the invasion itself.

the military reported wednesday the deaths of two more american soldiers when their tank ran over a bomb about 75 miles north of baghdad tuesday night.

the pentagon said this brought to 117 the number of troops killed since president bush declared major combat over on may 1. the toll surpassed the 115 killed during the actual war launched on march 20 that toppled saddam hussein from power

posted by skippy at 11:42 AM | 0 comments

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

mission: improbable

awol has done it again. it is no wonder that rove doesn't let the boy do more press conferences. awol gave one today (his tenth in 2 and half years, according to the faux news crawl) and he spewed out yet another blatant falsehood.

no, we aren't talking about when he claimed the world is more peaceful and free "under my leadership." that we took just to be a joke.

rather we are talking about awol's assertion that the "mission accomplished" banner hanging across the uss lincoln in may when he did his tom cruise imitation was not hung by his staff.

[ed. note: in spite of the stuffing in his flight suit, awol himself is also not hung by his staff.]

well, once again awol forgets that in the 21st century, people can actually check facts. they've got a new thing, it's called computers, look into it, awol.

the arizona republic reports that, of course, this assertion is wrong. the white house actually had the sign made, although they still insist it was at the behest of the crew of the uss lincoln.

six months after he spoke on an aircraft carrier deck under a banner proclaiming "mission accomplished," president bush disavowed any connection with the war message. later, the white house changed its story and said there was a link...

when it was brought up again tuesday at a news conference, bush said, "the 'mission accomplished' sign, of course, was put up by the members of the uss abraham lincoln, saying that their mission was accomplished."

"i know it was attributed somehow to some ingenious advance man from my staff - they weren't that ingenious, by the way."


yeah, we could have guessed that much, awol!

after the news conference, a white house spokeswoman said the lincoln's crew asked the white house to have the sign made. the white house asked a private vendor to produce the sign, and the crew put it up, said the spokeswoman. she said she did not know who paid for the sign.

who paid for the sign? you mean, she did not know which office signed the voucher to allocate tax payer money to pay for the sign. we frickin' paid for the sign, last april 15, when awol's buddies were getting their tax cuts! that's who frickin' paid for the sign, lady!

and we're still paying for it...
posted by skippy at 8:03 PM | 0 comments

meanwhile, in the other war...

lest we forgot the war in afghanistan, abcnews reminds us about it with a report that two contractors for the cia were killed near the village of shkin.

two contractors working for the cia were killed in an ambush in afghanistan, the agency said tuesday.

william carlson, 43, of southern pines, n.c., and christopher glenn mueller, 32, of san diego, were "tracking terrorists operating in the region" of shkin, a village in eastern afghanistan, when they were killed saturday, the cia said in a statement.

both were veterans of military special operations forces, the cia said.

posted by skippy at 11:59 AM | 0 comments

happy ramadan everybody

car bombs keep on exploding in iraq. today one such bomb killed four iraqi's when it exploded outside of a police station in fallujah, says the nytimes.

the attack in falluja, about 40 miles west of baghdad, appeared to fit the pattern of the suicide car bombings in the capital on monday in which attackers detonated vehicles laden with explosives at or near four police stations and at the international committee of the red cross headquarters.

at least 34 people were killed and more than 200 wounded in those bombings, which appeared to open a new phase in the guerrilla war against the american occupation of the country.

in the falluja attack, the car bomb exploded near a school about 200 yards from the station. five people were wounded.


and the troops keep on dying as well. a u.s. soldier was killed and six others were wounded in a rocket-propelled grenade attack in baghdad yesterday, says yahoo.

a spokesman said the troops from the u.s. army's 1st armored division came under attack while destroying "improvised explosive devices" -- a term the military uses to describe makeshift bombs often left by roadsides to target soldiers.

the death brought to 114 the number of u.s. soldiers killed by hostile fire since president bush declared major combat over on may 1 in the war that ousted saddam hussein as iraqi leader.

the attack came on the bloodiest day in baghdad since saddam's fall in april. four suicide bombings killed at least 35 people and wounded 230 in attacks on the international committee of the red cross and three iraqi police stations.

posted by skippy at 11:57 AM | 0 comments

Monday, October 27, 2003

we got her babe

atrios has a transcript of caller's comments to c-span, about the terrible way our wounded troops are being hidden out of sight from the rest of the country. the caller was an entertainer with the uso who had visited the troops as part of a morale-boosting, and the caller turns out to be none other than cher.
posted by skippy at 11:40 AM | 0 comments

say hello

to the old fashioned patriot.
posted by skippy at 11:26 AM | 0 comments

missed by that much

that's gotta be what the iraqi bombers are thinking as paul wolfowitz walked away from saturday's rocket propelled grenade attack of the al-rashid hotel in baghdad (which left one soldier killed and at least 15 iraqi's injured).

but it only got worse yesterday. reader and friend rose sent us the nbc30 article telling of yesterday's spree of bomb attacks which killed 40 in baghdad.

car bombers struck the international red cross headquarters and three police stations across baghdad on monday, killing about 40 people on the first day of the muslim holy month of ramadan, according to police and red cross reports.

about a dozen people were killed at the red cross, and 27 were killed in bombing attacks at police stations. more than 200 were injured in the attacks, which took place in the span of about an hour.


we suppose awol will complain the news is only showing bad stuff about iraq. yeah, like, all the killing?

posted by skippy at 11:26 AM | 0 comments

Saturday, October 25, 2003

say hello

to hell for halliburton.
posted by skippy at 7:31 PM | 0 comments

who cares about facts, we've got memes!

we wrote about specialist shoshana johnson getting only 30% disability from the army, while jessica lynch is getting 80%, after they had both been ambushed and captured by the iraqi's (they were in the same squad).

in our comments section, some readers, more than one (ok, ok, two), said that it didn't seem unfair to them, because johnson got shot in both legs, but lynch was paralyzed.

wow. that was the first we had heard of that. so we did a quick google news search, and you know what? that's also the last we heard of that.

of course, there's plenty of google hits in the non-news section of blogtopia. (yes! we coined that phrase!) but most of those come from blogs on the right side of the aisle. what a surprise!

to be precise, the associated press reports about lynch's progress:

[army spokesman maj. steve] stover disputed reports that lynch had been discharged this summer. he said lynch is on the temporary disability retired list -- which has a five-year limit -- and has not technically been discharged. she will be re-evaluated periodically and if recovered sufficiently, she could go back on active duty or request a discharge.

so even if -- if -- lynch is "paralyzed," apparently the army expects her to recover enough to go back into active duty.

