Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Baghdad is just like Philadelphia

The unreality W and his administration were said to be shedding hasn't molted just yet. Yesterday, W commemorated the 60th anniversary of V-J Day in a speech at the Naval Air Station in San Diego. For all you youngsters out there we were at war with Japan before they started selling us cars, televisions and dvd players, "V-J" Day is Victory in Japan Day not some reference to MTV "veejays." For all you middle-aged youngsters out there, MTV doesn't have veejays anymore, they are on MTV2. MTV is now home to "Date my Mom" and the new reality show "Underwear Cam - Life inside boxers and thongs."

So the boy who would be war president spoke, in a suit not a flight suit, and said, "Sixty years...Japanese [accepted] surrender" ending World War II. And using the anniversary of V-J Day for policital ends W said, "As we mark this anniversary, we are again a nation at war. Once again, war came to our shores with a surprise attack that killed thousands in cold blood. (and we attacked a country that had nothing to do with it) Once again, we face determined enemies who follow a ruthless ideology that despises everything America stands for. (and who we have strengthened by mishandling our war of choice) Once again, America and our allies are waging a global campaign with forces deployed on virtually every continent. (and where we are sacrificing our sons and daughters to create fundamentalist Islamic states) And once again, we will not rest until victory is America's and our freedom is secure. (When I say "we will not rest" I'm using "we" loosely since I have rested on vacation more than any other president in history spending nearly 1 in 5 days in office on "me time.")

Iraq seems to be like World War II and our own nation's constitutional birth depending on the time of day. The Iraqi constitution, the bedrock of Jeffersonian democracy we were promised and that our sons and daughters are being sacrificed for to help create states, "Islam is the official religion of the state and is a basic source of legislation [and] no law can be passed that contradicts the undisputed rules of Islam." Wonder if that will show up in Army recruiting ads? "Army. Defending the freedom of clerics to create Islamic states." Sickening.

And Iraq as the Thirteen Colonies? Baghdad as Philadelphia? No difference in constitutional conventions or militias? Excuse me, but while the period between the adoption of the Articles of Confederation in 1781 and the drafting of the Constitution in 1787 was one of weakness, dissension, and turmoil the worst thing that happened back then was states printing up their own money and imposing taxes on other states' imported goods. Unlike in Iraq where a mix of foreign terrorists, former Sunni Ba'athists now insurgents, criminal gangs and religious militias have made life practically unlivable, the militias of New Hampshire and Massachusetts didn't go on raids slaughtering the good people of Maine or Connecticut unless I missed that in history class. It's more of the unreality W and his band of crusaders will sell until people stop buying it.

And get ready for another historical comparison if Iraq descends into full-blown (no pun intended) civil war. Then W will be endlessly quoting Lincoln and Rumsfeld will approvingly tell us "we had our own civil war and it's just a normal part of the bumpy road to democracy." Like I said, sickening.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

A very special non-political crankiness

Due to popular demand, actually one person, I am going to avoid political crankiness today and focus on regular run of the mill typical crankiness that the Curmudgeon gets daily. Hence the name.

Memo to cell phone users on the commuter train...go kill yourself.
If you need to be on a cell phone at 7:30 in the morning it should sound like this, "You should see the baby's head now and make sure the cord isn't wrapped around its neck." Or maybe something like, "The Hong Kong market closes in a few minutes, sell everything or we are ruined!" But no. It sounds more like this, "(ring tone of The Love Boat Theme that goes on for a minute or two) Hello? Oh hi! Fine. Fine. Good. Good. No, we had a great time. The food was good. We had a small problem with our luggage but we just bought new stuff. Yesterday, except we got home and we found some bananas we left out."

And by the way, its a telephone not a megaphone! Stop shouting! Do you think the entire north line needs to hear about your vasectomy or your kid's soccer goal? If you need to be on the phone to discuss, at 110 decibels, your breakfast to be or work to be done either come in earlier or stay later. Or, as I suggest, go kill yourself.

News flash to Chicago local news channels 2, 5 and 7 - you're not the story. I know you think people actually care about you but watching video of local reporters or anchors finishing a marathon in 6 hours and then having some happy talk about it, but its not news. Its home movies. Maybe show me this narcissistic pablum in the last 30 seconds but in minute 7? There's nothing more important in the city let alone the world that deserves a look see? No breaking news on snow in December or it's hot in July? Maybe Mayor Richard Daley being questioned by the U.S. Attorney's office in a criminal probe or former Illinois governor George Ryan going on trial for corruption needs more air time than squirrels on little water skis or dogs catching Frisbees at the lakefront.

And by the way, just tell me what the weather will be like tomorrow. Not now. Not when I'm going to be asleep. Not a week from now. When I wake up and go out, that's all I need. And stop showing me hail storms in Denver. I don't care. And speaking of not caring, finding someone from Illinois in New Orleans to tell you what they felt like when Hurricane Katrina wiped out their vacation isn't news! Feelings aren't news and seeing some local goof in Louisiana has as much appeal to me as going to Italy and meeting fellow Americans. Zero. What's next? Hearing your feeling about hearing their feelings?(P.S. Enough with standing outside in the wind and rain to report a hurricane. It's windy and rainy. We get it. If shoes, clothes, skin and hair were being ripped off your bodies I'd be impressed and keep watching.) Elect the Curmudgeon to Congress and banning local news would be my first bill introduced.

Finally, I can't completely avoid politics. After Illinois Republican Gov. Ryan's indictment; Ohio Republican Gov. Bob Taft's no contest plea and Kentucky Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher's blanket pardon of 9 current and former officials, and almost pardoning himself, it occurred to me that being a Republican Governor might be a predictive factor in whether you'll turn out to be corrupt. If you know of a Republican voter out there maybe its time for an intervention.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Curmudgeon Scoops The New York Times

I've tried to tell people the Curmudgeon was ahead of his times, sort of like The Beatles or Nostradamus. Well, maybe not ahead of his times but at least ahead of The New York Times. Loyal readers of this site, and you three know who you are, will recall the Curmudgeon blogged about Bunnatine "Bunny" Greenhouse a U.S. Army contracting watchdog in the Pentagon getting thrown under the bus. Well not only has the she been thrown under the bus, but it has stopped and backed up over her.

Now normally I don't pay attention to a woman named "Bunny" unless its for a lap dance, but today's New York Times, gives a little ink to Bunnaine "Bunny" Greenhouse, who has worked in military procurement for 20 years. She was demoted Saturday after criticizing a large, noncompetitive contract with the Halliburton Company for work in Iraq. She has publicly described her complaints about a five-year, $7 billion oil-repair contract awarded to Kellogg Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton. Bunny has argued that if urgency required a no-bid contract, its duration should be brief. She has also fought the granting of a waiver to Kellogg Brown & Root in December 2003, approving the high prices it had paid for fuel imports for Iraq, and had objected to extending its five-year contract for logistical support in the Balkans for 11 months and $165 million without competitive bidding.

Ms. Greenhouse has told a Congressional panel, that the Kellogg Brown & Root oil contract was "the most blatant and improper contract abuse I have witnessed during the course of my professional career." She also said the defense secretary's office had improperly interfered in the awarding of the contract.

