Saturday, May 31, 2008

Saturday Night Music Videos at the Vault

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Tonight a collection of minstrels bring you

Songs of the Human Condition

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935 Lies


Harry Shearer

h/t Dredd

Thursday, May 29, 2008

So how are those bridges working?
Will Scottie be the straw that broke the camel's back?


Now that Scott McClellan has come out with his book What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception it seems everyone wants to get a piece of it. Currently #1 at Amazon.com even though it has yet to be officially released.

In his book Scott blasts the Bush administration for its handling of the Iraq war calling it bungled and unnecessary - from Politico:
“History appears poised to confirm what most Americans today have decided: that the decision to invade Iraq was a serious strategic blunder. No one, including me, can know with absolute certainty how the war will be viewed decades from now when we can more fully understand its impact. What I do know is that war should only be waged when necessary, and the Iraq war was not necessary.”
He also has a take on hurricane Katrina:
“One of the worst disasters in our nation’s history became one of the biggest disasters in Bush’s presidency. Katrina and the botched federal response to it would largely come to define Bush’s second term,” he writes. “And the perception of this catastrophe was made worse by previous decisions President Bush had made, including, first and foremost, the failure to be open and forthright on Iraq and rushing to war with inadequate planning and preparation for its aftermath.”
Nor does he have a high regard for the media's invlovment:
“If anything, the national press corps was probably too deferential to the White House and to the administration in regard to the most important decision facing the nation during my years in Washington, the choice over whether to go to war in Iraq.

“The collapse of the administration’s rationales for war, which became apparent months after our invasion, should never have come as such a surprise. … In this case, the ‘liberal media’ didn’t live up to its reputation. If it had, the country would have been better served.”

The Bush administration, as can be expected, is up in arms over it.
"It is sad," said current White House press secretary Dana Perino, dismissing McClellan on Wednesday as "disgruntled about his experience at the White House. ... This is not the Scott we knew."

The president was "surprised" by the book's claims, Perino said.

"He is puzzled," she said of Bush, "and he doesn't recognize this as the Scott McClellan that he hired and confided in and worked with for so many years."
Think Progress tells us even Republican presidential candidate John McCain had this to say about the matter:
I have not seen the book or the comments. But I know why I supported it [the war] because I believed Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction as did every intelligence agency in the world and every assessment.
The problem is John is entirely off base:
State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR): Concluded that the “activities we have detected do not add up to a compelling case that Iraq is currently pursuing what [the INR] would consider to be an integrated and comprehensive approach to acquire nuclear weapons.”

Department of Energy: Concluded aluminum tubes said to be used for nuclear centrifuges were “likely intended for small artillery rockets.”

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA): On March 7, 2003, IAEA chief Mohamed El-Baradei reported there was “no evidence that Saddam Hussein had any nuclear weapons or was in the process of acquiring them.”

Hans Blix, chief U.N. weapon’s inspector: In June 2003, Blix told the U.N. Security Council that his inspection teams had not found any “smoking guns” after visiting some 125 Iraqi sites.

I can't help but wonder why Scott has taken so long to come clean though. Arianna Huffington of Huffingtonpost perhaps spells it out best:
How many times are we going to have a key Bush administration official try to wash the blood off his hands -- and add a chunk of change to his bank account -- by writing a come-clean book years after the fact, pointing the finger at everyone else while painting himself as an innocent bystander to history who saw all the horrible things that were happening but, somehow, had no choice but to go along?
....
What Happened is page-turning reading. What Didn't Happen -- namely McClellan telling the truth in service to his country rather than in service to his book sales -- is a stomach-turning disappointment.

My question is, putting aside Scotties horrible timing, if this will finally wake people enough to finally get something done.

I wrote the article repeated below in November '06 days after the election. It details a shopping list of imperatives to be addressed by the new Congress and Senate. To date, aside from a few investigations which produced useless subpoenas, little has been done to meet any of these issues.

The administration has thumbed its nose at Congress, failing to appear when subpoenaed, claiming executive privilege and national security to hide it's nefarious dealings. The Iraq war plods on with support and funding issued on a regular basis with no real end in sight. The economy has totally tanked and may only be at the top of the long slide ahead. Congress has achieved very little towards resolutions regarding my shopping list.

Will this finally wake people enough to finally get something done?

I'm not holding my breath!

NOT A TIME FOR BUILDING BRIDGES.
By Bluebear2
It is estimated that 90% of California's seagull population is born on the two islands in Mono Lake.
In the late 1970’s, with its incoming water being drawn off to quench the thirst of L.A., Mono Lake had receded to the point that a land bridge formed, linking the shore to Negit Island. When this land bridge formed it became a pathway for the coyotes to raid the nests, nearly decimating the gull population.

