s skippy the bush kangaroo: May 2004

skippy the bush kangaroo



Monday, May 31, 2004

when does she win the cy young award?

we are proud of one of our best buds in blogtopia (yes! we coined that word), jeralyn merrit of talkleft, for winning the mvp site award from netlaw tools.

we have no idea what netlaw tools are, or what they can do, but they sound important, and we know talkleft is important, so a big congratulations to jeralyn!

posted by skippy at 7:21 PM | 0 comments

a somber memorial

doonesbury outdid itself with sunday's strip, listing all the names of the u.s. military dead in iraq (as of its writing, april 23, 2004).

luckily, the bosglobe tells us that absolutely none of the 1,400 papers that carry the story have refused to run it.

and gary trudeau gave a great referral at the bottom of his salute to the fallen to our pals at lunaville as the place to go for updates on the situation in iraq.

skippy's dad was a wwii vet in the pacific theater. happily, he came home and spent many years with skippy's family.

we hope everyone pauses today, to reflect on those brave men and women who were not able to make it home.
posted by skippy at 6:58 PM | 0 comments

aloha howard

here's a daily kos diary by katydid, who hung out with howard dean in hawaii for the memorial day weekend where he addressed the hawaiian democratic party (complete with pictures!)
posted by skippy at 6:36 PM | 0 comments

how about cheney as harold loyd?

the dc sends us a link to growabrain who found a little film of awol on german tv.
posted by skippy at 6:23 PM | 0 comments

Friday, May 28, 2004

happy memorial day weekend!


skippy is taking mrs. skippy to san diego to celebrate their 20th anniversary. thanks to all of you for your kind wishes.

in honor of the skippy's, we are giving the entire staff at skippy international the weekend off. so please, come back next tuesday to see us.

in the meantime, be sure to visit any one of the fine blogs on our blog roll.

and as always, if you can only visit one blog, make sure it's this one.(and take a look at this example!)
posted by skippy at 11:08 AM | 0 comments

freep sean hannity!

left hand sidebar.

forget it! they took it down! it was a simple, if grammatically incorrect question, who are you going to vote for, bush, kerry or nader?"

according to jj of the daily cookie, kerry was ahead with 75% of the vote, when they replaced it with a silly "how crazy is al gore" question, with no positive answers available.

sounds like a preview of next november's shenanigans.
posted by skippy at 9:26 AM | 0 comments

death by abuse

thanks to a daily kos diary, we were directed to the washpost's editorial page for a startling piece decrying the iraq prison scandal. no, not the abuse or torture. the homicides:

president bush's persistence in describing the abuse of foreign prisoners as an isolated problem at one iraqi prison is blatantly at odds with the facts seeping out from his administration. these include mounting reports of crimes at detention facilities across iraq and afghanistan and evidence that detention policies the president approved helped set the stage for torture and homicide. yes, homicide: the most glaring omission from the president's account is that at least 37 people have died in u.s. custody in iraq and afghanistan -- and that at least 10 of these cases are suspected criminal killings of detainees by u.s. interrogators or soldiers.

the deaths reveal much about the true nature of the still-emerging prisoner scandal. first, only a minority of them occurred at abu ghraib prison outside baghdad; nine of the 10 homicides acknowledged by the pentagon occurred elsewhere. second, the administration has done its best to cover up the killings: they have been reported only after news of them leaked to the media, and details about most of them are still undisclosed.
first you've heard about it? well, the washpost gives specific, if tragic, examples. for instance, this one, which didn't happen at abu ghraib, but another prison in iraq:

take the case of maj. gen. abed hamed mowhoush, the former chief of iraqi air defenses, who died nov. 26 at a detention facility at al qaim, northwest of baghdad. after his death the pentagon released a statement reporting that "it appeared mowhoush died of natural causes." that was a lie. in fact, according to an autopsy report, gen. mowhoush died of "asphyxia due to smothering and chest compression." according to documents first obtained by the denver post, two soldiers slid a sleeping bag over him and rolled him repeatedly from his back to his stomach; one then sat on his chest and covered his mouth. only after the denver post's report last week did the pentagon acknowledge the truth and say that a homicide investigation was underway.
and don't think it's limited to iraq:

or take the case of two afghan detainees who died at bagram airbase in december 2002. in march 2003 the new york times reported that their deaths had been ruled homicides; only then did the pentagon say that an investigation was underway. but no further information became available about the case until this month, when the times learned that the prisoners died while being interrogated by personnel from the same intelligence unit that later served at abu ghraib. after 17 months, no one has been charged or otherwise held responsible for the deaths, nor are pentagon officials able to plausibly explain why there has been no conclusion to the investigation.
this one has legs, kids.
posted by skippy at 9:19 AM | 0 comments

and we don't want to try new c2 from coke, either

thanks to talkleft, we find out about a texas university study that concludes anti-drug ads don't work, and in fact, may have the exact reverse effect. the houschron:

researchers harvey ginsburg and maria czyzewska, of the department of psychology at texas state, said 53 college students were asked to watch several of the commercials and give detailed descriptions of the thoughts the ads generated.

three of every four students reported the ads sparked thoughts that ran counter to the ads' message, the study showed.

"for example, in response to ads linking drug use to the war on terror, the most frequent unanticipated thoughts were that marijuana should be legalized, the war on drugs has been ineffective, and that marijuana users should grow their own," said czyzewska.

the results did not surprise her: "there were already hints and indications that the ads were eliciting an unfavorable response," she said. "that not only were they not improving anti-drug attitudes, but are actually making young people have a more favorable attitude toward drugs."
kids, just say "know".
posted by skippy at 12:29 AM | 0 comments

hey, free is free

who knew? marine's girl's dad got one of those free guns given by the bank in michael moore's movie.
posted by skippy at 12:25 AM | 0 comments

ask not for whom the blog tolls...it tolls for thee...

uh, oh! billmon has ted barlow disease!
posted by skippy at 12:24 AM | 0 comments

do we salute the galf?

bagnews notes wonders if the washpost got it right or gnorw.
posted by skippy at 12:20 AM | 0 comments

Thursday, May 27, 2004

while you were out, we searched your place...signed, the fbi

having just seen the law & order rerun detailing this same problem*, we were amazed at the grevious serendipity, if we can mix metaphors, of finding an email from the dc linking us to this oregonlive.com piece (slight registration required) detailing one family's experience withe the "sneak and peek" provision of the patriot act:

so much of the federal investigation into possible links between brandon mayfield and the deadly madrid terror bombings was cloaked in secrecy.

you name it: secret search warrants. sealed court documents. and, of course, the gag order that kept the beaverton attorney from uttering a word about his captivity until the case was dismissed monday morning.

but amazingly, the fact that he was being watched by the fbi starting in march was never much of a secret to mayfield. in fact, to hear him tell it, government agents all but left their business cards after snooping around his aloha home…

the mayfields would arrive home to find window blinds adjusted much higher than any one could reach. footprints left in the living room's plush white carpet were larger than any of those belonging to mayfield, his wife, mona, and his two sons…

once, a deadbolt that the mayfields never used was found locked. another time, the family came home and discovered digital clocks and the vcr blinking, as if someone had tripped the breaker.

…a federal court cleared mayfield of any connection to the march 11 terrorist attack on four commuter trains in spain, which killed 191 people. the judge cited a fingerprint-identification error by the fbi.

mayfield called the whole ordeal, from the home searches to his two weeks behind bars, "humiliating."

sounding weary, he added: "you can't trade your freedom for security. because if you do, you're going to lose both."
unfortunately, paraphrasing ben franklin doesn't seem to stop ashcroft.