but why let facts get in the way of a perfectly good argument?
posted by skippy at 5:25 PM | 0 comments

if you believed in omens, this one's a no-brainer

not that we think the supreme diety has any hand whatsoever in the art of movie-making (elsewise how could you ever explain "dude, where's my car?") but we do find it telling that the actor playing jesus in mel gibson's new film "the passion" was struck by lightning on the set. the nypost reports:

mel gibson had better hope god isn't a movie critic - the actor who plays jesus in his new film was struck by lightning during production, as was an assistant director, it was reported yesterday.

star jim caviezel and jan michelini were hit during filming on location outside rome, said vlife, a supplement to the showbiz paper variety.
"i'm about a hundred feet away from them, when i glance over and see lightning coming out of caviezel's ears. both caviezel and michelini got struck," producer steve mceveety told the paper.


perhaps mr. caviezel was just collateral damage...apparently god was aiming for mr. michelini, who had already been struck by lightning before.

it was the second time michelini was hit. months earlier, a lightning bolt struck him during filming on an italian hilltop near the city of matera. that bolt also hit as he held an umbrella.

michelini's double hit led the rest of the crew to nickname him "lightning boy," vlife said.


the film has been controversial with jewish leaders who find the "literal interpretation" of the new testament anti-semintic.

or maybe god is still pissed about "what women want."
posted by skippy at 5:06 PM | 0 comments

will blog for food

we have been keeping a low profile as of late on the issue of bloggers asking for money and/or prizes from their reading public as voluntary compensation for their blogging efforts, because, well, the last time we spoke up we pissed off all of our blogging friends.

but lately our daily hit rate has been dropping. (gee, just because we haven't been blogging as much, suddenly people stop reading what little work we bother to put up! imagine that!)

so, we either blog about gun control, or else bring up the unpleasant subject of getting something for almost nothing.

and the reason we do (other than our natural tendency to poke big sticks into hornets' nests) is a comment from our pal elayne riggs. she directs us to a post she put on her own paypal-laden blog:

but asking folks to pay for my favorite years-long hobby, writing in a one-to-many venue, when at long last i'm able to do so without spending a penny? heck no. that's why i've added the note under the paypal button on my sidebar. i've never done a single paypal transaction, and have no idea if the button even does what it's supposed to; it's there mostly for convenience and just in case. and that's why i will continue to tsk-tsk at bloggers who blatantly request their readers to monetarily support their hobbies, no matter how politely. even people i otherwise respect and admire. nobody's making us blog, nobody's pressing us into hard labor. we blog for the love of it, for the ego boost, because we want to share, because maybe we'll go bonkers if we don't, any number of reasons. and if we choose to go with a service that isn't free, that's our choice and our responsibility to allot the necessary funds, not the responsibility of our readers.

again, we have to agree with elayne. we don't want to rub anybody's nose it in, and for heaven's sake, we still believe everyone has a right to do what ever they want to as long as it's not hurting someone else, but we still think asking people to subsidize what amounts to your hobby is a bit smarmy, for the lack of a better word.

if you really want to get paid for being a pundit, work hard at it and get a job like alterman or conason. it ain't easy. but it is what separates the professionals from us amateurs. and, as amateurs, we don't expect any of our readers to give us money just because we are particularly witty or insightful (ok, probably just witty).

blogger is free. nobody needs to be out any money at all to blog. just time. and it's your time to give freely. if the cause you are trying to propound is not worth your time, if your ideas are not sufficiently important enough for you to work at getting them out to the world at large without expecting renumeration from that self-same world at large, then please, keep a diary, which you can buy at any stationery store (or maybe you can convince someone to give you the money).

thusly we have no paypal button. if you like our work so frickin' much you just have to give money somewhere, choose your favorite charity and give it to them in our name.

thanks.

and we think everyone should shoot people that like guns. (there, that ought to get our comments section going!)
posted by skippy at 4:24 PM | 0 comments

this week in the war that keeps on giving

today has not been a good day in iraq:

three soldiers were wounded by a roadside bomb in baghdad today, says yahoo.

also today, a separate roadside bomb killed three civilians and wounded two near habbaniya, reports reuters.

also, the police chief of amarah was shot dead after prayers at a mosque, says canada's mytelus.

and finally today, a black hawk helicopter crashed near tikrit, amidst eye-witness reports it was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade, says the bbc.

earlier this week, a mortar attack killed two soldiers near samara and another soldier died in a small arms fight near mosul yesterday, says the ap.

one soldier was killed and two wounded when an explosion hit their convoy on thursday, says reuters.

centcom reported on wednesday that two soldiers died in non-combat incidents, [ed. note: which may or may not have been self-inflicted].

on wednesday, two soldiers were wounded in a bomb attack on their convoy in baghdad, says the austrailian broadcasting corp.

on tuesday, on soldier was killed and one injured in a maintenance accident in balad.

we have previously reported monday's deaths.

all in all, we agree with jimmy breslin's headline: remembering those lost for iraqi oil.

as usual, we stole most of these links from lunaville's iraq coalition casualty count page.
posted by skippy at 4:20 PM | 0 comments

Friday, October 24, 2003

saving private lynch; lynching private saves

from atrios, we find the story of army specialist shoshana johnson, a u.s. soldier from the same unit as pfc jessica lynch. johnson was also wounded in the iraqi war (shot in both legs) and captured by the iraqis during the same ambush as lynch. but is johnson closing a book deal and signing on for a mini-series with cbs? no, she's getting discharged at 30% disability benefits. from bet.com:

a few days ago, military brass informed her that [johsnon] would receive a 30 percent disability benefit for her injuries. lynch, who is white, was discharged in august and will receive an 80 percent disability benefit.

the difference amounts to $600 or $700 a month in payments, and that is causing johnson and her family to speak out. the are so troubled by what they see as a "double standard," that they have enlisted rev. jesse jackson to help make their case to the news media.

jackson, who plans to plead johnson's cause with the white house, the pentagon and members of congress, says the payment smacks a double standard and racism.

