Saturday, December 20, 2003

12 years ago...
The possible return of Big Brother in Russia is a reminder of the real evils in the world. Was Communism always the enemy, or was the enemy the iron-fisted way in which the Soviet Union was run? As much as we'd like to think our enemy had a clear philosophy, everyone in the world should fear the same thing from their governments: power hungry, ruthless men. There's at least one of those in evert country.

The latest presidential surgery
What is the media fascination with Bush's knees? FDR changed the world in a wheelchair, ladies and gentleman.

Brooks: talking through vomit
David Brooks is officially one of the least useful people on the planet.

Exporting America
I've been watching Lou Dobbs Tonight, and in case you didn't know, Dobbs has been rattling off lists of companies who are shipping American jobs overseas to take advantage of cheap labor markets. I highly recommend watching, and if you can't, glance at the recent transcripts every once in a while. Last nights list:

Carrier, CSX, Franklin Mint, Hewitt Associates, a human resources consulting company, Sikorsky, United Online, parent company of NetZero and Juno, Veritas Software, and Yahoo!.

The GOP gets a tap on the wrist
Despite the headline of this AP article, the Dems haven't gone at the GOP nearly as aggressively as they should for cutting jobless benefits short. If there is one problem still remaining in the economy outside of the deficit, it's jobs (while they often lag behind the economy in recoveries, it's clear that Bush will still have a significant net loss of jobs by next November). Everyone will know by the end of next year that Bush can't balance a budget, but the people care more about things that directly affect them: jobs, the stock market, consumer confidence, etc. If we don't have the upper ground on one of those issues come the election, we're screwed. But if we look at the facts...

"The GOP-controlled Congress, saying the benefits were not necessary because unemployment is declining, adjourned for the year without approving a new extension of the benefits.

An average 90,000 jobless workers each week who exhaust their state benefits won't get the extra 13 weeks of federal aid that others have received since March 2002, when Congress first approved the help. Most states provide up to 26 weeks of aid to people who lose their jobs."

...we'd realize how easy it could be to get the people on our side.

Abuse in federal prison
In the WaPo:

"Hundreds of videotapes that federal prison officials had claimed were destroyed show that foreign nationals held at a New York detention facility after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were victims of physical and verbal abuse by guards, the Justice Department's inspector general said yesterday.

An investigation by Inspector General Glenn A. Fine also found that officials at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn, N.Y., which is run by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, improperly taped meetings between detainees and their lawyers, and used excessive strip searches and restraints to punish those in confinement.

The report concluded that as many as 20 guards were involved in the abuse, which included slamming prisoners against walls and painfully twisting their arms and hands. Fine recommended discipline for 10 employees and counseling for two others who remain employed by the federal prison system. He also said the government should notify the employers of four former guards about their conduct.

"Some officers slammed and bounced detainees against the wall, twisted their arms and hands in painful ways, stepped on their leg restraint chains and punished them by keeping them restrained for long periods of time," the report said. "We determined that the way these MDC staff members handled some detainees was, in many respects, unprofessional, inappropriate and in violation of BOP policy."

One focus of the report was an American flag T-shirt that hung from a wall at the MDC with the slogan, "These colors don't run." Four corrections employees told investigators that the shirt, which hung in a prisoner receiving area for months, was covered with bloodstains, including some that appeared to have come from detainees being slammed into the wall.

A report issued by Fine in June found "a pattern of physical and verbal abuse" at the Brooklyn detention facility's Special Housing Unit, where 84 of the men picked up after the Sept. 11 attacks were held. But investigators said then that firm conclusions on abuse were impossible in many cases because of the lack of videotapes, which prison administrators said at the time had been destroyed."

I don't know which is more disconcerting - the beatings themselves or the fact that prison officials said the tapes had been destroyed. Looking at the harsh feelings that many Americans have towards immigrants post-9/11, the beatings themselves are almost predictable in such prisons. While this doesn't make them legitimate, it does make it unsurprising. What really bothers me is the attempted coverup by the prison:

"The tapes eventually located in August had not been included on inventory sheets provided by the prison and were held in a storage room that also had not been disclosed to investigators, the report said. Many tapes from the period are still missing, and there are unexplained gaps the ones that were found, the report shows."

If prisoners were shown being beaten and abused in such basic ways on the tape: slamming into walls, being kept down, punched and kicked etc, what was cut out? I can't imagine what else was done to the prisoners, but I'd put money down that every federal prison has it's own hidden storage room somewhere.