Her demotion was to be considered only after the Department of Defense inspector general conducted an independent investigation. Apparently that wasn't good or fast enough for the Crusaders in the administration and finally finding a fight they could win the acting secretary of the Army approved Ms. Greenhouse's demotion, effective Aug. 27. That, of course, was a Saturday because cowards and bullies do their dirty work on Friday nights and weekends when the news cycle might not pick it up.

Bunny's lawyer said that the inspector general had not finished investigating the matter and when he telephoned Dan Meyer, director of civilian reprisal investigations in the inspector general's office, Mr. Meyer was "shocked" to learn that the corps had proceeded against Ms. Greenhouse. Mr. Meyer said that he was immediately opening a "civilian reprisal" investigation and faxed forms to Bunny's lawyer to initiate the process.

Hope the DOD has planned for the post-Bunny demotion period better than the post-Saddam period. I'm going to go with "no." Your tax dollars at work again. Overpay Halliburton now and pay Bunny's damages and lawyer later for "civilian reprisal" complaint. When will it become clear to the "red states" that these bullies and Crusaders shouldn't be running a lemonade stand let alone a country?

BONUS POSTING: Capt. Fogg hits it out of the park today with his grand unification theory of why the Republicans are going to ruin this nation. Read all about it here.

BONUS POSTING II: Just when you thought things can't get more absurd, they do. Check out this right-wing comic book which turns G. Gordon Liddy, Sean Hannity and Oliver North into super heros. Love the Ambassador Bin Laden speaking to the U.N. general assembly. Fear as a political marketing tool is being replaced by mental illness in comic book form.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Civil war is progress

If W were on the Titantic he'd say the sinking was a good chance to practice his swimming. It's not sonny Bush, it's sunny Bush. First it was "Mission Accomplished" then it was "looting is just a part of democracy" then it was the insurgency is in its "last throes." Now the W administration expressed sunny optimism Thursday that Iraq's parliament was on track to approve a national constitution despite a third blown deadline. "You're watching a democratic political process evolving before your eyes in which Iraqis are now pulling together through political compromise, whereas in the era of Saddam Hussein it was coercion and tyranny that forced them to come together," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said after the delay was announced. As long as there is a "process" going on everything is a success.

We've gone from a prediction of robust Jeffersonian democracy to "can we just secure the road from the Baghdad airport to Baghdad?" While W and his knights ridicule a secular America wouldn't it be great to have a secular Iraq? In America we have the crusading right demanding, sometimes through lawsuits once regarded as liberal evil, a more religious America. Ten Commandments on every wall, court, city hall; Baby Jesus and Mary in every public square and Creationism in science classrooms to name a few examples. The Iraqis are well on their way to their own religious theocracy run by clerics. I guess if its good enough for the U.S., its good enough for Iraq. Islam will be the official religion and no law can offend it. Bye-bye woman's rights. So long a modern court system. Hello one man, one vote, once. The burka industry just got full employment for life.

I have spoken to a number of Iraqis through Skype and it's not a pretty picture. Many already say its a civil war going there. But no matter, if full blown Beirut-style civil war breaks out, no doubt Rumsfeld will tell us with his best David McCullough impression that "we had our own civil war it's all part of the bumpy road to democracy." Just part of the progress. And when Iraq and Iran form an alliance it will be, "Iraq has the right to have relations with any country." If Al-Qaeda, Bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi set up shop in America W will say, "good, now we can go after them more easily because ther here in our own backyard and we can root them out more easily here than there." Trust me. The speeches are already written.

In the 2006 mid-term elections don't be surprised when the chicken hawk Republicans crow abour their success against insurgents and terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan and god forbid, Detroit. It's all just part of the process and nothing from here on out will be considered a failure in Iraq by W and his loyal band of crusaders.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Thou shalt Assassinate - The 11th Commandment

First Ayatollah Pat Robertson issues his fatwa calling for the U.S., through its special forces to assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Mullah Robertson said, "You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war." I seem to remember that somewhere between Genesis and Psalms there was the Book of Assassins.

Then right on schedule when the Ayatollah sensed that calling for the assassination of an elected president of a sovereign nation could be considered a little un-Christian, he took guidance from Liars 1:17 and claimed he never said such a stupid thing.

Of course, the Curmudgeon predicted the, "They are taking it out of context" defense would be used. Unfortunately, it only would be considered out of context if he had said, "I'd be insane to call for" right before he went into the whole assassination thing.

Scurrying backwards like a corner church rat, Pat said, "Wait a minute, I didn't say 'assassination.' I said our special forces should, quote, "take him out," and "take him out" can be a number of things including kidnapping. There are a number of ways to take out a dictator from power besides killing him. I was misinterpreted by the AP, but that happens all the time." Blaming the Associated Press was a nice touch.

Then after realizing that it's one thing to call U.S. judges more dangerous than bearded terrorists who fly planes into buildings but it's another to call for the murder of a head of state the smiling loon apologized for what he had said even though he said he never said it even though it's on video tape. Since Pat owns the network that broadcasts his 700 Club (700 as in how many dollars a day he want from each viewer) I'm sure he could have gotten the tape. Pat said, "Is it right to call for assassination? No, and I apologize for that statement." Must not have polled well with the donors who sit beside the 10 Commandment paper weights and books ends sold in Christian book stores everywhere. The Curmudgeon was thrown though as I predicted right after the "taken out of context" nonsense the "Attack on Christianity" and "Attack on people of faith" would have started. I waited and waited and nope. Not this time. Might be difficult to play the victim when you're on television planning a hit on a head of state.

Once again the hypocrisy is so thick and so ironic that it would be considered farce if it weren't so serious. Mullah Robertson, a 1988 Republican presidential candidate is typical of who is running the Republican party. Skilled con men dressed up in suits hand made from their violent and rapacious interpretation of the Bible issuing fatwas of assassination or prayers for vacancies on the Supreme Court (translation: they should all get cancer and die) or cheering on wars of choice to either get richer or get the bus trip to the Rapture started.

Ask yourself what Pat-world or Santorum-world would look like. Schools that act as churches, no funding for science except for a missile defense and Jesus on the $100 bill. Make that every bill from ones and fives to those coming out of Congress.

Don't say the Curmudgeon didn't warn you.

BONUS POSTING: Just when I thought Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was a sane middle of the road, moderating force on issues like Iraq and campaign spending he gets on the Creationism should be taught bandwagon. Maybe the answer is not to fight the "science is attack on people of faith" crowd. Maybe all points of view on every topic should be taught in school. Abstinence versus free love? Slavery an economic model for full employment? We cull animals why not people? Oh the possibilities are endless. Senator, I thought I knew you. Nice knowing you.

Back in Blue

Dateline - Illinois. Back in a blue state. Ah, it feels like a warm bath. After taking the screaming baby express from West Palm Beach we arrived back to reality. Actually, cranky jr. was a perfect angel on the flight it was the melt down at PBI airport. United took a trip back in time when their computer system went down and had to do check-in and boarding passes by hand. Nice.

