Monday, January 31, 2005
enron corp. made more than $1.67 billion in western states over a six-year period that included the region's energy crisis -- money the bankrupt energy company may be required to return, federal energy officials said monday.
california officials immediately criticized the estimate as more than $1 billion too low.
it was the first accounting by federal regulators of western energy crisis profits by enron. the houston company is accused by california officials of gaming the state's power market and scheming to rip off consumers. - sfgate
of course they had a different tone at the houston chronicle. "reaching for profits? reaching for profits?" ah...no. recovering swindled taxpayer money, thank you very much. let's see if arnold gets his name involved "officially"....
oh...yeah...how long has martha been behind bars and they are just beginning now to set a trial for one of the serial looters from enron? hello...justice?
functional ambivalent reports that this post about recreational spanking drew the largest number of hits (no pun intended) that site ever got...and then the largest portion of those visitors left and came straight to skippy.
tom has tried to think of a joke to encapsulate this entire phenomenon, but can't. anyone care to help him out?
to intervention magazine, a site founded by veterans of the viet nam war and anti-war movement. you could do worse than read it on a daily basis.
the coalition provisional authority that governed iraq until last june under former us ambassador l paul bremer is unable to properly account for 8.8 billion dollars that it transferred to the interim iraqi government, an audit has found.
in a scathing review, the cpa's inspector general said the occupation authority failed to implement adequate controls over the money even after a warning that the financial systems at one ministry was open to fraud, kickbacks and misappropriation of funds.
"specifically, the cpa disbursed over 8.8 billion dollars in dfi (development fund for iraq) funds without assurances the monies were properly used or accounted for," said the report by stuart bowen, the cpa inspector general.
bowen said there was no assurance that the money was not used to pay salaries of thousands of "ghost" employees. - ap/yahoo
hey...but they have martha in jail.
thanks to atrios, and michael berube, we find this "possibly" scary story:
(secretary of education margaret) spellings proceeded to unveil the department of education’s proposed map of the “forty-nine god-fearing united states,” with the “territory of vermont” represented by a lightly shaded area. “until such time as vermont sees fit to rejoin the rest of the nation in condemning gay ‘civil unions,’” spellings said, reading from a prepared statement, “we propose that vermont be visually expelled from the heterosexual union. we further propose that the nation’s students be instructed that vermont is no longer a real state, and that they will not be responsible for remembering its capital, which is not only obscure but trench-sounding as well.”
robert knight, director of the culture and family institute of concerned women for america, the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization, had warm praise for spellings. “parents don’t want their children homosexualized in the name of ‘education,’” knight said. “mrs.
spellings has given notice that left-wing lobbies will have to find other ways to peddle their pansexual propaganda. let’s hope that other leaders in federal and state agencies find a backbone thanks to her courageous example.”
hey...i'm a concerned woman. i'm concerned that these a*holes discount science. then they re-write history. now they are completely wiping off the map one of the states. guess they don't care if vermont:
was the first state to join the original thirteen colonies in the new union. its constitution is the first such document to outlaw slavery, the first to prevent a person from being transported out of the state for a crime committed within, and the first to provide for a state university. built the first land grant college under a national plan conceived by vermonter justin morrill and the first agricultural college in the us (as it is known officially, "the university of vermont and state agricultural college"), the first normal school, the first private military academy (norwich university) and the first school specifically established for the college training of women.
maybe vermont is one state that is forward thinking, as opposed to the alltocommon backward thinking that is going on in dc these days. scary. just plain scary. what next....drowning folks in rivers to prove they are christian? marking doors with a painted letter to denote someone who is of a different faith?
(satirical or not? you be the judge...but, in my opinion....i wouldn't put anything past this bunch of thugs.)
patachon's dkos diary brings us an eerily-familiar-sounding headline from 40 years ago:
u.s. encouraged by vietnam vote :
officials cite 83% turnout despite vietcong terror
by peter grose, special to the new york times (9/4/1967: p. 2)
washington, sept. 3-- united states officials were surprised and heartened today at the size of turnout in south vietnam's presidential election despite a vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting.
according to reports from saigon, 83 per cent of the 5.85 million registered voters cast their ballots yesterday. many of them risked reprisals threatened by the vietcong.
the size of the popular vote and the inability of the vietcong to destroy the election machinery were the two salient facts in a preliminary assessment of the nation election based on the incomplete returns reaching here.
pending more detailed reports, neither the state department nor the white house would comment on the balloting or the victory of the military candidates, lieut. gen. nguyen van thieu, who was running for president, and premier nguyen cao ky, the candidate for vice president.
a successful election has long been seen as the keystone in president johnson's policy of encouraging the growth of constitutional processes in south vietnam. the election was the culmination of a constitutional development that began in january, 1966, to which president johnson gave his personal commitment when he met premier ky and general thieu, the chief of state, in honolulu in february.
the purpose of the voting was to give legitimacy to the saigon government, which has been founded only on coups and power plays since november, 1963, when president ngo dinh deim was overthrown by a military junta.
a friend of ours sent us this washpost column which outlines the fact that there is no social security crisis:
the latest social security trustees' report, whose numbers even the white house uses, predicts that the social security program can pay all promised benefits for the next 38 years -- with no changes at all. the june 2004 estimate from the nonpartisan congressional budget office projects that social security can pay all promised benefits without changes for even longer, until 2052. that's nearly half a century.[ed. note: emphasis, and moral outrage, ours].
granted, 38 years is not an eternity. but even after 2042, the social security trustees say they will be able to pay an average benefit that is actually higher than what workers receive today -- indefinitely. that's in 2004 dollars -- adjusted for inflation.
social security benefits are programmed to rise not only with price inflation, but also with wages. so congress will at some point have to increase taxes or shave the benefits promised to future generations. but that's no different from what's been done before. in fact the projected shortfall for the next 75 years is smaller than shortfalls covered by adjustments in each of the following decades: the 1950s, '60s, '70s, and '80s. it is also about one-third the size of the tax cuts enacted during the bush administration.
in other words, it's a non-issue.
or should be. yet most americans seem terribly confused about the basic facts. during the third presidential debate last fall, moderator bob schieffer of cbs told the candidates that social security was "running out of money." neither candidate corrected him, and the press did not note the error.
thanks to ampoljo, we found this sfchron report which tells us gov. ah-nold's wave of popularity may not be the tsunami every one thought:
a new survey by the public policy institute of california shows that while 60 percent of the state's residents still approve of the job he is doing, he has lost considerable ground among democrats and independents, who together form the vast majority of the state's voters. some 49 percent of democrats now say they disapprove of his job performance, while 43 percent approve. and his disapproval rating among independents has doubled since last year, from 18 to 32 percent.