My vote
My vote for the TTLB Showcase goes to Chris Brown, fellow Liberal Coalition member. His link merely goes to the archive, but the post is the fifth one down, "What's so wrong about peace, love and higher taxes?"

Friday, December 19, 2003

Libya to wipe out WMDs
At least someone thinks it necessary to eliminate their WMDs: Qaddafi and Co. will allow weapons inspectors, as well.

Sales pitch
Japan is investing $10 billion in buying our ballistic missile defense system technology in order to protect itself from North Korea. Did we tell them that we've spent $60 billion and it still doesn't work?

"But it still FEELS cold!"
Yet more evidence that global warming is not a liberal farce.

RIAA gets bad news
In a defeat for the music industry, the RIAA was denied the right to compel Internet providers to give up the names of subscribers to downloading services such as Kazaa:

The ruling from a three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia was a dramatic setback for the industry's controversial anti-piracy campaign. It overturned the trial judge's decision to enforce a type of copyright subpoena from a law that predates the music downloading trend.

The appeals court said the 1998 law doesn't cover the popular file-sharing networks currently used by tens of millions of Americans to download songs.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act "betrays no awareness whatsoever that Internet users might be able directly to exchange files containing copyrighted works," the court wrote.

The appeals judges said they sympathized with the recording industry, noting that "stakes are large." But the judges said it was not the role of courts to rewrite the 1998 copyright law, "no matter how damaging that development has been to the music industry or threatens being to the motion picture and software industries."

As much as I understand how much filesharing is damaging the industry, I applaud anything that slows down the RIAA's efforts. I agree that something must be done to show to people that filesharing isn't a good idea, but suing little kids isn't the answer.

Kean's two stories
Here's what the 9/11 commission chairman is saying now:

"We have no evidence that anybody high in the Clinton administration or the Bush administration did anything wrong," chairman Thomas Kean said in an interview with ABC's "Nightline" taped for airing Thursday night.

Here's what he said initially:

"There are people that, if I was doing the job, would certainly not be in the position they were in at that time because they failed. They simply failed," Kean said.

Asked whether we should at least know if people sitting in the decision-making spots on that critical day are still in those positions, Kean said, "Yes, the answer is yes. And we will."


Drugs and terror
A drug boat tied to al Qaeda was intercepted in the Persian Gulf today:

"Found on board the 40-foot dhow, officials said, were 54 bags of hashish weighing 70 pounds each. The drugs would have a street value of between $8 million and $10 million, officials said.


written statement said only: "An initial investigation uncovered clear ties between the smuggling operation and al Qaeda."

While I could talk about the implications of the development and the importance of cutting off terror funds in the war on terror, I could only think of when thing when I read the headline: those damn anti-marijuana commercials. Have you seen them? Allow me to paraphrase: "If you buy marijuana, you're supporting terrorism." And of course, this event proves that terrorists do use drugs for funds. So how would we stop them from contributing to the illegal drug trade with marijuana? How could we EVER make it so there would be no market for illegal marijuana shipments? If it wasn't illegal - and was in fact available legally - it would be hard for the terrorists to find a market now, wouldn't it? So the fact that such drugs are illegal actually contributes to terrorist funding. But don't expect the truth from federally funding ad campaigns.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Somerby does it again
You should really read the Daily Howler...well, daily, but today's feature on Fox's Tammy Bruce is priceless.

There's still hope
A lot of Dems have been frustrated by the candidates' seeming lack of ability to compete with Bush in the polls. Well, to lift some hopes, here is a Gallup poll from October 2000:

Three days before the election, Gore was down 5%, with 43% to Bush's 48%. Not bad, eh?

Reagans to get Golden Globe nods?
Remember how pissed off the right was when The Reagans mini-series was about to air on CBS? Well it's been nominated for several Golden Globes in what was probably Hollywood's middle finger to the righties.

It's another example of right-wing whining blowing back in their faces. Remember O'Reilly and Fox suing Franken, causing his book sales to shoot up? The right-wing likes to cause trouble because they have terrible family lives (or that's how I see it). So every so often it comes back to kick them in the ass. Good.

Some jobs will never return
CNN has an article on how some jobs that have been lost will be impossible to get back:

If Smokestack America has a geographic center, it may be Kannapolis, N.C. That's where locals used to produce sheets, towels and other linens at the Pillowtex manufacturing plant.