Haven't had a chance to really digest all the news and put my cranky but humorously lovable spin on it. Reminds me of the time I got on a flight to Amsterdam in June, 1989 and when I got off I found out Ayatollah Khomeini died. I'm scanning the obits right now hoping a few Khomeini types are where they claim they aspire to be. The only thing I see are the poll numbers for W which are lower than the Curmudgeon's! Amazing. And he was such an optimistic guy.

I'll decompress from the land of Bush-Cheney bumper stickers and try to deliver to my cranky fan base an epicly cranky post tomorrow. That or some lame excuse for a blog post if I can't think of anything.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Lord who art in heaven, please kill...

Deadline - Hobe Sound, Florida. Who needs to take a dip in a pool when I can just walk outside? I hear they're changing the name to Hobe Sauna real soon. Tip #107 from your Uncle Curmudgeon - don't go to South Florida in late August. If you think I'm cranky on normal days try me when the humidity reaches 110% and I can squeeze a cup of sweat from from my underwear. Not a pretty sight.

As I blog here in God's waiting room I had a chance to catch Pat Robertson continue his charade as a sane person. Robertson, who is becoming a repeat topic for the Curmudgeon, keeps giving me tall mountains of insanity to mine for this blog. Robertson is said to be worth over $190 million, most of it from the sale of the Family Channel, which somehow found its way into his personal assets instead of remaining part of his non-profit CBN. Robertson has openly support forced-abortions in China's one child policy but I'm sure it had nothing to do with his business interests in China. He has opposed removal of the murderous Charles Taylor as President of Liberia and I'm sure that had nothing to do with the mining licenses he held there. (A review of the lifelong hypocrisy of Pat including gambling interests, using humanitarian planes for diamond smuggling and other sitcom-like tales are here.)

For those news junkies out there you'll remember when Pat held hands on the "700 Club" and prayed, “Take control, Lord! We ask for additional vacancies on the court, and we ask for additional fine people like John Roberts. Lord, speed this hearing process; may there be no rancor. May the Senate comport itself as it should, and may we see peace, harmony and a rapid confirmation process. Do miracles, Lord. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

"Lord, please give Souter, Ginsberg, Stevens, Kennedy and Breyer cancer," would have been shorter and "Lord, please put an ice pick into the base of their skulls" sounds a bit coarse but the sentiment is the same. You have to wonder about a religion that turns its God into Sammy "The Bull" Gravano but hey, its a free country, until Patriot Act 4.

Pat's blood lust and deft touch for foreign policy, (gee, it's really too bad he didn't get elected president) was on display once again this week as he is planning another contract with his hitman sidekick Jesus. Pat has called for the United States to assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, calling him "a terrific danger" bent on exporting Communism and Islamic extremism across the Americas. "If he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it," Robertson told viewers on his "The 700 Club" show Monday. "It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war." World War I being the exception.

If I can own diamond and gold mines, chinese media interests, call for the deaths and assassinations of my enemies and have a checking account with $190 million dollars in it then I'm converting right now and my southern baptism can take place with the soaking wet air of south Florida. Have to go change my damp clothes and religion now. Amen.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Heart of Darkness

I land at West Palm Beach airport with Cranky's wife and Cranky Jr. in tow expecting to step outside into the sweet Florida air that calls like a siren song to us northerners. That and no state taxes, bankruptcy laws that let you keep your mansion, Hope diamond sized engagement rings and being able to conceal carry your guns into the local Winn-Dixie might also play a factor. The automatic doors slide open and I walk out into.....

the jungles of Southeast Asia. Feels like Borneo. Wow. It's like walking into a sauna in the middle of a desert on the surface of the sun while someone wraps you in hot towels. No wonder my round trip airfare was $186.00. Couldn't figure out why I was sharing my flight with a pack of iguanas. By the time I got the car I needed two changes of clothes and someone to squeegee me.

But I was here in God's country. Where churches and golf courses sit side by side. Driving around you can pick up "This oxycontin is giving me a Rush Limbaugh"on four, yes four, radio stations. After a while I think the Helsinki Syndrome kicked in as I found myself agreeing with the philosophy that more guns and more Jesus is the answer to everything.

Jupiter Island is next door but the Curmudgeon's efforts to see the insanely rich people there failed only due to a wall the Israelis would be proud of and a private militia the Iraqis would be proud of which leads me to a short blogging detour...

The Washington Post reports Shiite and Kurdish militias, often operating as part of Iraqi government security forces, have carried out a wave of abductions, assassinations and other acts of intimidation, consolidating their control over territory across northern and southern Iraq and deepening the country's divide along ethnic and sectarian lines, according to political leaders, families of the victims, human rights activists and Iraqi officials.

Basra, Iraq's second-largest city, has witnessed dozens of assassinations, claiming members of the former ruling Baath Party, Sunni political leaders and officials of competing Shiite parties. Many have been carried out by uniformed men in police vehicles, according to political leaders and families of the victims, with some of the bullet-riddled bodies dumped at night in a trash-strewn parcel known as The Lot.

Sen. George Allen, a 2008 Republican presidential hopeful, when asked about this on This Week without David Brinkley pooh-poohed the main stream media and Democratic "negativity"and said, "[Y]ou have that even in our United States. We have local police, we have state police, and you have the FBI." Is Allen saying Iraq isn't so bad or the U.S. is no better? Hard to read the mind of a nut.

After a long day in the Heart of Darkness, I read Cranky Jr. a sweet bedtime story. It's called, Help! Mom! There are Liberals under my bed. The charming little book gets the hate mongering and propaganda started early teaching "young children the valuable lessons of conservatism. Written in simple text, readers can follow along with Tommy and Lou as they open a lemonade stand to earn money for a swing set. But when liberals start demanding that Tommy and Lou pay half their money in taxes, take down their picture of Jesus, and serve broccoli with every glass of lemonade, the young brothers experience the downside to living in Liberaland."

Two more days to go. Don't know how the Curmudgeon will make it.

Friday, August 19, 2005

The Sheehan family - lying Jew-hating insurgents?

The right wingnuts have been in overdrive, 11 on the dial for all you "This is Spinal Tap" fans, about Cindy Sheehan and her anti-Iraq war protest in Crawford. The talking points memo handed out to Faux News, "this oxycontin is gives me a Rush Limbaugh" and the rest of the "we're on a mission from God and Karl Rove crowd" has been to try to smear Sheehan by that convenient device guilt by association. Oh, if only tailgunner Joe McCarthy were alive today he'd be so proud. But unless you believe in the resurrection I think we're going to have to make do with the likes of Rush, G. Gordon Liddy, O'Lielly and their ilk.

Liddy, appearing on Faux News called Sheehan an "anti-Semite" and that using the term "neocons" was a code word for Jews. Liddy of course would know something about being an anti-Semite. The felon's childhood hero was Hitler and has said that when he listened to Hitler on the radio, it "made me feel a strength inside I had never known before," he explains. "Hitler's sheer animal confidence and power of will [entranced me]. He sent an electric current through my body." As a child Liddy was made to salute the Stars and Stripes Nazi-style by the nuns at his school; even now, he admits, "at assemblies where the national anthem is played, I must suppress the urge to snap out my right arm."