"here's a case of two women, same [unit], same war; everything about their service commitment and their risk is equal. . . . yet there's an enormous contrast between how the military has handled these two cases," jackson told the washington post.



posted by skippy at 5:08 PM | 0 comments

cursor! foiled again!

a quick look around cursor.org:

editor & publisher says that press underreports wounded in iraq.

commondreams says wellstone is gone, but not forgotten.

abcnews reports scalia ridicules court's gay sex ruling.

david corn asks, if bush doesn't read the papers, how can he say the papers misreport the news from iraq?

and we join cursor is congratulating eric alterman for his new column "think again," in the center for american progress (although cursor, your link is bad...we got a very nice essay by gayle smith and robert boorstein about the rumsfeld memo...interesting, but not alterman).
posted by skippy at 12:45 PM | 0 comments

setting the pie lower

paul krugman, in the nytimes, takes on treasury secretary john snow's recent remarks that prosperity is just around the corner.

still, mr. snow may get lucky, and the job market may pick up. but his prediction was a huge climb-down from administration predictions earlier this year, when the white house insisted that it expected the economy to add more than five million jobs by next november...

bear in mind that the payroll employment figure right now is down 2.6 million compared with what it was when george w. bush took office. so mr. snow is predicting that his boss will be the first occupant of the white house since herbert hoover to end a term with fewer jobs available than when he started. this is what he calls success?


mr. krugman goes on to remind us that we need way more new jobs than we lost in the coming years, to not only make up for the folks who are un- and under- employed, but for the new kids graduating from school into the work force. and he thinks the administration itself doesn't really see such a thing happening:

mr. bush's handlers have often managed to have small achievements hailed as triumphs by persuading people to set the bar very low. now his officials are trying to convince the public that if, after several years of dismal performance, they can achieve one year of job creation at a rate below the average rate bill clinton achieved over eight years, this will constitute a great economic victory.

we've noticed this ourselves during the past year. in 2002 all we heard was, "the economy's going to really go gang-busters next year!" then in the first part of the year, we heard "things should really turn around in the second half of this year!" then in the third quarter we heard the predictions, "the fourth quarter should show some solid growth!" and now we are hearing "the economy's going to really go gang-busters next year!"
posted by skippy at 12:31 PM | 0 comments

as goes new hampshire, so goes vermont

zogby has dean surging ahead in new hampshire in his latest poll: 40% for dean, compared to 17% for john kerry, the closest contender. you don't even want to know how lieberman is doing.
posted by skippy at 12:09 PM | 0 comments

happy united nations day from the bush economic team

the "prosperity is just around the corner" crowd keeps monopolizing the news media, and by gosh, if you say something often enough, it becomes true. everybody who believes in fairies clap your hands!

cnnmoney reports that a leading gauge of the economy "inched up" this month, proving that things are getting better, so stop whining about being out of work for two years already! shut up, be happy!

the economic cycle research institute, a private forecasting group, said its leading index crept up to 128.8 in the week ended oct. 17, from a downwardly revised reading for the previous week of 127.5. the gains also were helped by a drop in jobless claims.

the report states that "a rise in stock prices" helped push the index higher.

so apparently, it hadn't taken this last week into account.

we wonder how those experts, who obviously have jobs, would react if they were in barbara card atkinson's position. she wrote an article in the csmonitor entitled "underemployed: a euphemism for violent lifestyle change":

in our house, bush's child-tax rebate checks went to past-due utility bills, groceries, and a full tank of gas. so much for stimulating the economy.

my husband and i are two of the almost 1 million "underemployed" in this country - a demure label for a violent lifestyle change. we, with our college degrees and previous incarnations as latte-swilling yuppies, are now attempting - and failing badly - to keep our family of four afloat on an average combined income of substantially less than $1,000 a month.

like those others, we're holding our breath, waiting for the economy to rebound. for us, it's been more than a year. our personal trajectory in the high-tech flameout happened to so many others that it's now cliché: the faltering of a dotcom job, the bankruptcy of a software company. we had great connections, my husband and i, so finding another job wouldn't be a problem, we thought.

we thought wrong. we're now far below the poverty line, both working entry-level jobs.


and in usatoady, there is a report on other folks who are "making do" with severely-lower paying jobs in awol's america:

two years ago, john van ness earned six figures and supervised employees. now, the laid-off sun microsystems manager sells plumbing supplies at home depot.

"it's a job; it's a paycheck," says van ness, 57, of san jose, calif., who lost his job in 2001 and has seen his income drop from $125,000 a year to about $25,000. "but i'd like to get back to something i really enjoy doing."…

nearly 5 million people who want full-time jobs have settled for part-time work because of economic conditions, up roughly 30% from 3 million in july 2000, according to september unemployment data from the department of labor.

of job seekers ages 25 to 40 who are considering an hourly job as a temporary replacement for a career job, nearly one in three — 27% — investigate hourly work less than one month after their career jobs end, according to a poll by online employment site snagajob.

with the unemployment rate at 6.1% in september, managers and professionals with college degrees are competing with high school students for entry-level jobs.
posted by skippy at 12:07 PM | 0 comments

Thursday, October 23, 2003

say hello

to a marine's girl. it's a pretty interesting blog containing second-hand news from the iraqi front, straight from the girl's boyfriend, who is, as the title suggests, a marine.
posted by skippy at 6:40 PM | 0 comments

don't call them awol, and don't call them mr. president, either

daily kos reader al rodgers alerted us to this story from yahoo news: some troops don't return from r & r.

more than a dozen american troops haven't return to duty after getting a vacation from iraq, the pentagon said tuesday, dismissing suggestions there is any significant awol problem.

there certainly is an awol problem. he's sitting in the oval office.

sixteen of some 3,000 troops failed to show up at airports in baltimore and germany for return flights to the persian gulf region, said army spokesman joe burlas. none has been declared "absent without leave" as officials try to sort out the cases.

no problem! newsdays reports the pentagon is going to call up 30,000 more reservists! that war must be going well!

posted by skippy at 11:17 AM | 0 comments

if they don't see it, it didn't happen

dana milbank writes an important washpost piece analyzing awol's edict that the dead returning home from iraq receive no media coverage.

in march, on the eve of the iraq war, a directive arrived from the pentagon at u.s. military bases. "there will be no arrival ceremonies for, or media coverage of, deceased military personnel returning to or departing from ramstein [germany] airbase or dover [del.] base, to include interim stops," the defense department said, referring to the major ports for the returning remains...

president bush's opponents say he is trying to keep the spotlight off the fatalities in iraq. "this administration manipulates information and takes great care to manage events, and sometimes that goes too far," said joe lockhart, who as white house press secretary joined president bill clinton at several ceremonies for returning remains. "for them to sit there and make a political decision because this hurts them politically -- i'm outraged."


well, we suppose that's not really the important thing, as long as awol himself pays respect to the fallen, right?

a white house spokesman said bush has not attended any memorials or funerals for soldiers killed in action during his presidency as his predecessors had done, although he has met with families of fallen soldiers and has marked the loss of soldiers in memorial day and sept. 11, 2001, remembrances.

oh. never mind.

anyway, thanks to cursor.org, we can listen to mr. milbank discuss his findings on npr's talk of the nation.

also from cursor, albeit a different subject: a follow up on terry gross v. bill o'reilly.



posted by skippy at 10:52 AM | 0 comments

little yellow smiley face arrested with illegal wal-mart workers

the little yellow smiley face guy that rolls back prices at wal-mart while whistling "put on a happy face" was one of over 300 workers arrested as illegal immigrants in a nation-wide sweep of the national chain store today.

newday.com says:

the workers, members of cleaning crews that the company hired through a contractor, were arrested as they finished their night shifts at stores in 21 states. all were in the country illegally, according to garrison courtney, a spokesman with immigration and customs enforcement.

the little yellow smiley face guy was in the country illegally from his own native land, iconia, a small island nation in the mediterranean.

other iconians have successfully integrated into this country legally. both silhouette man that looks like he's break dancing and large hand that looks like a hi-five have gotten government work in the walk/don't walk signs all across the u.s.