*that episode featured our single favorite guest defense attorney, daniell melnick, played by the redoubtable tovah feldshuh!
posted by skippy at 7:21 PM | 0 comments

but will rumsfeld ever host trl?

reader tekflower sends us this link to incubus' newest video meglomaniac.

ifilm tells us:

but it's the freaky, animated video that's really off the chain: barbed wire entangles the world and a bunch of winged hitlers flutter past a jesus saves sign. and maybe the mustachioed maniac begins to look a little like president bush. or not. if they wanted to stir the controversy pot, this video should do that, especially with a hook that screams, "you're no jesus, you're no f*#king elvis."
now that's entertainment!
posted by skippy at 7:13 PM | 0 comments

maybe we can just insult them into surrender

the dc sends us a link to this frightening piece from bbc news: us army 'runs short of bullets":

us soldiers are firing so many bullets in iraq and elsewhere that the army's main supplier cannot keep up with the huge demand, us military officials say.

they say the army needs two billion bullets a year, but its government-owned supplier, alliant techsystems, can only make 1.2 billion.

to fill the gap, a us firm and israel's state-owned bullet-maker were awarded contracts for 70 million rounds each.

but they will still be some 300 million rounds short, army officials say.


posted by skippy at 7:03 PM | 0 comments

who knew usatoady would be better than the old gray lady?

we are as surprised as any of you that we completely agree with the usatoady article chastising the nytimes for not coming clean and naming names in their "mea culpa" editorial apologizing for their series of articles last year trumpeting the iraqi war without actually bothering to do any investigative journalism before hand.

the trouble, as usatoady points out, is that, unlike the apologies for the jason blair fiasco, the times did not specifically mention "journalist" judith miller, the author of the majority of the stories, whose unnamed source for her material was none other than ahmed chalabi, the man now currently persona non gratis in neo-con circles, and possibly a spy for iran.

usatoady says in part:

while some in the news industry praised the paper for coming clean, others said the note fell far short of full disclosure, that it was long overdue, and that its message was obtuse at best.

"the times' exercise would leave any less-than-knowledgeable reader wondering what the hell they were talking about," says former newsweek chief osborn elliot.

others blasted the paper for not singling out and sanctioning times reporter judith miller, whose reports — which often used unnamed sources, frequently chalabi — have been widely challenged.

"unlike blair's deceptions, miller's lies provided the pretext for war. her lies cost lives. if only the times had done the same kind of investigation of miller's reports as it had with blair," says amy goodman, author of the exception to the rulers, which takes miller to task for her stories. "it's outrageous to have a simple editor's note buried on page a10, while their repetition of the administrations' lies was consistently given top billing on the front pages of the paper."

miller could not be reached. times' public editor daniel okrent says he plans to write about the note in his sunday column, but would not discuss its content.
could not be reached for comment? what a surprise.

if this keeps up, we'll have to stop calling it usatoady.
posted by skippy at 6:16 PM | 0 comments

happy memorial day from the bush economic team

the good news is that initial unemployment claims are down from last week.

the bad news is the qualifier: they are down only slightly.

even worse, they're up higher than everyone thought they would be:

the number of people filing for first-time claims last week was 344,000, down from the revised 347,000 reading on initial filings the previous week. economists surveyed by briefing.com forecast that 335,000 filed for initial benefits last week.
that economy is so strong!
posted by skippy at 12:58 PM | 0 comments

rush, you're fired!

at least that's what david brock's media matters is trying to get the armed forces radio network to say.

media matters correctly perceives limbaugh's tirades to be incredibly partisan, as well as out and out contradictory to the stated military position on the abu ghraib abuse scandal. in a letter to sec. rumsfeld, brock writes:

mr. limbaugh, whose program is broadcast for one hour per day to u.s. troops overseas, has spent the past four weeks condoning and trivializing the abuse, torture, rape and possible murder of iraqi prisoners by u.s. guards at the abu ghraib prison-gross misconduct that you have described as "fundamentally un-american.”…

as recently as may 21, referring to photographs emerging from abu ghraib, mr. limbaugh said: "the media ought to start making some money off these pictures and videos, not just publishing them free. we need some prison torture, you know, bubble gum cards...you know, like i say, we got baseball cards and bubble gum. now let's have terror cards -- only let's show our prison abuse photos instead of the terrorists and who they are and what they do. we could go coins. we could go medallions."

as you know, mr. limbaugh's commentary is broadcast on american forces radio to nearly 1 million u.s. troops, stationed in more than 1,000 outlets, in more than 175 countries and u.s territories, including iraq. according to a may 26 article on salon.com, the radio network was established "to improve troop morale by giving service members a 'touch of home' with american programs overseas." it is abhorrent that the american taxpayer is paying to broadcast what is in effect pro-torture propaganda to american troops. i ask you to consider removing mr. limbaugh from the radio network to protect our troops from these reckless and dangerous messages.
if you agree, and want to help brock's campaign, go sign the petition.

(thanks and a tip of the bush kangaroo hat to atrios for the link!)
posted by skippy at 12:46 PM | 0 comments

why straight people shouldn't be parents

because they could produce an offspring like mona charen.

mona's outdone herself this time. she takes a respected essay, "(how) does the sexual orientation of parents matter?", published in the american sociological review three years ago (just now catching up on your reading, mona?) and uses the conclusions arrived at by the authors judith stacey and timothy biblarz to contradict those same conclusions. not a simple feat.

basically, professors stacey and biblarz concluded that there is no evidence whatsoever that children raised by gay parents are worse off than those raised by heterosexual parents. from the let him stay website, in a recent interview with prof. stacey:

q: florida and conservative activists everywhere argue that heterosexuals make better parents than gay men or lesbians. is there anything in the body of social science research that supports this claim?

a: no, nothing at all. significant, reliable social scientific evidence indicates that lesbian and gay parents are as fit, effective and successful as heterosexual parents. the research also shows that children of same-sex couples are as emotionally healthy and socially adjusted and at least as educationally and socially successful as children raised by heterosexual parents. no credible social science evidence supports florida's claim.
but that doesn't stop mona. in a townhall piece, mona decides that being rasied by gay parents is harmful, because the children will grow up with a - gasp! - acceptance of homosexuality!

biblarz and stacey examined 21 studies of "lesbigay" couples' children compared with heterosexual parents' children. while all of the researchers had claimed to find "no difference" in outcomes between the two groups, biblarz and stacey disagree. there are statistically significant differences in gender identity, sexual experimentation and promiscuity. the authors are quick to add that these observed differences do not alarm them. they are happy to embrace a variety of family forms. and if gay parenting means more gay offspring, the authors are not alarmed by this.
that's right! if a kid is raised in a tolerant environment, he or she may not feel repressed or ashamed if he or she turns out to be gay! the horror! the horror!

to give mona credit, she does mention that the professors found out there's no hard evidence that gay parents turn out more gay children. but notice her caveat right after:

as biblarz and stacey observe, the majority of children raised in gay families turn out to be heterosexual in adulthood (bearing in mind the limitations of the research).

biblarz and stacey deserve credit for their honesty. but their breezy embrace of gay parenting is highly reminiscent of the cheerful accounts offered in the 1970s for divorce and single parent households. in those days, we were told that whatever made for a happier parent also made for a happier child. we are sadder and wiser now. the children are much sadder.
so, even though there's no problem, it reminds mona of a time 30 years ago when someone else said there wasn't a problem, but in her opinion, there was a problem on that different issue 30 years ago.

mona, take a pill. first of all, how can you, in one breath, reprimand the professors for their "limitations of the research," then turn around and casually toss off a similarity between gay parenting and divorced parents without any research to back up your claim whatsoever?

but secondly, and more importantly, your only complaint, mona, seems to be that kids raised in homosexual families aren't shocked or repulsed by homosexuality.

plus, she whines out of both sides of her mouth:

the research further shows that daughters raised by lesbians tend to have a larger number of sexual partners from puberty to adulthood than children in ordinary homes. it also, quite interestingly, shows that boys raised by lesbians have fewer sexual encounters than boys raised by heterosexual parents.
so, what's the problem, mona? is good or bad to have more slap and tickle in your adolescent life? or is it just that boys deserve to screw around more than girls, boys being boys and all, and girls have to be prim and proper and chaste, but these horrible homosexuals are reversing that trend!

to answer mona's shrill yet vague accusations, we re-direct you to prof. stacey's interview on the let him stay website:

there is not a single, respectable social scientist conducting and publishing research in this area today who claims that gay and lesbian parents harm children. the dubious studies you mention were produced primarily by people who have been discredited and even expelled from the american psychological association (apa) and the american sociological association (asa). when people claim that studies show gay parents harm children, they often cite people like paul cameron. paul cameron is the primary disreputable and discredited figure in this literature. he was expelled from the apa and censored by the asa for unethical scholarly practices, such as selective, misleading representations of research and making claims that could not be substantiated.
chill out, mona. them homo's ain't after yer kids!
posted by skippy at 12:09 PM | 0 comments

we thought it was back in texas in the 90's

ampoljo, in their analysis of the sunday talk shows, states that awol's presidency jumped the shark.
posted by skippy at 11:58 AM | 0 comments

but isn't skippy a celebrity too?

