Saturday, December 31, 2005

General Gonzalez Reporting for Duty, Sir

Well, we knew this was coming; the only surprise is that it took this long. Abu Gonzales's Justice Department has announced that it had opened an investigation into the leaking of President Bush's illegal program of spying on Americans. According to a White House spokesman, the Justice Department undertook this investigation on its own, without any pressure from the White House. I wonder if someday that spokesman, Trent Duffy, will look back on the apex of his career, being a mouthpiece for the Bush White House, and reflect on the complete absence of credibility he has merely by virtue of speaking for Bush.

Regardless, I wonder why they think it important to emphasize this. Whether the investigation has been launched because Gonzales is a White House puppet or a well programmed servant in irrelevant. Their aim is off; the Justice Department should be investigating who authorized the illegal wiretaps.


Friday, December 23, 2005

Republicans Loosening Their Ties With the Administration

In my post yesterday about the decision written by Michael Luttig rebuffing the Bush Administration's efforts to manipulate the courts to have its way with Jose Padilla, I sarcastically referred to Luttig as an actvist judge. He may in fact be one, but he's decidedly not a liberal activist judge, which is the usual implication behind the phrase, and he's certainly, judging from his earlier rulings in the Padilla case, not a friend of civil libertarians. What his court's decision this week does, however, is finally demonstrate that at long last even Republicans judges will do only so much for their party and President before realizing they have an obligation to their country and their own branch of government to consider as well. A minority of Republicans in Congress has started to realize and act on this as well, judging from recent setbacks to President Cheney in his efforts to maintain what he views as his unfettered right to detain, render, and torture at will, the failure to rubberstamp the Patriot Act extension, and even something of a bipartisan outcry against the Administration's violation of the law and abuse of the NSA to utilize warrantless taps against Americans.

No doubt some, if not all, of this Republican legislative independence is born of the realization that they no longer stand to gain politically from binding themselves to an increasingly unpopular and unhinged President. It would be nice if it had arisen from principal rather than political expediency. But we have to take our blessings where we find them and praise and thank these Republicans for their new found integrity, chimerical though it may be.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Looks Like We Have a New Liberal Activist Judge

It's Michael Luttig, from the 4th Circuit. Not amused by the Governent's transparent attempt to transfer Jose Padilla's case from military to civilian court to avoid Supreme Court review of the Bush Administration's position that they can hold enemy combatants forever, Luttig denied the motion.

Commenting on the Bush Administration's invocation of Calvin-ball rules in this case, the court wrote,
The government has held Padilla militarily for three and a half years, steadfastly maintaining that it was imperative in the interest of national security that he be so held. However, a short time after our decision issued on the government’s representation that Padilla’s military custody was indeed necessary in the interest of national security, the government determined that it was no longer necessary that Padilla be held militarily.

....In a plea that was notable given that the government had held Padilla militarily for three and a half years and that the Supreme Court was expected within only days either to deny certiorari or to assume jurisdiction over the case for eventual disposition on the merits, the government urged that we act as expeditiously as possible to authorize the transfer [to a civilian court]. The government styled its motion as an “emergency application,” but it provided no explanation as to what comprised the asserted exigency.

This isn't going to go over well with the Administration or their defenders in wingnuttia, who seem to believe anything can be justified, so long as it is done by the Bush king.

Let the wing-nut stoning begin.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

With All of Bush's Actions, There are Lives in the Balance

Written in the 1980s, during Reagan's adventures in Central America, Jackson Browne's "Lives in the Balance" is somehow, sadly, more apt today than then.

Quicktime or Windows Media.

Smack the Penguin

I shudder to think of the people who end up at this site because they googled those three words. Anyway, since you're here, I know I should be posting something about Bush flouting the law and we should impeach him, and something like that is on the way, but in the meantime, why don't you Smack the Penguin?

1. Click on the link above.
2. Click once on the snowman and the penguin will leap from the cliff
3. Click on the snowman again to hit the penguin as he descends from the

What's your distance?

I've smacked that damn bird as far as 321.1.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Lifting Spirits

If you could send a note to a GI recovering from wounds it would be greatly appreciated. Cards and letters thanking them for their sacrifice can be sent to

A Recovering American Soldier
c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20307-5001

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Awards Time

It's Koufax Awards time over at Wampun, a good opportunity to remind everybody that fellow BARBARian The Editors from The Poor Man won last year for Most Humorous Post.

Monday, December 12, 2005

The Battling Wallaces

I've thought for some time that Chris Wallace of Faux News is a hacktacular goon, but didn't know til now what a classless patricidal one he is. Speaking to Newsmax and responding to comments his father had made about the Bush administration, Wallace said of his father, "He's lost it. The man has lost it. What can I say. He's 87-years old and things have set in. I mean, we're going to have a competence hearing pretty soon."

What I found particularly noteworthy about the younger Wallace's comments about his father was that in the same interview where Mike lit into Bush, he seemed to be careful of criticizing Faux News, out of what I took to be deference to his son's employment there. "Well, my son [Chris Wallace] works for them. . . . [Fox News chairman and CEO] Roger Ailes is a man I admire very much. He understood there was a market that was not being served. He was right."

Now, Mike Wallace can be something of a self-righteous prick and he came off as less than a paragon of journalistic integrity in "The Insider", but you'd like to see his son, particularly one as crapalicious as Chris Wallace, show him a little more respect, at least in public. But his response isn't really surprising. It's become quite common for his ilk to suggest that those who disagree with them are treasonous or mentally ill. It's kind of mild at this point for one to suggest that it's merely a sign of senile dementia.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Bad Day

Richard Pryor and Eugene McCarthy both died today.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


The lefty blogosphere (the only one that counts) is all aflutter about tomorrow night's episode in the Showtime Masters of Horror series, Homecoming, a macabre depiction of zombies influencing our political process (no, really; it's fiction). Alternately funny, thought provoking, and horrifying, the one hour movie is a satire of our political climate.

Directed by Joe Dante and written by the Bay Area's own Sam Hamm, it's worth an hour of your time to check it out, especially since I'm told Showtime is offering itself up for free this weekend.

Three Dots...

A couple weeks ago, when we were having a hot spell in mid-November, a woman went into a shop in Healdsburg to get some ice cream to help her cool off. While waiting to buy her ice cream she spotted Robert Redford in the shop. We're cool people up here in the wine country, we don't let celebrity spottings fluster us, so the woman just went about her business, didn't disturb the star, paid for her ice cream, and left. Outside, as she was walking to her car, she realized she didn't have her ice cream. She returned to the shop and told the man at the counter that she'd just bought some ice cream but had forgot to take it with her. That's when Robert Redford spoke up, telling her, "no you didn't; you put it in your purse."

Update: Perhaps I've been had on this one; Snopes would suggest that this is the case.
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