Bill O'Lielly said on his No Decency Zone that, "So I mean, I think Mrs. Sheehan bears some responsibility for this and also for the responsibility of other American families who have lost sons and daughters in Iraq, who feel that this kind of behavior borders on treasonous." Another traitor exposed by O'Lielly! Add one more name to the list he holds in his hands!

And "this oxycoton gives me a Rush Limbaugh" outdid all the others by saying, "I mean, Cindy Sheehan is just Bill Burkett. Her story is nothing more than forged documents. There's nothing about it that's real, including the mainstream media's glomming onto it. It's not real. It's nothing more than an attempt. It's the latest effort made by the coordinated left." MSNBC host Keith Olbermann went so far as to run a mention naming Rush Limbaugh "today's worst person in the world."

But the cherry on top of this theater of the absurd is that the Bush family was in business with the Bin Laden family through the Carlyle Group at the time of 9/11. And then there is this "traitor" Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE), a decorated Vietnam War Veteran who said just yesterday, "We are seen as occupiers, we are targets. We have got to get out. I don't think we can sustain our current policy, nor do I think we should."

So Sheehan is intellectually hanging around with the "likes" of Sen. Hagel and W's family is in financial bed with Bin Laden. And Bush who, to quote Moe of the Three Stooges, fought to the last drop of Casey Sheehan's blood, has his right wingnuts in lockstep (in Liddy's case goosestep) calling Cindy Sheehan a traitor, a jew-hater, a liar and left-wing whore. What's next? Cindy Sheehan shot her own son? Maybe he shot himself. Maybe he was with the insurgency that's in its last throes. Don't say the Curmudgeon didn't warn you.

BONUS POSTING: Once the exclusive territory of nuclear weapons designers and code breakers, ultrafast computers are increasingly being used in everyday product design. Procter & Gamble used a supercomputer to study the airflow over its Pringles potato chips to help stop them from fluttering off the company's assembly lines. Maybe W and Rummy should employ as much care to protect our troops as P&G does to protect its potato chips.

BONUS POSTING II: Next week, blogging from JEB and Katherine Harris country. Don't miss it.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

It's good to be the Governor

North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley has refused to pardon a man he put behind bars when he was a prosecutor even though the man was freed from prison after the victims recanted their testimony.

Easley denied the petition of Sylvester Smith, 54, who was convicted in 1984 for first degree rape and two counts of first degree sexual offense. At the same time, however, the governor pardoned Leo Waters, 56, of New Bern, who served 21 years in prison for a 1981 rape. He was freed on the basis of new DNA evidence.

A judge ordered Smith released from prison in November. The accusers, who were 5 and 6 at the time of the trial, recanted their earlier testimony and said their grandmother told them to say Smith was responsible for the abuse rather than their 9-year-old cousin. The cousin, who can't be prosecuted because of his age at the time of the crime, is serving a life prison sentence for murder. The grandmother has died.

Smith won a new trial and a prosecutor dismissed the charges.

Smith said Easley had a conflict of interest because he prosecuted the case when he was district attorney in Brunswick County. "I don't think he's man enough to say he made a mistake," Smith said.

Can't admit a mistake? Sounds like perfect training for the White House. Can you say President Easley? Easley for President - so tough on crime he won't pardon innocent people!

Not to be outdone, Gov. Bob Taft, charged with four misdemeanors counts of ethics violations on Wednesday is expected to enter a no contest plea, a legal fiction that really is a guilt plea, Thursday, wrapping up the case less than 24 hours after it was filed. Taft, whose great-grandfather was President and later Chief Justice William Howard Taft, will also apologize to the Citizens of Ohio. It is unclear if he will apologize only for getting caught.

Taft was accused of failing to report 52 gifts, including dinners, golf games and professional hockey tickets. The gifts were worth about $5,800 and given over four years. Prosecutor Ron O'Brien said the gifts included two golf outings worth $100 each paid for by embattled coin dealer Tom Noe. Noe is a Republican fundraiser whose $50 million investment of state money in rare coins launched the scandal. Noe has acknowledged that up to $13 million is missing from the rare coins fund, and Attorney General Jim Petro has accused him of stealing as much as $4 million.

They should have charged Taft with felony stupidity and the Curmudgeon should get into the rare coin investment business as long as my investor is my governor and golf partner. For a couple of hundred dollars and 3 strokes a side I can make $4 to $13 million? When's our tee time Gov. Blagojevich?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Marriage, an institution like Bellevue?

Contrary to the wingnuts on the right who argue that same sex marriage is a threat to heterosexual marriage a new study contradicts the idea that if Heather and her two mommies move in next door my marriage to Mrs. Curmudgeon will go bye-bye. Apparently it's singles who are the problem. You know who you are. Ordering out all the time. Having absolute control of the t.v. remote and thermostat. Cleaning the bathroom only when people ask about your bold decorating choice of "black tiles." Leaving your dirty laundry on the floors so as to have easy access to them when you dress. Having sex when and where you want, sometimes even with another person. Actually, it doesn't sound so bad now that I put it that way.

What we need here to protect the institution of marriage is a constitutional amendment against single people. That would be a start. Or perhaps since divorce is the real reason why marriages end a constitutional amendment against divorce. Problem solved. Given the growing influence of the "sun revolves around the earth that was created by an Intelligent Designer" crowd outlawing divorce is more likely. I can see a hit reality show out it now, "Begging for Annulments." Guest hosts may include Newt (3 marriages) Gingrich and Rush (3 divorces) Limbaugh. I barely can afford one wife and certainly not an ex-wife so don't worry Mrs. Curmudgeon, you, me and my dirty socks on the floor will grow old together.

BONUS POSTING: Two years after Pearl Harbor do you think FDR just wanted to get on with his life? Maureen Dowd, whom I got turned on to, writing-wise Mrs. Curmudgeon, put down the phone please, hits it out of the ballpark today. Another must read here.


We are disagreeing. We are failing to reach compromises. But we are not killing each other.

-- Iraq Minister of Planning Barham Salih, Aug. 16, 2005

A pair of car bombs exploded Wednesday morning at a bus station in central Baghdad, killing at least 43 people and wounding 88, Iraqi police said. Aug. 16, 2005

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Fly the Moronic Skies

Since the early 80s I've only been shocked a couple of times. I'm not shocked anymore it's more of a head-shaking "I must be in the Matrix" reaction now. Sometimes I even reach for my com-link and say, "computer, freeze program. Computer, end program. (Yes, another geeky Star Trek reference, this time Next Gen, but it proves my point that everything can be explained through Trek). For you non-trekkies it's a stop the world I want to get off feeling. So what the heck am I talking about?