our inbox contained an email touting the blog celebrity stump.com, which purports to be an non-partisan look at celebrity activity on the political stumping arena.
posted by skippy at 11:57 AM | 0 comments

say hello

to cyclopatra.
posted by skippy at 9:59 AM | 0 comments

sitting in for johnny tonight...

bill scher at liberal oasis tells us he's on vacation this weekend, so his guest blogger will be sam seder of the majority report!

go check out sam's post on how the media attempts to blur awol's and kerry's policies on iraq.

and while you're there, ask sam why the majority report blog doesn't link to skippy!
posted by skippy at 9:46 AM | 0 comments

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

a sad milestone

we are unhappy to report that the number of u.s. dead in iraq has reached 800. the latimes:

casualties. as of wednesday, we've lost 800 service people in iraq (666 of them from hostile fire), and more than 4,500 have been wounded (of whom 1,769 returned to duty within 72 hours). at least 200,000 soldiers and marines have served in iraq — including many who have since left — so that amounts to a total casualty rate of about 2.5%. if you add air force, navy and logistics personnel supporting operation iraqi freedom (at least 150,000), the casualty rate drops to 1.5%.
of course, if you figure the rate per individual casualty, it comes out to 100% every time.
posted by skippy at 11:57 PM | 0 comments

say hello

to bryan l. dumka.
posted by skippy at 11:53 PM | 0 comments

kerry on with the news

one confirmed report and one supposition about the kerry campaign:

kerry will indeed accept the nomination at the dem convention, ending speculation he may postpone his accpetance to circumvent campaign spending laws. abcnews:

bowing to pressure, john kerry decided wednesday to accept the nomination at the democratic presidential convention in july, scuttling a plan to delay the formality so he could narrow president bush's public money advantage.

"boston is the place where america's freedom began, and it's where i want the journey to the democratic nomination to be completed," kerry said in a statement released by his campaign. "on thursday, july 29, with great pride, i will accept my party's nomination for president in the city of boston. from there we will begin our journey to a new america”…

several kerry advisers had wanted him to forgo the nomination at the democratic convention in late july and wait five weeks until bush accepts the republican nod. that would give both candidates the same time to spend $75 million in public money set aside for the general election.

but the plan leaked weeks before kerry had intended, causing an uproar in his home town of boston site of the july 26-29 convention and among democrats who feared that voters would view the tactic as too political.
meanwhile, newsweek's howard fineman ponders the signals that john edwards may be on the really really short list of vice presidential picks by the kerry camp:

if sen. john kerry isn’t going to pick sen. john edwards to be his running mate, he’s sure putting him through his paces. at the kerry campaign’s request, the north carolinian is doing four major events in june, three in battleground states. the headliner is the mid-month jefferson-jackson weekend in florida. if edwards is a hit there, he could be on his way to the vice presidential nomination in boston in july…

meanwhile, his aides are studying public and private polls, several of which show that edwards—short of an astounding switch by sen. john mccain—would be perhaps the most complementary running mate available given his appeal (as shown in some of the primaries) to “soft” republicans and independents in the suburbs. edwards also is running well, usually ahead, in national polls of democrats as to whom they would prefer as no. 2—especially when (as is justified) sen. hillary rodham clinton is left out of the equation. edwards’ other qualification: he’s a client of kerry’s top media strategist and adviser, washingtonian robert shrum.

there are polls that show edwards would do more for the ticket in florida than either of the two sitting senators from there, though it’s hard to dismiss the galvanizing effect on florida democrats that the selection of sen. bob graham—a beloved figure—might have. that’s why it’ll be interesting to see how edwards does at the florida “jj” in hollywood later this month. graham, who has been carefully vetted by the campaign, is busy writing a book—a project he takes seriously but that also gives him a dignified “out.” if edwards is a hit in hollywood, graham may need one.
it's the same as what our poll shows (right hand side bar down under our archives). as of this writing, john edwards narrowly leads wesley clark as our readers' number one choice for veep, 53 votes to 47, with skippy the bush kangaroo coming in a distant third.
posted by skippy at 4:04 PM | 0 comments

also, be sure to play oil-pac man


it's bushgame, the anti-bush online adventure.
posted by skippy at 3:39 PM | 0 comments

moore homeland security

judd legum of the progress report sends us this important missive:

in today’s press conference, attorney general john ashcroft said to be on the lookout for potential al-qaeda operatives who are european-looking, in their late 20s or early thirties, traveling with families and speak english well. so if you see this man, let the authorities know immediately.
posted by skippy at 1:56 PM | 0 comments

if you violate one tenet of the geneva convention, you might as well violate them all

newsday tells us that the u.s. has begun the practice of arresting and holding relatives of wanted persons in iraq, in order to get those wanted to surrender:

in a little-noticed development amid iraq's prison abuse scandal, the u.s. military is holding dozens of iraqis as bargaining chips to put pressure on their wanted relatives to surrender, according to human rights groups. these detainees are not accused of any crimes, and experts say their detention violates the geneva conventions and other international laws. the practice also risks associating the united states with the tactics of countries that it has long criticized for arbitrary arrests.

"it's clearly an abuse of the powers of arrest, to arrest one person and say that you're going to hold him until he gives information about somebody else, especially a close relative," said john quigley, an international law professor at ohio state university. "arrests are supposed to be based on suspicion that the person has committed some offense."

u.s. officials deny that there is a systematic practice of detaining relatives to pressure iraqi fugitives into surrendering. "the coalition does not take hostages," said a senior military official who asked not to be named. "relatives who might have information about wanted persons are sometimes detained for questioning, and then they are released. there is no policy of holding people as bargaining chips."

but iraqi human rights groups say they have documented dozens of cases similar to moayad's, in which family members who are not accused of any crimes have been detained for weeks or even months and told that they would be released only when a wanted relative surrenders to u.s. forces.
thanks to the daily cookie for the link!
posted by skippy at 12:35 PM | 0 comments

tinfoil hat territory

we're not endorsing everything on this site, but take a look at 911-strike.com, particularly this amusing article debunking paranoid fantasies:

according to the practitioners of the fruit loop, 19 arabs took over the 4 planes by subduing the passengers and crew through the use of guns,knives,box cutters and gas, and then used electronic guidance systems which they had smuggled on board to fly the planes to their targets.

the suspension of disbelief required for this outrageous concoction is only for the hard core conspiracy theorist. for a start, they conveniently skip over the awkward fact that there weren't any arabs on the planes. if there were, one must speculate that they somehow got on board without being filmed by any of the security cameras and without being registered on the passenger lists. but the curly question of how they are supposed to have got on board is all too mundane for the exciting world of the conspiracy theorist. with vague mumblings that they must have been using false id ( but never specifying which ids they are alleged to have used, or how these were traced to their real identities), they quickly bypass this problem, to relate exciting and sinister tales about how some of the fictitious fiends were actually searched before boarding because they looked suspicious. however, as inevitably happens with any web of lies, this simply paints them into an even more difficult corner. how are they supposed to have got on board with all that stuff if they were searched ? and if they used gas in a confined space, they would have been affected themselves unless they also had masks in their luggage.

"excuse me sir, why do you have a boxcutter, a gun, a container of gas, a gas mask and an electronic guidance unit in your luggage?"

"a present for your grandmother? very well sir, on you get."

