s skippy the bush kangaroo: December 2004

skippy the bush kangaroo

Friday, December 31, 2004

sign the petition to get your senator of his/her ass!

a friend sent us the link to contest the vote.org. as we reported earlier, rep. john conyers is looking for just one senator (all that's needed, as he and several representatives are planning to do so) to contest the electoral vote this week.

sign the petition to get your senator to join rep. conyers. you can do it online, as well as read the latest news:

in california, chuck lowery, secretary of the california electoral college, on december 11 cast his ballot provisional upon “all votes being counted - provisional, absentee, under- and overvotes, computerized without paper ballots, even getting valid votes from those turned away illegally, intimidated, discouraged by incredibly long waits, etc.” this incredible act is a creative attempt to get this message read on the floor of congress when they open the ballots on january 6 to consider whether or not to certify the vote.

"never has such a vote been cast by an elector and without a parliamentarian to rule it in or out at the electoral college level. we await whether congress will acknowledge this type of provisional vote and address the issues this elector sought to raise or whether they too will ignore provisional votes,” said grace ross, an organizer of the national effort to support electors to take action and a member of truth in elections.

lowery, along with four members of contestthevote.org traveled to los angeles on dec. 15 to ask u.s. senator barbara boxer to join rep. john conyers and others in contesting the official electoral count on january 6. boxer gave the group every indication that she is seriously considering the matter, and is consulting her ohio representatives.

according to the electoral count act of 1887, one senator and one representative from congress are needed to contest a presidential election prior to an inauguration. contestthevote.org has collected more than 10,000 signatures from people asking their senators to contest the vote by standing up with 14 members of the house of representatives when congress reconvenes in january 2005. the signed petitions will be delivered to each senator in person by a coalition of concerned individuals and representatives from a variety of organizations.
what are you waiting for? go sign the petition!
posted by skippy at 9:32 PM | 0 comments

this is your captain speaking...i can't retire...ever

instead of the laser vs. airplane stories flooding the media (oohh...those bad terrorists...scary), why not really start talking about the airline story we really should be scared about....

the government's pension agency moved thursday to assume responsibility for the pensions of united airlines pilots, an action it already faced having to take next year when the bankrupt carrier dumps its defined-benefit pensions.

the move adds another huge burden to a federal agency already operating at a $23 billion deficit. the pension benefit guaranty corp. estimated it will be responsible for about $1.4 billion of the plan's $2.9 billion in underfunded assets, making it the third-largest claim in the history of the insurance program. -

hey...great timing on those major tax cuts for the wealthy, a*hole.
posted by SantaBarbarian at 4:27 PM | 0 comments

Happy Kangaroo Blogging Friday Posted by Hello
posted by SantaBarbarian at 2:09 PM | 0 comments

happy new year!

night light gives us their new year's thoughts.

cookies in heaven sends us a letter to red states by mike hersh.

chuck simmins has been counting the non-governmental donations to tsunami relief.

regis is filling in for the ailing dick clark tonight.

if you're going to drink, don't drive. don't even putt.
posted by skippy at 1:28 PM | 0 comments

guilt works

the administration has been guilt-tripped into increasing the us's donation to tsunami victims by 10 times, sez the asspress:

crawford, texas dec 31, 2004 — the united states is pledging $350 million to help tsunami victims, a tenfold increase over its first wave of aid, president bush announced friday.

"initial findings of american assessment teams on the ground indicate that the need for financial and other assistance will steadily increase in the days and weeks ahead," bush said friday in a statement released in crawford, texas, where he is staying at his ranch.

"our contributions will continue to be revised as the full effects of this terrible tragedy become clearer," he said. "our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by this epic disaster."
bush also is sending secretary of state colin powell to indian ocean coastal areas ravaged by earthquake and tsunami to assess what more the united states needs to do. the president's brother, florida gov. jeb bush, will travel with him.

the newly announced aid came after some critics claimed that the initial u.s. contribution of $35 million was meager considering the vast wealth of the nation.

france has promised $57 million, britain has pledged $95 million, sweden is sending $75.5 million and spain is offering $68 million, although that pledge is partly in loans.
posted by skippy at 1:24 PM | 0 comments

that was the year that was

media matters reminds us of the 10 most outrageous statements of 2004...oops. (remember this classic from mr. dittohead?)
i'm talking about people having a good time, these people, you ever heard of emotional release? You ever heard of need to blow some steam off?"

posted by SantaBarbarian at 9:27 AM | 0 comments

another place to give for tsunami relief

yet another organization to donate to direct relief international based out of my hometown santa barbara

founded in 1948 by two immigrant businessmen, direct relief international is a non-profit, non-sectarian humanitarian assistance organization based in santa barbara, california. for 56 years, direct relief has provided medical material assistance in the form of pharmaceuticals, supplies, and new and refurbished medical equipment to over 3,000 charitable health facilities worldwide and within the united states. in 2003, the organization provided more than $94 million (wholesale value) in medicines, supplies and equipment to health projects in 62 countries, enough provisions to keep hundreds of local health professionals and clinics productively engaged and provide full courses of medical treatment for over 10 million people. direct relief was ranked by consumers digest as one of only five of the leading U.S. charitable organizations evaluated to receive 99% or better efficiency ranking in their 2003 survey of major us charities. worth magazine named direct relief among “america’s best 100 charities” in its december 2001/january 2002 edition, and the chronicle of philanthropy continues to rank direct relief as the largest private international relief organization in california. direct relief international is one of only twelve us charitable organizations to receive a 100% fundraising efficiency rating by the forbes magazine annual survey of major us charities. the forbes list, published in part in the december 13, 2004, “2005 investment guide” special issue and fully on the forbes website, consists of 200 of the leading nonprofit organizations in the United States.

the organization’s website is
www.directrelief.org. financial check at charity navigator. listen to npr's story on them.
posted by SantaBarbarian at 9:08 AM | 0 comments

Thursday, December 30, 2004

trolling for senators

william rivers pitt, over at truthout, tells us that rep. john conyers, along with some reps from ohio, is planning to contest the ohio electoral vote count on jan. 6, and has sent a letter to every senator asking for support (he only needs one).

representative john conyers, ranking minority member of the house judiciary committee, will object to the counting of the ohio electors from the 2004 presidential election when congress convenes to ratify those votes on january 6th. in a letter dispatched to every senator, which will be officially published by his office shortly, conyers declares that he will be joined in this by several other members of the house. rep. conyers is taking this dramatic step because he believes the allegations and evidence of election tampering and fraud render the current slate of ohio electors illegitimate.

