Media in Trouble: All the news thats UNfit to print!: December 2005

"The information of the people at large can alone make them safe, as they are the sole depositary of our political and religious freedom." --Thomas Jefferson 1810

Friday, December 23, 2005

Carnival of NJ Bloggers - #32 - Christmas Edition


Bill O'Reilly has won yet another year's battle in the War on Christmas! Despite the godless-liberal-secular-humanist's best efforts to take the Christ out of Christmas, they have failed. And the Proof is in the millions of 2006 calendars distributed worldwide! Let's hope the same bloody war will not have to be waged to achieve the same on 2007's Calendars!

Speaking of wars. A special salute to our soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and around the world. Stay safe, and know that even a godless liberal secular humanist agnostic supports you!

That being said! Welcome to the Christmas edition of the Carnival of NJ Bloggers!!

I initially thought about pulling the typical "'Twas the night Before Christmas" cliche, but alas, I have much to do and not much time to be that creative. Lucky for us, Gigglechick provides the legal version.

Ill try to throw in a sugar plum fairy once in a while, but don't hold your nutcracker's hopes up.

Speaking of calendars, Shamrocketship describes one beautifully.

Granted this is only marginally related to NJ, the NYC Transit Workers went on strike then went off strike, all without a contract. Here is my take. Then head over to Fausta's place for the anti-strike stance. Apparently the great James Wolcott gave her some linkage. By the way, the TWU endorsed Bloomberg's rival Fernando Ferrer for the 2005 mayoral campaign.

So name calling by the Mayor shouldn't come as a surprise.

A major blow was dealt to Intelligent Design this week in Dover, PA. Center for NJ life, and The Eternal Golden Braid give us their take. Tami the One True's post is also sorta related. Darwinists everywhere are having a Merrier Christmas already.

And rounding up the political stuff was the revelation of Warrentless Domestic Spying by our fearless leader. This threw the entire blogosphere into a tiff. Converstive/Libertarians tried to find a place for a police state in their ideaologies. The Opinion Mill, searches for honest conservatives, yet he need not look any further, NJ has one of its very own in NJ Conservative. Here is my take.

Apparently, Princeton was also a target of spying, has the skinny. Bluejerz also points out that Monmouth is the only Republican county to have approved domestic partner benefits (ie. equal rights for gay folks). If only Ocean County Freeholders would follow suit.

Meanwhile, Maverick McCain wasn't such a Maverick this week. Meet The Press confused me last week, and let's hope the NYT Ombudsman addresses my questions. (I love a captive audience!)

Armies of Liberation gives us the skinny on Yemen. Apparently the world ain't too happy with their domestic corruption ways.

Xpat continues his crusade against Steve Lipski (I hope he gets a big lumpa coal). Xpat then helps debunk abortion statistics and any percieved "pro-life shift."

Now onto In Memoriam:
Down the Shore remembers Barry Halper.

Eternal Golden Braid
leads us to a touching letter.


Let's get back to holiday spirit cheer!!

Sad old Goth gives us great idears for gifts. As does Eternal Golden Braid
who also wrote about Saturn here and here. Eternal had a "slow week."

Elves have taken over Berzrok's place. The holiday spirit is alive and well at Cinnaman's place in the form of Christmas People.

Mano A Vino is on vacation but left us some stiff cocktails to slurp on.

True Jersey Girl got shot down, in a blaze of glory, while watching Bon Jovi twice!

Tequila Shots for the Soul
admits to liking crappy music. We all have a list like this, but not many of us are brave enough to put it out there.

Steve Hart reviews Hammet's Red Harvest, and So Many Splendid Sundays; and does so magnificently.

Some random Jersey Shore Real Estate thoughts from Shorebubble.

Laughing at the Pieces stays true to its title with this little ditty.

Photos Go Here demonstrates the Geese Problem.

Jersey Goddess reports on dogs eating crocs (not for the faint of heart).

Barbie is obviously looking for an Imaginary Therapist.

Philomathean writes on the UMDNJ.

The Art of Getting By says yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

And finally The Contrarian, points us to a dead tree, and the newest Yankee, Johnny Damon (who somehow is being compared to Babe Ruth - where are our standards these days?)!

So that's it folks. It was my pleasure to host the Carnival on the Holy Day Holiday Bill O'Reilly saved once more! May you all have a Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanza, Happy Chanukah, and any other holiday that happens to fall on this time of year.

The Coallition of the Swilling should have the drunk New Year's Carnival up next week.

Until then, sing your favorite Holiday Songs.


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The NYC Strike and Why Lefties Should Support It

Dear god, what a barrage of anti-labor commentary I have had to deflect since I seem to be the only person in the Universe (besides Scott Schields) seemingly supporting the TWU and its use of Strike force to achieve their goals.

My opinions on this have been pretty much summed up in my comments on this post, but I think more airing out is necessary.

First off, I am truly amazed that I have had to defend the TWU's actions when discussing them with known liberals.  What happened to the glorious days when all liberals would get behind anyone who thought collectively they had been pooped upon by the upper echelon's of society or "the man." Particularly when so much evidence demonstrated that said pooping upon was a reality?

This is most definitely the case in the TWU strike. As a matter of fact, as far as striking goes, this can be the end all be all of the entire labor movement as we know it.

Why? Labor is dying, they have been loosing out because the rest of our society has become complacent about our wages and benefits. We figure whatever "the man" gives us, we should be happy with it.  Whereas the funciton of unions is to get more than what "the man" wants to give us because we think we deserve more.

There is more and more information leaking out about the negotiations everyday, and everyday I feel the TWU's case for striking is stronger.

Today we learned that the MTA wanted the TWU workers to increase their pension contributions from 2% to 6%. This allowed for a total savings of $20 million. Did you get that?

No biggie right? Except when they only agree to give you a pay raise of 3.5%:

With the transit workers' union demanding raises above inflation, Mr. Kalikow raised his wage offer so that raises would average 3.5 percent a year for three years, up from 3 percent in his previous offer. Responding to the union's demand that he not raise the retirement age, Mr. Kalikow also dropped his proposal that future transit workers not qualify for a full pension until age 62, up from 55 for current workers.

So whatever raise they made would go to their pension.  So in essence, they would loose money out of their pockets and into a pension.  This is in essence a pay cut. To help fund a pension fund. A pension by the way that had to be funded with the MTA's $1 billion dollar surplus.  Why?  Because they hadn't been funding it in the past!!!!

