Friday, March 31, 2006

This Week's
Of The Bell Curve


US Supreme Court Justice
"Fat Tony"

In case you missed it...

Supreme Embarrassment, Antonin Scalia, lied about the obscene gesture and about the obscene remark he made AT CHURCH last Sunday.

Boston Herald: Amid a growing national controversy about the gesture U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia made Sunday at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, the freelance photographer who captured the moment has come forward with the picture.

“It’s inaccurate and deceptive of him to say there was no vulgarity in the moment,” said Peter Smith, the Boston University assistant photojournalism professor who made the shot.

Despite Scalia’s insistence that the Sicilian gesture was not offensive and had been incorrectly characterized by the Herald as obscene, the photographer said the newspaper “got the story right.”

Smith said the jurist “immediately knew he’d made a mistake, and said, ‘You’re not going to print that, are you?’ ”
Truly heavy sigh.

So you think you know Delilah?
Judges 16:19--

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Bush Meltdown During Televised Speech Trumped By Lewis The Cat?

George W. Bush had a near nervous breakdown on live TV yesterday, but a cat in Connecticut is deemed much more newsworthy? It's a world gone mad.

Lewis, the Fairfield cat slapped with a
restraining order, has been confined
inside his High Street home since
December of last year.
(Brian A. Pounds/Connecticut Post)

Nation obsessed with tale of the cat
Fairfield feline under house arrest now media celebrity


Lewis, the Fairfield cat slapped with a restraining order, has been confined inside his High Street home since December of last year. (Brian A. Pounds/Connecticut Post)
FAIRFIELD — Elizabeth Oberhand, who lives next door to Lewis, the cat with a mountain lion's reputation, can't believe the media frenzy that has catapulted the so-called ferocious feline to international notoriety.

"It was on CNN this morning. It's ridiculous," Oberhand said Wednesday of Lewis' supposed reign of terror in a Holland Hill neighborhood. "The Associated Press probably got it on the wire and everybody ate it up."

Ruth Cisero, owner of the black-and-white, long-haired cat, said she was deluged with 120 phone calls from media outlets Tuesday after the story first appeared in the Connecticut Post, and another 80 called Wednesday, including the British Broadcasting Corp.

The Connecticut Post Web site with the story has received thousands of hits and e-mails from across the country have been flooding in to reporters.

Meanwhile, the president looked like this yesterday...

... And he ranted about how his daddy "fought the Japanese!"

Naturally, corporate media crickets chirped.

Read all about the president's meltdown tomorrow morning in my weekly column, The Blog Box, above the virtual fold at Democratic Underground.Com.

And leave Lewis alone. He's just doing what cats would normally do if we didn't insist they behave like humans.

So you think you know Delilah?
Judges 16:19--

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

'Values Voters' Issue A List Of Demands

A list of demands?

Demands that must be met in order to secure the votes of these "values voters?"

Hm. I thought we didn't negotiate with terrorists.

A summit of evangelical Christians and conservative Catholic and Jewish activists yesterday produced a "Values Voters' Contract with Congress," an outline of what the religiously minded expect their elected representatives to bring about in the near future.
Modeled after the Republican Party's 1994 "Contract with America," the "Values Voters' Contract" stipulated 10 aims, ranging from legislation to keep the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance to laws guaranteeing greater religious freedoms in the workplace, prohibiting human cloning and embryo research, and guaranteeing a "right to life" to all children before birth.
"It's time for the values voters to tell the government what we expect of them," said the Rev. Rick Scarborough, founder of the Lufkin, Texas-based Vision America, which organized the summit. "This contract tells Congress they can count on our vote if these things become front-burner issues."

Here's my favorite part:

Values voters are believers aligned against pagans, he said, adding, "Elijah went up against the pagans of his day. We should be happy this day we can fight the battle of God."

No pagan Easter Bunny or candy eggs for your children this year, Fundies!

I mean it, damn it!

So you think you know Delilah?
Judges 16:19--

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Republicans Insert "Senate Floor Debate" AFTER Session Ends

Attention, Social Studies teachers!

Here's your lesson in Historical Revision for the week (from SCOTUSblog):

Senators Lindsey Graham (R- Doofus) and Jon Kyl (R- Lemming) didn't actually say the things they LATER inserted into the congressional record:
In the few minutes that it took the Senate to complete passage of the Detainee Treatment Act last Dec. 21, little was said in the chamber beyond a round of congratulations for a job well done. But the Congressional Record for that very brief legislative effort now runs to 21 pages, with three columns of small print per page. And out of that Record of what was not said but nevertheless was recorded has emerged a debate that may go a long way to influence how the Supreme Court and the D.C. Circuit Court resolve the next big controversy arising out of the war on terrorism.

That controversy, simply put, is whether the foreign nationals being held as terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have any legal rights of any consequence.
Graham and Kyl inserted 8 pages of "dialogue" into the official record of Dec. 21, 2005, in order to influence future US Supreme Court rulings in the president's favor.
Final Senate consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006 -- containing the detainee law -- was perfunctory; on Dec. 21. No one debated the meaning of any provision in the bill, and it won passage without a recorded roll-call vote. An audio recording of that part of the floor proceedings made by C-Span indicates no debate at all.

But the Congressional Record shows that the discussion was extensive, indeed. The Record in that part opens with a statement by Sen. Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat and one of the authors of the new detainee law. He argues that the final measure was not retroactive, and so did not strip the courts of jurisdiction over existing cases. The Bush Administration wanted that, but "we successffully opposed" the maneuver, Levin said.

The Record then moves to a lengthy exchange between the new law's two other key sponsors, Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John Kyl of Arizona. Kyl begins, and it sounds as if he is on the Senate floor: "I would like to say a few words" about the legislation, which he said "expels lawsuits brought by enemy combatants from United States courts." He then comments, realistically: "I see that my colleague, the senior senator from South Carolina, is also on the floor."