"as you know," writes rep. conyers in his letter, "on january 6, 2005, at 1:00 p.m, the electoral votes for the election of the president are to be opened and counted in a joint session of congress. i and a number of house members are planning to object to the counting of the ohio votes, due to numerous unexplained irregularities in the ohio presidential vote, many of which appear to violate both federal and state law."

the letter goes on to ask the senators who receive this letter to join conyers in objecting to the ohio electors. "i am hoping that you will consider joining us in this important effort," writes conyers, "to debate and highlight the problems in ohio which disenfranchised innumerable voters. i will shortly forward you a draft report itemizing and analyzing the many irregularities we have come across as part of our hearings and investigation into the ohio presidential election."

there are expected to be high level meetings with high ranking democratic officials next week to coordinate a concerted lobbying effort to convince senators to challenge the vote. the green party and david cobb, as has been true all along, will be centrally involved in this process, as will rev. jesse jackson.
good luck, rep. conyers!
posted by skippy at 4:12 PM | 0 comments

say hello

to notes from the not together.
posted by skippy at 3:56 PM | 0 comments

another place to donate

oxfam america is helping in the tsunami and earthquake relief efforts.

talkleft has the background on oxfam america, and also some other suggestions as to agencies to donate to.
posted by skippy at 3:50 PM | 0 comments

money for nothing

the samuel taylor coleridge foundation is in a bit of a tither because not only are high-powered execs getting tons of bonuses while the rest of us stand in the unemployment line, the revolving door between government and lucrative consulting jobs is getting easier to open.
posted by skippy at 3:37 PM | 0 comments

let's all go to the protest

thanks to debwire's dkos diary, here's a few ideas for protesting next month's $40 million coronation:

not one damn dime!

not one red cent!

inauguration protesters plan weeklong, family-friendly events

protests planned for 2nd bush inauguration

pirate radio calls for inauguration protests

posted by skippy at 10:28 AM | 0 comments

say hello

to election scam-o-rama.
posted by skippy at 10:11 AM | 0 comments

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

go visit and say hello to tsunami tragedy blog

so what happened to diego garcia? What damage did it sustain from the tsunami? were emergency measures taken before the waves hit? the
justification for not warning the countries that have been so devastated by the tsunami is that the us authorities don't know who to call in these countries -- how do they expect to fight the "war on terrorism" or shoot down a nuke icbm -- are they really that incompetent? is this the same kind of lapse that occurred on 9/11 in the two hours between the time when the first plane crashed into the world trade center and the time when fourth plane "crashed" in pennsylvania?

posted by SantaBarbarian at 9:18 PM | 0 comments

gentle blog readers, tune in and turn up the speakers!

one of my favorite bloggers democratic veteran is going to be interviewed on the internet(s) - Wednesday, 5 January!.
posted by SantaBarbarian at 8:50 PM | 0 comments

do the math

cursor found a csmonitor article detailing how one retiree actually figured out the performance of the stock market compared to his social security...and found the market coming in second!

just ask stanley logue of san diego.

for 45 years, the defense-industry analyst paid into the system until his retirement in 1994. but with all the recent hoopla over reform, mr. logue, a massachusetts institute of technology graduate, decided to go back and check his own records. would he have done better investing his money than the bureaucrats at the social security administration?

he recorded all the payroll taxes he paid into the system (including the matching amount from his employer), tracked down the return the social security trust fund earned for each of the 45 years, and then compared the result with what he would have gotten had he been able to invest the same amount of payroll tax money over the same period in the dow jones industrial average (including dividends).

to his surprise, the social security investment won out: $261,372 versus $255,499, a difference of $5,873.

it's an astonishing finding. the djia represents blue-chip stocks. social security invests in us treasury bonds. over long periods of time, stocks have consistently outperformed bonds. so, you would think that logue's theoretical stock investments from 1950 to 1994 would have surely outpaced the return on government bonds.
privatize social security? sure, right after we find those wmd's!

and speaking of cursor, we at skippy international are proud to point out that cursor linked (8th paragraph on the dec. 29th listing) to cookie jill's recent post asking if the corporations that use cheap indonesian labor are going to contribute to the tsunami relief for those countries.

good going, jill! and remember: cursor! it's what's for dinner!
posted by skippy at 7:53 PM | 0 comments

say hello

to political strategy.
posted by skippy at 4:34 PM | 56 comments

rip the horse

they always go in threes...first susan sontag, then jerry orbach...

now, media whores on line.

though there was no new content, there had been a page with a couple of horses, and some links, one of which went to our blog.

mwo was one of the first major blogs in blogtopia (y!wctp!) that was kind enough to link to us and single us out.

aside from that, the horse had such a great combination of information, passion and snarkiness that it was a definate "must read."

we were fans of mwo way before we even knew what a blog was, let alone writing our own.

we will miss the horse.
posted by skippy at 4:29 PM | 0 comments

meanwhile, back in iraq...

insurgents, or else pissed off neighbors, booby-trapped a house in baghdad that exploded and killed 29 iraqi police in an ambush. uk guardian:

insurgents lured police to a house in west baghdad with an anonymous tip about a rebel hideout, then set off explosives, killing at least 29 people and wounding 18 in the latest in a series of deadly strikes against iraqi security forces, police said wednesday.

the explosion late tuesday erupted from inside the house in the capital's ghazaliya district as officers were about to enter, a local police official said. ten neighboring houses collapsed from the blast and several residents were believed trapped under the rubble. seven policemen were among the 29 dead.

the police official said the attack was ``evidently an ambush'' and that ``massive amounts of explosives'' were used. he said the explosion was apparently triggered by remote control.

the u.s. military said wednesday 1,700 to 1,800 pounds of explosives appear to have been used. it added that american soldiers and iraqi troops ``worked together through the night to pull potential survivors from the rubble.''
posted by skippy at 4:19 PM | 0 comments

jerry orbach rip

one of the most talented song and dance men to grace the latter half of the 20th century has passed. we regret to report that jerry obach died at age 69.

orbach actually originated some of the more well-known roles in recent musical history, including el gallo in fantasticks! and billy flynn (the richard gere part in the movie) from chicago. broadway.com tells us:

in 1960, orbach played his first of many legendary stage roles as el gallo in the original off-broadway company of the fantasticks, introducing the iconic song "try to remember" to the world. a breakthrough on broadway came several years later with a tony-nominated turn as sky masterson in the 1965 revival of guys and dolls. orbach won a tony four years later for the hit musical promises, promises (as well as a drama desk award) and received a third and final nomination in 1976 for originating the role of billy flynn in chicago. his other broadway credits include the threepenny opera, carnival!, annie get your gun, the natural look, 8 rms riv vu and the original production of 42nd street as impresario julian marsh.
but people who never even heard of broadway knew orbach's work. mtv.com tells us:

orbach played the father of jennifer grey's character baby houseman in 1987's "dirty dancing," and starred for 12 seasons as detective lennie briscoe on the nbc crime drama "law & order."

last month, orbach's manager robert malcolm announced orbach had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and had been receiving treatment for the disease since the spring.

orbach recently left "law & order" to play the lead role in the spin-off "law & order: trial by jury," which will begin airing in 2005.
orbach was also the voice of lumiere the candlestick in the cartoon "beauty and the beast."

also gone from us this week, essayist and humanist susan sontag at age 71. newday tells us about ms. sontag:

her fame began with her 1964 essay, "notes on camp," which popularized the "so bad it's good" attitude toward everything from flash gordon to feather boas. over the next 40 years, she was immersed in foreign films, the pornographic imagination, silence, science fiction, avant-garde theater and the compatible pleasures of a rauschenberg painting and the music of diana ross and the supremes.

she wrote such influential works as "illness as metaphor," in which she examined how disease had been alternately romanticized and demonized, and "on photography," in which she argued pictures sometimes distance viewers from the subject matter. "on photography" received a national book critics circle award in 1978. "regarding the pain of others," a partial refutation of "on photography," was an nbcc finalist in 2004.

sontag had an insatiable passion for literature, with thousands of books _ arranged by chronology and language _ occupying, and defining, her new york apartment. she read writers from all over the world and is credited with introducing such european intellectuals as roland barthes and elias canetti to american readers.