"it's a sad day for icons everywhere," said the aol running man. "all he needed to do was apply for citizenship, like the rest of us. oh i gotta go, aol's crashing again."

wally mart, owner of wal-mart, had no comment at press time.
posted by skippy at 10:41 AM | 0 comments

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

bush drek tng

of course cnn is presenting a flyboy's story, the adventures of president george herbert walker bush when he was a pilot during world war two.

what, you think they'd talk about his son's military exploits?
posted by skippy at 9:06 PM | 0 comments

the chicks are all right

we were confused when we saw the new lipton tea commercial starring the dixie chicks. we were under the impression that lipton dumped the chicks after their unpleasant insistance on "freedom of speech" back in the early days of the failure...sorry, we mean war in iraq.

no matter, we are happy to see them get the work they were contracted to do. but we can't help but wonder what the copy writers were thinking at the ad agency.

the commercial, for those who haven't seen it, starts out with the chicks singing at an outdoor concert. then suddenly a bolt of lightning flashes and the lights and sound system and all electric devices go dark.

the commercial goes on with the chicks singing a capaella in flash light beams (after drinking lipton tea, of course).

but at the momen the concert goes silent, we can't help but imagine natalie maines yelling out "oh no! george bush's buddies at clear channel just shut off our concert!!"
posted by skippy at 6:54 PM | 0 comments

say hello

to the left end of the dial.
posted by skippy at 5:35 PM | 0 comments

riddle me this batman

why is it that when the "will of the people" recalls a democratic governor and install a repubbblican one, it's a good thing, but when that same electorate votes to allow use of medical marijuana, it's a bad thing?

posted by skippy at 5:30 PM | 0 comments

memo to self...we're losing the war

in a town of leaks, only those wearing depends will remain dry. case in point: donald rumsfeld, whose memo admittting little if any progress in the war on terror, was brought to light by, of all publications, usatoady:

the united states has no yardstick for measuring progress in the war on terrorism, has not "yet made truly bold moves" in fighting al-qaeda and other terror groups, and is in for a "long, hard slog" in iraq and afghanistan, according to a memo that defense secretary donald rumsfeld sent to top-ranking defense officials last week.

awol, however, made it clear that he stands behind rummy, although technically awol is in australia, so that's a looooong ways behind the secretary of defense.

white house press secretary scott mcclellan, traveling with president bush in australia, reacted by voicing support for rumsfeld. "that's exactly what a strong and capable secretary of defense like secretary rumsfeld should be doing," said mcclellan.

but, you have to admit, the sentiments expressed in the memo can't be good news for an administration who is hovering at 50% in the polls.

despite upbeat statements by the bush administration, the memo to rumsfeld's top staff reveals significant doubts about progress in the struggle against terrorists. rumsfeld says that "it is not possible" to transform the pentagon quickly enough to effectively fight the anti-terror war and that a "new institution" might be necessary to do that.
posted by skippy at 11:44 AM | 0 comments

skippy the persian kangaroo

we at skippy international of course enjoy the "international" part of skippy international. but we are confused, though happy, as to how our page is suddenly sweeping the iranian part of blogtopia (y!wctp!). no matter. we are always happy to be linked to by anybody who likes to share knowledge and bad jokes. witness the number one's absolutly cool page.
posted by skippy at 11:34 AM | 0 comments

the ol' skippy mailbag

lots of folks have written us....

frank at i protest tells us that jeremiah aikin, who was interviewed by salon last week about the current voting machine fiasco, has his own website concerning the riverside county voting test here. it should only make everyone with worries about today's voting machines only more worried (nerd alert! here's the slashdot compendium of info about this).

mike, at left is right, has a couple of posts he thinks are worthwhile (mike, we agree with you 100% about feinstein. with democrats like her, who needs repubbblicans?)

jenny at little red cook book found something on the net too surreal to not be real...dreaming arnold schwarzenegger.

mad kane is on a silly poetry kick.

and ayn clouter thinks we should canonize awol.
posted by skippy at 11:20 AM | 0 comments

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

we never thought we'd give bill o'reilly credit

but at least he doesnt' have to use the little bulk book sales plus sign (+) to get his tome higher up on the best seller list. meanwhile, how many lefty books are there without the (+) sign, laura?
posted by skippy at 7:05 PM | 0 comments

say hello

to faloode! we are most surprised, and honored, and to be frank, a little confused, to be linked to by iran's website!

and, we're not sure how this happened, but we are also in the links box on this page, which seems to be a farsi version of dr. menlo's sensual liberation army. (or at least the persian unablogger).

and lastly, but not leastly, say hello to erin of chicken or beef? (can we have both, erin?)
posted by skippy at 6:51 PM | 0 comments

Monday, October 20, 2003

blogging around

eric at the hamster mentions zogby finds awol dipping below 50%.

mary at pacific views tells the strange story of the mayor of santa cruz (the city voting to impeach awol) and the burglary of her hard drive...

kos is asking for donations (don't get us started on our views about bloggers begging for money)...

phoenix at omni-curious ponders the gap between the ages of your inner self and outer self.

talkleft tells us the pentagon promises to investigate the deplorable conditions of our troops waiting for medical attention.

kathryn cramer found some brains for sale.

maru the crankpot has another organ highlighted on wtf is it now?
posted by skippy at 8:38 PM | 0 comments

the war that keeps on giving part 6 soldiers and 2 civilians killed, several others wounded since this weekend

a quick rundown of the fatalities since we last reported:


upi reports hundreds of sick and wounded troops lay in squalor waiting for months to receive medical attention.

msnbc reports 2 soldiers killed and one wounded in an attack outside of kirkuk on sunday.

cnn reports u.s. forces came under attack in a separate incident near fallujah the same day.

msnbc reports one solider and two civilians were killed in a roadside explosion near falluja today.

itv reports that 5 soldiers were wounded in the same incident.