"it's back to business as usual in sacramento -- the fuss of last year is over," said shaun bowler, a political science professor at university of california-riverside. "people have responded to the movie version of leadership that he's been practicing, but you can't suspend the laws of gravity forever just because you're a movie star."
mimus pauly is considering christianity;
and the kids from the daily cookie send us this joke:
q: how many bush administration officials does it take to change a light bulb?
a: none. there is nothing wrong with the light bulb; its conditions are improving every day. any reports of its lack of incandescence are a delusional spin from the liberal media. there is no shortage of filament. that light bulb has served honorably, and anything you say undermines the lighting effect. why do you hate freedom?
Sunday, January 30, 2005
it's too bad the media didn't pay as much attention to the voting in ohio as they did in iraq.
so asketh the los angeles times magazine.
in the half century before iraq, the engineers had been deployed on missions ranging from forest fires to the 1965 watts riots. their duties included temporary assignments to search for weapons in state prisons, remove snow from blocked mountain passes and, in may 1993, to bury a gray whale that had washed up on the beach near eureka. mcCaffrey told friends when he enlisted that he expected to be assigned to homeland security duties, such as guarding the golden gate bridge or shasta dam.
"patrick thought by joining the engineers he would be doing something constructive to fight terrorism on the west coast," recalls his father, bob mccaffrey.
but as the us campaign in iraq bogged down in the summer of 2003, the pentagon turned to its legions of "citizen soldiers," serving mostly weekend duty in crumbling state armories, and ordered them to relieve exhausted regular army units in iraq and afghanistan. authorized by a presidential emergency order issued only two days after the sept. 11 attacks, the historic deployment took place with relatively little public notice or fanfare. it wasn't until later, when the guard and reserve troops began dying and getting injured in iraq, that presidential candidate john kerry and others began describing their overseas service as a "backdoor draft." today more than 40% of the 150,000 U.S. soldiers in iraq are either national guardsmen or reserves. by the end of the spring, that percentage is expected to rise to more than 50%.
...it also meant that some of the soldiers got less training than the regular army infantry they were replacing. army infantrymen receive 14 weeks of training in their specialty. a national guard engineer normally undergoes eight weeks of basic infantry training and six weeks in engineering school, where they learn how to plant mines, detonate explosives and lay concertina wire, among other skills.
seems that only barbara boxer has "the balls" to actually do her job representing her constituents and questioning condi rice on the lies told to get us into war -
this war was sold to the american people– as chief of staff to president bush, andy card said– like a “new product.” you rolled out the idea and then you had to convince the people, and as you made your case, i personally believe that your loyalty to the mission you were given overwhelmed your respect for the truth.
that was a great disservice to the american people. but worse than that, our young men and women are dying. so far, 1,366 american troops have been killed in Iraq. more than 25 percent of those troops were from california. more than 10,372 have been wounded.
i don’t want their families to think for a minute that their lives and bodies were given in vain. because when your commander in chief asks you to sacrifice yourself for your country, it is noble to answer the call. i am giving their families all the support that they want and need, but i will also not shrink from questioning a war that was not built on the truth.
call her loud and combative as the ustoady has or a dem pugilist as insidebayarea....but i am proud to call her my senator.
to honor the memory of patrick ryan mccaffrey, a 34-year-old father of two from the bay area suburb of tracy, and all of those reservists and troops sent over under false pretenses, we need this administration to stop the lies. we need more senators and congressfolks to follow barbara boxer's lead and start the questioning.
Saturday, January 29, 2005
9:00 a.m. beautiful downtown burbank
400+ apprentices line up for the interviews. it was actually, quite a bit of fun. the folks that i talked with were incredibly bright and personable people; all with their own story as to why they want to work with "the donald". heck...if verna or danny can make it on the show, why can't i? i'm finding out what cookies the donald likes and sending some his way....hey, skippy..where were you?
paul fehi, a washpost reporter was thrown out of the inaugural balls because he wasn't following rules that nobody told him about. apparently reporters aren't allowed access in awol's washington without an "escort." fehi was later let back in, with escorts hot on his heels:
but now the art of press handling has evolved into actual manhandling. the bush team has expanded the use of "minders," employees or volunteers who escort journalists from interview to interview within a venue or at a newsworthy event…(thanks to the wildman's dkos diary for the link!)
i had arrived early to get a head start on mingling among the roughly 6,000 people eating and dancing to celebrate the president's reelection. unaware of the new escort policy (it wasn't in place during the official parties following the 2001 inauguration), i blithely assumed that in the world's freest nation, i was free to walk around at will and ask the happy partygoers such national security-jeopardizing questions as, "are you having a good time?"
big mistake. after cruising by the media pen -- a sectioned-off area apparently designed for corralling journalists -- a sharp-eyed volunteer spotted my media badge. "you're not supposed to go out there without an escort," she said.
i replied that i had been doing just fine without one, and walked over to a quiet corner of the hall to phone in some anecdotes to the post's style desk.
as i was dictating from my notes, something flashed across my face and neatly snatched my cell phone from of my hand. i looked up to confront a middle-aged woman, her face afire with rage. "you ignored the rules, and i'm throwing you out!" she barked, snapping my phone shut. "you told that girl you didn't need an escort. that's a lie! you're out of here!"