Back and forth, Kyl and Graham discuss the new law, with continuing emphasis on their argument that the courts will lose jurisdiction over existing cases under the new bill. Along the way, they criticize the Supreme Court's 2004 decision in Rasul v. Bush, allowing the Guantanamo detainees to file challenges (but without specifying any relief). The new law, they stress, is intended to overturn Rasul. At one point, Kyl says: "The system of litigation that Rasul has wrought is unacceptable." Graham immediately says: "I agree entirely."

For eight pages, the colloquy continues.

This smells.

Lindsey Graham smells.

Jon Kyl smells.

Republican historical revision smells.

Like yesterday's diapers.

So you think you know Delilah?
Judges 16:19--

Monday, March 27, 2006

Good News From Iraq?

The only good news in Iraq is that most of the people who were alive yesterday are alive today.

What about the new schools US contractors have built? Wouldn't that be good news?

"On Wednesday, armed insurgents burst into the classroom of Khidhir al-Mihallawi, an English teacher at Sajariyah High School, accused him of being an agent for the CIA and Israeli intelligence and beheaded him in front of his students, according to students, fellow instructors and a physician at a local hospital."

If that happened in one of those new schools, those kids sure got an education that day, didn't they?

So you think you know Delilah?
Judges 16:19--

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Snarky Sermon on the Blog

Today's Lesson: There's free, and then there's true freedom

Sixteen years ago, the Afghan government jailed a man who converted to Christianity. Lately, we've been reading stories about the true believer's imminent execution. After some major sabre rattling, today's news is one of those things that makes you go hmmm:

AP Afghan Court Drops Case Against Christian

By DANIEL COONEY, Associated Press Writer 16 minutes ago

KABUL, Afghanistan - An Afghan court on Sunday dismissed a case against a man who converted from Islam to Christianity because of a lack of evidence, and he will be released soon, an official said.
Lack of evidence? Evidence of what? That he converted to Christianity... Or a lack of evidence that being a Christian is reason enough to execute someone in Afghanistan?

Under Afghanistan's new & improved constitution, "No law can contradict Islam and the values of the Constitution." That's why...
Preachers in Kabul Urge Execution of Convert to Christianity

Published: March 25, 2006

KABUL, Afghanistan, March 24 — Preachers used Friday Prayer services to call for the execution of an Afghan Muslim who converted to Christianity, despite growing protests in the West. The conversion of the man, Abdul Rahman, 15 years ago was brought to the attention of the authorities as part of a child custody dispute.

The Bush administration and European governments have strongly protested the case as a violation of religious freedom. But Mr. Rahman has drawn a strong reaction in Afghanistan, too, and for many hardline clerics, there is no greater offense than apostasy.

One speaker, Maulavi Habibullah, told more than a thousand clerics and young people gathered in Kabul: "Afghanistan does not have any obligation under international laws. The prophet says, when somebody changes religion, he must be killed."
I have a feeling that Afghanistan's newly freed Christian was probably physically safer in prison than he will be on the streets. After all, religious zealots and their interpretation of the Prophet, roving bands of Talibani, and heavily armed "coalition" forces could prove just as potentially deadly as his jailers and judges.

Thus Endeth Today's Sermon.

Go forth today, knowing that being released from prison does not equate true freedom.

And a "lack of evidence" has never stopped a zealot (that I know of). Beware those who would be your social and religious judge and jury.

I mean it, damn it!

So you think you know Delilah?
Judges 16:19--

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Did BushCo Monitor NFL Coaches' Calls?

We know they've monitored Quakers and peace groups. We know they continue to condone torturing prisoners. We know they condone setting up bogus charities in order to funnel money to their party's candidates, elected lawmakers and their families. Why would they draw the line at grabbing cell phone conversations related to their favorite leisure activities?

A simple Google search on "sports betting and inside information" yielded 13, 500,000 links this morning.
30 million US citizens gambled online in 2005 (double the number from 2001). Worldwide online gambling generated 11 billion dollars in revenues last year.

So you’re not alone! And as the biggest companies get bigger, they offer even more value and safety. Sportsbooks such as BetOnSports and are listed on the London Stock Exchange.

If BushCo insiders will abuse their power to grab inside information about peace protesters, torture prisoners of war, and God only knows what else, is it really a stretch to assume that they wouldn't use that same power to monitor calls related to something many of them really care about?

And don't count on the 4th amendment to stop them, either.
DOJ: NSA Could've Monitored Lawyers' Calls

By KATHERINE SHRADER, Associated Press Writer 2 hours, 12 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - The National Security Agency could have legally monitored ordinarily confidential communications between doctors and patients or attorneys and their clients, the Justice Department said Friday of its controversial warrantless surveillance program.

Responding to questions from Congress, the department also said that it sees no prohibition to using information collected under the NSA's program in court.

"Because collecting foreign intelligence information without a warrant does not violate the Fourth Amendment and because the Terrorist Surveillance Program is lawful, there appears to be no legal barrier against introducing this evidence in a criminal prosecution," the department said in responses to questions from lawmakers released Friday evening.
And here's the money graph:
The department also avoided questions on whether the administration believes it is legal to wiretap purely domestic calls without a warrant, when al-Qaida activity is suspected. The department wouldn't say specifically that it hasn't been done.
Which begs the question: How many NFL players are Muslim?

If they'll monitor the calls of doctors, lawyers, and Quakers, why would they ignore Muslim NFL players and those who interact with them?

Just asking.

So you think you know Delilah?
Judges 16:19--

Friday, March 24, 2006

This Week's
Backside Of The Bell Curve


"All In The Family"

March 23, 2006, 9:01PM
Former first lady's donation aids son
Katrina funds earmarked to pay for Neil Bush's software program

Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

Former first lady Barbara Bush donated an undisclosed amount of money to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund with specific instructions that the money be spent with an educational software company owned by her son Neil.

Since then, the Ignite Learning program has been given to eight area schools that took in substantial numbers of Hurricane Katrina evacuees.

"Mrs. Bush wanted to do something specifically for education and specifically for the thousands of students flooding into the Houston schools," said Jean Becker, former President Bush's chief of staff. "She knew that HISD was using this software program, and she's very excited about this program, so she wanted to make it possible for them to expand the use of this program."
Food. Water. Electricity. Baby formula?