Not all bridges lead somewhere good.
(Unless you're a coyote!)

Over the past six years, Republicans have been sloganeering us to death. “We have been given a mandate.” “Stay the course.” “If you’re not with us, you’re against us.” “If you’re against the war in Iraq, you’re not a Patriot.” “If you’re not with us, you hate America.” “If you don’t support the war, you’re against the troops.” And so on. And so forth. Ad nauseam. Now that the election is over, and the Democrats have gained control of both the House and the Senate there’s a new “dialogue” in Washington. Suddenly it’s a whole new batch of carefully-crafted slogans. “Extending the Olive Branch.” “Let’s work together.” “In full cooperation to a common goal.” “Bury the hatchet.” “We’re building bridges.” And other such “niceties”.

This is not the time for niceties, not the time for building bridges at all.

The people of this country have given you, the Democrats, a mandate. It is loud and clear and requires your full attention. This mandate is to wipe out the corruption and lying that have been so prevalent in the Bush Administration and to hold those responsible accountable for their crimes. You therefore are required to do the following in order to accomplish the task which has been given you:

1. Fully investigate the attacks on 9/11, making public all relevant materials including but not limited to the surveillance tapes from the buildings around the Pentagon, which were seized immediately after the attack, and removing gag orders from government whistle blowers so that their depositions can be taken and all the facts revealed. Then bring those responsible and/or negligent to trial. Then review the rationale for the attack on Afghanistan based on the results of these investigations and trials.
2. Remove the gag orders from government whistle blowers so that their depositions can be taken in all the other matters needing investigation, including but not limited to warrantless wiretapping.
3. Fully investigate the lead-up to the war in Iraq, including the false evidence used to persuade the congress and the public to accept the rationale given for this war. Those accountable should be tried as war criminals and given the harshest sentences for their crimes.
4. Fully investigate the conditions at the various prisons where the “Terrorists” are being held, including the CIA clandestine prisons, and the treatment of those prisoners. Any crimes of torture or other abuse should be resolved by bringing to trial not only the actual perpetrators, but the superiors who let, or made, these crimes happen, no matter how high up the ladder it goes.
5. Fully investigate Haliburton, and other contractors, for war profiteering and bungled no-bid contracts, not omitting the connection with Vice President Cheney.
6. Fully investigate the ties between Vice President Cheney and the oil companies, and their involvement in setting the country’s energy policies.
7. Continue the probe of the Abramoff scandal and bring all players involved to trial for their crimes against this country.
8. Abolish the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act and restore the Posse Comitatus Act as the first steps for returning the Bill of Rights, our Constitution, as the true basis for our government.
9. Work toward substantial reduction of greenhouse gasses in the near future so that some hope can be had to minimize the effects of global warming, which has already begun reshaping our planet.
10. Rein in our hemorrhaging budget and reverse the trend of ever greater debt which has been initiated under the Bush administration so that our children and their children will not have such a heavy burden placed upon them.
11. Stop the gluttony of the oil companies and see to it that the record profits they have been having are used to find ways to conserve oil and ultimately to become free of oil dependency.
12. Fully investigate the 2000 and 2004 elections, including the roles played by voting machine manufacturers, and the Secretaries of State in Florida and Ohio, in election fraud.
13. Fully investigate all elections since 2000 for voter disenfranchisement and obstruction, and prosecute anyone involved in these activities.
14. Review the multifarious signing statements made by the President over the past six years, and take steps to vacate them, or otherwise restore the basis in Constitutional law of the bills in question.
15. Roll back the tax cuts for the wealthy that have decimated services and infrastructure.

These are some of the reasons we elected you. We expect and demand that you take action on these vital concerns for our nation and for the world, not play around with honeymoons and olive branches. Things are so bad you must hit the ground at a dead run to keep them from wiping out that much more. And it is wise to remember the lesson of Mono Lake. The past twelve years of Republican control have been like the draining of that lake. Humanity and the planet are the seagulls. Plutocratic maniacs are the packs of coyotes. Of course they’re going to want to build bridges. Don’t be dangerous saps!

Your mandate is to prevent us all from being gobbled by profit-drunk coyotes, get that lake filled again as fast as ever you can.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

THEY DID IT!

UPDATE 5/29/08 - UHF radio transmissions have been restored and the robot arm has gone through its initial tests flawlessly. Its time to get digging!
UPDATED 5/27/08 - See below.