we are indebted to lunaville's coalition casualty chart, from which we cribbed this whole report.
posted by skippy at 8:27 PM | 0 comments

say hello

to brad heintz.
posted by skippy at 8:17 PM | 0 comments

the ol' skippy mailbag

nathan newman has a good way to fix social security: remove the cap.

in fact, it's such a good idea, he posted it at the daily kos, too!
posted by skippy at 8:11 PM | 0 comments

real life

interestingly enough, just as we were going to post a bit about not blogging so much this week due to real life concerns, julia at sisyphus shrugged alerted us to a similar (if longer in time expectations) announcement from jim capazzola at the rittenhouse review.

as jim has always been more than gracious to us, and in indeed sponsored our lack-of-banner tithe to blogger, we are indebted to him, so this news takes us aback.

we hope to be blogging like usual later this week, and it looks like jim plans to return sometime as well. but, alas, those pesky jobs need at least 40 hours a week to actually collect the paycheck, so we can certainly emphathize with jim. we wish him good luck and good health, hope everyone continues to pay his blog a visit or two every so often.
posted by skippy at 8:10 PM | 0 comments

Saturday, October 18, 2003

black box in the black hole

yes, diebold has continually shut down black box voting.com, and black box voting.org, but they haven't shut up bev harris. here's a page with a summary of her fight with diebold, some inf about how diebold is still pulling the wool over everyone's eyes, and some links to the first few chapters of her book "black box voting."

we suggest you go to the site, save it to your hard drive, because who knows how long it will be available?
posted by skippy at 4:12 PM | 0 comments

blogging around

there's so much good stuff at kos, although we are beginning to wonder if it shouldn't be labled a group blog, there are so many (fine) guest bloggers. kos himself (along with the help of a reader) has culled individual state polls concerning awol's favorability ratings (and they ain't good!). kos also points out the dnc needs some money to put up a national commercial blasting awol's administration on the plame affair, so don't just sit there, go contribute!

dr. carol at the sideshow discusses thom hartman's observation that national liberal leaders can't even adequately defend being a liberal.

stageleft recounts another instance of our veterans getting the shaft (this time for medical benefits).

dohiyi mir quotes sen. byrd on the doctrine of pre-emtive strikes.

the angry bear has a great list of reasons why libertarians, disillusioned after trying repubbblican, should cross over to the dems (reason number 1: we'll let you sleep with whoever you want to).

thanks to tbogg, we found uggabugga's pie chart deconstructing anthrax coultergeist.

calpundit hates initiatives! so, kevin, start a petition!
posted by skippy at 12:38 PM | 0 comments

say hello

to like sunday and nitpicker.
posted by skippy at 12:12 PM | 0 comments

cue awol: i know nozzeeng! nozzeeng!

faithful reader ted k brings to our attention the fact that prescott bush (awol's grandpappy) and his bank's connection to the nazi's of pre-war germany is finally coming to light in the mainstream media.

here's the original story in the nhgazette: "bush nazi link confirmed."

after 60 years of inattention and even denial by the u.s. media, newly-uncovered government documents in the national archives and library of congress reveal that prescott bush, the grandfather of president george w. bush, served as a business partner of and u.s. banking operative for the financial architect of the nazi war machine from 1926 until 1942, when congress took aggressive action against bush and his "enemy national" partners.

and here's the ap story: "bush's ancestro's bank seized by gov't."

president bush's grandfather was a director of a bank seized by the federal government because of its ties to a german industrialist who helped bankroll adolf hitler's rise to power, government documents show.

prescott bush was one of seven directors of union banking corp., a new york investment bank owned by a bank controlled by the thyssen family, according to recently declassified national archives documents reviewed by the associated press.


ted k also sends us this fine google search to help us out.

of course, citizens of blogtopia (y!wctp!) have been aware of the bush family-nazi connection for years.
posted by skippy at 12:08 PM | 0 comments

Friday, October 17, 2003

gone fishin'

just as the horse gets back in the saddle (how's that for a mobius metaphor?), dave johnson at seeing the forest is going on vacation. but dave has pegged some guest bloggers to fill in for him next week, so be sure to stop by and check out what his substitutes have to say!
posted by skippy at 7:53 PM | 0 comments

the war that keeps on giving part four more u.s. soldiers killed in past 24 hours

four soldiers were killed in iraq in the past 24 hours, including three in a small arms firefight in the previously calm southern region, says the sfchron.

a joint u.s.-iraqi patrol enforcing a curfew clashed with gunmen guarding the headquarters of a shiite cleric, setting off a firefight that killed three americans and 10 iraqis, including two security officers, the u.s. central command and witnesses said friday.

in baghdad, an american soldier from the 220th military police brigade was killed and two were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded friday morning. in mosul, nine americans were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded while a fuel convoy passed by. no further details on the incidents were released.

the four deaths made friday the bloodiest day for american soldiers in iraq since sept. 18, when three soldiers were killed in an ambush near tikrit. u.s. combat deaths since president bush declared an end to major fighting on may 1 passed the 100 mark after friday's clash and now stand at 101.
posted by skippy at 10:16 AM | 0 comments

Thursday, October 16, 2003

so, when does iraq's reconstruction start paying for itself?

a huge explosion hit a major pipeline in northern iraq, reports the ap:

an explosion damaged part of the main pipeline running from iraq's northern oil fields on thursday, forcing a reduction in the amount of oil available for export…

it was unclear whether the pipeline explosion near the city of hadeetha, 125 miles northwest of baghdad, was caused by saboteurs, a senior oil ministry official said on condition of anonymity.

he said the explosion ripped open part of the main pipeline linking the northern oil fields to the al-doura oil refinery and the mussayab power plant. the oil in the pipeline was earmarked for domestic use.

to maintain domestic supplies, the official said exports from the southern oil fields will be reduced by 80,000 barrels a day to make up for the shortage from the northern oil fields.


what was it that paul wolfowitz said about financing the reconstruction?
posted by skippy at 6:40 PM | 0 comments

army of darkness

fans of bruce campbell and/or elvis and/or jon walz may want to read jon's interview with bruce at the cinevegas international film festival, found over at jon's mind.
posted by skippy at 6:29 PM | 0 comments

say hello

to free pressed. we enjoy their lead story "president bush investigates mysterious white house leak."

donning a battered fedora and a worn raincoat, president bush announced that he has decided to investigate the ‘mysterious’ white house leak, which led to the outing of undercover cia agent valeria plame.

“i always wanted to be a private dick and i would have been if daddy had let me,” bush said to a puzzled press corps.
president bush said that he decided to hold his own investigation when he was re-reading “the mystery of the missing chums,” one of his favorite hardy boy stories…

it’s ridiculous but you have to play along because he’s president,” said one white house aide.
his mystery-solvin’ kit is comprised of a giant magnifying glass, a fake beard, x-ray specs, a commander cody code crackin’ book and a plastic compass.