"very strange", thinks the security officer. "that's the fourth arabic man without an arabic name who just got on board with a knife, gun or boxcutter and gas mask. and why does that security camera keep flicking off every time one these characters shows up? must be one of those days i guess..."
thanks to our buds at resident bush for the link!
posted by skippy at 9:36 AM | 0 comments

say hello

to the antiwar.com blog, a fine division of antiwar.com, which we have relied upon for much of our news from iraq!

and while you're at it, say hello main st. usa!
posted by skippy at 9:32 AM | 0 comments

do as we say not what we do

the dc sends us this column from the baltsun by steve chapman, which wonders if awol's administration isn't talking out of both sides of its mouth when it promises to do what it takes to make iraq free:

the president is fond of declaring that no matter what happens, the united states will stay as long as necessary to ensure a happy outcome in iraq. in a speech last week, he said, "the world watches for weakness in our resolve. they will see no weakness. we will answer any challenge."

but everything the administration has done from the start suggests that what it wants most is an early exit. the defense department kept the invasion force small because it didn't expect any resistance once saddam hussein and his army were defeated. the plan was to get in fast and get out fast.

before the war, pentagon officials said the occupation would last anywhere from 30 to 90 days. that plan barely outlasted the invasion. when violence surged last summer, the administration was forced to revise its timetable, but until recently, it insisted we'd cut our troop strength this spring. instead, the administration has had to boost our presence, while giving the impression that things will look better once we transfer sovereignty june 30.

if the president is planning to pay any price and bear any burden in iraq, he hasn't communicated that to the american people, possibly because they may not share that intention. certainly no one at the white house is saying what an army officer who served there told the washington post recently - that we'll be in iraq for another five years, at least, "taking casualties" the entire time.
posted by skippy at 9:21 AM | 0 comments

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

move on for free

get a free anti-awol sticker from moveon.org! (or buy a bunch and spread them around!)
posted by skippy at 12:29 PM | 0 comments

if it's good enough for skippy, it's good enough for ralph nader

echoing a banner appearing on our right hand sidebar for over a year, presidential candidate (if he can get on all the ballots in all the states, which doesn't look too good right now) ralph nader has called for the impeachmen of awol. the nytimes:

ralph nadir, the independent candidate for president, condemned president george w. bush yesterday as a "messianic militarist" who should be impeached for pushing the nation into a war in iraq "based on false pretenses."

mr. bush's actions "rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors," mr. nader said in a speech to the council on foreign relations in manhattan. he said mr. bush had exceeded his authority in the face of widespread opposition at home and abroad.
posted by skippy at 12:25 PM | 0 comments

reflux of awol's speech

some bloggers discuss awol's speechifyin' of last night:

the smirking chimp brings us robin wright and mike allen's view from msnbc, namely, that the speech avoided answering any real questions about current policy;

chuck currie talks about church leaders discussing iraq with kofi annan;

the left coaster wants a free america before a free iraq;

rittenhouse review is angry that awol confuses terrorism with insursency and guerilla warfare;

eric alterman reviews the new marx brothers dvd release from warner brothers...it's not really pertinent to awol, but it is just as factual, and almost as funny.
posted by skippy at 11:53 AM | 0 comments

borderline

as you know, in lieu of listening to awol trying to convince himself that he's president, mr. and mrs. skippy went to the opening night of madonna's reinvention tour last night.

whatever you think about madonna, she gives one hell of a good show. the music went literally non-stop for almost two hours straight. there was an amazing amount of complex choreography with some world-class dancers to back her up, but ms. ciccone hoofed it pretty well herself throughout the night. indeed, for a 45 year old mother of two, she was looking pretty hot, and had more energy than one would think her kids did.

madonna decided to reinvent herself by doing her old stuff, mixed in with political statements, including slide show and video presentations of topical references of humanity's suffering.

one of the more touching moments was when madonna, in army fatigues, sang a rendition of john lennon's imagine. in a flashback to times so reminiscent of today that no flashback was needed, the audience held aloft flaming cigarette lighters as she sang, while pictures of the children of the world flashed behind her.

skippy, not being a smoker, held up his open cell phone to shine in the dark. and when a picture of john lennon appeared behind madonna, the whole crowd erupted into applause in the middle of her song.

due to a miscalculation of how much frickin' traffic can flow through downtown inglewood, the skippy's missed the first three songs, including vogue, one of our personal favorites.

but madonna did not disappoint the sold-out house with like a prayer, material girl, express yourself, frozen, pappa don't preach, music, and plenty of others of her standby's.

the show was a feast for the eyes. at one point, two circus performers, a fire-baton twirler, and a harlequin acrobat, shared the kinetic stage with a skater boy who was doing tricks on a track, while the harlequin ran along beside.

in a tip to husband guy ritchie's scottish ancestry, madonna somehow managed to do a highland fling baton dance while singing into the groove, accompanied by a bagpipe and a squad of drummers. she and all of her dancers were wearing scottish kilts.

at one time she and her dancers wore t shirts that said "kabbalists do it better"

many times she took a guitar and accompanied herself on her songs, working the crowd shamelessly. "you guys are great," she said at one point, and the entire great western forum, filled to capacity, answered back with a deafening roar.

we were a bit disappointed that after the end number holiday, in which she and her dancers skipped out across a suspended bridge over the heads of the crowd as bales of confetti flittered across the auditorium, the show was over, and no encore was offered.

instead, as the lights came up, the sound of awol's voice droning on in one of his speeches came across the speakers. the entire audience booed loudly.

then we went home.

if madonna comes to your town, and if you've even only tapped your toe to "lucky star" once in your life, go see her show.
posted by skippy at 11:15 AM | 0 comments

if you only see one movie this year, see another one, too

the dc recommends that after fahrenheit 911, you all be sure to catch the hunting of the president.

meanwhile, the nytimes reports that the deal for disney to transfer the rights of "911" to miramax so it could be released in this country has stalled:

but executives at those companies, many of whom signed confidentiality agreements over the film, acknowledged privately that negotiations had been stalled because it is unclear who has the rights to it.

"the deal hasn't been struck, with us or anyone else," said one leading executive at a distributor. "i think it's because of all the complications with disney. miramax is more consumed with dotting the i's and crossing the t's on the disney equation."

a disney spokeswoman, zenia mucha, said there was no delay in transferring the film rights to the miramax co-chairmen, bob and harvey weinstein, who will make a deal with another distributor as private individuals.

"we have been working diligently to do anything humanly possible to transfer the interests to harvey and bob," ms. mucha, said adding that the transfer might be imminent. still, executives at miramax confirmed that disney had not yet worked out a deal for the weinstein brothers to acquire the film privately, though they refused to discuss the issue in more detail.
posted by skippy at 8:46 AM | 0 comments

sitting in tonight for skippy the bush kangaroo, william saletan

thanks to ned at digestible news, who, seeing that the skippy's forewent (past tense of forego) listening to awol's speech last night to see madonna's opening night in los angeles instead, sent us this william saletan piece from slate covering the little diatribe.

mr. saletan makes excellent points about how awol refuses even now to accept responsibility for any thing:

the description is almost biblical. the narrative—"this war on terror"—is a moral test arranged by higher powers. postwar iraq, like 9/11, madrid, and bali, is "the world as we find it," not as we made it. "history," not bush, has placed the demands of occupation on our country. "events," not bush's mistakes and their consequences, have come quickly. we must focus on the "duty" defined by our situation, not on how we got here.

bush's ignorance of his part in the tragedy infects everything he says. "the swift removal of saddam hussein's regime last spring had an unintended effect," he observed tonight. "instead of being killed or captured on the battlefield, some of saddam's elite guards shed their uniforms and melted into the civilian population. [they] have reorganized, rearmed and adopted sophisticated terrorist tactics." note the passive construction. the mistake isn't that bush failed to prepare for guerrilla tactics commonly adopted against occupiers. it isn't even a mistake; it's an "unintended effect." the cause of that effect is saddam's "swift removal," not bush or anyone in his administration who engineered the removal.
yeah, and the bike path was muddy, too!
posted by skippy at 8:37 AM | 0 comments

Monday, May 24, 2004

mood swings

we wrote last week about over/spun's question, why hasn't any of the american news outlets reported on gen. joseph hoar's bleak assesment of our iraq situation?

well, it turns out, the answer is, the us news outlets are just slower. sunday's latimes had a front page story on the changing mood in washington, and it featured gen. hoar's testimony to congress:


"i believe we are absolutely on the brink of failure," retired marine gen. joseph p. hoar, a former commander of u.s. forces in the middle east, told the senate foreign relations committee. "we are looking into the abyss. we cannot start soon enough to begin the turnaround."

"if the current situation persists, we will continue fighting one form of iraqi insurgency after another — with too little legitimacy, too little will and too few resources," warned larry diamond, a former advisor to the u.s. occupation authority in baghdad. "there is only one word for a situation in which you cannot win and you cannot withdraw: quagmire."

hoar and diamond's assessments were grimmer than most. but the two men were far from alone.

maj. gen. charles h. swannack jr., commander of the army's 82nd airborne division, which returned from iraq in april, has given reporters an equally blunt view. "we are winning tactically, but have made a few tactical blunders … [which] created strategic consequences in world opinion," swannack said in an e-mail message. "we are losing public support regionally, internationally and within america — thus, currently, we are losing strategically."

he added: "i believe operation iraqi freedom is a just cause, america needs to stay the course and we must regain the moral high ground."

another active-duty officer who recently returned from iraq — and spoke on condition he not be identified — was crisper. "we could not have screwed up more if we had set out to do it deliberately," he said. "we gave ourselves all the disadvantages of occupation, but none of the advantages."

even sen. richard g. lugar (r.-ind.), the cautious chairman of the foreign relations committee, warned that the u.s. might be headed for a dead end unless the administration outlined a clearer strategy.