First there was this story where the new head of the Transportation Security Administration has called for a broad review of the air security system to reduce passenger hassles at checkpoints. Sounds reasonable right? "The staff's first set of recommendations, detailed in an Aug. 5 document, includes proposals to lift the ban on various carry-on items such as scissors, razor blades and knives less than five inches long. It also proposes that passengers no longer routinely be required to remove their shoes at security checkpoints. The proposal also would allow ice picks, throwing stars and bows and arrows on flights. What? No pass for paint ball guns?

Is there a bow and arrow lobby that I am not aware of that has this kind of influenece? Is this really worthy of the TSA and air security? Is there a problem with millions of passengers who have airport delays over getting their bows and arrows on the redeye to Vegas? Throwing stars? I can't remember the last time I saw a ninja on a flight. Then again, if ninjas were on a flight could anyone see them? They can pass through walls or so the legend goes. O.k. let's maybe give them a pass on this stuff. Unless more than half the plane passengers are working in a suicidal conspiracy with throwing stars, knives and cross bows, the other half won't let them take over a plane in mid-air ever again. So maybe I can understand the new rules.

But what about this? I try to wipe clean the memories of Sen. Ted Kennedy being prevented from boarding a flight because he was on a secret government terrorist no-fly list, but newborns and infants? You can bring on your knives and cross bows but not little Zuzu petal? Computer, freeze program. Computer, end program. Neo where are you when I need you? The only thing I know for sure is whoever is in charge of the no-fly list will get a promotion and perhaps the Medal of Freedom.

The Curmudgeon is most interested in all this as I am taking a field trip to the belly of the beast next week. I will be posting from the blood red state of Florida. God's waiting room. My site meter has tracked hits to this blog from the military and federal government and I fear that I, and maybe even my 2 year-old, have already been classified as enemies of the state. I'll either be blogging from South Florida or ninety miles south of Miami. I wonder if they allow throwing stars and knives at Gitmo. I'll let you know.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Unreality Bites

Monday. The death of hope.

The Washington Post reported yesterday that the W administration is shedding "unreality" that dominated its Iraq invasion strategy. Only a couple of months ago Dick Cheney was talking about the "last throes" of the insurgency and this was over two years after our mission was accomplished! But as Sen. Chuck (Vietnam Vet) Hagel (R-Reality) put it best, "Things aren't getting better; they're getting worse. The White House is completely disconnected from reality," Hagel told U.S. News. "It's like they're just making it up as they go along. The reality is that we're losing in Iraq."

Unfortunately for the "make it up as they go along" crowd reality payback is a bitch. And for the "I told you so crowd," led by The Daily Curmudgeon it's another reason why I should be in charge of more than just a sparsely read blog.

"The United States no longer expects to see a model new democracy, a self-supporting oil industry or a society in which the majority of people are free from serious security or economic challenges, U.S. officials say." Once again the cowards, bullies and crusaders don't have the decency to identify themselves. "What we expected to achieve was never realistic given the timetable or what unfolded on the ground," said a senior official involved in policy since the 2003 invasion. "We are in a process of absorbing the factors of the situation we're in and shedding the unreality that dominated at the beginning."

What we expected to achieve? Speak for yourself. Reality might be kryptonite to W but not for the rest of us.

"We set out to establish a democracy, but we're slowly realizing we will have some form of Islamic republic," said another U.S. official familiar with policymaking from the beginning, who like some others interviewed would speak candidly only on the condition of anonymity. "That process is being repeated all over."

Another Islamic republic. Bravo. Well done. Four more years! Four more years!

What you are listening to though, through the pages of the Washington Post, is W's exit strategy. It resembles "run for your life" but it will pause long enough to have many patriotic self-congratulating ceremonies. I now fully understand what the phrase "pin a medal on yourself" means.

In episode #56 of the original Star Trek, Spectre of the Gun, (everything can be explained with Star Trek) the concepts of reality and unreality are explored. Only when Mr. Spock understands that the bullets cannot kill the crew as long as they believe them to be imaginary are they saved. If only our troops in Iraq sent into their reality could avail themselves of Star Trek reality then maybe they wouldn't have to bleed and die for W's unreality.

BONUS POSTING: The Miami Herald reports that just before the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, an internal CIA memo declared the mission "unachievable." The document, a 300-page internal CIA history, reveals for the first time that the architects themselves foresaw failure during a Nov. 15, 1960, meeting to prepare a briefing for President-elect John F. Kennedy and that they recorded it in a memo. BY the Curmudgeon's calculations it will be around 2048 when we read the memos on the "unachievable" mission in Iraq. But it sure did get a bunch of Republicans elected.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Sunday Alert!

A brand new blog has hit the blogosphere! A suburban soccer mom adds her desparate housewife-like voice to the crowded internet check it out at I'm more than my minivan.

Capt. Fogg, making the Curmudgeon look bad by posting on a Sunday, delivers another brilliant and biting look at the unreality that grips our nation. Check it out here.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Cindy Sheehan - "Sock her" mom

Having practice under their belt beating up a mother, Valerie Plame, with classified gossip, the bullies and crusaders in the W administration now take their bloodsport public. Senior administration officials, who spoke on super double-secret deep background to the Curmudgeon, acknowledged that Osama Bin Laden is on the back burner until Cindy Sheehan can be taken care of. She is of course the mother of Casey Sheehan who died in Sadr City, Iraq, and is camped out near W's Crawford ranch demanding he meet with her. This has caused the bullies in the administration to consider having her arrested as a national security threat. Dissent equals a national security threat. What a great way to end the week. And you wonder why the Curmudgeon is perpetually and increasingly cranky.

Apparently the strategy of the bullies in the White House is to publicly praise her efforts and the sacrifice of "what's her son's name again?" while privately supporting the Mother's of Fallen Soldiers for Truth. The PR blitz links Cindy Sheehan with anyone who has embraced her, hint, hint, Michael Moore, and then slime her with the "national security threat" of Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 documentary for example. But I embrace the guilt by association argument as the Bush family was in business with the Bin Laden family, through the Carlyle Group, on 9/11. And the prestigious Internet also claims W's daddy HW was meeting with Shafig Bin Laden, Osama's brother, at a business meeting at the Ritz Carlton when the towers were struck. W and the crusaders also gave the Bin Laden posse free passage out of the country in the days after 9/11. I mean why let mass murder get in the way of some business profits?

And Faux News and their vicious propagandists really earned their money this week. Bill O'Reilly, took time out from sexually harassing his employees (allegedly) and settling for $10 million (allegedly) to say of Cindy Sheehan that her "behavior borders on treasonous." I kid you not. And that's only a taste of the venom and bile spewed by those who have never served in combat, never had a relative serve in combat, never had a son serve in combat and never lost a 24-year-old son in combat.
Cowards and bullies. All of them.