with the first amendment on the line, my natural wit did not fail me. "huh?" i answered.
recovering quickly, i explained that i had been unaware of the escort policy. she was unbending and ordered a couple of security guards to hustle me out. i appealed to them, saying that i was more than happy to follow whatever ground rules had been laid down. they shrugged, and deposited me back in the media pen.
there i was assigned a pair of attractive young women, who, for the next hour or so, took turns following close at my heels. i thought about trying to ditch them in the increasingly crowded hall, just for the sport of it, but realized it was pointless. they never interfered with my work. i found i was able to go wherever i wanted, and to talk to whomever i desired. the minders just hovered nearby, saying nothing. they were polite but disciplined, refusing even to disclose their full names or details about themselves. (my style colleague, peter carlson, inquired of his minder, "how did you get to be an escort? do you work for an escort service?")
night light discusses the take over of gillette by satan-controlled proctor & gamble.
to chris and ian's best of 2004.
Friday, January 28, 2005
to a fist full of euros, who so wonderfully pointed us to this game. although in german, one can get the gist....unless you are employed by this so-called administration.
and to aussie blogger, kitta.
to medbh sings.
we like most of the beast's 50 most loathsome people in america, 2004 (any list with ann coulter, dick cheney and clay aiken cain't be all bad).
thanks and a tip of the bush kangaroo hat to progressive's dkos diary for the link!
that's right a third media maven has been outed in the leave no pundit behind program that awol generously bestows upont hardly-ever-right wing third stringers. salon:
one day after president bush ordered his cabinet secretaries to stop hiring commentators to help promote administration initiatives, and one day after the second high-profile conservative pundit was found to be on the federal payroll, a third embarrassing hire has emerged. salon has confirmed that michael mcmanus, a marriage advocate whose syndicated column, "ethics & religion," appears in 50 newspapers, was hired as a subcontractor by the department of health and human services to foster a bush-approved marriage initiative. mcmanus championed the plan in his columns without disclosing to readers he was being paid to help it succeed.
to blog reload.
let's open the ol' skippy mailbag...
left is right has a question for liberals;
the talent show alerts us to robert reich on tort reform;
reader mark foxwell is alarmed that air force bases in the us are being privatized.
thanks to ampoljo, we find this page six story that tells us the execs who resigned from cbs due to rathermemogate may not be finished quite yet...
congresswoman louise m. slaughter has convened a panel investigating media accountability:
on the heals of news that yet another member of the media, syndicated columnist maggie gallagher, was paid by the white house to promote bush administration proposals, rep. louise m. slaughter (ny-28), ranking member of the house committee on rules, convened an expert panel yesterday to discuss fairness and accountability in the media.and in related news, oliver willis tells us sens. kennedy and lautenberg are planning to introduce the stop government propaganda act.
“the american people want accountability in the media and they want to be well informed on all sides of an issue so they can make the critical decisions that affect their lives and the future of this democracy with confidence. we must put common sense back into broadcasting,” said rep. slaughter as she opened the panel discussion.
the 90 minute panel included experts mark lloyd a senior fellow at the center for american progress; david brock the president and ceo of media matters for america; gloria tristani a former fcc commissioner; chellie pingree the president and ceo of common cause; and sam seder the co-host of air america radio's majority report.
panelists discussed a variety of issues related to broadcasting fairness and accountability but focused mainly on the need to bring back the fairness doctrine, a policy ended by the reagan administration in 1987 that required broadcasters to insure balanced coverage of news with a specific focus on local issues and concerns.
our friend cookie jill, aware of our unemployment status, graciously sends us notice about auditions for the apprentice 4.
nathan newman talks about the current spoils system in today's homeland security department.
Thursday, January 27, 2005
hoppy hours before friday kangaroo blogging.
meet elvis the kangaroo....read about his flying adventure....here.
mrs. skippy got a hold of the remote first last night, so skippy was forced to watch (at least the first part of) the 411: teens and sex, a katie couric special on nbc.
we were not surprised that it was katie couric asking about sex, because it seems to us that she, among all the nbc anchors, probably needs the most help in that area.
apparently katie was amazed that "friends with benefits" referred to casual sex...we ourselves didn't know excatly what it meant, but we sure could guess. we suppose katie thought it was part of awol's social security platform.
we were not at all interested in this show, mainly because we resent anyone who got more than we did at that age, but also because we knew that it would be handled poorly. and, we were right.
the very second question that katie asked her little group of 14 year olds about how sex affects their lives was...hold on to your seats, we kid you not...did bill clinton's affair influence you into having oral sex?
yes, she did. stop laughing, she most certainly did. go back and watch the tape, she actually asked that question as if it made any sort of logical sense at all. immediately after asking if there was peer pressure to have oral sex, she wanted to know if it was all bill clinton's fault.
nothing about self-worth. nothing about love. nothing about how it affects the trust between parent and teenager, or between the teens having relations.
nope. the important thing is, are the democrats repsonsible?
of course, there was no teen sex before bill clinton. it was all that horndog's fault.
even worse than asking that question at all, let alone second in the program, was that the majority of the kids dismissed it immediately, except for one, who was then allowed to expound on it at length.
yeah, the kid said (we paraphrase). you heard about it all the time so of course you wanted to try it.
gee, kids hear about fighting in iraq all the time these days, can we blame future gun battles in our streets on awol?
according to nbc/people/usatoady, 1 out of 8 teens between 13 and 16 have had sex. now, we are no prudes, but even we think that's too young. however, we doubt strongly it's because of universal health care proposals.
we are used to the hardly-ever-right wing dominating screeching heads talk shows, but it's getting pretty sad when theoretically-neutral subjects like 13 year olds having oral sex are used to slam the left.
luckily for skippy, this sort of political propaganda disguised as social research was too much for even mrs. skippy, who, thankfully, used the remote to tune into an old episode of law & order on tnt.