This is no different than in the private sector, where every year, laborers get squeezed for higher health care premiums, or nibbles of other sorts that basically eat away at what we get for a raise. Which typically is not keeping up with inflation. Not to mention, the private sector seems to be gearing up for another major Government bailout of its pensions. Should we be upset about that?

This is the Boiled Frog Metaphor:

...If you put a frog into a pot of boiling water,

it will leap out right away to escape the danger.

But, if you put a frog in a kettle that is filled with water that is cool and pleasant,

and then you gradually heat the kettle until it starts boiling,

the frog will not become aware of the threat until it is too late.

This has been happening to America since the Reagan years (perhaps before then).

While we are trying to keep from falling off the proverbial hamster wheel, the upper echelon is pilfering pensions, stealing from the backs of the people whose blood, sweat, and tears their pocket filling profits are made from.  Little bits at time. 

The injustice has to stop.

First off, the disinformation with the TWU strike is incredible. It is a prime example of why New York should not vote for Republicans even if they are of the RINO type.  Bloomberg and Pataki were totally absent from negotiations as was the President of the MTA. Yet, they are all the first to throw insults to the union.  They are the ones claiming the Union did not take the negotiations seriously. Don't you think the president of the MTA at the very least should have showed up a little more than an hour before the contract deadline arrived?

Don't you think that Gov. Pataki given the fact that the MTA is his responsibility should have been part and parcel to some discussions?

Don't you think that Bloomberg who just recently was behind the "strap-hangers" in opposing a fare increase should be on the side of the Union, given the fact that the fare hike was obviously unnecessary ($1 bil. surplus)? 

Not to mention that any shortfall in the MTA's budget not allowing them to have better finances is directly a result of both Pataki and Bloomberg's starving of the MTA beast?

This is when RINO's become republicans, when they can use whatever political clout, bully pulpits, and legislative force to supress support, and foment disdain for those who keep the city functioning?

Citing over inflated numbers about how much is being lost economically, simultaneously ignoring how much has been gained economically from the TWU?  Saying its crappy that this is happening around the Holidays when the MTA signed a contract that would expire at this time?

Finally the idea that the strike is illegal.  The Taylor law is argueably unconstitutional on 1st ammendment grounds. Why is it that if you are a public employee, you give up your right to "peaceably assemble" and "petition the government for redress of grievances?" The Taylor law has never been challenged beyond NY State Supreme Court. The time is perhaps ripe for such a challenge, for this law needs striking down.  It is seemingly unconstitutional as applied in this context.

The TWU is united for a very good cause, and it is taking a courageous stand against the state who has profited off of them, a Republican Assembly, Governor, and Mayor, and odds of comming out of this without going bankrupt.  The system has been gamed against them, and if you read what has happened from the beginning of the negotiations, you see a pattern of disrespect and dismissal on the part of the powerful.  The powerless know their only option to stay alive as a union and as a force for future contracts is to strike for benefits that justify union membership (ie. better pensions, health care, and working conditions than the other people get).

The left would be wise to embrace the good people of the TWU. They are the blue collar workers who make the engine of New York turn regularly. They deserve better than what the corrupt MTA says they can afford.

In conclusion, the TWU has afforded blue collar people the ability to become middle class citizens, if that isn't the goal of liberalism/progressivism, then what is?



John McCain joins Dick Cheney and 50 Bastards in voting to starve poor children.


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Letter to the Times Ombudsman

Mr. Calame,
I implore you to launch an investigation as to why such a bombshell about the NSA spying scandal has escaped publishing for approximately one year.

This story is of such significance that it has caused congressmen to actually say the word impeachment out loud and on television.

More importantly, this bombshell should it have been reported when the Times first learned about it, could have affected the election of 2004.

Newsweek is now reporting that Mr. Keller and Sulzberger Jr. met with the President on December 6th.

Finally, we have also learned that the reporters who wrote the story are not being allowed to discuss the story with the rest of the press.

All these are alarming ventures for the "Paper of Record" to be part and parcel to. Particularly since Judy Miller's controversial episode.

I implore you find the answers to the following questions:

When exactly did the New York Times discover that the President circumvented the 1978 FISA law?

Why exactly did the NYT keep silent on this story until last week? If sources needed to confirm the story, how many sources does the NYT require in confirming such stories? Is this an arbitrary number or is it based on the qualifications of the sources at hand? Why are the reporters who wrote the story being sequestered from speaking in public? It seems most New York Times reporters have free reign on many news programs.

Why is the New York Times hiding behind the cloak of "national security," particularly since wire taps and the knowledge thereof should hardly be of surprise to any potential terrorists. I thought people engaged in such dubious activities would already assume they would be wire tapped given the exhistence of FISA and of course the Patriot act.

What did Mr Keller, and Mr. Sulzberger Jr. discuss with the President on December 6th?

Why hasn't the paper reported on that meeting?

I look forward to your answers to these and I am sure many many more questions.
Thank you,
Jorge M

More questions here.

UPDATE: Uh, it was before the election.


Monday, December 19, 2005

Shorter Kristoff

In choosing to fight a fake war on Christmas instead of using the bully pulpit to Bill O'Reilly is the same as the bastards enabling the Darfur genocide.

He even prays for Bill:
Let us all pray for Bill O'Reilly.

Let us pray that Mr. O'Reilly will understand that the Christmas spirit isn't about hectoring people to say "Merry Christmas," rather than "Happy Holidays," but about helping the needy.

Let us pray that Mr. O'Reilly will use his huge audience and considerable media savvy to save lives and fight genocide, instead of to vilify those he disagrees with. Let him find inspiration in Jesus, rather than in the Assyrians.

Finally, let's pray that Mr. O'Reilly and other money-changers in the temple will donate the funds they raise exploiting Christmas - covering the nonexistent "War on Christmas" rakes in viewers and advertising - to feed the hungry and house the homeless.



Sunday, December 18, 2005

Cognitive Dissonance

So it seems that Condi is making the rounds distributing new talking points about the President's policy on warrantless wiretaps of Americans.

One TP that caught my attention and made me go HMMM. Was all this talk about needing to do wire taps to keep us safe from terrorists living within the US.

Fair point, but there was already a mechanism in place for that. FISA grants the President this authority with the caveat of getting a warrant from the secret FISA court. The court regularly grants these warrants to the Feds, particularly when they make a good case for the bugee being a suspected terrorist.

The next talking point was that by doing warrantless wire taps on Americans, was that these were suspected terrorists only and that there was the potential for getting intelligence.