Not with Barbara Bush's money.

Let everyone else donate money for those things.

Hm. Did you hear about the SAT college board screwing all of those high school seniors out of their college entrance rankings? Something tells me that BushCo may be planning to nationalize college entrance exams.

Who'll get the college prep software contract if this happens before 2009?

Gee, I wonder.

So you think you know Delilah?
Judges 16:19--

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Bob Dole Says Media Ignores
Good News In Iraq

Bob Dole. Bob Dole.

Even FOX News is having a hard time making up good news stories...

If you think the screen shot is weird, check out the video.

Good news, my ass.

So you think you know Delilah?
Judges 16:19--

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Something Is Seriously Wrong
With George W. Bush

Oh, great.

Just what we need.

Another Republican president suffering from dementia.

Yesterday's press conference reminded me of this video...

Click Screen
To Watch

So you think you know Delilah?
Judges 16:19--

Tom DeLay Thinks 6 Texas Judges Are Stupid

Here's what happened:
Some DeLay Charges May Be Reinstated
Published: March 21, 2006

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Prosecutors will try to persuade a Texas appeals court Wednesday to reinstate some of the criminal charges against Rep. Tom DeLay, who is trying to win re-election to Congress while under indictment.

In December, a judge threw out some of the conspiracy and money laundering charges against the former House majority leader, saying the conspiracy law DeLay allegedly violated did not exist at the time.

Prosecutors say that it did. Both sides will argue their cases before the Texas 3rd Court of Appeals.

Here's what DeLay said:
DeLay, who will not attend the hearing, said charges shouldn't be restored and blamed the case on politics. He also said he's frustrated with the proceedings.

''It's been almost 120 days that this frivolous appeal has been before the 3rd Circuit,'' DeLay said Tuesday in Houston. ''I would hope that they would come to a speedy resolution on a matter that would, I think, take a first-year law student an hour to make a ruling on.''
Who's stupid, DeLay or the 3rd circuit court judges?

So you think you know Delilah?
Judges 16:19--

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

George W. Bush Makes Fun of the Unemployed

President George W. Totally Out Of It decided to face "unscripted" questions in Cleveland yesterday.

When the questions kept coming long after George W. wanted them to end, he blurted out:

“Anybody work here in this town?"

- 5.8 percent: Cleveland unemployment rate, Jan. 2006
- 4.5 percent: Cleveland unemployment rate, Jan. 2001

- 5.3 percent: Ohio unemployment rate, Jan. 2006
- 4.0 percent: Ohio unemployment rate, Jan. 2001

- 31.3 percent: Cleveland poverty rate, 2003
- 24.3 percent: Cleveland poverty rate, 2001
Listen to George W. make fun of the unemployed in Ohio. And note the Bushbotic audience laughter.

It's remarkable, and it's unscripted.

So you think you know Delilah?
Judges 16:19--

Monday, March 20, 2006

Whiny Children Grow Up To Be Republicans

Like we didn't already know this?

How to spot a baby conservative
KID POLITICS | Whiny children, claims a new study, tend to grow up rigid and traditional. Future liberals, on the other hand ...
Mar. 19, 2006. 10:45 AM

Remember the whiny, insecure kid in nursery school, the one who always thought everyone was out to get him, and was always running to the teacher with complaints? Chances are he grew up to be a conservative.

At least, he did if he was one of 95 kids from the Berkeley area that social scientists have been tracking for the last 20 years. The confident, resilient, self-reliant kids mostly grew up to be liberals.
Imagine the mixed message that Baby BushBots have to contend with when exposed to the teachings of Jesus (Love they neighbor), the rules of pre-school social skills training (Share and share alike). Then imagine the Hate gays, Hate minorities, hate the children of liberals, and Hate anyone who makes better grades than you do lessons from parents and relatives.

Wouldn't you whine, too?

You've got to be carefully taught.

So you think you know Delilah?
Judges 16:19--

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Snarky Sermon on the Blog: If the Jack Boot Fits

V For Vendetta has riled the fascist freeper/ fascist fungelical freaks faster than anything Michael Moore could ever produce and distribute.

Funny. V For Vendetta was a comic book series back in the 20th (1988), which skewered Margaret Thatcher. Of course, freepers think it was written last week as a Bush hit piece and released as a major motion picture 2 days ago, in order to undermine the US president.

Oh, well. If the Jack Boot fits...

From a "review":

We've already mentioned the high-ranking Christian priest, who regularly rapes young girls procured for him through an "agency." Before the priesthood, he was an evil military officer at a hospital where politically dissident youth had experiments conducted on them for the government (complete with Abu Ghraib-style hoods).

Then, there's the government. It's run by a religious Christian zealot. But not just any Christian zealot.

No. Chancellor Sutler is the supreme evil Christian. In order to get elected, he and the Bill O'Reilly-esque character (remember, before he became a cable host, he was a pharmaceutical CEO and made billions) arranged for hundreds of Brits to die from chemically poisoned water. The government said that terrorists did it, a story which became accepted fact and the conventional wisdom in media coverage. The fear that ensued garnered Sutler the chance to rule England, along with the Marshal law powers the English parliament gave him.

It's no coincidence that the symbol used for his government is some sort of Cross-come-Swastika combo. Not offended yet?

Under religious Christian zealot Sutler, gays are rounded up, imprisoned, tortured, and executed. Ditto for any dissidents, any left-wing activists, anyone who dares speak out against or flout the Chancellor's actions. Tell that to the ACLU, which seems to be running legal policy in our country, these days, and its partner in crime, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the wealthiest "public interest" group in the U.S., to the tune of hundreds of millions. We don't see any prospect of them being rounded up by the government anytime soon, unfortunately.
We don't see any prospect of them (the Southern Poverty Law Center) being rounded up by the government anytime soon, unfortunately.
How pitifully pig ignorant do you have to be to wish that a group, whose raison d'être is to protect the rights of citizens, would be rounded up and tortured by the government?