"a detailed plan is necessary to prove to our allies and to iraqis that we have a strategy, and that we are committed to making it work," lugar told administration officials at a hearing. "if we cannot provide this clarity, we risk the loss of support of the american people, loss of potential contributions from our allies and the disillusionment of iraqis."

leslie h. gelb, a former president of the private council on foreign relations — and a top pentagon strategist during the vietnam war — said he had never seen confidence sink as quickly in washington as it has in recent weeks.

"i've never heard the kind of dark defeatism i'm hearing now, both in and out of government, including the worst days of the vietnam war," said gelb, a democrat. "support for this war is plummeting. in vietnam, that happened much more slowly, and only after much higher casualties."
posted by skippy at 4:07 PM | 0 comments

if it's good enough for skippy, it's good enough for the networks

the four major news outlets are refusing to cover awol's iraq speech tonight: nbc, cbs, abc, and skippy the bush kangaroo. the sandiego union tells us:

abc, cbs and nbc decided not to offer live coverage of president bush's speech about iraq monday, although the cable news networks planned to pre-empt their regular programming for the address…

the broadcast networks took an unusual amount of time to tell viewers their plans for bush's speech – abc didn't decide until monday afternoon – because the bush administration did not formally request the time.
apparently there are some things more important than fairy stories:

nbc had two editions of "fear factor" scheduled on monday. cbs had season finales of its popular monday-night comedies and abc was showing the theatrical release "a beautiful mind."
and skippy, however, is taking mrs. skippy to the madonna concert tonight to celebrate the skippy's 20th wedding anniversary.

we figure that sort of thing takes precedence over awol trying to convince everyone he's not a fool...and while madonna may not be as entertaining, she will be more believable.
posted by skippy at 3:48 PM | 0 comments

dem v. dem

the kos has a good post on the ndn (new democratic network), the up and coming caucus of dems within the party trying to distance themselves from the dem leadership council (dlc).

fact is, the dlc is losing relevance while ndn is on the rise. it's not just a question between "moderate" and "conservative" and "progressive" democrats. those days are, at least for the moment, over. the gospel of abb is on the rise within the party coalition, leaving little room for from's brand of self-destructive and fundamentalist ideological purity.

but aside from that, ndn has also realized that winning requires more than "centrist" positions. we are too diverse a party to win by enforcing any ideological litmus tests. and thus ndn has worked to build bridges to those constituencies that can mean the difference between victory and defeat in a close election. for example, ndn's campaign targeting latinos is nothing short of genius and has already made serious inroads with latino voters (a post on this topic will be forthcoming).
we'll be looking forward to that.
posted by skippy at 10:54 AM | 0 comments

freep msnbc

you know what to do.
posted by skippy at 10:52 AM | 0 comments

going down!

awol's poll numbers are falling faster than bill bennett's pants in front of a las vegas dominatrix.

a new cbs poll finds that 52% of americans disapprove of awol's job as the president. and it gets worse on individual issues:

sixty-one percent of americans now disapprove of the way mr. bush is handling the situation in iraq, while just 34 percent approve.

as concern about the situation in iraq grows, 65 percent now say the country is on the wrong track — matching the highest number ever recorded in cbs news polls, which began asking this question in the mid-1980's. only 30 percent currently say things in this country are headed in the right direction. one year ago, in april 2003, 56 percent of americans said the country was headed in the right direction…

just 37 percent — the lowest number in his presidency — now approve of mr. bush's handling of foreign policy, while 56 percent disapprove. mr. bush's ratings on the economy are similar: 36 percent approve of his handling of it and 57 percent disapprove…

sixty-one percent of americans now disapprove of the way mr. bush is handling the situation in iraq, while just 34 percent approve.

as concern about the situation in iraq grows, 65 percent now say the country is on the wrong track — matching the highest number ever recorded in cbs news polls, which began asking this question in the mid-1980's. only 30 percent currently say things in this country are headed in the right direction. one year ago, in april 2003, 56 percent of americans said the country was headed in the right direction.

the last time the percentage that said the country was on the wrong track was as high as it is now was back in november 1994. then, republicans swept into control of both houses of congress for the first time in decades.

majorities disapprove of the way mr. bush is handling foreign policy and the economy. terrorism remains the only positive area for the president — a majority of 51 percent approve of the way he is handling the campaign against terrorism. but that number matches his lowest rating ever on terrorism.

just 37 percent — the lowest number in his presidency — now approve of mr. bush's handling of foreign policy, while 56 percent disapprove. mr. bush's ratings on the economy are similar: 36 percent approve of his handling of it and 57 percent disapprove.
posted by skippy at 10:42 AM | 0 comments

when generals attack

gen. jane karpinski, the military officer in charge of prisons in iraq, is pointing the finger squarely at the top boss gen. ricardo sanchez as far as knowledge of the abuse scandal at abu ghraib. the nytimes tells us:

the top american general in iraq, lt. gen. ricardo s. sanchez, rejected a recommendation in january that the military make a public arabic-language radio or television address to the iraqi people to confront accusations of abuse at abu ghraib prison, the former head of the military police at the prison said in an interview on sunday.

the officer, brig. gen. janis karpinski, also said general sanchez visited a military intelligence unit at abu ghraib at least three times in october, when the first of the worst abuses were taking place. and while general sanchez has said he did not learn of the abuses until jan. 14, general karpinski said his top deputy, maj. gen. walter wojdakowski, was present at a meeting in late november at which there was extensive discussion of a red cross report that cited specific cases of abuse
this only just adds to the general malaise.
posted by skippy at 10:28 AM | 0 comments

the wedding photographer

the dc sends us this asspress story detailing a video taken of the iraqi wedding which was attacked by u.s. forces:

a videotape obtained sunday by associated press television news captures a wedding party that survivors say was later attacked by u.s. planes early wednesday, killing up to 45 people. the dead included the cameraman, yasser shawkat abdullah, hired to record the festivities, which ended tuesday night before the planes struck…

"there was no evidence of a wedding: no decorations, no musical instruments found, no large quantities of food or leftover servings one would expect from a wedding celebration," brig. gen. mark kimmitt said saturday. "there may have been some kind of celebration. bad people have celebrations, too."

but video that aptn shot a day after the attack shows fragments of musical instruments, pots and pans and brightly colored beddings used for celebrations, scattered around the bombed out tent.
posted by skippy at 9:10 AM | 0 comments

Saturday, May 22, 2004

thanks

a big thanks to the blogs that have linked to us as of late, including, but not limited to, talkleft, and the sideshow and uppity negro, and moderate voice, and the hamster.

all fine blogs worth reading.
posted by skippy at 11:01 PM | 0 comments

yes he cannes

michael moore won the coveted palme 'dor, the top prize, at the cannes film festival, for his anti-awol movie farenheit 911, which disney has refused to distribute out of fear of tax reprisals by jeb bush. the nytimes:

the announcement, made by jury president quentin tarantino, met with enthusiastic cheers from the audience in the grand théâtre lumière, where mr. moore's film had received what many thought was the longest standing ovation ever at cannes when it was screened here last monday. "what have you done?" mr. moore asked mr. tarantino as he accepted the prize, looking both overwhelmed and amused. "you just did this to mess with me, didn't you?"…

but mr. moore's victory outdid all of them. for one thing, cannes is notoriously indifferent to documentaries. "fahrenheit 9/11" was one of only three nonfiction films allowed in competition in nearly 50 years.

the meaning of mr. moore's palme, however, extends far beyond the cozy, glamorous world of cannes. "last time i was on an awards stage in hollywood, all hell broke loose," mr. moore said in his acceptance speech, referring to his antiwar remarks at the oscars last year. his new film, which does not yet have an american distributor, has already begun to stir passions in the united states, as the election approaches and the debate over the conduct of the war in iraq grows more intense.
apparently, the film did get a distributor in albania, so all is not lost, at least, not on the albanians.
posted by skippy at 8:47 PM | 0 comments

when the cat's around, the mice will abuse

[ed. note: we're beginning to the miss the "all awol all the time" headline format]

msnbc is reporting that general sanchez, the highest ranking military officer in iraq, was alleged to have been at abu ghraib prison during the prisoner abuse.

a military lawyer for a soldier charged in the abu ghraib abuse case stated that a captain at the prison said the highest-ranking u.s. military officer in iraq was present during some "interrogations and/or allegations of the prisoner abuse," according to a recording of a military hearing obtained by the washington post.

the lawyer, capt. robert shuck, said he was told that army lt. gen. ricardo s. sanchez and other senior military officers were aware of what was taking place on tier 1a of abu ghraib. shuck is assigned to defend staff sgt. ivan l. "chip" frederick ii of the 372nd military police company. during an april 2 hearing that was open to the public, shuck said the company commander, capt. donald j. reese, was prepared to testify in exchange for immunity. the military prosecutor questioned shuck about what reese would say under oath.