That was before this past summer, when Pillowtex went bankrupt, shuttered 16 plants and eliminated 5,500 jobs in North Carolina.

The closing made the town of Kannapolis – a community of some 39,000 souls and birthplace of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt -- home to the biggest single job loss at a U.S. textile plant ever. It was also the most sweeping layoff in North Carolina history.

Kannapolis's job losses may cut wide and deep, but it's not the only community that's witnessed job losses in recent years.

Since 2001, some 2.9 million private sector jobs have been lost, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Many of those jobs won't ever return, even as the economy recovers, say experts. What's more, this isn't just true for blue-collar workers at places like Pillowtex."

The power of bloggers
Hilariously, Thumb (posting for Atrios) managed to post an MSNBC poll on the blog. Take into account the amount of traffic Atrios go vote and read the results.

The Savage Weiner caves
Remember Michael Savage (real name: Michael Weiner) suing TakeBacktheMedia and He dropped it. Looks like he was just idle threats after all. How's life without your TV show, Mr. Weiner? By the way, how lacking in masculinity must you be to change your name from Weiner to Savage?

WH modifying federal websites
The WaPo writes on how the Bush administration has been modifying government websites to be more favorable to Bush. For example, the headline on the White House's website on May 1 read "President Bush Announces Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended." They added "Major" in front of combat to make people think that they hadn't made a terrible prediction. What else?

"The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and USAID have removed or revised fact sheets on condoms, excising information about their effectiveness in disease prevention, and promoting abstinence instead. The National Cancer Institute, meanwhile, scrapped claims on its Web site that there was no association between abortion and breast cancer."

What's the most important aspect of holding power in totalitarian societies? Information control.

Ashcroft gets a kick in the pants
A San Francisco appeals court ruled today that Gitmo prisoners should have access to the U.S. court system and lawyers.

"Even in times of national emergency -- indeed, particularly in such times -- it is the obligation of the Judicial Branch to ensure the preservation of our constitutional values and to prevent the Executive Branch from running roughshod over the rights of citizens and aliens alike," Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote for the majority.

"We cannot simply accept the government's position," Reinhardt continued, "that the Executive Branch possesses the unchecked authority to imprison indefinitely any persons, foreign citizens included, on territory under the sole jurisdiction and control of the United States, without permitting such prisoners recourse of any kind to any judicial forum, or even access to counsel, regardless of the length or manner of their confinement."


Arnold announces 'emergency'
The governor of California will declare a financial emergency and bypass the Legislature to give money to local governments. How will he do this?

"To make up for $4 billion lost when he cut the unpopular car tax, the governor will make a $40 million payment to local governments to keep them from closing facilities and laying off police officers and fire fighters, aides said Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Schwarzenegger will get that money and future payments by making $150 million in cuts that will fall heavily on public health and welfare programs, the sources said."

O'Reilly strikes back
O'Reilly lashed out at Drudge over this. Inasmuch as this doesn't affect politics at all, it's fun to see conservatives ripping each other apart for once.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Bush under pressure
Here's a clip of Bush not denying that he had advance warning of 9/11 on Monday. I must say, his mannerisms are such that I can't tell whether he thinks it's so ridiculous that he barely wants to answer it, or if he is just trying to think of something to say but can't because the accusation is true. You can't tell it from the clip, but the facts will show the latter to be correct.

Oil in the food
Halliburton is serving our troops dirty food, it seems:

"The Pentagon repeatedly warned contractor Halliburton-KBR that the food it served to US troops in Iraq was "dirty," as were as the kitchens it was served in, NBC News reported on Friday.

Halliburton-Kellogg Brown and Root's promises to improve "have not been followed through," according to a Pentagon report that warned "serious repercussions may result" if the contractor did not clean up.

The Pentagon reported finding "blood all over the floor," "dirty pans," "dirty grills," "dirty salad bars" and "rotting meats ... and vegetables" in four of the military messes the company operates in Iraq, NBC said, citing Pentagon documents.

The report came as President George W. Bush fended off Pentagon reports that Halliburton-KBR overcharged US$61 million for gasoline it sold the military in Iraq. Dick Cheney ran Halliburton for five years until becoming vice."

Could these people be any more despicable?

The chair of the 9/11 commission has some news for you. 9/11 was preventable, he says. I can't pick one part of the article to snip, you need to read it all. The shit may just be hitting the fan.

UPDATE: Here's a tad on what really happened before that September morning.