How pitifully pig ignorant do you have to be to rant about a work of fiction which accuses your "beloved government" of rounding up gays and torturing them... by lamenting the fact that people you hate haven't been rounded up and tortured yet?

And how pitifully pig ignorant do you have to be to included both points in the same damned paragraph?

Duh. Pretty damned pitifully pig ignorant.

Thus Endeth Today's Sermon.

Go forth today, and try not to laugh at pig ignorant fascist freeper fundies.

They're like the ocean: fun to look at, but never ever turn your back on them.

I mean it, damn it!

So you think you know Delilah?
Judges 16:19--

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Here's the South Park episode that Tom Cruise doesn't want you to see

Click the arrow and crank up the volume.

Are you a perfect candidate for Scientology?

Get the checkbook.

So you think you know Delilah?
Judges 16:19--

The United States of Propaganda and the "reporter" at my door

Operation Swarmer was a lie. We all know that now. It had been billed (by CNN, AP, and Reuters) as the biggest assault since shock & awe. 1400 troops "secured" a two-bit town in the Iraqi desert with 1500 sand-poor residents. Found: a few rifles and some empty shell casings. Big whoop, y'all. US and Iraqi forces rounded up the usual suspects and put yellow tags on some guns for the cameras (no American cameras or reporters, by the way).

The Iraqi desert covers 75% of the country and has never been a dangerous, suspected insurgent-infested area. Expect to hear the Pentagon crow about how "we've secured" 75% of Iraq for Mom and apple pie. Duh. Secure Baggdad, get the electricity and water up and running, then we'll talk.

Meanwhile, back in Houston, several FOX News reporters visited Jerry Akins before the president was scheduled to arrive for an "I love the little people" photo op. Later, Akins was shocked to learn that those FOX News reporters had actually been members of Bush's advance team... posing as FOX News reporters.

Which brings us to the first thing I thought of when I read that Sun Herald news story. Yesterday, a Washington Post real estate reporter knocked on my front door and asked about the house for sale next door. We chatted briefly, she took a few notes, and gave me her card.

This morning, I scrutinized her biz card. Hm. Very simple. Could've been easily created with home software. Then I Googled her. Newsday, Suffolk, and WaPo bylines. If she's a G-Girl, her cover is sound.

My point: anytime you blur the lines between the government and the press (or political campaigning and the press), America slips further down the Pravda slope.

Larisa Alexandrovna at The Huffington Post suspects the Lincoln Group/ Rendon Group partnership. Remember them? They 're the Bush Clandestine Company that got caught paying Iraqi journalists to publish Pollyanna Glad Game Good News in their newspapers.

Psst! The Rendon Group's Washington DC HQ is housed in an unmarked suite (4th floor, street level) in the Universal North building at 1875 Connecticut Ave NW.

Don't even ask how or why I know this.

My conclusion: One Republican's bogus FOX News reporter is another's suspect WaPo reporter. I'll never again assume that a WaPo real estate reporter is who she claims to be, and neither should you or anyone else. Thanks, BushCo.

So you think you know Delilah?
Judges 16:19--

Friday, March 17, 2006

Charley Tuna Screams: "I'm misunderstood!"

When first asked to comment on the HHS advice to stockpile cans of tuna and boxes of powdered milk under the bed to protect citizens from a possible Bird Flu pandemic, Mr. Charley The Tuna scoffed, "I'm all for Tom Ridge's plan to use duct tape and plastic sheeting. If it's good enough to protect me from Anthrax, it's good enough to guard against a few bad birds!"

Mr. Tuna added, "Of course, I'm pleased to hear Mike Leavitt explain that his words were 'taken out of context;' however, I don't want to be misunderstood here. My support for hoarding tuna and powdered milk is based on sound scientific research, not just an official government Health and Human Services report."

Tuna was referring to this report and video from

In business news today, Alcoa is expecting a swift rise in profits from its can division. The same sunny profit forecast is giddily predicted by international tuna companies and the powdered milk industry.

So you think you know Delilah?
Judges 16:19--

Thursday, March 16, 2006

This Week's
Backside Of The Bell Curve


Presidential Nephew
(and missing link)
Pierce G. Bush

Nephew takes stand in support of Bush
Letter to the editor offers sharp defense of the Dubai ports deal

Houston Chronicle Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON - He refrained from working on his uncle's presidential campaigns, and he confesses to being a bit fed up with the squabbling on Capitol Hill. But if his e-mail outbox is any indication, Pierce G. Bush is one of the Bush dynasty's more politically vocal members these days.

When the political firestorm over Dubai Ports World broke out last month, President Bush's nephew sent the Houston Chronicle an electronic letter to the editor, defending his uncle's drive to allow the United Arab Emirates company to buy a firm that helps run six U.S. ports.

To the University of Texas at Austin student, opposition to the deal — it had been approved by the administration before being scuttled Thursday — sent an "ignorant and offensive" message that the owners were being discriminated against because they are Arab. The protests of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and other congressional leaders seemed "racially prejudiced," he said in the letter, which the Chronicle published.

Notable Bush family responses to Pierce's George W. Love:

Former first lady Barbara Bush (her maiden name is Pierce) suggested that he use a pen name, and Pierce thinks former President George H.W. Bush might feel similarly.

"I am proud that Pierce cares enough to weigh in, and have confidence that he will use good judgment as it relates to family," Neil Bush wrote in an e-mail.

Good judgement? Pierce?

Watch Pierce prove his genetic stupidity and judge for yourself.

As for Pierce being the missing link...

Here's the proof:

Poor Pierce. It's truly sad when Stupidity doesn't recognize itself in the mirror. But when stupidity runs in the family, all mirrors must be the magic kind.

So you think you know Delilah?
Judges 16:19--

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Mad Republican Disease

2 stories ripped from the headlines:

Alabama cow tests positive for (mad cow) disease

Mon., Mar. 13, 2006

WASHINGTON - A cow in Alabama has tested positive for mad cow disease, the Agriculture Department confirmed Monday.

A routine test last week had indicated the presence of the disease. Results were confirmed by more detailed testing at a government laboratory in Ames, Iowa, said the department's chief veterinarian, John Clifford.