“i got that out of a box of sugar bears,” he said.

bush said that he has always been a mystery fan. his favorites include the hardy boys series, the three investigators and scooby doo.
the next day when white house staffers showed up for work, they found a cardboard sign taped to the door of the oval office, which read “george bush detective agency, mysteries solved 25 cents.”


it's very funny.
posted by skippy at 6:22 PM | 0 comments

the old skippy mailbag

our reader and friend rose sends us this piece from the international movie data base news: randy newman blasts bush:

the 59-year-old singer says bush has come closer than any previous president to fulfilling the prophecy set out in his 1972 song "political science," with its lines, "they all hate us anyway / so let's drop the big one now." randy says, "i never thought the song would remotely speak for anyone. the bush administration has gotten closer to it than anyone before

what about his paean to schwarzenegger?

and mark gisleson, of the twin cities babelogue pages, has an interesting "non-violent politcal solution" to computer spam:

what if people started routinely cc'ing all of their outbound email to their members of congress?

not sure about outbound mail, mark. what if we just forward all of our spam to our congressjerks?


posted by skippy at 10:16 AM | 0 comments

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

use the force, chris

apparently, a few weeks ago, chris matthews was in a light-saber battle with karl rove.

matthews shouted out, "you killed my father!" to which rove replied, "i am your father!"

at the last possible second, chris was pushed down a long shaft of pseudo-futuristic industrial paraphernalia, landing on a tv aerial outside of the space pod, to be rescued by keith oberman, bill press and pat buchanan in the msnbc falcon.

from then on, chris has devoted himself to fight the dark side of the force.

what other possible explanation can there be for matthews suddenly attacking the repubbblican agenda on hardball last night?

here's what matthews had to say to dick armey about awol's request for $87 billion to the iraq war:

matthews: you know, i just-i talked to a missionary the other day who's working in kenya right now. he runs an orphanage for kids whose parents died of aids. and we figured out the math at dinner the other night. that for 1/10 the money we're spending in iraq this year you could save 25 million people in africa from dying of aids.

there are all kinds of opportunity costs here at home. there are cities that are dying, mr. armey, cities that are dying all around the country that could use $87 billion.

how do you sell that we're spending it there, not here?

armey: well, it is tough. it's a tough sell. i don't think it's breakfast in bed, chris. again, i think you just exhibited my point that we overestimate-over report how bad and underreport how good. we were...

matthews: i'm saying how good it is for them to get a check for $87 billion. that's breakfast in bed. that's a good deal for a little country like that.

armey: i understand.

matthews: that's about $300 and some a person over there they're getting from us. that's better than the bush tax cut.


then armey spouted some repubbb talking points, and laurence o'donnell said something, but who knows why he was there, and armey said that companies reconstructing iraq are american companies, so, hey, this will help america's economy. and chris shot back:

matthews: you mean to tell me that if you're on the other sides politically, mr. armey, you would not note that the vice president's firm, halliburton, got a no-bid contract for over a billion dollars. they're making a lot of money over there.

and wouldn't you point that out, if you were running against this administration? isn't that a little smelly?

armey: no. i don't know. it's hard to say.

matthews: on the surface at least?


then armey hemmed and hawed and said well, he's not in politics anymore and he doesn't have to make political points anymore. so chris came back with:

i just wonder why a mayor in philadelphia maybe gives a favor to one of his in-laws or brothers, he gets investigated by the fbi. and when the president of the united states gives money to dick cheney's firm, no questions asked. no problem. no big contact. here's your billion.

strong you have become, matthews.
posted by skippy at 5:01 PM | 0 comments

the fifth sign of the apocalypse

could it be when megan mcardle thinks paul krugman is "outstanding"? (via instapundit).
posted by skippy at 4:48 PM | 0 comments

guest bloggers proliferating

may we be the first (at least in our corner of blogtopia (y!wctp! (aren't you tired of all these nesting parantheses? (we know we are)))) to say hello to pinkpoppydreams, who is taking over the blogging duties at alas, a blog while ampersand works on his new house. hello, pinkpoppydreams! we assume your screen name refers to that middle scene in the wizard of oz right before they get to the emerald city (what else could it mean? (ha ha ha another nested paranthesis! (stop that!))).
posted by skippy at 4:28 PM | 0 comments

move on congress

moveon.org wants you to call your congress jerks and let them know you oppose $87 billion to go to the iraq war effort, especially in light of all the problems here at home. here's where you can find your senate numbers to call, and here's the representatives.

moveon wants to get 100,000 calls, emails and faxes to congress by the end of the week! get your butt in gear!
posted by skippy at 4:19 PM | 0 comments

of course of course

the horse is the horse.
posted by skippy at 12:09 PM | 0 comments

note to awol: not a good idea to piss off the media

apparently upset that the media are no longer acting like lapdogs, and are actually starting to ask questions, awol has decided to sidestep the major media and go to several local media outlets to promote his iraq policy.

now, we know this is indeed a shock to most of you. that's right, he actually does have an iraq policy.

and he's taking it straight to "the people," without having to talk with peter jennings or wolf blitzer, or any of those other folks who are so difficult and uncooperative with his administration.

the bosglobe reports:

bush in recent weeks protested that progress in iraq has not been adequately reported because of the "filter" of the news media.
he took aim again yesterday at the media's iraq coverage.

"there's a sense that people in america aren't getting the truth," he told hearst-argyle television. "i'm mindful of the filter through which some news travels, and sometimes you just have to go over the heads of the filter and speak directly to the people."

bush sat for brief interviews with regional television outlets, trying to reach beyond washington with his message.


aside from the old "don't shoot the messenger" addage, awol might do well to reconsider his snide attitude towards the major media. the one thing that makes tv news pundits actually start reporting is the suggestion that they are worthless.

in other words, don't piss off your pr people.
posted by skippy at 12:04 PM | 0 comments

the old skippy mailbag

today left is right takes on marriage protection week.
posted by skippy at 11:48 AM | 0 comments

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

update: fill in the blank

yesterday we reported that up to 11 papers across the country had published positive yet identical letters from different soldiers serving in iraq.

abcnews reports today that it was the battalion commander of those soldiers who wrote the original:

in an e-mail to abcnews today, the commander of the battalion, lt. col. dominic caraccilo, said the "letter-writing initiative" was all his idea.

