Fear of Clowns

"Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable."
- H. L. Mencken

Tuesday, February 28, 2006


You Passed 8th Grade Math
Congratulations, you got 10/10 correct!
Could You Pass 8th Grade Math?

Friday, February 24, 2006

Reject the port deal 

From the 9/11 Commission Report,

According to CIA and Defense officials, policymakers were concerned about the danger that a strike would kill an Emirati prince or other senior officials who might be with Bin Ladin or close by. (p. 138)

Early in 1999, the CIA received reporting that Bin Ladin was spending much of his time at one of several camps in the Afghan desert south of Kandahar. At the beginning of February, Bin Ladin was reportedly located in the vicinity of the Sheikh Ali camp, a desert hunting camp being used by visitors from a Gulf state. Public sources have stated that these visitors were from the United Arab Emirates. (p. 154)

On February 8, the military began to ready itself for a possible strike. The next day, national technical intelligence confirmed the location and description of the larger camp and showed the nearby presence of an official aircraft of the United Arab Emirates. (p. 154)

According to reporting from the tribals, Bin Ladin regularly went from his adjacent camp to the larger camp where he visited the Emiratis; the tribals expected him to be at the hunting camp for such a visit at least until midmorning on February 11. (p. 155)

No strike was launched. By February 12 Bin Ladin had apparently moved on, and the immediate strike plans became moot. According to CIA and Defense officials, policymakers were concerned about the danger that a strike would kill an Emirati prince or other senior officials who might be with Bin Ladin or close by. (p. 155)

As far as I can tell, no Emirati royalty shot bin Laden in the face.

Another step backwards 

Not that the recent sectarian violence was a step forward,

The only Iraqi battalion capable of fighting without U.S. support has been downgraded to a level requiring them to fight with American troops backing them up, the Pentagon said Friday.

... The competence of the Iraqi military has been cited as a key factor in when U.S. troops will be able to return home.

"As we see more of these Iraqi forces in the lead, we will be able to continue with our stated strategy that says as Iraqi forces stand up, we will stand down," President Bush said last month.

More ...

PS. 90 Mosques in Iraq were attacked on Wednesday.

Three, two, one ... 

Rasmussen has Bush's approval rating falling one point a day for the last six days in a row.

Also, slightly more Americans trust Democrats more than Republicans on national security issues.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Paying to propagandize ourselves 

Big bro,

The Bush administration spent $1.4 billion in taxpayer dollars on 137 contracts with advertising agencies over the past two-and-a-half years, according to a Government Accountability Office report released by House Democrats Monday.

... Trends in spending on PR and ad contracts were not documented, but a prior study by the minority staff of the Government Reform Committee found that spending on public relations contracts rose rapidly under the Bush administration. That report found that spending on contracts with public relations firms had increased to $88 million in 2004 from $39 million in 2000, an increase of 128%.

So busted 

Duke Cunningham (R-CA) is going to jail for a long time. From the prosecution's sentencing memorandum, here's the congressman's literal bribe menu, thanks to Josh Marshall.

Wikipedia has a refresher article. Josh runs down some highlights.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Mom's pork chops on wild rice 

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Energy solution: make oil companies more profitable 

What a stupid idea,

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The government may waive up to $7 billion in royalty payments from companies pumping oil and natural gas on federal territory in the next five years, the New York Times reported on Tuesday, citing administration officials and budget documents.

The royalty relief would amount to one of the biggest giveaways of oil and gas in U.S. history, even though the administration assumes oil prices will remain above $50 a barrel throughout that period, the Times report said.

This would be analogous to lowering taxes for the richest Americans to deal with skyrocketing salaries of CEOs. Oh, wait, we actually tried that ...

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Osama is laughing 

Jon Stewart explains ... Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Can this be true? 

Oh, my

West Virginia's two U.S. senators asked top military leaders Tuesday to explain why 1st Lt. William "Eddie" Rebrook IV had to reimburse the U.S. Army $700 last week for body armor and other gear damaged after he was seriously wounded by a roadside bomb in Iraq.

Good thing he wasn't killed as in that case they'd bill his estate for all the money spent training him.

Outrageous presidency 

The list of Republicans questioning Bush's asserted authority to wiretap without oversight continues to grow,

A House Republican whose subcommittee oversees the National Security Agency broke ranks with the White House on Tuesday and called for a full Congressional inquiry into the Bush administration's domestic eavesdropping program.

The lawmaker, Representative Heather A. Wilson of New Mexico, chairwoman of the House Intelligence Subcommittee on Technical and Tactical Intelligence, said in an interview that she had "serious concerns" about the surveillance program. By withholding information about its operations from many lawmakers, she said, the administration has deepened her apprehension about whom the agency is monitoring and why.

Ms. Wilson, who was a National Security Council aide in the administration of President Bush's father, is the first Republican on either the House's Intelligence Committee or the Senate's to call for a full Congressional investigation into the program, in which the N.S.A. has been eavesdropping without warrants on the international communications of people inside the United States believed to have links with terrorists.

... Many Republicans have strongly backed President Bush's power to use every tool at his disposal to fight terrorism, but 4 of the 10 Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee voiced concerns about the program at a hearing where Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales testified on Monday.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Protecting us from animal-human hybrids 

PZ Meyers,

He's trusting that everyone will think he is banning monstrous crimes against nature, but what he's really doing is targeting the weak and the ill, blocking useful avenues of research that are specifically designed to help us understand human afflictions. His message isn't "We aren't going to let the mad scientists make monsters!", it's "We aren't going to let the doctors help those 'retards.'"

State of the Union Address not meant to be taken literally 


Kevin G. Hall writes for Knight Ridder Newspapers: "One day after President Bush vowed to reduce America's dependence on Middle East oil by cutting imports from there 75 percent by 2025, his energy secretary and national economic adviser said Wednesday that the president didn't mean it literally.

"What the president meant, they said in a conference call with reporters, was that alternative fuels could displace an amount of oil imports equivalent to most of what America is expected to import from the Middle East in 2025 ..."

"Asked why the president used the words 'the Middle East' when he didn't really mean them, one administration official said Bush wanted to dramatize the issue in a way that 'every American sitting out there listening to the speech understands.' The official spoke only on condition of anonymity because he feared that his remarks might get him in trouble."

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Sad to see the president this desperate 

In his State of the Union address, President Bush highlighted the case of 9/11 hijackers Khalid Al-Midhar and Salem Al-Hazmi to make the case for his so-called "terrorist surveillance program," which is actually a domestic wiretapping program which may have been used against ordinary Americans. Bush claimed Al-Midhar and Al-Hazmi made phone calls within the US that could have been intercepted if his wiretapping program were in place.

... In fact, Al-Midhar bought his plane ticket for Flight 77 with his real name. At the time, he was wanted by the FBI and CIA for attending a terrorist meeting in Malaysia. He was also on a State Department watch list called TIPOFF. Al-Hazmi also bought a ticket for Flight 77 using his real name. And he shared an address as 9/11 hijacker Nawaq Alhazmi. Al-Midhar, for his part, was living with Mohammed Atta, the ringleader of the plot.

Al Gore brought these facts forward in his 2003 speech, "Freedom and Security," and to date, no one has challenged him.

Link. I googled, no right-winger has challenged him. It has to be true.

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