U.S. investigators have found two previous cases of mad cow disease. The first was in December 2003 in a Canadian-born cow in Washington state. The second was last June in a cow that was born and raised in Texas.

So what has the Bush administration planned to do about Mad Cow Disease?

Government to Scale Back Mad Cow Testing

Tues., Mar. 14, 2006

WASHINGTON - Despite the confirmation of a third case of mad cow disease, the government intends to scale back testing for the brain-wasting disorder blamed for the deaths of more than 150 people in Europe.

The Agriculture Department boosted its surveillance after finding the first case of mad cow disease in the United States in 2003. About 1,000 tests are run daily, up from about 55 daily in 2003.

The testing program detected an infected cow in Alabama last week, and further analysis confirmed Monday that the animal had mad cow disease.

Still, a reduction in testing has been in the works for months. The department's chief veterinarian, John Clifford, mentioned it when he announced the new case of mad cow disease.

The Bush administration, instead of moving swiftly to protect you from Mad Cow Disease, decided months ago to scale back testing? Like that would solve the problem?

Enjoy your beef, America, while you're still (hopefully) Mad Cow Disease free.

Or start eating more chicken.

Bird Flu fears?

Eat more fish.

Mercury levels in fish
too high for you?

I hear that many people have stopped worrying about beef, chicken, and fish-- and have learned how to love tofu.

Alas, I am not one of them. Yet.

I want my government to stop running away from problems and face them head on, damn it!

Don't you?

So you think you know Delilah?
Judges 16:19--

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Something's Not Quite Right About This Story

It's sad that Miss Deaf Texas was struck and killed by a train.

It's curious, however, that (according to this news story) the train must have jumped the track, hit the young woman, and miraculously jumped back onto the train track. Or... the word near may be the key. How near is near when you're describing a train on a train track? Just how far do train cars stick out on each side of the track?

Miss Deaf Texas struck by train, killed

10:59 AM CST on Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Associated Press

AUSTIN – Tara Rose McAvoy, the reigning Miss Deaf Texas, died Monday afternoon after being struck by a train, officials said.

State pageant director Laura Loeb-Hill told The Associated Press via e-mail Monday night that McAvoy, 18, had been deaf since birth.

McAvoy, who won the state title in June, was to represent Texas at the Miss Deaf America pageant this summer in Palm Desert, Calif., according to Loeb-Hill.

Witness Carlos Burgos told Austin television station KTBC that the train was sounding its horn right up until the time the accident happened.

Authorities believe McAvoy was walking near some tracks when she was struck by a Union Pacific train.

McAvoy had represented Texas "with dignity and pride," Loeb-Hill said.

McAvoy graduated last year from the Texas School for the Deaf, attended Austin Community College and then started at Gallaudet University in January, but had returned to Texas, Loeb-Hill said.
Very sad.

Very curious.

So you think you know Delilah?
Judges 16:19--

Monday, March 13, 2006

Note To Bush: You Are No Jimmy Carter.

Here's the Time Magazine headline:

The Mission: Find a Way to Stay Relevant
Bush's troubleshooting plan is to explain Iraq better and stick with his same team

And here's the accompanying photo:

Keep up the pretense, George W.! The photo ops are destroying your approval rating, Mr. President. (36% as of this writing.)

Keep it up. Keep flaunting your disregard for your own citizens by showing up, hammering a couple of nails, and posing for the cameras before flying off to another fundraiser. And, by all means, keep flogging that dead horse "Iraq War Strategy" through another series of senseless speeches to hand-picked audiences.

How many homes have you built from scratch, Mr. President? How many places can you go without 5000 security guards? How many people really love you?

You are no Jimmy Carter, who teaches Sunday school every week. Who travels the world in the name of peace. Who is beloved by all but the most vicious, greedy, and evil among us (aka your base).

Former President Jimmy Carter
builds a home in Africa.

Keep it up, George W! The comparison is priceless.

So you think you know Delilah?
Judges 16:19--

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Snarky Sermon on the Blog

The day after Christmas, when traditional families normally spend Boxing Day boxing up the old (for donation to the less fortunate) to make way for the new, many generous American catholics saw their church donation dollars used for anti-choice ads in public transit trains and stations.

The ads have, of course, been ripped down and vandalized, prompting the advertising agency hired by the Conference of Catholic Bishops (their creators) to ask for more ad space time.

This is the same Conference of Catholic Bishops who've brought you child rape for centuries.

At some point Christians are going to have to decide which testament they believe in: the pre-Jesus one or the post-Jesus one. By their very name, the choice should be obvious. And Jesus never mentions either a woman's right to choose or the existence of the precautionary arts during his lifetime. He was more concerned with the individual's own beliefs, his/her own good works and his/her own salvation... and not those of one's neighbors, wasn't he?

Those who claim that Jesus was anti-choice also think that Delilah cut off Samson's hair.

So you think you know Delilah?
Judges 16:19--

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Hey Republicans! Keep Praising Stupid Republican Bigots When They're Forced To Apologize!

I mean it damn it!

Like Scarlett O'Hara, Republican bigots aren't sorry they made bigoted remarks or forwarded bigoted emails to their bigoted friends...

They're just sorry they got caught.

Meet Today's Republican Bigot Begging For Forgiveness:

State Rep.
Jim Welker
(R- KKKlanville)

A Loveland Republican took to the floor of the Colorado House of Representatives on Friday to apologize for having forwarded an e-mail about black victims of Hurricane Katrina that he now understands was "offensive," "inappropriate" and "degrading."

Rep. Jim Welker said he sent the e-mail - subject: "Moral poverty costs blacks in New Orleans" - without looking at it closely enough. Having read it again after people complained, he realized he never should have forwarded it, he said.

Now he realizes he never should have forwarded the email?

Oh, right. Sure.
Despite being one of the quietest and most unassuming members of the House, Welker is no stranger to controversial statements.

Last year, he was attacked for asking at a news conference if gay marriage might lead to interspecies marriage. He also has been assailed for questioning the health risks of homosexuality.