"one of the things so sad about her death is she represents something that i'm afraid that's passing," said fellow author francine prose. "i don't think that many people these days say, `oh, i want to be an intellectual when i grow up."'
that's for sure.

the world is a bit less today; we will miss both ms. sontag and mr. orbach.
posted by skippy at 9:30 AM | 55 comments

tsunami death toll tops 76,000

the asspress tells us the red cross thinks it could get even worse:

cargo planes touched down with aid wednesday, bearing everything from lentils to water purifiers to help survivors facing the threat of epidemic after this week's quake-tsunami catastrophe. the first indonesian military teams reached the devastated west coast of sumatra island, finding thousands of bodies and increasing the death toll across 12 nations to more than 76,700.

the international red cross warned that the toll could eventually surpass 100,000.
this is rapidly turning into the worst disaster in human history.
posted by skippy at 9:22 AM | 0 comments

thanks for stopping in

we're always happy to have people drop by, no matter what link or search engine they used.
posted by skippy at 9:14 AM | 0 comments

want fiddle with that...?
"actions speak louder than words," a top bush aide said, describing the president's view of his appropriate role.

....he spent part of the day clearing brush and bicycling. - wapo

posted by SantaBarbarian at 8:06 AM | 0 comments

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

let's face it...we ARE cheap. (sorry skippy...had to "yell" there...)

eric alterman has a great post up over at msnbc:

next time you hear some politician or conservative pundit blather on about what a generous country we are, remember this; we’re devoting less than half of what Bush is planning to spend on his own inauguration to helping people recover from one of the worst natural disasters in human history.
wonder if tom ridge or billy tauzin would donate anything to help those in need...
just think of the generous folks who gave to bush's election cause....wonder if they are donating anything to help those in need.... (updated thought - wonder how much special interests are donating to help those in need....Special interests spent $1.1 billion during the first half of 2004 on lobbyists and advertising campaigns, according to public records that interest groups are required to file with the Senate. )

how much money is the gap donating....or better yet, how much is its' ceo. i suppose it's a secret of victoria's folks about how much they are donating...perhaps $300+ million? (victoria's secret sourced over US$350 million worth of merchandise from Sri Lanka in 2003) ...or nike, et al...

we use these countries for their cheap labor. we must no longer look at human lives as cheap in this time of dire need. take the money you would have spent buying clothing at the gap or banana republic and donate it to aide fellow human beings. i highly recommend direct relief international.

posted by SantaBarbarian at 8:11 PM | 0 comments

how much is that drug in the window?
how much does a tylenol cost? In california, that depends on what hospital you're in.

at some california hospitals, a tablet of tylenol, or its generic version, acetaminophen, is billed at $5 or $5.50. others charge $7, or even $9, for a single pill. one los angeles hospital charges just 12 cents a tablet, while at a few facilities it's free. the retail price of brand-name tylenol is about eight or nine cents each. the generic goes for a nickel or less.

...prices for percocet or its generic version are all over the map in california. the painkiller is listed at $26.79 per pill at sutter general, a unit of sutter health, a nonprofit chain based in sacramento. it costs $11.44 at scripps in san diego, but $6.50 at cedars-sinai medical center in los angeles. at doctors medical center in modesto: $35.50 per pill.

who will be asked to pay these list prices? almost nobody except uninsured patients, says mr. mcgowan. "these are the people who are handed a bill for these astronomical amounts," he says.

posted by SantaBarbarian at 8:06 PM | 0 comments

tsunami death toll climbs

the asspress tells us the death toll in the indonesian earthquake/tsunami has topped 52,000:

hungry refugees survived on coconuts or looted food on indonesia's battered sumatra island tuesday as the region's death toll from a mammoth earthquake and tsunami rose above 52,000. the u.n. health agency warned that epidemics could claim as many lives.

one of the most dramatic illustrations of nature's force came to light tuesday when reporters reached the scene of a sri lankan train carrying beachgoers that was swept into a marsh by a wall of water sunday, killing at least 802. eight rust-colored cars lay in deep pools of water in a ravaged palm grove, torn off wheels and baggage scattered among the twisted rails.

in indonesia, there were vast areas of devastation where the bodies had not been counted. an official said 10,000 people might have died in the area around a sumatran town, which would be the worst death toll in a single location. a flight over meulaboh showed widespread wreckage and buildings inundated by water.

in india, a police official said 8,000 people were missing and feared dead, most of them on two island chains. they also were not part of the associated press' overall tally…

hungry refugees survived on coconuts or looted food on indonesia's battered sumatra island tuesday as the region's death toll from a mammoth earthquake and tsunami rose above 52,000. the u.n. health agency warned that epidemics could claim as many lives.

one of the most dramatic illustrations of nature's force came to light tuesday when reporters reached the scene of a sri lankan train carrying beachgoers that was swept into a marsh by a wall of water sunday, killing at least 802. eight rust-colored cars lay in deep pools of water in a ravaged palm grove, torn off wheels and baggage scattered among the twisted rails.

in indonesia, there were vast areas of devastation where the bodies had not been counted. an official said 10,000 people might have died in the area around a sumatran town, which would be the worst death toll in a single location. a flight over meulaboh showed widespread wreckage and buildings inundated by water.

in india, a police official said 8,000 people were missing and feared dead, most of them on two island chains. they also were not part of the associated press' overall tally.
and, courtesy of armando at dkos, here's an asspress piece with plenty of links to donation agencies.
posted by skippy at 4:36 PM | 0 comments

thought i was feeling a little better until i read this....
thanks for the memories? fannie mae may be scrambling to restate billions in past profit, but it apparently has plenty of cash for golden parachutes. the mortgage finance company disclosed yesterday that ousted chief executive franklin raines is owed a pension of $1.3 million per year for life and deferred compensation of $8.7 million. raines, who was forced out along with chief financial officer timothy howard by fannie mae's board last week, also owns more than $5.5 million in the company's stock. howard, meanwhile, will be paid $84,000 in salary through Jan. 31 and a monthly pension of $36,071 for life. - forbes
ohhhh...i feel more queasiness coming on....
bonds posted by companies with federal oil and gas leases cover only a small fraction of the projected costs of plugging wells and restoring land once the fuel is extracted, leaving taxpayers with the potential for huge cleanup bills, an associated press analysis of federal records shows - forbes

so much for feeling better....

posted by SantaBarbarian at 1:58 PM | 0 comments

pardon us, mr. rumsfeld, your freudian slip is showing

thanks to tom p's dkos diary, we were reminded of sec. of defense donald rumsfeld's christmas eve speech, and this interesting sound byte:

but in his remarks, rumsfeld referred to the "the people who attacked the united states in new york, shot down the plane over pennsylvania."

a pentagon spokesman insisted that rumsfeld simply misspoke, but internet conspiracy theorists seized on the reference to the plane having been shot down.