Eating his own
It appears Drudge has caught O'Reilly lying about his book sales. Sorry, Billy, you're just not that popular.

Dean switches it up
Many people are saying that Dean has been leading because he never had to flip-flip on the war. I agree. Unfortunately, he has flip-flopped on several issues related to the war. Quotes:

“I never said Saddam was a danger to the United States. Ever. Saddam was a regional danger. I believed that he had weapons of mass destruction. I believe we could have controlled him. I believed that the proper way to remove him should he need to be removed was through the United Nations and I never wavered from that.” Fox News Channel, 12/10/2003

“There's no question that Saddam Hussein is a threat to the United States and to our allies.” CBS Face the Nation, 9/29/2002

“Anyone who believes in the importance of limiting the spread of weapons of mass killing, the value of democracy, and the centrality of human rights must agree that Saddam Hussein is a menace. The world would be a better place if he were in a different place other than the seat of power in Baghdad or any other country.” Dean speech, “Defending American Values – Protecting America’s Interests,” 2/17/03

I'm not a Dean-hater, but can't we have ONE candidate who hasn't changed tones on the war?

On Edit: Looking back, I can see the case Dean has in the fact that he only said Saddam wasn't a threat AFTER U.S. troops practically ran the country. However, it still contradicts his war stance.

The ever-growing deficit
Even when the economy seems to be running smoothly and Saddam is captured, you can always count on Bush's budget policy to make him look like an idiot. Bush says he wants to halve the $500 billion deficit by 2009. The current problem of the deficit is outlined in this Economist article. How will he cut all this spending? Like so:

"White House officials say to achieve their goal, Bush will rely chiefly on two strategies. He will propose extending tax cuts that would otherwise expire, which they say will spur the economy, and limiting the growth of spending that Congress must approve each year, probably to 4 percent or less."

What tax cuts he will extend, it isn't clear, but I'm betting that they'll serve the rich just as well as before. Read the SFGate article for more on the budget and the spin coming from the White House.

Energy travesty to pass?
It appears some think that the votes may now exist to pass the Bush energy bill. Educate yourself if you haven't already.

City kids not doing well???
Apparently some people consider it newsworthy that students are scoring poorly in large urban areas:

"WASHINGTON - Students in some of the nation's largest urban school districts score below the national average on federal math and reading tests, scores released Wednesday show.

But in these urban centers, where large numbers of disadvantaged kids live, students compete well when compared with national peers of the same race, ethnicity or economic level."

How are cities different from other areas if not for race, ethnicity, or economic level?

Former governor indicted
Even the most decent Republicans are corrupt. Ex-governor George Ryan of Illinois, the man who ended the death penalty in his state, was indicted on charges of taking payoffs, and gifts in return for government contracts and leases.

Senators lied to
It looks like we weren't the only ones lied to about Iraq: the Bush team told senators in classified intelligence briefings that Iraqi weapons could hit the U.S.:

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said Monday the Bush administration last year told him and other senators that Iraq not only had weapons of mass destruction, but they had the means to deliver them to East Coast cities.

Nelson, D-Tallahassee, said about 75 senators got that news during a classified briefing before last October's congressional vote authorizing the use of force to remove Saddam Hussein from power. Nelson voted in favor of using military force.

Nelson said he couldn't reveal who in the administration gave the briefing.

The White House directed questions about the matter to the Department of Defense. Defense officials had no comment on Nelson's claim.

Nelson said the senators were told Iraq had both biological and chemical weapons, notably anthrax, and it could deliver them to cities along the Eastern seaboard via unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones.

"They have not found anything that resembles an UAV that has that capability," Nelson said.

This will at least dispel some of the ideas in liberal circles that politicians who knew the truth still voted for the war, but I have a feeling that they knew more than they are leading on.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Gaffney: terribly unintelligent
If Frank Gaffney Jr. is correct, the capture of Saddam will be viewed as the turning point in the war in...or "liberation of" Iraq. He also compares Saddam's capture to Midway and Gettysburg (the difference, of course, being that those were battles). He then backs it up with hard facts:

"A more important factor, however, will be that the environment in which the attackers have operated will become substantially less hospitable to them and their efforts to kill allied forces, international relief workers and Iraqis who have cooperated in Coalition efforts to secure and rebuild their country. It is hard to overstate the traumatizing effect the prospect of Saddam's return has had on a deeply scarred people. In his absence, there is no reason to accommodate his henchmen and every reason to work with others who oppose them."