Duh. What an asswipe.

And now we're supposed to believe that he is sincerely sorry for having offended the poorest, neediest Hurricane Katrina victims?
"I offer my sincere apologies to this body and to the public (and) to the people of Loveland. I hope I become a better person for having made a big mistake."

Hm. Note that Welker didn't apologize to the Katrina victims... just his local voters.

Bring on the phony en masse Republican defense:
"He was just walking along and looking at the sky and kicked over a beehive, without recognizing he had done it, simply for lack of adequate attention," said Rep. Al White, R- Winter Park.

Republican Rep. Kevin Lundberg of Berthoud, who calls Welker a personal friend, credited him for apologizing.

"I remain convinced he has about the highest integrity of anybody around here," Lundberg said.

But that wasn't the only hateful email Welker forwarded...
Two hours before Welker sent the "blacks in New Orleans" e-mail, he sent another one, with "The Origins of Political Correctness" in the subject line.

That e-mail offered a link to an essay that describes how, "for the first time in our history, Americans have to be fearful of what they say, of what they write, and of what they think. They have to be afraid of using the wrong word, a word denounced as offensive or insensitive, or racist, sexist, or homophobic."

Read the whole Denver Post article. There's even a section on Welker's bogus "I heard on the radio that a woman married a dolphin" attack on gay marriage.

So I repeat my headline:

Keep Praising Stupid Republican Bigots When They're Forced To Apologize... It makes keeping a scorecard much, much easier.

So you think you know Delilah?
Judges 16:19--

Friday, March 10, 2006

This Week's
Backside Of The Bell Curve



Pentagon admits errors in spying on protesters
NBC: Official says peaceful demonstrators’ names erased from database

The Department of Defense admitted in a letter obtained by NBC News on Thursday that it had wrongly added peaceful demonstrators to a database of possible domestic terrorist threats. The letter followed an NBC report focusing on the Defense Department’s Threat and Local Observation Notice, or TALON, report.

Acting Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Roger W. Rogalski’s letter came in reply to a memo from Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who had demanded answers about the process of identifying domestic protesters as suspicious and removing their names when they are wrongly listed.
We all knew this was going on, but I never expected Senator Leahy to grab them by the privates and get them to admit it.

The Catch 22: They lied originally when they claimed they weren't spying on American citizens; why should we believe them now when they claim there were only a few Americans spied on, and they are deleting the names from their database?

So you think you know Delilah?
Judges 16:19--

Today's Blog Box Round Up

Good Friday morning, everyone! I'll be back later today with This Week's Backside of the Bell Curve Winner. In the meantime, read my weekly column, The Blog Box, to find out what bloggers thought was blog worthy this week.

And keep sending me those blog links!

So you think you know Delilah?
Judges 16:19--

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Send Elizabeth Freaking Dole Money--

Blogger BlueNC received an official IRS-looking survey in the mail, demanding the completion of a survey and a donation... from Elizabeth Freaking Dole.

Some of the document's intimidating language:

Your immediate attention is required on a confidential and time-sensitive matter.
DO NOT DESTROY YOUR SURVEY! The enclosed Republican Senate Leadership Survey is an OFFICIAL REPUBLICAN PARTY DOCUMENT. Your Survey is REGISTERED IN YOUR NAME ONLY and MUST BE ACCOUNTED FOR upon completion of this project.

If you decide not to represent your local voting district in this important Republican Senate Leadership Survey - please RETURN THE SURVEY DOCUMENT - AT ONCE - IN THE ENVELOPE PROVIDED.
Yes! I want to help defend our Republican Senate Majority and build a strong foundation of Republican grassroots support for President Bush and his agenda. I am enclosing my most generous contribution of: __$500 __$250 __$100 __$50 __$25 __Other$____

No. I do not wish to participate in this vital Republican Senate Leadership Survey. however, I am returning my Survey Document, along with a generous donation to help build Republican grassroots support for President Bush and his agenda. I am enclosing a donation of: __$500 __$250 __$100 __$50 __$25 __Other$___

No. I do not wish to particiapte in the Survey, nor do I wish to make a donation to help the Republican Party. I am returning my Survey Document, along with a contribution of $11 to help cover the cost of tabulating and redistributing my Survey.
Here's the front page of the "Survey":

It's time to let Elizabeth Freaking Dole know that her direct mail campaign is the worst type of solicitation imaginable. While you're at it, remind her that she is responsible for everything her flying campaign monkeys do!

Email Elizabeth Freaking Dole.

And write a letter to your local newspaper's editor, decrying this and other Republican intimidation/ campaign tactics.

So you think you know Delilah?
Judges 16:19-- the seven locks

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Jesus Will Head Gulf Coast
Homeland Security

Just when you think bush couldn't do anything weirder...

Bush extends faith-based initiative to Homeland Security

WHITE HOUSE President Bush is extending his faith-based initiative into the Department of Homeland Security.

On the eve of his latest visit to hurricane-ravaged Louisiana and Mississippi, Bush has ordered the department which includes FEMA to remove barriers to funding religious relief efforts.

Many Gulf Coast residents have praised faith-based volunteers as being more effective than the Federal Emergency Management Agency in providing relief and reconstruction. But some churches that fed and sheltered Katrina evacuees have complained of delays in receiving promised reimbursement.

Heavy sigh.

But some churches that fed and sheltered Katrina evacuees have complained of delays in receiving promised reimbursement.

I have an undergraduate minor in Religion from Texas Christian University, and I don't recall reading a single passage in either the Old or New Testaments, wherein "reimbursement for services rendered to the needy" is mentioned.

And a single word in that news story jumps off the page like Lazarus: reconstruction.

What exactly have faith-based organizations "reconstructed?" Are we talking about Habitat For Humanity, which builds one house at a time and depends on the kindness of strangers across the country for its funding? The Salvation Army, which posts its Pray-To-Eat policy proudly?

Something stinks about this "expansion of faith-based initiative into Homeland Security" deal.

I want more information. Somehow, I don't think churches are rebuilding New Orleans' 9th Ward, do you?