"was it a slip of the tongue? was it an error? or was it the truth, finally being dropped on the public more than three years after the tragedy" asked a posting on the web site worldnetdaily.com.

some people remain skeptical of u.s. government statements that, despite a presidential authorization, no planes were shot down september 11, and rumors still circulate that a u.s. military plane shot the airliner down over shanksville, pennsylvania.

a pentagon spokesman insists rumsfeld has not changed his opinion that the plane crashed as the result of an onboard struggle between passengers and terrorists.
was flight 93 shot down? we have a hard time believing rumsfeld would make a mistake like that, but then, he has been under a lot of presure lately.
posted by skippy at 9:23 AM | 0 comments

it's just an honor to be nominated

mad kane sends us her latest, which she tells us, is both "both a poem about bush's social security scam and a desperate plea for votes in about.com's political humor competition."
posted by skippy at 8:56 AM | 0 comments

Monday, December 27, 2004

kerry finally shows some backbone

blogtopia (y!wctp!) is awash with rumors as to his motivations for playing it so close to the vest, but john kerry today official filed two important lawsuits in relation to the 2004 election. truthout.org fills us in:

this afternoon, an attorney representing the kerry/edwards presidential campaign filed two important motions to preserve and augment evidence of alleged election fraud in the november election. the motions were filed in the matter titled yost et al. v. delaware county board of elections and j. kenneth blackwell (civil action no. c2-04-1139) with the u.s. district court for the southern district of ohio. the document is titled "motion of intervenor-defendant kerry-edwards 2004, inc. for a preservation order and for a leave to take limited expedited discovery."

the purpose of the motions is twofold: a) to preserve all ballots and voting machines pertaining to the yost matter for investigation and analysis; and b) to make available for sworn deposition testimony a technician for triad systems, the company that produced and maintained many of the voting machines used in the ohio election. the technician has been accused of tampering with the recount process in hocking county, ohio, though other counties are believed to have also been involved. any officers of triad systems who have information pertaining to said tampering are likewise subject to subpoena for sworn deposition testimony.
if the judge in this case allows these motions, and these individuals are served with subpoenas for deposition, the information disclosed under oath could have a major effect on the case. likewise, judicial approval of these motions will open the door to forensic analysis of both the ballots cast and the machines they were counted on. if tampering took place, such an analysis could reveal it.

the document filed in ohio reads as follows:

pursuant to federal rule of civil procedure 26, intervenor-defendant kerry-edwards 2004, inc. hereby moves this court for an order preserving materials from the 2004 presidential election and for leave to take a limited number of depositions on an expedited schedule. the depositions and preservation order sought by intervenor- defendant kerry-edwards 2004, inc. are the same as those sought in the motion filed on december 23, 2004 by defendants nvri, cobb and badnarik. intervenor-defendant kerry-edwads 2004, inc. hereby adopts the memorandum and proposed order filed by the defendants in support of its own motion.

as has been
previously reported on truthout, this filing for the preservation and augmentation of evidence is centered on hocking county, ohio. according to a sworn affidavit by sherole eaton, hocking county deputy director of elections, a technician for triad systems entered the county elections office on december 10 and dismantled one of the vote tabulation computers.

green party presidential candidate david cobb, a central figure in the yost matter, described the incident as related to him by eaton during a hearing on the matter chaired by rep. john conyers. "a representative from triad systems came into a county board of elections office un-announced," said cobb. "he said he was just stopping by to see if they had any questions about the upcoming recount. he then headed into the back room where the triad supplied tabulator (a card reader and older pc with custom software) is kept. he told them there was a problem and the system had a bad battery and had 'lost all of its data.' he then took the computer apart and started swapping parts in and out of it and another 'spare' tower type pc also in the room.

"he may have had spare parts in his coat," continued cobb, "as one of the boe people moved it and remarked as to how very heavy it was. he finally re-assembled everything and said it was working but to not turn it off. he then asked which precinct would be counted for the 3% recount test, and the one which had been selected as it had the right number of votes, was relayed to him. he then went back and did something else to the tabulator computer. the triad systems representative suggested that since the hand count had to match the machine count exactly, and since it would be hard to memorize the several numbers which would be needed to get the count to come out exactly right, that they should post this series of numbers on the wall where they would not be noticed by observers."

responding to eaton's allegations, rep. conyers dispatched a letter of complaint to brett rapp, president of triad. in it, conyers wrote, "i am concerned that your company has operated - either intentionally or negligently - in a manner which will thwart the recount law in ohio by preventing validly cast ballots in the presidential election from being counted. you have done this by preparing 'cheat sheets' providing county election officials with information such that they would more easily be able to ignore valid ballots that were thrown out by the machines during the initial count. the purpose of the ohio recount law is to randomly check vote counts to see if they match machine counts. by attempting to ascertain the precinct to be recounted in advance, and then informing the election officials of the number of votes they need to count by hand to make sure it matches the machine count, is an invitation to completely ignore the purpose of the recount law."
we will keep you updated as circumstances warrant.
posted by skippy at 8:32 PM | 0 comments

i got the flu for christmas. its raining cats and dogs and i just washed my car. (also noticed i need a new front right tire and new windshield wiper blades.) the heater is out, as is my voice. i'm feeling so saddened by the news of of the disasterous loss of life due to the tsunami. i received a letter from wells fargo stating that i have overdrawn an account that i just opened up...hmm...strange...haven't received any checks or anything so how could i manage to overdraw it.

then i read this on sfgate:
In a move that has stirred critics, three California-based companies that reportedly paid no state business income taxes last year will receive $5 million in tax refunds, while 22 similar requests for another $77 million are pending. - sfgate
after reading that, i feel another trip to the restroom to relieve my churning stomach coming on.....
posted by SantaBarbarian at 5:40 PM | 0 comments

the left ruined their brains with drugs...pass me the bourbon, would you, old chap?

the night light examines the singular hypocrisy of christopher hitchens.
posted by skippy at 9:06 AM | 0 comments

dear editor: awol sucks!

tena over at first draft has a great idea: write a letter to the editor decrying the amount of money to be spent on awol's coronation in light of the money not being spent on the war in iraq:

write to your local paper and explain that inasmuch as the country is at war, it is shockingly inappropriate for bush to spend $44 million on his coronat...oops...inauguration. he should just take the oath and get to work. pictures of wealthy donors getting out of limousines in tuxedoes and cowboy boots are just wrong when our troops are suffering and dying in iraq. it is extremely callous on bush's part to put on this kind of spectacle.

posted by skippy at 8:59 AM | 0 comments

don't be a hater, be a facilitator

joe gandelman of the moderate voice muses on the amount of "hate," or really, the amount of disagreement without factual basis, on both sides of blogtopia.

(yes! we coined that phrase! and we hate the moderate voice for still using "blogosphere!" we hate them!)
posted by skippy at 8:56 AM | 0 comments

Sunday, December 26, 2004

so tsunami me

we are still reeling over the death toll in the indonesian earthquake and following tidal waves.

abcnews tells us that so far almost 12,000 people have been killed:

legions of rescuers spread across asia monday after an earthquake of epic power struck deep beneath the indian ocean, unleashing 20-foot tidal waves that ravaged coasts across thousands of miles and killed nearly 11,800 people and left millions homeless.

the death toll along the southern coast of asia and as far west as somalia, on the african coast, where nine people were reported lost steadily increased as authorities sorted out a far-flung disaster caused by sunday's 9.0-magnitude earthquake, strongest in 40 years and fourth-largest in a century.

more than one million people were driven from their homes in indonesia alone, and rescuers there on monday combed seaside villages for survivors. the indian air force used helicopters to rush food and medicine to stricken seashore areas.

another million were driven from their homes in sri lanka where some 25,000 soldiers and 10 air force helicopters were deployed in relief and rescue efforts, authorities said.
anyone interested in extending the christmas spirit to the victims of nature's wrath can contribute to save the children, which is setting up a relief fund for this disaster. send your contributions to

asia earthquake/tidal wave relief fund
54 wilton road,
westport, ct
addendum: joe gandelman of the moderate voice links to several first-hand accounts of the tsunami found on various asian blogs, and this dkos diary by costra nostradamus links several other relief agencies and funds to help those whose lives were destroyed by this terrible catastrophe.
posted by skippy at 7:56 PM | 0 comments

exerpts that i should have read from: 9 Tips For Surviving The Holidays At Your Republican Parents’ Home By Kerry Madden (LAWEEKLY)
* when you arrive and the first thing you see is a beaming portrait of laura and w on their fridge next to a schedule of masses at the mission, look away, smile brightly and remember the deep breathing you learned in yoga. when no one is looking, cover with the kids’ new school pictures.