Saddam's return? What is he talking about? No reason to accommodate his henchmen? What if they actually believe in the Ba'ath party or an Islamic state (which I'm going to say much of the resistance does) and weren't just fighting because they were scared of Saddam?

"Foreign fighters may be another matter. Iran, Saudi Arabia and Syria all have their reasons for wanting to thwart the experiment in an Arab democracy President Bush is helping Free Iraqis to forge. By definition, however, such foreigners will have an even harder time operating unseen among the people of Iraq than will the former regime loyalists. The United States must help the Iraqis to root out and neutralize these predominantly radical Muslim (or "Islamist") forces by helping to secure Iraq's borders and to dissuade neighboring countries from allowing them to be penetrated."

Huh? Before his brilliant final line in this paragraph, outlining the perfect strategy, which I'm sure the military never thought of, he states that foreign fighters will have a harder time than ever? Why? He doesn't say...but we can assume it's because Saddam was caught.

The biggest march in U.S. history?
Are you ready to march on the Republican convention?

Joey grasps for straws
Lieberman denounced Dean's comments on Saddam's capture:

If he truly believes the capture of this evil man has not made America safer then Howard Dean has put himself in his own spider hole of denial," Lieberman said. "I fear that the American people will wonder if they will be safer with him as president."

Imagine...Joe Lieberman talking about denial. Joe, let me guide you to the latest polls...

Trading partners
Counterspin Central has a reminder of what our policy toward Iraq used to be.

Free inmate runs for congress
Interestingly enough, a former Death Row convict freed under George Ryan in Illinois filed to run for state legislature. Will this usher in a new era in politics, where liars, thieves and murderers run our country? Wait...nevermind.

The Vatican on Saddam
I can see the Church opposing the death penalty for Saddam, but look at what one cardinal had to say:

A top Vatican cardinal said Tuesday Saddam Hussein should face trial for his crimes, but stressed the Vatican's opposition to the death penalty and criticized the U.S. military for portraying him "like a cow" having his teeth checked.

Cardinal Renato Martino, head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said he felt compassion for Saddam and that the world should have been spared the images of his medical examination after his capture.

"I feel pity at seeing this destroyed man, treated like a cow having his teeth checked," Martino said. "I have seen this man in his tragedy ... and I had a sense of compassion."

Jeez, why can't the Church vouch for me the next time I get a check-up?

FDA approves Plan B
The morning after pill can now be sold over the counter.

"Those against making Plan B -- or any other emergency contraception -- available without a prescription argue some women will substitute emergency contraception for regular birth control and point to potential health concerns. "

But if they had their way you'd need a prescription for condoms.

Dollar drops again
I should really stop posting this every time it happens, but can anything save the dollar?

5th Sen. Dem to retire
Another Senate Dem is retiring in John Breaux (D-La.). This is bad news for a party already shaky in the South. Calpundit has more.

Dick's secrets
The latest on the energy bill meetings:

"WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court agreed Monday to consider erecting a shield of secrecy around Vice President Dick Cheney and the other close advisors to the president whenever they are discussing official business.

The justices voted to hear the Bush administration's appeal of a judge's order that would require Cheney to turn over documents describing who participated in formulating President Bush's national energy policy in 2001.

In voting to take up the appeal, the high court set the stage for a possible historic ruling on the powers of the presidency and whether a general shield of secrecy surrounds the White House.

The Sierra Club, an environmental group, and Judicial Watch, a conservative public interest group, sued Cheney, contending that as head of the energy task force he had violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972, which generally requires open meetings whenever outsiders offer advice to high government officials."

With Saddam being captured this is almost happening behind the scenes, but the implications are huge. Now let me take you through a course I just created: how to tell when people are hiding something 101:

"During the litigation, Cheney has taken an unyielding stand. He has refused to turn over documents detailing who met with his energy task force. And he has argued that the Constitution forbids private lawyers from asking for the information."

Think he's hiding something? If you do, you get an A. The next grade I'll give will be to the Supreme Court, who did a marvelous job handing him his office.

Military debts
corrente writes about a high-interest loan operating targeting soldiers.

2003: Hot Hot Hot!
It appears that 2003 was one of the hottest years in a while:

"GENEVA -- The year 2003, marked by a sweltering summer and drought across large swaths of the planet, was the third hottest in nearly 150 years, the United Nations weather agency said Tuesday.