was that because katie couric is a lesbian?
reader and frequent contributor rose sends us a washpost piece telling us how there's a new threat forcing the gay agenda upon america...from yet another cartoon:
pbs was surprised to receive a letter from new education secretary margaret spellings, warning the public tv network against airing an upcoming episode of the kids show "postcards from buster," because pbs had already informed her office it would not send the episode to its stations, programming co-chief john wilson says…personally, we think if the snake handlers are worried about gay animated characters, there's another cartoon rabbit that they should keep their eye on:
spellings, who has been charged with the difficult task of fixing the nation's troubled public education system, took time out on her second day on the job to fire off a letter to pbs ceo pat mitchell expressing "strong and very serious concerns" about the "postcards from buster" episode. specifically that, in the episode, called "sugartime!," the animated asthmatic little bunny visits vermont and meets actual, real-live, not make-believe children there who have gay parents…
in the episode that knotted spellings's knickers, buster goes to vermont and meets children from two families, who show him how maple syrup and cheese are made.
at one of the homes, buster is introduced to all of the children and to the two moms. one girl explains that one of the women is her "stepmom," whom she says she loves a lot.
in the following [ed. note: partial] list of cartoons, bugs appears in some form of ladies garb or does a female-like turn:see the rest of the list, with pics, if you're into cross-dressing wabbits (not that there's anything wrong with that) here.
- hare-um scare-um (hardaway/dalton, 1939)
bugs dresses up as a female dog to spoof the hunting dog.
- elmer’s pet rabbit (jones, 1941)
bugs dances with fudd and addresses him saying, katherine hepburn-like, “you dance divinely, really you do.”
- the heckling hare (avery, 1941)
the dog believing that he killed bugs, lays flowers next to his home, and bugs takes the dog’s flowers coquétteishly, saying “for me? oh, you darling!”
- the wabbit who came to supper (freleng, 1942)
after shaving his face and underarms, and puff powdered, bugs appears in womens’ lingerie and screams as fudd opens the door on him.
- bugs bunny gets the boid (clampett, 1942)
dances with beaky buzzard and asks “why don’t we do this more often?” also appears interrupted mid-shower by the bird, and replies coyly “you naughty, naughty boy!”
- super-rabbit (jones, 1943)
brief appearance as little bo peep owing to a costume mixup in a phone booth when changing into super-rabbit.
- a corny concerto (clampett, 1943)
appears as a ballerina, ultimately wrapping his brassiere around the heads of porky and his hunting dog.
- what’s cookin’ doc? (clampett, 1944)
arises, carmen miranda-like, from a mountain of fruits and vegetables which have been hurled at him.
- bugs bunny nips the nips (freleng, 1944)
appears as a geisha who mallets a sumo wrestler.
the gulf war veteran observes that occupied iraq has become a "saturation environment" of electromagnetic radiation. potentially lethal electromagnetic smog from high-power us military electronics and experimental beam weapons is placing already hard-hit local populations–-particularly children—at even higher risk ofexperiencing serious illness, suicidal depression, impaired cognitiveability, even death.
american troops constantly exposed "up close" to their own microwave transmitters, battlefield radars and rf weapons are also seeing their health eroded by electromagnetic sickness. it's common, hank recalls,for gis to warm themselves on cold desert nights by basking in the microwaves radiating from their queems communications and ratt radar rigs. constant microwave emissions from ground-sweeping ratt rigs and singars mobile microwave networks are much more powerful than civilian microwave cell phone nets linked in many clinical studies to maladies ranging from asthma, cataracts, headaches, memory loss, early alzheimer's, bad dreams and cancer. even more powerful us military radars, radios and "jammers" blasting from ground bases and overflying aircraft add to this electromagnetic din. this is bad enough.
but this is also iraq, hank says, where ever-present sand acts as miniature quartz reflectors, unpredictably amplifying the ricocheting electronic smog so thick that if it were visible, every vehicle in baghdad and the surrounding sunni triangle would be driving blind with their headlights on. - microwaving iraq?
tip of the kangaroo tail to cursor.org for putting the glow on this heated story.
far from fading, liberalism appears to be staging a comeback at its most famous campus citadel -- uc berkeley.
the latest campus survey found the number of new students who call themselves liberal is far higher than in the early '90s and early '80s and is near the level seen during the vietnam war. - sfgate
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
riggs bank and its parent company have agreed to plead guilty to a federal criminal charge and pay a $16 million fine for failing to prevent potential money laundering at the district bank, according to sources close to the matter. - wapo
(unfortunately....the washington post seems to have forgotten that the bushies have direct ties with this corrupt institution....)
we really do have to ask ourselves - "how did we get here?"
heads up for sugar high fridays 5...coming soon to a food blogger near you. theme this year? puff pastry. i'm not partaking...after this latest trip to san francisco, the foodie town by the bay, i'm not eating for quite some time...i can't afford to buy a while new wardrobe.
the owner of a michigan company who forced his employees to either quit smoking or quit their jobs said on wednesday he also wants to tell fat workers to lose weight or else. - reuters
to john david stone.
joe gandelman of the moderate voice can't believe his eyes when matt drudge posts the headline "russian lawmakers call for ban on jew groups"...
but in case you didn't, consider this to be our official post declaring that all members of skippy international are decidedly against torture of all kinds, especially the kinds that alberto gonzales approves of during his adminstrative duties.
both night light and dr. kate forest of the commonweal institute have sent us messages urging us to sign the dkos petition stating that we are against torture in general and gonzales specifically.
we were remiss is thinking that most rational people would assume we were. because, of course, we also thought most rational people would vote against awol (we are actually of the belief that they did).
be that as it may, and it may just be as that, rest assured we don't like torture. so, consider the petitions signed (and we will urge our congressjerks to vote against gonzales, too).
dave johnson at seeing the forest tells us why republicans win.