Fair enough. However, if these folks were known terrorists or had known ties to terrorists, and a FISA warrant would somehow not be granted, there was yet another mechanism for getting the same information from the suspected terrorists.

Check that. There are at least two that come to mind. Extraordinary Rendition, and dissapearing someone off to Gitmo.

The administration has repeatedly defended their torture policies by saying that holding "suspected terrorists" without charge while torturing them would lead to actionable intelligence. I repeat, the believers in torture use the possible intelligence gathering capabilities of our operations in the gulag of Gitmo, as their defense of the techniques used therein.

That would again make the idea of warrantless wire taps inoperable.

All that is left to complete the circle of wankery and cognitive dissonance, is for the people who will inevitably defend the President's actions by saying the FISA court is a quaint step in the process and therefor irrelevant. These will no doubt be the same people defending Sam Alito and his embrace of parental/spousal notification laws. Which can be basically boiled down to a court's approval being a necessary step for granting permission to abort a baby.

Does the court's power in stopping abortions trump the court's power in stopping intrusions into civil liberties? Somehow in my latest read of the Constitution, I missed that part.


Gwen Ifill: Pundit or Journamalist

Today on Meet the Press, Gwen Ifill shared the round triangular table with none other than Wall Street Journal's own wankerific John Harwood.

Regular readers know I have been critical of Gwen in the past. However, today I will refrain from her commentary and focus instead on Meet the Press' editors/producers or whoever it is that is in charge of attributing guests to their place of work.

For today Gwen was not affiliated with her full time job of co-anchor/reporter for The Newshour with Jim Lehrer, but instead with her part time job of hosting Washington Week. Washington Week is a program that confuses the hell out of those of us who are finding it harder and harder to differentiate between pundits and journalists. For it is a weekly "news" analysis program that regularly features reporters discussing the week's news whilw regularly injecting their opinions about stories they may or may not have played a role in writting.

Thanks to Meet the Press for relieving Gwen of her title as journalist, and granting her a "pundit" attribution. This grants Gwen the freedom regularly accorded to other journalists regularly appearing on MTP. By blurring Gwen's journalist credentials she is free to inject her opinion into the discussion with a bonified opinion trafficant such as Harwood.

This sounds marginally of interest at best, however, the discussion Gwen John and Russert were having routinely returned to Jim Lehrer's interview of the President. In fact with every mention of Lehrer, the implication was the Gwen was Lehrer's representative to some extent. Which is totally appropriate given her full time job at The Newshour.

That only begs the question: If the reason you had Gwen Ifill on as a guest was to have her play a role as an abassador for the Newshour, why obscure the fact that indeed she is a member of the Newshour, and instead affiliate her with her less widely known role as Washington Week host?

I dunno... perhaps Washington Week needs more ratings.


Friday, December 16, 2005

Congress Saw the Same Intel as the President



Harrison's Gold Coast

Harrison NJ, a nice blue collar old fashioned town residing on the banks of the toxic glorious Passaic river, will soon be home to another New York Pro-sports team the Metrostars. A huge swath of the southeastern part of Harrison, once riddled with booming factories which have been abandoned since the 1930's, will be transformed into a "gold coast" Gratuitous digression: As a resident, I laugh every time I see these words associated with Harrison and/or the Passaic. Included in the development will be a stadium, some infrastructure from RT. 280, and a generally vast area condo's and commerce rivaling the bazaars of the middle east!(NOT!)

There have been everything from medical waste dumps, to large shopping malls pitched to the town council, yet the stadium etc. is what was finally settled on. Fantastic, it has taken them only decades to keep everyone happy.

Finally, the town council can get to the business of doling out some tax abatements...
...the town council voted Dec. 6 to extend tax exemptions to Advance At Harrison Urban Renewal I, L.L.C. for a period of twenty years after construction.
In 2005 this property generated $303,000 dollars in tax revenue. Under the terms of the financial agreement the town will receive at least $3.8 million upon completion.

Now my math says that $303,000 X 20 = $6,060,000. If the owners pay 3.8 million upon completion, that still leaves $2,260,000 (plus interest) in lost funds. The town basically hopes to make up lost tax revenue on the backs of the Metrostars fans and people shopping in that area. So basically, the owners (riche') don't pay taxes yet the consumers (les Miserables) do!

$2.26 million (plus interest) is quite a bit of money for a hamlet with a population of about 14,000 (and shrinking).

But it doesn't end there.

Harrison, has recently been given the honor of having 250 acres of a "waterfront redevelopment area" deemed a Brownfield Development Area. Basically the town gets an extra $2 million/yr. (for a total of $5 million) for cleaning up the area. So that the rich developers won't have to.

On top of that, "cleanup costs for properties in targeted areas are fully deductible in the year in which they are incurred, rather than having to be capitalized." Not to mention lots of other subsidized goodies.

Summary, corporations owning the southeast section of Harrison, tax break for 10 years. State and Federal Tax payers pay for the clean-up. In other words, double non-taxation with plenty of representation.

No word yet on whether or not 1000 S. Frank E. Rodgers Blvd. was included in that 250 acres (I have an email into the DEP). However, with 2000 S. Frank E. Rodgers Blvd. (right across the street) already on the list, I wouldn't doubt it.

Suddenly, the words "Harrison gold coast" seem a little less laughable to me.


Bend Over Grey Lady

Steve Inskeep says the New York Times knew about this a year ago, and that the article was held up because of National Security concerns:
"The White House asked The New York Times not to publish this article, arguing that it could jeopardize continuing investigations and alert would-be terrorists that they might be under scrutiny. After meeting with senior administration officials to hear their concerns, the newspaper delayed publication for a year to conduct additional reporting. Some information that administration officials argued could be useful to terrorists has been omitted."

Uh... What could have possibly alerted would be terrorists that they were being bugged? I would think that terrorists are suspicious mofo's who would already be taking precautions about being "watched."

Besides, why is the New York Times running articles by the administration?

One last question. What was happening a year ago? Hmmm... 2004...


We the People...

Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies at George Washington University, said the secret order may amount to the president authorizing criminal activity.

"It is, I believe, the first time a president has authorized government agencies to violate a specific criminal prohibition and eavesdrop on Americans."

The US. Constitution
Ammendment IV:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Article VI:
"This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution"

Hat tip to Atrios.