So you think you know Delilah?
Judges 16:19--

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Beware The Corporate Blog Post In Disguise!

Delilah Boyd has learned that Wal-Mart enlists bloggers in its public relations campaign.

Brian Pickrell, a blogger, recently posted a note on his Web site attacking state legislation that would force Wal-Mart Stores to spend more on employee health insurance. "All across the country, newspaper editorial boards — no great friends of business — are ripping the bills," he wrote.

It was the kind of pro-Wal-Mart comment the giant retailer might write itself. And, in fact, it did.

Several sentences in Mr. Pickrell's Jan. 20 posting — and others from different days — are identical to those written by an employee at one of Wal-Mart's public relations firms and distributed by e-mail to bloggers.

Under assault as never before, Wal-Mart is increasingly looking beyond the mainstream media and working directly with bloggers, feeding them exclusive nuggets of news, suggesting topics for postings and even inviting them to visit its corporate headquarters.

Oh, by the way... Everything above this line is identical to a New York Times story intro by Michael Barbaro in the March 7th edition:

Wal-Mart Enlists Bloggers in Its Public Relations Campaign

Published: March 7, 2006

Brian Pickrell, a blogger, recently posted a note on his Web site attacking state legislation that would force Wal-Mart Stores to spend more on employee health insurance. "All across the country, newspaper editorial boards — no great friends of business — are ripping the bills," he wrote.

It was the kind of pro-Wal-Mart comment the giant retailer might write itself. And, in fact, it did.

Several sentences in Mr. Pickrell's Jan. 20 posting — and others from different days — are identical to those written by an employee at one of Wal-Mart's public relations firms and distributed by e-mail to bloggers.

Under assault as never before, Wal-Mart is increasingly looking beyond the mainstream media and working directly with bloggers, feeding them exclusive nuggets of news, suggesting topics for postings and even inviting them to visit its corporate headquarters.

Sadly, the bad PR image of Wal-Mart has become an important political issue for rightwing bloggers. I suppose the Wal-Mart Way Of Life must be as vigorously defended as... well, the incompetent Bush administration. After all, without all of that cheap crap from Wal-Mart, the few remaining Bush supporters might finally figure out that they aren't as well off financially as they think they are.

As for corporations like Wal-Mart feeding bloggers post content, free advertising comes with a price: you're only as good as your weakest link, remember? When you ask your bloggers not to quote your email content word-for-word, remember that you're dealing with Wal-Mart zealots, not New York Times crossword afiçionados.

You get what you don't pay for, Wal-Mart.

So you think you know Delilah?
Judges 16:19--

Monday, March 06, 2006

Delilah Does The Savannah of Good and Evil

I now have a not reservation for 12:15-12:30 at Paula Deen's restaurant. After a breakfast of poached eggs and pretentious toast around the corner, I visited the Kitchen Shop On The Square (whose logo shape is a rectangle. Go figure), where Paula Deen's face adorns several magazines, and the proprietress wants to scream Paula Deen shops here!!!-- but doesn't.

More later...

So you think you know Delilah?
Judges 16:19--

And That's What I Like About The South

I'm in beautiful downtown Savannah, Georgia, this morning. Yesterday afternoon, I tried in vain to eat a late lunch at The Lady and Sons (the restaurant of Food TV's Paula Deen), but people line up in the morning to put their names on a list and drift back during the day to be seated. No reservations, but really there are. Now that I know how the system works, I hope to eat there today.

My room at the Mulberry Hotel (with a small Holiday Inn sign indicating that they now own the gorgeous hotel) wasn't ready at 3PM. It wasn't ready at 4PM when I sat down in the lobby for tea. Finally, the hotel staff upgraded me to an executive room with a balcony (over the pool. Whoopee), which was almost ready.

After dumping my bags in my room, I skimmed the contents of the hotel's official leather-look binder and stumbled across this little gem in the hotel restaurant's menu:

Duck Ala Range
One half duckling marinated and served with a light citrus sauce. $18.95

For that price, I would expect at least one person involved with the kitchen staff or the office staff to know enough French not to let this hugely embarrassing error to be printed in the menu.

Oh, well. That's just another little quirk in the town where everyone and everything is about what locals refer to simply as "the book." And I'm not talking about the Bible.

A little over a decade ago, an antique dealer shot his handyman/ assistant down the street from my hotel. The novel was a huge success, and the movie was filmed here a few years later. And thus was born the new economy of Savannah: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil Goods, Tours, T-Shirts, Garden Sculptures, and Insider Info into the Characters (Real People) and Locations (Houses, Streets, and Cemeteries).

Last night, as I walked back from the waterfront, a huge crowd of American flag clad Heartland-looking folks was exiting a "Support Our Troops" concert. There I was, walking in the opposite direction through this crowd of Lee Greenwood Bush lovers, in a town that bases its tourism economy on a novel. Creepy.

Despite the Bush Brigade, the absence of French knowledge, and the obsession with "the book," I like Savannah. I'm off now to find the SCAD (Savannah College of Art & Design) design shop and some down home cooking.

Wish me luck!

So you think you know Delilah?
Judges 16:19--

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Snarky Sermon on the Blog

When you read it, in print, it sounds distinctly silly: Missouri legislators in Jefferson City are considering a bill that would name Christianity the state's official "majority" religion.

Does the God of Abraham need a piece of paper filed in Missouri to feel good about His omnipotence? Somehow, I think not.

Does the God of Abraham need the state that brought us Kenneth Lay, John Ashcroft, and Roy Blunt to sacrifice the liberty of other religious believers in order to appease Him? I think not.

As of this writing, House Concurrent Resolution 13 is pending in the Missouri state legislature.

Many Missouri residents had not heard about the bill until Thursday.

Karen Aroesty of the Anti-defamation league, along with other watch-groups, began a letter writing and email campaign to stop the resolution.

The resolution would recognize "a Christian god," and it would not protect minority religions, but "protect the majority's right to express their religious beliefs.

The resolution also recognizes that, "a greater power exists," and only Christianity receives what the resolution calls, "justified recognition."