some tidbits from oliver willis:
oliver points out that maggie gallagher of nro is the second hardly-ever-right wing pundit to take payola from awol to promote his bankrupt schemes (details in the washpost...give howie kurtz credit for breaking this story);
awol's nominee for fatherland security chief, michael "no i'm not the bald guy from the shield" chertoff, had ties to the financiers of the 9-11 attacks, reports the university star;
and the repubbs are floating the idea of using race and gender as litmus tests for receiving social security benefits.
a massive train derailment here in southern california has left 10 people dead and hundreds injured. kabc-tv:
at least 10 people were believed to have died today in a chain-reaction crash between two metrolink trains and a union pacific locomotive that apparently involved an suv on the tracks, officials said.initial reports indicate that the man who left his suv on the tracks was suicidal, but chickened out at the last minute and jupmed out of his vehicle as the train approached.
los angeles fire chief bill bamattre said about 100 people were transported to area hospitals -- as many as five emergency centers reportedly were involved -- and up to 200 may have been hurt. most of the injuries were said to be minor, but at least nine people were said to have been hurt critically…
according to initial accounts, one of the trains was headed south from the suburbs, and the other was going north. the outbound train's rear end apparently swung outward and clipped the inbound train. at some point a stationary union pacific locomotive apparently was knocked off the tracks by the impact of one of the metrolink trains.
across the ocean, today was the deadliest day in the iraq war since its inception, as 36 troops were killed, the majority of which in a helicopter crash. bloomberg:
a helicopter crash in iraq killed 31 marines, the top u.s. commander in the middle east said in washington, in the single deadliest incident suffered by the u.s. military since the march 2003 invasion.
five other members of the american military were killed in separate attacks today north and west of the capital baghdad.
army general john abizaid, head of u.s. central command, said there were no survivors in the nighttime crash of what he described as a routine flight, in remarks to reporters after congressional meetings.
the helicopter went down at about 1:20 a.m. local time near ar rutbah, west of baghdad, the military said. personnel from the 3rd marine aircraft wing, based in san diego, california, were transporting marines from the 1st marine division when the craft came down, according to the u.s.
four u.s. marines were killed separately while conducting ``combat operations against enemy forces'' in iraq's western anbar province, and one u.s. soldier was killed near al-duluiyah, north of baghdad, the military said.
the sideshow has the best analysis of the smelly hypocrisy permeating the whole cbs memogate fiasco yet. to sum up:
remember, the stories by gerth, the spite girls, et al., were false, but the 60 minutes story on bush's national guard service was true. bloggers on the left have blown holes in pro-bush or anti-democrat stories over and over, to no effect. bloggers on the right - most with dubious backgrounds - raised questions about a document which has never actually been proven to be a forgery, in an otherwise correct story, and - hey presto! - the true story goes down the drain, four people get fired, and dan rather himself backs out of his job.
mr. sun has some better questions for condaleezza "gibbons" rice, who has just today been confirmed by the senate as secretary of not-colin-powell, in an 85-13 vote.
we are tired of repubbbs denigrating dems for asking questions. the voa news tells us:
senate republican leader bill frist of tennessee took democratic critics to task, urging lawmakers to show a united front on foreign policy during wartime.this is circular logic that does nothing but perpetuate bad behavior. "oh, don't confront dad about his drinking now, he feels bad enough about killing sister and brother in that drunk driving accident!"
"partisanship has its time and place, but we are at this point in time a nation at war," he said. "we need the strength of all our resources to fight and win. i am disappointed that others on the other side of the [political] aisle have taken this moment to wage a partisan campaign."
this is a tried-and-true repubbblican tactic: advocate policy that leads to disaster, and then when the national debate questions the policy, use the shield of "decency" as a to avoid discussion. they are especially fond of this move on gun control...how dare we deem to talk about gun control when all those poor dead kids were killed at that school? have we no decency?
the indecency comes in using the results of bad policy to hide behind when it comes time to analyze the policy itself. we wouldn't be in a state of war if not for the lies propigated by rice and her ilk. and it's time they took responsibility for it.
night light stays on top of spongebob square pants.
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
reader and contributor rose sends us this nbc30 report detailing how a repubbblican in connecticut wants to name a stretch of highway in that state after awol:
there used to be a highway sign welcoming people to new haven, birthplace of president george w. bush. but it was vandalized so much, it got too expensive to keep replacing it.
so it came as a surprise to democrats here that a lawmaker wants to rename a stretch of highway through the heart of the city the president george w. bush highway.
after all, bush doesn't often claim new haven as his own.
although he's a graduate of yale university, he prefers the texas leather cowboy look to yale's tweed and corduroy.
the liberal center of a decidedly blue state, new haven feels about the same way, voting 4-to-1 not to re-elect him. with the bush administration urging a shift of highway funding toward the midwest and south, mayor john destefano found the naming choice ironic.
"we should name a traffic jam after him, not a highway," said destefano, a democrat running for governor.
Monday, January 24, 2005
atrios is right:
blogging's great, but get over yourselves[ed. note: kudos to atrios, who wrote that sentence without caps, thus saving our layout dept. literally seconds of key strokes.]
via holden at first draft, awol has been given one more honor...nominated for "worst actor" in this year's razzie awards:
in addition, the president made the list for worst actor for his film clip appearances in ``fahrenheit 9/11,'' a movie he might well consider the worst of the year. also nominated for their appearances in the politically-charged film about the iraq war were secretary of state-designate condoleezza rice and secretary of defense donald rumsfeld.also up for a razzie award (given to the worst that hollywood has to offer, traditionally on the night before the oscars), would be awol and either condaleezza "gibbons" rice or his pet goat, as worst screen couple.
though we detest dr. rice's incompetence, we personally feel the pet goat had more to do with the crumbling of democracy on that fateful morning, thus we're rooting for the goat. in fact, why not confirm the goat as secretary of state?
mr. and mrs. skippy have been fighting off the flu, colds, and sinus infections for the past week, so we have not been as attentive to details as we might have.