Cruel, Inhuman, Degrading Torture

My fiance' is studying to be a pinko commie public interest selfless lawyer. Wouldn't you know that one of the first things they gave her for free was a little blue copy of the Constitution. I never really read the damned thing and its so damned short I got through it in like an hour (and I am a slow reader). Luckily for me, the news is abuzz these days with a ton of Constitutional issues.

So here are just an Article of Confederation that raised an eyebrow:

US. Constitution:
Article VIII:
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

So this one bascially puts the Death Penalty in the "unconstitutional" realm as well as torture.

So why the hell the media is suckin on John McCain's heehaw this morning cuz the President finally bowed down to accepting his ammendment (which 90 Senators also voted for) is beyond me.

The media is all over this saying "torture has always been illegal, but now cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of military detainees" is illegal.

Hard to wrap your head around these things, I know.

Let me demonstrate the difference.


Cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment:

Got that?


Thursday, December 15, 2005

HR 550 Stop muckraking and start signature gathering!

First off, if you haven't yet, sign the petition at Rush Holt's Page.

Second off, let me take yet another opportunity to lambaste the left wingosphere for doing a shitty job in getting together on an issue that all of us should be united on. I realize that for the most part the Rightwing-o-sphere is a top to bottom zombie message machine and the left is very much more like a herd of cats, meowing away at whatever tickles each blogger's fancy.

Take Joshua Sparling. In short, Fox News covered a soldier getting hate mail, Malkin puts up a post on it, and the entire jongosphere follows suit. Trackbacks gallore!

Meanwhile, amidst all this verified voting related news, that the left always seems to get behind, my buddy DBK can't seem to get more than 2,500 to sign a petition that Rush Holt has graciously asked us to help him with.

HR550 is a good bill. It addresses many issues but most importantly it forces random audits of all elections, and a voter verified paper trail to each and every vote. This resolves and would have resolved most of the issues brought up in Ohio 2004 and Florida 2000 and every other wierd ass election in between. More importantly, it has 150+ co-sponsors and is being held up by Republicans in committee.

Instead of the left swarming the shit out of this issue, you get more muckraking. Big bloggers who could easily blog this don't pick up on this. Big bloggers who are actively engaged in the issue don't pick up on this.

Its a gaddamned shame. Instead of raking muck, there is a real opportunity to make policy happen to fix all the muck you are raking.

The time for muckraking is over, or if it isn't then keep muckracking, but as you are muckraking, put a link to the frekin petition in every post, this way you rile up the folks, and give them an option to do something about it.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

They write letters...

My buddy Nel read a recent piece over at page 2 and got a little riled up. Here is his email to me explaining the situation:
Hey guys,

I know I had too much time on my hands this afternoon, but I was excited to see the tag line for this article on - "Michael Davies was there for us in '02 and he's back for the world's ultimate trophy chase -- no, not Heidi Klum: the World Cup" The article is linked below.

After reading the article, I finally got fed up with espn's coverage of the World Cup and wrote a response. I know there are a lot of web sites, and media outlets that give the copa its due, and soccer in general, but why shouldn't a billion dollar sport machine like ESPN do a better job. Here is my letter:

To Whom It May Concern,

This email is a response to Mr. Michael Davies' "Let the Diary Begin", Page 2's attempt to keep reading, soccer (football) fans abreast of the goings on in the World Cup. Although I am pleased you have decided to approve a running report about the largest sporting event in the world, I am disappointed at how poor an initial job your "staff member" has done, and how it seems ESPN loves to feed into the notion that anyone in this country who cares about the World Cup and soccer in general should have their head examined; must be an immigrant to this country; or just doesn't get American football or baseball (translation - a real girly man). First let me tell you a little about myself. I was born in this country, I love American football and baseball, I have a master's degree, and I love soccer. I was raised, and still live in Kearny, NJ (some have called it Soccer-town, USA because of its historically excellent high school and youth soccer programs) a town that has over
the years seen its share of Scottish, Irish, Lithuanian, Portuguese, Spanish, Brazilian, and Latin immigrant residents. It is mostly due to this soccer-loving diverse population that we have produced players like John Harkes, and Tony Meola (both played for the national team). Now I understand that these facts support the notion that only immigrants love this sport in this country, but we are talking about a community whose "immigrants" moved here one, two, three and in some cases four generations ago. All across this nation, millions of kids play soccer, and millions of parents support them. I know we as a nation don't go out in large numbers to see our own professional league (in person, or on TV), we haven't won at the international level (and god forbid if we as Americans don't win at everything we do-athletically or otherwise), and soccer is really off the radar in terms of professional sports in this country, but how can more than 1 billion people be wrong? The World Cup
may have its issues (confusing lottery system, etc.), but it deserves a bit more accurate coverage and consideration from ESPN than we have today. ESPN Soccernet is basically written for and by English Premiership fans-there are other leagues you know. We are lucky to see one, maybe two "international" soccer games on ESPN channels (ESPN & ESPN 2) every couple of months. Sure you guys show games on ESPN Deportes from time to time (not that I would know-I can’t even get the damn channel), but doesn't that imply that the only people who like turning to ESPN for their soccer coverage are Spanish speaking? And then we have Mr. Davies article/diary. Did an editor read this thing? Would the editor even know what he/she was reading about? First and foremost your "staff member" (and I refer to him that way, as it seems that his writing for is not his day job) made it clear he really didn't spend that much time analyzing the groups as he said he did. For one thing Christiano
Ronaldo does not play for Brazil. He just so happens to be Portugal's top player and an English Premiership star (can't believe such a "huge" English soccer fan would whiff on that one). Next he refers to the nation playing in Group G as "South Korea". It is common knowledge that South Korea and North Korea joined forces (albeit a lopsided team as far as where the players call home) for the Korea Republic's World Cup team. How is this not a bigger story-two nations with as much bad history as these two coming together for the common purpose of a sporting event? Mr. Davies also comments about Group A's matches by writing, “The one match I plan to attend from this group is Germany vs. Poland on June 14 in Dortmund. It's just so 1939!" Let me just say that this observation is just hilarious! Wait, could you smell the sarcasm? Although it is always interesting to follow geo-political story lines when it comes to sports, especially the sport the world cares most about, and Mr.
Davies makes mention of it (Portugal v. Angola), there is something to be said about the deep-rooted feelings some of these countries have for one another, and the history behind them. This isn't Chelsea v. Man U., this is a nation that had hundreds of thousands (maybe a million or more) of its citizens murdered because of another nation's tyrannical leader-who just so happens to be one of the most notorious figures in the history of humankind. I think that making a joke like, "It's just so 1939!", as if to say, "wow it's just like the Celtics v. Knicks in the 70's - ah the nostalgia!!” is a bit insensitive. The date and its relevance isn't something Mr. Davies should be referring to in a way that evokes a comic gag. I hate to be a prude, but there are things we shouldn't equate or draw comparisons to sporting events. As I said at the beginning of my message, I am glad that ESPN is choosing to cover the World Cup, but please give it its due. Don't give soccer fans in this
country anymore of a reason to think we don't matter. Don't allow ignorant individuals to cover our Super Bowl, World Series, and Masters rolled into one event. It comes along once every four years, and a sport that pre-dates each of this country’s major four should be looked at and addressed in a meaningful way. Thank you.