"are you saying that captain reese is going to testify that general sanchez was there and saw this going on?" asked capt. john mccabe, the military prosecutor.

"that's what he told me," shuck said. "i am an officer of the court, sir, and i would not lie. i have got two children at home. i'm not going to risk my career.”
we thought it probably went up higher than seven "bad apples." now it looks like it goes all the way to the whole orchard.
posted by skippy at 8:36 PM | 0 comments

say hello

to times new roman online.
posted by skippy at 8:27 PM | 0 comments

do you needa shalid brothers guide to get around?

the dc sends us this piece from cockeyed.com, which compares a 9 X 9 mile map of baghdad to the same area of los angeles.

we're not sure why.
posted by skippy at 8:26 PM | 0 comments

Friday, May 21, 2004

well we never expected the spanish inquistion

download eric idle's fcc song for free.
posted by skippy at 12:34 PM | 0 comments

freep aol

vote "yes, she was right on target" in this aol poll about rep. nancy pelosi, who said "the emperor has no clothes" about awol.
posted by skippy at 12:31 PM | 0 comments

say hello

to kalends of april.
posted by skippy at 12:24 PM | 0 comments

no bad news today

our blogging buddy jj at the daily cookie refers us to this piece by over/spun, who is aghast at the lack of coverage of gen. joseph hoar's dismal predictions in front of the senate foreign relations committee:

"i believe we are absolutely on the brink of failure. we are looking into the abyss," general joseph hoar, a former commander in chief of us central command, told the senate foreign relations committee.
using google, over/spun could only find three stories that reported this, from the uk guardian, the uk mirror and the bbc.

but madonna's on tour!
posted by skippy at 12:15 PM | 0 comments

pasties for america

jon's mind links us to an asspress piece about several strip clubs registering voters with the hopes of defeating awol:

fearful that conservatives might turn off the colored lights for good, a trade organization for adult nightclubs is asking owners to register customers and employees and then encourage them to cast their ballots against the president. micheal ocello, president of the association of club executives, said the group believes the president's brand of conservatism is bad for business.

"we must do everything within our power to help ensure that bush and his ultra-conservative administration are removed from the white house," ocello wrote in a letter to nearly 4,000 club owners. "if we are to survive, we must act now”…

in southern wisconsin, more than 200 people have registered in the last month at the bar diamond jim's and the strip club isabella queen, both located between janesville and beloit. they are the first of wisconsin's 80 strip clubs to provide voter registration services.


no bush jokes please.
posted by skippy at 12:11 PM | 0 comments

open thread

by popular request.
posted by skippy at 12:10 PM | 0 comments

does chalabi use a mac?

the dc sends us to bagnewsnotes, who has a topical parody graphic of those ipod posters you see around town.
posted by skippy at 12:07 PM | 0 comments

no more funding, no more books, no more cheaters off the hook

left is right looks over the california teachers scandal where teachers helped students cheat on standardized tests.

left is right has a dog in this fight, as they are friends with an elementary school teacher in california, and know how difficult it is to get federal funding.
posted by skippy at 12:04 PM | 0 comments

no libruls allowed

david corn, writing in the nation, tells us about some liberal students who were banned from an awol rally at kalamazoo college:

according to ted hufstader and julia vanausdall--two of the kalamazoo seven--here's what happened. last week, the students heard that bush would be appearing at kalamazoo during a bus tour through the swing states of ohio and michigan. hufstader maintains that this group of friends, which was made up mostly of bush detractors (some of whom have engaged in protests in the past), only wanted the chance to see and hear the president. they were, he says, not interested in waging any anti-bush action. "we wanted to get a better idea of what he's like," hufstader notes. "all we get are little soundbites on the news." and he points to the fact that one of the seven was an international student as evidence of their sincerity: "we would not have done anything to jeopardize this student's standing in the country"…

when the gang arrived at wings stadium--home of the kalamazoo wings, a minor league hockey team--they had to pass through a series of checkpoints. hufstader maintains they were each dressed conservatively--"you know, khakis and sweaters"--and sported no political buttons or any other accouterments of dissent. at one of the checkpoints, they were spotted by a member of the college republicans. he was familiar with the political predilections of several of these students and asked how they had received tickets. "we stood in line," hufstader says he replied. at another checkpoint, hufstader and his friends saw several college republicans talking to the volunteers working security. the security people then told hufstader, dallacqua, vanausdall and the others (laura lonneman, leah busch, shanna barkume, and the international student whose identity hufstader and the others are currently protecting) that they could not enter. "they told us," hufstader says, "that we failed a background check, that we had been identified by volunteers as a potential threat, and that if we didn't leave we would be arrested."
thanks to the dc for the link!
posted by skippy at 11:55 AM | 0 comments

Thursday, May 20, 2004

supersize this!

our bud eric over at the hamster brings us an interesting story from the washpost; namely, thanks to demographic growth of minority populations, if every group voted the same way next election as they did in 2000, awol will lose by about 3 million votes:

this week, cornell belcher, a black pollster based in washington, d.c., who works for several progressive organizations, shared some startling numbers with me. he has been doing monthly polling in six key battleground states -- ohio, pennsylvania, missouri, florida, michigan and nevada. even as white voters nationwide have been moving toward negative feelings about the war, black voters have taken those feelings and supersized them.

seventy-three percent of african americans in those states disagree that the war in iraq is worth the u.s. casualties there because the country is safer. sixty-three percent agree that america should cut its losses and pull out of iraq right now.

and here's the real kicker. on the question of whether bush intentionally misled the country, 77 percent agree at least somewhat.


posted by skippy at 3:47 PM | 0 comments

happy ascension day from the bush economic team!

the uspide spin on the news is that non-manufacturing activity grew far more than expected this last month. cnnmoney sez:

the service sector of the u.s. economy grew for the 13th straight month in april, the nation's purchasing managers reported wednesday, expanding quite a bit faster than economists had expected.

the institute for supply management said its index of non-manufacturing activity jumped to 68.4 in april from 65.8 in march.

economists expected the reading to come in at 65, according to briefing.com, and any reading above 50 indicates growth in the sector, which makes up about 78 percent of gross domestic product. the service sector comprises industries such as health care, financial services and transportation.
that's great if you're sick or need a loan or ride a bus. however, initial claims for unemployment also went way up past what was expected last week, and the leading indicators didn't go far enough up, says bloomberg:

the labor department report showed weekly jobless claims increased by 12,000 to 345,000 last week, the second straight gain. economists had expected the number of claims to fall to 328,000 from the 331,000 initially reported, according to the median forecast of 42 analysts in a bloomberg news survey.

a report from the new york-based conference board showed its index of leading u.s. economic indicators rose 0.1 percent in april, compared with 0.8 percent in march. at 12 p.m. new york time, the philadelphia fed may say its manufacturing index showed expansion for a 12th consecutive month, according to the median estimate of 52 economists surveyed by bloomberg news.
meanwhile, the csmonitor analyzes how gas prices 'figure into big picture' politics:

for the bush administration, with close ties to the saudis and a president and vice president both from the texas oil and energy world, the dangers are obvious. the white house and both chambers of congress sit in republican hands, making it difficult to assign blame to democrats…

but democrats, seeing bush struggle in iraq, smell opportunity for november - and are happy to tie together iraq and gas prices. at a campaign appearance in portland, ore., earlier this week, kerry declared: "no young american in uniform should ever be held hostage to america's dependence on oil in the middle east."