* when your mother tells you the thing she really admires and finds so clever about bill o’reilly is that you can’t tell what he is — a democrat, a republican, a liberal — keep the chopping knife steady, focus on the onions and garlic or the gentle rolling of pie dough. do not make eye contact.

* when you notice parents’ library consists of who moved my cheese?; how to talk to a liberal; deliver us from evil: defeating terrorism, despotism, and liberalism; and every one of o’reilly’s books, do not engage in a lively discussion of literature. go to box wine; drink liberally.

* when your father says, "all muslims hate us" and "strike them before they strike us" or "it’s the insurgents killing the iraqi people, not the american soldiers!" or "you swinging liberals, it’s all the same with you! you live in a vacuum!," remember when he didn’t used to be this way, when all he cared about was being a football coach and kicking notre dame’s irish ass. smile brightly (again) and top yourself up at the wine box.

* when the talk turns to politics during dinner, say, "how about that boston babe ruth curse lifting?" or "anyone see ray yet?" if that fails, turn up frank sinatra cd. loud.

posted by SantaBarbarian at 8:21 AM | 0 comments

Saturday, December 25, 2004

the best of the yuletide

we again apologize for the truncated nomination period for your fav/least fav xmas carol/movie/tv special, but we were busy, as readers of this space know, sunning ourselves on the beaches of grand cayman for the gut of december.

however, herefollow the results of our readers' poll. now, there are too many joys (and irritants) to list here, so for a complete rundown on what our dear readers think, please read this comment box, and this one, too.

the winner of favorites, by far, getting the most votes(6) for any entertainment, either pro or con, be it song, movie or tv show, was the classic "it's a wonderful life." hard to argue with that, (although one reader listed it as their least favorite, and another pointed out that any remake of it is their least fav).

then comes, tied in second place for favorites, "a christmas story" with darren mcgavin (one of our favs, though our votes weren't considered in this poll), "miracle on 34th street," (but this film, along with its remakes, was voted among the least favorites), and the song "little drummer boy."

honorable mentions (meaning they each got more than one vote) were the movies "scrooged," "white christmas," and the cartoon version of "how the grinch stole christmas" (though the jim carrey version was voted as someone's least favorite).

for songs, the band aid "do they know it's christmas time?" as well as lennon/ono's "war is over" and tom lehrer's "christmas carol" all got more than one vote each, as did the perinniel favorite on this annual poll, "i believe in father christmas" by emerson, lake, and palmer.

on the least favorite side, "the little drummer boy," which tied for second place in the favorite category was the big winner in the negatives, with a special mention by half of those who voted for it as their least favorite going to the version of the song made by dogs barking. also of note: the bing crosby/david bowie version got nominated for both favorite and least favorite.

that was followed by "grandma got run over by a reindeer" (though someone gave it a positive vote, and someone else voted the cartoon based on that song as their least favorite tv special), followed by "rudolf the red nosed reindeer," and the afore-mentioned remakes of "miracle on 34th street.

a few notes: mr. magoo's version of "a christmas carol" got one vote each for most and least favorite movie, as did john denver's "please daddy don't get drunk this christmas" for song; the pogue's "fairy tale in new york," which always makes it onto this annual poll, did not disappoint us this year either; also mentioned in the favorites were darlene love, james brown, the cast of pogo, jethro tull, lock shck and barrel, the waitresses, judy garland, the muppets, alistair sims and george c. scott's version of the dickens' classic, the youngsters, santa claus v. the martians, bad santa, south park, john mccutcheon and bass/rankin. among the least favorites: hall and oates, the king family, and manheim steamroller. who could argue with that?

of special note to us, "holiday inn," our personal favorite christmas movie (and of which "white christmas," also with bing crosby, is a remake), got a vote on the positive side. and nobody mentioned the robbie coltrane stop-action animation special from england "robbie the reindeer in hooves of fire," or drew barrymore's excellent work in "olive the other reindeer" and terrible work with keanu reeves in the "babes in toyland remake" (though perhaps not technically a christmas story, the original with laurel and hardy still holds a fond spot in our memories).

thusly another holiday season draws to a close. so what more can we say than "god blog us, everyone"?

and to all, a good night.
posted by skippy at 9:14 PM | 0 comments

who would jesus evict?

a director of a homeless shelter in north carolina evicted a pregnant woman and her three children for violating one of the rules: allowing the kids' uncle and aunt into the room. the asspress:

the director of a homeless shelter says he was right to evict a 21-year-old pregnant woman and her three children after the woman violated one of the shelter's rules by allowing her children's uncle to visit in her room.

"we have to have order," said the rev. oliver s. robinson, director of the tabernacle of faith church outreach center. "she herself created this situation. she is a young woman who does not want to listen to anybody. and it don't matter what time of year it is, winter time, christmas time, cold time or whatever."

valan garland and her three boys were evicted tuesday from the shelter, where they had stayed for about four months while waiting for an income-based apartment to open. she paid $50 a month as a donation.

on tuesday, however, she broke one of the shelter's strict rules, garland said. the paternal aunt and uncle of her three children came to visit their nephews. when the shelter's caretaker, rhonda o'neal, returned, garland says she realized there was a man in her room.

garland said she asked the couple to continue their visit outside, which they did. but robinson told garland she had to leave, giving until 9 a.m. wednesday to vacate.

"these are not the easiest people to deal with," robinson said of shelter clients. "we have to have rules and order."
jawol, mein director! there's no room for a pregnant lady at the inn during this time of year.
posted by skippy at 11:03 AM | 0 comments

and mele kalikimaka! Posted by Hello

the left coaster sends everyone greetings with "the right before xmas" and what is 25 december without bigbadvoodoodaddy?
posted by SantaBarbarian at 10:51 AM | 0 comments

christmas with the chimp

a couple of articles at the smirking chimp keep us up to date on the investigation into voting irregularities of the last election:

the black commentator looks at rep. conyers' current attempts to explore the irregularities, detailing several:

nathan sproul, the former head of the arizona republican party (and of the state's christian coalition), managed a multi-state, republican national committee-financed campaign to sign up new gop voters. in the process, his poorly paid employees, pretending to be non-partisan voter registration workers, reportedly destroyed hundreds if not thousands of signed, but unwanted, democratic registration forms - serious criminal offenses committed in concert in the furtherance of the gop's electoral fortunes. a non-republican "giuliani" would want to know about every conversation sproul had had with republican party officials over the course of at least a year. investigators would interview each of sproul's interlocutors, and warn them - and sproul - of the additional penalties attached to conspiracy. the investigator's goal is to "turn" conspirators into witnesses in the search up the chain, or to catch bad actors in a lie - an additional charge to hold over their heads. this is how the larger scheme - the criminal enterprise - is routinely fleshed out.

according to the
free press, a team of 25 men calling themselves the "texas strike force" positioned themselves at a hotel across the street from republican party headquarters in franklin county, ohio (columbus), and proceeded to make intimidating phone calls to likely democratic voters, "targeting people recently in the prison system." these imported texans' rooms were reportedly paid for by the ohio republican party. a "hotel worker heard one caller threaten a likely voter with being reported to the fbi and returning to jail if he voted" - a crime if committed by an individual, but a much more serious conspiracy if engaged in by the entire interstate flying squad and the republicans who paid, accommodated and sent them on their felonious mission. there is a raft of conspiracy angles to be worked in this case - angles that could lead...anywhere in the gop matrix in ohio, texas and beyond.