Nel's email was apparently read by someone over at ESPN and the craptacular aspects of the piece have since been corrected. The way back machine has no record and ESPN didn't really mention that the original had been edited since its original posting. Looks like the folks at ESPN really do read your letters.

Good job Nel keep up the good work.


Friday, December 09, 2005

Shooting Blanks

I am pretty surprised that the US now has its very own Charles de Menezes, and the leftosphere is pretty silent over it.

Now I understand that in the heat of the moment a Marshall instinctively shoots first and asks questions later. Despite the evidence that the word "bomb was not spoken." Coupled with the fact that Alpizar's wife was saying he was bipolar and not taking his meds.

However, it is intersting to note that the 9/11 commision in its recent scathing report card mentioned that one of the thorns in our Homeland security's side is the lack of a terrorist watch list.

One has to wonder if the Air Marshals would be so quick to shoot knowing the likelyhood of a terrorist actually being on a plane would be drastically reduced with such a list.


Thursday, December 08, 2005

Final thought on Sparling

One final thought while I await a response from FOX News *holding breath*.

I find it crazily odd, that the right wingers are careless to send the soldiers like Joshua Sparling into the place that gave him his injuries. Yet on the other hand, they get all sortsa pissed off over a nasty gram.

Cognitive Dissonance indeed.


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

BREAKING BIG: Senator Menendez

CNN is calling it:
New Jersey Gov.-elect Jon Corzine will name Rep. Robert Menendez, chairman of the Democratic Caucus, as his successor in the U.S. Senate, multiple New Jersey Democratic sources told CNN Wednesday.

Menendez will serve the remaining year of Corzine's Senate term in 2006 while launching his own campaign for a full six-year term, the sources said.

Menendez was chosen over a handful of other Democrats being considered for the appointment, including Rep. Robert Andrews and Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., the sources said.

"I think it is a good move," said one Democratic source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "He has the statewide infrastructure in place. He has got the money, the fire in the belly -- and he will win."

Mendez denies it:
A Corzine spokeswoman, Ivette Mendez, described any discussion of the appointment as "speculative" and noted that "your sources do not speak for Jon Corzine."

A Menendez spokesman refused comment.


Joshua Sparling Hate Mail - Green Day?

Oh boy did my sitemeter go nutsoid with this post. Amazing what a trackback that starts out "Check the jingosphere..." can do for a blog and what lovely comments I got too.

Anyway, the intriguing part of this story was that somehow Brian Kilmeade in his Fox & Friends blog entry, hinted that Green Day was somehow associated with the story. No context except for a mention of Green Day in passing.

So being that this story has exploded all over the right wing blogosphere, with liberals, John Kerry, and democrats being blamed, I decided to write Mr. Kilmeade a letter. Here is the text:
Dear Mr. Kilmeade,
In reading your story on Mr. Sparling's terrible ordeal I noticed a mention of Green Day.

However, there was nothing explaining why Green Day was mentioned. What is Green Day (is this the famous anti-Bush punk rock band?), and what is their involvement in this terrible story? Also is there any indication as to who the "Solider Miguel" might be? Is this story being followed up? I would like to see who is responsible for sending our soldiers such vile and inhumane mail. As if they haven't suffered enough.

I look forward to your response.


There I don't find that offensive. Nor does it deliberately make me seem like a left wing lunatic looking to correct a Fox news problem. However, judging by the ammount of trackbacks Malkin and TBAAB got because of this story it is amazing how fast Liberals become the anti-troop people.

Hopefully, Brian will write back and clear up the whole Green Day issue. Otherwise, they may eventually be "Dixie Chicked" or something.


Monday, December 05, 2005

The Big Tent Party

You may or may not remember Bob Novak getting upset over this, but Hester Jr. points out an interesting factoid regarding how the Republican Party treats their own members:
U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-Hamilton, banished as House Veterans' Affairs Committee chairman during a House Republican inquisition a year ago, isn't deterred. Smith wants to become chairman of the House International Relations Committee when its chairman retires next year.

Smith is the committee vice chairman and has competition from two others, but hopes time has vindicated his stint leading the veterans committee, one widely praised by veterans.

After all, Smith was dethroned for advocating a need for more veterans' care spending, notably for health care. Since that didn't fit in well with the Republican's mantra of cutting spending, even if they haven't actually cut spending, Smith was sent to his room without a chairmanship.

But, surprise, the Bush administration conceded over the summer that, yes, indeed, they needed more money for veterans' care. Somehow, that shortfall was just about exactly what Smith had said was needed.

"The budget controversy proved that we were right," Smith recently told The Hill newspaper. "That should count for something."

The "Big Tent Party" beats on its own clowns? Why do Republicans like Smith hang around their party? He worked hard for 10 years on the committee. Doesn't the Republican mantra automatically qualify Smith to reap the rewards for his hard work?

It is like that time when those rumors were flying about Dave Drier (R-CA) not getting the top spot in the House because he is gay. If true, how do gay people associate with the Republican party?

Why was Smith kicked off the committee? All he wanted to do was "support the troops." Alas, it must have been the spendthrift conservatives (like those now facing indictments and such) that kicked him off the committee.


Hey Rubes?!

You would think that after being on yesterday's Meet the Press this story about the 9/11 commission passing out "Fs" to all those in charge of making homeland security policy (i.e. the ruling Republican party), would be all over the internets.

A brief look at Memeorandum demonstrates that it is not exactly a hot topic in the blogosphere right now. Not to mention, Rice's European tongue lashings have gotten a bit more attention. This is what I don't get about the leftosphere.