caraccilo said he circulated the form letter to his soldiers to give them "an opportunity to let their respective hometowns know what they are accomplishing here in kirkuk. as you might expect, they are working at an extremely fast pace and getting the good news back home is not always easy. we thought it would be a good idea to encapsulate what we as a battalion have accomplished since arriving iraq and share that pride with people back home."

caraccilo wrote that his staff drafted the letter, he edited it and reviewed it and then offered it to the soldiers. "every soldier who signed that letter did so after a careful read," he said. "some, who could find the time, decided to send their own versions, while others chose not to take part in the initiative."

caraccilo was unapologetic, saying that the letter "perfectly reflects what each of these brave soldiers has and continues to accomplish on the ground."


except, as the washington olympian (the paper that broke the story) reports, one [soldier] said he didn't even sign it.

usatoady reports there were 500 letters sent:

army officials revealed tuesday that 500 identical form letters were sent to newspapers across the country with different signatures. they said the mass mailing was the wrong way of getting the message out, but they didn't know whether the commander would be disciplined.

our friend and frequent reader, person of choler, who resides across the political aisle from us, suggested in our comments section that we read instapundit's take on it. after being sarcastic ("yeah, right after we read de beste on how to help kids in poverty") we did go see what prof. reynolds had to say:

but then, there are rather a lot of people who speak in public words that they didn't write.

yeah, glenn, they're called actors. but they don't sign their name to those words, thus implying those words were their own. or if they did, they would be cheaters, wouldn't they?

insty intutively counters our argument (before even we made it...amazing!) with a quote from one of his readers, james rudolf:

anyone who has been involved with the environmental impact process can attest to the hundreds or thousands of form letters with only a signature, cut and pasted letters, hand written letters using canned paragraphs, etc. that are received.

quite true. but when we ourselves partake in letters like that, we avail ourselves of the option of re-writing at least the first few paragraphs, before we put our name on them. we assume that the paragraphs full of pertinent facts and info would be pretty similar in any letters. we have never, however, put our name on someone else's words. and even if hippy-progressive-save-the-snail-darter-impeach-bush-kind-of lefty's do it, it's wrong, it's unethical, it's downright cheating.

but at least instapundit links to us, which is more than we can say about tapped.

update: a reader at hesiod's blog counterspin offers up this point: any relation between the astro-turf from soldiers in iraq and the georgewbush.com get active action alert page?
posted by skippy at 7:39 PM | 0 comments

metaphor of the day

even though tapped refuses to link to our blog (not that we're bitter or anything) we love what they had to say about bill o'reilly's cutting off his interview with npr's terry gross:

no offense to npr, but cutting short an interview with terry gross is like backing down from a fistfight with urkel.

actually, urkel could take o'reilly in 4 rounds max (and we could take tapped in 3!)
posted by skippy at 7:19 PM | 0 comments

kos we like you!

make your book marks, now! the daily kos has moved from movable type to scoop, whatever the hell that means (we are still trying to figure out what "html" actually stands for: "how's the meat loaf"? "hey, that's my lunch!" guess we're hungry...)

here's where the kos is now...he warns the site may be screwy for a couple of days. but heck, if you're worried about screwy sites, you wouldn't be here, now, would you?
posted by skippy at 7:03 PM | 0 comments

the ol' skippy mailbag

we are always happy to hear from jenny of little red cook book. today she's upset that our armed forces are destroying iraqi farm crops and orchards in retalliation for not telling who the terrorists are.

here's a thought: what if those iraqi farmers don't know who the terrorists are?

to be fair, the soldiers weren't happy about this operation: they said that one american soldier broke down and cried during the operation.

neither are we.

addendum: nothing to do with iraq, and everything to do with little red cook book, who directed us to tom tomorrow's latest. holy novak, batman!
posted by skippy at 6:51 PM | 0 comments

Monday, October 13, 2003

dennis the menance kucinich actually announces

ohio representative dennis kucinich formally announced his presidential campaign today, says abcnews:

democrat dennis kucinich, the liberal four-term congressman who has been steadfast in his opposition to the iraq war, formally kicked off his presidential bid monday with a harsh critique of u.s. foreign policy.

"america cannot put its foot on the accelerator of war and advocate peace," the ohio lawmaker, who favors a withdrawal of u.s. forces from iraq, told several hundred cheering supporters in the chambers of the cleveland city council.

his candidacy a long shot at best kucinich trails many of his rivals in fund raising and public opinion polls the white house hopeful used the announcement speech to stress his anti-war stance, his opposition to international trade pacts and his support for a single-payer, universal health care plan.


we at skippy international wish rep. kucinich the best of luck!
posted by skippy at 7:54 PM | 0 comments

dear fill in the blank, i am a blank from blank who thinks form letter to follow

a slew of letters written by soldiers serving in iraq has been published in hometown papers across the country. the only hitch is, every letter is exactly the same, except each and every letter is identical to the others, with the exception of the name of the writer. the great falls tribune online investigates:

a search found identical letters from different soldiers with the 2nd battalion of the 503rd airborne infantry regiment, also known as "the rock," in 11 newspapers, including the lewistown news-argus, which published what appears to be the entire letter, signed by pfc. brandon j. leamont of the 503 infantry division, on sept. 17.

it began: "i am a lewistown native and have been serving in iraq for over five months now..."

in the news-argus and elsewhere, the form letter talks about the soldiers' efforts to re-establish police and fire departments, build water and sewer plants in the northern iraqi city of kirkuk where the unit is based.


too bad most editorial policies demand an inclusion of the letter writers' phone number:

six soldiers reached by [gannett news service] directly or through their families said they agreed with the letter's thrust. but none of the soldiers said he wrote it, and one said he didn't even sign it. a seventh soldier didn't know about the letter until his father congratulated him for getting it published in the local newspaper in beckley, w.va.