one such detail is opening all our mail. thusly, we were quite remiss in timeliness for acting on in search of utopia's plea to spread the word about another natural disaster with devastating consquences on humanity.
earlier this month, torrential rains flooded the low lands of costa rico and panama, displacing thousands of people. the ass press:
three days of heavy rains have forced nearly 13,000 people from their homes and killed at least one person in costa rica and panama, officials said tuesday.the skippy's were just in those two countries on their vacation last month, and found the people gracious and the countryside beautiful. it pains us to hear about this tragedy.
costa rica's national emergency commission said 7,500 people had been evacuated to official shelters in that central american nation and the number could rise as rescue teams arrive from isolated communities. about 300 others were staying with relatives…
in panama, helicopters were plucking people from the rooftops of houses surrounded by floodwaters, according to the national civil defense system, which said 5,000 had been evacuated so far to schools and other safe structures.
rains have been pounding the region since saturday [ed. note: jan. 8], surpassing the monthly rainfall average for some areas in just three days and creating widespread flooding.
costa rica's red cross reported one man killed by a landslide and it said an 8-year-old boy was missing after being caught in the current of a flood-swollen river.
if you have anything left over to give after the tsunami effort, consider donating to the costa rican red cross.
i want to thank many of skippy's gentle readers for sending restaurant tips my way. i'll have to go to www.opentable.com to see if any are participating in the dine about town special pricing...a girl's gotta watch her pennies (and expanding waistline) ya know.
skippy will be glad to know that one of the big news in food, judging by their presence at the show, are the aussies. lots of new aussie food will be heading to american grocery shelves. and, as always, the italian booths are the place to be (they serve wine). the big food this year is....drum roll....cheese. and lots of it. lots of stinky cheese. lots of wheel'o cheeses. cheese at every turn.
the lunch at farallon was devine. sweet potato (the blue way of spelling the tuber) soup with a champaign cream. grilled ahi tuna on french lentils and a horseradish cabbage concoction on top. desert was a citrus angelfood cake with slices of mini-tangerines and grapefruit and a citrus infused cream.
dinner at foreign cinema was fantastic. a winter vegetable soup. sole with capers and butter sauce. an apple tart tartin alamode. oh..good..buddha....save me from exploding
waiting for my friend to drive in from tomato town (sacramento) so we can partake in lunch today. then afterwards a meeting with my vanilla vendor. then the show again. then a special mixer down at the harbor presented by one of the specialty soda vendors.
as i munched breakfast at the hotel (hotel cornell - 2 blocks from union square - $80/night breakfast included) i read the c-section of the chron....it's all about blogs. go read.
i also wanted to weigh (literally this trip) in on the passing of johnny carson. i had the opportunity to go to a taping. it was one of the most hilarious and special times i ever had. i was sobbing in the hotel room last night. we lost a truly unique and talented individual who touched pretty much all of america with his sense of humour and inquisitive nature. we really shall never see the likes of johnny again. bless you johnny for giving us the greatest gift of all....laughter.
our friends at resident bush send us a tbogg piece reporting how the snakehandlers have written a letter to awol calling his daughters whores of babylon.
cookie jill, who is enjoying the cuisine of san francisco, sends us a bit of wired news, in the form of an article that tells us like it or not, blogs have legs.
old fashioned patriot is concerned that the repubbbs are working to get the results of the washington govenor's election thrown out.
dr. kate forrest of the commonweal institute correctly posits that the problem with the lefties is that they don't have in place a well-oiled machine to disseminate ideas, memes, and cooperation among peers, unlike the hardly-ever-right wing. she and her co-author leonard m. salle discuss how the left can put together a political infrastructure to challenge the other side.
Sunday, January 23, 2005
johnny carson died today at age 79. we heard some commentator say, if steve allen invented late night television, and jack parr refined it, johnny defined it.
the great thing about carson was his self-effacing approach, never mean with his humor, always letting the guest look good. and he was well known for giving comics just starting out a break.
carson nabbed his first tv quiz show assignment, "earn your vacation," in 1954 and launched the short-lived "the johnny carson show" the following year. he moved to harrison, ny, in 1957 and emceed the quiz show, "who do you trust?" his partnership with mcmahon began on that program.we will miss mr. carson.
there were some acting jobs along the way, including parts on "playhouse 90" and a 1960 pilot, "johnny come lately," that never reached the air. "the tonight show" was his destiny. carson replaced paar on oct. 1, 1962. groucho marx was his first guest. the show changed venues from new york to burbank in 1972.
by then, carson had divorced his first wife, in 1963. marriages to joanne copland (1963-72), joanna holland (1972-83) and alexis maas (1987) followed. one of carson's three sons, 39-year-old ricky, was killed when his car slid down an embankment in 1991.
in addition to his alimony woes, carson engaged in several noisy money disputes with nbc over the years. he walked out for three weeks in 1967. after another stormy negotiation in 1980, the network reduced the show's running time from 90 minutes to an hour. in the later years, carson earned an estimated $20 million annually and took 15 weeks of vacation. leno prevailed, among many substitute hosts, in "the tonight show" line of succession.
Saturday, January 22, 2005
to the chronic curmudgeon.
blogging ethics, in our opinion, isn't so much a contradictory phrase, as a totally pointless one. since blogging is not a profession (with a couple of damn-their-hides lucky exceptions), we wonder why ethics need to be discussed, let alone introduced into blogtopia (ethics demand that we disclose that yes! we coined that phrase!), however, for lack of real news in this world, the dead trees media are all a'buzz about this self-same topic.
the wall street journal points out that
there is no exam to pass or society to join to become a blogger -- anybody can set up a "web log" to publish his or her ideas -- and at last count, an estimated eight million people in the u.s. are doing so, writing on everything from pets to porn.and that's true. but we would ask, what exam did brian williams take to become anchor of the nbc evening news? as we understand, the guy was never an on-the-ground reporter, which was how chronkite and huntley and brinkley and even wolf "how's my beard" blitzer got their start.