Like I said, what a way to end the week. Just hope Camp Crawford doesn't turn in to Camp Delta at Guantanamo Bay for Cindy Sheehan. But with this crowd you never know what depths you can achieve until you try.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Intelligent Design of stupid people

If "intelligent design" is responsible for the vast complexity of life on Earth, everything from shrimp, which according to one site God hates, to humans, then why did the "designer" a.k.a. God design and create such stupid people? Nightline covered this "controversy" last night pointing out that the brilliance in the marketing of the "man in the sky designed everything in a giant Santa's workshop," is in the "Teach the Controversy" slogan. Of course there is no controversy but Americans, who love to see themselves as fair-minded instead of intellectually lazy people, seem to buy into the "teach both sides" argument. Wonder if the "design" followers would like to teach both democracy and Wahhabism, ultra-strict Islam, as a way to govern the huddled design-fearing masses? There are after all different ways to run a country and we should teach them side by side and let the children decide which is better. Or let's teach sex with condoms along side abstinence only. Now there's a controversy to teach with books, charts and hopefully, videos. How about the sun revolves around the earth? That 400 year fight continues and we should, to be fair to both sides, teach the controversy. Let's not forget the Holocaust. Some misguided people think it actually happened while some "intelligently designed" ones think it is as much a hoax as well, say, creationism. Let's teach both sides to treat the "controversy" with respect.

Teach the controversy? How about just teach. Teach math. Teach physics. Teach computer science. Teach something where if you can't figure out the answer on the final exam "God did it" isn't the way to the Dean's list.

Nearly 400 years ago Galileo dealt with this church driven nonsense during the Inquisition and was threatened with torture, imprisonment, and death on the stake. He was forced to "abjure, curse and detest" his work and to promise to denounce others who held his prior viewpoint that the earth revolved around the sun and not vice versa. Although he did everything the church requested him to do he was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. Galileo faired better than Giordano Bruno who was burned at the stake in 1600 ostensibly for holding a naturalistic view of the Universe. Bruno denied the doctrine of the Trinity, the Incarnation and the immortality of the soul, among other heresies.

My only question is after "intelligent design" ends up on SAT exams and evolution becomes a quaint forgotten theory will the Department of Inquisition hold public trials or closed tribunals?

BONUS POST: Capt. Fogg at Human Voices, a prolific blogger, gives his own take on "intelligent design" here.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Put you hands up! This is not a coup!

They are learning fast in Iraq. Going from Saddam to Jefferson has proved to be a bumpy ride to put it mildly and the Iraqis are looking for a different political theory upon which to run their country. Apparently they have settled on Rovian "democracy" Iraqi style. On Monday, armed men entered Baghdad's municipal building and deposed the city's mayor and installed a member of Iraq's most powerful Shiite militia. Things would have been much easier if he had a CIA wife to out. But this is so much faster. The deposed mayor, Alaa al-Tamimi, a secular engineer with no party affiliation said, "This is the new Iraq. They use force to achieve their goal."

The group that ousted him insisted that it had the authority to assume control of Iraq's capital city and that Mr. Tamimi was in no danger. The man the group installed, Hussein al-Tahaan, is a member of the Badr Organization, the armed militia of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, known as Sciri.

"If we wanted to do something bad to him, we would have done that," said Mazen A. Makkia, the elected city council chief who led the ouster. "We really want to establish the state of law for every citizen, and we did not threaten anyone," Mr. Makkia said. "This is not a coup."

This is not a coup. Marvelous. We did not threaten anyone we just pointed guns in their faces and politely asked them to leave and never come back upon pain of death. Sounds more like McClellan than Makkia. I guess it depends on what the meaning of "coup" is.

The Iraqis test drove that one man, one vote and Bill of Rights nonsense and one man, one vote, once seemed like a good fit. I can just see the one party government offices now - Iraqi Republicans - Nicer than Saddam, meaner than Rove. And they saved time and money by not going through the hassle of hiring Diebold to give plausible deniability to how they got into power. At least they were honest about their removal at gunpoint non-coup ascension to office. Give them a medal. Maybe even a Medal of Freedom.

Bonus Posting: I was in a grocery store and in the bakery section I saw a cake with "Made with 7-UP" on the label. Question: Was that a warning or a selling point?

Bonus Posting II: Maureen Dowd is back writing about Bushworld in the Times. Read her latest and always great piece here.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

It's politics, stupid!

In a classified briefing to senior Pentagon officials last month, which of course is all over the papers this month, a plan was outlined by Gen. John P. Abizaid, the head of the military's Central Command that would reduce American forces in Iraq by as much as 30,000 troops by spring 2006. Gee, I wonder what else is happening in 2006? Oh yes, that's right! Mid-term elections which traditionally aren't so good for the party in power less so when a wildly unpopular war is being fought. Or is it a struggle being fought as in the Global Struggle against Extremism. Depends on the day with the White House. What doesn't depend on the day is that politics is the only consideration for what masquerades as policy.

After 1,820 U.S. soldiers have already come home in coffins, having served their purpose to show that W is a "war president" attacking those who didn't attack us, 30,000 troops are going to come home next year no matter what. The caveat is always "if conditions on the ground allow it" but call Ladbrokes now -- they are coming home. Victory will be declared and a timeable for an exit stragety, (translation: cutting and running just like Daddy W did in 1991 after encouraging an uprising against Saddam) will be announced. The Shiites, who are in way past their third date with the Ayatollahs in Tehran, will soon be running an Islamic sharia state with the U.S. providing security as they slowly leave. I've always been impressed by the "create your own reality, make it up as they go along" crowd in this administration but when Iraq goes Islamic like Iran, breaks apart like Yugoslavia or descends into civil war like Lebanon their "yes we planned it like this" will be worthy of a Nobel Prize in chutzpah. There will always be room for the Crusaders to blame Democrats, the New York Times, Michael Moore and that "nag" of a woman Cindy Sheehan who has the nerve, after having lost her 24 year-old son in Iraq, to sit three miles from the Crawford ranch and cast a shadow over W's upcoming fundraising BBQ. Another "traitor" for Bill O'Reilly's list. Maybe Sheehan's son was there to "pad his resume" as Rush (perfect first name for a drug addict) Limbaugh accused Paul Hackett of doing when he volunteered to go to Iraq to serve.

W and the Crusaders have done more than gotten the U.S. into a unpopular war, they have made politics rather than policy the only consideration in its exercise of executive power. It's the new math where the answer is always what is in the best interest of the Republican party.

1,820 dead + 14,000+ wounded - 30,000 troop withdrawal = pure Republican self-interested politics.

BONUS POSTING: Miss Teen Ohio was crowned Miss Teen USA last night. Diebold, who made the black box voting machines for the beauty, uh, "talent" contest, has already denied in a press release that it tampered with the results. They said, "The risk to our reputation is not worth interfering with a beauty contest only with a national presidential election."

BONUS POSTING II: "Don Rumsfeld’s moral compass has two points: Let's not and say we did, and let's do and say we didn’t." Read the whole post here.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Bad News - I'll live

The Daily Curmudgeon is late today on his blog post because of my yearly physical. Sharing bodily fluids and getting probed in places that shouldn't get probed unless dinner, drinks and a show are involved further crankifies the Curmudgeon.

They had trouble locating the Curmudgeon's heart and when they did they said it was two sizes too small and covered in ice. The Curmudgeon is also considering a lawsuit or second date for the way Doctor Ben Dover checked me out. The good news is I'll live and the bad news is that I'll be around for another 50 years to spread my crankiness throughout the world.