The World Meteorological Organization estimated the average surface temperature for the year to be 0.81 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the normal 25.2 degrees. The agency said that warmer weather could not be attributed to any one cause but was part of a trend that global warming was likely to prolong."

So is global warming real, or do Republicans need to stand outside and feel it get hotter?

Not likely
I wonder if Bush will lighten up on the contracting after Germany and France said they'd help out with Iraq's debt?

Surprise, surprise
Rush wants his medical records kept private:

Embattled radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh is asking a Palm Beach County, Florida, court to keep his medical records sealed from prosecutors investigating whether he illegally purchased prescription painkillers.

The records were seized from two of his doctors' offices last month. The search warrants itemizing what was seized was filed in court December 4.

Two more search warrants were obtained but not executed, two law enforcement sources said.

Limbaugh's move came as prosecutors were getting ready to file a motion of their own to examine the records, as required by Florida law, prosecutors said.

Think about how much Rush has whined about Dean sealing his records in Vermont. Thinking? Good. Here's what he said about it:

"A lot of people think he should release his political records... Nobody's demanding he release them. There aren't any search warrants being issued for his political records," Limbaugh said from his South Florida studio. "I bet you what, if I had been treated by Dr. Dean, I bet you Democrats in certain parts of this country would be demanding his records."

So because Dean isn't being FORCED to, it's all right. It's necessary to note that Dean also isn't the subject of a criminal investigation.

Sorry about the lack of blogging thus far, I was working on my Internet connection until right now. Let the blogging commence!

Monday, December 15, 2003

Back a couple weeks:
On Dec. 2 this was published:

BLOOMINGTON -- U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood held his thumb and forefinger slightly apart and said, "We're this close" to catching Saddam Hussein.
Once that's accomplished, Iraqi resistance will fall apart, said the five-term Republican congressman from Peoria who serves on the House Intelligence Committee.

A member of The Pantagraph editorial board -- not really expecting an answer -- asked LaHood for more details, saying, "Do you know something we don't?"

"Yes I do," replied LaHood.

End of the beginning
Lawrence Kaplan thinks just like me on the Saddam capture, but he does it eloquently.

What you aren't seeing on TV
Through CBC:

BAGHDAD - Hundreds of pro-Saddam demonstrators hit the streets of Iraq Monday to show support for their former leader.

Police say dozens of Saddam loyalists, armed with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades, attacked two police stations in northern Baghdad. Officers opened fire to disperse the crowd.

Demonstrations were also held in Fallujah and Tikrit. Crowds of people carried pictures of Saddam and chanted pro-Saddam slogans.

Hundreds stormed the regional government offices in Fallujah, a western Iraqi city that has seen intense anti-American activity. The Iraqis broke furniture, put up portraits of the deposed dictator and set the offices on fire.

Several hundred armed demonstrators pledged their allegiance to their captured leader, saying, "We will sacrifice ourselves to you, Saddam, with our blood, with our soul."

Armed and/or dangerous
At first you look at pictures like this and you think "I'm happy for them, their dictator is in custody." Then you look again and think, "Are they allowed to have weapons?" I thought they weren't, but apparently they have plenty.

The dollar still weak
The WaPo has a little rundown of Bush's economic woes. Interestingly they quote him at the end saying this:

As he did last week as the U.S. currency touched record lows, Bush said: "We fully expect markets to set the dollar. But we have a strong dollar policy, which is, in our judgment, good for for the economic vitality of this country."

Yeah...that's odd, because despite the Saddam capture, which many predicted would shoot the dollar upwards, it's still falling.

To the polls:
The latest Gallups:

As you may know, U.S. soldiers captured Saddam Hussein in Iraq early this morning. Do you consider finding Saddam Hussein to be a major achievement for the United States, a minor achievement, or not an achievement at all?

Major: 82% Minor: 11% Not at all: 6%

Which of the following comes closest to your view -- ?

Planning to vote to re-elect even before capture: 45%
Not planning to vote to re-elect, more likely now: 3%
Not planning to vote to re-elect, mind not changed: 43%

Check out the link for the full listing.

Cheney-energy dispute moves to high court
Through Newsday:

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court said Monday it will settle a fight over whether Vice President Dick Cheney must disclose details about secret contacts with energy industry officials as the Bush administration drafted its energy policy.