issue of the free press - an excellent chronicler of the gop election crime wave - reported that in "a largely minority area in hillsborough county [florida] half as many voting machines were in use as had been used for the earlier primary.... [a]s it turned out, the same happened all throughout florida and ohio. but in predominantly republican neighborhoods, plenty of voting machines were on hand, lines were normal, and everyone who wanted to vote, did." such practices form a pattern, conceived by real persons, who handed down orders to other persons, with the result that black precincts were so starved of voting machines that it was mathematically, predictably and deliberately impossible to service the area's voters.

also at the chimp, keith olbermann explains how the triad vote machine company's attempt to pre-determine the "randomly selected" 3% of ohio counties for a vote recount doesnt' actually fall under the definition of "randomly selected."
posted by skippy at 9:47 AM | 0 comments

Friday, December 24, 2004

m e r r y c h r i s t m a s !!!

from the entire staff of skippy international!
posted by skippy at 9:51 PM | 0 comments

keep the nominations coming

day two of the 3rd annual skippy international waxing nostaligic about your favorite xmas entertainment discussion.

what's your fav christmas song/movie/tv special?

what's your least fav of same?

discuss amongst yourselves.

addendum: this dkos diary by doug r. points us to tom tomorrow's great find...a bootleg copy of 1978's star wars christmas special.
posted by skippy at 11:23 AM | 32 comments

cue sgt. schultz: "i know nozzeenk!"

holden, at first draft, alerts us to this washpost editorial, which obtusely accuses awol of war crimes by omission in the abu ghraib and gitmo fiascos:

the record of the past few months suggests that the administration will neither hold any senior official accountable nor change the policies that have produced this shameful record. congress, too, has abdicated its responsibility under its republican leadership: it has been nearly four months since the last hearing on prisoner abuse. perhaps intervention by the courts will eventually stem the violations of human rights that appear to be ongoing in guantanamo, iraq and afghanistan. for now the appalling truth is that there has been no remedy for the documented torture and killing of foreign prisoners by this american government.
posted by skippy at 11:08 AM | 0 comments

the santa also rises

robert hayes of let's try freedom posted the classic james thurber parody "a visit from st. nicholas, as told by ernest hemingway."
posted by skippy at 10:47 AM | 0 comments

just in time for christmas trees catching on fire....the los angeles fire department now has an informational blog and....all the chp wants for christmas is for you to not call them while testing out your new christmas cell phone..
posted by SantaBarbarian at 10:43 AM | 0 comments

change of address card

blue grass roots has a new url. change your links!

posted by skippy at 10:31 AM | 0 comments

happy friday before christmas kangaroo blogging Posted by Hello
posted by SantaBarbarian at 10:00 AM | 0 comments

say hello

to geof newman's links and why now?
posted by skippy at 9:56 AM | 0 comments

twas the night light before christmas

night light's last post before the holidays: 'twas the night before a blogger's christmas 2004.
posted by skippy at 9:51 AM | 0 comments

Thursday, December 23, 2004

pahdon me, ahnold

the governator, obviously in a christmas spirit, has given out three pardons, which apparently is three more than awol ever has. talkleft tells us:

california gov. arnold schwarzenegger merits at least mild praise for the pardons he granted to three drug offenders who (according to his proclamation) "turned their lives around through hard work and public service and years later are pillars of their communities." three is not a generous number -- c'mon governor, it's christmas! -- but it beats the number pardoned during all the years gray davis was in office: zero.
the three criminals pardoned, all personally known by the governator, are, in order of imprisonment:

dr. pamela isely;


and vincent benedict.
posted by skippy at 5:57 PM | 0 comments

skippy's 3rd annual christmas song contest

as readers of this space know, skippy (along with mrs. skippy) spent the majority of december in the carribean, thusly avoiding most of the christmas season, and the ensuing battles accompanying same this year.

however, the editorial staff just received a missive from mary beth over at wampum, one of the first, and most consistent, blogs to ever support our efforts here in blogtopia (yes! we coined that phrase!), in which she wondered if we were going to observe our annual call for favorite christmas entertainments.

it's not really a contest, more of a talking point. but it always makes for interesting discussion.

we are sorry we failed to get to this earlier, as we were climbing mayan ruins in belize. but, mary beth, in your honor, we throw open the floor to everyone, asking:

what's your favorite christmas song?

what's your favorite christmas movie?

what's your favorite christmas tv special/episode?
and this year, let's add a twist: what's your least favorite in any of the above categories?

there's only two days left, including christmas itself, to add to this topic, but we will keep a running tally and let everyone know the results on boxing day.

happy festivus!
posted by skippy at 5:14 PM | 31 comments

is our children learning? (talk about great last minute holiday items....)

or better yet...is our soldiers?

Ft. Bliss Training Was Poor, Members of Guard Unit Say

houston — members of a second national guard unit that prepared for duty in iraq at the army's ft. bliss compound have come forward with allegations that they were not adequately trained. the soldiers said in interviews, e-mails and official documents that they were sent to war this year with chronic illness, broken guns and trucks with blown transmissions.

The unit's M-60 machine guns reportedly were in such bad condition when the soldiers deployed in February that one sergeant — in a section of a post-training summary sent to his commanders that was titled "gun maintenance" — wrote: "Perhaps we should throw stones?"-

forget using awol...i'm thinking the more appropriate sobriquet is a**hole.
posted by SantaBarbarian at 3:17 PM | 0 comments

those kids with their insect fads

atrios catches jonah goldberg at the nro's corner in an embarrassing faux pas (especially in these days of computer spell checks):
i have a -- not very original -- theory about citizen kane. i liked it more than you, but i think one of the things that hurts it is that all of the techniques that make it a great movie have been so completely absorbed into the medium that they don't seem that original now. this is a problem with many "firsts" they quickly seem antiquated precisely because of their influence. i've always thought the beetles will eventually decline in esteem because of a similar phenomenon.
yes, the esteem of those little six-legged insects with their hard exo-skeletons will eventually decline because of a similar phenomenon to the industry-wide absorption of orson welles' camera techniques...in about a million years.

however, the ants will still reign supreme, because they have reinvented the genre using quentin tarrintino's penchant for homage to chop sockey flicks of the 60's and 70's.

and don't get us started on roaches and tracking shots!
posted by skippy at 1:33 PM | 0 comments

and the grinch, thinking fast, said to cindy lou who, "this tv set has a broken bulb, so i know what to do! i'm taking it to my workshop to fix it, i'll bring it back to you!"

via wonkette via talkleft, roll call reports that a high-ranking republican staffer was caught red-handed stealing a plasma tv from sen. barney frank's office:

sent: tuesday, december 21, 2004 1:08 pm subject: fw: : fyi

just to make you all aware... last evening around 10:00 p.m. a person was apprehended by the capitol police stealing one of our brand new large plasma tv's from one of our committee rooms in 2220 rayburn. at the beginning of the month, the old plasma tv had been taken from the room and had been reported missing. one of our staff came in late to do some work last night and caught the person taking the tv in a box from the room. our staffer tried to stop the gentleman and he started to run away down the hall. when our staffer pursued him further down the hall, the person dropped the box and dolly and took off down the stairs. our staffer followed him. at the bottom of the stairwell they encountered a detail of capitol police and fbi doing planning for the inauguration. the police in turn pursued this person and made an arrest.

it turns out that this person is a professional staffer at the small business committee. the police believe that he took both tv's and may be implicated in other missing equipment from the building.