in other words, the school of hard knocks. experience. that used to count for a lot in journalism. but less and less so. and yet, experience, supplemented with wit, opinions, analytical skills, and the handy turn of a phrase is what makes a blogger. so why, all of a sudden, should bloggers be held accountable to a higher standard than brian williams?
we agree with jon bonne on msnbc who agrees with jay rosen...this is a dead argument.
bloggers aren't reporters. they are repeaters. they are simply folks sitting around a living room talking to each other about the world. only the living room in this case is the internet, cyberspace, blogtopia (y!wctp!), whatever you call it.
the problem with journalists [ed. note: this sentence is not meant to imply there is only one problem with journalists] is that they are projecting onto bloggers their own mistaken ideals about themselves; ie, they are the leaders and purveyors of important thought in this country.
in other words, they believe that the cart of their work comes, and in fact leads, the horse of popular opinion.
and since bloggers tapped into a large, heretofor unadmitted resevoir of zeitgeist, journalists incorrectly think the bloggers are creating it, and therefor must have some ethics, lest they use their power for evil.
did kos and mydd violate some unknown code when they took money from dean for website consulting work? well, they must have, because they both said nice things about dean, and dean became real, real popular. you see? dean would never have become real, real popular if kos and mydd didn't say a nice thing about him. nobody was looking for a progressive alternative in america. the bloggers created it!
dan rather got caught in memogate, because the bloggers spread the word that the memos were fake. so, the bloggers are the ones that created a large swelling of dislike for rather and cbs, you see? there was no feeling that cbs was too liberal before the bloggers broke the story. the bloggers created it!
[/snark mode off]
there is no "code of ethics" needed for bloggers, because bloggers are just americans discussing their country and the world. does uncle fred have to disclose everyone he worked for when he complains about how the city never fixes potholes outside his house? we don't think so. and if uncle fred sets up a "i hate the city 'cuz they never fix potholes.blogspot.com" blog, does he have to create, and then adhere to, a code of ethics, just like paid journalists are supposed to, but hardly ever, do? no.
people are allowed to listen to other's opinions without worrying about ethics, because people can make up their own minds about the sources' ethics. "yeah, bob hates the feminists, but he also shacks up with goats, so i think i won't hold his ideas too highly."
journalists, who rightly are angry that they are still held to an ethics code, when every other industry in america is shedding any modicrum of responsibility, would do better to start holding politicians, the energy industry, the banks, the pharmaceutical industry, and their own bosses to a higher standard, than pick on some guy in his pajamas expressing his opinion.
we at skippy international have ethics. they are the same ethics we use in our day to day lives. we are honest, up front, kind, honorable, and try not to be too mean to those less fortunate than ourselves. if those ethics aren't good enough for you, then go read some other blog.
night light sends us a couple of pieces:
cavorting with terrorists and the great emancipator and the sponge, wherein rj compared abe lincoln to spongebob squarepants.
dave johnson at seeing the forest wonders why the nytimes chooses to misinterpret the first amendment when attacking the aclu.
things will be a little quiet from this side of the marsupial. i am running away to the city by the bay...(i think they've dropped their age old sobriquet "baghdad by the bay"...apologies to herb caen.) i will be attending the fancy food show. if you go to trade shows...this is the one to go to. eating your way through hundreds of vendors' wares in the moscone center is my idea of a way good time. oh, yeah...i'm scoping out the competition, too, and checking out new flours, sugars and all the stuff that cookie dreams are made of. (and if you really believe that entirely, i've got this big red bridge to sell ya....)
another bonus point this trip, many of the city's fine collection of restaurants are participating in prix fixe menus...so you can chow down on some exquisite meals for not so bad a price. i've already booked my dinner excursions via open table. the restaurants i am visiting....farallon, foreign cinema, and campton place.
oh, and yes...i am starting the diet when i roll back to la-la-land.
why can't we do that at the corporate level?
current employees of enron corp., who are winding up the bankrupt energy trader's affairs, have been granted up to $45 million in bonuses by us bankruptcy judge arthur j. gonzalez in the southern district of new york. - houstonbizjournal
why are we rewarding failure and corruption?
Friday, January 21, 2005
let's see what's in the ol' skippy mailbox...
nathan newman observes that awol starts his second term by trying to limit states' rights;
practice what you preach, the texas organization attempting bring the focus back to real issues, and not who marries whom, gets endorsed by the libertarian party;
reader chris sends us an asspress piece beating the blogger ethics dead horse;
joe gandelman of the moderate voice correctly points out that if peggy noonan thinks awol's speech is over the top, he's in deep doo-doo;
and the kids at the daily cookie send us this bushflash about fascism in our country today.
we're as surprised as anyone that our name showed up on the page for the blogging, journalism & credibility seminar at harvard. some big names involved, (and you'll find ours on the right hand side bar right next to the beginning of the comments), so we are proud our ridiculous rant was linked to during such an auspicious occasion.
it's happening today and tomorrow, and the lovely rebecca mackinnon seems to be nominally in charge. if you couldn't fit into the taubman building at the harvard business school to hear people expound on why we do what we do, don't worry, there's a webcast.