"when i told him he wrote such a good letter, he said: 'what letter?' " timothy deaconson said friday, recalling the phone conversation he had with his son, nick. "this is just not his (writing) style."

he spoke to his son, pfc. nick deaconson, at a hospital where he was recovering from a grenade explosion that left shrapnel in both his legs.


in the comment section at the daily kos, reader markinbos provided this google search for the identical letters.

did you try a google search for "sneaky ass dirty tricks"?
posted by skippy at 7:06 PM | 0 comments

this poll walks into a bar

usatoady has a new poll out, and it doesn't look good for awol. his approvals are going down, his disapprovals are going up, and while the percentage of people who will definately vote for him in 2004 has remained relatively stable, the number of people who will definately vote against him has risen.

moreover, take a look at the very very very bottom question on the poll. a majority (52%, or a "solid" majority, as the repubbbs would say if these numbers reflected awol's approval rating) of americans think there should be a special prosecutor appointed to investigate the plame affair. and an even bigger majority of people (66%) are bothered by the leak in the first place.
posted by skippy at 6:54 PM | 0 comments

Sunday, October 12, 2003

i gotta leak in the white house! go ahead, everyone else does!

readers of this space know we are, to put it mildly, distrustful of awol and his cronies' veracity on anything at all (for instance, is barney really a scottish terrier? we wonder...)

but we are glad to see other publications catching on as well. for instance, william o'rourke, writing in the chicago sun-times, reports that bush's once mighty empire springs a leak:

wilson outed in the n.y. times the bush administration's bogus claim about the niger yellowcake that bush used in his state of the union address, and the bush white house outed wilson's wife for that display of alpha-male behavior. tit for tat.

that it took nearly three months for the leak to become a big story is a story in itself. in july, when wilson's commentary ran, followed by robert novak's column containing the information about wilson's wife and her alleged help in getting her husband employment, bush still seemed ready to cakewalk into a second term.

but the facade of great competence at 1600 pennsylvania avenue was already beginning to crack. where was saddam hussein? where was osama bin laden? where were the weapons of mass destruction? where were the jobs lost in america?

the novak-wilson-cia story grew out of one of those cracks.


we agree with mr. o'rourke's conclusion:

the story has risen from a personal insult to a political insult.


posted by skippy at 7:44 PM | 0 comments

the war that keeps on giving part 6 killed, 35 wounded in baghdad car bombing

a white toyota containing a car bomb exploded in front of a baghdad hotel used by many americans and iraqi governing council members on sunday, reports the nytimes:

the bomb, hidden in a white toyota corolla that ran a security checkpoint, ripped through the hotel's parking lot, tearing bodies apart and sending shrapnel more than 100 yards. the attack heightened fears that security in baghdad is deteriorating after a relatively calm month.

the bomb exploded at 12:50 p.m. just outside the baghdad hotel, a well-protected building on saadun street, a major avenue in central baghdad. although officials were not able to estimate the size of the bomb, the force of the explosion shattered windows for hundreds of yards, shook houses more than a mile away and knocked over six 10-foot-tall concrete barriers that separate the parking lot from the street.


the bomb killed 6 iraqi security guards and wounded more than 35 other people, reports say.
posted by skippy at 7:33 PM | 0 comments

Saturday, October 11, 2003

blogging around

the cursor finds an article examining the partisan jay leno, and another one looking at conservative opinion backfiring in the media.

eric alterman is reporting on trouble at the new republic.

liberal oasis offers their thoughts on this week's dem debate.

busy busy busy has a memo from roger to faux news.

watermelon punch takes on marriage protection week.

devra at blue streak wonders aloud about individual vs. group blogs.

the sideshow seems to be wandering into dr. menlo territory.

opinions you should have talks about condi rice rebuilding iraq, with emphasis on color swatches and comfy sofas.

posted by skippy at 7:08 PM | 0 comments

stupid governor tricks

continuing along with our post earlier this week about letterman poking fun at leno's appearance at ah-nold's press conference, reader chris lark reminds us of this story from yahoo news: "gov. davis does 'top ten' on letterman."

the second governor in u.s. history to be recalled from office, [gov. gray] davis has never been known for his sense of humor.* nevertheless, the democrat jumped at the chance thursday to tape the popular "top ten" countdown for letterman, offering these bits of advice to his republican successor, actor arnold schwarzenegger...

davis then proceeded to give the top ten list, with varying degrees of success. the audience's favorite? number 4: you could solve the deficit problem by donating your salary from 'terminator 3.

our favorite? number 7: (sorry, joke no. 7 was recalled).

our least favorite, in terms of facts? number 1: it's pronounced "california." and here, davis gave the word the basic mid-west caucasian pronunciation, with a short 'i' in the middle, as in "bit" or "tit." we actually prefer ah-nold's version, with the 'i' sounding like long 'e,' as in "beat" or "teat." we think that it's closer to the spanish pronunciation, and california, after all, is a spanish word.

try it: it's like "cauliflower." "cal-ee-for (roll that 'r'!) nia! ole!"

*[ed. note: davis' appearance actually did nothing to dissuade the notion that he has never been known for his sense of humor.]
posted by skippy at 4:41 PM | 0 comments

congratulations to the kos!

jerome armstrong (who has time to post on the daily kos but not his own site mydd, go figure) tells us that the daily kos has tied instapundit for daily hits! congrats, kos!

on a side note, while trolling through kos's comment section, we found out our blog has made the top 100 on the truth laid bear's blog ecosystem. this means we are #94 in terms of number of blogs who like to ours. thanks to everyone of you who do so!
posted by skippy at 12:08 PM | 0 comments

this week in the war that keeps on giving

we apologize, but due to real life concerns, our blogging was light this week, and we were unable to give you daily reports of the violence and casualties in iraq. we hope everyone makes a daily trip to lunaville's iraq coalition casualty count. here is a summary of last week:

three american soldiers and an iraqi interpreter were killed, and three other soldiers wounded, in two roadside attacks in central iraq on monday.

a 4th infantry soldier died of wounds received in a rpg attack in baghdad early thursday morning.

a suicide bombing at a police station in northern baghdad killed at least 8 iraqi policemen on thursday. also, that same day, a spanish military attache was killed in a small arms attack.

also on that day, two 1st armored division soldiers were killed and four wounded in an ambush in baghdad.

yesterday two employees of northern oil were killed in a bomb explosion in northern iraq. two separate explosions also set two oil pipelines on fire.

also yesterday, american forces fired at iraqi's in fallujah after a grenade attack, wounding 3 iraqi's. in a separate rpg attack in baghdad, an american soldier was wounded.

but rest easy, friends. us administrator in iraq paul bremer says that life is 'normal' now in iraq, according to cbsnews.
posted by skippy at 12:03 PM | 0 comments

the ol' skippy mailbag

we got a message from blogger and freelance reporter theirry robin, who is joining the abir organization on a trip to baghdad. she hopes to make several first-hand reports on the state of women's rights in iraq while on this trip. she tells us you can read about her adventures on her blog. good luck, thierry!

and for those of you wondering what ever happened to skippy, the belgian kangaroo who was loose in the wilds of limberg, wonder no more! belgian blogger hetty litjens tells us that skippy will move into a zoo/themepark soon and share a space with another 'roo and her joey.

we love happy endings!
posted by skippy at 11:42 AM | 0 comments

Friday, October 10, 2003

thanks for coming by, now keep going

if you just tuned in from ampoljo, the post you're looking for is down the page a bit, entitled top ten reasons not to watch leno.

everybody else, you want to go here.
posted by skippy at 8:31 PM | 0 comments