i guess you never know who to trust!
yeah, we do. not repubbblicans.
posted by skippy at 1:22 PM | 0 comments

time is not on her side (and visa versa)

via tom paine.com, the mother of a soldier slain in iraq reponds to time magazine's cover of awol of the year. fair usage laws be damned, we reprint the letter in its entirety here:

dear time editors:

my son, spc. casey sheehan was killed in iraq on 04/04/04. this has been an extraordinary couple of weeks of "slaps in the faces" to us families of fallen heroes.

first, the secretary of defense—donald rumsfeld—admits to the world something that we as military families already know: the united states was not prepared for nor had any plan for the assault on iraq. our children were sent to fight an ill-conceived and badly prosecuted war. our troops were sent with the wrong type of training, bad equipment, inferior protection and thin supply lines. our children have been killed and we have made the ultimate sacrifice for this fiasco of a war, then we find out this week that rumsfeld doesn't even have the courtesy or compassion to sign the "death letters"—as they are so callously called. besides the upcoming holidays and the fact we miss our children desperately, what else can go wrong this holiday season?

well let's see. oh yes. george w. bush awards the presidential medal of freedom to three more architects of the quagmire that is iraq. thousands of people are dead and bremer, tenet and franks are given our country's highest civilian award. what's next?

to top everything off—after it has been proven that iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, there were no ties between saddam and 9/11 and over 1,300 brave young people in this country are dead and iraq lies in ruins— what does time magazine do? names george w. bush as its "man of the year." the person who betrayed this country into a needless war and whom i hold ultimately responsible for my son's death and who was questionably elected, again, to a second term, is honored this way by your magazine.

i hope we finally find peace in our world and that our troops who remain in iraq are brought home speedily—after all, there was no reason for our troops to be there in the first place. no reason for my son and over 1,300 others to have been taken from their families. no reason for the infrastructure of iraq to be demolished and thousands of iraqis being killed. no reason for the notion of a "happy" holiday to be robbed from my family forever. i hope that our "leaders" don't invade any other countries which pose no serious threat to the united states. i hope there is no draft. i hope that the five people mentioned here (and many others) will finally be held responsible for the horrible mistake they got our country into. i hope that competence is finally rewarded and incompetence is appropriately punished. these are my wishes for 2005.

this isn't the first time your magazine has selected a questionable man for this honor—but it's the first time it affected my family so personally and so sorrowfully.

cindy sheehan
thanks to ckck94's dkos diary for the link!
posted by skippy at 1:07 PM | 0 comments

the theory of devolution

snow-moon posits what would happen if educators pushed reincarnation, since the snake-handlers want religiosity in schools.
posted by skippy at 8:03 AM | 0 comments

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

say hello

to left edge north.
posted by skippy at 4:01 PM | 0 comments

xmas shopping suggestion

looking for that perfect gift?
posted by skippy at 10:29 AM | 0 comments

called on account of reign - a skippy musing

david broder, in the washpost, posits that partisanship in washington can be directly traced to the lack of pro-baseball in that city:

what has been missed by most of the historians and political scientists is the fact that political conditions in washington began to decline in 1971, the year the baseball senators decamped for texas and became the rangers.

baseball was the tonic that soothed washington's nerves. after a hard day in the senate, members on opposite sides of the foreign aid bill debate could repair to robert f. kennedy stadium, 22 blocks away, knock back a few beers and watch frank howard pound the stuffing out of the ball. by the same token, disgruntled bureaucrats, bloody from fighting to save their pet programs from the fiscal surgeons in the bureau of the budget, could sit in the stands and enjoy the sight of camilo pascual baffling the yankees with his curveball.

that tonic has been missing from washington lo these many years, and look at the mess we are in. the city and its resident politicians now fixate on football's redskins, who play only eight home games a year -- and in one of the ugliest stadiums ever constructed, with no certainty except that the traffic will be maddening on the way in and worse on the way out. and you wonder why the atmosphere is poisoned by anger and frustration.
an interesting theory, and cute enough to fill a column in a national newspaper. but, while mr. brody's initial feeling that a major change in baseball was the watermark of when things began to go screwy in this country, he unfortunately picked the wrong event (washington senators leaving for texas) as the catalyst.

no, unfortunately for the world, the day everything changed was not 9-11-01, but 8-8-88, an easy-to-remember palindrome of a date that is as insidious as it is cute.

of course, that's the day that the first night game was played in wrigley field.

no more was baseball, and by extension, the soul of america, pure. no more was the game, and thereby anything else, done for the pure pleasure of it. no, now chicago baseball had to go into the night, to create more revenue, to accommodate busy schedules of business men who wanted their baseball and their day job.

yes, it was 8-8-88 when baseball in the daytime, the last vestige of doing something for the pure joy of doing it, was hooked up to a billion gazilliwatts of luminescence so the spot lights could be shown on gate receipts. the last place where kids could learn sportsmanship, team work, and personal bests, without the pressure of profit margins interfering was dragged, unceremoniously, into the 20th century, courtesy of the 80's, the decade of greed.

was it the cause of the world's present problems? was it merely the effect? was it only a sad, sad coincidence that allows us to wax with self-righteous nostaligia about how bad things are compared to how great things were?

we may never know. but in this time of millionaires setting the national agenda, one can't help but long for a simpler time when playing ball the natural way, in god's great sunlight, was considered by a whole city to be the way to do it.
posted by skippy at 10:04 AM | 0 comments

the ol' skippy mailbag

let's open up the ol' skippy mailbag...

madkane salutes time's madman of the year.

joe gandelman of the moderate voice examines jay rosen's examining of the a newspaper that is happy about bloggers, so happy it will begin blogging itself.

the kids at the daily cookie send us a sandiegouniontrib piece about a medical marijuana user targeted by the dept of motor vehicles.
posted by skippy at 9:33 AM | 0 comments

update on mosul

the washpost tells us that at least 22 people died in yesterday's attack, with more than 70 wounded:

an explosion tore through a crowded u.s. military mess tent in the northern iraqi city of mosul on tuesday, killing at least 22 people and wounding more than 70. u.s. military officials updated the casualty toll early today, saying that 14 of the dead were u.s. soldiers, and most of the casualties were americans who had just sat down to lunch.

it was the deadliest attack on a u.s. military installation in the 21 months since the war in iraq began.

the explosion, which came at noon, was at first believed to be caused by a mortar round or rocket that pierced the white canvas tent that serves as mess hall at forward operating base marez, near the mosul airport.

but in an online assertion of responsibility for the attack, a radical muslim group described "a suicide operation." military officials said the cause of the blast was under investigation, and some security experts said the extent of injuries indicated that it was possible a bomb had been planted inside the hall.
we sure would hate to have to vote in iraq next month!
posted by skippy at 9:13 AM | 0 comments

courting controversy

progressives everywhere seem to be in a permanent state of mourning, seeing as how repubbbs have a strangle hold on all three branches of government. but, tony mauro asks on law.com, when it comes to the supreme court, are they republican in name only?

though things may be on hold now, the sense is strong that 2004 may be the final year in which the current nine justices sit together. change is in the air. but what change?

the year 2004 affirmed a growing feeling among court scholars and others that the court is far from being in the grip of conservative republicans, though seven of its members were appointed by gop presidents. during the presidential campaign, the democratic national committee tried to make the supreme court an issue. but instead of campaigning against the current court, its slogan was "save the court," which, inadvertently or otherwise, telegraphed that the justices now serving have by and large pleased democrats.

"this is a republican court only in the sense that earl warren was a republican chief justice and william brennan was a republican associate justice," says court scholar david garrow. liberals warren and brennan were appointed by president dwight eisenhower.