Check the jingosphere. Today they are all about sending get well cards to Josh Sparling. Josh is a soldier who apparently got some hate mail from a kindergardner, it was all over Fox news and now the jingosphere is undoubtedly saying that it was liberal bagshits who sent this nastygram. For all we know it was a pissed off ex-girlfriend who forced her illegitimate child to write the card hoping for some alimony payment or something. I don't know and since Fox & Friends reported it, I doubt we will ever know, unless some other liberal media outlet picks up on it.

What's more, Fox & Friend's blog is somehow linking GreenDay (the band?!) to this whole thing. WIERD! I don't remember Billy Joe Armstrong comming out in support of sending wounded soldiers nasty hate mail.

Look folks, All I am saying is, GET WITH IT. Leftosphere, UNITE. The most respected commission ever formed surrounding a dreadful event that will plague elections for decades to come has just given a major thumbs down to the party in power for not doing what they have always promised they would do since that dreadful day 4 years ago.

Blogswarm that shit!


Faith Based Blogference

I don't care much for religion. If it weren't for the argument that lack of evidence for the existence of God, doesn't necessarily mean that God doesn't exhist, I would be atheist. As such, I am an agnostic atheist, leaning more to the atheist side of the fence, than to the agnostic side. That being said, I don't like how the crazy christians that seem to get all the press in this country are bastardizing a somewhat decent set of religious beliefs. Beliefs that are rooted in liberalism despite their portrayal to the contrary by the representatives featured on the teevee. My man Xpatriated Texan is part of a group that is trying to set up a conference for basically fixing the inequities of faith based politics in this country.

So believer or not, see if you can help fix that faith based narrative that currently centers on all things Dobson-Robertson.

Check out:


RNC Calendar

i don't know if this is common practice for the party sitting in office. I have only been on political email lists for a few years. However, I would love to find out if the DNC put out a Clinton version of this calendar at the height of say the Lewinsky scandal. For only $25 you too can have 12 fullfilling pictures of President Bush in his best form. Here are some of my favorites:

Happy New Year, the four of us will be working hard to undermine national security, kill brown people, and eat away at the Constitution and the rights it grants you idiots who sprang $25 bucks for this craptacular calendar. You should've gone for America The Calendar, you would have saved a bunch and laughed a lot more.

What is up with this? I don't know how many little league jerseys feature baseball greats' names instead of actual players names. Looks like someone had fun with Photoshop.

By the way, that is the second month that is based on baseball, April:

Of course August is brush clearin' time so we need to be reminded where we will find the President in that month:

Back to School time, also the height of Hurricane season, so I am surprised no Hurricane destruction sites were highlighted for SEptember.

October is Halloween month and a time to pretend your something your not, like an army guy or something.

Of course no guarantee that presumed Turkey is real.

Merry Christmas and smile, only 3 more years left!

Anyway, lots of opportunities to start caption contests all around the blogosphere.


Economic Oligarchy

Since Bush decided to make a Rose Garden appearance to tout the great-but-not-so-great jobs numbers, the economy became a sorta hot topic. I know it came up on This Week where Robert Reich made and appearance, and now the king of all Economists and my dream Fed Head, Paul Krugman puts the discussion where it belongs. Since I don't care much for copywright law, and care even less for the NYTimes subscription for the good stuff policy here are the only paragraphs that matter:

Behind the disconnect between economic growth and family incomes lies the extremely lopsided nature of the economic recovery that officially began in late 2001. The growth in corporate profits has, as I said, been spectacular. Even after adjusting for inflation, profits have risen more than 50 percent since the last quarter of 2001. But real wage and salary income is up less than 7 percent.

There are some wealthy Americans who derive a large share of their income from dividends and capital gains on stocks, and therefore benefit more or less directly from soaring profits. But these people constitute a small minority. For everyone else the sluggish growth in wages is the real story. And much of the wage and salary growth that did take place happened at the high end, in the form of rising payments to executives and other elite employees. Average hourly earnings of nonsupervisory workers, adjusted for inflation, are lower now than when the recovery began.

So there you have it. Americans don't feel good about the economy because it hasn't been good for them. Never mind the G.D.P. numbers: most people are falling behind.
(there are many ways to get around the Times thing, use google)

This is the second time around this trickle-down wagon wheel (as Atrios aptly describes) in recent history. Reagan did this trickle down thing well, but good God did Bush kick the Gipper's ass in terms of implementation of the reverse Robin Hood effect. Bush and his Congressional Compatriots have created a society where the rich really do get richer and the middle class and poor are simply left behind. They don't get any trickle down effect from any of this economic booming that's been going on. The fact that inflation has not really gone up despite rising fuel costs is even stranger to me. Seems like profits are so hugemongous, that corporations can use some of them to dampen inflation and still report record quarters to asuage Wall Street analysts from downgrading any stocks. I of course and no economist and that last part was simply conjecture but I am almost positive that I can find data to back it up.

However, we live in an America that if you are a CEO, even your corporation's bankruptcy does not harm your personal financial situation (Enron) because there are many many loopholes that you and your rich people's accountant can help make your money disappear from the IRS (yet not really from your net worth).

This has all been proven before when Reagan thought it could work. It doesn't and the numbers Krugman cites demonstrate how it doesn't work, but it doesn't really address why. The reason trickle down economics doesn't work is simple. GREED. Greed is the engine of capitalism, and due to that simple reason is why "Bushanomics" is untenable. Couple that with the fact that the American economy in its current state is based on borrowed money with no end to the borrowing in site and you have an untennable economic theory, which becomes unsustainable.

I wouldn't get all "house of cards" on this thing just yet, because I simply do not believe that capitalism can collapse. However, there are winners and loosers in this great game and when the loosers become the majority, there is supposed to be this mechanism called Democracy to set the balance straight. One can only hope that it works.

Perhaps the best thing that can come of the Bush era is the idea that trickle down economics works only in the spotless minds of economists who forget to factor greed into their equations. The stuff Krugman said in his column today should beyelled loudly and proudly by future candidates wanting to unseat the criminals who have implemented this system.


Friday, December 02, 2005

Obligatory warning: This is Yet Another Diary About Corzine's Senate Pick (YADACSP).

Bob Andrews picks up a few endorsements today from the Philly Inquirer, and Courier Post. Both eerily saying similar things, and both, eerily full of that stinky stuff that Ocean County Freeholders are also reeking of these days.

First off, the Courier Post endorsed Doug Forrester, so why should Gov. Elect Corzine give their opinion any more deference than a fruit fly?