and in california, spiraling gas prices may be killing a bush campaign dream that the popularity of republican gov. arnold schwarzenegger could make the state competitive for the president
meanwhile, yahoo tells us a prediction we should keep in mind for this quarter:

the economy grew at a 4.2 percent pace in the first three months of this year. economists believe economic growth in the april-june period will be between 4.5 percent to 5 percent.
we'll believe it when we see it.
posted by skippy at 11:33 AM | 0 comments

how can you tell the difference from the real thing?

the dc also sends us the latest ah-nold news. the nytimes says he's filing suit against a bobble-head maker for ah-nold bobble heads.
posted by skippy at 11:30 AM | 0 comments

spears of influence

a big thanks to jj at the daily cookie for sending us (among other items) this handy interactive awol spheres of influence chart from the washpost...find out who's been contributing $100,000 or more to the most incompetent administration in history!
posted by skippy at 11:27 AM | 0 comments

say hello

to the snarky cat.
posted by skippy at 11:25 AM | 0 comments

but we had our fingers crossed!

thinking that the geneva convention works something like the reality show survivor!, the united states is asking the world court for a year's immunity for its troops, says yahoo news:

the united states circulated a draft security council resolution to give us peacekeeping troops another one-year exemption from prosecution by the world court at the hague.

the measure is likely to face misgivings after revelations that us troops abused prisoners in iraq and human rights watch told afp it would issue a strong statement about the proposal thursday.

washington at first signed the treaty establishing the court but later backed out, saying it feared the tribunal would be politicised and that its troops abroad could be charged for war crimes.

the united states has since persuaded more than 60 countries to agree to bilateral immunity deals, lobbying hard and threatening to cut military assistance to those that do not sign an accord.
we hope next november awol gets voted off the island!


posted by skippy at 11:20 AM | 0 comments

it's official...awol broke the law

the general accounting office has concluded the administration broke two federal laws when it made those fake "news reports" about the new medi-care rules. the washpost:

the general accounting office concluded that the department of health and human services illegally spent federal money on what amounted to covert propaganda by producing videos about the medicare changes that were made to look like news reports. portions of the videos, which have been aired by 40 television stations around the country, do not make it clear that the announcers were paid by hhs and were not real reporters.
although these days, how can you tell a real reporter from a fake one, anyway?

the nytimes gives us these details:

the general accounting office said that a specific part of the videos, a made-for-television "story package," violated the prohibition on using taxpayer money for propaganda.

people seeing the videos in a newscast would "believe that the information came from a nongovernment source or neutral party," it said.

william a. pierce, a spokesman for the department of health and human services, who helped develop the videos, said: "we disagree. it's not covert. tv stations knew the videos came from us and could have identified the government as the source if they had wanted to"...

the accounting office dismissed that argument. the intended audience, it said, was not news directors, but viewers, and "the video news releases did not alert viewers that the centers for medicare and medicaid services was the source."

moreover, it said, "some news organizations indicated that they misread the label or they mistook the story package as an independent journalist news story."

two videos end with the voice of a woman who says, "in washington, i'm karen ryan reporting." a third video is narrated, in spanish, by a man who identifies himself as "alberto garcia reporting." the scripts were prepared by the bush administration at the centers for medicare and medicaid services, a unit of the department of health and human services.

the accounting office said the videos were "not strictly factual news stories" and were flawed by "notable omissions and weaknesses" in their explanation of the medicare law. but the main problem, it said, is that they were "misleading as to source."
this is skippy the bush kangaroo reporting.
posted by skippy at 12:23 AM | 0 comments

not only historians think it's bad

a few posts down we talked about how a group of historians rate awol's presidency (pretty low).

agreeing with that sentiment, hal crowther writes in the independent online an essay coming to the same conclusion.

the irreducible truth is that the invasion of iraq was the worst blunder, the most staggering miscarriage of judgment, the most fateful, egregious, deceitful abuse of power in the history of american foreign policy. if you don't believe it yet, just keep watching. apologists strain to dismiss parallels with vietnam, but the similarities are stunning. in every action our soldiers kill innocent civilians, and in every other action apparent innocents kill our soldiers--and there's never any way to sort them out. and now these acts of subhuman sadism, these little my lais.

since the defining moment of the bush presidency, the preposterous flight-suit, fox news-produced photo-op on the abraham lincoln in front of the banner that read "mission accomplished," the shaming truth is that everything has gone wrong. just as it was bound to go wrong, as many of us predicted it would go wrong--if anything more hopelessly wrong than any of us would have dared to prophesy. iraq is an epic train wreck, and there's not a single american citizen who's going to walk away unscathed.

the shame of this truth, of such a failure and so much deceit exposed, would have brought on mass resignations or votes of no confidence in any free country in the world. in japan not long ago, there would have been ritual suicides, shamed officials disemboweling themselves with samurai swords. yet up to this point--at least to the point where we see grinning soldiers taking pictures of each other over piles of naked iraqis--neither the president, the vice president nor any of the individuals who urged and designed this debacle have resigned or been terminated--or even apologized. they have betrayed no familiarity with the concept of shame.

thousands of young americans are dead, maimed or mutilated, 100 billion has been wasted and all we've gained is a billion new enemies and a mouthful of dust--of sand. chaos reigns, but in the midst of it we have this presidential election. george bush has defined himself as a war president, and it's fitting that he should die by the sword--in fact fall on it, and quick.
(thanks to dc for the link!)
posted by skippy at 12:22 AM | 0 comments

no longer a party

the washpost reports that u.s. forces opened fire on a wedding party in western iraq, killing at least 40 people:

u.s. military officials in washington and iraq disputed iraqi claims that that u.s. aircraft had attacked a wedding party wednesday morning, killing dozens of people in the remote iraqi desert near the syrian border.

news services, quoting iraqi officials and witnesses, reported that more than 40 people, including women and children, were killed in an early morning attack by some kind of u.s. aircraft, either an airplane or a helicopter.

but army brig. gen. mark kimmitt, the u.s. military's deputy director of operations in baghdad, told reporters that the fighting involved foreign insurgents, not a wedding party.

"we took ground fire and we returned fire," kimmitt said, according to the reuters news service.
this just keeps getting worse:

video gathered in the western town of ramadi by associated press television news showed bloody bodies piled into a truck. the bodies included children, one of whom was decapitated, ap reported. iraqi witnesses interviewed in the video said revelers at a wedding had been celebrating by shooting guns in the air before they came under fire.
posted by skippy at 12:22 AM | 0 comments

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

he'd better hope there's no iraqi jailers there

the first soldier to plead guilty in the abu ghraib prisoner abuse scandal has been sentenced to, irony of ironies, prison. the latimes:

army spc. jeremy c. sivits today pleaded guilty to charges of abusing iraqi prisoners at the abu ghraib prison and was sentenced to one year in prison, stripped of his rank and he will be given a bad conduct discharge.

sivits was given the maximum sentence in the first military court martial stemming from the prisoner abuse scandal at abu ghraib, where u.s. military personnel allegedly abused and humiliated prisoners. the 24-year-old solider, who photographed the humiliation of nude iraqi prisoners, pleaded guilty to four charges, including mistreating detainees and dereliction of duty.
sivits, who is not related to det. sipowitz on nypd blue, but makes us think of that fat bald guy every time we hear his name, faced a court martial at the baghdad convention center today.

the court martial pre-empted the baghdad home and garden show that was scheduled at the convention center, but apparently the fine art found in motels sale will go on as scheduled later this week.

and, in an interesting media/cultural development, military.com, the parent of the army times, among others, is reporting the abcnews article we brought you on tuesday, which tells of the allegations by one sgt. samuel provance of a wide-spread cover-up among the military in the scandal.
posted by skippy at 10:27 AM | 0 comments

if history is the judge, awol is voted off the island

thanks to a daily kos diary, we find this history news network essay that shows most historians interviewed see awol as the, wait for it...worst president in history!

a recent informal, unscientific survey of historians conducted at my suggestion by george mason university’s history news network found that eight in ten historians responding rate the current presidency an overall failure.

of 415 historians who expressed a view of president bush’s administration to this point as a success or failure, 338 classified it as a failure and 77 as a success. (moreover, it seems likely that at least eight of those who said it is a success were being sarcastic, since seven said bush’s presidency is only the best since clinton’s and one named millard fillmore.) twelve percent of all the historians who responded rate the current presidency the worst in all of american history, not too far behind the 19 percent who see it at this point as an overall success.