"right now, rather than the least dangerous branch, the supreme court is the least conservative branch -- as a matter of political outcomes," says john yoo, professor at boalt hall school of law at the university of california, berkeley, a former clerk for justice clarence thomas who served in the bush justice department.

because of its centrist republican appointees john paul stevens, sandra day o'connor, david souter and anthony kennedy, the court has not always marched in the direction charted by rehnquist and his conservative allies, antonin scalia and thomas. o'connor, who replaced the late potter stewart, has increasingly taken on some of stewart's decision-making attributes, says garrow -- moderate, practical and unpredictable.

"the court is lagging behind other political developments," says garrow, "and it's not that surprising, because the republicans on the court don't have all that much in common" with each other.

in the june 28 decision rasul v. bush, the four republican-appointed moderates, led by stevens, were joined by clinton appointees ruth bader ginsburg and stephen breyer in ruling 6-3 that u.s. courts should have jurisdiction to consider challenges by foreign nationals detained by the united states at guantanamo bay, cuba. on the same day, in hamdi v. rumsfeld, thomas was the only justice who fully embraced the bush administration's arguments that the detention of enemy combatants was part of the president's war powers and should not be restricted by the court.
posted by skippy at 9:05 AM | 0 comments

it isn't torture if fox news vets it

the fbi reported their concerns about torture at gitmo, according to memos obtained by the aclu, sez the uk guardian:

fbi agents repeatedly complained about the torture of detainees at guantánamo bay and iraq and believed their eyewitness accounts of beatings, strangulation and other abuse were subject to a cover-up, official memos show.

even after heavy censorship, the memos, obtained by the american civil liberties union, contain graphic details of abuse in which military and government interrogators put lit cigarettes in detainees' ears, spat on them, knocked them unconscious, or resorted to deliberate humiliation.

in an email dated july 30, one fbi official writes: "i saw a detainee sitting on the floor of the interview room with an israeli flag draped around him, loud music being played and a strobe light flashing."

the documents, which largely appear to be emails from field agents to their superiors, describe growing fbi discomfort with the interrogation methods in use at guantánamo and in iraq.

they provide the most detailed account yet of the methods of interrogation sanctioned by the bush administration in the "war on terror". they also reinforce the position of human rights groups that the abuse of detainees at guantánamo and in afghanistan and iraq was a product of a new gloves-off policy.

"they provide disturbing evidence that the defence department adopted inhuman interrogation methods, methods that the fbi described as torture," said jameel jaffer, an attorney at the aclu.

"the department of defence adopted these policies. they weren't just a matter of an aberration, or low level soldiers engaging in abuse."
well, we know rumsfeld didn't sign off on it.
posted by skippy at 8:16 AM | 0 comments

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

i love the jews - a skippy musing

though it wasn't as bad as it could have been, skippy's worst nightmare did manage to manifest itself slightly on the recent cruise to the carribean.

the skippy's had first seating dining, and shared a table with two other couples. one couple was a born-again pair from texas, and the other couple, while jewish, consisted of one democrat and one republican from missouri. yes, that's right, a jewish republican. there are such things, more and more these days.

skippy, afraid this might happened, laid the ground rules that he had rehearsed ahead of time, in a pleasant manner on the first night: dinner conversation shall not be spoiled by the discussion of politics or religion.

it went pretty well, as the table talk stayed mainly with cruise activities and what people did for a living (most of the table was retired; skippy was just out of work).

one night politics did rear its ugly head, but skippy refused to rise to the bait. he was quite surprised, however, to hear all the republicans express the view that rumsfeld should leave the job. skippy smiled secretly to himself as he ate his chilled apricot soup.

but then, another night, things got dicey. the republican man from texas was feeling his oats on international dining night. the man asked the italian waiter if the scallop musseline shouldn't be "mussolini." the italian waiter, anxious for a good tip, pretended to be amused.

but the man from texas was not done. "why aren't you named guiseppe?" he wanted to know. "aren't all italians named guiseppe?" the italian waiter, named tomas, cheerfully explained that italians have many different names.

but wait, it got worse. the texas folk insisted on discussing their religion. luckily, they didn't so much prosletyze as present their ideas.

"i believe jesus christ is the way into heaven," said the man from texas, explaining the more arcane minutae of exactly how to get there. the rest of the table politely ate their seafood cocktails in silence.

and the republican couple from texas were very magnanimous towards the jews. after asking their dinner companions, one by one, if they were jews ("are you a jew?"), they waxed admiringly about the old testament, bragging how they accept it. "i love the jews," said the man from texas.

and apparently all italians named guiseppe.

skippy put a stop, rather abruptly, to this nonsense, when the woman from texas asked him, "were you raised in the church?" without looking up from his endive salad, skippy said, matter-of-factly, "god and i have a deal. he doesn't talk about me to his friends, and i don't talk about him to my friends."

the conversation moved on to the comedian at the show the previous night.

but we bring this up, not to show how boorish republicans from texas can be, because, after all, the entire nation is reminded of that fact every single day. but rather to point out how wickedly entreched the false memes of the right have become in people's minds.

another evening at dinner, the republican from texas asked the elderly democrat from missouri if that state hadn't just passed a concealed weapon law. the missouri democrat affirmed that it had, although it was voted down by the population, apparently, yet put through by the state legislature. the democrat from missouri was not pleased.

"watch and see if the crime rate doesn't go down," said the man from texas. "they say it does."

of course, the "they" the republican from texas was referring to was, undoubtedly, john lott and his error-filled thesis "more guns, less crimes." skippy, trying to enjoy himself, sat silent, and did not point out lott's coding errors, backdating follies, or transgender cyberchatting, or even his insistance on quoting from a study from data which crashed on his hard drive, thus making it impossible for anybody to verify it. (truth be told, skippy is not a walking blog, and could not remember all the details of this stuff, nor even tim lambert's url; besides, he really was trying to enjoy himself on the trip).

the moral? there is none. even if skippy had remembered all those facts, and blog addresses, and had felt like spoiling mrs. skippy's vacation by arguing with some retired energy company employee from texas (not enron), even if he had ranted and raved like he does so often in this space, dear readers, rest assured that it would have not made one bit of difference. we are pretty darned sure that the republican couple from texas would have continued to believe that they were right.

and, aside from a couple of flare-ups when unabashed ignorance reared its ugly head, tip-toeing into bigotry, it was, all in all, a pleasant enough experience.

it's hard to get all riled up in the carribean.

addendum: while researching this rant, we managed to remember tim lambert's url (ok, we googled until we found it), and came across the very bit of info, just recently released, that would have shut the republican guy from texas up. tim tells us:

perhaps he [lott] was waiting/hoping for vindication from the closest thing to a gold standard in academic review – a report on the issue from the national research council. that report has been years in the making, and features some of the top researchers in the country. well, the report has been issued, it contains bad news for lott: it concludes that “there is no credible evidence that ‘right-to-carry’ laws, which allow qualified adults to carry concealed handguns, either decrease or increase violent crime.” they discuss lott’s research at some length and find it wanting. note that they do not say that right-to-carry laws increase crime. that may be a silver lining for those opposed to gun control who believe that in the absence of evidence of a benefit states should allow people to carry guns, but it doesn’t help lott very much: he staked his reputation on his claim that the data showed a decrease. so much for his reputation.
though we doubt such a fact would have been as clever, to the point, and as conversation-halting, as the "god doesn't talk about me to his friends" line.

double addendum: boffoblog, spurred on by our post, waxes nostalgic about their own personal run-in with lott.
posted by skippy at 10:37 PM | 2 comments