Second, both these pieces look like perhaps someone sent a press release to some editorial boards and perhaps consulted with said boards on verbiage and such. This is of course speculation and speculation is something I don't like trafficking in. So forget I just wrote this last part and let's get to taking these babies apart like a cheap Lego set.

Both columns make the assertion that its about time South Jersey gets a Senator again. Cuz its been like 50 years or so.

Philly Inq.:
Andrews, 48, is in his eighth term in the House, where he has championed a broad range of progressive causes, while being a strong, consistent voice for fiscal discipline. His Camden County roots don't hurt, either; the last U.S. senator from South Jersey was Robert C. Hendrickson of Woodbury, whose service ended back in 1955.

Courier Post:
Since his election to Congress in 1990, Andrews has been an effective, thoughtful and independent representative who has done an excellent job of being responsive to and in tune with his constituents.


It's been nearly 50 years since one of New Jersey's two U.S. senators hailed from South Jersey. That lack of representation is unacceptable. The time for a senator from South Jersey is now, as Andrews is one of the most capable and forthright politicians our region has produced.

Capable and Forthright? Laughable on it's face. (more on this later)

If 50 years earns a group of people a Senate seat then YIPEE! Harrison, NJ has never had a sitting Senator, this must mean that it is time for me to be Senator. Beam me up Corzine! I am more than deserving of the spot! Joking aside, 50 years? Who cares. Luckily we realize very shortly if we read the Courier Post's piece of why we shouldn't want Bob Andrews in the most deliberative body in the world.

A key argument against Andrews is that he's a South Jersey Democrat, so he must be tied to George Norcross' machine. But Corzine shouldn't rule out Andrews for the seat because of those perceived ties.

So Norcross isn't the demon spawn that Forrester (and most Joe Voter Jersey Democrats) think him to be? Any friend of Norcross' is a friend of ours? Sorry CP, I don't buy it, and if I had followed the campaign, I'd say your boy Forrester pretty much pissed away any chance of a Norcross "protege" landing a Senate seat.

Of course, the CP was ready to throw Corzine out with the same Norcross stained bath water back in October:
New Jersey's leaders turned a blind eye toward ethical shortcomings, talked big but delivered little on property taxes and continually made room for more patronage jobs for cronies of the ruling party.


All of that happened under the watchful eyes of two Democrats, former Gov. James E. McGreevey and acting Gov. Richard J. Codey.

Now, U.S. Sen. Jon Corzine, D-Hoboken, hopes to replace Codey.

But as different as his campaign tries to appear, it still sounds like more of the same.

Hang on kiddies, this is gonna be a long ride, this is right at the top of the column. I could spend all day on this stuff alone.

More Norcross... (I am starting to think they are trying to kill and endorse Andrews at the same time)
Philly Inq.:
Andrews began his political career as a protege of South Jersey's Democratic machine and its boss, George E. Norcross 3d, but has distanced himself somewhat from Norcross since.

Courier Post:
Time and again, Andrews has proven himself to be independent. He doesn't rely on Norcross to finance his campaigns. Since his split with Norcross in 1998, Andrews has raised campaign money from a wide array of donors. Campaign finance records show that a significant portion of his campaign funds come from Camden County Republicans.

Mark Otto, Andrews' GOP opponent in 2002, even offered a testament to Andrews independence.

"I've never seen any reason to believe he's a puppet of George Norcross. I don't agree with him on everything, but I do respect the man," Otto said.

That's 6 Norcross mentiones between both columns, 1 more Norcross reference and Andrews gets the lucky 7 Atlantic City Slot Machine treatment. If that doesn't do it, then this last revelation by the CP that he got his donations from County Republicans should most certainly land Andrews' chances in the oddsmakers' "longshot" column. Should Corzine appoint a guy because he takes money from Republicans? Yeah any Democrat can get behind a guy that takes money from the other team.

The Inquirer then goes on to describe Menendez's shortcomings:
Menendez, 51, is the third-ranking Democrat in the House. He has a solid record, and was a key player in the passage of the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance reform.

But Menendez has a ticking time bomb in his camp: questions about his relationship with a young female staffer, who eventually left his employ to become a lobbyist whose work benefits from Menendez's position in Congress. He said yesterday that their current relationship is "strictly professional." When asked about their relationship while she was his aide, Menendez would only say, "I have a public life and a personal life."

It's not that simple. This situation would inevitably become an ugly sideshow in any Senate campaign, the kind of thing New Jersey politics has seen far too much of lately.

In comparison to taking money from Republicans, I think even I can swallow a Menendez pick (no puns intended - ya sick bastards!).

CP continues:
Beyond that, Andrews has done a remarkable job of staying close to his district and doing things to help his constituents. That comes in part from the fact that Andrews lives in South Jersey and commutes to Washington each day. When people go to the polls to vote for Andrews, they often do so because he personally helped them or someone they know.

Really? So he does his job? Great. He lives close to Washington so his commuting skills don't impress me (I would be more impressed if he had to take 287 to rt. 80 everyday). As for personally helping people. I can think of 42 people who were dreadfully served by Andrews pro-war vote.

Finally, the Philly Inquirer gives Rush Holt a good review:
Holt, 57, is in his fourth term. He revels in his status as an un-bossed outsider, and says his success in a moderate district gives him the best chance among Democrats to win next year. Holt is a smart, likeable candidate who has built a good record on promoting stem-cell research, intelligence reform and environmental protection. If not for Andrews, Holt would be a fine choice.

Of course, if not for his ties to Corrupt South Jersey Norcross, his Republican donors, and his vote for the Iraq War, Bob Andrews would be a fine choice as well.

(aside: Rush Holt got an endorsement from the Daily Princetonian which was 20 times better than these two piss poor examples of editorialism. It must be easier to write an endorsement for someone who actually deserves it.)


Thursday, December 01, 2005

AIDS and Needle Exchange

Happy World AIDS Day everybody. Every minute of every day 5 people die from AIDS/HIV. There is no cure but there are rather expensive drugs for treating the disease. As a result, prevention continues to be the preferred method of combating the disease.

Where do NJ AIDS statistics stand?:
In NJ nearly half of all new HIV cases in the state are related to injection drug use, nearly twice the national average, New Jersey is one of only five states that require a prescription to purchase a syringe and, along with neighboring Delaware, one of only two states that have not passed laws explicitly allowing needle exchange programs (NEPs).
CONGRATULATIONS! We are in the minority and presumably some really "red states" are included in the 45 and 48 other states that have agreed that statistics on Needle Exchange are pretty solid.