The Mars Phoenix Lander has just successfully landed near the north pole of Mars on its mission to search for water.
Pasadena -- A NASA spacecraft landed in the Martian arctic today to begin three months of examining a site chosen for the likelihood of having frozen water within reach of the lander's robotic arm.

Radio signals received at 4:53 p.m. Pacific Time confirmed that the Phoenix Mars Lander had survived its difficult final descent and touchdown 15 minutes earlier. In the intervening time, those signals crossed the distance from Mars to Earth at the speed of light.

Mission team members at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.: Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver; and the University of Arizona, Tucson, cheered confirmation of the landing and eagerly awaited further information from Phoenix later tonight.


A photo of Phoenix descending on its parachute captured by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. This is the first photo ever of a space vehicle during its decent.


The landing site. The trapezoidal features, caused by the freezing and thawing of subsurface water, were one of the reasons for the choice of a landing spot.


Closeup of one of the trapezoidal features.


With a final velocity of under 4 inches per second the lander touched down so softly the footpads didn't even disturb the surface.


This photo, showing one of the two solar collector panels, confirmed its correct deployment.

UPDATE 5/27/08: Disappointing but not critical news:
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter turned its UHF radio off, possibly because of a cosmic ray, cutting off communications with the lander, said Fuk Li, manager of the Mars exploration program for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

But Li and others said it is not a significant problem.

"All this is is a one-day hiccup in being able to move the arm around, so it's no big deal," said Ed Sedivy, space program for Lockheed-Martin Corp. in Denver.

Li said the orbiter was programmed to respond as it did, but that orbiter team members were trying to get the radio back on. It has a second radio aboard that might be used instead, though reprogramming would be needed.

A second orbiter, the Mars Odyssey, is to be the primary relay for returning data to Earth from the lander, which is parked in a valley in Mars' northern arctic region.

If necessary, the Odyssey will do double duty, relaying commands to the lander as well as taking up the earthbound information. Link to article.

Mission Homepage

Saturday Night Music Videos at the Vault

[click photo]
A memorial show for U. Utah Phillips
who passed away Friday at the age of 73.

In Memoriam
U. Utah Phillips

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

One More Parade

[Phil Ochs]

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Terrible News



In a report released today it has been learned that Edward Kennedy has a form of brain tumor known as malignant glioma in his left parietal lobe.

This in a report from the New York Times:
The doctors said on Tuesday that the senator was “in overall good condition,” had been walking around the hospital, and had suffered no more seizures since Saturday.

“The usual course of treatment includes combinations of various forms of radiation and chemotherapy,” Dr. Lee Schwamm, the vice chairman of neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Dr. Larry Ronan, a primary care physician at the hospital, said in a statement issued Tuesday afternoon.

They also add this grim piece of news:
The National Cancer Institute says that malignant glioma is the most common form of brain cancer, accounting for about 9,000 cases diagnosed each year in the United States. The prognosis depends on the severity of the tumor, although the institute’s Web site says it is generally poor.

My sincerest wishes that he is able to make a fast and complete recovery!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

HUGE

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75,000 PEOPLE!

I don't care how mad I am at him for dissing Rev Wright... I know about the scene with the kids in Portland and I have friends who drove down from Seattle in their excitement... so... I'm going to have to vote for him. I can't not vote for him when the kids are on fire like this. He's got graffiti artists out stumping for him fer fucksakes.

There is no way on this earth that McWarmonger could get even half the votes Obama will. None. Anything more than half Obama's votes will unquestionably be election fraud.

Oh, oh, and he says he wants us to be nice to Clinton supporters....

[UPDATING at n e u f n e u f]

The Portland Crowd



The Gloves Have Come Off



Ouch! Blammy! And come back here!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Saturday Night Music Videos at the Vault


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There's a storm brewing tonight at the Vault.
Come on over and take shelter - here comes

NEW MONSOON

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Friday, May 16, 2008

The Politics of Stating the Obvious

THOSE TWO ARE LAUNCHING "DISHONEST, DIVISIVE" ATTACKS.
[Quoth Senator Barack Obama]

Ya think?

But he does do it rather elegantly:


Whereas:

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

HuffPo's Business Section

...is trying to outzen me in the means of communicating more than just news, or something.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Take Me to the Moon

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Saturday Night Music Videos at the Vault

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After taking a break, Saturday Night Music Videos has returned with:

COMEDY SONGS

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Friday, May 09, 2008

Hillary's New Math

[Click Photo] ...............................................[Rex Babin - Sacramento Bee]

Tuesday, May 06, 2008