The court agreed to hear an appeal from the administration, which is fighting a lawsuit brought by watchdog and environmental groups over the energy task force Cheney assembled. The panel met for several months in 2001 and issued a report that favored opening more public lands to oil and gas drilling and proposed a range of other steps supported by industry.

The lawsuit seeks to force the administration to provide details about the panel's records and inner workings. The groups allege the industry representatives in effect functioned as members of the government panel, which included Cabinet secretaries and lower-level administration employees.

The watchdog group Judicial Watch and an environmental organization, the Sierra Club, had won permission from a lower court to gather records related to the energy task force.
"We're hoping at the end of this process the court is going to remind the vice president that he's not above the law," said Sierra Club lawyer David Bookbinder. "That's the claim he's been making throughout this process, that he is simply immune from any inquiry into his activities."

Yeah, I'm sure the uh, vice president will be brought to justice. Right. If there is one thing I have faith in, it's the ability of the judicial system to bring justice to wealthy white men.

Powell in surgery today
The only Cabinet member I don't like....and he gets prostate cancer.

Large bonuses for making shoes
Our collective hat should go off to the folks who organized this:

Instead of receiving typical end-of-year frozen turkeys, the 200 employees of the SAS Shoemakers plant here were handed envelopes when they were called together Friday afternoon.

When Lawrence Wyman opened his, he found a check for $19,000. His wife, Charlene, got a check for the same amount.

The company this year awarded its employees with bonuses of $1,000 for every year worked at the company. Even those who had worked less than a year got $500 each.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

What does he know?
I was reading the WMD portion of CalPundit's post and it hit me like a ton of bricks: Saddam has been living in a hole for months. What if the U.S. interrogators told him that we had already found WMD in order to get him to say where the rest is located? If there are WMD (I'm convinced there must be some left over from the 80s), and Saddam knows where they are (this i'm not positive on), would he crack? It's an interesting question to ponder.

UPDATE: Saddam has denied having WMD.

Better off dead?
At first I was impressed with the fact that our soldiers managed to capture Saddam alive - especially after the firefight that left his sons dead. But when I take a step back and look at the situation as a whole, I can't help but wonder if it would have been better if we killed him. When you look at the mentality of the opposition, you'll realize that they're always striving for something larger than killing American soldiers. While that is a goal, they also want to establish an Islamic state in Iraq, ideally, and chase the U.S. out of the Middle East. The latter was why many Islamics supported Hussein - he consistently defied the United States. And so, seeing him imprisoned, will they be inclined to carry on his battle for him, or feel that continued attacks may pressure the U.S. to free him? No matter how you look at it, the nature of the militants makes it seem as if there is no chance that attacks will relent.

Sorry if a rambled, I'm caffeined out of my mind here.

Conservatives jump for unearned joy
Seeing as I've been watching actual news broadcasts all day, I didn't have the chance to check out Instapundit. If I had I would have noticed Glenn's incessant masturbation on the Saddam topic. In fact, looking around the web I can't help but notice that the entire conservative community seems to be shuddering in some kind of enormous collective orgasm, as if opponents of the war opposed the invasion because we'd never find Saddam.

Perhaps I'm just worrying to much about what will happen to the resistance. And whether or not this will still be happening every day.

Back to bin Laden
The AP reports that now that Saddam has been captured the search for Osama may be aided. Why? Because now we'll actually be looking for him.

Dean shifts right
The WaPo says Dean is currently working on positioning himself as a centrist on foreign policy. So, a "true" fiscal conservative and a centrist on foreign looks like Dean is gearing up for the general election just like the party elites want him to.

My TTLB Showcase vote:
What is the point?

Two faces
Pandagon has a post on the distortions of the Telegraph.

"We got him"
It's a mainly psychological victory in my opinion, but we captured Saddam Hussein. Holy shit. After not finding bin Laden for so long, you just get used to the chase, don't ya? More later...

UPDATE: Well, not really an update. But now the we have the fabled Ace of Spades, will the resistance crumble? I see two major possibilities, and neither of them is extremely positive: the resistance will significantly increase from Saddam loyalists in the very near future, before dying down as the Islamic fundamentalists in the resistance continue to fight, or the resistance will barely change at all, seeing as its base is mainly in religious fundamentalism. What I don't think is likely is that the resistance was directed by Saddam and will collapse: that he could direct a revolution from a hole in the ground under a farmhouse seems unlikely. Either way, it's a great day when the only images of celebrating Iraqis Fox News has for now are of Communists.