As the article suggests our hero Nia Gill has proposed legislation to allow municipalities to run their own NEP. There are actually two bills, Sen. Gill's Bill is A3256 and Senator Joe Vitale's A3257.

Interestingly enough. Both have been stalled in the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens committee chaired by none other than Sen. Joseph Vitale.

Now there is some backroom chatter that say that Sen. Ronald Rice has been the thorn in this Bill's side. Ronald Rice happens to represent Newark (which happens to be #9 in the country in AIDS cases, and if you take the population into account it is easily #1 per capita).

This is rather sickening. You have the representative of a constituency that will drastically benefit from either bill, holding up that legislation. Even worse, one of the pieces of legislation is sponsored by THE CHAIR OF THE COMMITTEE?!?! Only in the land of Superfunds could this happen.

This is plain and simply WRONG. Both bills have passed in the Assembly. One man is ruining the fate of thousands of people. Write Chairman Vitale and tell him to get the sack to stand up to Ron Rice and Sleezy Sharpe James and get both these bills out of committee and onto the Senate floor for a vote. It has passed the Assembly and deserves a Senate vote dammit.
Joseph Vitale
87 Main St.
Woodbridge, NJ 07095
PHONE:(732) 855-7441

After that call Ron Rice and give him a piece of your mind:
1044 South Orange Ave.
Newark, NJ 07106
PHONE:(973) 371-5665

As always cross posted at Blue Jersey


Where were the Anti-Stadium Folk on this one?

Hillary and Goldman Sachs broke ground on a new HQ building. The tragedy is that they got about $1.5 billion in aide to do it. WHich is simply Bullshit. You mean you now have to URGE financial corporations to build their headquarters in the financial capital of the world?

CROOKS. Thanks Hillary, for providing republicans with another piss-off-your-own-base photo-op.


Bushism of the week

From the Bushysburg address:
Some critics continue to assert that we have no plan in Iraq except to, “stay the course.” If by “stay the course,” they mean we will not allow the terrorists to break our will, they are right. If by “stay the course,” they mean we will not permit al Qaeda to turn Iraq into what Afghanistan was under the Taliban - a safe haven for terrorism and a launching pad for attacks on America - they are right, as well. If by “stay the course” they mean that we’re not learning from our experiences, or adjusting our tactics to meet the challenges on the ground, then they’re flat wrong.

The problem is that it isn't the critics hwo have asserted that you had no plan except to "stay the course" it was you Mr. President. YA DIPSHIT!

However, thanks for clearing up what we mean when we say that you say the plan is to "stay the course." It's really helpful, now get back to staying the course.


Numbers of Iraqi Troops

NPR had perhaps one of the finest more decent analyses of the Bullshit Speech (part 1 of 3) which has been plastered all over the fuckin' airwaves since it aired. The Weekly Standard's Reuel Marc Gerecht, and The New Yorker's George Packer faced off with Robert Segel playing the part of moderator. Ok faceoff is not a good description for these NPR segments that are supposed to parrot similar things that would happen on Cable news, but you get the drift.

One of the highlights included an agreement of both Gerecht and Packer on this idea of rather large disparities in the number of Iraqi troops. This number has been historically connected to more caveats than the WMDs Iraq was stockpiling during the last decade.

Rough Transcript:
Packer: Well the number 120 battalions, I think the president used the figure, 212,000 troops. The problem is that number, was given quite a while ago by Sec. Rumsfeld and back then it was obviously an inflated number... Now we are back up to that. I don't if that is the number or not. The problem is they have lost credibility in those numbers... IOW Earlier numbers were just fantasies, they were numbers thrown out by Paul Bremer and Don Rumsfeld... in order to convince the public that the Iraqi forces were coming on line very quickly. Here we are 2.5 years later, we reach the numbers again, or probably for the first time. They may very well be credible and accurate. The problem is, you can't cry success so many times ... and have the public believe you.

Reuel: I agree with most of that... I think Sec. Rumsfeld and CENTCOM... has done everybody a disservice by floating numbers that have no basis in reality... by this time it seems almost dishonest.

Bob Segel then goes on to hope for a 15% bounce in the Iraq favorability ratings due to this speech. Laughable point on its face, it would have to be a bitch of a speech to do that. Although the wall to wall coverage (as if the speech was Bush's Gettysburg address) may very well make that number an attainable goal.

But the numbers. What are the numbers? You have Reuel Gerecht, a run of the mill wingnut who would rather have someone give him a Dirty Sanchez than admit to failure by the President, using VLWC terms like "no basis in reality" and "dishonest" when describing Rumsfeld and CENTCOM's accounting failures. Information regarding the training of Iraqi forces is second only to "reasons for going to war" in terms of consistency. If their aim was to baffle and confuse congratulations. Mission accomplished, stage another flight suit photo op. How can anyone believe a word out of Rumsfeld or anyone's mouth when it comes to Iraqi Forces at the ready?

This is a major fucking problem. All the folks who want to stay in Iraq for some extended period of time (until election day 2006 when they can pose with guys getting off ships for campaign posters), are saying that the number of US troops capable of being withdrawn is inversely proportional to the Iraqi Forces that are trained.

We can't trust Rumsfeld, or Bush, or anyone's numbers regarding Iraqi Forces since they have been consistently fluctuating from 1 battalion only 2 months ago to 120 battalions yesterday. Rumsfeld said that there were 95 brigades as of yesterday, whereas in August there were only 5.

So once again, if these guys cannot be trusted to give us solid numbers honestly for 2 years, what makes anyone think they will start spitting truthballs Steven Colbert style anytime soon? While we are at it, who in the brave intrepid media will start asking the really tough question. If you could go from 5 to 95 brigades in only 3 months, and can go from 1 battalion to 120 in only 2 months, why can't you give us a firm projection of when we will have enough Iraqi forces ready to withdraw the US troops? Or even better, have one of the folks from the Barbisol school of retired Generals to do the analysis themselves and give us a decent estimate.

A good follow up question would be... "If it only took 3 months to get so many Iraqi troops trained, WHAT THE FUCK TOOK SO DAMNED LONG IN THE FIRST PLACE!!?!?! Why did you wait for 2 years to get this ball rolling, and if you knew it would take such a short time, why didn't you start doing it right after the looting took place?

If the entire definition of "Victory in Iraq" is largely hinged upon the amount of Iraqi forces, how can we gauge Victory when the data going into the Victory meter is as Reuel Gerecht said "dishonest, and without basis in reality?"