among the cautions that must be raised about the survey is just what “success” means. some of the historians rightly pointed out that it would be hard to argue that the bush presidency has not so far been a political success—or, for that matter that president bush has not been remarkably successful in achieving his objectives in congress. but those meanings of success are by no means incompatible with the assessment that the bush presidency is a disaster. “his presidency has been remarkably successful,” one historian declared, “in its pursuit of disastrous policies.” “i think the bush administration has been quite successful in achieving its political objectives,” another commented, “which makes it a disaster for us.”
lots of bar graphs and pie charts to prove it, go read.
posted by skippy at 10:21 AM | 0 comments

mail call

our bud jj at cookies in heaven sends us this upi piece that muses it might be payback time in dc:

even worse for rumsfeld and his coterie of neo-conservative true believers who have run the pentagon for the past 3½ years, three major institutions in the washington power structure have decided that after almost a full presidential term of being treated with contempt and abuse by them, it's payback time.

those three institutions are: the united states army, the central intelligence agency and the old, relatively moderate but highly experienced republican leadership in the united states senate.

none of those groups is chopped liver: taken together they comprise a devastating grand slam.
and jj also sends us the latest must-have item of the season!

posted by skippy at 9:57 AM | 0 comments

buy some chili instead

remember, today is don't buy gas day. although we are pretty sure that even if everybody refused to buy gas today, it wouldn't have much of an effect, because we'd all have to buy gas tomorrow, or at least within a week's time.

oh well, we can dream, can't we?
posted by skippy at 12:46 AM | 0 comments

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

the ghost of richard nixon

those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. and those that don't even read history are doomed to repeat their entire school year.

such must be the case with awol. as anybody who studied nixon's years in the white house (hell, not even that, anybody who read doonesbury during that time) could tell him, it ain't the crime that gets you, it's the cover-up.

abcnews is reporting that an intel staffer is blowing the whistle on the cover up at abu ghraib prison:

dozens of soldiers — other than the seven military police reservists who have been charged — were involved in the abuse at iraq's abu ghraib prison, and there is an effort under way in the army to hide it, a key witness in the investigation told abcnews.

"there's definitely a cover-up," the witness, sgt. samuel provance, said. "people are either telling themselves or being told to be quiet"…

"what i was surprised at was the silence," said provance. "the collective silence by so many people that had to be involved, that had to have seen something or heard something."
this, of course, is in direct opposition to the party line, that it was just a "few bad apples." sounds to us like the whole damn orchard.

he said that while he did not see the actual abuse take place, the interrogators with whom he worked freely admitted they directed the mps' rough treatment of prisoners.

"anything [the mps] were to do legally or otherwise, they were to take those commands from the interrogators," he said.

top military officials have claimed the abuse seen in the photos at abu ghraib was limited to a few mps, but provance says the sexual humiliation of prisoners began as a technique ordered by the interrogators from military intelligence.

"one interrogator told me about how commonly the detainees were stripped naked, and in some occasions, wearing women's underwear," provance said. "if it's your job to strip people naked, yell at them, scream at them, humiliate them, it's not going to be too hard to move from that to another level."
we'd like to see that job description! any perks?

(as always, thanks to the cookie for the link!)
posted by skippy at 4:02 PM | 0 comments

where oh where has my little job gone?

jobs are going overseas at a rate 40% higher than previously thought, according to this piece from the sfchron:

u.s. corporations are sending work overseas faster than previously thought, according to forrester research inc., whose controversial report 18 months ago helped stoke the national controversy over offshoring american jobs.

in its latest study, forrester predicts that by the end of next year, u.s. firms will offshore more than 800,000 service jobs, 40 percent more than the firm estimated previously. forrester's overall estimate remains the same: the firm predicts that about 3.3 million jobs will go overseas by 2015.

the cambridge, mass., researcher said the largest u.s. employers are expanding the types of work they send overseas. where telemarketers and software developers used to bear the brunt of the job loss, bank loan processors, insurance claims adjusters and even legal assistants now share the pain.

critics of offshoring seized on the original forrester report as evidence that shipping jobs overseas would devastate service-sector employment and the middle-class workers who fill those occupations. yet the report itself was criticized by economists, company executives and others who have defended offshoring as a painful but necessary result of a global economy.
why is it that the "global economy" usually means "rich guy's paychecks," and has very little to do with the people who actually inhabit most of the globe?

(thanks to the cookie for the link!)
posted by skippy at 3:45 PM | 0 comments

will blog for food

good luck to atrios, and the corner at national review online, who are holding pledge drives to garner enough money so they can blog full-time without worrying about a job.

that being said, don't get us started about bloggers asking readers for money.

we've gone over this before, and pissed off all of our blogger friends in the process.

what we do in blogtopia (aside from yes! coining descriptive phrases of where we do it) is to cull information from cyberspace and organize it in creative and easy-to-digest ways. it's an important task.

but it's not so important that people owe us money for it. really.

if you want to be a writer paid for writing, do it the regular way.

write a whole lot. submit a whole lot. get rejected a whole lot. sell a little. write a whole lot more. submit a whole lot more. get rejected a whole lot more. sell a little bit more.

then, rinse, and repeat.

come on, kevin drum is doing it. we assume glenn reynolds and eric alterman are getting something from msnbc for their time. (we could be wrong. it's been known to happen).

the truth is, it's tough to make a living doing anything creative (and blogging is not anything, if not creative). ask us how hard it is. we at skippy international have not had a day job in over a decade.

it's no bed of roses. it's difficult more often than not. there are ups and downs and many, many arguments with mrs. skippy about getting off our butts and getting a real job.

but, it can be done.

and it has not been done by asking for contributions. loans, maybe, but not contributions.

but who knows, maybe the world is on the verge of a new information-distribution revolution, and somehow the readers of blogs will create a market-sustaining income for their favorite bloggers.

but, having seen the results of epublishing over the past five years, we would not hold our breaths.

folks, blogging is more like a really good pick up game than a professional basketball event. and asking the kids watching your shirts vs. skins practice to pay your bills is a bit of hubris, if we say so ourselves.

if you can't support yourself and engage in a hobby, even a hobby as exciting and important-feeling as blogging (which, after all, is just getting your opinion out there), then, give up your hobby.

now, don't get us wrong. we'd love it if atrios (and even the kids at the corner) can create a lifestyle so that they can blog all day long. and for anyone that wants to donate to that end, more power to you, and god bless us everyone.

and for all the bloggers with a paypal button or amazon wish list, if that's what gets you through the night, fine.

but we think it's a bit much to ask people to pay us directly to hear our opinion.

we'll give it you for free.

and if the time comes that we have to get a day job, then we would hope to use our spare time at night to bring you our view of the world. and if we're too tired or time-consumed to type our version of the news on a keyboard, well, then, maybe our version wasn't all that important in the first place.
posted by skippy at 11:49 AM | 0 comments

rip tony randall

we have lost one of the best, if not the classiest, of character actors to have graced american comedies. tony randall, emmy award winning star of stage, screen and television, died in his sleep at the age of 84.

tony will be remembered by the old farts in the audience as the second banana in a slew of the doris day-rock hudson sex innuendo comedies of the 50's, and really old farts will think fondly of his portrayl of mr. peepers' best friend.

but it was his rendition of felix unger in the television version of "the odd couple" that everyone knows him for.

playing opposite jack klugman as oscar, tony managed to make everyone forget jack lemmon in the movie, and art carney in the broadway play, not a mean feat. in fact, it is our opinion that the randall-klugman version was one example of a tv show being far superior to the source material.

and he also was a force in theater in his later years, as he founded the national actors theater in new york, filling a void for a national theater for this country which he perceived. the nat production of m. butterfly, which included his favorite role, received, ironically, a tony award, and he was appearing onstage there as recently as last december.

god rest your soul, tony randall.

addendum: we forgot to mention our favorite tony randall movie of all time: will success spoil rock hunter?

based on a play by george axelrod, a satirist of impecable insight that would make today's comedy writers pale in comparison, rock hunter is less a story than an excellently-executed mad tv skit skewering the popular culture of the 50's, which, with it's forays into the pitfalls of instant-and-undeserved celebrityhood, is more relevant to today than one would expect. by all means, rent the video!

also, speaking of celebrities who have passed on: andy kaufman is apparently still dead, much to the chagrin of elaborate practical joke fans everywhere.
posted by skippy at 11:12 AM | 0 comments