In other news...

In another example of how the bullies and crusaders are outing another "traitor" buried deep in our military, Bunnatine "Bunny" Greenhouse a U.S. Army contracting watchdog in the Pentagon is getting the full treatment. It's a must read for all of you out there who thinks things work in our government like they sang to you on Schoolhouse Rock. In short, she is responsible for awarding billions upon billions in taxpayers' money to private companies hired to resurrect war-torn Iraq and to feed, clothe, shelter and do the laundry of American troops stationed there. "She has asked many questions: Why is Halliburton - a giant Texas firm that holds more than 50 percent of all rebuilding efforts in Iraq - getting billions in contracts without competitive bidding? Do the durations of those contracts make sense? Have there been violations of federal laws regulating how the government can spend its money?" What has she gotten for her efforts to protect billions of taxpayers dollars? A demotion of course. And a poor performance rating and basically the end of her career and a first class ticket out of government. It may be a small story but its no better example of how the crusaders and bullies in charge run things. It also gets my newly doctor certified grade-A 106 over 74 blood boiling.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Robert Novak - up the Prozac

Let us pray the children weren't exposed to Robert Novak's profane outburst on CNN yesterday. If you haven't heard, Novak flipped out while discussing Katherine Harris with James Carville, barking, "That's bullshit!" and then walked off the set during a live show. Typical for a bully who can dish it out but can't take it. The Curmudgeon wrote about Novak just this past Monday, outlining what a lowlife he really is - three-piece suits to the contrary. Novak is basically a shill for the W Administration and for right-wingnuts everywhere and when Carville said, "go ahead show them [the Wall Street Journal editorial page] how tough you are," he lost it. And what's the best this word maven can do? "That's bullshit," he yells and then like the coward he is he walks out. He is and always will be a bully, plain and simple. Not unlike the Bushes and their minions.

Remember all that "coarsening" of society the Crusaders talk about? Any word from them now? Any FCC complaints from the Brent Bozells of the world? No press release from the indecency crowd who want to protect you from all those bad words and images because we all know it was all that "Sex in the City" and gangster rap that sent Hitler over the edge. Nothing. Not a word. And there won't be.

The recent history of public cursing Crusaders is getting larger. There of course was Cheney calling a reporter "a major league asshole" and telling Sen. Pat Leahy to "Fuck yourself" on the Senate floor. Bullies. All of them. What's most dangerous with W and his Crusaders is that they have the power to bully a nation into war.

Perhaps it was the Curmudgeon's blogging that sent Novak over the edge. Maybe he was promoting Harry Frankfurter's tome on cow pies entitled, what else, "On Bullshit." Or maybe he's just nuts. But whatever led to Novak's meltdown it's a good argument against concealed carry gun laws and for more Prozac. Can't wait for what Novak has in store for us next. Maybe it was all a set up by Valerie Plame. But unfortunately you can only out her once.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Katherine Harris - Senator non grata

The Curmudgeon took a short field trip out of his spider hole last night to meet and greet Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and a group of prominent Illinois supporters. While the oft-overlooked publication "Martha Stewart's Spider Holes" has helped to make it a very livable spider hole its good to get out once in a while. Nelson, a fifth-generation Floridian, has spent 30 years in public service serving as a state legislator, congressman, state treasurer and insurance commissioner and is up for re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2006. His reputation as a genuinely nice guy who gets along with both sides of the aisle was evident last night. The Curmudgeon's perpetually cranky attitude had no effect on the easy going and affable Senator.

The Florida Senate race in 2006 just got a little more interesting. Just this morning, Florida Republican House Speaker Allan Bense said that he will not run for Senate in 2006. That leaves Rep. Katherine Harris (R-Maybelline) as the likely opponent to Nelson. Yes, that Katherine Harris. The one who was co-chair of W's re-election in Florida and simultaneously had the authority to halt the recount and declare a winner or order the hand recount to continue. Three guesses which way she decided. The Republicans would love to defeat Nelson almost as much as they don't want Harris in the race. The Republican crusaders have actively been trying to recruit candidates including retired Army Gen. Tommy Franks, Rep. Mark Foley and Bense. Bense is out and Franks isn't interested. Foley is a likely no. OJ is a maybe unless he can charge for autographs.

It's an open secret that W, Jeb, Rove and National Republican Senatorial Committee Chair Elizabeth Dole don't want Harris to run. That says a lot. The person who more than any other person is responsible for W being in the White House today rather than as another useless wildly overpaid executive of one of daddy's friend's companies is the person the Republicans don't want to be front and center in the mid-term elections. While she is considered an icon by many who believe election results should be pre-determined by those who run them (I mean why waste all that time counting all those little pieces of paper) she will be a Democratic fundraiser's dream. And Rove and the Bush brothers know that her being the public face of the Republicans in 2006 is a bad idea. It will re-open the disgraceful voting mess in Florida during the 2000 election and the Democrats will have an opportunity to remind voters that after 2000, election results, the bedrock of democracy, can no longer be trusted and Harris is the one to thank for that.

Just remember, you get a paper receipt when you buy a loaf of bread or gallon of milk at the White Hen but not when you vote. Your bank counts all the money you deposit to the penny but we don't count every vote. Even at the Harris bank they don't throw away deposits because because it would be easier than adding them all up. The fact that there is actually a debate on getting voting machines to give a paper trail as accurate as when we buy a Zagnut bar speaks volumes. And the fact that we need a paper trail to protect elections from the likes of Katherine Harris and her ilk is enough to send the Curmudgeon back into his spider hole. Send your thanks to Harris for this state of affairs (no pun intended) by voting for Nelson. And just to be on the safe side, make sure it's a landslide.

BONUS POSTING: Just when I think I'm done blogging for the day Katherine Harris comes through for me. Now she claims newspapers doctored photos of her in 2000 to distort her makeup to make her look more foolish than she is naturally. Of course she had no proof. Good to see her campaign issues will be as shallow as her eyeshadow, foundation and blush are deep.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Crusade - right word, wrong country

A week after 9/11 W warned Americans that "this crusade, this war on terrorism, is going to take awhile." Of course the word "crusade" has deep historical meaning that made Muslims and really a lot of the world cringe. It brought to mind, in those who had even a vague grasp of history, several hundred years of violence against the Muslim world by Christian knights, who launched repeated attempts to capture Jerusalem among other things. But W did have it right. There is a crusade going on, and it is going on in the Middle East, just not in the Middle East that includes Iraq. I'm talking about the Middle East as in Ohio.

In another head shaking, what country and century am I living in article in USA Today its clear a crusade is truly afoot. In Canton, Ohio, Pastor Russell Johnson preaches before crusaders decrying the "secular jihadists" who have "hijacked" America, links abortion to children who murder their parents and accuses the public schools of neglecting to teach that Hitler was "an avid evolutionist." I also heard he was a bad tipper.