Thursday, January 20, 2005
does this mean nascar driver jimmy johnson is gay?
christian conservative groups have issued a gay alert warning over a children's video starring spongebob squarepants, barney and a host of other cartoon favorites - bbc / yahoo/reuters / nytimes
who lives in a pineapple under the sea?
who lives in a bubble and is simply crazy
james c. dobson!
the lovely anna of annatopia sends us pics of the coronation protesters from dc indymedia. she also provides a running report of the protests turning violent in her dkos diary.
rodger payne discusses the hidden religious references in awol's speechifying today (and rodger tells us he'll be on public radio tomorrow, if you'd care to listen live on the web).
and american idle has some inaugural funnies.
and thanks to true's dkos diary, we go to toolz for the new school to download a byte from cnn where we hear protesters calling to "cheney" bush.
to mad kane's newest blog, president boxer.
the popular rox populi lucked out and got some pictures of the coronation protesters (in spite of the difficulty the administration has forced the demonstrators to go through to get their voice heard).
the protesters marched by roxie's office and she snapped some shots.
we have seen msnbc show pictures of them, and peter jennings (!) of all people, did a bit on abc about how difficult the officials have made things for the protesters to get into the official "free speech zone." apparently there is only one opening with three guards checking id's (and for weapons, we presume) to let thousands of protesters into the zone.
we was quite amazed at jennings giving the left coverage. he also made it a point to say that awol won with a narrow margin, "in spite of his talk about mandate."
cookie jill has worked for her father (bagging tees and hunting stray golf balls - started at age 4)
cookie jill has worked for a family owned donut shop (for a very democratic and wise owner.)
cookie jill has worked for a fast food joint (trust me...don't eat the chili)
cookie jill has worked for a law firm (where I learned the fate of a famous rock band's money in an offshore "bank" and how many cigars smoked in a closed room set off fire alarms.)
cookie jill has worked at at the college she attended (in the finance department, the admissions department, as a resident assistant, in marketing/pr)
cookie jill has worked for a temp agency (as a temp and as a placement counselor. trust me, you don't want to take notes during a meeting for a defense department contractor discussing bombs and "collateral damage.")
cookie jill has worked for a land developer (one of the kindest, funniest, most generous man i have ever met or known. developed high end gated communities and kept fighting the city to build low cost, affordable housing but was continually rebuffed by the city as they only wanted the high rent stuff.)
cookie jill has worked for stock brokers (I immediately left when told that we needed to target elderly wealthy people because they were "easy pickings.")
cookie jill has worked for an accounting firm (where i learned that on occassion 2 + 2 does equal 5)
cookie jill has worked for a bank (when it was just a smaller community bank...but has now grown to where it is almost unrecognizable.)
cookie jill has worked for a nationwide retail department store (where people would continually return special occassion dresses with the tags still on and deodorant stains on when they claimed they never attended the event they bought the dresses for.)
cookie jill has worked on the campaigns for bill clinton, the late honorable walter capps, the honorable lois capps, insurance commissioner john garamendi
cookie jill has worked for an independent music promoter (and learned some of the dark secrets of the entertainment biz)
cookie jill has worked for hospital lobbyists (my immediate bosses were two amazingly wonderful and wise former emergency room nurses who enjoyed watching cookie jill turn ghost white when they told tales of their er days.)
cookie jill has worked for (gulp...) clear channel (but only temporarily and witnessed the entire office shut down without a lot of notice and all the employees locked out)
cookie jill has worked for a newspaper (a not so feisty weekly....)
cookie jill has worked for williams-sonoma (and actually met and chatted up the big guy "chuck williams" who loves cookie jill's oatmeal raisin and chocolate cherry chunck varietals....)
cookie jill has worked for a chamber orchestra (in the administration arena...)
cookie jill has volunteered for the multiple sclerosis society, the american heart foundation, multiple aids events, the alex theatre, santa barbara international film festival, various "taste of" events, is a junior league member.....and donates cookies to many causes and non-profits.
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
all the hoo-ha seems to have died down over the hugh hewitt screaming about how markos and jerome worked for dean without telling anybody (except, of course, the people that actually read their blogs) and that somehow this is a breach of blogging ethics.
we at skippy international are actually quite surprised to learn that there were blogging ethics. after reading little green footballs, we thought that there were no ethics whatsoever in blogtopia (ethically we are forced to admit that yes! we coined that phrase!), but apparently every other blog around here has been discussing this non-story for the past week, so here is our take.
for some unknown reason (and it certainly couldn't be because television/radio pundit armstrong williams was caught taking taxpayer money from awol to promote no child left behind), suddenly radio ranter hugh hewitt decided to hold markos moulitsas of dkos and jerome armstrong of mydd to some incredibly vague standards that nobody ever held him (or his partner in meme-spreading, bill o'reilly) to. and the wall street journal, that bastion of balanced reporting, took up the story.
(you must subscribe to the wsj online to read it, so we won't bother to link you to it. you can gather its content by reading all the other links we've provided. think of it kind of like a game of clue...it's william mcgurn in the library with a candlestick!)
so now, apparently if a blogger worked for somebody they wrote about, that's a breach of ethics, even if they disclosed that working relationship. it's ok if carl cameron never pointed out on faux that his wife was on awol's campaign staff. it's ok if robert novak outed a covert cia operative to get back at a perceived enemy of awol. it's ok that britt hume plays tennis with bush senior on a regular basis. it's ok if o'reilly eats falafels (ok, that had nothing to do with the subject at hand, but he's a sleazy sumabitch, ain't he?). but now suddenly the bloggers are supposed to be ethical?
newsflash: bloggers ain't journalists. (a) they aren't paid to blog, with a couple of exceptions, and (b) they aren't responsible for investigating the news. they are just expressing their ideas.
but, just to be safe, we at skippy international are now ready to disclose all the potential conflict of interests that skippy has.
that's right. we admit it. skippy has worked for the man.
skippy once worked in a bank.
skippy once worked in the fast food industry.
skippy once worked in the administrative department of a hospital.
skippy once worked for a contractor to a los angeles county transportation agency.
skippy once worked for another bank.
skippy once worked for a union lawyer.
skippy once worked for a corporate lawyer (the union lawyer was scarier).
skippy once worked for an insurance firm.
skippy once worked in a cafeteria at a semi-large veterinary university.
skippy once worked for a large detroit automotive company.
skippy once worked for yet another bank.
skippy once worked for (yuck!) clear channel.
skippy once worked at disneyland (as sam in the golden horseshoe saloon review).
mostly, skippy has been unemployed.
skippy once was on food stamps.
skippy has often received unemployment benefits.
skippy thinks that if you no longer have a financial relation with someone, there is no conflict of interest.
skippy thinks hugh hewitt needs publicity for his latest book.