Here's the clencher:
State representative David Sater of Cassville in southwestern Missouri, sponsored the resolution, but he has refused to talk about it on camera or over the phone.
Oops! The reporter neglected to add the capital R after David Sater's name. Intentional act?

Speaker Rod Jetton Appoints Rep. David Sater to Chair House Appropriations – Health, Mental Health and Social Services Committee

– House Speaker Rod Jetton today announced that Rep. David Sater, R-Cassville, will chair the Missouri House Appropriations – Health, Mental Health and Social Services Committee for the remainder of the 93rd General Assembly
So the man who wants to name God #1 will also control the health, mental health and Social Services of Missouri's citizens.

Too bad, Missouri. If Sater's resolution passes, you'll have to deal with all of those infidels...

Including the native ones that were there long before your first Christians arrived.

Thus Endeth Today's Sermon.

Go forth today, and try not to laugh at Missouri Republicans.

Forgive them, for they know not what they do; but, keep an eye on them at all times!

I mean it, damn it!

So you think you know Delilah?
Judges 16:19--

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Bring Out Your Sick and Disabled!

This is what I look like as I type this (after having read George W. Bush's plan to outsource HIV/AIDS treatment to India)...

Report: Bush Considers Outsourcing Some
HIV/AIDS Care To India

by Peter Hacker, Asia Bureau Chief

March 3, 2006 - 12:01 am ET

(New Delhi) Press reports from India following a meeting between President Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh suggest the US is considering outsourcing some HIV/AIDS care to that country.

The reports cite a joint statement issued following the meeting on trade, security and HIV/AIDS that said health tourism from the US to India was an area with "enormous potential for collaboration".

Given India's "world-class medical care facilities at reasonable costs, the two countries could leverage Indian expertise for their economic and social benefit" the Times of India quotes the joint statement as saying.

The two countries agreed to harmonize their healthcare systems and develop specialized medical insurance and legal packages for US patients to boost health tourism.

I don't play the Bush/ Nazi card lightly (I have a master's degree in German), but most people aren't aware that the other 6 million exterminated included the sick and the disabled.

And doesn't the US have strict rules concerning infectious diseases for those attempting to enter the US?

Why, yes. According to the US Dept. of Health and Human Services:

# Quarantine preparedness at ports of entry

* State and local public health officials, in collaboration with the CDC should identify quarantine facilities for housing passengers, crew, and emergency workers who may have been exposed to an ill traveler. These facilities should be equipped for:
o Temporary quarantine (a few days), until the results of diagnostic tests become available
o Longer-term quarantine (up to 10 days) if a diagnosis of pandemic influenza is confirmed
* State and local health departments and community partners should plan for the provision of goods and services to persons in quarantine (see Supplement 8).

# Legal preparedness

While the federal government is primarily responsible for preventing the introduction, transmission, and spread of communicable diseases from foreign countries into the U.S., state and local health authorities may also take measures, such as quarantine of ill travelers and their contacts, to prevent the spread of communicable diseases within their borders. State and local authorities are primarily responsible for restricting travel within their borders while the federal government may take measures to prevent the interstate spread of communicable diseases.

Because jurisdictions and authorities at airports and other ports of entry overlap, local, state, and federal health authorities should establish protocols and outline roles and responsibilities in advance of a public health emergency. To be adequately prepared for management of travel-related risks, state and local health departments should:

* Ensure that legal authorities for the isolation of ill persons and the quarantine of exposed persons (at the local, state, and federal levels) are known and understood (see Supplement 8).
* Develop procedures for addressing overlapping multi-jurisdictional issues.
* Ensure legal authorities and develop protocols for:
o Requirements for pre-departure screening of international and domestic travelers
o Requirements for arrival screening and/or quarantine of international and domestic travelers
o Prohibitions on travel by ill persons and their contacts
o Restrictions on use of mass transit systems
o Cancellation of nonessential travel
* Work closely with local, state, and federal law enforcement officials to develop plans and protocols for enforcing travel restrictions, if necessary.
Health tourism?

Never trust the Bush administration to tell you the truth about anything they recommend. It's your life. Do you honestly think BushCo cares about your wellbeing?

So you think you know Delilah?
Judges 16:19--

Friday, March 03, 2006

This Week's
Backside Of The Bell Curve


GOPUSA "Blogger"
"It's not bad Bush policy. It's just bad press"

Bobby Eberle,
The Man Who Brought You
Jeff Gannon

Current Bobby Eberle quote:

"The White House has been taking it on the chin lately, and the reverberations are being felt throughout the GOP," Republican blogger Bobby Eberle wrote this week. "From the Harriet Miers nomination to the Dubai Ports and more, the folks in charge of message strategy appear to be asleep at the wheel."
Blast From The Past:

* September 27 1999, GOPUSA3-DOM Created
December 1999, GOPUSA started as a Web-design company for Republican candidates. Not much activity and lacking success they reevaluated direction in Spring 2000.
* September 2000, the GOPUSA became Internet news/information/commentary company.
* November 2000, following election, Bruce Eberle, starts Election Integrity 2000 (later known as In the following two weeks, 335,656 petitions delivered to Sec. of State Katherine Harris in support of Bush. In later articles, they claim that 600,000 petitions were gathered.
* January 1, 2003 The GOPUSA news archives began
* January 15, 2003 Gannon (né Guckert) byline in GOPUSA
* February 28, 2003 Gannon in White House
* March 29, 2003, Talon News registers its domain name
* April 1, 2003, the site goes live
* April 3, 2003, Gannon/Guckert goes to work in White House as Talon reporter
* September 2003, GOPUSA Conference
* March 24, 2004 merger of with
The fact that Knight/Ridder is quoting Bobby Eberle is extremely telling.

Bobby Eberle is not concerned that millions of Americans (and citizens of other countries) are suffering because of bad Bush policies. Bobby Eberle is concerned that Bush's bad policy decisions are getting bad publicity.

Typical Republican neocon reaction.

Ponderous chain you've got going there, Bobby.

So you think you know Delilah?
Judges 16:19--