Johnson is is not some lone crackpot. Which of course when he is alone you could make that argument. "Johnson leads the Ohio Restoration Project, an emergent network of nearly 1,000 'Patriot Pastors' from conservative churches across the state. Each has pledged to register 300 'values voters,' adding hundreds of thousands of like-minded citizens to the electorate." Pastor Johnson claims to have signed up more than 900 pastors in Ohio during its first 10 weeks in operation and has helped start the Texas Restoration Project. The fledging Pennsylvania Pastors' Network has signed up 81 conservative clergy so far. Similar efforts are beginning in other states.

W signs Jesus Day Proclamation, supports banning stem cell research, is opposed to abortion on religious grounds and thinks Intelligent Design a.k.a creationism should be taught in school. I'm not sure if he believes the earth has stopped twice as the Bible says since that matter along with global warming, Karl Rove's involvement with outing Valerie Plame and whether Paula Abdul had Corey Clark is the subject of ongoing investigations. Regardless, seems pretty clear there is a crusader in the Oval Office. At least he wears his suit jacket in there - that's the most important thing.

There is a clash of civilizations going on. It's between Evangelical Christians, who see themselves as victims despite their dominance in the Republican Party and everyone else. Want to get a flavor of what's going on out there? Listen to Pastor Rod Parsler, a supporter of the Ohio Restoration Project. "I like to say I'm not a Republican or a Democrat, I'm a Christ-o-crat," His ministry, includes the 12,000-member World Harvest Church and the Center for Moral Clarity and his flaming sword of justice is coming to a crusade near you.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

And witches float

All of you out there that voted for W in 2000 and/or 2004 should be charged with aiding and abetting the murder of science and reason. During his 2000 campaign W said his favorite philosopher was Jesus Christ. This was also around the time as Governor of Texas he signed a proclamation declaring June 10, 2000 "Jesus Day" in Texas. Gee. I wonder how Christ would have voted on the Bankruptcy bill, elimination of the estate tax for people like Paris Hilton or the Energy bill which gives billions of dollars in tax break freebies to the most profitable companies on the planet. You see at $62.00 a barrel Exxon needs your tax dollars to get it through these "lean" times until oil hits $80.00 a barrel. Amen. Praise the Lord and pass the tax breaks!

Early in his Presidency, on August 9, 2001, when he should have been dealing with the August 6, 2001 warning memo entitled "Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in the US" , W was delivering what I'm sure he considered wise Solomon-like remarks banning further use of federal funds for stem cell research. (Please note the Presidential Daily Brief warning memo is in present tense as in "The Curmudgeon determined to spread crankiness in US." It's an ongoing and present danger not some historical document describing a past threat that no longer exists as Condi baby told the 9/11 commission.) Interesting how it's not moral to sacrifice some life to save others unless you unilaterally invade a Middle Eastern country. Then it's the highest calling to sacrifice your life (well not really your life - other people's kids' lives) so that the Iraqi people can simply change the maniacs in charge. You say Sunni - I say Shiite, let's call the whole thing off.

Look, I don't care who, what, where, when, why or how you may or may not worship whomever or whatever you choose. The Curmudgeon is not without religion. I've prayed before. Most of the time it's before the river card is turned over or before I open my wife's Visa bill. But the point is, if you want to pray 24 hours a day go right ahead in your home or your church or mosque or foxhole. But not in school. So here is Exhibit A in your trial for conspiracy to murder science and reason. President Bush said Monday, Aug. 1, 2005, that he believes schools should discuss "intelligent design" alongside evolution when teaching students about the creation of life. "I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought," Bush said. "You're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, the answer is yes." Different ideas like creationism a.k.a intelligent design and flat earth. Even Bible study classes in Texas teaching that the earth stopped twice in its orbit, in support of the literal truth of the biblical text that the sun stood still in Joshua and II Kings. Just not ideas like science and reason. Those are blasphemy. Verdict: Guilty.

BONUS POSTING: Jeanine Pirro, Republican Westchester County DA and possible gubenatorial candidate has a driver on pace to earn $248,000 this year making him the highest paid public employee of that county. His taxpayer salary is $101,460 and has earned $87,430 in overtime so far this year. Wow. Being a Republican chauffeur pays a lot better than a cranky blogger.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Robert Novak - River Rat

Robert Novak, proud to be called the "Prince of Darkness" has slithered out from under his rock from his sewer dwelling to "break his silence" about his column that outed CIA officer Valerie Plame. (Fun fact: Richard Perle also is called "Prince of Darkness." Seems like lots of conservative Republicans seem to like being identifed as Satan. Wonder why?) Novak, after writing not one but two columns outing Plame, a CIA officer working on weapons of mass destruction non-proliferation issues and her cover company Brewster Jennings, and after the criminal investigation began hasn't said a word on his role in the affair. Class act that Novak. Ring and run. Another coward. Another river rat of a human being damaging national security just to do the political dirty work of Rove and Company. Novak finally gets a story right, that Plame worked for the CIA, and it damages national security. Congrats Prince. And if you think it didn't read this and this and then tell me I'm wrong.

So the river rat, or sewer rat if you prefer they're interchangeable, has gutlessly and shamefully appeared literally hundreds on times on t.v. since the outing but has refused to speak about any aspect of the case. Not whether he has been subpoenaed, or whether he has testified before the grand jury or what he may have said to them all of which he is free to publically discuss. Matt Cooper has written at length about his grand jury testimony for example. Novak proudly claims he is in no legal danger but won't give the world a full accounting of the outing columns and how they came to be. Guess he's too busy. Maybe he's working on other columns outing NSA sources and methods. Maybe the wife or daughter of some political enemy of the White House works there and since Novak can't get away with physically killing them (at least until he gets that lateral promotion to interrogator of ghost detainees) he has to execute their careers and damage national all in the name of doing the revenge work of Karl Rove.

But Novak has found a little time to break his silence and then crawl back into his rats nest. Probably crowded in there. Guess that "no comment" stuff is more of a guideline than a hard and fast rule. Novak scurries out of the darkness just enough to call a CIA spokesman a "liar" and then scampers back on his way. Another proud moment in journalism.

Whether Novak, Judy Miller, Karl Rove, Lewis "Scooter" Libby (I got to tell you anyone past the age of 9 who actually like to be called "Scooter" is creepy) or anyone else did anything criminal in the Plame outing is in the hands of the special prosecuter. But whether something is criminal shouldn't be the standard of decency in Washington. It's not what's illegal that makes the Curmudgeon cranky it's what may be legal. Novak may haven't done anything criminal and besides, it's hard to indict a river rat with all the animal rights groups like PETA watching.

BONUS POSTING: Wow. What a bad week to be a Boy Scout. First four scout leader die in an electrocution accident. Then hundreds faint from the heat. Then another scout leader and scout died after getting hit by lightning. Yikes.

BONUS POSTING II: Atkins Nutritionals Inc., the company that promoted low-carb eating into a national diet craze, filed for bankruptcy court protection Sunday. The popular diet told it's cult members, uh, followers, uh, oh forget it, to eat bacon cheesburgers but no bun. Eat a steak covered in blue cheese but no baked potato. What a shock the diet trend didn't last. Live fast, die young and leave a really big corpse.